New York Our Dream Land…

First, I’d like to apologize those who actually read our blog… it has been two weeks since our last food blog update… Well, we were in NYC two weeks ago for 5 days, which was awesome (except my company trip), we had so much fun walking around the city, wondering around villages, and Brooklyn…

I have so much to tell you how awesome NYC was… Food wise, NYC MUST have high quality and inexpensive food because of the very serious food industry competition. I mean, you can go to the most expensive restaurant in the city and satisfy your taste buzz, but Zach and I like to go inexpensive and high quality food… So here we go, I’d like to introduce you the three exciting NYC eatery, first the magnificent cup cake!

Magnolia Bakery NYC
Box
Bakery Outside
I was recommended this place by one of my best friends. The first night we were there in NYC, we were wondering around the times square and found this magnificent Cup Cake Bakery! I was planning to visit but it was destiny we just came across to this store. So we did not resist but went into the store immediately and purchased 4 delicious Cup cakes!

Amazing Cupcakes Banana & Carmel Cupkae
We got a Chocolate Cup Cake, Vanilla Cup Cake, Red Velvet Cup Cake, and Banana Caramel Cup Cake. I dived right into the Banana Caramel Cup Cake so I forgot to take picture of this Cup Cake as a whole… sorry… the Cake was so moist, the balance of Caramel frosting and the Banana Cake were just right. Not too sweet but definitely you can taste both main components of this Cup Cake.

A Chocolate and Vanilla Cup Cake were okay, not so exciting… but the Cream Cheese frosting was extraordinary. I noticed that their frosting was not so sweet but just right to compliment the actual Cake.

OMG, Red Velvet Cup Cake… super moist, looks super red devilish, but just right amount of Coco hitting with the creamy frosting… I don’t think I have ever had such moist Cup Cake ever in my life!!

The second amazing eatery in NYC is located at Little Italy… Da Gennaro Restaurant

One of our dearest friends took us there said “The best Gnocchi Ever!” I was really excited because literally I have never had good Gnocchi in my life. The Gnocchi that I had tasted before was always mushy or gummy and too starchy… I made it myself once and that experience was disappointed. Another fact that I was excited about this experience because we were going to eat an Italian food in Little Italy in NYC. I mean it may be the closest you can get to eat the real authentic Italian Food, don’t you think?? Well, with all these exciting facts, we arrived at Da Gennaro Restaurant in Little Italy NYC!

The Italian Feast!
Little Italy Feast
This is something I ordered, which has Gnocchi with Pesto, Fetachini Alfredo, and Totellini Boroneze, just like Italian Flag the meal was nicely presented in the white plate. Guess what I ate first in this plate? Yes, you guessed it right, Gnocchi with Pesto, as our friend describes as the BEST Gnocchi. He was right, it was an amazing Gnocchi, it is soft, creamy, and melt in your mouth. The pest was just right with Basil, Garlic, and Olive Oil… I am sure there is some nuts and cheese in this sauce but it did not overcome the actual Gnocchi taste. It was divined!! Fetachini Alfredo was amazing as well, the cream sauce was soft and light, the pasta was cooked as al dente, and I think it was home made pasta at the restaurant. Tottelini Boroneze, the right amount of Tomato hits the meat sauce with the creamy Tottelini Pasta, it was awesome… Look at this amazing dish one more time. Please go visit Da Gennaro when you are in NYC, you won’t regret it.
Little Italy The Three Amazing Pasta

Last and at least, I was recommended this Pizza place from two of our good friends. This New York Famous Pizza place is located under the Brooklyn Bridge.
Store Outside Grimaldis Outside Tile 2

Grimaldi’s Pizza
The fact was that Zach and I skipped Breakfast and Lunch on this day because we were so excited to go eat this famous New York Pizza in Brooklyn. After the long walk of the Brooklyn Bridge, we were so excited to find this Pizzeria with the ridiculously long line at 2pm.
Long line at 2pm
Line at 2pm
Long line behind us at 2;30pm
Line behind us at 230pm
Well well well, by looking at this long line at 2pm on Sunday, we realized it was a confirmation of the Best Pizza in NYC. So we decided to stay in the line wait for our breakfast/lunch/early dinner patiently.
Hungry Couple
Hungry Couple
We waited for 1.5 hours and we arrived in front of the entrance. We felt that 1.5 hours past right by but the last 5 minutes right in front of the entrance felt another hour of waiting. We got seated and we ordered a large Margarita Pizza and the waiters recommendation of the Pepperoni Sausage and Mushroom Pizza. Also we ordered a Brooklyn Beer and Brooklyn Orange Soda.
Brookly Beverage Brooklyn Orange Soda
You need to ask Zach for the Brooklyn Beer cuz I did not drink it. The Brooklyn Orange Soda was very refreshing not like Fanta Orange… yuck. But you know after skipping breakfast, lunch and walking cross the Brooklyn Bridge, at that point, a glass of Fanta Orange could taste pretty good… 😉

