a tribute to n

When we were younger, N really liked these Japanese baby crackers. She never outgrew them, though my mom stopped buying them after a while. How do I know this? Because when our youngest cousin was born, she would steal them from her. I know! It's atrocious! From a helpless infant no less!
Happy birthday N!


cheesecake: new york style

This is new york cheesecake with strawberry topping.

I've actually been set on making cheesecake for will j's birthday because there was this one day when he said he really liked cheesecake. And he said anything with strawberries he'll eat...so naturally I made strawberry topping.

This was actually pretty complicated to make. It took me two days to make this. I saw this on smittenkitchen and I couldn't resist. I've always been scared of cheesecakes since there's so much cream cheese. The ironic thing is that New York cheesecake has MORE cream cheese than a normal cheesecake so why I chose to make this instead...I have no idea.

I first made the crust. Obviously I am not very good at crushing the graham crackers as you see those bits and pieces of graham cracker. I also probably did not use enough graham crackers as my crust looks pretty ugly. But oh wells...what can you do? But I made this a day ahead.
I made the filling the next day. Do you see that madness?! I bought that cream cheese thing from Costco and it was seriously intense. It was tough to get it creamy but thank goodness for a hand mixer which made my life so much easier.
I made the strawberry sauce a day ahead. It's super easy and I used the same recipe on smittenkitchen except that I changed the fruit and also added less sugar because those strawberries were really sweet. It ended up not being too sweet which countered the cheesecake itself.
Haha...what an ugly mess. It was really interesting baking it because I wasn't really sure how it was supposed to turn out in baking it at 550 degrees. But yeah...no good. And I had no idea when it was fully cooked or not and I couldn't tell so I kept opening it to check and wasn't sure. It was very frustrating and time consuming. But hey it turned out fine.
So I scrapped it off and somehow...my crust burned also. I can't figure out why, but I scrapped the really burnt parts off as well. Sadness. I also wasn't sure if it tasted alright. This is the thing with cakes...you can't really try some without ruining the cake. But luckily it was good. Yay!
But here it is. All finished and topped.


Crumb crust
8 ounces finely ground graham crackers or cookies such as chocolate or vanilla wafers
8 tablespoons (1 stick or 4 ounces or 113 grams) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar (I put less)
1/4 teaspoon salt

Very tall cheesecake filling:
5 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar (I put less)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
5 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Cherry topping
10 ounces sweet or sour cherries, pitted (I used strawberries)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar (This is adjustable depending on the sweetness of your fruit)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup water


Make crumb crust: Stir together crust ingredients and press onto bottom and up the sides, stopping one inch shy of the top rim, of a buttered 9 1/2-inch (or 24 cm) springform pan. You can fill it right away but you can pop it into the freezer so it quickly sets while you prepare the filling. (I did this a day ahead so I didn't freeze it)

Make very tall cheesecake filling: Preheat oven to 550 degrees (yes, this is correct). Beat together cream cheese, sugar, flour and zest with an electric mixer until smooth. Add vanilla, then eggs and yolks, one at a time, beating on low speed until each ingredient is incorporated. Scrape bowl down between additions; I cannot stress this enough as if you do not, you’ll end up with unmixed stripes of cream cheese. I always find at least one, despite my best efforts.

Put springform pan with crust in a shallow baking pan (to catch drips). Pour filling into crust (springform pan will be completely full) and baking in baking pan in the middle of the oven for 12 minutes or until puffed. Please watch your cake because some ovens will top-brown very quickly and if yours does too fast, turn the oven down as soon as you catch it. Reduce the temperature to 200 degrees and continue baking until cake is mostly firm (center will still be slightly wobbly when pan is gently shaken), about one hour more.

Run a knife around the top edge of the cake to loosen it and cool the cake completely in springform on a rack, then chill it, loosely covered, at least 6 hours.

Make cherry topping (optional): Place all ingredients together in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Once it is boiling, cook it for an additional one to two minutes then remove from heat. Cool completely.

Remove side of pan and transfer cake to a plate. If you had any wonky baking issues, you might need to trim the cake flat.

Spread topping (if using) over chilled cheesecake.

*Cheesecake keeps, covered and chilled, 2 weeks.

New York cheesecake courtesy of smittenkitchen

Mmm yay! I don't think I would make it again unless I'm feeling ambitious or have some help. But it was good I think! Yumyumyum.


french toast

In addition to the eggs en cocotte (see previous post) I also made French toast with a strawberry sauce.

I used 2 eggs and mixed in some milk, sugar, and vanilla extract to make a custard mixture. I'm not big on measuring, so I added as much as I wanted. I like the ratio to be somewhat equal, though a little milkier is fine with me as opposed to it being too egg-y. Using the same baguette (again, see previous post), I soaked slices in the custard mix until it soaked. Don't leave it in there too long, or else it'll just fall apart! I then fried the pieces (didn't have butter, so I used oil) until the outsides were set.

As for the strawberry sauce. I took off the heads and mashed the strawberries with some water and sugar and boiled it for awhile... I didn't really know what I was doing, but it came out okay. Not sweet enough, but we ended up pouring the rest into ice molds to make strawberry ice cubes!



eggs en cocotte

Jess has this Martha Stewart cookbook that I covet intensely. It teaches all the basics of all kinds of cooking, from baking to braising to stir fry, steaming, and more. Much, much more. I've flipped through it many times when we lived together, oohing and ahhing at the different pictures, until I found an egg recipe that I couldn't resist trying. You see, I can ooh and ahh all I want at the book (this applies to food blogs also), but it doesn't mean that I'm going to try every single recipe that I find appetizing. In fact, it would take me forever to go through everything if I did that. But this egg recipe, called an egg cocotte, is a French style way of cooking eggs that's elegant but simple. If that doesn't please you, just think about it--it's egg. Enough said.

