Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Pear-Creme Fraiche Pancakes

I've been having this obsession with pancakes. I just, well, love them. They're like a quick and easy dessert in my mind. I've made all kinds: the best, chai-spiced, matcha flavored, blueberry ricotta, mango coconut, even bacon greased hoecakes! They were all spectacular, but these, oh man, these... were so freaking delicious.
These were inspired by the pear pancakes from The Kitchen, which I've personally never tried but my best friend rants to me about them all the time. But truly, they were inspired by the gorgeous pears I bought from the Farmer's Market. They were the most delicious pears I've had in a while: supple, buttery and so deliciously sweet. They cost a pretty penny but they were definitely worth it.

You might as well call these pancakes dessert since I served them alongside my favorite sauce ever: a vanilla-bean creme anglaise. Think: the best vanilla bean ice cream, melted and smothered on top of your pancakes. Yeah, it's awesome - your tastebuds and tummy will thank you.

Pear-Crème fraîche Pancakes
Yields: 12 - 16 pancakes

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup flour
3 tbsn. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup crème fraîche
3/4 cup + 1 tbsn. milk
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla 

unsalted butter, for cooking
1 large ripe, but firm pear, sliced very thinly

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and spices. Whisk together the crème fraîche, milk, eggs and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones, mixing only until combined. Melt some butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat until it bubbles. Ladle the batter into the pan (about 1/4 cup per pancake). Arrange a slice of pear on top of the batter. Cook for 3 - 4 minutes over medium heat until bubbles appear on top and the underside is nicely browned. Flip the pancakes and then cook for another 1 - 2 minutes, until browned. Continue this process with the rest of the batter. Serve with the crème anglaise. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tailored Tuesday & Travel

1. alexander wang {asymmetric paneled cotton sweater}
um, just about the prettiest shade of grey ever.

2. j. crew {jersey and silk blend tank}
a basic foundation.

3. carven {stretch cotton garbadine pants}
i feel like i could just live in these pants.

4. alexander wang {diego rose-gold stud leather bucket bag}
i die for this bag. chic yet sort of biker chic!

5. pedro garcia {giza leather-print calf-hair ballerina flats}
practical and glam.

6. kenneth jay lane {22-karat gold-plated swarovski crystal ring}
just a little bling bling.

7. michael ors {gold stainless steel chronograph watch}
because telling time should be enjoyed.

8. chanel {nailpolish in black velvet}
classy is all i can say...

9. jean paul gaultier x guy de jean {umbrella}
can an umbrella be any cuter? (that was in my best chandler bing impression)

10. fuji {finepix x100 digital camera}
how awesome is this camera? it's digital but looks vintage!

11. panasonic {monitor headphones}
music can always be your best friend, no matter where you are.

12. threadless {field notes 3 pack}
to jot down phone numbers you might pick up from some handsome man on the train perhaps?

13. apple {iphone 4}
traveling without a smart phone is a challenge in and of itself - trust me, new york was quite interesting without one!

i say i love the cold, but i'm sure this is cold on a whole other level!

{st. peter's basilica, vatican city}
i love me some gothic, intricate architecture!

{the narrows, zion national park}
umm, can we just wallow in this gorgeousness forever and ever?

{the rocky mountains, montana}
montana, you've never crossed my mind before but now i you're all i can think about!

{tsutentaku, osaka, japan}
japan is and continues to a be a beautiful place, and they will get past this tsunami.

the light here is just gorgeous. even if it wasn't, i'm sure this place would be just as pretty!

{villa ada, rome, italy}
this trips me out... how can something be this pretty?!

{yangshuo, china}
my uncle is in china right now... thoroughly jealous.

{yorkshire, england}
besides being so gorgeous, can you just imagine how gorgeous this field would smell? 

all images accquired from Pinterest

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ice Cream Cake Pops

If you're looking to hype up a big party of little kids, look no further. It was my wee little cousin's birthday a while ago and I decided what could be more fun than ice cream cone-shaped cake pops? Nothing!

