I love lemon curd. It’s sweet tangy and so refreshing, I always look forward to licking the spoon after making a batch. I thought it was my favorite lemon dessert, until I came across this lemon cream. This lemon cream, ladies and gentlemen, I can eat with a spoon. The light, smooth texture is what hits you first. Then the intense notes of lemon, citrus and a refreshing burst of sweet and tartness comes through. In closing, a creamy flavor mellows the overall flavor out creating a delicious dessert.
Half way through fall quarter of freshman year, I met a girl named Aurora. One day, Aurora was particularly craving a pumpkin dessert. Specifically, she was dying to have an “out-of-this-world, super-moist, and unbelievably dense” pumpkin bar that her friend once brought for her. Determined to please my new friend, I googled a few recipes and decided to try something out.
Two years later, I’ve added a few adaptations from the original recipe. Some call it a pumpkin pie in bar. Others say its the best pumpkin bread they’ve ever had. Originally, the recipe was intended to be prepared in a jelly roll pan as a pumpkin bar with cream cheese frosting but this version makes it a lot more healthy. I used more spices than the original recipe to increase the familiar thanksgiving flavors. To be honest, cinnamon is the only “crucial” flavor but I like having a variety. If you have a pumpkin spice you’re particularly fond of, feel free to substitute that in!
These are it. The ultimate vanilla cupcake. Fluffy and light with an explosive flavor, this cupcake is the secret cupcake that I talked about in my post yesterday about Vanilla Bean Buttercream. The original recipe was tested by 50 “Explorers”, and then approved by a 2/3 majority. In other words, which means that over 33 individuals have tested and considered this to be the ultimate cupcake recipe.
Heres some statistics. I doubled the batch and made 32 of these cupcakes. Rarely do I ever follow a recipe exactly when it comes to technique, but for these babies I did. Out of the 15 people who had a cupcake, 12 had it day one and 3 had it day two. All 15 people loved the cupcake. Multiple people stated that it had the best frosting they’ve had in their life.
This independence day, I was determined to do something that would set the bars high for myself. In other words (for my friends at least) I promised everyone cupcakes for fourth of July. This was a small problem for me. When you’re entertaining a group of college students each with strikingly picky taste buds, and preferring a different pallet of flavors, it becomes increasingly difficult to find something that will please everyone.
Only I would decide to add an unplanned appetizer to an unplanned dinner about 3 hours ahead of time. And of course I would choose something that requires time to rise. And of course it’d be something that I’ve never learned about in the past.
This past Saturday was the first time I saw my friends since finals week here on campus and I decided it’d be a great idea to celebrate with French Macarons, and a simple carbonara.
But of course, I couldn’t serve a pasta dish by itself. I wanted to make a flat bread for my guests to enjoy with their pasta. Given any other crowd, or any other day I would have went ahead and made my famous garlic bread. I had to break to norm. My crowd was one that was used to my wacky concoctions, sometimes more successful than others.
So I clicked through the internet, did the research, jotted down some notes, and I came up with this.
I never knew what hummus was. I had no idea what to expect from it. My friends told me it was made from dirt. My first experience with hummus goes back to freshman year of college on the first day that I bonded with my roommate.
We’ve all had those nights where we’re just too lazy to cook. I was having one of those nights. I was also being a picky eater, refusing left overs or microwaving anything. My apartment mate from last year, Gustavo, also came home from a busy day of work. I needed something that would feed the both of us. Something delicious. So, I looked to carbonara.
Carbonara is typically a pasta dish thats made with an egg based sauce, bacon, cheese, and pasta. Its simple, versatile, and delicious. With chicken and mushrooms in the fridge, I was set on making a bacon-less version adopting the same ideas of carbonara.
Truth be told, carbonara actually doesn’t have a sauce that needs to be made separately. Instead, hot, drained pasta is added to onions, bacon, and some form of fat. Eggs, mixed with Parmesan is then added to the hot pasta off the heat and mixed very rapidly so that the eggs coat the pasta and are cooked by the residual heat. Easy. People always fear making scrambled eggs instead of a creamy pasta sauce, but with this basic principle, you’ll be on your way to tasty pasta in no time!
Too lazy to head to the store, I reached for onions, mushrooms and shredded rotisserie chicken. I had all the ingredients on hand, and from start to finish it only took me 30 minutes to finish everything. Including the time it took for me to take pictures in between each step.
I’ve also included one of my pasta making tips in this post – reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water. The starchy water is perfect for thinning out sauces. And if you accidentally over thin the sauce, the starch will thicken the sauce right back up with an extra minute on the stove!
Try this, trust me, you won’t regret it.
Bacon-less Chicken Carbonara
Makes : 4 servings or 2 hungry college students
- 1/2 onion
- 1 1/2 cups mushrooms, sliced
- olive oil
- 1/2 lb pasta
- 1 1/2 cups shredded chicken
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup shredded parmesan (use more or less to taste)
- salt and pepper
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. While the water is boiling, chop onions and slice mushrooms
- Cook pasta over medium high heat until just before al dente. Drain the pasta and reserve 1 cup of pasta water.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a skillet. Fry onions and mushrooms together until onions are translucent, more if you prefer. I like my onions more caramelized so I left them on the stove for an extra minute. Reserve vegetables.
- In a separate bowl, beat 2 eggs with shredded parmesan until there are no clumps
- Add 2 Tbsp of olive oil to the pan and heat up the shredded chicken. When the chicken is thoroughly heated, add the vegetables and add the drained pasta. Cook for a minute until the pasta is pipping hot.
- Remove the pan from the heat and immediately add the egg mixture while tossing in the hot pan. Do not stop tossing and mixing until the pasta is thoroughly coated. Add the reserved pasta water to thin out as needed. I only needed a few Tbsp to thin it out.
As for the endearing prompt: Talk about the best prank you ever pulled. Reading this on the NaBloPoMo blog sent my mind racing back to the days in first or second grade. My grandparents used to hang out with a friend who had cancer. Their daughter, about 5 years older than me, was the coolest person ever back then. Together, we slowly scooped out the meat of grapes and filled them with ice cream in the middle of July. Today, my grandfather’s friend is no longer with us–but the memories of creamy grapes on a hot summer day will never fade away.
My fascination for macarons began summer after high school. I was interning as my real-estate-agent-of-an-aunt’s secretary. In the early afternoon, we visited some relatives who were leasing a studio. They had just moved into a unique 4 story town house/condo complex in Pasadena. It was through them, I found my favorite pastry. Two years later, I’ve returned to share my joy and what drew me to macarons, the bitter chocolate macaron.
I don’t get to go home a lot. This past week was my first time home in six months after being buried in what seems like mountain loads of work back at school. But I wasn’t particularly excited to go back and experience the LA heat for the coming summer. I was even less excited to think about how bored I was going to be. I was, however, excited to get a chance to finally see my little sister for the first time in six months. I was more excited to be able to make these eggs with her
To be honest, I don’t like cherry tomatoes. I hate them. They’re probably one of my least favorite ways to eat a tomato. Something about their almost sweet and tangy taste, it just doesn’t do it for me. I spent over half my childhood being force fed these tomatoes raw. I never thought that my feelings for cherry tomatoes would change