Tag Archives: dessert

Focus on the Fish Balls!

30 Oct

After my family’s great adventure to DC’s Eastern Market, we returned to Ellie and Dave’s fabulous apartment for an amazing meal prepared for us by their good friend, Cheech, who introduced us to the unique culinary experience that is Chinese hot pot.

Hot pot, also known as Chinese fondue or steamboat, refers to several East Asian varieties of stew, consisting of a simmering metal pot of stock at the center of the dining table. While the hot pot is kept simmering, ingredients are placed into the pot and are cooked at the table. Typical hot pot dishes include thinly sliced meat, leafy vegetables, mushrooms, wontons, egg dumplings, and seafood.                –Wikipedia

To get us started, Cheech produced two blue crabs to lay the foundation for the flavor of the hot pot broth. Of course, we didn’t quite expect live crabs (!) but apparently that’s the way they sell them at the Chinese grocery store. Our slight guilt was quickly washed away when we tasted the wonderful broth.

One blue crab showing his spirit by holding tight to the bag of scallops.

The other crab making a last plea for mercy.

Since most of the actual cooking of the food occurs during the dinner, most of the prep work beforehand is just getting all the various ingredients ready. One of the best parts of hot pot is the variety of food that you can try, making each dinner a unique experience. Some of the items that Cheech brought for us included slender slices of beef and lamb, succulent scallops, shrimp, beef and fish balls, and various vegetables.

Prep work in the kitchen.

Laying out the table before the feast.

After everything was set out, we got down to business and started choosing what to put in the hot pot. As you can tell from the picture below, we had a good time.

The hot pot was definitely a hard act to follow, but we successfully ended our meal with some tasty baklava and pumpkin bread from one of the Eastern Market vendors.

A delicious meal and an entertaining experience; a win-win situation for my family.


Birthday Brownies

2 Oct

Brownies are one of my favorite things to bake, mainly because I am lazy  (which should be apparent from my last post). I love brownies because all you have to do is mix everything together, pour it in one pan, and stick it in the oven. Cookies and other treats that require multiple baking sheets and trips to the oven are often too much of a time commitment. As a result, I bake brownies… a lot.

One of my favorite recipes to use is the Tasting is Believing Whole Wheat Brownies.I love love love this one because it’s on the healthier side (compared to normal brownies), fairly simple to whip up, and it’s so versatile. I’m also a huge fan of King Arthur Flour. Here’s what they have to say about their recipe:

These whole-wheat brownies are the treat we serve when we’re trying to convince folks that baking with whole grains doesn’t have to be an exercise in deprivation! Moist, rich, and deeply, darkly chocolate, these brownies are the ones to go through life with. We discovered something interesting when sampling these. Their texture is greatly improved if you wait 24 hours before cutting them. Why? The wait gives the wheat bran a chance to soften and “disappear,” texture-wise.

I tried this recipe out for the first time near the beginning of my first summer at the Outer Banks working for Kitty Hawk Kites and I brought in a big plate of the final result to the hang gliding school the next day. I later learned that one particular instructor (*cough* Eric *cough*) ate four of the brownies and pulled the empty plate out of the trash can to finish off the crumbs. I think those brownies are the reason we ended up together.

Anyways, Eric’s birthday is tomorrow, though he doesn’t want anyone to know, and these brownies immediately came to mind when I started thinking about what I should make him. So I whipped up a double batch to bring some into work and send the rest to Eric in New Hampshire. These brownies are always delicious, but I added about a cup of peanut butter this time and it definitely took them up a couple of notches. They turned out so great it was a little hard to give them all away!

After baking, I started work on a birthday card, which became the perfect opportunity to try a quick project. I’m a big fan of the website Craftgawker and had found a really cool entry that gave a short tutorial on how to make a crocheted heart. So I dug into my stash to find some red yarn and came up with a cute accessory for the card. I’m really happy with how it came out. What do you think?

So everyone wish Eric a happy birthday and try out these brownies yourself! They taste the best when you make them for someone you love.