Monday, November 30, 2009

Pork and Shrimp Noodle Bowl vermicelli

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At the 5SeasonsGrill at 9724 Aurora Ave N.

They don't really have a working website, but here is what I found:

We've driven by this place a lot, and finally decided to try it. Darren got a tofu baguette sandwich, which he said was pretty good.

Tofu Vietnamese Sandwich

We both got drinks, mine a bubble tea which was super yummy, and overall the food is not that bad, very flavorful, but the pork was a little fatty. Their prices were so reasonable and we were able to eat for about $20 which included drinks!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My Shrimp Tempura Roll & Hendrik's Bento Box

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Went to lunch with a friend today at Obasan on Queen Anne. I really like this place for lunch, as there's enough variety and reasonable prices, it is easy to please everyone. I had the shrimp tempura roll and 2 salmon nigiri, and everything was really fresh. They don't seem to have a website yet, but they are also reviewed on Yelp. I also like that they don't play obnoxious Top 40 music at lunch, and instead, usually have some Japanese Shinto style stuff going on. The staff is also very friendly, and the decor is simple and pleasing to the eye.

I highly recommend it if you're in the Queen Anne neighborhood!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Giant Cupcake making: Take 2

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Okay, so I made another giant cupcake, this time with only a single recipe instead of doubling it (I don't use box mixes, so just use whatever recipe you have), or any from my blog!

*BEFORE DOING ANYTHING: SPRAY THE PAN WITH NON-STICK BAKING SPRAY. This will guarantee that the cake will pop right out later.

I poured the single batch of batter into both sides of the huge cupcake pan with a little more in the spiral "top" part, at 350 degrees for 42 minutes.

*Side-note: Do not open the oven during baking time, or the cake might fall!

If you do want the cupcake as large as you can get it (see previous post), you'll have to double the recipe. Then, you pour more batter into the "bottom" part of the mold, than the "top" part. Try cooking it at 325 degrees for 45-55 minutes. If the "top" part is already cooked, you can do something I did, and quickly take it out of the oven, gingerly take out the "top" part, and put back the "bottom" part checking it every 5 minutes or so until a knife comes out clean when you poke it in the center. It was pretty difficult popping out the "top" part, but I managed to do it with 2 knives on either side and my thumbs in the middle, flipping it onto a gotta do it fast!

My first try at this giant cupcake, resulted in burnt edges...but I think if I had baked it at a lower heat for a longer time, it would have been less crispy.  Not to mention, perhaps baking one half at a time is a good idea, too.

batter in giant cupcake panCupcake Driveby

When the cupcakes have cooled, cut off the rounded tops of each side with a large serrated knife, so that when you put them together with icing, it lies flat.

Good luck everyone! And feel free to post your own results, because this is certainly one of those things where temperature and batter amount could change the outcome.

Monday, November 16, 2009

That is one Giant Cupcake!

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I made this HUGE cupcake using the Wilton Giant Cupcake Pan, that a friend sent me, last Friday for a birthday cake! It was vegan Red Velvet with "Cream Cheese" frosting, and I put dark chocolate ganache in between the layers and around the bottom. Unfortunately, I used far too much batter and cooked it at too high a heat, so the outside was crispy and overdone. However I kept getting compliments from people that they liked that! Go figure. Anyway, next time (tonight) I will put in less batter and be able to write more about how I made it and all the details. I think the secret is definitely to cook each side separately, or at the same time at a low temperature for a longer period (maybe 325 degrees for 45-55min). I'll let you know how it goes!

two halves of giant cupcake!
my even bigger piehole with a giant cupcake

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cupcake or Die Spotlight!

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Today I was featured in the infamous Cupcakes Take the Cake blog! Thank you so much Rachel!

