Have I ever mentioned that I ADORE Parisian Macarons?
Oh…. maybe just once? Twice? A gazillion times?
I absolutely ADORE breakfast foods but I am the grumpiest person in the morning. Which is why brunch is so fantabulous!
Trust me. Your guests will love you.
I was always so envious of that Charlie.
Don’t get me wrong–he totally deserved it but to get FULL access to Willy Wonka’s Factory?! C’mon Now! How must have that felt? What did he do? What amazing aromas did he smell?
And then out of the blue, I got my Golden Ticket…….to the AMAZING Kings Hawaiian in Torrance, California. JACKPOT!!
In 1950, Robert Taira, opened up a bakery in Hilo, Hawai’i featuring delicious baked goods inspired from his neighbor’s ONO Portuguese bread. After much determination and ambition, Kings Hawaiian has not only become the number one dinner roll in the country but also offers delicious local grindz and pastries.
So you can imagine my utter glee when I accepted their invitation to participate in their first EVER public tour!!!! Chhheeeee-Hoooooo!!
After being warmly greeted with fresh floral leis, POG juice and fresh fruit, we were given an Aloha from Kings Hawaiian’s CEO, Mark Taira. Mark and the ‘Ohana, gave us an overview of the history of KH and where the organization was headed. And before the bread comatose kicks in, let me say, that the KH organization truly exudes the spirit of Aloha.
I have had the fortunate privilege to spend some time in Hilo. And unlike it’s hustle-bustle sister-city of Honolulu, Hilo is a little slower paced and focuses on communal-’ohana living. And I’m proud to say that the organization of Kings Hawaiian exudes every part of that.
We were then privy to a first hand tour of the factory and OH….MY…GAWD.
Words CANNOT begin to describe the delicious aromas that filled ALL of my senses. It took EVERY ounce of will power for me to not reach over the belts and grab a roll.
And lucky for us at the end of our factory tour, our group was able to sample fresh rolls that were steaming HOT right out of the ovens, pulled from the conveyer belts, and into my mouth. Good grief! Did I mention that we slathered them with butter?!
At that point, I had died and gone to heaven.
We were then escorted to an amazing luncheon featuring local food trucks who used King Hawaiian products in their dishes. SERIOUSLY!?!
Lobsta Truck, Kogi BBQ, Ludo Truck, Buttermilk Truck and ONO grindz from Kings Hawaiian! Everything was so flipping ONO-LICIOUS that my only question was–Why didn’t someone tell me to wear elastic waistband pants?!?
Everything I tasted hit a note that made me do a Happy Dance.
At the end of the day, I walked away with the following:
Mahalo nui loa Kings Hawaiian for the wonderful day and memorable experience! Your spirit has truly inspired me.
Much, MUCH Alohas,
ps. And to the ROCKIN’ bloggers, food writers, and food lovers I met that day—let’s K.I.T.!!!
pps. Stay tuned as some RAD recipes featuring Kings Hawaiian bread will soon to follow!
So here’s the thing….
A few weeks ago I went to NYC and well— went full blown Hobbit. Eating style that is.
In an effort to try and retry all the good eats the city has to offer, I had several meals a day including multiple snacks in between. 1st Breakfast, 2nd Breakfast, Elevenses, Luncheon, Tea, Dinner, Supper…….
Such goodness included…
Dungeness Crab in Sticky Rice in Flushing………..
A full blown traditional robatayaki style dinner at Robataya……
Antipasti at Eataly, Crif Dog, Luke’s Lobster, Halal Cart goodness, Ippudo, Momofuku, Motorino, il laboratorio del gelato, smoked meat sammies, poutine, fried anchovies, organic-local popsicles, cannolis, Doughnut Plant..…..and the list goes on, and on. Did I mention I was there for barely 4 days?
It was glorious dear friends, truly GLORIOUS! And I’m sure the folks from The Shire would have been proud.
But the truth is, somewhere towards the end of my trip I realized I needed to give my body a reprieve when I got home. More greens, less booze, and lighter eating. So, I kidnapped my sister’s juicer, stocked my fridge with tons of produce and got to juicing.
And let me tell you— it’s been delicious! Since I’ve been home I have knocked back a Green Juice everyday. Not too shabby considering I’ve been back for over 3 weeks.