Here are the Pizza Margarita & Pepperoni Sausage Mushroom Pizza.
Best Margarita Pizza Pepparoni Sausage Mushroom
No wonder why people want their pizza. The Pizza Margarita was amazing with the intense Tomato Sauce, Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, and Basil. The Tomato Sauce tested like fresh Tomato, Mozzarella Cheese was creamy and slightly tangy, and Basil was very aromatic. The crust was very thin that crunchy, it was an amazing pizza I have ever had.
Margarita Slice Thin PizzaCan you tell by this pic how thin the crust is?
The Pepperoni Sausage Mushroom Pizza recommended by the waiter was amazing as well. The Pepperoni tasted amazing itself. The Pepperoni and Sausage were not greasy like you imagine. It seems that the oil from the meats incorporated with the mushroom and the thin crust, which balanced really nicely. I usually do not like two meats on one pizza but this was an exceptionally tasty meat Pizza!

Oh I miss you NYC. Zach and I are actually thinking about moving to NYC. This city has such a wonderful history and great food! People are actually pretty nice. Right after we got back to Denver, I stared looking for an apartment in NYC and jobs. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Well, we hope to go visit NYC soon again or move to NYC soon… 🙂 until then, we’ll keep dreaming about the NYC life.

Happy Eating!!
Mrs H

Childhood Potato Croquettes

Have you had Japanese Potato Croquettes? Many Japanese Restaurants here in Denver, they serve pre manufacture made frozen Potato Croquettes. You’ll see, if the croquettes shape like a football, and perfectly shaped, it is pre manufacture made frozen Potato Croquettes.

Japanese Potato Croquettes are not difficult to make but definitely tedious process. So I remember when my mother made ones for dinner, it was special to me. And usually she made comments like “I hate making Potato Croquettes, the frying oil makes me sick…” and so on… 🙁 ahahahahahaha…..

Well, it is worth making one, the home made Potato Croquettes are juicy, soft, and creamy. I bet every family has a different recipe, but I am making one that I remember from my childhood.

Ingredients
1. 10 Small Yellow Potatos
2. 1/2 lb Ground Pork
3. 1 Medium Yellow Onion Diced
Diced Onion
4. 1 Cup Frozen Green Peas
Frozen Green Peas
5. 2 Tablespoon Salt (I use Sea Salt)
6. 1 Tablespoon White Pepper
7. 1 Egg beaten
Egg Wash
8. 1 Cup Flour
Flour
9. 2 cups Panko Bread Crumbs
Panko
10. Canola Oil, enough to fill pan 1/2-inch and plus 1 Tablespoon

Directions
1. Peel the Potato and boil it till it becomes tender, and mash.
Small Yellow Potato Mashed Yellow Potato
2. In the medium size skillet, add 1 Tablespoon of canola oil and saute e Ground Pork and Onion. This is a side note but I just wanna say I love my Global Knife. Check out the Global Website for the product line.
Ground Pork Ground Pork and Diced Onion
3. Add Salt and Pepper for the taste.
4. Add Frozen Green Peas to the Pork Mixture and mix well. (Careful not mash the Green Peas)
Ground Pork Diced Onion and Green Peas
5. Add the Pork Mixture to the Mashed Potato and mix well.
Mashed Potato with Meat Mixture
6. Using an ice cream scoop to shape the Potato Mixture.
7. Roll through flour, dip in the beaten egg, and roll through Panko Bread Crumbs.
Flour Egg Wash and Panko Croquettes before fried
8. Fry each Croquette in Shallow Canola Oil until brown on all sides.
Canola Oil Frying in Progress

The Potato Croquettes, this is what I remember from my childhood.
Potato Croquettes
My mother served the Potato Croquettes with Worcester sauce and small side salad. Next day, you can make the Potato Croquettes Sandwich… Yummy… 🙂

It takes less than one hour to make this my childhood memory Potato Croquettes but the process was definitely tedious. Though when you bite into the just fried Potato Croquettes, you’ll be glad that you made it and you’ll forget about all the process you went through!

