I know we all have bad hair days, mine happens to be almost every day of the week, but I wonder if we have “bad kitchen days” too? The reason why I am asking is because if you remember in my last post or two, I mentioned how I keep experiencing kitchen mishaps, and making mistakes that I really shouldn’t make. Today, however, not only did I not make any kitchen mistakes, I made some pretty good food too!
It has been a particularly trying month for my boyfriend, so I decided to make him one of his favorite dishes to cheer him up. I have made osso buco a few times in the past, but somehow this time, it tasted better than ever. Perhaps it was the rice we ate it with? Or maybe because I have been eating a lot of bland food lately, so eating something this flavorful really woke me up? Or maybe my cooking skills are improving… yeah, that must be it 😉
The recipe I used, and have always used in the past, is from one of my favorite youtubers, Laura Vitale. The recipe is really straightforward, and the ingredients are pretty basic too: some herbs, vegetables, and meat. The only changes I made to the recipe this time, is I skipped the wine, and as usual, I used oxtail instead of veal shank.
First step: browning the oxtail on both sides. I had to take these pictures with my phone, because my camera couldn’t read my memory card. Then somehow, after desperately working my magic on it, things started working again. Unfortunately, the magic didn’t happen until after the boyfriend and I dug into the osso buco.
The boyfriend had a light breakfast so he was already starving by the time I was preparing the osso buco, so I decided to make him some brazilian cheese puffs to munch on while we waited. I was a little unsure if I should write about cheese puffs again, because I swear I’ve talked about these so many times already, but the cheese puffs turned out REALLY well this time. I have tested out a variety of recipes before, but I ended up going back to the first one I used. Luck must be on my side because I had just enough butter for these babies, and no, I did not forget the salt this time around.
The only thing I did different is I used a dried cheese instead of grating the block of cheese I have sitting in my fridge. I’m no expert, but I had a gut feeling that my previous attempts failed because of the extra moisture from the cheese, which led to flat circles of cheese stuff. So while I was shopping for the osso buco ingredients, I picked up a container of dried grated cheese to see if it would make a difference in the results, and it did 🙂
And I promise I will not blog about making cheese puffs again.
Happy Baking/ Cooking! 🙂
Lets start with this cheese puffs fail:
Even though the cheese puffs looked good, it tasted pretty awful, but it was my fault since I forgot to add salt until I was pouring the batter into my mini muffin tin. Out of desperation, I sprinkled salt all over the tin and mixed, hoping that would add some flavor to it. Nope, wishful thinking. Oh well, we all need to go through kitchen mishaps before we pick up some good skills right? (I may have gotten the hang of making eggs that don’t stink anymore!)
Anyways, I cant’ believe it has been nearly a month since I last blogged!
Life has been good, but so incredibly hectic that by the time I get home, I barely have any energy to feed myself properly. Which also means I don’t have any energy to food prep for the next day, so I end up sleeping early so I can wake up at 5:30AM the next day to cook up my chicken breast, and occasionally some bacon, yum!
I did make something fun this past weekend: bacon pancake sandwiches!
Nomnompaleo is probably my favorite paleo blogs. I won’t lie, I have been lurking on that website for the longest time, but never really had any motivation to make anything until I came across this recipe. I’ll probably blog about it in another post….. Keeping my fingers crossed that I will blog regularly again! 🙂
With Chinese New Year just around the corner, my parents are feeling rather festive:
Their excitement finally put me into the mood to whip this baby out:
I picked up two boxes of this biscuit mix at Walmart, after dining at Red Lobster during the holidays. They were so delicious I felt like I was floating on a cloud of cheesy goodness when I first tasted them. Even the boyfriend who isn’t a fan of breads/biscuits couldn’t help but devour a few himself.
The directions were really straightforward: mix water, grated cheese and biscuit mix together, bake then enjoy! Of course, don’t forget to top with melted butter and the enclosed packet of garlic herb mix. It was so goooood!
Sorry this post is so short, I’m not really sure what else I should say about these delicious biscuits. I guess I will let the picture below do the talking for me:
This is MARSHMALLOW.
Peekaboo! Can you see him in the background?
I was doing some thinking while commuting to the gym from work: why don’t I mash up my love for drawing with my passion for baking, and turn my drawings into an edible form of art! Brilliant right? That’s what I thought, until I realized cookie decorating is serious business, as you will soon see later in this post.
But please meet Marshmallow, my newest character to join Karen’s family of wacky cartoon characters. Because he is so new, all I have are these rough sketches, my apologies!
