Monday, April 11, 2011

reese's cookies.

I have a confession.

Chocolate is my weakness. No, I'm not talking about the foil wrapped Hershey kisses or even the big bars of the stuff. I like the 70 percent kind. I'm talking about the chocolate with a sharp bitterness and sweet undertones. That's the chocolate I like. It makes me smile and a snap of it can make a day just a few points better.

Most chocolate lovers love when small bits of food are drenched in velvety melted chocolate. Naturally, so do I. I tend to gravitate toward fruit and nuts. Chocolate covered strawberries? Yes, please. Chocolate covered almonds? Sure, I'll have a few.

Though I don't run to the check out counter for candy, on Halloween I make a few exceptions. I carefully pick out the cherry and lemon flavored Starbursts, bite size Mr. Goodbars, and Reese's peanut butter cups. Oh, how I adore those bite size morsels. The chocolate and the peanut butter - bliss.

Okay, so maybe I'm exaggerating a little bit. It's close to bliss. Nonetheless, its an excellent combination. I always longed to make a cookie that's influenced by these gems. Finally, a couple of days, I made these cookies. On the outside, they look like puffed up chocolate cookies. Delicious, but simple. Once broken, you see the sweetened peanut butter. When warm and with milk, they are a memorable treat. Although inspired by Reese's, they definitely do not taste like them. Regardless, they are still delicious.
reese's cookies.
They're originally called "Magic in the Middles" but I dubbed them Reese's cookies due their inspiration.

Magic in the Middle Reese's Cookies
Adapted from King Arthur's
1 1/2 all purpose flour *
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 granulated sugar
1/2 light brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick of) room temperature unsalted butter
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter
3/4 confectioner's sugar

extra granulated or confectioner's sugar (to dredge or sprinkle)

1. Preheat to 375 F and prepare baking sheets.
2. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
3. Beat sugars, butter, and peanut butter until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla extract. Stir in the dry ingredients.
4. To make the peanut butter filling, combine the peanut butter and confectioner's sugar.
5. Roll the chocolate dough and peanut butter filling into small balls. Make sure there are an equal number of balls. The filling balls have to be smaller than the dough ones.
6. Slightly flatten out the chocolate dough in your hand. Add the peanut butter in the center and pinch the dough over the filling. To make it nice and smooth, roll it in your hands. Dredge in granulated sugar if you wish or you can just sprinkle powdered sugar later- your choice.
7. Leave some room in between these cookies so you can flatten them out either with the bottom of a cup or just your palm. Press gently.
8. Bake for 7-9 minutes, depending on your cookie size. You want the cookies to be slightly soft.

*I actually used whole wheat pastry flour. We were all out of all purpose for some reason. I did not realize until I went to bed that night. There was a slight whole wheat taste to it but otherwise, it wasn't that bad!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

opposite salad.

I love the contrasting tastes of sweet and savory. I tend to add a smidgen of strawberry preserves to my kalamata olives. I like my slightly salted popcorn with almost-too-sweet toffee chunks. Chocolate covered pretzels are one of my favorite binge snacks. I dabble chicken in Panera's poppyseed dressing.

So, it's no surprise that I craved the contrasting flavors in my mouth this afternoon. I came home, dropped off my books, washed my hands, and picked the ripest avocado from the bowl. I searched the fridge for something to add to my makeshift avocado salad. I spotted two of my favorite fruits, raspberries and cantaloupe chunks, all washed up and ready to consume. I sliced up the cantaloupe into thin slices and ripped up the raspberries. I tossed the salad with just a few splashes of balsamic vinegar, my favorite dressing.

I was thrilled to find that the creamy avocado was paired so nicely with firm sweet slices of cantaloupe. The neon pink raspberries gave a zing to the salad for the taste buds and the eyes. The salad could easily serve two. I had two servings as my 5 o clock dinner, ignoring my mom's pot of chicken Japanese curry and brown rice, for something lighter. No, I didn't add pictures. Not because I was engrossed with watching Glee on (Although, it was so good! Kurt is adorable, passing out those foam fingers. Finn and Rachel- forever. Finn's smirk- swoon. The glitter slushies were a nice touch.) The dish isn't exactly picture perfect. After you add the balsamic vinegar, the avocado turns a bit too creamy and an olive green. It coats the slices with an army green. Not that pretty... If you want to make this for guests, you might want to skewer avocado chunks, cantaloupe slices, and a raspberry and dip it into balsamic vinegar (like soy sauce for sushi- American style, of course).

Opposite Salad
Serves 2

1 ripe avocado
1/2 cantaloupe (or any other melon), cubed then sliced
1 handful of raspberries (or other berries or even pomegrante seeds!)
4 or 5 splashes of balsamic vinegar

1. Cut open the avocado, take out the pit (take it off with a chef's knife), and slice it up into cubes. Cut around the rim and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Place it into a medium sized bowl.
2. Take the sliced cantaloupe and add it to the avocado.
3. Take the raspberries and pull them apart with your fingers. Add to the bowl.
4. Splash balsamic vinegar, serve, and enjoy!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

crispy oatmeal cookies.

