Beach Day at Gloucester

Posted by on Aug 15, 2014 in Food Review, Massachusetts Eats | 0 comments

Hello hungry readers! If you guys are like me, you love the beach, so when my Aunt invited me to join them for a beach day in Gloucester, I was ecstatic to be able to finally pull out my sunglasses and bikini and head on up. After dreaming of the beach all throughout my long MCAT study days during the early part of this summer, I was mega pumped. I decided to bake a simple cheesecake to bring along as a surprise (recipe to come! ;)) And boy, was it the right decision. Who knew cheesecake and the beach go along so well with each other? We all loved it, and it kept well in the cooler. Topped with the strawberries my Aunt had brought along, it was a summer match made in heaven. After attempting and failing to body board in the freezing sea water, I spent the rest of my time leisurely flipping through The New Yorker and eating snacks while drying out. (In hindsight, I should’ve re-applied sunscreen here, as I got the worst burn EVER! Darn it. Sunscreen is important people! Nerd Jasmine would like to emphasize this. Nobody wants skin cancer. ) For lunch, we headed to this awesome place that served only fried seafood. Can’t go wrong with fried food! Here we have fried: clam, shrimp, clam strips, and scallops. Along with onion rings and french fries, it was a glorious fisherman’s plate. The scallops were my absolute favorite- sweet, juicy and tender on the inside, yet remarkably crisp on the outside. Can anyone say “healthy” though or what? Heehee. It was a long long day, but full of fun and good times. It felt wonderful to take a day away from the city and have some good ol’ R&R. Hope you guys enjoyed this short little post, and hopefully there will be more beach-y experiences for me to share soon hohoho!   – Jas :...

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Blueberry Rare Cheesecake

Posted by on Feb 12, 2013 in Recipe | 0 comments

           Sometimes, I just get this intense desire and craving for cheesecake. You know- when you dream of stuffing a whole glob full of cheesecake into your mouth and get that sighing of pleasure when you feel the heavy, creamy, artery clogging deliciousness traveling down your stomach? Oh wait. That doesn’t sound so pleasant.          Well, that is why for those people out there who actually care about such things (I for one ignore the thought of calories when the food consumed is designated for the “dessert” stomach), I shall share this super simple recipe for making Rare Cheesecake! That’s right, you can be lazy and not even pop it in the oven if you want to be even healthier and have it without crust. The cheesecake comes out light and fluffy, not too sweet but still completely satisfying. Plus, you can use it as a base for literally any flavor. Here’s my blueberry version- full of healthy antioxidants!  Ingredients less than 1 pack graham crackers (eyeball this according to how thick you want your crust) less than 2 sticks butter (also eyeball) fruit of choice (blueberries, 100 g) 125 g cream cheese 100 g fresh cream (heavy whipping cream) 3 tbsp fresh milk 30 g sugar 1/4 tbsp lemon juice (I tend to add much, much more- aka almost a whole lemon) 2 1/2 tsp gelatin (a pack of the store bought gelatin works) 1/4 cup hot water whipped cream or fruit to decorate Now here’s when you all read and be amazed. Literally four easy steps :) 1) Crush graham crackers into a semi-fine texture. It helps to put around 1 pack of crackers into a big ziploc bag and sealing it, then to use a rolling pin to smush them to oblivion. Mix in the softened butter until incorporated. Then pat the buttery crust into a cake pan- it makes things easier later to line the bottom and edges with parchment paper! Now pop into 350 F oven for around 20 min or eyeball it- when it looks baked and golden brown on top. 2) Mix all ingredients EXCEPT gelatin, hot water, whipped cream and fruit.  3) Now mix gelatin with hot water and immediately pour into batter. Make sure it is incorporated. 4) Pour batter onto cooled crust. Now you can decorate the top with fruit or whipped cream if you so desire. Here I simply put blueberries in a blender, spooned it on top, and added some whole ones for decoration. Then just put your creation into the fridge until the gelatin has set (a few hours) and eat and enjoy!   Hope you guys enjoy this simple recipe, try it out and have a nice relaxing afternoon tea! – Jas Photographs taken by Jasmine...

