Tagged: Dessert

Salted Caramel Shortbread

I’ve been on something of an extended “vacation” post-Guatemala. Seriously. Guatemala spoiled me – just a little bit. I’ve been m.i.a. from the kitchen and temporarily preoccupied with other interests and endeavors (like this). I can’t help it! I have a tendency of becoming completely and irrevocably consumed in spurts by the things I love.
But that isn’t to say I’ve forgotten about you, loyal and lovely readers, whoever you are. This is still my first baby, after all. Continue reading

Summer Fruit Bruschetta & Homemade Ricotta

Most of the time, I enjoy baking and cooking alone. This can typically be attributed to two things. The first being that, well, I’m Haein and I am the clumsiest girl I know. In other words, I like sparing myself the shame, so please continue to keep me on that culinary pedestal as I continue to make a mess masterpiece in my kitchen. The second being that having the kitchen all to my lonesome gives me a deep sense of serenity and control – and who doesn’t want complete and total control?! Oh, right, and peace.
But, every once in a while, I have the unexpected pleasure of friends willing to help or learn or just eat in my kitchen (as opposed to my dining room, I guess). My most recent catering event was one such instance of true camaraderie.

One of my best friends was here this past week from California and she’s just left, leaving me feeling bereft. She spent one of her first weekends home helping me prepare for the biggest baking extravaganza of my still-developing life. Not just her, but also several more of the most kindhearted and compassionate friends I have. They volunteered their time and energy to help create a success beyond my imagination. Success for me, of course, being all-inclusive of my ability to occasionally stuff their mouths with so-called mistakes or “extras” (though there really weren’t any) in addition to shoving extra jars of homemade strawberry jam or fresh ricotta cheese into their arms.

But enough about that.
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Green Tea Cheesecake

I’m not a believer in perfection, in life nor in the kitchen. Every endeavor we choose to undertake is an additional notch in our endless belts, a constant work in progress. That said, I present to you two things: my very first and very own Hungry to Happy recipe with all its dreaminess and tasty imperfections and a newly rejuvenated and more hopeful me, freshly graduated with a college degree and henceforth, thrust into the “real world.” Talk about accomplishments, these are huge notches for me!
Creamy, dreamy filling in-the-making!But alas, like all other works in progress, there’s always room for tapping, tweaking, and discovering. Case in point, this near-perfect Green Tea Cheesecake. After having baked more than a couple cheesecakes using a number of wonderfully decadent recipes in my not-so-lengthy lifetime, I decided to get experimental and forge my own. It was alluring with its creamy and earthy filling, rich and toasty crust, and tart and juicy raspberry, but it wasn’t perfect. To my utter horror and glee, it was baked for my first catering event (with the restaurant I represent) for an affluent group of socialites at an effulgent palace of a home. Despite the petrifying need for “perfection,” though imperative at that moment and in others, my minor shortcomings didn’t hinder my ability to learn, to succeed. Continue reading

Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake

Last Thursday evening (and admittedly every Thursday since Halloween okay, okay, early to mid-October), I jumped up, wide-eyed with a toothy grin that stretched from ear to ear, shrieking hysterically to anyone nearby that would listen or pretend to listen (including our periwinkle-colored beta fish that swims ever-so-carelessly in his newly-purchased and attractively-decorated tank next to the kitchen): “Oh my god, oh my god! It’s almost Thanksgiving!”
Do we really even need to wonder why?! I love Thanksgiving: the never ending grocery list and wish list for the subsequent Black Friday, the utter madness of stiff, over-sized metal shopping carts running into each other at Costco, Sam’s Club, and any other supermarket imaginable, the mindless snatching of every possible thing in sight paired with the constant little voice of reassurance inside your head telling you “you’re definitely going to need this for Thanksgiving dinner and if not, you’ll definitely use it later” even when you pretty much already know you won’t, and the frenzy and mess involved in prepping and cooking everything from appetizers to sides and main courses to how can we possibly forget, desserts (notice the plural). I can even candidly say I kind of enjoy the all-consuming, I-can’t-breathe-nor-take-another-bite kind of food coma that is imminently self-inflicted by every participant. Seriously though, is that wrong? I love Thanksgiving. The whole sha-bang.
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Buttermilk Creams with Strawberries

It is no secret that summer has finally arrived. (Well, it never really is in Hawaii, now is it?) The sun is blazing making it impossible to look directly at, azure skies are smeared ever so delicately with wispy clouds, lithe (and not-so-lithe) bodies glisten on planes of white sand in nothing but stringy bikinis and man-thongs (more often than not, to my utter disgust and dismay), and best of all: school is out, meaning I get to bask in all the world’s pleasures (except for when I am planted behind a desk and a laptop to do work or to provide you with other worldly (specifically gustatory) pleasures, like so.
Now, if the aforementioned characteristics of summer are not so readily available to you as it is to me causing you to now loathe my guts with burning envy, hate not! I bring a peace offering in the form of bright, sweet, and zesty strawberries over a soft, supple, and surprisingly light buttermilk cream; the purest flavors of summer and heaven. Love me now? If not yet, you will.

