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When being an nerd and a foody collide.

27 Apr

So about a year ago I was watching and anime called Pandora Hearts and at the beginning of the first episode the characters are eating an apfelkuchen.

I thought to myself,”What is that……???”.

I looked it up and it turned out it was apple cake! How tasty would that be?! I was so excited to try it out I found some recipes and flagged them for later. I was going to pick up some supplies to make it when I was next paid.

Well that was my intention anyway. I would look at the recipe from time to time, thinking I would get to it…once I had this kind of sugar….or that kind of pan.

Well, a year later, along come a resurgence in my love for baking and cooking and after a while I remembered that I had wanted to make this cake/bread that had looked like such a delicious idea. I started by researching recipes and seeing what fit best for what I wanted to make. I have these little cake molds that I really wanted to use and I thought they would work perfectly for something like this. As far as ingredients goes, I was so surprised to find out how much sugar was used in apple cake. Also I most of the recipes used oil as fat and not butter. I could not make out why this was but when I eventually settled on a recipe that I thought would work, I was happy with the results when I used oil.

The apfelkuchen.

The apfelkuchen after it was removed from the molds.

I have these really cute cake molds that I’ve collected over the years. I always seem to forget that my starts take a lot of prep to make sure that cooked batter will come out of the mold. It works best if I line the pan with parment paper cutouts. Of course is had been such a long time since I had used them, that I had forgotten this weeeee little step. The result was that I was only able to salvage 2 of the little stars out of the four that I made.

The Apfelkuchen

The Apple Bread was really hard to remove from the molds that I chose.

The crust on the bread was so crunchy! I might change the apple I use next time. or remove the apple skins. I am not sure about the texture of the apples with the skin on.

The Apfelkuchen close up

The Apple bread had the most delicous crust on the outside! It was almost the texture of a cookie.

The recipe I followed was a Apple Bread Recipe. I knew that it was not a traditional apfelkuchen which is more like a cake, but this recipe worked  for what I wanted to do. I had to change the cooking time as I did not use the same baking container. The amounts of the ingredients all remain the same. I will most definitely make this again and I’m so happy that I received that bit of inspiration from my super nerdy hobby!


I am turning into a complete pasta nerd…

16 Apr

Pasta! I think I may have stayed on a low carb diet for too long! Pasta brings such a big smile to my face! There are so many flavors and things you can do with it. I have had pasta for dinner at least 3 times for the the last two weeks.

Last week I was obsessed with trying to find out a way to make vermouth reductions that I really enjoyed. It all started with a simply enough. The shallots were finely chopped, and added to the pan with some olive oil. I then put in some garlic, and then let that fry up a bit. How do you go wrong with pancetta? I don’t believe it possible.  I threw in the pancetta and let that fry up for a long while on a medium low heat. Once that was just cooked to satisfaction, in went the raw green beans.

I added about a 1/2 cup of vermouth and let that reduce and put my bow-tie noodle in the boiling pot of water. I love bow-tie pasta! They are so cute and sauce shines off of them perfectly.

When the liquid had reduced to satisfaction, I used a slatted spoon to remove the noodles from the pot. It helps the sauce to do this. After adding a little red chili for some much loved sweet heat, I then toss everything together in the wonderful “flips-the-pancake” move I learned over the years never to do with a pan that doesn’t have a rounded bottom edge. Hahaha! Big Mistake!


I plated the pasta in one of my nice white bowls and topped it off with a little cracked pepper and a healthy amount of Peccorino cheese! NUMMMMm!!!!


Two days later I was right back at it! I pretty much made the same vermouth reduction, but I changed up the ingredients a bit. This time I used a nice Italian sausage with fennel, broccoli, and medium shells.

Sausage and Brocolli with Shell Type Pasta

I cut sliced portions of the broccoli stems and cooked them up with everything. I had a salad on the side and that was dinner! Both  the pasta took me a bout 30 min to make from start to finish and they were so much more tasty than if I had gone out and ate at some of the restaurants that we have in town. I didn’t use a flash with either of the cameras.

As a side note I will also take a moment to highlight that there were two cameras used in this post. The top photos were taken with my Droid Incredible phone and the bottom one was taken with my five year old Panasonic Lumix camera. I really love the colors I can get my Lumix camera. It’s small but packs some punch. I don’t mind the camera on my Droid, and I can use it if I’m in a pinch or I get shy about whipping out my camera at the dinner table. My phone seems a bit more discreet….that could just be in my head though…(^_^)

Come Dine with Me!

15 Apr

I decided I had had enough of cooking only for myself! I was going to have people over and make a meal with at least 4 courses! I had in mind that I would keep it Asian as I know I can make the most complex and delicious flavors when I stick to that general area.

I had already made the Empire cookies and as I figured they would be fine for my dessert course. I didn’t want to go too crazy. I planned to stick to things that I had been cooking for the last few weeks that I knew I could the best with.  This was a bit of insurance so that I would not spend too much money either.

My Menu was going to consist of:

  • Vietnamese Style Fresh Spring Rolls with minced Chicken.
  • Chicken and Shrimp Shumai.
  • Thai Style Coconut curry served with Basmati Rice
  • Empire cookies served with Tea.

