First time making Tri-tip!

Ok, so I am pretty proud of this hunk of meat. 


I’ve never made tri-tip before (usually hubs makes it) but there was a great sale on it at the store ($3.99!) so I decided to try it. I’m quite pleased with how it turned out! 


I used a very simple recipe found here (I used the oven method). I did not trim off the fat because I love my meat with a bit more fat for flavor (who else feels me on this??), and boy was it good.

I rounded out the meal with roasted potatoes and brussel sprouts.

Try the recipe and let me know how yours turned out!

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Barbecue for Two

C and I decided to have a bbq together since it was Labor Day.  The only problem was, we don’t know much  about barbecuing. 😬  But that didn’t stop us!  We both hadn’t barbecued in a long time, so this was a mini adventure for us.  First, we went to the store to pick up groceries and charcoal. Oh, back up.  First, we looked up basics of charcoal barbecuing on YouTube.  Of course, the good ol’ interwebs always has the answers.  Then we walked to the stores.  I should have known that we would have too much food at the end because a.) It’s us, and b.) we decided what items to buy based on how it would look together- “Oooh!  We need some red color!  Let’s get the red bell peppers (in addition to the orange and yellow)!” We almost got blueberries because we didn’t have blue in our rainbow of barbecue items, but we figured blueberries probably wouldn’t have barbecued well. And we had them at home.

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When we got home, we prepped the barbecue grill.

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This is actually a super small grill.  These are not giant briquettes.  They are normal size. 😆

And the food.

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Bone-in ribeye

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Pork belly

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Shrimp

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Mushrooms, eggplant, red onions, bell peppers, squash, zucchini, and green onions (doesn’t it look pretty?!)

 

We decided to skewer by food type instead of the usual mixed skewer due to differing cook times.  We learned this from Alton Brown.

Then it was cooking time.

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We even grilled a couple peaches for dessert.

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These are the results!  (Three hours later!  Tiny grill!)image

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Notice the small amount of pork belly above.  😧  The rest was lost in the fire. 😭😢😰

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And for dessert, C made Bon Bons!  We were reminiscing about how we used to eat them as kids, so she decided to make some!  The left is almond flavored ice cream inside and the right is the coconut flavored ice cream.  The left was the first one she made when the ice cream and chocolate were at their optimal temperatures.  The right one… Was not.  That one is just sadness.  But it still tasted good!

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We also had the peaches with the ice cream, as well.  We drizzled the peach with a little oil and sugary grinder thingy from Trader Joes (I never have a chance to use it so I jumped at the opportunity) and grilled it till it was softened.  Then we drizzled both with a little caramel I had in the fridge.

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I would say our barbecue adventure was pretty successful!

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We’ll have leftovers for days…😬

Rose Ombre Cake

This past weekend I made my first attempt at a rose ombre cake.  If you’ve been on Pinterest for a while or in the baking blogosphere in the recent past, you’ve probably heard of this cake.  I made it for my friend’s baby shower, which had a peach and mint color scheme.  I looked at a couple different blogs/websites to help me figure out how I was going to make it.  (Completely Delicious,  America’s Test KitchenCountry Cleaver)

Here it is:

 rose ombre cake

(Sorry the pic isn’t that great, we were in a shaded structure that had some light filtering in.)

And some mint chocolate chip mini macs, too!

mint macarons I want to practice making more cakes now!  🙂

Thanksgiving (sorta) live blog…

Ok, so I wanted to live blog, but I was doing a bunch of different things in the kitchen at once, so that didn’t really happen.  And now, as I sit here for a moment to try to take a breather and blog a bit of what I was able to capture on my iPhone, I’ve forgotten how to blog!!

Here goes… I think… and Judy said this is called batch blogging actually…

 

Yesterday, I tried to get a head start on the baking so that the kitchen would be freed up a bit today:

Roasting and peeling hazelnuts for chocolate hazelnut ice cream:

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Making vanilla bean ice cream and starting the chocolate hazelnut ice cream:

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Making red velvet macarons:

 

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Mom cooking and peeling crab for stuffed mushroom filling:

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Christine starting to prep the turkey:

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Vanilla bean ice cream churning:

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Macarons are piped and resting:

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The turks is in its temporary home for the night:

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Christine making the mirepoix for the gravy and beautiful cranberries for the cranberry sauce:

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Macarons out of the oven!

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Mint chocolate chip macs resting. They look so nice and pretty right now (though I put too much green food coloring), but they turned out horribly!:

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Then it was sleep time!