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Lemon Curd Tart with Olive Oil

It has become unavoidably evident to me recently that when life throws you lemons, you do not pucker your cheeks and cower in fright. Nor, do you make lemonade. Instead, you make a lemon curd tart that, in all its bright and happy glory, transforms even the most sour lemons into a delectable treat. I obviously mean this both literally and figuratively. Growing up (not that I’m all grown-up quite yet), I’ve learned the hard way that life can be a cornucopia of disappointments. You plan the precise steps and measures you must take in order to reach your envisioned nirvana, but more often than not, you find yourself in the limbo of all your hopeful dreams – not here, nor there.

It is in such equivocal moments that I find myself questioning the next step I’ll make and usually, this means taking no step at all until something (presumably a “lemon”) finally hits me. The most recent disappointment came when I found out that going off to grad school was not in the near-sighted future. This isn’t to say I won’t go to grad school eventually, because I’m earnestly looking forward to that day, but it was a devastating let-down nevertheless. I spent days and weeks pondering on what I would do once I graduated college, but my mind would draw a blank every time. I definitely have overarching dreams and a bucket list of things I must do, but when it came to the very next step I would take post-college, the answer came to me in a most unexpected way. As a matter of fact, I should really be expressing my utmost gratitude toward this frequently unheeded blog (sorry!) and its ardent(?) readers. It is from you, that I have received this opportunity to obtain….. Continue reading

Food Coma & Beyond.

I’m genuinely at a loss for words. Has it really been over a month? Is it really Christmas? Already?! Was my last post seriously about mac & cheese? (Not that there’s anything wrong with Butternut Mac & Cheese, of course, but seriously?!) What about all the pumpkins, pecans, potatoes, turkeys, hams, cranberries, apples, and other wonderful ingredients my Americanized holidays typically entail? What about the magical slew of cookies that epitomize December and Christmas? Where are my cookies?!


I blame it on the food coma. You know what I’m talking about; the embarrassingly long and lethargic slumber that infallibly follows a delightful-turned-uncomfortable session of gorging or face-stuffing. Yes, I am unashamed to admit that I was such a victim post-Thanksgiving (and still am occasionally). Hence, the unintended hiatus and end of the year scurry. With only a handful of days or so left in 2010 and only a handful of hours before Christmas Day, I leave you (or at least those of you acquainted with my lifelong partner, procrastination) with a last-minute Harvest Pear Crisp with Candied Ginger recipe for an exceptionally warm and cozy Christmas holiday.
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Sticky Apples.

Perhaps you are still overwhelmed and completely passed the cloying post-Halloween saccharine sweets. I, for one, am not. Almost, but not quite yet. I suppose not partaking (nor having little munchkins to participate) in the trick-or-treat ritual contributes to this yet-to-be satisfied sweet tooth of mine. And, c’mon, it’s not that bad. Surely, the notion of a caramel apple is not only nostalgic of those childhood worry-free carnivals and festive Autumn holidays, but also convincing (to lure you into complying with the requests of your ever-present sweet tooth). After all, it is still a fruit for goodness sake.


And what’s that pervasive saying, again? Oh yes, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Continue reading

Sticky Apples.

Perhaps you are still overwhelmed and completely passed the cloying post-Halloween saccharine sweets. I, for one, am not. Almost, but not quite yet. I suppose not partaking (nor having little munchkins to participate) in the trick-or-treat ritual contributes to this yet-to-be satisfied sweet tooth of mine. And, c’mon, it’s not that bad. Surely, the notion of a caramel apple is not only nostalgic of those childhood worry-free carnivals and festive Autumn holidays, but also convincing (to lure you into complying with the requests of your ever-present sweet tooth). After all, it is still a fruit for goodness sake.


And what’s that pervasive saying, again? Oh yes, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Continue reading

Sweet Sweet Summer.

Sweet summer days are drawing to a sorrowful end as I refuse to relinquish my hold on these rapidly diminishing days of fun, sun, and yum – juicy summer fruits. Instead, I’m relishing the last fleeting moments I have with my beloved seasonal fruits before school resumes and holds me captive once again. It saddens me deeply to know that my quickly increasing agenda prevents me from satisfying my constant and obsessive need to¬† bake and cook anything and everything in sight. Fortunately enough, I’ve been able to produce relatively copious amounts of foods and baked goods in the wee hours of the morning and early afternoon that are currently and happily available for me to dedicate myself entirely to this endeavor. I couldn’t be more thankful or spiteful for this temporary time of freedom.

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