Friday, April 30, 2010

(Petite) Vanilla Bean Scones

I don't think it's a secret that I am Pioneer Woman obsessed! She's hilarious and no matter what recipe I try from her, they always turn out perfect and uber delicious. But what I love most about her recipes are that they are no muss, no fuss. Simple, not too complicated and homey (if that's a word).
Well when I saw her recipe for these scones on her page, I most literally moaned out loud. I loveeeeee the Vanilla Bean Scones from Starbucks, which is surprising because I don't like scones all that much in general.

Basically these scones are the bomb (throw back to the '90s). They are flaky, easy to make, and so deliciously moist, which is quite unheard of for a scone. The vanilla bean gives off this knee-wobbling aroma that just reminds me of cuddly bears and warm laundry. Please make these, you really won't be sorry!

(Petite) Vanilla Bean Scones

Yields: 12 large scones/ 24 petite scones

Original recipe can be found here.

For the scones:

3 cups flour

2/3 cup sugar

5 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

2 sticks (1/2 lb.) unsalted butter, chilled

1 large egg

3/4 heavy cream, more if needed

2 whole vanilla beans

For the glaze:

3 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1/2 cup whole milk

1 whole vanilla bean

dash of salt

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside. Split the vanilla beans down the middle and scrape out all the "caviar" inside. Stir into the cream, add the bean halves and set aside for 15 minutes. Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the cold butter into small pieces, toss into the flour, and use a pastry cutter or fork to cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles crumbs.

Mix the vanilla cream with the egg, then combine with the flour mixture. Stir gently with a fork until the mixture comes together, using more heavy cream if needed. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and lightly press together until it forms a rough rectangle (mixture will be pretty crumbly). Use a rolling pin to roll into a rectangle about 1/2 - 3/4 inch thick. Using your hands to help form them if necessary. Use a knife to cut into 6 even squares. If you want large scones, cut these squares diagonally to make triangles. If you want petite scones, cut each square cross wise twice to make 4 pieces each (24 total). Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 - 18 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool for 15 minutes on the cookie sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

For the glaze. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the caviar. Stir the caviar into the milk and allow to sit for a while. Mix the powdered sugar with the vanilla milk, adding more powdered sugar or milk if necessary to get the consistency the right thickness. Stir or whisk until completely smooth.

Mmmmm smothered in glaze!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Kaju Tofu House {Garden Grove, CA}

Kaju is a Korean restaurant that features tofu, most specifically Soon Dubu, a tofu soup dish. My friend had raved about the dish, so one day, we decided to try it together.
Of course, as with any good Korean restaurant, you get your assortment of side dishes. My favorite being the kimchi and kimchi cucumbers.
These side dishes go perfectly with kalbi. Mmmm kalbi. This came alongside the Soon Dubu in their lunch special. I have to say that's a good portion of kalbi, it being a side and all, but hey, there are no complaints here! More kalbi for me! This kalbi wasn't the best I've tried, but it did the trick.
The Soon Dubu arrived and looked fiery! It was bright red and bubbling up a storm. What's fun about this is that they give you an egg that you crack yourself into the hot soup and let meddle for a few minutes to cook. I loved this soup because it was spicy, but had nice chunks of soft tofu that calmed the palate.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Strawberry Banana Muffins

"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways..."
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning

I simply just love these muffins. First of all, they're healthy; full of whole wheat, fruit in three forms, and a bit of agave to sweeten. Second of all, this recipe is a small batch which I love because muffins I usually bake for myself and I can never finish 24 muffins before they go bad. Thirdly, they're easy as can be. And lastly, they are freaking delicious! Sweet enough, perfectly moist and full of flavor; mmm I can't get enough of 'em.

About the lime glaze, it's definitely not necessary since the muffins are perfectly sweet on their own, and quite delicious nonetheless but, I happen to just looooove the lime in the glaze. It gives the muffins a nice zing-y taste and a pop of flavor.
Strawberry Banana Muffins
Yields: 6 muffins
Each muffin is about 100 calories and less than 1 g fat.
Original recipe here.

