Wednesday, April 28, 2010


My last exam was this morning, and my thesis was completed and turned in three days before the due date.  People -




Right now, I'm going to catch up on some sleep.  But I promise there will be cookies recipes in the next few days.  Gotta get the cookie making bug out of my system before I have to pack up the baking stuff for the move back home to the Golden State.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Vietnamese delights

I'm still studying, so here's another quickie for you. Today's pictures were from an outing to the Eden Center for some breakfast and lunch treats for our day trip to Baltimore.

Springrolls and Peanut Sauce

Banh Cuon with Vietnamese Pork Sausage (click here for Wikipedia explanation)
Banh Cuon (Noodle Rolls)

Duck over Cole Slaw Salad (Goi)
Duck and Cold Salad

Noodle Soup to go with the Duck
Noodle Soup

Vietnamese Iced Coffee in a to go cup.
Vietnamese Iced Coffee

We bought some Vietnamese sandwiches to pack along for lunch. And you can probably see some other yummy treats too.
Picnic Lunch

I could use a Vietnamese sandwich right about now.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

flowers and cherry blossoms

I am currently in final exams mode of hopefully my last semester of law school ever, so can't do much detailed posting for the next week and a half.  However, here's a quickie for your viewing enjoyment.  And by quickie, I mean pretty pictures for you to look at. =)

buds in bloom

buds in bloom

Pink Spikes


Lone Tulip

T came down to visit specifically to see the cherry blossoms in bloom.  Well, we missed out on seeing the cherry blossoms in full bloom, but here are some pics of the lone cherry blossom tree we did get to see:

Jefferson Memorial

One lone tree

a rare bunch growing on the side of a tree

Saturday, April 17, 2010

farmers & fishers

For my official birthday celebration with friends, we had dinner at Farmers & Fishers in Georgetown.  I really wanted to go to Founding Farmers but they were booked, and I remembered that the menu mentioned to visit their sister restaurant, Farmers & Fishers.

There really was no comparison - I thought Founding Farmers is much better.  For starters, the menu at Farmers & Fishers was about half the size of Founding Farmers, so I was a bit disappointed with the selection.  And when I asked for the doughnut holes, they gave me whole doughnuts (ok, maybe I was a little buzzed and imagined that doughnut holes was on the menu).  It took FOREVER to get a drink, and the place wasn't even that busy when we were there.

Well, enough complaining, the food was just okay.  I thought most of the dishes were kinda dry.  There was a Wisconsin Burger (a burger in between a grilled cheese sandwich) that a couple of my friends were going completely gaga over, but other than that, the food was just mediocre.  I had the Crab Melt Ravioli, which was tasty in that it had a lot of crab meat in each ravioli.  I thought it needed some sort of sauce on top, just a tad bit, but there was nearly next to none.
Crab Melt Ravioli
(Sorry for the fuzzy photo, it was dark and I was using the indoors function without the flash on, which requires a steady hand...)

Trio of Pies
For dessert, the group chose a trio of pies -- I really can't remember what kind of pies they chose.  For my birthday selection, I chose the doughnut holes, but as mentioned above, I got something that looks just like regular doughnuts.  Remember these doughnut holes?  Yeah, that's what I was expecting.
Doughnut Holes

If it wasn't for the good company, I would have been very disappointed about the food.

another birthday dozen

In addition to The Boy's birthday surprise from Georgetown Cupcakes, I got another delivery with another dozen cupcakes, only this time they're stuffed!  Courtesy of the college roomie, J, she sent me a dozen of these special stuffed cupcakes that only only be found in her hometown of Nutley, NJ (or at least that's the only place I know of that prides itself on stuffed cupcakes) at Stuffed Cupcakes.
Another birthday surprise

Very good packaging

Stuffed Cupcakes!!!

More Birthday Cupcakes!

Oreo Goodness

Black & White cut in half

With the help of a few friends, the current roomie, and also devouring about a half dozen myself, and finally giving away some because I could not look at them anymore, all 24 cupcakes are now gone. I now have a box of champagne mangoes to take their place. =)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

birthday dinner 2010

This year, I hit the end of a decade and am starting on the next 10 years of life. When I was 20, I had my time line planned so that by the time I turned 30, I would have a steady job, be married, and just starting on making babies.  So, it was tough to actually hit the big 3-0, mostly because I am still a student, I am unemployed, I own no real estate, and I am not married (although I am in a wonderfully committed relationship with The Boy). My friends keep telling me that 40 is the new 30, but you know what? Only people who have already rolled over the 30 hill are saying that 40 is the new 30 and they're just saying that to make themselves feel better. I'm still depressed about getting old.

