Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Golden Apple Triangles

Apparently cookies for dessert night is just lame. Good thing someone told me. I wouldn't want to be lame! (though in light of my moving I might violate this next week) Thus, I went searching through my various food blogs on my Google Reader and found a tasty and still easy recipe for Golden Apple Triangles.

When the recipe tells you to save the drained apple juice, you should definitely remember to do that. I remembered for part of it, but you can't throw out the extra until the triangles are in the oven. Also, the sugar in the raw sugar for the top is a must. Definitely worth the investment. This is a really easy recipe that you can wow your guests with (several even asked me if I made the pastry dough) and really doesn't take too long. Just make sure you didn't pack your cheese grater prior to the recipe ;).

It was a yummy night. Tara contributed rice krispie treats which I hear were yummy and Carly brought strawberry rhubarb pie and L1 brought ice cream and a wide variety of toppings. All in all, it was a good crowd and great food.

Go here to make your own Golden Apple Triangles.

Here's evidence that Rick showed up to dessert night...

Apparently my moving boxes are more fun than I thought. See what you get when we lock the smokers out.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ice Cream Sandwiches, Mochi, Watermelon and Assorted Chocolate

Last night's dessert night was a bit of an odd assortment as I was cleaning out my freezer and cabinets in anticipation of my move. I made ice cream sandwiches out of Safeway ice cream (mint chocolate chip and vanilla) and chocolate chip cookies. We also enjoyed the remaining dark chocolate covered malt balls that Ryan brought last week and my macadamias covered with toffee and chocolate that my aunt sent us for Christmas.

Last week, I saw a watermelon on sale at Safeway and somehow thought that I could eat an entire 5 lb watermelon myself. That didn't happen, so it was added to the spread.

Thanks to Ryan and Tara for bringing Mochi! I know that was a big hit and J will be loving the leftovers.

There are no photos this week or recipes, but stay tuned for next week. I'm not sure what it's going to be yet. Anyone want to guest host dessert night? You bring the dessert (you're even welcome to come over and use my kitchen to make it) and I provide the location and supplies.

Lots of Changes

Last Friday was a big day for me. Within an hour, I quit my second full time job ever and told my apartment complex that I was moving out. Kind of insane to be unemployed and homeless within an hour.

Despite the fact that they are both really good changes (aka. a much better and more fun job and a bigger and quieter and just as nice apartment), it's still a bit nerve wracking to make such big changes at the same time. But it also leaves you with this oddly really freeing feeling.

Everything happens for a reason and I'm looking forward to this clean slate in life. I just need to remember to luxuriate in the freeing feelings that it leaves me with instead of stressing about how it will all get accomplished.

Monday, May 19, 2008

My First Bay to Breakers

Yesterday, I did my first Bay to Breakers ever! I've been wanting to go for the last 2 years, but something has always foiled that plot. This year that didn't happen. For weeks, Tara, ChuThis and I have been planning our very cute Zeccohero costumes to support T's team.

We looked awesome with silver capes, silver bandannas, pink and silver running shoes, pink fluffy wands, hot pink mini skirts and Zecco t-shirts. We even got the boys to dress up as well.

It was a nice walk, partly sunny and partly foggy in traditional SF fashion. There were elaborate floats ranging from cruise ships and roving beer pong to shopping carts and kayaks filled with the essentials. Because we didn't walk super fast, we didn't get to make it the last mile because that part got closed after 11:30am so we didn't make it all the way to the breakers, but that was alright since we didn't technically start at the bay either as we met up with Zecco just after Van Ness.

All in all, it was a great day. I really enjoyed the walk and once you got to Golden Gate park, the crowds thinned out nicely as well. I will be posting pics, probably to Facebook soon.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake & Scallion & Brie Stuffed Burgers

Last night was quite the culmination of a variety of different culinary experiences and requests that lead to the meal. Let me back up a bit and explain.

About two weeks ago when Garrett finalized his schedule (ok, at least part of it) for his visit to CA and told me that he was going to be in town over a Tuesday night, I immediately invited him to dessert night and being the out of town guest for the evening, also asked for his dessert of choice. Much deliberation ensued. Eventually, he decided that he wanted Chocolate Chip Cheesecake, thus the cheesecake portion of the meal.

The burger idea came from a series of events that led me to the new Food & Wine magazine. At brunch with my family on Mother's Day at the Corkscrew Restaurant in Carmel Valley, I saw a cheeseburger with Gruyere instead of the usual cheddar. It sounded amazing, but alas I didn't order it. I was later reading through my latest edition of Food & Wine where I found a recipe for Scallion & Brie stuffed burgers. It sounded amazing given my love for brie. As usual, I look for excuses to cook for others because I'm not a huge eater myself and don't like tons of leftovers. So, last night was the perfect excuse to make these little guys.

