Monday, January 31, 2011

Waffles, Doughnuts, and Fried Pies...OH MY!

Destination: Portland, Oregon.
Purpose of trip: To find some of best Portland Food Carts and well...indulge.

This is the second year my friends and I have done this trip. Believe me, it was VERY successful.

Here, take a look:

We started off our Saturday morning right and headed to The Waffle Window. Quite honestly, the best breakfast I've ever had.

The best thing about being in a group of five? You get to try what everyone else ordered.

Oh and we didn't stop there. After our sugar rush, we were craving something savory...

Fresh rolled garlic flatbread, anyone? Urban Garlic is located in a lot with other food carts - one of them being a Homemade Rootbeer vendor. It was THE best rootbeer I have ever had.

We ate A LOT. But we also found time to do some wonderful things around Portland such as visiting Powell's Books (a bookstore that's a block long!) and playing pirate-themed glow in the dark mini-golf. While we waited, we managed to get in a game of Bananagrams too!

I can't believe how much we ate. What I haven't yet mentioned is the countless number of other things we ate. Are you ready for it? Burgers, fries, rootbeer floats, poutine, crepes, a korean-mexican fusion truck that fed us kimchi quesadillas, burritos, and a taco, pizza, a bagel with vegan bacon cream cheese, fried pies, and my absolute favourite...dulce de leche and sea salt shakes. Phew!

There were times when we all were convinced we couldn't eat any more but of course, as in most cases, our taste buds won over any reasoning.

Case in point:

We HAD to wrap up our trip with doughnuts from Voodoo Doughnuts

I'll be eating apples for the rest of the week, thank you very much.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Honey Vanilla Pound Cake

Let's talk about things that make me happy.

Like how sunshine on a winter Seattle day can completely change your mood.

Or how your friends in Norway and Iowa just happen to be online at the same time that you are and with that perfect timing you get to see their lovely faces and share some pretty silly stories .

And what about sitting at a cafe towards the end of the day and somebody else's dog chooses YOUR lap to sit on, chooses YOU to cuddle with.

Oh and let's not forget about the smell of warm fresh honey vanilla pound cake calling your name as it cools on the counter. You will want this smell too. Try it.

Honey Vanilla Pound Cake
courtesy of Ina Garten

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 cups sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom of an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper, then grease and flour the plan.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium speed for 3 to 4 minutes, until light. Meanwhile, put the eggs, honey, vanilla, and lemon zest in a glass measuring cup but do not combine. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the egg mixture, one egg at a time, scraping down the bowl and allowing each egg to become incorporated before adding the next egg.

Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder. With the mixer on low speed, add it slowly to the batter until just combined. Finish mixing the batter with a rubber spatula and pour it into the prepared pan. Smooth the top. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes, turn out onto a baking rack, and cool completely.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Seahawk Cookies

I'm not that into American football but I'll tell you what, I LOVE how sports teams can get an entire city/country/group of people hyped up. And that's exactly what happened last weekend when the Seahawks beat the Saints. To honor their surprise win I decided to make some sugar cookies with Seahawk coloured icing. I've been wanting to try out royal icing for a couple of months now but have been daunted by the many "royal icing tutorials" that I've seen on several blogs. I figure, anything with a tutorial is complicated.

Lies. Royal icing is not. You need quite a bit of time on your hands to let the icing dry during each stage, but it's definitely a lot of fun to work with especially if you have the time. The smooth glossy finish and the details you're able to do with royal icing is impressive. I ended up making footballs, a little football player, and 12th man flags (a flag that represents the Seahawk fan base - so loud and proud that a seismograph picked up last week's crowd's cheers during a touchdown).
I spent most of last week Friday making these cookies- mostly with a beer in one hand and an icing squeeze bottle in the other while listening to some Otis Redding. It was perfect. 

The Seahawks put up a shit show against the Chicago Bears on Sunday but I do have a couple of cookies left to drown my sorrows in. I know there are tons of sugar cookie recipes online, but this is definitely my favourite.