3/4 cup chopped strawberries
2 tbsn. agave
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 banana, mashed
2 tbsn. applesauce

Optional glaze:
1 strawberry, finely chopped
1 tbsn. lime juice
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 6 muffin tins with paper liners, spray the paper liners with non stick spray (this MUST be done or else they stick to the liners like crazy), set aside. In a small bowl combine the chopped strawberries and agave, let sit. In the meantime, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. In another bowl combine the mashed banana, egg, applesauce and vanilla. Add the dry mixture to the banana mixture. Mix with a fork until just combined. Fold in the strawberry mixture then spoon into the muffin tin, filling to the top as they don't rise much. Bake for 25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely. If glaze is desired, mix all ingredients together and drizzle on top of the muffins. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tailored Tuesdays

Happy Tuesday all!

1. Retrosun 'Vintage Christian Dior sunglasses'
2. Citizens of Humanity 'Elvis avedon skinny jeans'
3. Alexander McQueen 'Faithful medium polished leather satchel'
4. Donna Karen 'Cashmere blend oversized sweater'
5. Valentino 'Flower leather sandals'

all images can be found

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mad Greek Cafe {Baker, CA}

Mad Greek is usually one of those go-to Vegas stops. There isn't much to look at or eat at on the way to Vegas. The Mad Greek Cafe is a stop you want to make not have to make, and trust me, there's a large difference.
Oddly enough, the shakes here are fantastic. Super thick and they use fresh berries, which is uber refreshing in the heat. Aren't the umbrellas a cute embellishment? Of course though, at a Greek restaurant, you have to try their Greek food! I love their Gyros, juicy and peppery and perfect. Especially with the fresh tzatziki sauce and rice pilaf, mmmm!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Orange Ricotta Pound Cake

This recipe and I were meant to be. It really is just that simple.
Many things brought us together. First of all, when you see a recipe pop up over and over again on Tastespotting or Foodgawker, you know that it's going to be good because good recipes have ways of migrating and finding their ways into the homes and hearts of people.
Second of all, this recipe is from Giada de Laurentiis and from my past history with this lovely lady, she can really do no wrong. Third of all, it's pound cake. We here (my family & I) sure do love our pound cake. Throw in some ricotta and bright citrusy flavor? Man, that's a done deal.

This cake has a looser and larger crumb than most pound cakes I've tried before, probably due to the use of ricotta but it's extremely moist and full of flavor. I didn't have Amaretto, so I used almond extract instead which gave it this unbelievably delicious scent! I served this cake with some macerated strawberries but I can imagine it being heavenly with some lightly sweetened whipped cream!

Orange Ricotta Pound Cake

Yields: 1 loaf, 6 - 8 servings

Original recipe here.

1 1/2 cups cake flour

3 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

3/4 cup or 1 1/2 sticks butter, room temperature

1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese

1 1/2 cups + 1 tbsn. sugar

3 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1 orange, zested

2 tbsn. Amaretto (or 1 tsp. almond extract)

Powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)

1 pint strawberries, hulled and quartered

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan with butter, set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir to combine. Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter, ricotta and 1 1/2 cups sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Then add the eggs, one at a time. Next, add the vanilla, orange zest and Amaretto (or almond extract) until combined. Add the dry ingredients, a small amount at a time, until just incorporated.

Pour the mixture into a prepared pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean and the cake is beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 45 - 50 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired. Meanwhile, place the strawberries and remaining 1 tbsn. sugar. Let sit until the juices have pooled around the strawberries. Serve with a slice of cake and enjoy!

Tailored Tuesdays

Cause what's underneath counts too!
1. Jean Yu ' Eden silk chiffon triangle bra'
2. Jean Yu 'Eden silk briefs'
3. Vivienne Westwood 'Draped jersey dress'
4. Proenza Schouler ' PS1 medium satchel'
5. Giles & Brother 'Spike sterling silver rings'
6. Chloe 'Metallic leather pumps'

all images can be found at

Friday, April 9, 2010

Serendipity 3 {Las Vegas, NV}

Serendipity is one of those things that all girls want to try once in their lives. It's classic NY and it's classic romance. If you haven't seen the movie, watch it and you'll see.
Since I've never been to NY (yet), I wanted to get a sneak peak of Serendipity so I decided to try their famous Frozen Hot Chocolate from their new Las Vegas location. It's a bit pricey, so my friends and I decided to get a large and romantically share our sips haha. Overall, I was a pretty dissapointed, I mean, in the end, it really just is a frozen mocha. One I could get from The Coffee Bean whenever and wherever.
Sippity, sip, sip!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Strawberry Mochi Cake

