Friday, January 6, 2012

engaged in nyc

2011 was an amazing year, one I know I'll never forget. Exactly two months ago, while in New York City J magically transformed from boyfriend to fiance. He completely surprised me and I couldn't have been more ecstatic! What started as a replacement trip for our canceled Japan trip/J's first visit to NYC/visit my little sis, ended as our engagement trip. It's been a crazy couple of months with the engagement, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. But now that we've had time to personally tell our family and friends and the holidays have passed, it's time to make post about it :) Here's a little photo summary of our engagement trip...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

korean bbq-style burgers

I love burgers and I love Korean BBQ, so picking this recipe seemed only natural. I used Angus 90/10 ground beef and cooked these burgers indoors in a cast iron pan (4-5 mins per side). Although we didn't brave the cold like the Use Real Butter folks, they still turned out amazing! Served up on a whole wheat bun, with sweet potato fries on the side. A perfect summer-time meal for the winter-like-fall we're having.

Sweet Potato Fries :)

The Burger Toppings: kim chee, pickled veggies, sirraacha mayo, lettuce & tomatoes

Thursday, October 27, 2011

a few more cupcakes

This past weekend, we celebrated my nephew Myles' first birthday. Although we had the joint party for he and Malia last month, we had to celebrate again here in his hometown :) Because two parties are always better than one!

Being that Myles is allergic to dairy, it was only fitting that I make him vegan cupcakes with vegan vanilla "butter cream" frosting (recipe below). But for a festive and non-vegan option I also made pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting (this bar recipe but baked for 20 mins as cupcakes). Both were well received. The vegan cake has a distinct textural difference that is much more light and sponge cake-like. Some really liked them for their airy consistency, while others prefer the pumpkin cake with it's rich cream cheese frosting. I prefer the latter :)

To top it all off, we topped these cute cakes with mini shortbread animal cookies (non-vegan). My very talented and detail oriented sisters hand made and decorated these little guys. They were the perfect cupcake topper for this safari themed party.

Vegan Vanilla "Butter Cream" Frosting Recipe (an adaptation of a Chef Chloe recipe)

1 cup vegan butter (at room temperature)
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons non-dairy milk

Using a handheld or stand mixer, beat the butter until smooth. With the mixer running on low, add powdered sugar, and vanilla. Add 1 tablespoon non-dairy milk at a time, as needed, until frosting reaches a spreadable consistency. You may not need to use all of the non-dairy milk. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

thai basil shrimp

This is one of J & I's go-to dishes at Thai restaurants- when in doubt, order Thai Basil! Its simple yet has great flavor. I'm no Thai cooking expert, but this is my take on Thai Basil. It's a pretty forgiving recipe and can really be made with any meat & veggies you like. I believe its traditionally made with green beans, but I had asparagus so I went ahead and used it. 

1 glove garlic, minced
Half red onion, cut into bite sized pieces
8 oz mushrooms, cut in quarters
1 lb shrimp, peeled & deveined
1 red bell pepper, cut into bite sized pieces
1 lb asparagus, ends removed then cut in half
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (use fresh chilies if you can)
2 Tablespoons fresh chiffonade basil

2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons fish sauce
2 Tablespoons sugar

Shrimp Marinade:
1 Tablespoon corn starch
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper

Heat wok to med-high. When the wok is hot add oil, follow by garlic and onions. Stir fry the garlic and onions until aromatic, then add crushed red pepper (or chilies). Stir together, add asparagus followed by mushrooms.  Stir fry over med high heat for about five minutes or until the asparagus begins to tenderize. Meanwhile, combine marinade ingredients and mix with shrimp; set aside. Add bell peppers, stir then add sauce ingredients and sauté for about one minute. Create a well in the center of the wok, and then add shrimp.  Mix together and cook until shrimp is pink, about two to three minutes depending on the size of your shrimp (I used 16/20). Turn off heat and stir in basil. Serve immediately over steamed rice. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

the mobile food rodeo

A few weeks back, my cousin Katherine and I attended Seattle's Mobile Food Rodeo. It was a fun way to explore some of our local food trucks and try an array of foods in one spot. After much time spent waiting in line here's what we tried...

Bistro Box. I had the kobe beef with bacon & my cousin got the coconut chicken. Both came with two dipping sauces: garlic aioli & a ketchup mayo. We agreed that this was just ok. Nothing bad, but nothing amazing.

Lumpia World. We tried three flavors: ginger pork, ground steak & lemongrass chicken. I liked the lemongrass chicken, but the classic combo of ginger pork takes the cake! And after all, we still favor Katherine's grandma's lumpia :)

Where Ya At? This truck was super popular with a long line for the majority of the time we were there. We ordered the jambalaya and hot beignets. The flavors did not disappoint, however, our jambalaya rice was uncooked! But the hot beignets totally hit the spot, so moist, fluff and messy in a good way. I'd still love to go back and try a few other menu items.

Fusion on the Run. I ordered the KV fusion Banh Mi for J since he was unable to make it. But managed to steal a nibble just to make sure it tasted ok :) The meat marinade is delicious and I'm a sucker for a banh mi, so it was a victory in my book. I would definitely love to go back and try the other sandwiches like the Ono!

I'm excited that Seattle is finally jumping on the food truck bandwagon. There were many other trucks I wanted to try, but we could only eat so much in so little time. My next food truck stop will be at the Wallingford Food Truck Pod, one of the first food pod's here in Seattle. Hopefully more will start to pop up throughout the city. Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

birthday cupcakes

My niece & nephew had their joint birthday party this past weekend. The big one! And since their mommies take on so much the aunties came to the rescue helping with the party invites, paper goods, food, desserts and babysitting :) My contribution included invite design, paper goods design, rolling egg rolls and baking cupcakes. Here is a little picture recap of the party.

The Candy Bar / Food Table / Dessert Table

Mini Donuts / Vegan Vanilla Baby Cakes / Coconut Macaroons / Shortbread Cookies / Rice Crispy Treats / Chocolate Macaroons 

Strawberry Cupcakes & Cream Cheese Frosting / Lemon & Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting / Chocolate Kahlua (recipe below) & Coconut Frosting

Chocolate Kahlua
1 package Swiss chocolate cake mix
1 small package chocolate pudding
1 pint sour cream
4 eggs
3/4 cup oil
6 oz chocolate chips
1/3 cup Kahlua

Mix ingredients together and bake at 350 for about 15 mins.

Happy Birthday Malia & Myles!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

mother's bistro & bar- portland, or

For some family time and Labor Day weekend, J & I ventured back to my hometown of Portland, OR. On our drive down, we started talking about how we default to the same handful of Portland restaurants. So in an effort to get out and explore my home-city, we turned to Yelp and off to Mother's Bistro we went.

Given it was a holiday weekend, we knew we'd there would be a good wait. We waited about 45 mins and it went by rather quickly, with lots of sunshine, self-serve coffee & my niece to keep us on our toes.

On to what we ordered....

Crunchy French Toast with Bananas. This was my perfect french toast- crispy exterior, a smooth center and all lightly sweet. My personal choice & favorite :)

Seasonal Waffles- Fresh Oregon Blackberry Waffles. The berries were huge and super sweet. The waffles were so incredibly light & fluffy, they were like pancake-waffles!

Pork Apple Sausage & Cheddar Cheese Scramble. I didn't try this one, but everyone who did seemed exceptionally pleased.

Omelet du Jour- Cajun Scramble. Straightforward & done well, the roasted breakfast potatoes definitely hit the spot.

All in all we had an amazing meal and experience at Mother's. The staff was extremely friendly, the food was perfect and the prices were great!