Cake pops are always fun, no matter the shape, but putting them in an ice cream cone really takes them to the next level. The kids went crazy over them! Maybe not the best idea for the little tots since by the time they finished them... they were screaming all over the place. Oops, sorry parents!
These were so deceptive, one kid even wondered why his ice cream wasn't melting! Cake pops as always take a bit more love and time than anything else and always are a bit tricky mastering. Something about me and melting chocolate does not work. I always burn the stuff or can never get it to the perfect consistency, which led to top heavy cones, oy vey! I definitely recommend these for kids though, since they are really sweet and can lead to cavity formation upon first bite.

Ice Cream Cone Cake Balls
Yields: 24 ice cream cone cake balls
Original recipe here.

1 (18.25 oz.) box red velvet cake mix + ingredients needed for the cake
1 tub of cream cheese frosti
24 sugar ice cream cones
candy melts (color of your choice)

Bake the cake according to the directions on the box, then let cool completely. Once cool, use a fork to shred the cake into crumbs. Once fully crumbed, add 3/4 of the cream cheese frosting. Sometimes the cake needs the whole tub to make it moist enough to roll, but sometimes it doesn't. If 3/4 of the tub isn't enough to make it moist, add the rest and mix thoroughly. You have two options with the ice cream cones: you can either leave them as they are and make HUGE ice cream cake pops OR you can shave the cones down to make 'mini-cones.' Either way, shape the cake mix large enough to fit in the tops of your cones, then stuff them into the cones so that they are stable. I melt 2 cups of candy melts, then in 1 cup increments if I need more. Melt your candy melts using a microwave or a double boiler. Once melted, use a spoon to drizzle it over the top of the cake balls, using a spoon to cover the entire ball, drips are welcomed! Let these dry right-side up. Once dried, melt the chocolate (again, I melt 2 cups first, then in 1 cup increments if more is needed). Use a spoon to drizzle it on top of the candy melt layer, then sprinkle with sprinkles and let them dry before eating.

A peek inside:

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rice Krispies Cookies

I've been on this major cookie rant recently. I used to love all things cupcakes (I still do), but right now, for me, it's all about cookies! One day, I just had this idea... like, literally, it just popped into my head almost exactly like how you see it on the silver screen, lightbulb and all. I thought, why not make 'rice krispies' cookies? I would roll them in rice krispies and stick toasty marshmallows on them, just like the smores cookies (which are one of my favorite cookies). 
First, I thought I would press them into a square pan, bake them, then slice them into squares  - an homage to the original rice krispie square. At the last minute I decided to bake them as traditional cookies, but I might try the squares another time. So, the result?
AMAZE-BALLS! Really, because it's not just amazing, it's amaze-balls. I have never been prouder of myself! These cookies were chewy and soft and had the crispy texture from the rice crispies and the delicious sweetness and chewiness from the toasted marshmallows. Everyone who tried them fell in love, and I think you will too if you try these! My only strife would be that the cookies were a little too soft, so they didn't hold their structure well. I tried a cookie base that had pudding mix in it, so I think next time I will cut the pudding mix amount in half or remove it all together. 

Rice Krispies Cookies
Yields: 15 large cookies
Adapted from here.

2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 sticks (12 tbsn.) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 3.4 oz. package of instant vanilla pudding (I recommend cutting this in half)
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup rice krispies cereal
1 cup mini marshmallows

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Stir together the flour and baking soda in a separate bowl, set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until light and creamy. Beat in the pudding mix until well blended. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. When smooth, slowly add in the flour mixture, make sure it is well incorporated. Use a large ice cream scoop to drop the dough onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet, about 3 - 4 per cookie tray. Use your palm to slightly press the cookies down, then press 1 tbsn. of rice krispies onto and around each cookie. Bake for 4 minutes, remove from the oven, then press 6 - 8 marshmallows on each cookie. Bake for another 4 minutes until the marshmallows are slightly toasty and the cookie is golden brown. Let the cookies cook further on the hot cookie sheets on your counter for 5 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tailored Tuesday & Travel

1. jil sander {striped cashmere scarf}
the perfect lightweight scarf!