They tasted amazing, but were rather hard to put together so the two hamburger patties didn't separate as they were cooked. J did an awesome job cooking the burgers!!! And Garrett was very helpful chopping everything that we needed for the meal.

All in all, it was a very yummy evening.

Here's Candace attempting to devour the cheesecake.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Curly II

In college, I had this wonderful pet plant named Curly. Manda and I each got plants freshman year because they wouldn't require care over Christmas break and thus Manda wouldn't flush it down the toilet like she threatened to with a fish. Curly was a wonderful and lovely pet for 5 years before I accidentally killed him due to over watering and a repotting gone wrong.

After almost a year without Curly, my mom decided that I should think about replacing him and helped me find Curly II at Griggs Nursery in Carmel Valley. Curly II is just as lovely as the original Curly with wonderful large leaves.

Come over meet Curly II!!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Happy Cinco de Mayo - Munjar!

In celebration of Cinco de Mayo, Charles suggested Munjar, a sweet Chilean spread like substance (a bit thicker than honey) that is often served with pastry and other starches. Luckily, he also provided a recipe because I had never heard of this stuff before. It really only contains different forms of condensed milk and eggs, yet has a somewhat nutty flavor. J also asked if it had coffee in it because it has such a nutty coffee roasted bean flavor. But you can see for yourself that it does not.

I can't tell you too much about how it tastes because to be honest with you I just licked part of a spoon when I made it on Sunday night so I didn't get the full flavor. But here is a picture of the finished product.

J was also quite amusing as he wrestled with his chips that he had as a post dessert snack. Here's a pic before he conquered the bag.

Stay tuned for Chocolate Chip Cheesecake next week.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Awesome Rewards for a Less than Stellar Job

Ok so yes, I'm a recovering overachiever, so things like this bug me.

Consider the following situation....
You slap together a presentation in less than 30 mins that is going to a very important audience to convince them of something and present it to your boss thinking that it is a first draft and that he or she will improve upon it before sending it off as the final version. Instead, your boss sends your first draft off as the final version with no changes.

So the realist would say "who cares because you still end up better off in the end and you conserved energy that you would have possibly expended to achieve the same result." Somehow the overachiever in me disagrees. I relish those moments where you've worked really hard for something and every ounce of that hard work paid off.

I feel awkward accepting rewards for things that are less that my best work. Growing up, it was all about just doing your best. I guess that message stuck and so it's hard for me to except rewards that come from doing less than my best.

I'm learning though that working hard all of the time does not get me everything that makes me happy in life. My last 4 months of working at Genentech has taught me that with my increased spare time. Maybe this new frame of reference will help me to be more accepting of these situations where I am recognized for more than the effort that I put into it.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Iron Man was AWESOME!

So, yes I do know that I am a girl and thus it is unusual for me to enjoy action flicks particularly ones with cartoons, but I LOVED Iron Man!! It was not only funny but also great fun watching all of the cool special effects and the flying scenes. I particularly enjoyed all of the cute robots and the cool flaps and such on the suit. The only thing that was mildly disappointing is that Tony Stark had a bunch of really cool cars and yet he only drove his new Audi and crash landed on a beautiful blue Shelby. However, despite this less than optimal car usage, this was a great movie.

If you like action films, then this is definitely something that you should check out.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Crepe Attempt...tasty but a big mess.

Crepes sounded like a wonderful and relatively easy, fun and interactive dessert for dessert night. I went to trusty William Sonoma and found a basic recipe that seemed easy enough. Mix all ingredients in blender. Refrigerate. Cook. How hard could this be?

Apparently much harder than I thought since I tried to use cooking gadgets that weren't exactly what the recipe called for. First of all, I tried to use a Cuisinart instead of a blender to mix the batter. This was a bad idea since as I was adding the third ingredient into my first attempt, I noticed a puddle of milk growing under the Cuisinart. On try 2, I added everything quickly and blended with only a small puddle forming under the bottom of the bowl. Phew. Disaster averted.

Luckily Tara brought her crepe pan over because let me tell you frying pans don't work well on crepes. Definitely be sure that you have a crepe pan for this because a frying pan really won't work.

This is what happens when you don't use a crepe pan.

If you are looking to make these amazing crepes, check out the recipes at William Sonoma.

Here's Ryan, aka the face of Dessert Night, enjoying his crepe.

Luckily, everyone was very hungry because the spread was kind of crazy.