Personality wise, Marshmallow is a sweet, naive and innocent fellow, whose sole ambition in life is to give as many hugs, and to cuddle with as many people as possible. He is often seen wandering around, reminding those around him of their impending bedtime, so he can put himself to good use. As seen in the picture above, he likes to peek out shyly from behind doors to see if anyone could use a hug.
Although seemingly happy and care-free, Marshmallow has the tendency to become extremely anxious and worried if he doesn’t feel like he is being put to good use. He will hug his blanket, and pout until someone will come along to swoop him up for a big hug.
Apologies for the poor photo quality!
Did I mention that Marshmallow is not really a piece of candy? He is actually a fluffy king sized pillow!
The character and name, was actually thought of by the boyfriend, who said the pillows at our Seattle hotel resembled marshmallows: big, white and fluffy. Cute eh?
Now, onto the fun stuff:
If you are serious about learning how to bake/decorate sugar cookies, I highly recommend the blog “The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle“. Her blog is filled with useful tips and tricks, and her posts are informative without being too hard to understand. Even a cookie noob like me was able to follow it!
To get started, I had to read through a few of her posts to refresh my memory, because it has been too long since I baked or decorated sugar cookies. For this particular batch, I followed Sugarbelle’s basic cookie recipe which can be found here.
To recreate Marshmallow’s body, I did a quick sketch of him on paper, to use as a guide when I cut the dough into the shape of his body.
Unbaked Marshmallow and his dinosaur friend
Baked the cookies for 7 minutes.
Freshly baked Marshmallow! Doesn’t he look kind of like Wallace from Wallace and Gromit?
Using the royal icing recipe from The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle, I filled two bags with black and white icing. I didn’t keep track of how many squirts of black soft gel paste I used, but I played around with the icing until I felt it was dark enough. I am a beginner when it comes to cookie decorating so I don’t have very many icing tips on hand, but I used #3 for the outline and #5 for the body.
I didn’t realize how difficult it was to outline with icing! My hands kept shaking from nervousness, so I tried to hold my breath, hoping that would control the shakiness but it made it worse. I wish there was some kind of baking eraser to erase all of your cookie decorating mistakes. On the bright side, the flooding icing consistency turned out better than I expected. The body, as you can see, is relatively smooth which gives me a sense of relief, because this is only my third time using royal icing and my previous experiences have been extremely messy.
My original plan was to use icing for the eyes and mouth, but I decided to save my icing and coloring gels for future experiments so I cheated a little. If you guys have a pack of edible food markers handy, now is the time to whip them out!
Marshmallow! Anybody want a hug? 🙂
And cookie Marshmallow is complete! I wanted to add some blushing cheeks to him, but I didn’t have any lustre dust on hand.
Hope you guys enjoyed this one! If you have any tips or tricks on decorating cookies feel free to comment below, or shoot me an email!
If you remember my first post, I had mentioned my plans to pair Nutella frosting with the chocolate cupcakes I had planned to bake for an early Christmas gathering with my friends. The results of that combination didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped.
During my previous grocery run, I picked up a box of gluten free Betty Crocker chocolate flavored cake mix for the cupcakes. Normally, I prefer to bake things from scratch, just because I love the feeling of not knowing how my final product will turn out, but it has been a long time since I baked cupcakes, and knowing my friends will be tasting them, I had to take the safe route!
Check out the chocolatey goodness!
The cupcakes turned out great, the problem was the frosting.
Using Gimme Some Oven‘s Nutella Cupcake recipe, I opted out of putting Nutella in my cupcakes, and used my jar for the frosting instead. Perhaps my tastes have changed, but before I have even finished adding half of the recommended four cups of powdered sugar, I already found the frosting to be way too sweet! Even a Nutella addict like myself couldn’t eat more than one bite of this stuff. Perhaps I should have made Nutella cupcakes instead, or nutella cookies? Those turned out pretty well the last time I made them. If anyone has tried making Nutella frosting, please let me know if I’m doing something wrong!
I’ve been bitten by the baking bug again!
My plan for this Friday is to bake some delicious chocolate cupcakes then top them with Nutella frosting, but I couldn’t wait, so now I am crouched on a chair in the kitchen, writing this post while waiting for my delicious batch of chocolate chip cookies to finish. I won’t lie, it has been a real challenge to stick to clean eating, especially during the Christmas season, where sweets and treats seem to be lurking in every corner. I was lucky enough though, to come across this easy cookie recipe from The Food Lovers Primal Palate. I normally don’t visit this website for grain free treats, but I have a feeling things might change very soon.