2. alexander wang {cotton & washed silk satin tank}
the perfect white tank is universal.

3. evian {mineral water spray}
the ultimate, refreshing pick-me-up in between sight-seeing and such.

4. theory {stretch cotton blend pants}
i'm not a khaki person really, but for whatever reason, they seem like the perfect traveling pants.

5. giambattista valli {metal cuffed leather t-bar sandals}
quite possibly the most glam, bad-ass sandals ever.

6. mac {penultimate eyeliner marker}
i'm in love with eyeliner pens; they're the easiest things to use and perfect for a quick touch up.

7. alexander wang {marti leather backpack}
an alexander wang backpack? yes, it's necessary.

8. lush {dream cream}
i'm in love with this stuff. a lightweight yet super moisturizing cream, cause dry elbows suck balls!

9. norton maccullough & locke {bespoke luggage}
oh my gosh, really now... this is most beautiful luggage ever.

10. psssssst {instant spray shampoo}
again, more stuff i love. dry shampoo is a traveler's dream.

11. essie {turquoise & caicos nailpolish}
the name for this makes me immediately love it. plus, nail polish to match perfectly blue waters - yes.

12. leica {hermes for leica camera}
in my dreams...

 {ageeba, egypt}
when you think of egypt, insanely blue water doesn't come to your mind does it? gosh, just look at that blue, it's beautiful.
 {antelope canyon, arizona}
there's so much beauty in the united states. i think we house some of the most gorgeous, sunset-colored canyons around!
 {barcelona, spain}
if i were given the chance to visit europe, spain would be one of my top three choices. the history, the culture, just amazingness.
 {flower fields, carlsbad, california}
this is soo close to me! i've been meaning to go, think of all the gorgeous pictures.
 {a fjord, norway}
a fjord is basically a narrow passageway or valley created by glacial activity. isn't it one of the most gorgeous things you've ever seen?
 {the great barrier reef, australia}
if it weren't for my egregious fear of sharks, i'd live here. 
 {green lake, tragoess, styria}
this is one of the coolest places i've ever heard of. in the winter, this area exists as a waterless park, with benches and everything. once summer hits and the glaciers melt, it turns into a crystal clear underwater world! how fabulous is that?
{jellyfish lake, palau}
another place that astonishes me. a lake filled to the brim with jellyfish that won't hurt you! you can swim in the midst of gorgeous, dancing creatures.

all images gathered from pinterest.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Matcha Green Tea Slushie with Boba

Lord knows, I love matcha. I drink tea almost every day of my life. It starts my day and when I'm feeling a bit droopy, it invigorates me. I try to mix it up though, which probably explains why I have 20+ boxes and canisters of tea in my cupboard. I know, it's a bit excessive. Till the end of time, though, my heart will always have a deeper, special spot for matcha. 
When I saw this recipe, I immediately knew I had to make it. It was a simple recipe which I happened to have all of the ingredients for, score! I love when that happens. Anyways, this slushie was exactly like any other matcha green tea slushie you'd get from a tea house! It was perfect: icy, smooth, filled to the brim with matcha flavor and just perfectly sweet. Of course, those little chewy balls of starchy goodness are always welcome too. One ounce of sweetener is the perfect amount - it was just enough to balance out the bitterness of the matcha. 

Matcha Green Tea Slushie with Boba
Yields: 18 oz. (1 - 2 servings)
Original recipe here.

16 oz. cup filled with crushed ice
milk, soy milk or almond milk
1 1/2 tbsn. matcha green tea powder (such as these: Enzo USDA organic matcha powder)
1 oz. Ghiradelli white chocolate syrup (or 1 oz. 1:1 simple syrup)
1/4 cup boba, cooked per package directions

Pour the milk over the ice in the glass until full. Empty the contents into a blender, add the matcha powder and white chocolate syrup. Blend everything until it looks like slushie. Place the boba in the bottom of the glass and top it with the slushie.

Uh oh, it's all gone!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tailored Tuesday + Home

1. 3.1 phillip lim {ruffled cotton cardigan}
i'm always cold in my house. cardigan's have always been a good friend of mine.