Almost anything goes when it comes to my juices and the ingredients are usually dictated by what is on hand at my farmers market or what’s on sale at the grocery store. The recipe below happens to be one of my favorite combinations of late. They’re rough measurements but you can adjust and add depending on your preference.
I’m not sure how long I’ll stay on my juicing kick but one thing is certain…. my Hobbit-alter-ego will make a reappearance when I go back to NYC this fall.
Nam’s Fav Green Juice (for now)
1 (Large) Bunch Kale
4 Cups Spinach
1 Cup Parsley
3 Apples (I like a mix of Fuji and Granny Smith)
4 Carrots with their tops on
1 Inch Fresh Ginger Root
Juice of 1 Lemon
Throw all the produce into your juicer and enjoy!
Whether you’re hosting/attending a Super Bowl bash, no game day is complete without a table of goodness to nosh on. Check out my 20 Super Bowl recipes that will have your loved ones not only cheering for your fav team but also for you—-whatever the results of the game may be!
I’ve been back home in San Diego for a few days now but I’m still so EXHAUSTED from the 3rd Annual Foodbuzz Blogger Festival. And you would be too if you talked, ate, and uh—drank as much as I did!
And truth be told, I’ve been racking my brain on how to accurately convey and depict all of the events and highlights that transpired over the weekend. From the Awards Dinner, Tasting Event, Gala Event, and even the delish cooking demo from Chef Tyler Florence……it was all a fabulous time!
But through it all, the most fulfilling aspect of the festival was reconnecting and meeting with the talented food bloggers from all over. I reveled at meeting some writers that I have long admired and especially those who I have corresponded with but have never met in person.
And let me just say….there were some shenanigans! With that much delish food and adult beverages—how can there not be???
I’ve got a huge list of folks who I now will be following and I barely met a fraction of the attendees. So many bloggers, so little time!
Quick shot out to some amazing folks who really MADE my time at the festival—so thankful to have connected face to facel!
There were SO many of you that I was fortunate to have connected with and I CANNOT wait to give you a big ol’ hug next year! And for those who I didn’t get to see, I’ve got my eye out for you next year!
And although the festival was jammed pack, I did get a quick chance to snag a few goodies outside of the festival…..
Salad Niçoise (not shown), Macarons and a Cannelé from La Boulange Bakery
Frog Hollow Blood Orange “Bellini”, Kimchee Fried Rice with Egg and Challah French Toast at Namu SF
Spicy Mung Bean Dosas, Chicken Roti, and Bengali Gimlet at Dosa SF
“I love Pasta…… I love Pasta…..I love Pasta…….Yea, yea, yea, yea!”
In case you didn’t get that….that was my “pasta song”. I’m a horrible singer and I really don’t like karaoke. But I just adore pastas so much that I just have to sing it out sometimes.
One day I came home from work to find a box sitting at my front door. And in that box, there were PASTAS!!!!!!!
Oh yes—it was a red letter day.
Thanks to Dreamfields Healthy Pasta, I had lasagna sheets and penne rigate at my disposal! They feature pastas that are lower in carbohydrates, high in fiber—and most importantly, delish!
I took this opportunity to make lasagna rolls filled with spinach and sausage. Rolls are a fun way to change up traditional lasagnas and since the edges are usually my favorite part (due to the extra crispiness) rolls are the perfect way to go.
And on that note…..
“I love Pasta…… I love Pasta…..I love Pasta…….Yea, yea, yea, yea!”
Yeah….I should just stick to cooking.
Spinach and Sausage Lasagna Rolls
8 Lasagna Sheets
¼ Cup Shallots, finely diced
2 Garlic Cloves, finely minced
½ Pound Italian Sausage
1 (10-ounce) Bag Frozen Spinach, thawed and excess water squeezed out
1 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
¼ Teaspoon Dried Chili Flakes
¼ Cup Goat Cheese
¼ Cup Cream Cheese
3 Cups Marinara Sauce
1½ Cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Soak the lasagna sheets in hot tap water for 8-10 minutes.
In a skillet, heat olive oil and sauté shallots until they are translucent. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add the sausage to the pan. Use a wooden spoon to crumble the meat and break into small pieces. Once the meat is no longer pink, add the spinach, thyme and chili flakes. Season with kosher salt. Remove pan from the heat and add goat cheese and cream cheese. Stir to combine.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and drain the lasagna sheets. Spread about one cup of the marinara sauce on the bottom of a baking dish. Set aside.
