March 30, 2008

Chicks need...

Chocolate and cheesecake, so a crave-all, solve-all equals cheesecake brownies! To add a touch of Asian, we threw in some matcha action. A moist, decadent, chocolate concoction prepared by the lovely Wong sisters, Aliyah & Stephanie, and me fed many lucky ladies.

Look! A shiny, chocolatey batter.

Whipping up some matcha cream cheese.

Still hot and bubbling.

Matcha Cheesecake Brownies

Brownie batter:
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Matcha cream cheese batter:
8 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
3/4 tsp matcha powder

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of the baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides. Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in a double boiler. Stir until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl and set aside briefly until the mixture cools. Stir in the vanilla and add the eggs one at a time stirring to combine after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour. Spread evenly in the lined pan. Beat cream cheese with granulated sugar until light and creamy. Add in the egg yolk and matcha powder and beat until combined. Transfer cream cheese batter into a plastic bag and pipe over brownie dough. Bake at 325 degrees F for 30 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack. Lift up the ends of the foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board.

Adapted from Alice Medrich

A sliver of the behind for your eyes to savor.

March 28, 2008

I can taste...

with my eyes--no, it is not a super power, but aesthetics rank supreme in delicious cooking. It somehow triggers salivation, and then, I can't stop my fork from plundering in. Tonight's dinner with Wilson is something simple I pulled from my cabinets. Mexican Crab Cakes and Peach Parfaits.

Mexican Crab Cakes

1 egg
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
5 crushed saltines
1/3 cup bread crumbs
1 Tbsp Remoulade
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp chili powder
1 6 oz canned crab meat
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup Mexican shredded cheese

Peach Salsa

1/4 cup diced peach
1/3 cup chunky salsa
1 tsp lime juice


1/2 mashed avocado
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp salsa
1/4 tsp salt

In a medium bowl, whisk together egg and parsley. Add crushed saltines, Remoulade, pepper and chili powder until combined. Fold in drained crab. Roll crab mixture into cakes and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake about 10 minutes at 400 degrees F. Flip crab cake onto other side and top with cheese. Bake for another 2 minutes.

Ready to eat!

Melted cheddar cheeseee...

Macro innards shot.

Peach Parfait

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup diced peaches
1 Tbsp peach syrup
1 cup nilla wafers

Whip cream, sugar, vanilla extract. Sliced peaches to small chunks. Place nilla wafers at bottom of glass and cover with peach syrup. Add a layer of whipped cream and top with diced peaches. Continue layering and top with crushed nilla wafers. Chill before serving.

Peaches taste like Spring. I'm ready, are you?

March 24, 2008

Am I in support...

of the cupcake craze? Yes, guilty as charged. After promising to save room in my stomach for dinner, I immediately splurged on a cute, red velvet cupcake from Tart Pastry (that fluffy, white icing...I'm just too weak). How else do I satisfy my sweet tooth? You don't even want to know...

Simple yet perfect.

Raspberry Cheesecake, Pistachio, Chocolate Hazelnut, Banana Cream Pie: I delude myself into thinking gelato is healthy.

Jasmine Creme Brulee from Asian Mint.

Can we say glutton much?

March 20, 2008

I am this much closer...

To becoming a real person. Shocking? Yes, very. Great things always happen in Texas, my sunshine state. Who knows where my future will take me? Perhaps, I will return to my home state one day, but for now, New York City lures me into its giant melting pot. I am anxious about my first real job and elated about the result of confessing my culinary intentions. I always seek parental approval, but this time, I received more than that; they genuinely tried to warm up to the idea and stay supportive. That's more than I could ever ask for.

Now for the anticipated confession-chat dinner menu: Vegetable Cracker Baked Alaskan Halibut, Lemon Garlic Fingerling Potatoes, Baked Carrots with Chipotle Pesto, Cookies with Pomegranate Ice Cream

Vegetable Cracker Baked Halibut

1/2 cup crushed vegetable crackers
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp paprika
1 Tbsp flour
Salt & Pepper
1 egg
1 Tbsp lemon juice
3 halibut fillets Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Combine crushed vegetable crackers, garlic powder, and paprika together on a plate. Mix flour, salt, and pepper together in another plate. Whisk egg in a bowl. Pat both sides of each cod fillet with lemon juice before seasoning with salt and pepper. Dip only one side of cod fillet in the flour, shaking off excess. Then, dip the fillets in egg. Press each of fillets into the cracker mixture coating only the top side. Place encrusted cod onto a sheet pan and bake for about 15 minutes.

In the pan.

Lemon Garlic Fingerling Potatoes

4 ounces fingerling potatoes
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp pine nuts
Salt & Pepper
1 clove minced garlic
1/4 cup sliced scallions

Boil potatoes until tender. Combine lemon juice, olive oil, pine nuts, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Drain and slice the potatoes in half and toss with lemon sauce. On high heat, cook minced garlic until fragrant. Sautee marinated potatoes with garlic in skillet for five minutes on low heat until edges are crisp. Let potatoes cool and top with scallions.

