Frosted Cupcakes

Words are sweet but they can never replace food.
~ Nigerian Proverb

Arkensen’s birthday coincidentally fell on spring break. He invited a few friends over to celebrate his birthday with him. So, instead of buying a cake from the bakery as we normally do in the past, I baked him some cupcakes instead. Cupcakes go very well with kids celebration like birthday parties or classroom celebrations. Because they are baked in a paper cup container, they do not require plates or utensils for serving — no dishes to wash!

BTW, do you know that cupcake is also known as fairy cake?

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Ingredients
  • 2.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup canola or corn oil
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream

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Nachos

Man is like pepper — you only know him when you’ve ground him.
~ Nigerian Proverb

I’ve never paid much attention to Mexican food. Maybe it’s because the names are so hard to remember and pronounce — or maybe there are too many syllables to those Mexican names! Maybe too, it’s because that I don’t really care much about dishes with beans. Beans makes the guys at home fart a lot!

I learn a little bit about Mexican food the past week when the Richmond Cooking Club featured simple Mexican food — salsa, guacomole, tortilla, enchiladas and nachos. This piqued my interests now on Mexican food and will try to learn more about it.

Today, I am going to blog on a very simple snack which I believe is a favourite with almost everyone. Nanchos in its simplest form is tortilla chips covered in melted cheese. You can add additional toppings such as salsa, sour cream, olives, jalapeno and what nots.

Here is an interesting story I found out about Nachos in Wikipedia:

Nachos were created in Coahuila, Mexico by Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya in 1943. The story goes that the wives of American airmen came to his restaurant after the kitchen had closed. Anaya quickly prepared the dish and later added it to his menu. The term “nachos” came from Anaya’s original name for the dish, which was “Nacho’s Especiales,” or “Nacho’s Special Dish.” Nacho Anaya’s original nachos consisted of fried tortilla chips covered with melted cheese and jalape?o peppers.

BIG_IMG_3685_edited-1Ingredients

  • A bag of Tostitos tortilla chips
  • Shredded cheese
  • A bottle of salsa, we prefer the hot and chunky type
  • Pickle pepper, optional

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Cinnamon Buns

Make bread while the oven is hot.
~ Iranian Proverb

I love cinnamon buns with cream cheese frosting, so does the others in the family. Everytime I walk past the bakeries or the bakery section in grocery stores I can’t help eyeing the yummy looking cinnamon buns (WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING) on the shelves. They are too expensive and costs a dollar or more each. Naw, I can make it much cheaper and tastes just equally as good.

This is my masterpiece — looks good? 🙂

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It’s very simple to make … provided you have a bread machine to make the dough. If you do that manually, there is so many factors that contributes to a perfect dough — kneading, water temperature, proofing the yeast, etc. With the machine, you just need to throw in all the ingredients and let the machine spin it’s magic — all done and prep’ed in two hours. Invest in a bread machine if you don’t have one.

I make this at least once a month. Nothing beats freshly made cinnamon buns when it comes out smelling nice and the soft, fluffy insides that nearly melts in your mouth. Perfect with a cup of fresh brewed coffee.

Ingredients

The ingredients below is used to make 12 cinnamon buns:

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, cut up
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1.25 teaspoons active dry yeast or bread machine yeast
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

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Bah Kut Teh (Pork Rib Tea)

No matter if you eat a little or a lot of garlic, the smell is just as strong.
~ Tibetan Proverb

Bah Kut Teh (Hokkien for “pork rib tea”) is a soup served in Malaysia and Singapore. Story has it that it originated from a town in Malaysia called Port Klang. Generally it is cooked in a clay pot with various parts of the pig, varieties of mushroom, lettuce, and dried tofu sheets or tofu puff. The soup itself is a broth which consists of several herbs and spices (including star anise, cinnamon, cloves and garlic) which have been boiled together with meat for many hours. Light and dark soy sauce are also added to the soup during cooking, with varying amounts depending on the variant.

Bah Kut Teh is commonly eaten with rice, and particularly in Malaysia, often served with strips of fried dough called Yau Char Kwai (or Youtiao in Mandarin). Dark soy sauce is used as a condiment, sometimes accompanied with chopped chilli padi, which is ultra hot that it can kill your taste buds! Tea is also usually served in the belief that it dilutes or dissolves the copious amounts of fat which are consumed in the eating of this dish.

This dish is normally served as breakfast or brunch but over time has gained acceptance as a dinner dish.

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Ingredients
  • 1 kg of pork meat
  • 1 package of fried tofu puff
  • 1 package of dried bean curd stick
  • 8 pieces of dried shiitake mushroom
  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • 1 package of Bah Kut Teh seasoning mix

The ingredients above is sufficient to make 8 servings. Be warned, this is a lot of food. We normally make it once and eat them over two days. You can use chicken to substitute the pork but not beef. For this time, I use pork shoulder meat but if you prefer something leaner, you can use pork ribs instead.

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Condiments
  1. 1 pair of fried dough (you may find this in Chinese Bakery)
  2. Garlic
  3. Thai chilli

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Longhorn Steakhouse in Atlanta

Take the bull by the horns.
~ Russian Proverb

In my last night in Atlanta before I return to Vancouver, a few of my project team members finally told ourselves that we should just go out for a nice meal in a restaurants a block away from our hotel. Shahdad wanted Mexican while Rob fancies steak. I was the vote breaker … I chose steak.

I heard so much about the Longhorn Steakhouse this entire week here and was told that there is a long line up most of the nights. So, we decided to give that place a try. We went at a right time because although there were five parties ahead of us, we were seated in just 10 minutes. Hmmm … good start.

The Longhorn Steakhouse has a string of restaurants in the 24 east coast states from Maine to Florida. There are 14 Longhorns just around Atlanta itself. The interior is very western with longhorns, horse shoes, cowboy stuff and whatnots adorning the walls. The service was very prompt and very friendly.

The night started with sourdough bread (or at least I think it is sourdough!) and butter. The bread was warm and felt like it’s just fresh out of the oven. It was served on a wooden platter with a sunken cup for the butter. It was a great start.

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Next came the salad. Nothing fancy except that the plate was huge. We agreed that this salad alone is good enough for dinner. I like this.

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I ordered the Flo’s Filet and Grilled Shrimp. The waitress recommended the Flo’s Filet saying it’s their most asked for selection. The Filet/Shrimp was served with rice and chipotle range sauce. That dish costs $20.49. I also order a side of Fresh Asparagus at $3.49.

The prawns were really nice with the chipotle sauce. I took that and the asparagus first — yummy! The Flo filet is a 7oz fresh tenderloin cooked to medium rare. I did not touch the rice much because I was really full.

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