Happy Cooking!!
Mrs. H

H’s 6 Fabulous Coconut Cupcake

I apologize in advance. I wanted to eat Coconut Cupcake and started making it without taking pictures of the baking process… so we have a few pictures of this recipe… Sorry…

Anyways, as I stated above, I was craving for a Coconut Cupcake. Convenience enough, I usually have majority of the ingredients in my pantry, I found the sweetened shredded coconut so I decided to make one myself.

The recipes that I found online produces 12 to 18 cupcakes, which I did not want to bake that much. So as usual, I tweeted one of the recipes that I found online with addition of a Tablespoon of oil. The oil will help the cupcake to be moist. Also, I usually use Salted Butter instead of Unsalted Butter but do not add any salt that instructed on the recipes online. This is the lazy way of baking but the final products usually come out fabulous so why not right?

The following recipe produces 6 fabulous Coconut Cupcakes!

Ingredients
1. 1.5 sticks salted Butter, room temperature
2. 3/4 cups sugar
3. 3 Large Eggs at room temperature
4. 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
My Favorite Vanilla Extract
5. 1 Tablesppn Oil (I used Olive Oil just because it was on the Kichen Counter)
6. 1.5 cups flour
7. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
8. 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
9. 1/2 cup milk
10. 5 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut
Coconut

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the Butter and Sugar on high speed until light and fluffy.
2. About after 5 to 7 minutes with the mixer on low speed, add the Eggs, 1 at a time.
3. Scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the Vanilla and mix well.
4. In a separate bowl, sift together the Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda.
5. In 4 parts, add the dry ingredients and the Milk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry.
6. Fold in 5 ounces of coconut.
7. Spray Pam to a muffin pan. Fill each cup to the top with batter.
Before the Oven In the Oven
8. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
Just Came out from the Oven
9. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely.
Coconut Cupcake Cooking

The online recipes recommended to have Cream Cheese Frosting. This is just my opinion but the great moist Coconut Cupcakes do not require frosting. It is just good as is. Well, if you still think that the frosting is necessary, uuuuuum, I guess you can make one with mixing butter, cream cheese, vanilla, and powdered sugar together… Sorry I don’t have a recipe for it. I actually whipped some heavy cream with some sugar and mixed with about 1 tablespoon of sour cream, added on the side of the cupcake.
Coconut Cupcake 1

This Coconut Cupcake is super moist. Really 1 Tablespoon of oil makes a BIG difference. Just with butter is not enough to produce this moistness. I could cut the sugar by 1/4 more… 1/2 sugar may be enough for this recipe. I’ll try that next time!

Overall, this is a success recipe and hope you can enjoy the 6 Fabulous Coconut Cupcakes!

Happy Baking!!
Mrs. H

Le Central the BEST French Restaurant in Denver

Friday 10/16, right after work, we wanted to go out right away after the work to start out weekend fabulous! We thought about going to get a gourmet burger… that’s not so fabulous… thought about going to the Cherry Creek North, they usually have great restaurant selections… but then we did not want to drive all the way to the Cherry Creek North….

Then, I had this vision of “Moules et Frites”…. Ahhhhh “Le Central” Zach agreed immediately, which we started driving that direction.

When we get there around 5:30pm, the restaurant was nearly empty (Lucky~!) So we were seated right away and our fabulous weekend has begun.

We ordered L’ Ail, Le Brie, et Les Croutons as an appetizer, which is a baked whole garlic head, Brie cheese, and small toasts.
L' Ail, Le Brie, et Les Croutons
The baked garlic was like butter, spread the garlic and brie cheese onto the toast, sprinkle with diced Tomato and basil… Yummy~!!! It is so simple but yet the flavor of the roasted garlic, brie, tomato and basil was bold. What a great starter! Zach had some red wine, which was sweet for me but enough dryness with it for Zach 🙂

I ordered Moules Portuguaise, the steamed Mussels in this fantastic broth with Portuguaise Sausage, diced tomato and bottomless potato fries!
Sorry, these pictures suck because the lighting of the restaurant…
Moules Portuguaise
This is addictive. Even though I was quite full from the appetizer but I could not stop eating… As you can see how much mussels they serve, I have to say this is a one of the lightest dishes.

