VDay Sweet: Lemon Buttermilk Cake – Cream Cheese Icing & Lemon Curd Filling

I ❤ U Lemon Buttermilk Cake

I have a hard time following recipes. I prefer to peruse a few different versions and just go for it. That, obviously, is why I rarely bake. Since Dre made me a delicious breakfast in bed & an impressive dinner, I decided I’d whip up whatever flavor of cake the he wanted. I looked up a recipe for Lemon Cake & came across Martha Stewart’s Fluffy Lemon Buttermilk Cake. I carefully measured each ingredient & set up a mise en place to take a pic of them all…

Lemon Cake Ingredients

… and then I realized I had already ignored the first two instructions. I had mixed ALL the dry ingredient together, including the sugar. Thus, there would be no creaming of the butter & sugar and then no folding in the flour, baking powder, & salt. I couldn’t give up so I figured I’d see how things would turn out if I just went for it. I creamed just the butter in my stand mixer and added in the eggs, vanilla, & lemon zest.  I then folded in the dry mix & buttermilk for a smooth, lemony batter. After about 25 min in the oven, I had successfully baked one 9″ layer of my lemon cake (recipe or not!).

Lemon Cake Layer

While the second layer was baking, I made my first attempt at lemon curd from the Joy of Baking’s recipe. It was really easy and the perfect filling for my cake!

Lemon Curd Filling

While the lemon curd set in the fridge, I worked on a simple Cream Cheese Frosting. I whipped together (1) pkg of cream cheese & (1) stick of butter, both room temp. Once smooth, I added in powdered sugar, scraping the bowl & whipping to a smooth finish in my Cuisinart stand mixer.

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

So in the end, persevering after a little mistake turned into a delicious lemon cake. It was moist with a dense crumb cake consistency. The tart lemon curd filling & sweet & creamy frosting blended for a perfect end to our Valentine’s Day!

I ❤ U

Vday Lemon Buttermilk Cake

VDay Din: Fried Chicken Cordon Bleu, Tarragon Dijonnaise, & Champagne-Asparagus Risotto a la Dre <3

Dre always has a plan. He had a shopping list prepared for our grocery trip, did prep work Saturday night, and researched recipes for cooking on Sunday. I dig that kind of organization in a man.

The breakfast he made me was amazing, so I was looking forward to the dinner on Dre’s Vday menu. I was especially impressed with his ambition. Saturday night, Dre trimmed chicken breasts & marinated them in a habanero-buttermilk mixture. We both almost choked to death, not realizing how crazy hot those peppers are!

On Sunday, Dre seasoned & double-breading the breasts before frying them to perfection in my Cool Daddy. He topped them with crisped slices of prosciutto & Jarlsberg Swiss cheese, paired them with his homemade Tarragon Dijonnaise, and proudly declared it fried chicken cordon bleu!

On our shopping excursion, Dre picked up a bottle of champagne. After no mimosas for brunch, I got curious about it’s part in our Vday. Little did I know, but not only was Dre making a creamy batch of risotto, he was perfecting it with the bubbly and some fresh asparagus. I’m so proud of my Valentine!

Fried Chicken Cordon Bleu, Tarragon Dijonnaise, & Champagne-Asparagus Risotto

Vday Bfast: Bacon, Egg, & Gruyère Toast Cups a la Dre <3

I’m the one who does a vast majority of the cooking, so I was excited to hear that Dre planned to make me breakfast AND dinner on Valentine’s Day. Sunday is the only day that we both have off (may it be school or work eating up our time), so my only Vday wish was to spend the day together. In the morn, I stayed in bed watching whatever crappy TV I wanted while Dre got to cooking. About an hour into his kitchen session, love was in the air! I smelled something delicious!

Trio of Breakfast Toast Cups

That delicious something was breakfast delivered in a perfect package of love. Dre presented me with a charming trio of whole wheat bread cups baked full of eggs, turkey bacon, & gruyere and perfectly seasoned with S&P. All that was leftover was a bed full of crumbs, but I loved every bite.

