Aug 132014
 

It’s summer, and I am currently obsessed with lemons. I’ve been thinking of new ways to use lemon in my cooking and baking, but the other day, I had a craving for just good old lemon meringue pie.

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And then I thought, why not make mini versions? Because mini pies (or as I like to call them, pie-lets) are adorable. And I do love things that are delicious and adorable!

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I adapted a simple lemon meringue pie recipe from one of my favorite chefs, Alton Brown, and made it miniature-sized! The meringue part didn’t come out as pretty as I had hoped – I should have piped it instead of simply spooning it over the lemon curd – but it was yummy, and that’s all that mattered in the end, I suppose.

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As you can see, the meringue tops are baked until browned, which is the way I like it. However, if you prefer the meringue top a little less baked, you can always shorten the baking time by a couple of minutes.

I used a mixture of Meyer and regular lemons in this recipe, to lessen the acidity, and thus reduced the sugar by a little bit. One of my friends thought that it wasn’t sweet enough, but the sweetness was just right for my preference. If you have a sweet tooth, I’d recommend adding another 1/6 cup of sugar.

I thought that I’d satisfied my lemon craving after making these, but it did just the opposite – now I’ve got ideas for even more lemony desserts! I’ll be trying them out in the upcoming weeks and hopefully sharing them with you!

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Jul 232014
 

Today’s post is a little more than a recipe – I am partnering with my blogger buddies in a San Diego Food Bloggers Lemonade Challenge, in support of a wonderful cause – Alex’s Lemonade Stand.

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Alex’s Lemonade Stand is a fundraiser for childhood cancer, and is the biggest fundraiser in California! Since its inception 9 years ago, Alex’s Lemonade Stand has raised over $80 million and funded more than 450 research projects at 94 institutions! They also help families struggling with childhood cancer by providing a Travel Fund and an annual Educational Symposium.

The 9th annual Alex’s Lemonade Stand will be held this Saturday, July 26 from 10AM-6PM in Normal Heights: 3366 Adams Avenue, 92116 at the Masonic Parking Lot. There will be lemonade, a silent auction, prize drawings, kids’ activities, and live music – it is bound to be a super fun event, supporting an amazing fundraiser.

Alex's Lemonade Stand, 2013

Alex’s Lemonade Stand, 2013

Even if you can’t attend, you can donate online here. A $50 donation funds an hour of research – the biomedical research funding climate is not so great right now (I can personally attest to this, as a grad student in this field), and every little bit will help! Let’s help our hosts, the Miller Tribe, reach their goal of $15,000 this year – which would bring their total to $100,000 for the nine years that they’ve been running!

This week, I join my fellow food bloggers in creating a lemon-based recipe, sponsored by Melissa’s Produce. More than a dozen bloggers will be cooking with lemons in support of Alex’s Lemonade Stand. Be sure to check out the recipes on their blogs!

A Purpose Driven Wife
BakeLoveGive
Becky Charms
Confessions of a Foodie
Deleting the Adjectives
Family Spice
Frugal Nutrition
Golden State Mom
Jinxi Eats
Kirbie’s Cravings
Making It Sweet
Recipe Renovator
Sweet Sueshine
The H Blog
This Tasty Life
The Seaside Baker
Three Dog Kitchen

Melissa’s Produce generously provided both regular and Meyer lemons (as well as a bunch of other amazing fruits!) for me to create my recipe. I remembered something that I had seen on Pinterest, a Greek yogurt lemon coffee cake, and decided to make a Meyer Lemon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake.

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It’s basically a coffee cake, but with a layer of lemon cream cheese in between the cake and crumble part.

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I really enjoyed the textural contrast between the crumble topping and custard-like cream cheese layer! The Meyer lemons gave it a wonderfully sweet yet bright flavor – it was my first time baking with Meyer lemon, and now I’m addicted. I’m already planning to make a batch of Meyer lemon curd this weekend!

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S loved the cake, too, and was quite reluctant when I said I wanted to share some with our friends… haha. That’s when I knew that I made something yummy!

Thanks so much, once again, to Melissa’s Produce for providing the lemons for this post, as well as the produce box! Be sure to check out my fellow bloggers’ lemon recipes in the links above! And finally, I hope you’ll support Alex’s Lemonade Stand, whether by attending the event or making an online donation. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Melissa’s Produce to benefit Alex’s Lemonade Stand: Foundation for Childhood Cancer.

