Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

What do you do with all the bananas you promised to eat but didn't get to and now are very ripe?
Usually we make banana bread. Actually SB does this and I always encourage him to include chocolate chips, because who doesn't love chocolate and banana's. This time I wanted to do something different and was inspired by Ina, yes the Barefoot Contessa, yet again. What's not to like about her. The recipe is found in her latest cookbook "How Easy Is That." And it was easy. You can find the recipe here.

I love that the recipe called for zest of one orange. That orange flavor is perfect, enhances the bananas and brings depth to what might be an average cake. I think next time I'd add it into the cream cheese frosting as well. The frosting is delectable as it is, but that extra flavor would be fantastic. I left out the walnuts, for one I'm not a huge walnut fan, even though I ate them in droves when I was a kid.  Plus I suspect I might be slightly allergic. But Ina includes them in her cake and decorates the top with them as well.  Make it your own and ready a nice cup of tea to go along, which is exactly what I did.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Books I've Read

So at the very first book swap party I was determined to leave with only one book, as I have shelves of books at home. However a 10 year old and his Nani convinced me that The Hunger Games was a must read.  I hadn't seen a 10 year old that excited about a book in a long time.  So I took the book and Sunday morning opened it and that night finished it.  I literally couldn't put it down, it was that good.  On Monday I had to have the other two books, so I called Deb and asked her for them, even begging her to leave them on the porch since she was going out that evening.  The other too I read within the next week, work got in the way of my 24 hour marathon read.

This sequel is pretty good, I enjoyed it almost as much as the original.

Sums up the story but my least favorite of the three.

I really enjoyed the Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. I may have been drawn to the title because of my own self-titled story about my travels to Cuba here. This is a sweet story about a time that is a bit of an embarrassment to Americans during the WWII and the prejudice against the Japanese.  I found it very informative and Jamie Ford a wonderful storyteller.

Another book I haven't seen the move to yet, I always like to read the books before I see the movie version. This way my imagination can determine who and what everyone looks like.  This is another commentary on prejudice and opening peoples eyes to that fact we're all human beings.

The first computer I worked on in my first job was this.  I've grown up with the Mac and in my industry everyone aspires to do the kind of marketing that Apple does.  So while I haven't read a biography in a long time this was a must read.  Insightful journey into a genius mind, albeit with a nasty style of management.  He did get it down and revolutionized an industry and the way we interact with each other.  As for management style I think I know a few people who have read this book and do exactly as he did, and to them "no thank you."

I'm working on a few more on my nightstand and hidden in all kind of places that I keep discovering.  So as I get thru those ones I'll post about them.  Enjoy the above for now.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Leap of Faith

So today is the first day of my "freedom," for a little while I hope.  Yes I've taken a great leap of faith and resigned from my Advertising job that I've had for the past 6 years, been in the business for 16 years.  New adventures await me, which I couldn't be happier about. What will I do, well today I hope to start a road back to better health and peace of mind.  Starting with a nice walk and a better eating regimen.

You may ask, what will I do about work? Will I end up in Advertising again? Who knows, I might. Will I be blogging more?  I hope so, but let me tell you my week is already scheduled and quite busy with wonderful things.  I'll be busy in my volunteer work, catching up on all the time that I've sacrificed away from what I love to do.  SB and I are planning a few field trips that are photo related.  I may even get him in another museum or two, yeah let me not push that wish.  One museum and a photo field trip.  We have guests coming at the end of March so I look forward to spending time with them.

You may ask what is my secular dream job.  Here's what I would say:

Travel and food journalist/photographer.  I'd love to work for a few publishers and magazines such as Travel &Leisure, NYT, or Conde Nast.  I want to write and photograph small stories about the people, places and food that make traveling so fun and culturally enriching.  In the meantime, I'll be satisfied with my self-assigned local travel and food stories and live vicariously thru friends that venture out into the world. Come back and see what I'm up to. Hopefully there will be more regular updates.