Spoon/spread about 3-4 tablespoons of the spinach-sausage mixture across each lasagna sheet. Carefully roll up each sheet and place the rolls, seam side down inside the baking dish. Cover the tops of each roll with a few spoonfuls of marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. Transfer to the preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes.
To serve, warm up the remainder of the marinara sauce. Add a few spoonfuls to the bottom of the plate and place rolls on top.
*** I received Dreamfields Healthy Pasta to sample, however, all views and opinions expressed are my own.***
I remember the first time I ever tried Tiramisu.
It was on a date with my high school bf at an Italian restaurant in Orange County. At the end of the meal, our server brought over a huge dish of Tiramisu, compliments of the restaurant. Who knows…..he was probably trying to help the guy to impress me.
Not one to ever pass on desserts, I quickly grabbed a spoon and took a big bite. My sweet tooth was forever changed. It was rich, creamy and yet somehow light and fluffy at the same time.
So good! Then again, it could have been the rum in it that was skewing my 16 year old taste buds.
Like my previous post of Oeufs en Cocotte, you absolutely MUST use the freshest eggs possible in this dessert as Tiramisu is not cooked. The Safest Choice™Pasteurized Eggs I received were perfectly put to use in this.
The recipe below is a slightly tweaked version from Gabriele Corcos & Debi Mazar from the Cooking Channel’s show Extra Virgin. They are such a cute pair and I absolutely love watching them. Their preparation is quite simple to do and yields delish results. One thing to note is to be careful not to soak the ladyfingers too long in the liquids or else it will get way too mushy. A quick dip of just one side of the cookie does the trick.
Slightly Adapted from Gabriele Corcos & Debi Mazar
2 cups freshly brewed, strong coffee (cooled)
1/2 tablespoon instant espresso powder
2 (8-ounce) containers mascarpone
5 eggs, separated
14 ounces savoiardi cookies (firm ladyfingers)
4 ounces sugar, plus 2 tablespoons or more, for the coffee
2 ounces dark rum
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup shaved dark chocolate, to garnish
While the coffee is still warm, add 2 tablespoons sugar and espresso powder. Stir until dissolved and allow to cool in a shallow dish. Once cooled, stir in the rum.
Whisk the egg yolks with 2 ounces sugar, and beaut until you obtain a creamy light mixture. Work the mascarpone in a bowl using a wooden spoon, making sure you eliminate any lumps, then add the mascarpone to the sugar-egg yolk mixture and continue to mix well.
In a separate bowl, mix the egg whites, pinch of salt, and the remaining 2 ounces sugar, until they reach a somewhat firm, but fluffy consistency, then add them to the mascarpone mixture.
Quickly dip one side of each of the savoiardi cookies (firm ladyfingers) in the coffee mixture, and one by one lay them flat into a 7 by 11 pyrex tray, making sure you do not soak the cookies, as you want to make sure they maintain their firmness. Once the first layer of cookies has been laid out, spread a layer of the mascarpone cream on top, and dust with 1 tablespoon cocoa powder.
Now, again, prepare another layer of coffee-dipped cookies, cream and cocoa powder. Garnish the top of the cake with the shaved dark chocolate.
Cover the tray with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 3 hours so the flavors can marry and the tiramisu can settle.
So simple, so delicious, so versatile.
I recently got the opportunity to try out Safest Choice™Pasteurized Eggs and was excited at the chance to cook with them. In many recipes, eggs are served undercooked or even raw. For some, this can be a wary call as Salmonella (salmonellosis) is quite a serious concern. As such, it’s important to always use the freshest eggs when cooking. And eggs pasteurized in their shells is even a safer bet!
I’m one of those people who could eat breakfast all day long. Eggs Benedict rank among my favorite breakfast/brunch dishes—-right up there with a big ol’ plate of rice, SPAM, and an egg over easy. Now that’s some comfort food!
I definitely wanted to make a breakfast/brunch dish using Safest Choice™Pasteurized Eggs and first on my list were Oeufs en Cocotte……also known as Shirred Eggs.