Sugar Cookies
Courtesy of Melissa Frye (who is not on the blogosphere, but very well should be)
3/4 cup shortening (part butter or margarine, softened)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Mix thoroughly shortening, sugar, eggs, and vanilla.  Blend in flour,  baking powder, and salt.  Cover and chill at least 1 hour.
Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Roll dough 1/8 inch thick on lightly floured board or countertop.  Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters or free-hand.  Place on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 6-8 minutes or until slightly browned.  Cool completely and decorate as desired.

For the royal icing, I used a mix. I cringe when I say that because it feels like cheating but it was cheaper than the meringue powder...aah, there are no excuses. But for a first timer, it worked and it tasted delicious, I should embrace that.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Granola Bar Therapy

Seattle Metro, you are pathetic. I waited for the bus for forty minutes yesterday and my bus passed by me TWICE. It was too full to stop and pick up more commuters. Now I know I seem like the fool to have waited forty minutes, but when you honestly wait more than fifteen minutes for a bus, I feel like you're invested because you KNOW that once you start walking, that bus is going to come. Alas, after forty minutes of waiting, I decided to walk.

It only took me thirty minutes to get home, and you know what, I needed it. Not in that exercise sort of way (although, I'm sure I needed it that way too) but days have been grey in Seattle and it's definitely getting to me. The walk coupled with an episode of The Cosby Show and some peppermint bark was perfect and....I squeezed in some time to bake too!

Granola. Nuts. Stuff like that. That was what a friend said when I asked what birthday treats he enjoys. Mine would be: cupcakeicecreambrowniescookiespiecakecakecake. I've never made home-made granola bars before but it was really easy, incredibly flexible, and fun!

Thick Chewy Granola Bars
Courtesy of Smitten Kitchen who adapted the recipe from King Arthur Flour

1 2/3 cups quick rolled oats
1/2 to 3/4 cup granulated sugar (use more for a sweetness akin to most purchased bars; use less for a mildly sweet bar)
1/3 cup oat flour (or 1/3 cup oats, processed till finely ground in a food processor or blender)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 to 3 cups dried fruits and nuts (total of 10 to 15 ounces)
1/3 cup peanut butter or another nut butter (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup honey, maple syrup or corn syrup
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon water

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8″ x 8″ x 2″ pan (I used a 9 inch round pan) in one direction with parchment paper, allowing it to go up the opposing sides. Lightly grease the parchment paper and the exposed pan, or coat with a non-stick spray. 

Stir together all the dry ingredients, including the fruit and nuts. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla, melted butter or oil, liquid sweeteners and water. Toss the wet ingredients with the dry (and peanut butter, if you’re using it) until the mixture is evenly crumbly. Spread in the prepared pan, pressing them in firmly to ensure they are molded to the shape of the pan. (A piece of plastic wrap can help with this, as you press down on the back of it.)

Bake the bars for 30 to 40 minutes, until they’re brown around the edges — don’t be afraid to get a little color on the tops too. They’ll still seem soft and almost underbaked when you press into the center of the pan but do not worry, they’ll set completely once completely cool.
Cool the bars in their pan completely on a cooling rack.

Once cool, a serrated knife to cut the bars into squares. As Deb from Smitten Kitchen suggested: If bars seem crumbly, chill the pan of them further in the fridge for 30 minutes which will fully set the “glue”, then cut them cold. To store, wrap the bars individually in plastic or stack them in an airtight container.

I used walnuts, a few almonds, dried cranberries and chocolate chips for this mix. I'm definitely going to make some to snack at work too. 

Photos on this post are taken by my wonderful housemate Gaew.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Gingerbread Waffles

I know gingerbread and peppermint usually prance around kitchens during the holiday season. Not in mine. Those two flavours will be in my kitchen all year round, especially after having made Gingerbread Waffles for breakfast this past weekend.

I love weekends. I love not having my dreams interrupted by the sound of my alarm, I love snuggling into my blankets and avoiding the cold, and I absolutely love sweet breakfast treats. With that in mind, a weekend that starts off with gingerbread waffles? UH-MAZING. The Gingerbread Waffles are easy, tastier than cereal, and will impress anyone and every one you meet. They turned out so delicious that I had no patience to take a worthy picture of the final product. I s'pose you'll just have to make them!

