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Archive for June, 2010

Every Saturday I stock up on my essentials at the KCC Farmers Market – but there is a huge bounty of fresh, local produce and products that I never purchase, simply because I am not quite sure what to do with it.  Enter the Hawaii Farmers Market Cook Book series.  I have yet to get either volume 1 or 2 (why I have no idea), but after leafing through the latest edition at the FM last weekend, I think I may just have to pick them both up.

The collection of 75+ recipes are contributed by the likes of Roy Yamaguchi, Alan Wong, Sam Choy and other top-tier Hawaii chefs, showcasing how to use the fresh goods you can get at our Hawaii farmers markets, as well as tips and advice.  And better yet, the recipes are all super easy thanks to the book’s editors’ stipulation that all recipes contain no more than five ingredients, plus cooking oil, salt, pepper and the assigned featured food items.

Buy them HERE on Amazon.com

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Happy Birthday Zoe!!!

I can’t top a picture of that delicious looking birthday cake Zoe got, but I do want to wish my very dear friend a very happy birthday.  There aren’t too many people in this world who you have literally known forever, and more importantly, who you still hold as an important part of your life.  I am so lucky to have a friend like Zoe – and thanks to this blog, we have been able to reconnect and renew our friendship which has been absolutely wonderful.

Zoe, I hope your birthday was nothing short of perfect.  Wish I was there to help celebrate!

xo,

E

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My birthday is tomorrow, but my boyfriend got me my cake 2 days early, which I was really excited about. It is a raspberry white chocolate mousse cake. Light, airy, fruity, and delicious, it is the best birthday cake I have EVER had. It tastes like it should be wedding cake! For any of you in the Denver metro area, the bakery it is from is called La Patisserie Francaise. It’s located in Arvada and it is definitely worth the trip. They have breakfast items, cakes, cookies, cupcakes, pastries, etc. You can check out their website by clicking here!

Look at all of that yumminess on the inside!

 

Mike knows one of the owners so she threw in these treats for free!

 

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While I forgot to take a photo of the Apple Tortoni in the midst of all the madness, I did get a chance to snap a picture of the full moon reflecting off of Waikiki bay...it's a shame my phone doesn't have a flash, otherwise you would also see Diamond Head all lit up in the backdrop. So beautiful.

Years ago, I got involved (read: wrangled – what happens when you are the vice principal’s daughter…) as a volunteer in the annual Island School Auction (my high school Alma Mater) as their day-of, on-site event coordinator.  When a girlfriend with Type 1 diabetes discovered this two years ago, she asked me to sit on the planning committee for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Annual Gala Auction.  Last year I suggested that we incorporate a Dessert Auction into the JDRF Gala as an additional way to raise money.  They have been doing this at the Island School Auction – as part of the silent auction portion – and it is wildly successful every single year.  Our first go round at last year’s JDRF Gala went wonderfully, and so I found myself, with Tori thank goodness, on the committee to plan and execute that portion of the night again this year.

We have been calling and begging for dessert donations for the past few months and spent a good portion of the day yesterday picking them all up and getting them to the Royal Hawaiian in one piece.  But of course, life happened, and I arrived 20 minutes late with three of the desserts, and poor Tori had to watch as one of the star donations slipped off the display table and onto the ground in a giant mess of chocolaty sadness.  No matter, we persevered and by the end of the night all nine of our desserts (one of which I baked) sold for upwards of $60 each.  It was a success to say the least.

The rest of the evening was fantastic – the food was outrageously good (all tailgate inspired finger foods as the theme was sports related) and the setting – an indoor/outdoor venue right on Waikiki beach at the Royal Hawaiian – was to die for.  It was all so fun (and exhausting) that I was in bed by 11 last night and woke up at 10:15 this morning – and only got out of bed then because I had work to do before my open house this afternoon…All of the hard work was completely worth it of course, and since I didn’t get to eat the Apple Grand Tortoni that I donated AND because I still have a bag of apples that need to be used, I just may have to find some time this week to make another one 🙂

Apple Grand Tortoni

From “Another Taste of Aloha,” I first had this tart when my mom made it over memorial day weekend.  A good variation to your standard apple pie, the crust is thick yet flaky, and the cream cheese filling topped with the thinly sliced, cinnamon coated apples on top is a perfect balance.  The recipe calls for it being served either warm or chilled, and personally I prefer it warm…I do imagine that it would be divine with ice cream as well.  Just make sure you put a large piece of slightly cupped tin foil on the rack below the one you are baking it on as the juice from the apples leaks out of the spring form pan and makes for quite the smokey mess if there is nothing there to catch it!

Ingredients:

Crust

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups flour

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla and flour.  Mix well.  Press mixture into the bottom and 3/4 of the way up the sides of a deep 9″ springform pan.

Filling

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 3 to 4 apples (depending on their size – for larger ones I use 3, for smaller ones 4)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup almonds, sliced (optional)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Beat cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, vanilla, and egg until smooth.  Pour over crust.  In a large bowl, mix apples with sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice.  Pour apple mixture on top of cheese mixture and sprinkle with slice almonds.  Using a wooden spoon (or your fingers), push crust down on sides even with apples.  Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes, then at 400 degrees for 25 minutes (it is important that you are careful about the baking times/temperatures or else your run the risk of burning it). Serve warm or chilled.

*This is an excellent dessert to bring to a party as it travels very well in the spring form pan and can be easily released and served in perfect condition.  Also, I imagine it would be quite delish for breakfast 🙂

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Dusting the top with powdered sugar makes it look quite beautiful!