I love the feeling when you pull of batch of cookies out and they are successful. That feeling of relief washes over me like a wave. And the smell. That glorious smell fills the air.

One of my successes was with these oatmeal cookies. I made them for Christmas presents. I searched for good cookies far and wide. Finally, I came across some drool worthy pictures by smittenkitchen. I was smitten with that website since last year after Jenny Han blogged about them. My mother and I collaborated on this project. I added, drizzled, and gathered the ingredients. The beating of the eggs and sugar with my mom's favorite hand mixer was a fail for me. I still have to find a way to beat them with a hand mixer without making a mess.


I added my own twist to it. I prefer dark chocolate over white but never any in my oatmeal cookies. (A light drizzle is fine.) I usually add some raisins but we were out of stock. I just simply omitted the white chocolate and dialed down the sugar like always. Enjoy!


Crispy Salted Oatmeal White Chocolate Cookies
Adapted from

2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 3/4 sticks (14 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line your baking sheet.
2. Combine all the dry ingredients, except oats, in a small-medium bowl. (flour, powder, soda, salt)
3. Beat the sugar and butter with a hand or stand mixer. Add egg and vanilla. Make sure to stop and scrape down the sides to incorporate everything.
4. Slowly add the the flour mixture. Then the oats.
5. Divide the cookie dough in your portions. Smitten uses 24 portions, which is 2 tablespoons. Roll into a ball and press down slightly. Make sure that they are 2 1/2 inches apart because they will spread out.
6. Bake for around 13 - 16 minutes or until a "deep golden brown".

6 ounces of chopped good quality chocolate
Add with the oats during Step 4.

4-6 ounces of white/milk/dark chocolate.
Microwave for 15-20 seconds. Stir. And repeat in 10 second intervals. It might burn and turn into a brownie like substance! Drizzle after the cookies cool down.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

avocado agony.

I'm sitting at my desk, once again, with my beloved laptop open. A McKay outline is the only window open. Three AP review books (2 AP European History, 1 AP Art History) are open on my desk. My most recent purchase, the Barron's AP Euro, is spread across my sweatpants clad pants. I'm reading about the unification of Italy. It's hard to concentrate though. I just had dinner so there's not growling from my stomach nor do I feel empty.

However, I do want an avocado.

I want nice green and yellow slices to melt in my mouth like butter. A squirt of lemon juice and it can make my day. I prefer guacamole to salsa. Too much salsa can wilt a crispy tortilla chip. The chunks might slide off too easily. Guacamole is perfect.

I wonder what salmon and guacamole would taste like. The other day I had a maki that consisted of raw salmon, avocado, and julienned cucumbers. It's not the proper way to eat makis but I can't resist dipping slices of maki into soy sauced tinged with wasabi. The salmon and avocado are buttery. The cucumbers add a cool crisp. It makes sure that the maki isn't just rice and butter.

Okay, back to Italian unification. I have two tests tomorrow and chamber orchestra tonight. Oh, lucky me.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

arepas with cheese, please.

One of the best parts about traveling is the food. When I went to Beijing last summer, all I remember was the Great Wall, smog, rainy days, and the flavorful food. I still can taste a bit of the sweet and crispy Peking duck with the crisp cucumbers and soft white crepes/tortillas. The smell of fried cubes of river fish with dashes of curry powder and black pepper still linger in my nose. And how can I ever forget the pork and crab soup dumplings at Din Tai Fung? The flavor of the hot, distinctively salty dumplings filled with broth and meaty goodness will never be forgotten. Of course, I've just touched the tip of the iceberg. I've only been to the expensive restaurants in the Gallerias and such- too cowardly to venture into the depths of Beijing cuisine. Regardless, the food was remarkable and it is one of my best food memories yet.

So these are my recreations of my food memories. Whether it be food from Beijing, Tokyo, Seoul, Las Vegas, or good ol' Manhattan, I'm writing about my favorite foods. Plus, I'm cooking some up. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.

I'm in the mood for arepas and queso blanco. Yum, yum. Too bad it's 12:21 AM over here in the suburbs. I'd love a warm slightly corn treat with stretchy, salty cheese.

just an intro.

moist banana muff-cakes.

ciabatta with ham, lettuce, and mustard.

"I'm hungry."
These are the first words I say when I wake up and get home from school.
Food is a secret passion of mine and a big part of my life. These pictures are just a few of my huge collection I call, "food". I like to take photographs of food. This is what drove me to start a food blog. I hope my future readers and I will both benefit from this. "What will you benefit?" you might ask. Ah, I will expand my recipe index, hopefully meet helpful people, make errors, and eat. A lot.

Hasta luego! I'll be back with some recipes. Moist banana muffins that taste like dense cupcakes anyone?