P.S. I've changed my blog layout, obviously.  What do you think?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Caramel Budino with Salted Caramel Sauce

A few weeks ago we met for our second book swap party.  Thank you Deb for being the host, you do have the best place for this fun event.  Here's my top 10 reasons why I like this particular party, and I hope Deb keeps it going:

1.    I love to read. This event has my name all over it and I have way too many books.
2.    However, now I have yet another reason for buying books instead of checking them out at the library.
      "Seriously SB, the girls will love this book."
3.    A chance to catch-up with good friends during our busy lives.
4.    Drink Champagne, not that I need an excuse for that.
5.    It's a mid-week evening party, I love to break up the monotony of the week.
6.    I've been introduced to new authors and subject matters I might not have picked up before.
7.    Everyone makes or brings something delicious to eat.
8.    Oh I've set the bar too high for myself, but it challenges me to bake something delicious and find a way to pull in the book theme.
9.    Fun book themed crafty items always available.
10.  Great friends, good books, delicious food, fun conversations...need I say anymore.

So this brings me to my dessert.  This is a labor intensive dessert, I make it over two days, I was told and I agree I was an over-achiever on this one.  But it's delicious and I love the mason jar theme. This time I printed out tags with some of my favorite characters from books I've read and have been swapped at this party.  I've adapted the recipe from Bon Appetit's recipe here.  

This is a rich, textured (crunchy cookies), creamy layered dessert.  The salted caramel is particularly decadent.  Yes the calories are worth every spoonful and it's only an 8oz mason jar not even filled to the top.

I have made it hard for me to top myself, last time I made these, I think I'm drawn to the warm chocolate, caramel, peanut butter colors, I'll try to branch out next time, or not, really depends on the season and what makes sense.  Enjoy!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Brussels Sprouts

So I told you about Brussel Sprouts being my new favorite food.  Well I caught on to this craze at the height of their season (September - February).  As most children of the 70's will attest, and I've heard my story more than once, our mom's boiled most vegetables, including Brussels Sprouts, to their mushy deaths. Sorry mom, but it had to be said.  

So I've steered clear of this veg for a long time.  But at Lukshon, we order them and I was hooked, I had to make them at home.  Voila, Trader Joe's was selling them on the stalk.  Never seen them like this before.  NOTE:  These would actually be great for a some enormous flower arrangement.
I was told, just try them first with olive oil, salt and pepper.  So this is what I did.  I cut them off the stalk, cut off hard ends, peeled off a few of the top layer leaves, cut them in half.  Then mix with olive oil, pepper and salt to taste.  I stuck them on a heated cookie sheet (I like to pre-heat my cookies sheets to get a nice crispiness on whatever I'm roasting.)  Put them in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes.  Watch them as ovens vary in heat.  My favorite part is some of the leaves loosen off and you get these lovely crispy Brussels Sprout chips.  

I'm such a bad veg eater, and even though SB doesn't like the smell in the house, I tell him:  "Hey I'm eating vegetables and that's a good thing."  At Lukshon they put some chili garlic vinaigrette and sesame seeds and it's delicious.  Try them the out.  As I don't see them fresh in stores, we're experimenting with the frozen ones at the moment.  Enjoy!

Friday, March 2, 2012


You know how you find a place that excites you, and introduces you to new tastes and flavors that you add to your diet. Something that forever changes your perception of a food group. No? Well I have.

What is Lukshon? Lukshon is the creation of one of L.A.’s most celebrated chefs, Sang Yoon. It is a modern take on authentic South-East Asian Cuisine and its wonderfully diverse ingredients.

My co-worker and I ventured to this place at the Helms Bakery area, next to Room & Board and Father's Office. The food is amazing, exotic flavors full of spicy bits and tangy citrus.  I really haven't eaten anything there I didn't like. First time we went we order about 6 things.  The rices are so delicious.  I've had the black rice with an egg, sunny side-up (AKA: heirloom black rice) and the other dish I love is the x.o. rice. N. loved the dandan noodles. First taste of that after he mixed all the goodness in the noodles and I seriously started sweating with the heat from the sichuan peppercorns. This is a tasty, but very spicy dish. Must have rice and water too cool down the temperature. The special appetizers or small plates are always a treat. Because I've had the roasted brussel sprouts here it is now one of my new favorite foods is and it's because of this place.  Post coming soon on that.

They always follow-up with a beautiful, comped, dessert. First couple of times it was a refreshing spoonful of sorbet, then candied fruit jelly and the last time it was a tiny mango cake.  

Oh and the tea's are beautiful and refreshing. I've yet to have any alcohol, since it's always a work day lunch.  No liquid lunches for me these days. But I'd recommend this as a date place.  Great location, zen modern decor. I'm going to get SB there soon enough.

3239 helms ave. culver city, california 90232


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...