This morning, I woke up early to start again. (second try on the mint chocolate chip macs, which, spoiler alert, turned out horribly again):

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Christine working hard:

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Mom was making stuff but didn’t want her pic taken because she was in her PJs.  😐

I went to the store to get more ingredients for the chocolate mousse I was making:

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Christine still working hard:

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It is now 10:52am at this point, by the way.  😐

Then someone finally got up to prep for Thanksgiving.  Christine is peeling shrimp that will be used in mom’s stuffed mushrooms:2014-11-27 11.52.22

That’s turkey neck for the gravy that she’s cutting up, in case you’re wondering:

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Mom cutting up scallops for the stuffed mushroom filling.  (She’ll probably be mad that her picture is on here):

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Chocolate mousse cups done:

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Stuffed mushrooms ready to be cooked:

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Horrible macs v. 2.0:

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Christine giving the turks the star treatment for his special day:

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and his super-turkey cape being put on:

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In he went into the oven and after a half of an hour at 500 degrees, he started looking golden brown:

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Time to turn the turks:

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and put on his cape and give him a turkey probing… :O :

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That’s it for now!  😉

 

Thanksgiving Day Play-by-play

Happy Turkey Day everyone!

Christine here – as suggested by Judy, let’s try this “live-blogging” thing! Here’s a run down of some of the prep, cooking, and fun that’s going on in our houses today…

(Forgive the less-than-perfect photos, we’re going for quickness here!)

7:47 am- C: Woke up early and went down to the garage to flip the bird (haha). This year we were lucky to have an extra fridge (thanks Judy!) in the garage that we could use for the turkey and brine (all alone…). I like how this picture looks a bit omnious, hehehe.

lonely turkey

9:07am- D: Wish I had a renovated kitchen!!  My counter is under there somewhere… Not enough space!

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10:04 am- C: Made some curry chicken salad for lunch, seems funny to be cooking something that won’t be used for Thanksgiving dinner whatsoever.

curry chicken salad

10:52 am- C: Started the cranberry sauce so that it has time to cool and gel before dinner tonight. Love how festive and bright cranberries look 🙂

cranberry sauce

11:00 am- C: Snapped a shot of Diana’s guava chiffon mini cupcakes fresh out of the oven, so cute!

guava chiffon mini cupcakes

12:15ish pm- C: Finished up the turkey stock for the gravy (ugh, blurry cell-phone pic!). In case you’re wondering, yes, that is a turkey neck!

turkey stock

12:51am- D: Christine is oiling down the bird and giving it a massage.  Guess it runs in the family!

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12:54am- D:  Stopped for a lunch break.  It’s nice having lil sis around.  🙂

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12:58am- D: Aromatics getting stuffed into the bird.

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1:06pm- D: Caped crusader?  Breast plate of armor?  Burn guard?  Maybe all of the above?  🙂

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1:07 pm- D: Note to selves: 25.68lbs is the capacity of this oven.

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1:41pm- D: Bird is already browning… gotta put the cape on!!

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Whew, you may now call him Superturkey.2013-11-28 13.42.21

Celebration of Life

A couple weeks ago, a dear parent at my school passed away after a tough struggle with cancer.  She was very involved in school and bettering our community.  Her family decided to have an intimate Celebration of Life for her in their backyard.  I had the opportunity to attend and help with the decor and desserts.  I tried to make everything worthy of our beloved friend and what she represented.  She had always wanted to entertain and have a party in her backyard, but never had the chance to, and I wanted to make sure this celebration would be everything she would have wanted.

Here is what a corner of my house looked like in preparation:

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I called it the Amazon Bakery.  🙂

Complete with crazy thorns:

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Here are a few pictures of some of the finished flower arrangements  (the pics aren’t great because I was in a rush and just took a few shots quickly with my phone):

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We shipped plumerias over night from Hawaii because they were her favorite flowers.   We floated plumeria and gardenias in their pool (not pictured), along with floating candles of various sizes.  We also placed the loose blossoms around the refreshment tables.

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We hung orchids from the pergola and wrapped some of the columns with vines, orchids, and bougainvillea.  We used a stapler(!) to create a garland of orchids on the top beam.   We also strung white lights from the pergola so there was a beautiful glow when the sun started to set.

Here are some of the finished mini cupcakes:

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These are mini lemon cupcakes with lemon cream cheese frosting.

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These are Ultimate Chocolate (AKA Chocolate Lover’s) mini cupcakes with gold sprinkles.

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These are guava chiffon cupcakes.  I had so much batter left over that I made these regular sized cupcakes, but they weren’t so tasty.  The minis were definitely better.  The guava buttercream was not cooperating with me and I had to redo it 3 times.  Even the third time wasn’t super satisfactory for me, but I was running out of time so I had to stick with it.  😦

As you can see, I was also experimenting with different frosting techniques for each flavor.

Although it was a sad situation, I’m glad we were able to come together with other friends to celebrate the life of a very significant person.  Her presence among us is deeply missed.