I started the afternoon meal with the Vietnamese style spring rolls. They were a spicy mixture of ground chicken, vermecelli noodles,  bean sprouts, and red tipped lettuce wrapped in Vietnamese rice paper.

Vietnamese Springs Rolls with chicken.

The meat of spring rolls was cooked in chicken broth and then after chopping all the cooked vermicelli noodles ( They are a little hard to bite through) I added to that some lemon juice and chili flake for some heat.

The next course were some Dim Sum that I had made up the day before for some fun challenge. I really want a steamer now as what I was using was not all that utilitarian with what I wanted it to do. I got the job done and they were a big hit anyway. I had tried them the day before and let me tell you I was so happy with them I couldn’t wait to share the jewels of mixed meat and dough.

Chicken and Shrimp Shumai”>

Chicken and Shrimp Shumai

Steamed Chicken Shrimp Shumai

The last dish was for a Thai cononut curry with a different approach than I usually take. I would normally make a pot of curry sauce  and then add all the ingredients cooked. I would not cook them in the sauce just use the coconut curry sauce as a base to bring everything together.

What I did, was took 2 large chicken breasts and chopped them up into chunks that would work well in the pot that I was cooking in. It is a 2 quart 12 inch cast iron pot with a glass lid. What I did was brown the chicken in the pan with some vegetable oil until it started to smoke and then I turned it over and then added the premixed curry. I then popped it into the oven set to around 400° and let it cook for 1 hour. I, of course was doing this a little in advance so my guests did not have to wait for their food.

Chicken and Thai Coconut Curry

The chicken in the curry was so tender and the sauce was packed with flavor.

I tried my best to make take pictures where I could. I was able to get some picture that I was happy with and my friends all know what kind of crazy foody I am, and so they were very understanding while waiting for this dish to be served up. I had fed them so many dimsum by this point they were a bit full. I aspire to be a large latina woman that turns a deaf ear to sounds of people playing at being full. All lies…

We digested a bit before cracking into The Empire cookies and tea. It was a good afternoon with friends and I look forward to doing something like this again soon! Thanks ladies for coming over and letting me feed you! Good times!

The Empire Cookies

Banana Coconut Lime Bread and I were meant to be.

15 Apr

I had my ripe frozen banana.

I had my unsalted butter.

The rest of it I keep as a staple.

It was go time for Banana Bread! My world was then turned upside down when my coworker told me that a friend of her’s from across the state had come been going through recipe blogs and had found a recipe for…..wait for it……

Banana Coconut Bread with a lime glaze!!!!!

I followed the recipe to the T for the most part. I added a little lime zest to the glaze because I like the fresh taste that zest adds to sugar glazes.

The bread was moist and so tasty! It was dangerous to keep in my house……so of course I brought over to a friends house. I brought her two of the loaves with the express instructions that one of the loaves was to go to her mother, the amazing Renu!


As I understand it only half of the extra gift wrapped loaf made it to their house and it was a somewhat serious point of contention. I sort of new this would happen because of the way the first loaf vanished at her house the night I brought it over. It was a magic trick on how make sugary, moist loaf of banana coconut bread disappear with out letting a crumb hit the counter….poof!


Thank you Jessica for sharing this recipe and I promise I will make it again and find a way to share the love!


13 Mar

I have just discovered pancetta! I thought what I had been getting at Trader Joe’s might have been close to the real thing, but I was sorely mistaken. I went to a local Italian Deli and Butcher near my work and I bought some pancetta and some Italian flour, in an effort to get to know more about my roots through food. I sometimes relate more to the Puerto Rican side. It get’s even weirder because I cook mostly Asian food! Normal is no fun.

A few days later, I was at one of my fave grocer’s at the farmers Market, and that day they had a box of Vietnamese Spinach. It tastes like most spinach, but is less leafy. What is lacks in leafiness it more than makes up for in length and leaf size. I bought it thinking I would be able to pair it with pancetta.

I fried the spinach up with some pancetta, onions and garlic after blanching the it to keep the green and preserve the taste.
I added a half teaspoon of apple cider vinager, salt and pepper for seasoning.

Vietnamese Spinach with Pancetta

I would suggest cutting Vietnamese spinach with some food shears after presentation is done. The length of each leaf make it hard to eat otherwise.

Vietnamese Spinach with Pancetta

Small Pie Pockets. I heart encased foods.

18 Feb

I had some left over pie crust that I have yet to have a reason or want to use. I made some quick savory pie pockets with apple wood smoked mozerella cheese, sun dried tomatoes and mixed with a small amount of mustard and salt and pepper.

I made them all ahead of time and put them in freezer. I had one today to check and see if I might want to serve it with some kind of sauce. I think some kind of chili vinegar would be nice if it weren’t pie crust. I will have to sleep on it and sort it out before I bring them to my friends house tomorrow.

Dinner was so good I saw stars!

9 Feb

I felt like getting a quick and cute dinner together. I bought the star cookie cutters 2 months ago and I just used them today for the first time. When I saw them I knew exactly what I wanted from them.

Dinner consists of a rice, with a rolled egg omelette with Garlic chives, steamed Chinese broccoli that was pan fried with garlic, ginger, a tablespoon of soy sauce, and a dash of sesame oil.