Breakfast Toast Cups w/ Creamy Yolk, Turkey Bacon, & Gruyère

Weekend Update: Mmmm, Bacon Sunday

Sunday morn, the man & I made a quick Italian Market trip for some fresh bacon! We popped into Cappuccio’s Meats  (1019 S. 9th St.) for 2lbs & headed home for a very late day brunch for 4. My awesome mama sent me Kona Chocolate Chip Pancake Mix from Hawaii, the perfect main course. I’m glad I remembered I had a heart-shaped pancake mold in my kitchen gadget stash, as they were adorable & delicious with ripe bananas & strawberries!

 

Heart-shaped Banana Kona Chocolate Chip Pancakes (breath), Fresh Banana & Strawberries, Bacon, & OJ

Heart-shaped Banana Kona Chocolate Chip Pancakes (breath), Fresh Banana & Strawberries, Bacon, & OJ

Bacon Sunday wasn’t complete without another round of fried piggy greatness! The next best way to serve bacon besides straight-up at breakfast is the trusty BLT. I stuck to a pretty traditional setup of Bacon, Ripe Tomatoes, & Romaine on Country White Bread.

My man requested some Garlic-Herb Mayo to finish it off & I couldn’t let him down! The result was perfection on a new level!

Shallot-Garlic-Herb Mayo – Classic Hellman’s w/ minced Garlic & Shallots, sauteed in bacon fat (of course!), & chopped Parsley, Lemon-Thyme, & Thai Basil

 

BLT w/ Sauteed Garlic-Shallot & Fresh Herb Mayo on Country White Bread

BLT w/ Sauteed Garlic-Shallot & Fresh Herb Mayo on Country White Bread

Visit my Flickr Photostream for more pics of my Heart-Shaped Brunch & Garlic-Herb BLT!

Weekend Update: Asian Edition – Part 3

Friday was my sister’s 27th Bday so we celebrated with a Korean BBQ dinner at the new Miga in Center City. I’ll spare you stories of the horrendous service and just skip to the fun parts! Starting with the Japanese River Crab Photo Bomb a la Greg:

Japanese River Crab Photo Bomb

Japanese River Crab Photo Bomb

More photos of the teensy-weensy Japanese River Crab & festivities after the jump…

Continue reading

Weekend Update: Asian Edition – Part 2

Thursday, I made a visit to my favorite (bc it’s close & I’m lazy) Vietnamese supermarket, aptly named Asia Market. Philly’s Washington Ave is lined with your choice of Asian markets, shops, & restaurants directly perpendicular to the famous Italian Market. I was certainly excited on this visit as now that I have a BlackBerry (aka my Frankenberry), I can look up all the crazy products encountered on my Asia Market excursions! This time was a quick trip for familiar dinner items for Friday night & some kitchen staples: Shallots, Fresh Ginger, Snow Peas, baby Bok Choy, Japanese Eggplant, & some chopsticks.

I had “plans” for a Friday night at home, cooking dinner & enjoying some TV/relaxation. A quick Google search for “chicken bok choy recipe” brought me to Food & Wine’s Ginger-Sesame Chicken w/ Mushrooms & Bok Choy, and thank goodness I had some fungi in the fridge! I always interpret recipes into my own taste, so I omitted the red peppers, prepared the baby bok choy on the side, & added my own splashes & dashes to the sauce. This recipe will def stay in my back pocket, especially for the brown sauce! I finished the meal with some white rice & good laughs via The Love Guru.

Ginger-Sesame Chicken w/ Mushrooms

Ginger-Sesame Chicken w/ Mushrooms

Baby Bok Choy

Baby Bok Choy

Weekend Update: Asian Edition – Part 1

Without intention, I had the pleasure of enjoying a weekend full of Asian cuisine.

The Weekend: Asian Edition began with a perfect lunch at Raw, a Japanese restaurant in the heart of the Gayborhood at 12th & Sansom. I enjoyed the amazing company of my business partners/great friends (& a little one that kept extra big smiles on our faces). Raw is certainly a great deal for lunch with their Bento Boxes running around $14. I opted for the Tuna Bento, featuring:

(8) piece Spicy Tuna Roll ~ (2) pieces of Tuna Sushi ~ (2) Cucumber-Avocado Rolls

(2) Crab-Cucumber Rolls ~ (2) Shrimp Shumai

Green Salad w/ Carrot-Ginger Dressing ~ Vegetable Tempura ~ White Rice

Raws Tuna Bento

Raw's Tuna Bento

Seems like alot, but that’s not all!

Continue reading