...is upon us! Can we just all agree we'll be fitting a lil' "snug" in the pants for about a month? I'm sorry I haven't written here for so long, but such is life! 2015 was one of the best year's of my life, filled with self discovery, travel, family and friends! There's something about being in one's early 40s that makes you realize the ONLY way to live life is authentically and if you're truly learning along the way, that means letting go of what was holding you back in a static state, and moving forward with what makes you feel alive and in touch with the Universe!
Here are some photos from my visit with the in laws at Thanksgiving. Another feast for the eyes and stomach!
Haven't posted in so long I don't know where to even begin. Life has been super busy, what can I say! Other priorities such as photography and summer fun with all my loved ones. And of course there have been some delicious culinary adventures along the way. Rather than waste time with words, I will just share some of my favorite photos of the food I've enjoyed. Happy drooling!
Dinner at the father-in-law's!
Delicious afternoon tea in Vancouver, B.C. with old friends.
Fabulous new pizza place in the International District, called World Pizza. Had no idea it was all veggie!
Homemade bread a friend brought to our house. He needs to open up a bakery!
Curry chickpea burger, kebabs and cheese plate at Phinney Market Pub & Eatery.
Pub food at Brouwer's Cafe in Fremont for Sourfest! (Not all of these were eaten by moi)
Fresh rolls at Tamarind Tree.
Sashimi lunch at Obasan.
Aaaand one more, these are photos from Tanakasan Sour Hour, tasting and pairing. Friggen amazing! Even got to rub shoulders with one of our most famous chefs in Seattle, Tom Douglas (who incidentally beat out Iron Chef Morimoto in 2005).
1 cup mashed very ripe banana
3/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/3 cup soy milk
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegan carob chips
2 tablespoons hot water (boiled water or good tap water is fine)
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Mash the bananas in a LARGE mixing bowl until relatively smooth. It should take 3 small sized ones, or 2.5 regular. You can spoon them into a measuring cup to make sure, then return to the mixing bowl. Beat in the sugar, canola oil, milk and vanilla.
Now add the flour, baking soda and salt and gently mix just to incorporate (so only a few turns). It’s okay if there is some flour still visible, just be careful not to over mix at this point. Add the chocolate chips and hot water, and stir a few more times..there should be no flour at this point, but again don't over stir - we don't want gummy cake!
Lightly grease an 8×4 loaf pan with margarine or use a non stick loaf pan. Scoop batter into the pan, smoothing the top out a bit with a spoon. Bake for 35-40 minutes (depending on your oven's hotness). Use a butter knife to test for doneness (a clean knife and it's done, melted chocolate on knife doesn't cout) Let cool in pan and go at it!
Makes 20 to 24 cupcakes Double Chocolate Stout Cupcakes
1 cup Double Chocolate Stout
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 to 2 teaspoons Irish whiskey (optional)
Baileys Frosting (see Recipe Notes)
3 to 4 cups SIFTED confections sugar (aka icing sugar)
1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 to 4 tablespoons Baileys
*Special equipment: 1-inch round cookie cutter or an apple corer and a piping bag (though a plastic bag with the corner snipped off will also work) Make the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners. Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.
Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide batter among cupcake liners, filling them 2/3 to 3/4 of the way. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, rotating them once front to back if your oven bakes unevenly, about 17-20 minutes (depending on the hotness of your oven). Cool cupcakes on a rack completely.
Make the filling:
Chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then whisk/stir until smooth. (If this has not sufficiently melted the chocolate, you can return it to a double-boiler to gently melt what remains. 20 seconds in the microwave, watching carefully, will also work.) Add the butter and whiskey (if you’re using it) and stir until combined.
Fill the cupcakes:
Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped (the fridge will speed this along but you must stir it every 10 minutes). Meanwhile, using your 1-inch round cookie cutter or an apple corer, cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes. You want to go most of the way down the cupcake but not cut through the bottom — aim for 2/3 of the way. A slim spoon or grapefruit knife will help you get the center out. (Leftover centers are perfect for your piehole to "test" the cake). Put the ganache into a piping bag with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top. (Personal Note: I used a very tiny spoon to put the ganache into the holes, since I had that fancy cake pan)
Make the frosting:
Whip the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, for several minutes. You want to get it very light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time. When the frosting looks thick enough to spread, drizzle in the Baileys and whip it until combined. If this has made the frosting too thin (it shouldn’t, but just in case) beat in another spoonful or two of powdered sugar. Ice and decorate the cupcakes how you like! VOILA!
Haven't had good Vietnamese food at lunch for awhile, until I went to Local Pho, recommended by my hubby who works near there and was very well rated on Yelp. Finally, a place that won't overcook their vermicelli noodles! Not to mention put everything in the bowl that is listed in the menu. The pickled daikon and carrots were nice and crispy. My pork was really delicious and flavorful, not super fatty. I went at 11:20am, and it was great timing, because after that, the place got MERKED! We were a party of four, and our food came by about 11:40 fresh and hot! So complaining about bad service during lunch or towards the end of lunch service, is totally a moot point to me. Not to mention that if you come to lunch service late, you might not get freshest food. Not that it's an excuse, but the early bird gets the worm, right? And some person on Yelp said they "skimped on the meat"...wha??? I had SO MUCH PORK in my bowl, I could barely finish. Picture below. They don't lie. Anyway, I totally recommend this place, go early so you can avoid Sad Face when you don't get enough meat at the end of the lunch rush!