As my Tuesday work-day wore down, I was informed that Sky (one of our friends who is a wine distributor) had some “crazy stupid expensive bottles of wine open” from a tasting earlier that day, which needed to be consumed ASAP.  I wasted no time RSVP’ing to what I could see was quickly turning into another fantastic dinner party at the D’Olier residence.  Because drinks and food were covered, I offered to bring dessert and based on rumors that there would be a to-die-for dessert wine that needed some chocolate goodness to go with it, I went home on a mission.

I bee-lined for Nigella Lawson’s “How to Be a Domestic Goddess” and found  an entire section dedicated to chocolate.  Cookies, cupcakes, brownies – no, not right.  And then there was chocolate mousse cake.  Yes, yes yes.  I rushed out of the house and $40 later came home with slabs of gourmet chocolate etc. and got to work.  With the ipod blarring and my mixer whipping eggs and chocolate into moussey glory, I discovered that making this cake is quite possibly the most cathartic activity I’ve experienced in a long time – much needed in the midst of a very crazy week!

With minutes to spare before Tori picked me and Carol up, I had just enough time to wrangle the cake out of the water bath I baked it in (note to self: buy a turkey baster asap) and onto a tray for careful transport.  Following a delicious Greek dinner from Olive Tree in Kahala and some AH-Mazing wines, it was finally time for dessert – which between the wine and the cake turned into some kind of wonderful I never even knew existed.

Whenever I make something for the first time I am always super nervous to serve it – and because the cake had risen

Mmmmmm....SO delish. Although I clearly need to invest in and carry around a camera so I can properly capture these moments.

more than I had expected I was a little worried that it had overcooked and dried out.  Not so fast.  With fresh, sliced strawberries (with a little bit of sugar on them) and vanilla ice cream standing by, I sliced into what is quite possibly the most moist, perfectly balanced (between light and airy and ooey gooey fudgy), decadent chocolate cake I have ever seen.

As I served, Sky unleashed his perfect-for-chocolate dessert wine which is apparently impossible to find, prepared in a crazy cool way (freezing the skins without freezing the pulp anyone?), and hand carried back from one of his trips to Italy.  Liquid heaven in my mouth – the perfect amount of sweet, not too syrupy, it was mind boggling how good it was (I must get my sticky little fingers on at least a case of that stuff like yesterday).  And, much to my delight, the cake tasted even better than it looked – evidenced by Tori who sat there unabashedly licking her bowl when she was done, and Carol (the chocolate cake queen) simultaneously serving herself seconds.

The next night, as we polished off our portion of the leftover cake, Carol announced to me that she thinks it’s going to be hard for me to ever top this – and that the only thing left to do is make it again and again – like every single week preferably 🙂  Not gonna lie, it may just have to happen.

Nigella’s Chocolate Mousse Cake

Ingredients:

  • 11 ounces best bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 ounces best milk chocolate
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 8 large eggs, separated
  • scant 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 9 inch springform pan
  • heavy duty, extra wide aluminum foil

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and put the kettle on to boil.

Line the inside of the springform pan with foil, making sure you press the foil well into the sides and bottom of the pan so that it forms a smooth surface.  This will prevent water getting into the cake when it is cooked in its water bath.

Just out of the oven.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a microwave or double boiler, and let it cool.  In another bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugars until very thick and pale, as creamy as mayonnaise; the mixture should form and fall in ribbons when you lift up the whisk.  Stir in the vanilla and salt and then the cooled chocolate mixture.  In another, large bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form.  Lighten the chocolate mixture by briskly beating in a dollop of the egg whites before gently folding in the rest of them.

Pour the cake batter into the foil-lined springform, which you have placed in a large roasting pan.  Add hot water from the recently boiled kettle to come about 1 inch up the sides of the cake pan and carefully put the roasting pan with its cargo into the oven.

Cook for 50 minutes – 1 hour (I stopped at 50 minutes).  The inside of the cake will be damp and mousse-like, but the top should look cooked and dry.  Let it cool completely on a cooling rack before releasing it from the pan.  This calls for a little bit of patience, because you will need to peel the foil gently away from the sides.  Just go slowly and remember that this is a very damp cake, and you won’t be able to prise it away from it’s foil-lined base – though it’s easy enough to tear off excess foil once you’ve set the cake on its plate.  Dust with confectioners sugar if you want, and serve with creme fraiche and maybe some raspberries (I went with fresh strawberries and vanilla ice cream).

Enjoy!!

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I’ve had a hard time eating meat after we dissected a cat in my Anatomy & Physiology lab this week, so I picked up some veggie burgers at the store the other day. I tried the Morningstar Farm brand and I LOVE them! They have so many delicious flavors to choose from. I got the Garden Veggie, Mushroom Lovers, and Spicy Black Bean and all of them are so yummy! They are super healthy too, with about 110 calories per burger, around 10 grams of protein, and 3-7 grams of fat. 

The burgers are about $4.59 a box, with 4 burgers in a box. You can cook them on the grill or in the microwave. I cook them in the microwave, and they only take 2 minutes! 

Morningstar Farms also has a multitude of other vegetarian burgers and products that I know I will love when I try them. Check out their products here!

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Shrimp is one of my favorite foods and I love it every way, but I especially love it grilled. It’s so easy to make too.

Here is what you need to do to make your very own grilled shrimp… Purchase large cooked shrimps, rinse, and skewer them. Season both sides with lemon or lime juice and desired seasonings (we like lemon pepper), place on the grill, and cook, turning after about 5-7 minutes and cooking for another 5 minutes or so, but you will be able to tell when they are ready to turn, they just need to be starting to brown a bit. Make sure to use a potholder or mitts when turning the shrimps, since the skewers will be hot.

Serve with rice or pasta salad and fruit, like we did. Enjoy!

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