Thursday, December 30, 2010


Check out this totally retro cake decorating kit my bf pulled from his mom's storage unit...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Kick Ass Ninja-Bread Cookies

I have never made gingerbread cookies - ever. But, I am ambitious, so when I saw these on a blog I HAD to make them. I was taking my team of interns out to dinner on Friday night, and I HAD to have these made for them - as a thank you - and because they would like it. I bought the cookie cutters online and baked the cookies early in the week since the dough had to be refrigerated overnight before I could bake them.

My first attempt = FAIL

I didn't have the right tools, and thought that I would attempt to just do it and see what comes of it. Yeah, it was a fail. I was pretty bummed out because I had already baked like 3 dozen of these cookies. (they taste really good, by the way). So, I perused the internet and found this awesome site full of great tips on how to decorate cookies. It gave me a burst of energy, so the bf and I trekked out to Michael's to get all the supplies I needed.

On Thursday night, I spent 4 hours piping 10 cookies. I was so tired, but I was taking my interns out to dinner on Friday night, and REALLY wanted to give these to them. I stayed up past midnight piping and then cutting stars out of marshmallows. I was so tired, so I decided only 3 of them would get the stars with their ninjas. I thought that I would have a hard time with the black food coloring, but the black wasn't the problem, the red was. I used half a container of the gel food coloring, which is typically brighter than the liquid AND about 2 tablespoons of the red liquid food coloring. I decided to make my ninjas pink since it was a nice retro 80's-type color and gave my ninja's some flair. Here's my icing setup:

Ninjas for my team of interns:

Black Ninja for the only boy on my team who made it to dinner:

I let my bf eat the white one:

And I also let my bf eat this pair:

After this, I went to bed. I was TIRED! On Friday, I took the interns to a great dinner and gave each of them a ninja. They all liked it, so I was happy.

On Saturday morning, I decided I had it down, and I did. Practice really does make perfect, boys and girls. I decorated a total of 24 ginger bread cookies in 2 hours. Yep, I had it down. I gave a dozen to my coworker and sent the others to my family.

Here's my Saturday morning batch:

My cat, Angus, was so interested in what I was doing. He kept trying to get to the cookies. I blocked off the side with some fruit baskets, and he's still trying to get to it from behind. So cute...

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Holiday Cookies

Work has started to get stressful for me and it's sure to get only worse. So, to keep sane and destress, I go into the kitchen after work and make stuff. This past week, I have baked LOTS of cookies. More cookies than I have ever baked in my life. I had fun because I knew I was going to share them with the people I love. I made 7.5 dozen snicker doodle cookies, 3 dozen rosemary pine nut cookies and another 4 dozen gingerbread cookies. I used ninja shaped cookie cutters, and so they were ninja-bread cookies. So awesome! I will give them their own post.

Here are some pictures of my snicker doodle and rosemary pine nut cookies. They were really tasty and hopefully are still tasty when they arrive to the homes of my loved ones.

Snicker Doodles:

Rosemary Pine Nut Cookies:

Packed and all ready to ship:

Saturday, December 11, 2010

So much more fun

I got my panda pan! It's so cute and makes me happy when I am cooking up my eggs in the morning for breakfast!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Pumpkin Cheesecake

I made a pumpkin cheesecake for Thanksgiving dessert! It was a WIN, despite the fact that I forgot to serve it with the brown-butter pears! I used the recipe from Food & Wine's November 2010 issue. Can I say that the hardest part of making this cheesecake had nothing to do with the ingredients or making of the cheesecake, but in creating a watertight seal for the spring form pan. Man, I was so proud of myself when after 4 tests, I finally succeeded in creating a watertight seal for that pan.



The crust (crushed gingersnap cookies):

The spring form pan seal:

The water bath:

Pomegranate Glazed Organic Roasted Heritage Turkey

This year, I shelled out the bucks for an organic heritage turkey. It cost 3x more, but we had a pregnant woman in the family and what the pregnant woman wants, she gets. Like in years pass, I followed Alton's Brown no-fail roasted turkey method. It include brining the turkey in salted vegetable stock overnight, roasting at 500 degrees and then 350 until the meat reaches temperature. It's much quicker and juicier than the traditional 6-8hr slow roast.

Same as last year, I used the pomegranate glaze to baste the turkey. It helps the nice color, crispiness and glaze of the turkey.

After sitting in the brine overnight, the turkey rinsed and dried:

The herb rub and aromatics (I stuff the turkey with the aromatics along with a bunch of sage and rosemary):

The herb-rubbed turkey:

After 30 minutes:

As you can see, the turkey is nice and brown. After lowering the heat, I removed the foil to cook the breast to temperature:

Thanksgiving 2010

We had another successful Thanksgiving meal :) The key is in the prep. I started food prep on Tuesday and thanks to all the planning, everything turned out delicious, especially the pumpkin cheesecake (everyone loved it). We also had organic turkey this year and I tackled the cornbread and sweet potato casserole for the first time. I tried to replicate Boston Market's and my brother said I made it better than them :) Yay for another great Thanksgiving meal!

I cooked the food, and transported it to my brother's place. His gf took care of the turkey ham, mashed potato & gravy, pies, and veggies. The photos here were taken with my phone, so sorry for them not being as great as the photos I took at home with the D-SLR...

The Menu:

Pomegranate Glazed Organic Heirloom Turkey
Turkey Ham (not picured)

Mashed Potatoes & Gravy
Sweet Potato topped with Oats Casserole
Cranberry Sauce
Green Beans
7 Cheeses Mac & Cheese

Apple Pie ala Mode
Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Cheesecake
Pumpkin Mochi

The table:

(the covered dish is a crab plate my aunt made. It's covered because we had a seafood allergic person in the family)

Carving the turkey:

My first plate of food:

Food prep schedule:
Tuesday night I started by making the turkey brine and began grating 3 kinds of cheeses. Wednesday I made the pumpkin cheesecake, continued grating more cheeses, and made the cranberry sauce. Before hitting the bed on Wednesday night, I dropped the turkey into the brine in the fridge overnight. Thursday morning, I rinsed the turkey from the brine, made the sweet potato casserole, mac & cheese, cornbread, and of course roasted the turkey. Yay for planning!

7 Cheeses Mac & Cheese (A family favorite)

Everyone really loves this dish, and although it takes a lot of effort and trips to 3 different stores to gather all the cheeses together, it is so worth it. The recipe can be found here. I only make this for Thanksgiving, hehe. It tastes even better as leftovers, yummy in everyone's tummy!

All the cheeses (minus the mozzarella) ready to shred. I started shredding as early as Tuesday, continued shredding on Wednesday, and finished the last of the shredding on Thursday morning:

All the cheeses shredded:

All mixed up:

Ready for the oven:

Cooking in the oven (we were running about 30 minutes behind schedule because of this dish):

Cranberry Sauce

I used the same (no-fail) recipe. I made it on Wednesday and heated it up before the meal.

10 oz. cranberries (washed and picked through)
1/2 cup water boiled
Zest and juice of one orange

1. Bring water, zest, juice, and sugar to boil - stirring until sugar is dissolved
2. Add cranberries into the boiling water until they explode
3. Lower heat and simmer