Baked Carrots with Chipotle Pesto

Handful of carrots
1 Tbsp olive oil
Salt & Pepper

Trim ends of carrots after washing and slice into thin strips. Toss olive oil, salt, and pepper with carrot strips in a baking pan. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes.

I am all about decorations.

Pomegranate Ice Cream

3/4 cup pomegranate juice
1 cup powdered sugar
2 cups heavy cream
Pomegranate seeds

Combine pomegranate juice with powdered sugar and whisk to dissolve. Whisk in the cream and keep whisking until soft peaks form a smooth pink cream. Spoon and smooth the ice cream into a large plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. Freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight. Scatter the pomegranate seeds and blueberries over the top when serving. (Adapted from Nigella Lawson)

The poison of choice.

The final product.

Baked fish is always tender.

Must have the sweets!

I throw two thumbs up signs.

March 19, 2008

No one should ever be allowed…

To eat this much in a matter of days. My trip to Austin was awesome to say the least. Who knew how fun bright orange paint could be. Before being whisked away by the coolest girl alive, I stuffed my face with lunch at Patrizio’s. Let’s review:

Chicken & Spinach Lasagna

Eggplant Parmigiana with Angel Hair

Down in Austin
, I found myself extremely domesticated, cooking day and night waiting for my lover to come home. (Not that I’m complaining!) Anita, Diana and I had a cute little brunch at Vespaio along South Congress. The street scene is amazingly trendy with many style inspirations EVERYWHERE—I enjoyyy.

Crispy Crab Cake with Brown Butter Hollandaise & Sauteed Spinach

The innards.

Pine Nut Honey Tart (Flaky Sweet & Savory Pate Sucree)

I had to take another shot.

Utilizing all resources in the Shen-Park kitchen.

Saltine, Spicy Chip Encrusted Chicken served with a side of Sriracha Mayo
and Limes

Our dinner.

I always need my caffeine fix in the morning.

My giant coconut macaroons with dark chocolate blackberry sauce & chopped walnuts; they were said to bring inspiration for painting and uniting an uncommon marriage between a duck and the gas mask man.

Say hello to Chris Marco
’s pot roast. Look at that color!

I couldn’t resist another macro shot.

Only the best soul mate, edamame pea in a pod a girl could ask for, and check out her devious stance.

Steamed vegetable dumplings that look way better than they taste.

’s steamed artichoke with a secret vinaigrette recipe. (I think it’s time you spilled the beans.)

With a hungry belly right off the plane, my parents rushed me for an emergency feed at Bread Winners. Note: Breakfast is not my thing, but this one was a must.

An afternoon snack at Luna de Noche provided by the oh-so-generous Cornell Alumnus, David Kismet ’82. Chinese people can never pass up free food, especially food that includes Crab Quesadillas and Jalapeno Poppers.

I swear my parents forced me to eat dinner! La Duni’s Choripan (Grilled Argentinean Sausage in a Popover). I won’t even explain the rest…

I didn’t want to overdose on pictures though I probably already did. Sadly, these pictures don’t even cover half of what I ate. WHAT A BEAST.

March 15, 2008

Back in Texas...

for all of 5 seconds and I'm already elated to be soaking up some of that 80 degree weather. Too many things about Texas make me happy--take for instance, a belly full of yummies the moment I step off the plane. A highly anticipated dinner at Tom Flemming's Central 214 does not disappoint (at least not completely...), but you'll have to read my books for the full review. :p

Crocodile Skin Lined Menu

The first time I asked for extra olives (that says something).

Grilled Hanger Steak with Crispy Fries and Roasted Garlic Butter (and a stuffed Roma Tomato, was it supposed to be there?)

Herb Grilled Lamb Loin with Fontina Cheese Grits and Mint Chimichurri

Pan-Seared Sea Bass with Spring Onions and Shaved Asparagus

Trio of Pies (Lemon Meringue, Pecan, Fresh Berry a la Mode)

The Vanilla Bean Ice cream paired with my Cranberry Bread Pudding (they just never look too pretty).

Best dinner and chat with the parents. What a way to end the night (with a side of speed shopping and pairing mismatched outfits)!

March 6, 2008

With a farewell...

to being 21 and a welcome to turning 22, I baked Jen, my glamorous wing chick of a roommate, her very own birthday cake.

Granny Smith Apples.

Mixing the frosting for a rosy pink.

The first layer topped with candied walnuts.

For decoration.

The product shot one.

The product shot two.

To Jen: We will stumble upon many more interesting adventures and characters and continue our gracious "philanthropy" in the city. Love you.