Gingerbread Waffles
courtesy of Annie's Eats via Martha Stewart

2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. grated nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground cloves
4 large eggs
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup milk
½ cup sour cream
3 tbsp. unsulfured molasses

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Whisk to blend. In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, butter, milk, sour cream and molasses and whisk to blend well. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients and whisk to combine until all the dry ingredients are incorporated.

Preheat a waffle iron. Fill waffle wells and cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Cook until crisp and golden. Serve immediately.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Cajun Chicken Pasta

My favourite pair of jeans have a hole in them in an area which makes them unwearable. Maybe it's a sign that I need to stop indulging in the boxes of chocolate, the tub of peppermint bark, and the couple of pounds of fudge that sit in my fridge. Yes, I was most definitely spoiled this holiday season with tasty treats.

Am I one to believe in signs that require me to suppress my sweet tooth? Ehh...NAH! Instead, I decided to make this delicious Cajun Chicken Pasta, courtesy of The Pioneer Woman.

Now, I'll have you know: following a recipe to a tee is really challenging for me. But this also means that if I were to make the same dish again, it would taste different every time because I don't keep track of exactly how much of a spice I'll put into the dish. It's why I'm excited to blog, because trying to keep track of how much I put in a dish will be challenging but helpful.

I didn't have any pre-made Cajun Spice Mix, however, I found this recipe and it turned out great. I did only put in one teaspoon of salt instead of two.

And of course, to add even more carb-age: some focaccia bread to complement the dish quite well!

Cajun Chicken Pasta
Courtesy of The Pioneer Woman


  • 3 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, Cut Into Cubes
  • 3 teaspoons Cajun Spice Mix, More To Taste
  • 1 pound Fettuccine
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 whole Green Bell Pepper, Seeded And Sliced
  • 1 whole Red Bell Pepper, Seeded And Sliced
  • ½ whole Large Red Onion, Sliced
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 4 whole Roma Tomatoes, Diced
  • 2 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
  • ½ cups White Wine
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • Cayenne Pepper To Taste
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
  • Salt To Taste
  • Chopped Fresh Parsley, To Taste

Preparation Instructions

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain when pasta is still al dente; do not overcook!

Sprinkle 1 1/2 teaspoons Cajun spice over chicken piece (Anjali's note: I used 4 teaspoons here. Initially on accident, but it tasted great and I can't imagine it with anything less that 4tsp.). Toss around to coat. Heat 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a heavy skillet over high heat. Add half the chicken in a single layer; do not stir. Allow chicken to brown on one side, about 1 minute. Flip to the other side and cook an additional minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a clean plate.

Repeat with remaining chicken. Remove chicken, leaving pan on high heat.

Add remaining olive oil and butter. When heated, add peppers, onions, and garlic. Sprinkle on remaining Cajun spice, and add salt if needed. Cook over very high heat for 1 minute, stirring gently and trying to get the vegetables as dark/black as possible. Add tomatoes and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Remove all vegetables from the pan.

With the pan over high heat, pour in the wine and chicken broth. Cook on high for 3 to 5 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Reduce heat to medium-low and pour in cream, stirring/whisking constantly. Cook sauce over medium-low heat for a few minutes, until cream starts to thicken the mixture. Taste and add freshly ground black pepper, cayenne pepper, and/or salt to taste. Sauce should be spicy!

Finally, add chicken and vegetables to sauce, making sure to include all the juices that have drained onto the plate. Stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until mixture is bubbly and hot. Add drained fettuccine and toss to combine.

Top with chopped fresh parsley and chow down!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Beginning

2010, you were good to me. Graduating and finding a new job, seeing the North East and South West of the US for the first time, going back home for my brother's wedding, trips in search of tasty food to Oregon, and exploring Washington - to only name a few shining moments. Most importantly though, 2010 was a year of culinary that have subsequently led to the creation of this blog a year later. 

2011, I wish for you to be a year filled with even more love, happiness, warmth, adventure, lessons, and such. Ever year, my resolution is "no more 'what if's' or 'buts'...just do it." So this is me, trying to document my failures and successes of baking/cooking in hopes that I will learn more, try harder, and be persistent in my attempts. Let the new shit begin.