US Trip Part I – New York

I’m back! Brace yourself for a rather long post. Or rather, not so much words but lots of pictures. ;) As you can see from the title, I’ve decided to divide my trip into two. New York being the first, Orlando & LA the second.

Yikes, snow banks on the streets of Manhattan :))

So after 2 days of waiting after my cancelled flight, I was finally able to get on that plane and fly across the Atlantic to New York Cit-ayyy! I’ve only been to NY once before this trip and I don’t remember much except visiting the Statue of Liberty. This time, my mom wanted to take the Hop on, Hop off tours. Due to freezing temperatures and traffic due to the blizzard, we waited in line for about an hour or so for a bus we could finally hop on. Suffice to say, we won’t be going to places affected by winter during winter as our toes were pretty much frozen.

Inside TAO

Anyway, it was noontime and we got off the Central Park stop not bothering to finish the rest of the tours and other stops (yeah, goodbye $$$.. :\), walked a couple blocks down looking for a restaurant while stopping to go into stores to warm up a bit. We passed by this establishment which turned out to be TAO.

Got settled in and we all ordered the lunch specials which were for $26.50 for 3 courses. Here’s some of the dishes what we had..

I had the Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce for my appetizer. Nice tender chicken although the sauce was so, so.

For my main course, I had the salmon. I loved the noodles on the bottom!

After months not being able to eat good mangoes from Cebu [;)], I had to have this dish and I did not regret it! I love the mango sorbet with the coconut milk plus the fruits.

My sister had the steak, which she said was good. The fries were awesome as well!

She also ordered the Banana Pudding with the fried banana on top!

My mom had this pomegranate sorbet with the fruits.

The next day, I told them I wanted to check out a couple of restaurants. First stop after SoHo was Momofuku Ssam Bar. Yup, gotta had to visit the place while in NY of course! We ordered 3 dishes, since we were stopping by another restaurant and didn’t want to be too full. Here’s what we had:

Clockwise from Top: Pork Buns (FTW!), Monkfish with Kabosha Squash, Peekytoe Crab and Pepitas and Beef Noodle Soup

All of them were amazing! I also had a Sake Lemonade which was quite unique; the sake taste was quite strong for me but didn’t overpower the lemonade. So it was nicely balanced.

Of course, I could leave Ssam Bar without heading next door to the Milk Bar! Got myself the Crack Pie! Surprise, surprise! Haha!

It does taste awesome! However, I found it too sweet and had to take the leftover half back to the hotel. My sister got the Cereal Milk soft serve with hot fudge. Wasn’t able to take a picture of it since she quickly scooped some up.

As mentioned above, we had another stop to go to. Shake Shack! Ordered a cheeseburger and a hotdog.

The cheeseburger was to die for! We wanted to order again to take back to the hotel but the line was quite long and we had places to see (shopping!). :( But definitely go to Shake Shack if you’re in NYC.

Saw this snowman by the Shack and just had to take a picture! ;)

Stay tuned for Part 2! :D

Cancelled flight + Cookies that didn’t exactly turn out right.

I’m supposed to be on a flight en route to New York at this moment. Supposedly. Due to the weather over there, my flight was unfortunately cancelled. I was half-expecting it to be honest; probably why I’m somewhat calm about the whole thing. I’ve rebooked for the 29th and hopefully all will go well then since I’ve already lost 2 days in NY. BOOOO! I’m mostly disappointed because I won’t have much time to visit places I wanted to spend more time in, but what can I do..

Anyway, I returned back to the apartment and changed back to my house clothes. A few hours, I had the sudden urge to bake. Baking is a form of therapy for me although not all results turn out well, especially on a bad day.

What were supposed to be nicely round cookies ended up like this.

Yep, I could totally imagine your face. xD

But even I was surprised when I thought of cutting them out instead of throwing them in the bin. Normally, a few months ago, I’m embarrassed to admit that I would frustratingly place the baking sheet immediately into the sink. But today, I looked for something I could cut out the mis-shapen cookies with and cut them into rounds.

excuse the blurry picture :p

They were delicious though! Too thin for my liking but that’s probably because the dough had too much butter which made it spread too much. But on the parts where it was somewhat thicker, it was really good and chewy. After it cooled, the tops were crunchy but the inside still chewy. The extra touch of coffee I added made it really smell good too.