I made this for CORE for our breakfast meeting, and I hope they liked it! At least, they said they did.


  • Shallots
  • Mushrooms
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • French baguette


  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Cut up slices of the French baguette.
  2. Break an egg into an oven safe ramekin (or however many eggs and ramekins you have, but 1 egg per ramekin! You don't want sky-high levels of cholesterol do you?).
  3. Saute the shallots and mushrooms until desired softness. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Turn off the heat and add milk slowly.
  5. When the milk is heated, pour mixture over the eggs. Be careful to not break the yolk!
  6. Put ramekins in the oven. Let it bake until the whites are set, but the yolk is not cooked.
  7. Toast the slices of baguette. Serve with the ramekins!

I dip the bread in the milk mixture first to taste, then I break the yolk with the bread. There's something magical about runny yolk with toasted bread. Mmm. Do try this method of cooking eggs! So easy.


fruit tart = favorite

My favorite dessert hands down... umm if I don't count ice cream... Haha, I just like sweets, but those two are definitely my favorites. So m actually really likes fruit tarts too, since she isn't SUPER fond of cakes and stuff. It was her birthday and we were making all of her favorite foods. SO EXCITING! Always love excuses to try something crazy.

So anyways, I had gotten lots of tart pans from Jennfer for Christmas and I've been dying to use them...but never really had the chance to. So I jumped at the chance!!

I took recipes from several people but I looking at all the different sites they're mostly the all the same.

I made this over the course three days. I made the crust first because I am always scared of crusts because I suck. Plus this one had to be frozen and then baked...sooooooo yes that's what I did. Thank goodness for food processors cause they make your life easier. Haha, so I didn't have a rolling pin...so that's why there's my ghetto cup version of a rolling pin. Hey, it worked alright!
I made the custard while the crust was chilling on the second day because the pastry cream had to be cooled before putting on the crust and I didn't need the tart to be finished until Saturday. The pastry cream was SO EASY to make and SUPER DELICIOUS! Yummmm I love vanilla.
I had lots of help from Jess and Jwoo. It was super fun and exciting! No it doesn't look super appetizing and I sucked at spreading it evenly and beautifully. But it's okay...cause it was covered!

Look at all that fruit! I used strawberries, blueberries, kiwis, mangoes, blackberries, and raspberries. Yes, I went a little crazy when I went to Berkeley Bowl...and the ironic thing is that I shopped for some of the fruit with m. Haha, yes so slick. I love fruit!!

So here are the recipes!

For the crust (Of course I need to use smittenkitchen recipe. HAHA!)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 tablespoons; 4 1/2 ounces) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg


1. Pulse the flour, sugar and salt together in the bowl of a food processor. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in. (You’re looking for some pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas.) Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses–about 10 seconds each–until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change–heads up. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and, very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing. Chill the dough, wrapped in plastic, for about 2 hours before rolling.

2. To roll the dough: Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Roll out chilled dough on floured sheet of parchment paper to 12-inch round, lifting and turning dough occasionally to free from paper. (Alternately, you can roll this out between two pieces of plastic, though flour the dough a bit anyway.) Using paper as aid, turn dough into 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom; peel off paper. Seal any cracks in dough. Trim overhang to 1/2 inch. Fold overhang in, making double-thick sides. Pierce crust all over with fork.

Alternately, you can press the dough in as soon as it is processed: Press it evenly across the bottom and up the sides of the tart shell. You want to press hard enough that the pieces cling to one another, but not so hard that it loses its crumbly texture.

3. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.

4. To fully or partially bake the crust: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil (or use nonstick foil) and fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust. And here is the very best part: Since you froze the crust, you can bake it without weights. Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 20 to 25 minutes.

5. Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. Bake the crust about 10 minutes longer to fully bake it, or until it is firm and golden brown, brown being the important word: a pale crust doesn’t have a lot of flavor. (To partially bake it, only an additional 5 minutes is needed.) Transfer the pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature, and proceed with the rest of your recipe.

Pastry cream (from prettytastycakes):


2 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 whole egg
3 tblsp cornstarch
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 stick (2 tblsp) butter


1. In a saucepan, dissolve first portion of sugar in milk, bringing to boil.

2. Whisk egg and yolks in a bowl. Sift cornstarch and second portion of sugar into eggs and beat until smooth.

3. Slowly pour hot milk into eggs in a steady stream (to avoid cooking eggs).

4. Transfer mixture back to saucepan and reheat until boiling. Stir constantly. When mixture comes to a boil – it will be thick – remove from heat.

5. Stir in butter and mix until melted.

6. Transfer to a clean bowl and chill for at least three hours. I added a tablespoon of Cointreau to my pastry cream after the butter. Pastry cream can be flavored with other liqueurs, vanilla bean, chocolate, etc. (I used vanilla extract!)

This picture looks so much better than the previous ones huh? It's because it is!! Obviously its not taken by me but by Jwoo! Yay for nice cameras.

By the way, the fruit tart was really really good! Yay success! No fear of tarts! :D


my love...

Otherwise known as Yogurtland. What is Yogurtland, you ask? Blasphemy! Of course you know what Yogurtland is. It's delicious self serve frozen yogurt with a million flavors from plain to yuzu (citrus) to chocolate, a plethora of topping choices from fruits to nuts to red bean... for only $0.30 an ounce!

So worth it. I always get blueberry tart with plain tart and sometimes pomegranate raspberry. Strawberries, kiwis, and if I'm with N, almonds (this girl LOVES almonds). N says she's in her Yogurtland phase right now, and I'm jealous because she has two Yogurtlands in her vicinity, while I have...none. Sigh.

Anyhow, if you haven't tried, go try! So cheap but so delicious!