The Spread

Anyways, what better way to drown your sorrows than by eating? So with the help of T and AL, we went to my favorite Chinese restaurant, China Garden (also the only good Chinese restaurant I know) and pigged out on some good eats. T and I had a dinner of seafood goodness while AL stuck to her fried rice and spareribs. Oh gosh, I wish I was having a repeat birthday dinner right now.

Salt & Pepper Prawns
Salt & Pepper Prawns

Ginger Scallion Lobster
Ginger & Scallion Lobster

Chinese Spareribs
China Garden Spareribs

House Fried Rice
House Fried Rice

all gone

As you can see, dinner was quite delicious, down to the very last bite.

lunch special

After a jaunt through Tidal Basin to see the one lone cherry blossom tree still standing, we stopped by Penang for some lunch. Last time I went to dinner there and it was pretty good. They have a separate menu for lunch and it was mostly for combination plates with one entree, an appetizer and a pickled salad.

Lunch Special

I chose the Penang Pad Thai and the vegetarian eggrolls. My favorite quote of the day came from T, who said "I don't eat vegetarian anything" when I offered her one of my vegetarian eggrolls. It made me LOL. =)

Penang Pad Thai, Springrolls & Salad

The combination plates were just the right amount of food - portion wise. I felt satisfied with both the quantity and variety. Although, it was still a little hard to sit through a two hour class after that meal...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

look at the pretty kitty

This is Ilsa, L's little kitty. She's very pretty and cuddly when she lets you hold her.

Ilsa, pretty kitty

She doesn't like me very much because I'm pretty sure she still remembers me as the lady who took her to the vet to get her lady parts removed.

Lady, go away, I'm trying to sleep here!

I'm still trying to make nice with her, to earn back her kitty love.


Not working so well, but in the meantime, I'll just take pictures of her napping, you know when she's not running away from me or clawing at me.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

ginormous strawberry shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake

Hee hee, the recipe is not really called Ginormous Strawberry Shortcake, but it might as well be after you see how high this cake can get.

First, make the chiffon shortcake according to this recipe (yes, another Smitten Kitchen recipe.  She makes the world go round.  Or at least she makes my belly go round...). Note to those of you who are like me and don't know what cream of tartar is - it's in the spice aisle and it's not liquid nor cream.

Three pounds of strawberries.

While the cake is baking, slice your strawberries!!!

slicing a strawberry

All three pounds of strawberries! FYI - a quart is two pounds, so yeah I only bought three pounds of strawberries and was a little worried that I didn't have enough strawberries. Either I sliced them really thin or my math was off during assembly, there were plenty of strawberries left over.  Here's a handy dandy conversion chart for future baking!

sliced strawberries

I really like the chiffon cake. It's not too sweet, and very light and fluffy. I didn't have round pans so I used those disposable square pans with lids to make it easier for transportation.

Chiffon Shortcake

I had to assemble the strawberry shortcake at L's house on Easter. I followed the directions...well mostly. I was supposed to cut each cake in half and then level it -- I cut each cake in half but did not level it because there were people breathing down my back for cake! Hence, the sloping downwards of the tower. =)

Then I basically just piled on whip cream and strawberries before adding another layer of cake. I tried to make a pretty design of strawberries on top, but considering that this was a square cake, it was kinda hard to fill every space with strawberries.

Strawberry Shortcake

Setting aside looks, the most important thing is that it was yummy in the tummy!!

chocolate + cream cheese = cupcakes

So, we're going to back track in time a little bit so I can catch up on some food posts.

Chocolate bottom cupcakes

First up, black-bottom cupcakes recipe from Smitten Kitchen (I just LOVE Smitten Kitchen). When I first wanted to try out this recipe, it was supposed to be my contribution for dessert at a game night with friends. However, I ended up having a really bad cold so no game night for me, and no cupcakes for anyone.

lining the pans

So I ended up making the cupcakes as an extra dessert for Easter dinner. 

This was a ridiculously easy recipe. Just make the chocolate cake, then make the cream cheese filling, and finally mashed them all together in a cupcake pan.

Batter in the oven

I would also suggest using some piping device to put the cream cheese filling deeper into the center of the cupcake (as evidenced by the better looking ones on the left).

End result

These go very well with a glass of milk. I like my cupcakes warm, but these taste even better (and make well for a breakfast item!) after they have been refrigerated. Good eats!