2. vpl {repetition jersey and silk crepe top}
i love the small details that make this tank so special.

3. calvin klein underwear {envy lace soft-cup triangle bra}
i'll admit it's not very practical but it sure is a stunner!

4. elle macpherson intimates {cloud swing lace briefs}
i love lace underwear! sexy, comfortable and practical.

5. fresh {sugar plum tinted lip treatment, spf 15}
i got this for christmas and it's awesome. perfectly tinted and protects like a dream.

6. 3.1 phillip lim {cotton and modal blend shorts}
comfortable and cute? yes please.

7. smythson {dreams & thoughts leather notebook}
because dreams & thoughts deserve to be written down in a hot pink notebook!

8. chanel {nailpolish in particuliere}
the perfect dwelling color, if only it weren't so expensive :(

9. dwell studio for target {yellow rosettes decorative pillow}
my sister & i have been oogling these pillows for a while now - too, too pretty!

10. fresh {sugar scented candle}
i love lighting candles at random times - they create such a lovely mood.

11. jimmy choo {ryan elaphe snakeskin laptop case}
quite possibly the most glam  & gorgeous laptop case ever.

12. ikea {teapot}
when i think of home, i think of a warm pot of tea. what do you think of?

13. ikea {ofelia stretchable ruched blanket}
i'm getting this for my bed, i love it so!

{i die for this light. food photography would be a dream with that beautifully filtered light!}
{the prettiest way to house jewelry! i'm jealous.}
{how this manages to be classy yet ridiculously fun is beyond me. awesome.}
{imagine this: laying in a perfectly bubbly and warm tub, candles lit, looking at the stars above. heaven.}
{i think this is the perfect office solution for a small space! the ideas people come up with... I swear.}
{my dream kitchen. i'd love to cook everyday for the rest of my life in this glorious nook.}
{if i had these many pretty things, i'd want to show them off too.}
{this was designed by nate berkus, of course. swoooooon... oprah sure knows how to pick 'em!}

Friday, March 11, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes

I think that a warm, gooey chocolate chip cookie is one of the most comforting things in the world. I didn't have a mother who would bring me a warm tray of cookies and milk whenever I had a bad day or just because I was a good girl - not saying that's a bad thing though! I guess I never knew what I was missing, and I kind of just do that for myself now ;)
These are basically the love child of my obsession with cupcakes + my obsession with chocolate chip cookies. I think my babies are pretty cute, don't you?

I mean visually, these cupcakes are pretty stunning. Audibly, they're pretty stunning too. I mean, come on, if someone said to you, "Would you like a chocolate chip cookie cupcake?," how could you in your right mind say no or even hide the fact that saliva is dripping down your chin? These cupcakes are pretty spectacular taste-wise as well. Anything brown sugar is all kinds of right in my mind! I omitted the original cookie dough center in the recipe since I heard it was too sweet, but the cupcake this way was perfect.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes
Yields: about 12 cupcakes
Original recipe here.

For the brown sugar cupcakes:
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1 1/3 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate chips (semisweet or bittersweet)

For the cookie dough frosting:
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 + 1/8 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup flour
large pinch of salt
1 1/2 tbsn. milk
2 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Mini chocolate chips, for decoration (optional)

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a cupcake tin with liners and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and brown sugar. Beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl, stir to blend. Add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl on low speed, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, mixing each addition just until incorporated. Blend in the vanilla. Fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cupcake tin, about 2/3 full. Bake for 18 - 20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely.

To make the cookie dough filling, combine the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and cream on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the flour, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla until incorporated and smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the mixture has firmed up a bit, about an hour. To fill the cupcakes, cut a cone-shaped portion out of the center of each cupcake. Fill each hole with a chunk of the chilled dough mixture.

To make the frosting, beat together the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until creamy. Mix in the powdered sugar until smooth. Beat in the flour and salt. Mix in the milk and vanilla until smooth and well blended. Frost the filled cupcakes as desired, sprinkling with mini chocolate chips and topping with mini chocolate chip cookies for decoration.