Sunday, July 29, 2012

Garlic, Garlic, and more Garlic! Garlic Festival 2012!

Where there’s food, I am there! I admit it, I’m a food addict. What can I say, food is just so goooood! I wish I had a bottomless pit for a stomach sometimes then on days when I feel lazy I wouldn’t have to force myself to go to the gym… anyways enough about that, gym is for future me to worry about later.

Today’s glorious finds @ The Garlic Festival 2012:

I’ve been to the festival 2 years ago but the genius in me decided to eat before going so I wasn’t able to eat much of anything at the festival. This time, I made sure I ate my way through! Garlic sweet potato fries, chicken veggie wrap, gator tail, berry garlic chipotle wings, and to top it all off: garlic pistachio ice cream served in a cantaloupe bowl! Gym is definitely going to happen tomorrow after all this food. When my lungs are collapsing and legs feel like falling off, I’ll make sure to remember this list, in the meantime, yum!

Now how can I go to the festival and talk all this without making some kind of garlic contribution of my own!? Garlic Cheese Knots!

… Actually it was just coincidence I made this the same weekend I was going to the festival…

While daydreaming at work, my mind wondered off and suddenly: Garlic Cheese Knots were formulated! 

They turned out so good, but now the wheels are turning again and I think I can make them even better. Next kitchen venture! 

Trying something new: Garlic Cheese Knots Recipe Video! (Printable version here)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Summer Festivities: State Fair, Green Tea Lattes, and more!

California State Fair in Sacramento 
:: July 22, 2012 ::  
102 degrees... even though it was massive fun, I believe life would've been slightly better if it was just a few degrees cooler...

My first official state fair! I went in expecting something similar to the Garlic Festival in Gilroy; give me a few hours and I'll have the whole thing thoroughly explored. Was I ever so wrong! When they say fun for everyone, they're not lying. There's stuff for people who like games, rides, exhibits, food, you name it. Plenty of exhibits (both indoors and outdoors) to explore!

After that whole lovely bit, my friends and I decided to return back to my humble estate to play a (few) games of banana grams (greatest game on earth!) while we decided on dinner which turned out to be awesome!

Turns out the sushi restaurant down the street from where I live was having a special promotion, half off all their sushi rolls! Can't beat that!

And of course, what's a post without a recipe to share:
Green Tea Latte!

One of the easiest and quickest way to make a green tea latte:
  • 8-12 oz of vanilla soy milk
  • 1 tablespoon of matcha green tea powder
  • agave sugar (to taste)
Place in blender for about 30 -60 seconds, pour and serve!


Saturday, July 21, 2012

SU Holiday Catalog 2012 Preview #1!

Phew! After months of neglecting my Stampin' Up stuff, the creative wheels have finally started to turn again and boy are were they turning! 5 cards all in one sitting!

Featuring: WONDERFUL WINTERLAND stamp set
(*note: card projects may contain some retired items)
A little early for Christmas cards but this set is just too adorable to resist!

Card 1 
(pacific point, midnight muse, gumball green, northern furry embossing folder, curly cute stamp set)

Card 2
(tempting turquoise, midnight muse, raspberry ripple, gumball green, welcome christmas stamp set, and borderlines stamp set)

Card 3
 raspberry ripple, midnight muse, gumball green, four seasons stamp set, happy everything stamp set)

Card 4
(real red, gumball green, midnight muse, natural white, houndstooth embossing folder, beautiful seasons stamp set)

Card 5
(night of navy, gumball green, bashful blue, natural white, word play stamp set)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Just another quiet Saturday: Avocados and Wontons!

Just something I whipped up for an early snack, a simple avocado dip/spread.

I love putting avocado in my sandwich, but hate it when the slices just slip right out from underneath between the bread and all the other contents defeating its wonderful purpose. Well one day while I was craving for some guacamole and had none of the ingredients except the avocado and salt....I decided eh who needs tomatoes and onions?! I made it anyways, or rather I discovered something just as amazing.

  • 1 avocado
  • salt
  • onion powder
  • basil

Mix together and there you have it!

Taste great and can be used a dip or a delicious avocado spread that has a hint of basil! Finally no more avocado slices slipping out of your sandwich!

And for lunch: Wontons!
(contains ground pork and chives)
Can't really take credit for the wonton stuffing because I didn't make it, just took it from my mom's fridge when I was visiting one weekend... I had leftover wonton wrappers from my apple cinnamon project and needed to use them up so here they are:

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Creamy Summer Squash Medley Soup

You would think that soup was only meant for the winter time, or at least I did, but clearly there are some great summer ingredients that will make for a wonderful summer soup!

Summer squashes! Now if I can't get my hands on squash blossoms then I will just make due with the squash themselves, substituting the blossoms with a yellow squash. It was wonderfully delicious with the blossoms and here its still delicious but to a different degree.

For the most part the recipe is very closely related to the one used for Golden Squash Blossom Crema with a few tweets here and there. 

My version can be found here: Creamy Summer Squash Medley Soup

Monday, July 9, 2012

Spicy Noodles with Beef Satay Stir Fry

Getting back to some of my Asian roots here with this lovely (delicious) dish of beef stir fry with XO satay sauce. This is another dish I haven't made for a while... since my college days.

Just recently I'm beginning to dig those old recipes up and remaking them again so that I can officially write them down somewhere. In the past these were all kept locked up in my head for safe storage... but as "old" age is starting to get to me, I think it's best that they be written down for future references now.