So this got me thinking what my New Years’ Resolution would be; to think positive. I’ve always been too realistic to the point of being negative. So in 2011, hopefully, I’ll be able to fulfill this resolution. ;)

Lastly, I’ve asked this in my previous post but unfortunately my pictures weren’t good enough to get accepted at FB/TS, but anyone have any recommendations of places to visit (aside from Momofoku)? Food and other sites? ;)

Coffee Macarons with Coffee Ganache

I can’t believe it’s just a few more days until Christmas and eventually the New Year. Since I baked, I’ve always given baked goods as gifts to friends. Although some say it’s a good thing since I won’t have to think much about what I’m giving the person, I feel somewhat guilty because truth be told, I’m really bad at giving gifts and I would like to give them something that would last rather than something that would be consumed in a week.

This year, I’m trying to do both; giving them baked goods and material gifts. I’ve been hoping to make some goodies with peppermint but I couldn’t find any peppermint extract or those peppermint swirl candies around here. BOO. So instead of the original plan which was Peppermint Mocha (Fave holiday drink at Starbucks, which sucks since they don’t have it here in Switzerland >_>) Macarons, I’ve left out the peppermint and stuck with the mocha and coffee ganache combo. Yup, since my successful macarons in my previous post, I’ve had the courage and confidence to try them again. And this time turned out even better as all but one had almost perfect smooth tops and nice feet.

They were delicious. I especially loved the coffee ganache! Still a tad bit sweet especially since it’s white chocolate but still delicious. I made these for my friends here by the way, but I had a few extra since the box was full already xD.

Lastly, I’ll be going to NY and LA over my vacation next week, any particular recommendations? Excited to try out delicious food which I’ll be taking pictures of, of course! ;)

HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS & A HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Coffee Macarons
adapted from Trissalicious

100g egg whites (I popped mine in the microwave for 10 seconds instead of aging, still worked :o)
50g sugar
125g ground almonds
200g powdered sugar
2 tsp. cocoa powder
2 tsp. coffee powder

  1. In a bowl, beat egg whites for about a minute then gradually add sugar until stiff.
  2. In another bowl, sift together almonds, powdered sugar, cocoa powder and coffee powder.
  3. Pour the dry ingredients onto the egg whites and fold slowly to incorporate. Careful not to overmix. You can tell it’s good to go when you run your spatula in the middle and it would take about 5-6 seconds for the batter to come together. Or test with spoon and it’s still somewhat thick and flattens a tiny bit (it shouldn’t be runny and thin).
  4. Pipe into rounds on lined baking pans. Let sit for at least 30 minutes. When you touch it, the batter shouldn’t stick.
  5. Preheat oven to 150C.
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes depending on size. Let cool before peeling off the silpat/wax paper.

Coffee Ganache
this made more than needed but it’s oh so goood. lol

150g white chocolate
2 tbsp butter
100g cream
1 tsp. coffee

  1. Place white chocolate and butter in a bowl.
  2. Bring the cream to a boil and pour over white chocolate and butter.
  3. Stir in coffee until smooth.
  4. Chill until nearly hard.
  5. Pipe or spoon onto macaron shells.

Cheesecake with Raspberry Jam & Almonds

Last week, I was at the supermarket when I passed by the chiller section and saw that they had cream cheese on sale or Action as they call it here. At 4.90CHF for 2 200g packages instead at the usual 3.10CHF per package, I thought, ‘Why not? Maybe it’s time to make cheesecake here.’


Over the next few days, I found myself wanting to eat raspberries. I remember the first time I tried fresh raspberries, I found them too sour. But gradually, I found myself liking them more than strawberries. Unfortunately, as there aren’t any fresh ones available now, I used raspberry jam which still satisfied my framboise craving. And at the last minute I bought some slivered almonds as well to sprinkle on top of the jam. The rest of the almonds, I thought, I could grind for more macarons. ;)

As you can see, I’m not very good at decorating cakes. I thought of whipping some cream around the sides but I didn’t want to add more calories or wash more utensils, haha. The only thing I didn’t like about this cake was the crust. It’s my first time not using graham crackers and used digestives instead. Perhaps I didn’t grind them properly because after I added the melted butter, they became crumb-like instead. After chilling, it was still somewhat hard to take a slice off the pan since the crumbs wouldn’t hold on.

