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Archive for May, 2009

May 09 003

If there were a photo in the dictionary depicting the word “decadence” these brownies would be it.  A friend of mine made them for a camping trip months ago and I have been making them ever since!  For some reason though, every time I do, they never end up on here.  Unlike normal brownies, these are perfect to take to a party or the office because they are all individually packaged!  The recipe is from a dessert cookbook called “Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey: Desserts for the Serious Sweet Tooth” which has so, so many amazing recipes in it.  I have been dying to get it, but when I went to the bookstore the other day to pick it up I talked myself into getting “Cook Yourself Thin” instead lol.  If you have a sweet tooth or just enjoy baking, this book is a must have.  Get it HERE at amazon.com. 

 SO, this morning, after the gym, I came home to make a batch for my friend Milo’s birthday, and, as I wait to go to the beach, thought this would be the perfect time to post the recipe and some pictures! 

Yields: 3 dozen

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Bake Time: 17-20 minutes per batch

Oven Temp: 350 degrees

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter

    You can't go wrong with these ingredients!

    You can't go wrong with these ingredients!

  • 6 oz unsweetened bakers chocolate
  • 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 6 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup almonds or pecans, chopped
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 5 regular size snickers bars cut into small chunks
  • 3 cups mini marsh mellows

Instructions:

  • Melt butter and unsweeetened chocolate until smooth.  Pour into a large mixing bowl.

    Melting butter and chocolate together.

    Melting butter and chocolate together.

  • Add sugar, eggs and vanilla and stir until smooth.
  • Sift in flour and salt into mixture and again, stir until smooth.
  • Sitr in nuts, chocolate chips and snickers.
  • Fill cupcake cups halfway full and bake for 17-20 minutes.
  • Press a small handful of marshmellows into brownies immediately after removing them from the oven.  Remove from pan and set aside to cool.

*Note: These are RICH and therefore I try not to make them too big, or else they tend to be a bit overwhelming.  Also, if you don’t want to take the time to fill the cupcake cups, simply pour the batter into a brownie pan and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until done.

 

Enjoy! 

Erin

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Down to earth salad

I work in a place that has very limited lunch options within walking distance of my office.  I have taken to stocking up on ready-made salads from Down To Earth, a health food store here in Hawaii, and my current favorite is their fresh Spinach salad.  Not your ordinary spinach salad, this one contains baby spinach, roasted pine nuts, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, tomato, cucumber, and red onions.  The dressing is made of oil, vinegar and, surprisingly, a bit of organic agave nectar (making the vinaigrette just a bit sweet and very delicious!).  Such an easy salad to put together, I definitely suggest recreating this one!  I will experiment with the amounts that go into the dressing and let you know if I figure it out!

xoxo,

Erin

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Recently my Uncle David (Zoe’s dad) recommended that a friend of his e-mail me and ask for restaurant suggestions here in Honolulu as he was coming for a conference/vacation.  They were staying in Waikiki and wanted a list of places that varied in genre and price, and that were also a relatively close cab ride away from Waikiki.  Below is the list I sent him, along with the e-mail response I just got from him, giving me feedback about his experience.  By all means these aren’t the only restaurants in Honolulu worth going to, but they are some of my favorites, and because they are all typed up so nicely with links and all, I thought I would share.  Sheldon is now headed to London and looking for good restaurant recommendations there.  Sadly, I have yet to go, but if you have been there and have any ideas for him please share them with us and I will forward them on to him!

Low-Mid Range Outside of Waikiki

In Waikiki

  • Yard House: http://www.yelp.com/biz/yard-house-honolulu great food and large selection of beer – gets pretty crowded though and quite loud so be prepared for that.
  • Shore Bird: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-shore-bird-restaurant-and-beach-bar-honolulu on the water very near to your hotel – good place for breakfast.
  • Dukes Waikiki/Hula Grill: http://www.yelp.com/biz/dukes-waikiki-honolulu-2Dukes is downstairs and Hula Grill is upstairs. Both are on the water and are great for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or just a drink and appetizers at the bar.  Plus is that every single day from 4-6 they have live music which is really nice.  If you are there on a Sunday, definitely go for the music as it is Henry Kapono who plays – one of Hawaii’s most popular musicians.  Great place for pacific rim fresh fish style dishes.
  • Sansei: http://www.yelp.com/biz/sansei-seafood-restaurant-and-sushi-bar-honolulu if you don’t want to leave Waikiki this is a good place for sushi – but if you are looking for REALLY good Japanese food, go to one of the others I recommended above.
  • Royal Hawaiian Hotel: http://www.royal-hawaiian.com/just renovated, the Royal is one of Hawaii’s landmark hotels and one of the most beautiful.  Great restaurants but quite pricey – at the very least go for a Mai Tai at their beach front bar because they make the meanest Mai Tai’s you’ve ever had!
  • Sheraton Moana Surfrider Hotel: http://www.moana-surfrider.com/another of the landmark hotels in Waikiki – their ocena front veranda is beautiful and a great place for breakfast, tea, or drinks at sunset.  I hear the restaurants are good as well, but on the pricier side for sure.