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Moist Strawberry Topped Citrus Cake

Posted by on Jun 26, 2012 in Recipe | 1 comment

Hello everyone! Recently Taiwan has been raining cats and dogs like nobody’s business and our house has already accumulated three doggies! It’s preposterous. Lots of rain=no going out=eating at home. Thus, my stomach is taking a much needed break today. In the meantime, here’s a recipe for a yummy citrus cake that I whipped up during the holidays way back when. It’s too good to neglect posting about it (especially when it pretty much disappeared during dessert even after the family was full to their necks with food) so here it is! Ingredients (for 1 cake. double the amount for 2 cakes, and you can layer them to create a two-tiered cake!) Cake (350 degrees, 40-45 minutes) 6 tbs unsalted butter, room temperature 1 cup sugar (I used a bit less since my family never likes things too sweet!) 2 extra large eggs, room temperature 3/8 cup sour cream, room temperature 1/4 tsp grated lemon zest 1/4 tsp grated orange zest 1/4 tsp vanilla extract 1 cup all purpose flour 1/8 cup cornstarch 1/4 tsp kosher salt 1/2 tsp baking soda Whipping/Topping 1/2 cup (1/4 pint) heavy cream, chilled 1 1/2 tbs sugar 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract 1/2 pint fresh strawberries Despite all the ingredients, this cake is very easy to make! Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. First start off by creaming the butter and sugar with a handy dandy electronic mixer if you have one until fluffy. If your butter is still cold, you can microwave it for 10 seconds to soften it up, this makes creaming it later extremely quick. Then add the eggs one at a time to the mixture, making sure each is incorporated fully before adding the next. Then add the sour cream, mix fully,zest, mix fully, and finally vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda together. Using a whisk helps to break up clumps! Then, add the dry mixture slowly to the wet mixture until you have your cake batter completed! Now simply pour into your cake pan and pop in oven for 40-45 minutes. While it’s baking, you can get started on the whippings. Here’s how to make simple yet fresh and delicious whipped cream. Homemade whipped cream on a cake really makes a big difference. Simply pour the heavy cream and vanilla extract together in a large bowl. Then, take your electronic mixer and whip it like crazy until beautiful snowy peaks form. If the cake is already sweet, you might try adding less sugar and vanilla extract. Then you can fill up a decorating bag (or a plastic ziplock bag and cut a hole in the corner if you’re desperate) to decorate your cake. Chop up strawberries or use them whole, however you want to decorate your cake! When the cake is ready make sure to LET IT COOL before decorating otherwise you will end up with a hot mess. Like a girl with mascara running down her face! ^_^ Hope you guys enjoy this recipe, if you decide to try it please let me know what you think or if you have suggestions to tweak it into a more marvelous creation! Look forward to more Taiwan related posts soon ;) – Jas                                                             Photographs taken and provided by Jasmine...

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Pumpkin Cake – Halloween Special!