Oeufs en Cocotte are baked eggs in a water bath. The yolks are meant to remain on the runny side but this unctuousness is fabulous to dip toast into. As for the sauteed mushrooms—-well, y’all know I try to sneak mushrooms into almost everything I make
I opted not to add any cream to the eggs as I didn’t think it’s needed–especially because of the Gruyere. But by all means, it won’t hurt my feelings if you add a splash in. And best yet, Oeufs en Cocotte are so easy and look so fancy-schmancy that they are perfect to entertain with!
Stay tuned for Monday’s post when I share how I used Safest Choice™Pasteurized Eggs in a rich and decadent dessert!
Oeufs en Cocotte with Mushrooms
2 Fresh Eggs
1 Cup Mushrooms (I used a mix of crimini and shitakes)
2 Tablespoons Gruyere Cheese
1 Tablespoon Shallots, diced
1 Garlic Clove, finely diced
2 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat olive oil in a skillet and sauté shallots until translucent. Add mushrooms and cook until tender, about 5-6 minutes. Add thyme leaves and garlic and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Butter 2 ramekins. Place ½ of the mushroom mixture into each ramekin and top with the cheese. Carefully crack one egg into each ramekin and season with salt and pepper. Place ramekins into a baking dish and fill with boiling water until it reaches ½ way up the sides of the ramekins. Transfer the dish to the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until the eggs whites have set but the yolks are still a runny.
Carefully remove from water bath and serve with toast.
* I received Safest Choice™Pasteurized Eggs to sample, however, all views and opinions expressed are my own.
It’s no secret that I began drinking coffee at an early age…..like at 11 or 12.
But before you judge my upbringing, you’ve got to remember that I’m Vietnamese and cà phê (Vietnamese Coffee) practically runs in our veins. Well, that and nước mắm (fish sauce) of course
So you can imagine my delight when a box arrived at my door with a few bags of Godiva’s new line of coffee to play around with. There were so may different routes I could have gone with but since July was National Ice Cream month, I decided to make a coffee flavored ice cream using Godiva Chocolate Truffle Coffee. And of course, adding in chocolate was a must!
The end results were AH-MAY-ZING! The coffee flavor was the star but the chocolate shards were such great little bits of surprises throughout the whole thing.
And you want to know a secret?
I didn’t even use an ice cream machine to make this! Yup….totally old school! Thanks to David Lebovitz, all you need to make your own homemade ice cream is a few ingredients, a cold freezer, and a little patience.
And if you’re looking to make an adult version of this ice cream, throw in some Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur! Because after all, why the heck not?
Godiva Coffee-Chip Ice Cream
Makes approximately 1 Quart
1½ Cups Whole Milk
1½ Cups Heavy Cream
3 Large Egg Yolks
2 Large Eggs
½ Cup Sugar
½ Cup Strongly Brewed Coffee (I used Godiva Chocolate Truffle Coffee)
1 Teaspoon Instant Espresso
5 Ounces Dark Chocolate, roughly chopped
1/4 Cup Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur (optional)
Dissolve the espresso into the brewed coffee. Allow the coffee to cool to room temperature.
In a mixing stand, whisk the eggs, yolks and sugar in a bowl for 2 minutes until its pale yellow in color. Heat milk and cream in a medium saucepan until it is near-boiling and turn off heat. Turn the mixer on medium-high and gradually drizzle in ½ of the hot milk/cream into the egg mixture. Once the mixture has been tempered and combined, pour it back into the saucepan with the remaining milk/cream. Heat medium low, stirring constantly, for a few more minutes or until the consistency is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon when dipped in. Turn off heat. Whisk in the coffee/espresso and Baileys (if using). Pour the custard base into a bowl and chill over an ice bath.
Once the custard has chilled, pour it into a glass baking dish and place directly into the freezer for 45 minutes. Pull out of the freezer and use a rubber spatula to vigorously stir the mixture, breaking up any frozen bits. Place back in the freezer and continue to check the mixture every 30 minutes, stirring vigorously as it’s freezing.
When the custard is nearly frozen, take the chocolate and heat over a water bath. Take out the dish and drizzle the chocolate over the top of the custard. The chocolate should harden fairly quick and use the rubber spatula to break it up into small pieces. Transfer the ice cream to a covered storage container until ready to serve.
*If using machine, add the chilled custard base into the machine and follow manufacturer’s directions.
As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received Godiva Coffee. However, all views and opinions expressed here are my own.