 

Nice Restaurants outside of Waikiki (pricier but VERY worth it)

  • Alan Wongs: http://www.yelp.com/biz/alan-wongs-restaurant-honoluluvery pricey (appetizer, food, dessert and alcohol aprox. $100 a head) but SO SO SO worth it.  Alan Wong is one of Hawaii’s very best chefs and I promise that you will not be dissapointed.  If you go to one restaurant while you are in Hawaii, this must be it!  Make sure to make reservations WAY in advance.  Style of food is very pacific rim, fresh and local.
  • Hoku’s at the Kahala Hotel: http://www.yelp.com/biz/hokus-honolulu this is another amazing one, and the location is just beautiful.  It is about a 15-20 minute cab ride from your hotel.  If you go, I recommend going early to have drinks first, and then to dinner…the hotel is breathtaking. Style of food is very pacific rim, fresh and local.

 

Sheldon’s Feedback:

Erin
 
I am back from Hawaii and want you to know that your suggestions added to my wonderful time. I ate with friends at Phuket Thai (nice, basic food, quite relaxing, also recommended by cab driver); Town (wonderful meal, great service, had mongchon, manila clams, etc.); 12th avenue grill (small, but not a whole in wall, great food, had small plates). Great to get away from Waikiki. Worth the cab ride.

Some friends went to Alan Wongs and other went to Hoku. At Hoku, they split a $120 entrée, a bit too pricey for me. Raves about both places.
 
Going to London in 3 weeks. Anything to recommend there?
 
Again, thanks so much for your ideas. Wishing you all the best.
 
Sheldon

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may09 048

When I was at William’s Sonoma a few weeks ago I found this table full of “green” cleaning products.  I decided to get the sponges which were $3 for two.  They are totally die free, are made from natural cellulose, and are completely biodegradable.  I opened them just today, and they are so much thicker and nicer than the normal sponges you are used to using.  I promise you will love them, and who doesn’t like one more way to be a bit more environmentally conscious?  Go HEREto buy them online (as well as other great “Green” kitchen supplies!) at Williams Sonoma, or get them in the store.

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IMGP3390My mom is the best cook I know, and one of her specialities is pie. She makes them all- pumpkin, apple, blueberry, raspberry, and in the summer, rhubarb! I’ve always wanted to learn how to make her pies, and since it isn’t the easiest thing to make, we thought it would be fun to make one together during her trip. Rhubarb is sweet and tangy at the same time and I absolutely love it’s beautiful pink color! This pie will make about 8-10 slices, depending how big you slice them! 🙂 Serve with vanilla ice cream and you have the perfect summer dessert!

Pie Crust: 

  • 2/3 cup Crisco Shortening
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 very cold water
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Pie filling: 

  • 4-5 cups rhubarb, sliced into one inch cubes
  • 1 2/3 cups white sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • Dash of salt

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Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Chop rhubarb into one inch slices and place in a large mixing bowl. Add in sugar, flour, and salt and mix in carefully. Let stand for 15 minutes and then mix again. You will notice that the sugar and flour start to stick to the rhubarb. There will still be some loose sugar and flour and this is fine, you will just dump it in with the rhubarb!
  3. While rhubarb is standing for 15 minutes, start preparing the pie crust. In a large bowl, combine Crisco and flour with a pastry blender. Add flour half at a time and blend in. When it starts to clump together, add water and continue to blend in. Scrape sides of the bowl down so that you don’t lose any pastry!
  4. Using your hands, roll the pastry into a large ball. Using a knife, cut ball in half and then form into two small balls. Roll small balls out on a lightly floured surface, using a rolling pin into two evenly shaped 12 inch circles, about 1/8 inch thick. If dough is sticking to the surface, add some more flour. 
  5. Carefully place first rolled out dough disk onto a 9 inch pie dish, pressing it down on the bottom and sides of the pie dish. 
  6. Add rhubarb filling into the pie. If there is still any of the flour/sugar mixture that did not get absorbed by the rhubarb, just pour it on top of the rhubarb once it’s all in the pie dish. 
  7. Place second rolled out dough disk on top of the rhubarb filling and pinch the top and bottom edges of the dough together. Using scissors or a knife, cut off any excess dough. You want it to be about 3/4 inch from the edge of the edge of the pie dish.  Flute edges using your thumb and forefinger, or use a fork. Poke four small holes into the top of the pie crust so that steam can be released while the pie is cooking. Sprinkle the top of the pie with sugar before baking.
  8. Place in the oven and bake for 50 minutes and then let cool for at least 1-2 hours before serving.