Event Partners:
Alex’s Lemonade Stand
Adams Avenue Business Association
Blind Lady Ale House
FM 94.9, broadcasting live all day
Melissa’s Produce

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Jul 042014
 

Happy birthday, America!

I love Independence Day, not only because it gives me a (much-needed) short break in the middle of summer, but also because of BBQ parties, grilled steaks and burgers, and fireworks! I haven’t quite yet decided what I’ll be bringing to my friend’s party tomorrow, so today I’m sharing something that I made a couple of weeks ago!

I’m not a fan of bananas – something about the taste and texture is really gross to me – but I’m always up for banana bread and banana pudding. Weird, right? Banana bread is one of my favorite comfort foods, and recently I made a version with Nutella swirled right in!

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Honestly, if there’s anything that can make bananas better for me, it’s Nutella.

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The recipe is quite simple and turned out really nicely. The key is not to overmix the dough after adding the dry ingredients to the wet, or the bread may turn out too chewy – so, mix until the ingredients are just combined, and you don’t see the dry flour anymore.

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Apr 252014
 

I’ve shared before that I received a Babycakes Cake Pop maker as a gift earlier this year – I really love it since cake pops are really easy to make, satisfy my cake cravings, and look adorable. (Plus, who can say no to any food on a stick?)

Recently, some of S’s labmates had a birthday celebration, and I made some cake pops for him to bring to work. I had picked up a jar of Betty Crocker’s cookies & cream frosting and decided to use that as a glaze.

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I chose not to glaze the entire cake pop – I think it looks a little prettier that way, and I tend to find frosting a tad too sweet so I didn’t want to go overboard.

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The frosting comes with some cookie crumbs to mix into the frosting, but in addition to the provided amount, I also crushed a couple more Oreo cookies for extra cookie crunch in the creamy frosting. More crunch = more yay!

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I also decided to try and be more “crafty” by putting them in individual little baggies and tying ribbons. Turns out, unlike most other food bloggers, who always package their homemade snacks in adorable ways, I have next to zero crafty skills, and I’m pretty sure it took me longer just to tie these ribbons than making the cake pops… and they didn’t even turn out that pretty. Haha. *Sigh~*

Anyway, they still tasted yummy – S said that his labmates really enjoyed them, which made me super happy. The base recipe is adapted from the cake pop maker’s handbook, and the glaze is obviously from a store-bought mix. I’ve been playing around with homemade icing and glaze recipes and will be sharing more cake pop recipes soon!

Even if you don’t have a cake pop maker, the recipe can be easily adapted to cupcakes (especially mini cupcakes!) – simply butter a cupcake pan and fill each cup to about 3/4 full with batter. The baking times would need to be adjusted to longer, though. Please feel free to play around with baking times and temperature, and let me know how it turned out! :)

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Apr 072014
 

I’ve been thinking about mini donuts for a while – they’re super adorable, and since each one is so tiny, it can’t be all that bad to eat one… or two… or maybe ten, right? Well, my dear sister gifted me with a mini donut pan a while back, and I finally put them to good use and match a batch of cinnamon sugar donuts!

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I had never made donuts before, either baked or fried, so I turned to my trusty blogger buddy’s recipe on Kirbie’s Cravings for the donut base. I had cinnamon on my mind, though, so I dipped them in cinnamon sugar as a topping. 

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I was really surprised at just how many donuts the recipe made! I didn’t read it super carefully because I was so excited to be making donuts, haha. I was thinking that I really needed another mini donut pan so that I could bake more at once. The recipe below made about 48 mini donuts, which meant 4 rounds of baking in my 12-cavity pan

I didn’t mind too much, though, because these were so delicious – especially when they were hot – so I kept sneaking freshly-baked donuts while I was waiting for the pan to cool for the next batch! I hope you enjoy them as much as S and I did!

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Mar 242014
 

I’m really lucky to be part of a lab that loves cooking and eating, and we get to “showcase” our cooking skills through themed potlucks! It’s a really fun tradition; some of the themes we’ve had were: signature dishes from cities, foods that incorporate beer, all-American potluck, pork-luck… among many others. Recently, we had a potluck with the theme “foods from childhood.” I thought long and hard about what to make, since I just remember eating “normal” Chinese food for most of my childhood, haha. And then I remembered – pizza rolls! I had a love-hate relationship with pizza when I was a kid; I really hated cheese on normal pizzas, but in pizza rolls I thought it was great. I was a weird kid I guess… Anyway, as a kid I only had frozen pizza rolls, but now it seemed easy enough to make my own.