I think I look at that website at least a few times a day, so this is very exciting news that she wanted to do a little write up on my cupcakes!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Pho Cyclo Cafe Noodle Bowl

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Pho Cyclo Cafe noodle bowl
Originally uploaded by Lara604
Man, I'm craving this today! They charbroil the meat so perfectly at Pho Cyclo on Capitol Hill. Their veggie Pho is really substantial as well, which is key for my vegetarian husband who has never gotten full off of Pho until we went here.

406 Broadway E. Seattle WA

Vegan Banana Bread

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Banana Bread Cake

So, I know I keep making vegan baked goods but I can't help myself because they turn out so well! I found this recipe online last night, as our bananas were getting a bit too ripe to eat by themselves. The hubby, Darren, helped me too which was fun! The cake turned out really moist, with just the right amount of sweetness. I didn't have any All Spice, so I put about 1/4 tsp. Nutmeg, 1/4 tsp. Ginger powder and a dash of Cloves, in addition to the cinnamon. I also didn't have a loaf pan, so I used a round 9" cake pan, and cooked it for about 35 minutes, checking the doneness with a toothpick stuck in the middle, and it came out clean. Depending on your oven and how hot it gets, the timing may vary. I also used 4 bananas since I had them, although the recipe asks for 3. I think I'd go with the recipe amount, because it was hard to tell if the cake was still not done, or if it was the banana texture coming through.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Buttercream Frosting

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Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

I can't believe I forgot to put this recipe in my blog when I made these cupcakes back in August, but better late than never! My friend Tish needed a vegan recipe to prove to someone that vegan desserts can be downright delicious and even BETTER than the ones made with dairy. So I chose one of my favorites, chocolate with peanut butter frosting, because I think it's one of the most decadent recipes that Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World has in it's book.

Basic Chocolate Cupcake Recipe:


1 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract, chocolate extract, or more vanilla extract (chocolate is best of course, if you can find it, and I buy mine at Cookies).
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder, Dutch-processed or regular
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin pan with paper or foil liners.
2. Whisk together the soy milk and vinegar in a large bowl, and set aside for a few minutes to curdle. Add the sugar, oil, and vanilla extract, and other extract, if using, to the soy milk mixture and beat until foamy. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt (sifting is a must!). Add in two batches to wet ingredients and beat until no large lumps remain (a few tiny lumps are okay, just don't over beat/stir, or they will come out gummy).
3. Pour into liners, filling three-quarters of the way. Bake 18 to 20 minutes (Note: DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN AT ANY TIME, OR YOUR CUPCAKES WILL COLLAPSE), until a tooth pick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely. If you leave them in the pans, they might dry out.

After cupcakes are completely cool (usually an hour) you are now ready to frost!

Peanut Buttercream Frosting:


1/4 cup margarine, softened
2 tablespoons shortening (Earth Balance sticks are the best for this)
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon barley malt syrup or molasses, optional (I use molasses)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sifted icing sugar (known as Confectioner's Sugar) *I sift mine into it's own bowl first, for easy pouring later.
1 to 2 tablespoons rice milk, soy milk, or soy creamer (I use soy milk)


1. With electric hand held mixer, cream together margarine and shortening at medium speed until smooth. Add peanut butter, molasses, and vanilla, and beat until very smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in sugar, in increments so it doesn't fly everywhere; mixture will be VERY stiff. Dribble in soy milk a little at a time, beating continously til frosting is pale tan and very fluffy. Adjust the thickness of the frosting by adding soy milk or more icing sugar in small amounts if necessary. Frost or fill cooled cupcakes.

Enjoy everyone!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Robot Cupcakes!

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Made these for a birthday surprise the other day, and they turned out pretty well! I loved having all these little marshmallow heads on my cutting board like some kind of saccharine massacre! I made a ganache out of milk and dark chocolate, and hand dipped the pretzel sticks myself, because I couldn't find any at the store like that. The cupcake is chocolate with a mocha "buttercream" frosting (vegan), but obviously the marshmallows aren't vegan. These were by far, the most time consuming cupcakes I've ever made, but they certainly were the most well received!

making robot heads for robot cupcakes

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