Archive for April, 2009
Chocolate Marble Cheesecake with Coconut, Lemongrass, and Kaffir Lime – 17 and Baking does Daring Bakers
Dear Daring Bakers,
I love you. Seriously. Each and every one of you, from the very bottom of my heart. I’ve watched you grow, the blogroll getting longer and longer each month, and I’ve savored the challenges, looking at every elegant photograph and memorable post with admiration and just a touch of envy.
In complete honesty, Daring Bakers, you were out of my league. Perhaps I could make a food blog, but never could I make the same desserts as you – challenging, beautiful, time consuming, potentially expensive – it was not in the cards for an amateur 17 year old who fancied herself a foodie.
Lucky for me, Daring Bakers are the warmest, friendliest bakers around. I still can’t quite believe that I am a Daring Baker now, and that I’ve finished my first challenge. Actually, this might be a daydream. I could potentially be in 5th period English. Don’t wake me up.
Love, love, love
The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.
After recovering from the wild crazy joy that was being accepted into the Daring Bakers, I went absolutely insane waiting for the April challenge to be announced. I won’t lie – I felt scared that it would be a fancy French pastry that I would completely defile, and that would be the end of it. But I’d made cheesecake twice before – plain cheesecake – and was eager to try more exotic flavors and see how this recipe compared with mine.
I must have played with a dozen different ideas. A spicy Mexican Hot Chocolate cheesecake, green tea and white chocolate, blood orange and champagne, even basil. When I brainstormed aloud about coconut to my parents, my dad said “Thai.” And it all came together.
Chocolate Marble Cheesecake with Coconut, Lemongrass, and Kaffir Lime.
And yeah, that tiny bite is what’s left of the slice from the picture before.
I actually stopped the photoshoot to eat the cake I was photographing. Then I guiltily set down the plate and picked up the camera.
This cheesecake is just that good.
[8/4/10 Update - I made this cheesecake for the Seattle talk show New Day Northwest! Watch me make the cheesecake on TV here.]
Sometimes when people find out that I like to bake, they assume that I have great knife skills, can whip up fresh tomato sauce, and know how to fillet a fish. “Oh,” they say, “you’re a cook! That’s so cool.”
No. It would be very cool if I were a cook, but alas, I’m scared of the big chopping knife, I have no idea how to make tomato sauce from scratch, and I can poorly fillet a fish (just barely.) I am a baker, even though I’d love to expand my abilities.
My parents, on the other hand, they are good cooks. My father is the sort of person whose shopping cart is filled with eggs, butter, fresh produce, and milk, never frozen dinners or Hamburger Helper. The kind of person who cooks salmon and mushroom roulade without a recipe and gets asked to do dinner parties.
My mom, too, has her specialties. The limited Chinese terms my father knows are all for describing the foods she makes. Her rice is the best we’ve ever had, anywhere. Her pot stickers are so perfect that when one of my friends said she loved Dragon Wok’s dumplings, I forced her to come to dinner so she could see what she was missing. And unlike my father, the cook, and me, the baker, mother’s favorite is something unique: bread.
My mother ate like a bird as a child. She loathed meat, hated most vegetables, and didn’t care for fruit. Instead, she bought freshly baked bread on the way home from school and ate the whole loaf herself. When she moved to this country and was first introduced to my father’s family, the only thing she ate was mashed potatoes and dinner rolls. To a group of thick steak and buttered greens loving foodies, this was unimaginable, prompting my grandfather to title her the Carbohydrate Queen.
My mom eats basically everything now, but she still loves bread best. And so it was she who baked these delicious rolls with freshly grated carrots. Me, I’m scared of yeast. But my mother, she’s fearless.
On another note, thank you to Eliana of A Chica Bakes for passing the Friendship Award onto me. It’s so sweet! I have to pass it on to 8 other bloggers…
“These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated.”
Thanks to all of these bloggers for supporting 17 and Baking, and inspiring me with their delicious creations.
- Amanda of Is This Thing On?
- Marta of Just Call Me Marta
- Alicia of Bakeaholic
- Alana of The Good Girl Gone Blog
- Darina of Gratinee
- Jenny of Raising Our Kids in America…
- Danica of Think It, Bake It
- Kristen of Dine and Dish (A special thank you for hosting the Adopt-A-Blogger event… More on this later!)
So I’ve developed this new bad habit of bringing my camera with me everywhere. It’s in my backpack at school, my purse when I go shopping, even my pocket when I’m going out to lunch.
Maybe it isn’t a bad habit in the way biting your nails or burping loudly is a bad habit. But like those things, it’s occasionally rude, distracting, and slightly embarrassing. I whip out my camera before the waiter even leaves the table, saying to my family, “Wait – just let me get a few shots of it first.” Yeah, it’s a little weird even for me.
Then again… When the photos look like that, who can really call it a bad thing? (:
I think I’m going to include something new once in a while on 17 and Baking and see if it’s a welcome addition. There is so much great food that I don’t make and isn’t necessarily sweet. Since I always have my camera on hand, and I already photograph pretty much everything I eat – why not blog about it? Seattle restaurants, bakeries, farmer’s markets…
Another issue is that May is approaching. I’m an IB/AP student, meaning I have some really big tests to take throughout the entire month of May. I should really be studying right now, in fact. So I don’t have as much time to bake as I’d like to for a short while… These posts about eating out can let me keep up the blog and practice my photography without taking up as much time. (In summer, though, I plan to bake like crazy!)
So let’s dig in, starting with Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria, a charming little pizzeria in beautiful Columbia City, Seattle…
When I was little, I used to remember birthdays by party themes and presents.
There was my fabulous pink themed party, with hot magenta and bubble gum pink stuffed animals hanging from the ceiling. The birthday where all the kids swung eagerly at a pinata, unable to crack it, forcing Dad to come to the rescue. And who could forget the birthday I was presented with my own Barbie bicycle, complete with sparkles on the handlebars?
But these days, I remember birthdays by the people and the food we celebrated with. The year my Pubah carried out a hamburger cake to my utter delight. Or the birthday cake decorated with plastic dancing princesses, which I still have in a box under my bed. Even the famous family mashed potatoes I’ve requested for every single birthday dinner of my life, since I can remember.
Last year, I invited two of my closest friends over and we made dinner: 3 different kinds of pasta from scratch, mixing and rolling out the dough right on the table. It was the perfect low-key sweet 16, memorable and intimate and tasty.
Turning 17 was a little different. It seemed less important, less of a “big deal,” and there were no balloons or real parties. The only celebratory thing I did was eat at Salty’s, a pricey and stunning restaurant (more on that later.) In fact, it felt like an average April day. But little things made it special… from my friends singing happy birthday at lunch to my beautiful birthday dinner, it was made even sweeter.
Click to read about dinner at Salty’s and how I assembled this showstopper chocolate cake of my dreams.