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I received some coupons from Pillsbury a while back to test out some of their pizza crust products – what a great chance to test these out! I was short on time that day, so I also used pre-bought pizza sauce from Trader Joe’s.

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They didn’t turn out too pretty, but the taste was delicious! And that’s all that really mattered to me and my labmates, haha.

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I left five rolls at home for S to try, since he wasn’t able to attend the potluck. I figured he’d probably eat one or two at most (since he’s not a huge pizza fan) and I’d still have some left over. To my surprise, they were all gone when I came home! I was pretty flattered that he liked them, hehe.

These are super easy to put together, and they brought me back to childhood. I’ll definitely be making these again as an appetizer or party snack!

Disclaimer: I was sent coupons for a complimentary can of Pillsbury pizza crust. I was not otherwise compensated for the post.

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Feb 052014
 

A few months ago, I posted about Melt Organic Spread, a butter alternative. I had a great experience with it in both sweet and savory applications, and I have been replacing butter with Melt in some of my cooking ever since I tried it out. Now, Melt is hosting a giveaway for my readers to win a prize package, including a spreader, cutting board, and two VIP coupons for free Melt spread.

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To enter the giveaway: simply visit the Melt Organic giveaway page, enter your name and email, and select that you follow the blog Jinxi Eats. That’s it! Melt Organic will choose a winner in early March. Good luck!

Meanwhile, I got a cool new toy recently from a dear friend…

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A Babycakes cake pop maker! I see these online and in stores all the time, but never purchased one because I didn’t know how well it would work. Well, apparently these cake pop makers are all the rage among Taiwanese ladies in the U.S., because they can make a variety of Asian treats, including “egg cakes” (雞蛋糕), a popular Taiwanese street-food snack.

Egg cakes

Taiwanese egg cakes are vaguely reminiscent of Hong Kong egg waffles or egg puffs. They should be browned and crispy on the outside and have a soft, fluffy interior. No frosting is needed for these mini cakes – the point is to let their “eggy” taste come through.

Even if you don’t have a cake pop maker, which conveniently has the holes/molds for egg cakes, you can make them in a mini muffin pan or mini popover pan. The batter is super easy to make, and uses simple ingredients that can be found in most pantries – and I used Melt Organic Spread in place of butter for these egg cakes! The base recipe comes from a good friend of mine, who is an amazing cook. (I am so jealous of her family who get to eat her homecooked meals and snacks everyday!

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Feb 022014
 

Need a last-minute recipe idea for Super Bowl entertaining? I must admit, I have been too busy these days to prepare and test special recipes. But I was fortunate to receive a few coupons for Pillsbury Crescent dinner rolls, so I put those to use for game day snacks!

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I used one can of the original Crescent dinner rolls and one package of Japanese mini-sausages; the slightly sweet rolls paired perfectly with the smoky, salty mini sausages. I’m thinkin’ these would make great appetizers, too.

Ready to bake!

Ready to bake!

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Fresh out of the oven

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Dec 232013
 

As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I’ve been doing a bit more baking these days as part of my “getting into the holiday spirit”! Haha. I decorated our apartment a bit – a tabletop-sized Christmas tree from Trader Joe’s, stockings on our wall (no fireplace though), snowflake-shaped lights on our porch… it’s been quite fun! Here’s a photo that I stitched together of some our the decor:

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Anyway, I was in the baking mood and decided to try making holiday cookies. I bought a set of holiday-shaped cookie cutters and really wanted to try them out. Previously, the only type of cookies I have ever made were drop cookies – for example, the basic chocolate chip cookie, where you just “drop” rounds of batter onto the baking sheet, and the cookie will spread into a circle. However, these usually can’t be used with cookie cutters to make fun shapes – for that, you’d need a more solid dough that can be cut. And being my ambitious self, I decided to try making Nutella sandwich cookies on my first attempt.

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Dec 182013
 

It’s been such a long time since my last recipe post! I’ve been doing a lot of recipe discovery lately, trying to fit in the winter/holiday theme. I don’t usually do much holiday prep, but trying to get into it a bit more this year.

Butternut squash is one of my favorite winter squashes. It has such a warm and hearty flavor, and it’s great in everything from soups to stir-fries to dessert! Recently, I came across a recipe for butternut squash quick-bread and knew immediately that I had to try it.

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The squash is first roasted with butter and brown sugar, then puréed and incorporated into a quick bread flour mixture with plenty of spices. I absolutely loved the taste. It was rich and moist, and I had originally thought to serve it with a dollop of cream cheese, but it turned out delicious on its own.

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