My choice of beef cuts here could've been better because it came out a little tougher than I'd like. It has been awhile since I've made it, so maybe I'm just rusty. All that chicken and turkey cooking, I have forgotten how to deal with my favorite beef counter part. Flavor was excellent and exactly as I remembered it to be. Originally I was going to complement this dish with rice but due to time constraints (because I didn't want to deal with having to dig out my rice cooker from the deep dark corners of my cabinets) I went with noodles instead. Regardless, noodles worked just as well.

Spicy Noodles with Beef Satay Stir Fry Recipe

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Wine Tasting, Exploring, and Squash Blossoms!

I wish I knew yesterday's trip was going to be such an adventure so I could've bought my camera but instead I got stuck with the sad camera on my phone...

Listen to me complain when just 5 years ago this camera phone was probably better than most regular cameras out there. As my friend's husband would've comically put it "first world problems" Ha.

Finally a full weekend to myself without driving back and forth between my apt and my parents'. What better way than to spend it exploring and wine tasting?! Actually all credits will have to go to my friend, she did the research and all I did was tag along.

The Old Sugar Mill in Clarksburg CA. A wonderful place with 8 wineries in one location and the scenery is great! Since we got there kind of late, we only tasted wines from 2 out of the 8 and along the way made some interesting discoveries!

Etched Carignane Wine bottles of my Alma mater, UC Davis! I knew that had to be on my shelf.

And the most exciting discovery of all: Squash Blossoms or Flor de Calabaza
My friend was so excited when she saw them it got me all excited. She started raving about the different types of dishes she'd had with these flowers while she was in Mexico and how she's tried looking for them here but has never seen them. So naturally given this rare opportunity we both had to buy some and make something extraordinary with it. We decided a creamy soup and cheesy quesadillas were best fit for the occasion. 

While I was preparing/cleaning the blossoms, a little lady bug came out. A sign of good fortune and love? Hmmm ...

quesadilla filling and soup cooking 

Overall a great mid summer find! The soup and quesadilla came out absolutely delicious! I want to make them again! Unfortunately now that I've had a taste of these squash blossoms, I will be on a hunt for them in the future. For the time being, the remake of this soup will have to live on without that special ingredient. Until next time we meet squash blossom, until next time.

Soup and quesadilla recipe can be found @ Five Ways to Eat Squash Blossoms

Friday, July 6, 2012

Japanese Cheesecake with Strawberry Glaze...maybe

Yum right? Well the yum part is correct, now whether or not it should be completely considered a Japanese cheesecake is another story...

This started out being a challenge I picked up from Pinterest thinking that since I've seem to have gotten a hang of making regular cheesecake, I should branch out. Some of my friends often rave about how delicious Japanese cheesecake is, I thought it might be a great idea to try and make one of my own. 

At this point, it probably would've been smart to at least try and taste an actual Japanese cheesecake before making one so I'd know what it should taste like... no, unfortunately, common sense was not strong on this one, instead I went in blind. As luck usually has it, I got some good and some bad. Good: the product came out tasting pretty decent; Bad: I don't know if this is what is suppose to taste like and it never browned on the top like it was suppose to...nor did it look "cake-like" like it was suppose to...if anything it was almost like a fluffy version of a regular cheesecake...

All in all, I'd say it was semi successful but definitely a recipe I'm going to revisit again on another day. Recipes can be found here: Green Cilantro or The Cookbook Chronicles. Please visit recipe index for strawberry glaze/puree.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Strawberry Cheesecake and more for July 4th!

The most random day to have off, Wednesday, for July 4th... what can we do with one day and especially me who has work the next day at 5am. Still, can't complain TOO much, a day off is a day off.

So what to do with my very privileged day off? Originally I wanted to go to SF but then reality hit and I realized there were several things wrong with that idea:
  1. Major traffic will likely to occur on the way and back
  2. Major cowards which means I probably won't be able to enjoy the environment as much
  3. 5am start the next day
...with that plan, by the time I get there, I'd probably have to start to make my way back.

As a result, I decided it was best I just stay put. Sleeping in until 6am didn't sound like a bad idea. Yes, 6am is sleeping in; that's already 2 more hours than I'd normally get! Needless to say it was a pretty good day. I got a visit from a friend who attempted (many times) to try and help me with my baking but unfortunately just as many times rejected out of the kitchen since I was host and he was not. Guest should not have to work. Sorry I'm a kitchen Nazi. 

Anyone that pays a visit to me is most definitely going to play guinea pig for the day. First, upon arrive, I decided I'd welcome him with a cold cup of Coconut Jasmine Ice Tea (something very similar to a Thai Iced Tea but since it looks different, I thought I'd give it a different name)

It's a little light in color but it definitely does not lack in flavor! For recipe: Coconut Jasmine Ice Tea

Then we ventured off to see The Amazing Spiderman. After having a slight discussion with a coworker today, I understood the movie a little more, but it was still, unfortunately, not that "amazing."

After a delicious lunch meal at an Indian restaurant nearby, we returned, and I went back to work on my cheesecake project of the day: Strawberry Cheesecake.

For the most part everything is the same as my normal cheesecake recipe with the added part of the strawberry puree (recipe). After the batter has been prepared, take about 1/4 of the batter and mix it some of the strawberry puree. Note: there may be more puree than needed, mix cautiously, judge with color and taste. Save some of the puree for a swirling effect on the top of the cheesecakes.

Now once the 1/4 of the batter is well mixed, you can either combine it with rest of the batter or what I did was make a duo color cheesecake by putting the regular batter on the bottom and the strawberry batter on top and then swirl. Either way, I think it'd be good, so enjoy!