Posted by on Oct 26, 2011 in Recipe | 6 comments

Halloween is just around the corner, in fact it’s literally only five days away! Are you ready with both tricks and treats hidden up your sleeves? Unfortunately for me, I won’t be enjoying the chills and thrills of haunted houses or the awesome spectacles that the Halloween parade provides this year. On the other hand, I won’t be running up and down the stairs with a bag of candy every time the doorbell rings either. So what will I be doing on Halloween? Why, only the most exciting thing ever! It’s a three hour session of the most mind-blowing, teeth chattering, sitting-on-the-edge-of-your-seat-with-adrenaline-pumping…LSATs class. Now how’s that for horrifying? Yep, I bet I just gave you goosebumps. Whatever your plans may be this Halloween, try out this nifty recipe for a pleasant treat if you have the time. This pumpkin cake will be sure to delight both adults and children as you amaze them with its cute exterior and tasty interior. And the best part? It’s not too sweet, so even with all the candy that the kids will be inhaling, this is one less cavity inducing sweet to worry about. Pumpkin Cake Cake Ingredients: 3 cups all-purpose flour 2 ½ cups whole wheat flour 4 tsp. ground cinnamon 1 tsp. ground ginger 1/2 tsp. ground cloves 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg 1/8  tsp allspice 4 tsp. baking powder 1 ½ tsp. baking soda 1 cup milk 1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin puree 1 tbsp. vanilla extract 1 cup (2 sticks) butter 1 ½ cups sugar ¼ cup corn oil 6 large eggs Heat the oven to 350º and butter two bundt cake pans. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, spices, baking powder, and baking soda. In a medium bowl, stir together the milk, pumpkin, and vanilla extract until smooth. In another large bowl, beat the butter and oil together with an electric mixer until combined. Next, beat in the sugar. Then beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Combine the wet ingredients together and slowly mix the dry ingredients in until the dough comes together. Divide the batter between the two prepared pans. Bake for an hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pans, then turn them out onto wire racks to cool completely. In the meantime, prepare your frosting! Frosting Ingredients: 2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese 1 tbsp. vanilla extract 4 cups powdered sugar In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Mix in the vanilla extract. Then beat in the powdered sugar gradually until the frosting is a spreadable consistency. Color about 1/2 cup of the frosting green and 1/4 cup black, then make the rest orange. (I purchased my icing colors from Michael’s.) Now that you have your icing ready, it’s time for the most annoying fun part – putting your pumpkin together! The cakes will have risen while baking, but for the purposes of building a pumpkin you’ll want to trim the bottoms of the cakes so that the two halves lie flat against each other. Frost the bottoms of each cake so that they ‘stick’ when you place them on top of each other. Cover the entire cake in its first layer of frosting. Don’t worry about it being ugly, you’ll be smoothing it over with more layers of frosting later on. Let the layer of frosting dry (or just cool it in the fridge)  before you apply a fresh layer. Eventually you shouldn’t be able to see the cake anymore. To smooth...

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Mixed Berry Cheesecake

Posted by on Oct 19, 2011 in Recipe | 2 comments

Mmm, cheesecake. This is probably the one dessert that everyone in my family loves equally, and I haven’t met anyone who could refuse a slice yet. It’s so good, that my sister even demanded I bring a whole cheesecake to her dorm when we went up to celebrate her birthday.  Yes, that is just how good cheesecakes are. Half of it disappeared relatively quickly as it was split among her floor’s dorm mates. Rich and creamy, cheesecakes are a delicacy that I wouldn’t suggest for everyday snacking (Resist the temptation! Resist, I say!) but it’s great for occasions such as parties. Contrary to popular belief, cheesecakes really aren’t that hard to make. If anything, it’s more of a waiting game. A really long waiting game. A game that tests your patience. To the limit. So yea, don’t be intimidated, be patient, and you’ll be baking up delicious cheesecakes to wow your friends and family in no time! Hopefully. The following recipe’s from Ina Garten’s Mixed Berry Cheesecake with a few (very) minor changes.  Mixed Berry Cheesecake Ingredients For the crust: 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (10 crackers) 1 tbsp sugar 1 unsalted butter, melted For the filling: 2 1/2 lbs cream cheese, at room temperature 1 cup sugar 5 whole extra-large eggs, at room temperature 2 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature 1/4 cup sour cream lemon zest of 2 lemons 2 tsp pure vanilla extract Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. To make the crust, combine the graham crackers, sugar, and melted butter until moistened. Pour into a 9-inch springform pan. With your hands, press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan and about 1-inch up the sides. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees F. To make the filling, cream the cream cheese and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and egg yolks, mixing well. Add the sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly and pour into the cooled crust. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn the oven temperature down to 225 degrees and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the oven door open. The cake will not be completely set in the center. Allow the cake to sit in the oven with the door open for 30 minutes. Take the cake out of the oven and allow it to sit at room temperature for another 2 to 3 hours, until completely cooled. Wrap and refrigerate overnight. Garnish with your favorite toppings. For my cheesecake, I drizzled some homemade blueberry jam on top, added a spring of mint, and plopped some vanilla ice cream on the side. Good luck and enjoy~! ~ AJ ~ Photographs taken and provided by AnnMarie...

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