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Serve with ice cream and/or whipped cream. YUM!

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IMGP3335My first experience with dim sum was on a trip to Shanghai with my dad a few years ago and I loved it. I could not even begin to count how many times we had dim sum- it was the most delicious food I have ever tasted in my entire life- all different kinds of steamed and fried dumplings, potstickers, shumai, various kinds of Asian veggies, spring rolls, and rice noodle rolls among so many other dishes.

I’ve been wanting to try out Heaven Star Dim Sum Restaurant ever since the first time I saw it, about 6 months ago when I moved to Broomfield! With my mom visiting this past weekend, we had no reason not to try it out!

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What is dim sum? According to Wikipedia, Dim sum (literally meaning “touch heart”) is the name for a Chinese cuisine which involves a wide range of light dishes served alongside Chinese tea. It is usually served in the mornings until noon time at Chinese restaurants and at specialty dim sum eateries where typical dishes are available throughout the day. Dishes come in small portions and may include meatseafood, and vegetables, as well asdesserts and fruit. The items are usually served in a small steamer basket or on a small plate. Yum cha (literally “drinking tea”) is the term used to describe the entire dining experience, especially in contemporary Cantonese. Some Chinese families like to gather for dim sum on special occasions such as Mother’s Day or Chinese New Year. Also, Chinese parents like to bring their children there Sunday mornings to meet and talk with their grandparents. Some people bring newspapers with them and discuss news with their families. Some Chinese restaurants offer discounts on menu items purchased before 11:00 A.M. and tea time discounts after 2:00 P.M. to encourage patrons to avoid the lunch rush.

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What I love most about dim sum is the variety of things to try and since everything is a small size, you can taste many things! My mom and I went to Heaven Star Dim Sum for lunch this past weekend and we LOVED it! The servers walk by all of the tables with carts of different light dishes and ask you what you would like. Our favorite dishes were the steamed shrimp dumplings, the pork dumplings, and this really yummy pan-fried leek and shrimp dumpling which we liked the best. The service was impeccable- since they keep walking by your table, if you want more of anything, you get it instantly, and they are quick to refill your waters and bring you your check when you are ready for it. Since we had been eating a lot over the weekend, we passed on the dessert cart, but I’m not going to lie, there are many things on that cart that I will go back for! I can’t wait to visit Heaven Star Dim Sum again soon.

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The Dessert Cart!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Want to check out Heaven Star Dim Sum? It doesn’t have a website, yet, but it’s located at 6700 W 120th Ave in Broomfield, CO, in the same shopping center as the Pacific Ocean Marketplace. You can eat in or take it’s yummy dim sum to go! I guarantee you will not be disappointed!

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IMGP3273Eating out for lunch or dinner but want something light, healthy, and inexpensive? Head to Mad Greens! Mad Greens is a Colorado based salad restaurant with over 15 different salads to choose from (including make your own) and several panini sandwiches if you want something a little more substantial to eat. 

All of the salads are priced affordably- $4.95 to $5.75 for a small size and $6.25 to $6.95 for a large size. The small sizes are perfect for lunchtime and if you want to have leftovers or are super hungry, you may want a large. In a hurry? Take it to go! 

Here are some of my favorite salads from Mad Greens:

Edgar Allen Poe- Tender Baby Greens, Crisp Apples, Pears, Walnuts, and Blue Cheese Crumbles with Port Vinaigrette (I love to add chicken to this!)

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The Edgar Allen Poe Salad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don Quixote- Tender Baby Greens, Juicy Mango, Avocado, Roasted Corn, and Jack Cheese with Creamy Ginger Dressing

Crazy Ivan- Tender Baby Greens, Roasted Beets, Pumpkin Seeds, Roasted Beets, and Fresh Goat Cheese with Sherry- Molasses Vinaigrette

With eight Colorado locations in Denver, Boulder, and Ft. Collins, there is no excuse not to stop in and see what Mad Greens is all about! To learn more about Mad Greens, find a location, and check out the menu, click here!

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