Zach ordered Cassoulet du Central, which was lamb, onions, and duck confit simmered with Provence herbs and white beans, topped with grilled pork sausage and gratineed with bread crumbs, like casserole.
Cassoulet du Central
All the meats looked so tender and perfect for the cold fall night. I’ll ask Zach to write about this dish later on!

After the meal, we thought about stopping the dinner right there but the waiter asked us “Would you like to look at the dessert menu?” and I said “I’ll just wanna look at the menu…” Well, you all know there is no “Just look at the menu”… we ended up ordering La Creme Brulee.
La Creme Brulee
The custard was creamy and had a good taste of vanilla. The surface of the custard was very crispy caramelized sugar crust. This sounds very sweet but it’s not… just right amount of sugar in this dessert. I could eat the bucket of this…

All these dishes and 3 glasses of wine, it was less than $60.00. I have to say “What a deal!!”

The atmosphere of this restaurant is cozy but yet romantic 🙂 For the special occasion or just for fun, try Le Central for the Best French Food in Denver~!

Happy Eating!
Mrs. H

Pork Coke Roast in the Slow Cooker

Ahhhh, slow cooker! What a genius dinner helper for a busy working wife. Zach’s Mom gave us her slow cooker about 3 years ago, I like this slow cooker, it is a perfect size for two 🙂
My Perfect Slow Cooker
I like to use slow cooker once in a while usually winter time. So I can make roast, stew, and casserole… and more and more. I like the fact when I come home from work, the whole kitchen is filled with wonderful smell of the food in the slow cooker. What a joy!

Recently, Zach requested “Pork Coke Roast”, which I have not made for a LONG LONG time. This has a very interesting ingredients…. “Coke (Coca-Cola)” I like Coca-Cola but you can use Pepsi if you like. I think Coca-Cola is less sweet that it is better for this recipe… (just my opinion)

Anyways, I want to introduce this wonderful Slow Cooker recipe “Pork Coke Roast”!!

Ingredients
1. 2.5 – 3.0 pound Pork Roast
Pork Roast
2. 20 FL OZ (About 600 ml) Coca-Cola (Coke)
3. 10 FL OZ About (300 ml) Soy Sauce
Coke & Soy Sauce
4. 1 Large Yellow Onion Cut in 1/8
Onion
5. Several Fingerling Potato (You can use any 2 large potato cut 1 inch cube)
Fingerling Potatos
6. 2 tsp Salt (I use Sea Salt)
7. 1 ~ 2 Tbs Ginger Powdered
8. 1 ~ 2 Tbs Garlic Powder
Seasonings
9. 4 Boiled Eggs
Boiled Egg

Direction
1. Rub Pork Roast with Salt, Garlic Power and Ginger Powder.
2. Place Rubbed Pork Roast in the Slow Cooker.
3. Add Onion and Potato to the Slow Cooker.
Pork Onion and Potato
4. In a bowl (I used the measurement cup), add Coca-Cola and Soy Sauce.
Empty Coke & Soy Sauce
5. Pour this Coke Soy mixture to the Slow Cooker.
Coke and Soy Sauce Mixture into the Slow Cooker
You’ll see the carbonation bubbled up on the surface of the Slow Cooker. This is going to help the meat tenderized.
6. The Slow Cooker is covered with a piece of plastic wrap and into the fridge for over night!
Rested in the fridge for overnite
7. Next morning, set this Pork Soy Coke Veggie mixture to the Slow Cooker High for 6 hours, and add the boiled egg in last 2 hours.

So here is the Onions, Potato, and Boiled Egg look like after 8 hours…
Egg Onion and Potato
Yummy~~!!

So here is the Pork Roasted in the Coca-Cola and Soy mixture after 8 hours…
Pork in the Plate
AWESOME!!!

Here is the arrange, which was tonight’s dinner, Coke Pork Roast Bowl…
Coke Pork Bowl
This dinner reminds me HOME… made me home sick GOOD!!!

Try it, you’ll be surprised what Coca-Cola can do for your next great dinner.

Left over can be used for sandwich, stir fry, and soup… you name it!!!

Happy Eating 🙂

Mrs. H