Category Archives: Desserts

BBQ S’17

In the past, the husbo & I have had summer BBQs on our rooftop at whatever apartment community we lived at – but since our last building didn’t have a rooftop, we haven’t had a cookout the past couple of years. Now that we’ve lived in our town home for a year, and have recently renovated our outdoor areas, we decided it was about time to have a housewarming/ my birthday celebration BBQ, so we could reignite our summer tradition.

Usually we would go to Costco for ingredient shopping, and buy everything in bulk – burger patties, hotdogs, buns, beer, chips, etc. but I wanted to do something different. I wanted us to embrace the (amateur) chefies we have become, and attempt a gourmet BBQ.

This was our spread below. We had originally set up everything outdoors and I had a beautiful palm leaf print tablecloth, but we had to bring everything indoors because it was wayyy too hot. That, and everyone was hanging out indoors, in the AC.

btw, that’s my half eaten falafel that I put down to take the photo! lol.

We found the recipes on the interwebs, and then customized them to our liking. 

  • saucy asian meatballs — we used ground lamb instead
  • baby spinach/ strawberry/ goat cheese/ candied pecan salad — don’t have a recipe for this but it’s pretty straightforward to prepare
  • watermelon/ feta/ blackberry skewers w/ balsamic reduction drizzle — the balsamic reduction was courtesy of a friend, who taught me how to make it (all you do is boil down balsamic until it thickens! who knew!)
  • meatless meatballs from trader joe’s w/ same ginger hoisin marinade
  • stacy’s multigrain pita chips 
  • kettle brand korean BBQ chips — these chips are the BEST and totally remind me of chips from HK
  • chocolate chip cookies
  • gourmet franks w/ herbed goat cheese/ sautéed onions/ jalapeño slices
  • vanilla/ chocolate/ nutella cakepops — didn’t find this recipe on the interwebs and can’t share it with you guys because it’s a secret, sorry homes!
  • buttered corn on the cob
  • gourmet franks w/ pesto smear/ mozzarella pearls/ heirloom tomatoes/ balsamic drizzle
  • grilled vegetable cajun pasta salad — tweaked the recipe since we wanted to serve it cold, with rotini instead, and no chicken/ sausage
  • assorted mediterranean dips
  • trader joe’s falafel
  • rosé champagne jello squares  — these were so yummy! thank goodness we did a trial run of this recipe a couple of weeks ago, but the first time round they came out super strong. see photo below!
  • rosé & watermelon ice lollies not pictured because we totally forgot to put them out; also we didn’t use orange liqueur like the recipe called for

It was so much fun making all the food for the party; we spent days preparing for it, and put together an excel spreadsheet with everything that needed to be done. We even forced my bff4l, who was visiting from NY, to help with the mis en place (sorry, Avita!) but we seriously underestimated how much there was to do! And how much food we had left over! It’s been three days since the party and we’re still eating the food.

I also want to share the fun peony petal ice cubes that I made for the champagne bin. I first saw the idea somewhere on facebook, and thought it was absolutely brilliant! It was so easy, and a cheap way to dress up the party. I usually buy flowers for the home on a weekly basis anyway, and would have thrown them out once the petals fall off- so it was a win-win for me. This is definitely going to become my thing anytime we have a party!

photo cred: bff4l 

rosé champagne jello shots || awesome sushi plate is from cb2


Salted Caramel Buttercream

Salted Caramel Buttercream

I have been talking about making salted caramel buttercream to pair with chocolate cupcakes for 2 months now, but I never got around to actually doing it, until this past week. You can ask my sister! Seriously, I borrowed her electric mixer two weeks before we left for our trip home (mind you, that was back in the first week of September!) So, I have no idea why it has taken me this long, but I’m glad I finally did it… because I’m never doing it again!* Hah.

You see, I don’t have much of a sweet tooth – I never have – so I don’t bake on a regular basis, nor do I feel the need to experiment with pastries & desserts. From a young age, I have always thought of baking as kind of the boring part of cooking, since you don’t have the liberty to mess with your proportions/ ingredients, without sacrificing the flakiness of your pastry, or  how well your soufflé will rise (totes been there before and it was so not cool). Don’t get me wrong, I love desserts… I just don’t love eating them very often, or making them myself.

Anyway, I thought since I acquired all these awesome baking skills while working at ACPC (and can literally bake a cake with my eyes closed) I would give the buttercream a whirl. The recipe I used & adapted was from here. Note that I said “adapted” again… of course, I did not follow the recipe. Well, only because it was meant for caramel buttercream, and I wanted to make salted caramel buttercream. Oh, I also thought it was asking for way too many sweet ingredients, and I just couldn’t fathom why on earth the buttercream would need to be that sweet.

Oh, so before you read the recipe below, I should warn you that these quantities are whack. The book claims it’s good for 24 cupcakes, but homegirl couldn’t be any more wrong. I made it as directed and then literally only used 1/4 of what I made (and ended up giving the other 3/4 to my sister to freeze for another time!) If the same happens to you, don’t say nobody warned you!

Salted Caramel Buttercream

2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 pound (about 3 3/4 cups) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/2 cup prepared dulce de leche
1 tsp pure vanilla extract – I decided to go with vanilla essence instead
sea salt, coarsely ground, to taste

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter on high until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add in the sugar, then the dulce de leche, vanilla (if you decide to use it) and salt. Beat until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Pipe the buttercream onto cooled cupcakes as you wish, and garnish with sea salt on top. Here’s where I used ground sea salt but wished I used it in the rock form instead, because it would’ve looked a whole lot cooler for the photo.

*So, coming back to why I’m never making this again: (1) it was the sweetest thing I have ever tasted, and oh my god, it was nauseating, and (2) I swear I inhaled at least a half cup of confection sugar! A little advice: you might want to wear a medical mask, or hold your breath forever, to prevent this from happening to you. Also, please don’t ask for the chocolate cupcake recipe because – who are we kidding?! – you know I didn’t make that from scratch.

And there you have it: the most positive buttercream experience you will ever read about, lol. Enjoy!