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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Continue reading »

May 062014
 

Paris Baguette is a Korean bakery chain with a couple of locations in San Diego: one inside H-Mart in Mira Mesa, and another inside Zion Marketplace in Kearny Mesa. PB has always had a decent selection of assorted pastries and breads, and I wanted to share some of the recent goodies that I’ve tried.

Coffee Cream Cronut

Coffee Cream Cronut

Last year, Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York City created a pastry that went viral – the Cronut, a croissant-doughnut hybrid that contains a layer of pastry cream on the inside. I’m not too into “food trends”, mostly because 1) I don’t like waiting in line for food, and 2) I don’t like having to get up early just to get something before it gets sold out. Haha. I’m a bad food blogger, I guess. Anyway, bakeries were coming out with their own copycat cronuts, and Paris Baguette was one of them. I was finally able to snag one recently – they come in two flavors, orange cream and coffee cream. (I’ve also heard that they have other flavors as well, actually.)

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There was a layer of coffee-flavored pastry cream inside as well as on top. The croissant dough was light and fluffy, with a crispy exterior. I enjoyed it, but I still think I like croissants and doughnuts separately.

Chocolate Danish

Chocolate Danish

This is a relatively new pastry, at least as far as I’ve seen. Even though it says “danish,” I think it’s more like a chocolate croissant. The dough was flaky and buttery, with plenty of chocolate throughout.

Green Pea Bread

Green Pea Bread

When I first saw this pastry, I seriously thought that it was a typo on the label and that it was green tea bread. Continue reading »

Apr 232014
 

Every time I go to LA, I always have to make a pit stop in Irvine for bread from 85°C Bakery and Bon Epi Patisserie. Up until a few times ago, I didn’t even know that Bon Epi existed, but thanks to some awesome bloggers, it’s now a must-go for me. I really love the macarons there – some of the best that I’ve had, in fact.

I’ve posted on Bon Epi before, but I didn’t realize that there weren’t many photos of the place itself so I didn’t take any more… oops. Well, next time (since I’m sure there will be more visits in the future).

I had a purpose on this visit – to try the ham & cheese croissant, which is a favorite of the blogger Cathy from mmm-yoso.

Ham and Cheese Croissant

Ham and Cheese Croissant

I was really lucky that the ham and cheese croissant was still warm when I bought it. So of course, I ate it in the car, right away.

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I did not expect the cream cheese as the part of the “cheese” – but since I like the ham and cream cheese combo, I was very pleasantly surprised! The croissant was every bit as delicious as I had hoped, and I would definitely have gone back to the store to buy a few more of these to devour on the spot, if I didn’t exercise all my self-control.

Corn & Cheese Roll

Onion and Cheese Roll

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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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Continue reading »

Nov 222013
 

I’ve already posted once about my recent visits to 85°C Bakery in Irvine, one of my favorite Taiwanese bakeries (in the U.S.). I felt like I purchased way too much stuff to fit into one post, so I split it into two, haha. It’s actually taken S and me quite a while to finish all the breads – thankfully, nothing got moldy or stale. We usually refrigerate everything (sometimes, I put it in resealable bags) and toast the breads before eating them – there’s nothing like warm bread. Anyway, enough small talk; I’m going straight to the pastries.

Green Tea & Red Bean Roll; Coconut Custard Roll

Green Tea & Red Bean Roll; Coconut Custard Roll

Green Tea & Red Bean Roll

Green Tea & Red Bean Roll

These were actually gifts for my friends; I’ve had both of these roll cakes before, and they’re both soft and fluffy sponge cakes with fresh cream rolled in the middle. I prefer the coconut custard roll, which has a pretty strong coconut flavor and is quite sweet (but is an awesome tea time snack), but my friend’s favorite is the green tea & red bean. I’ve never been a fan of red bean, but the green tea taste is really mellow and fragrant. I wish they made a roll that was just green tea, haha.

Coffee & Raisin Bread

Coffee & Raisin Bread

Continue reading »

Nov 082013
 

As I mentioned, I’ve made a couple of trips to LA/Lake Arrowhead recently (and one more trip to come). I almost always try to stop by the Taiwanese bakery 85°C in Irvine on my way back from LA, because I love the pastries there. 85°C Bakery is a chain from Taiwan, but surprisingly the breads here are actually much better quality than in the same store in Taiwan. S thinks it’s because Taiwan is almost saturated with bakeries, and 85°C can’t really compare with the competition, but in the US, it’s easily one of the best.

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Located in the Diamond Jamboree plaza, it’s one of many Asian shops/restaurants in the area. The parking lot is usually quite crowded, but there is a parking garage in the back. If you go on the weekend, there’s usually a line out the door for 85°C. Luckily, during my visits, the lines weren’t too bad. You grab a tray and a pair of tongs and pick whatever you want from the display cases of breads. It was way too crowded for me to get a decent photo of the interior, so I’ll move on to the food… As you might tell from the post title, this is simply Part One. 

Savory breads:

Cheese Bun

Cheese Bun

Squid Ink (Calamari) Bread

Squid Ink (Calamari) Bread

Pork Floss Bread

Pork Floss Bread

These are the three of my favorite savory bread items. Continue reading »