Creme Brulee Two Ways


I really need to invest in a hand held torch.

For Mother’s Day, I made four creme brulees. It’s my mom’s favorite dessert and the ones that they’re selling at Costco are not up to snuff. I know some people are was intimidated by creme brulees and other custard dishes for a long time, but as long as you go slowly, you should be fine. The biggest hurdle is overcooking the custard and making scrambled eggs.

Second, there is also the water bath technique, but the secret to that is only filling the pan until it reaches the halfway point of the ramekins. Also, a little water won’t ruin a creme brulee.

First, we tried the sugar and broiler technique. The result was an unevenly melted surface, nearly black puddles in some areas and grainy half-melted sugar in others. It tasted great, but it was unworthy of my mother. If you had a more even toaster oven than me, this might actually work out! Continue reading

Instant Ramen Paella

In my original cookbook (download it here), I had an entire section dedicated to instant ramen. Recently, my love for it was reignited when I started watching Anthony Bourdain’s Mind of a Chef with David Chang. In one of the early episodes, David makes some riffs on gnocchi, fideos, and cacio e pepi with instant ramen. He explained that ramen is actually full cooked and then deep fried in oil. Continue reading

Lighter Clam Chowder

For those times when you don’t have heavy cream lying in the fridge, this recipe will do in a pinch. I was a bit apprehensive when I made David Lebovitz‘s clam chowder sans full fat milk, half and half, and heavy cream, because he cautions against it. My sister is a fairly discerning eater, and I was scared she would reject it and then I’d have to eat a pot of subpar chowder all by my lonesome. But she loved it!

If you look at the original recipe, you’ll notice that I’ve halved it, but it still yielded about a quart of clam chowder, which is more than enough for two people. This is not the best damn chowder I’ve ever tasted and I’m sure a pound of fresh clams taste a lot better, but you can throw it together in half an hour while you’re doing a load of laundry in the morning and then heat it up for lunch.
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Mystery Chocolate Joe Joe Cake

chocolate cake with cream

What do you do when you have several cups of chocolate cookie flavored frosting? You bake another cake. Now, this is not the prettiest cake I’ve ever made.

One of my coworkers even said, “It looks like hell.”

“But it tastes like heaven,” chimed another coworker.

I also forgot to snap a picture until it was more than half eaten, which doesn’t help things. Continue reading

Trader Joe’s Joe Joe Cake

oreo cake
My sister requested an Joe Joe cake for her birthday and I scored the internet for appropriate recipes. Joe Joes are the Trader Joe’s knock off of the ever popular Oreo. The main recipe contenders were from Tastes Better From Scratch, Serious Eats, and The Kitchn. After perusing the screenshots, my sister selected the Serious Eats one, which features a chocolate cake with layers of whipped cream frosting with folded cookie bits. Continue reading

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

big crumb coffee cake

Rhubarb, what a funny looking plant, and a funny sounding word. I may have eaten a piece of rhubarb pie once in college — it was a Pi Day Party so the details elude me — but I bought a few stalks at the supermarket last week. It looked like giant reddish celery, like the love child of celery and beets. But its stringy crispy texture is more of a mix between celery and aloe. The green insides remind me of succulents. It was not a promising start, but I tossed it with sugar, cornstarch, and ginger and moved on. Continue reading

Dark Chocolate Frosting

view from up top

Remember that buttermilk raspberry cake I made a few weeks ago? Well, I made it again and put a whole bunch of chocolate frosting on top! I was planning to make Smitten Kitchen’s “I Want Chocolate Cake” Cake, but alas I was out of cocoa powder! I noticed that the cake recipe is very similar to the buttermilk raspberry cake so I figured, why not? I like chocolate raspberries! The one change I did make was omitting the lemon zest. I know some people like lemon and chocolate, but I am not in that number.   Continue reading

Steam-Proofing Chocolate Babka

second rise


This is the prettiest thing that I’ve made, hands down. The recipe is once again from Smitten Kitchen, but I did read a few other recipes from Epicurious and Martha Stewart as well. Martha Stewart claims that you can freeze the loaves the step before the last rise and then let them defrost for five hours before baking, which doesn’t seem that convenient at all.
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Crispy Oven Sweet Potato Fries


My roommate makes the most amazing sweet potato fries. They are a mix between candy and crack. And I’m not even a sweet potato fry fan! I know some people prefer sweet potato fries over regular fries, but my fry hierarchy goes from steak frites, with curly fries being a close second, followed by waffles fries/ crisscut fries, and potato wedges dead last. I think sweet potato fries beat out potato wedges. I loved fries covered in garlic or cheese. I love In N Out’s animal style fries when they’re hot; it’s disgusting when it’s cold. I have been recently introduced to sriracha mayo and its cousin gochujang (Korean red pepper paste) mayo. Heaven! Continue reading

Buttermilk Raspberry Cake

raspberry focaccia
It looks like raspberry focaccia, but it’s actually a moist buttermilk cake with a pleasant tartness from the raspberries and a slightly caramelized sugar crust. Don’t be put off by its humble appearance, it is a superhero in disguise. I ate half the cake all by myself, and it tastes just as good the next day!

I also tried to make a chocolate version by combining Smitten Kitchen’s Buttermilk Raspberry Cake with her Everyday Chocolate Cake, but alas, I still need to play with the chemistry of it. The rise in the chocolate version was more dramatic and rather than being studded with pretty red gems, the raspberries all sunk to the bottom. And the chocolate batter was no where as dark and glossy as I wanted.
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