The hardest thing when making cheesecakes is the long wait before you can actually eat it. So you can pretty much imagine me dropping by the fridge every half hour or so to see if the cake is chilled enough. And when you finally do take the first bite, it’s so much worth every minute you wait.

Cheesecake with Raspberry Jam & Slivered Almonds

2 cups digestive cookies
1/4 cup butter, melted

3 (200g) packages of cream cheese, softened
3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 cup raspberry jam
1/4 cup slivered almonds

*Note that I used a 10-inch springform pan which is why the cake is thin and baking time is shorter than normal.

- Mix melted butter with grounded cookies. Press onto your springform pan and chill until cheesecake mixture is ready.
-Preheat oven to 170C.
- In a bowl, using a hand mixer or your stand mixer, cream the cheese until smooth.
- Add eggs one at a time until well incorporated.
-Add sugar and vanilla.
-Pour mixture on the springform pan with crust.
-Bake for 40-45 minutes. Turn oven off but prop the door slightly open and leave the cheesecake until cool.
- Heat raspberry jam until it’s liquid-y and pour over the cake when cool.
- Chill until set for about 2-3 hours or more (depending on thickness).

Macarons!

I first obsessed (yes, obsessed) about macarons over a year ago when the whole macaron mania began. After plenty of trials, not one batch was successful. Nope, not one. What came out of the oven were feet-less, cracked and/or hollow shells. So you can pretty much imagine my frustration. After my nth attempt and thousands of pesos later, I swore not to make them again for a long time and settled for staring with envy to those who got them right on FoodGawker and Tastespotting. Not to mention I got tired of eating them as well.

Until a few months ago before I set up Baking Between Cities. I also saw this post of Demystifying Macarons which prompted me to perhaps, try again. And I’m glad I did because today, I can finally present to you my macarons. Finally. Although they are not all perfect because some of them did end up with cracked tops, they all had feet. So I’m quite elated!

For the recipe and video instructions, visit Daydreamer Desserts (thank you!)!

Ginataang Mais

I remember my first snowfall experience when I first arrived here in Switzerland. Coming from a country which is pretty much summer all year round, snow seemed pretty cool. So when it snowed that late January day, I was quite amazed and the first thing I did was stick out my tongue. Yup, just like how kids do in movies. Hehe.

But a few days later, snow turned into ice and walking on the streets became hazardous. Imagine everyone trying to get to class on time.. :\

I suddenly had this craving of Ginataang Mais or Sweet Corn and Rice in Coconut Milk. I saw this recipe on FoodGawker a while back while I was still in the Philippines and absolutely loved it. So I thought, ‘Hey, why not? It’s totally perfect for the weather nowadays.’ And to the suggestion of Nelma, I added some langgka or jackfruit which made it even for flavorful and added a nice aroma.

So go to the Asian section of your local grocery, grab these ingredients and make this. You won’t regret it.

Banana Crumb Muffins with Chocolate

 

I just noticed that it seems like every post I have contains chocolate. Can’t help it that I love chocolate AND I am living in the land of chocolate ;)

So this time, I made some Banana Crumb Muffins avec chocolat!

I bought some bananas last week and waited for them to ripen up before using them. The result is this super DELICIOUS, soft and moist muffins with a crunchy top from the crumble. Add the chocolate and you’re in heaven! ;)

Banana Crumb Muffins with Chocolate
from allrecipes.com

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 bananas, mashed
3/4 cup white sugar (I reduced the amount to 1/2 cup)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup packed brown sugar (I used white since I didn’t have any brown sugar in the house)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup (or more ;]) chopped chocolate (I used milk chocolate)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease 10 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Add chocolate. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

Made me some doughnuts!

Last week, I had a sudden craving for doughnuts. I found this recipe from Joy the Baker and I was drooling with anticipation after reading the comments. I knew I had to make them.

These doughnuts were delicious! And just the kind I like too; a little melt-in-your-mouth but still has a bite and chewy (does that make sense?! xD). I had to control myself from eating more as my thighs arms were already protesting.

So go check out Joy the Baker’s recipe for these awesome, appropriately titled OMG Doughnuts! You won’t regret it. ;)

 

 

Doughnuts on FoodistaDoughnuts

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