This story begins with a bit of failure. See those pretty little things below? Don't let them fool you. Although they were deliciously mouth watering they were a bit of trouble. First of all, a word to the wise. Do NOT bake these in cupcake liners!
Good thing I only baked a few trial ones in liners because I had to scrape these babies out of their shells. But those little bites I did get were pure heaven! Then, I baked them in a traditional pan and again, delicious, but way too moist due to the addition of the strawberries. My recipe for mochi cake is a bit 'chewier' than others, but I prefer it this way. When I added strawberries it just didn't hold up, sadly. But now I know that strawberries + mochi = one freaking delicious cake.
So, next time I'll use a 'drier' version of the mochi cake if I want to add strawberries. I added my recipe below but here's a link to the other recipe I've been talking about.
Mochi Cake

Yields: 1 large bundt cake
Original recipe from Kim, my friend.

1 stick butter, melted
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, beaten (or 3, if you prefer a more dense cake)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 16 oz. box Mochiko flour
1 12 oz. can evaporated milk
1 13.5 oz. can coconut milk
2 - 3 cups stemmed and chopped strawberries

Mix everything together and put in a greased baking pan. Put in a 350 F oven for an hour, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely then enjoy.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tailored Tuesdays

Perfect for pool side play-time.
1. Steven Alan 'Lou lou woven playsuit'
2. Melissa Odabash 'Janeiro halter bandeau bikini'
3. Chloe 'Tilia acetate sunglasses'
4. Proenza Schouler 'PS1 medium satchel'
5. Lanvin 'Ribbon tie leather sandals'

all images can be found at

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

A lovely song featuring the most lovely lyrics.

Profiles by Max Wagner.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Giada's Fruit Spring Rolls

I used to be infatuated with the Food Network Channel, so much so that it became part of my daily routine. I probably owe to it a big portion of my love of cooking and food. Recently though, my food inspiration has solely come from food blogs. On a nice and relaxing day, I decided to tune into the Food Network once more, for old times sake.
One of my favorite Food Network chef's is Giada de Laurentiis. She's absolutely gorgeous and makes some yummy, yummy food. One of my favorite cupcakes is actually from her! Well, I saw her make this fruit spring roll and I was shocked to say the least! I'm Vietnamese and we do NOT make dessert spring rolls, but if Giada gives it her seal, I'd at least give it a shot.
These were definitely easy and pretty to look at! All those colors make me happy. Tasting it you ask? It was odd. But don't scratch it off your list immediately. The flavors were spot on. The mint and the honey with the fruit, how could you go wrong? I especially loved the lime dipping sauce, which added a subtle zing to the sweetness. I was just surprised by the sweet noodles.
But to be fair, if I has used the Pad Thai noodles it might have tasted better since it has more structure than the vermicelli that I used. Next time, I might just toss all the fruit in the dressing and have at it! I literally love that mint-lime dressing.

Fruit Spring Rolls

Yields: 4 - 6 servings

Original recipe can be found here.

For the rolls:

1 1/2 cups cooked Pad Thai noodles, cooled and drained (I used rice noodles)

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup packed mint leaves, finely chopped

6 rice paper rounds

6 medium strawberries, stemmed and sliced

1 mango, halved, peeled, seeded and cut into slices

6 tbsn. sliced almonds, toasted

For the dipping sauce:

1/4 cup packed mint leaves, finely chopped

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup fresh lime juice, 2 - 3 limes

For the rolls, put the noodles in a medium bowl and add the honey and mint. Using 2 forks, toss the ingredients together until the noodles are coated. Dip the rice paper in hot water until thoroughly wet, remove and flatten out on a clean surface. Add some noodles, 3 - 5 strawberry slices, 2 mango slices, and some toasted almonds. Roll the rice paper around the filling like a burrito; first rolling the top over, tucking in the sides, then completing the roll. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

For the dipping sauce, in a small bowl combine the mint, honey and lime juice. Pour into a serving bowl. Serve with the rolls and enjoy!