French macarons with chocolate ganache

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I was so pleasantly surprised when I opened the oven to check on these babies. Behold!  Feet on my macarons!  After countless failures, I was thrilled of these results. I will keep on practicing to get them right every time.





Fortune cookies

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fortune cookies

What’s better than opening a fortune cookie and know what you gonna get?  You may not know what happens after you say “I do”, but if you make it, your fortune shall come.

So, as I was thinking of ideas for parting gifts or favors for a bridal dinner, I thought wouldn’t it be romantic to have personalized fortune cookies?  I researched online and it was costly especially if you consider the shipping costs.  The ingredients were inexpensive but the methods took some practice.  Since you had to make these right out of the oven while they are still hot since you need to bend them while it is still pliable. I dipped these in candy melts and  added edible pearls for a touch of elegance.  But, you can make add cocoa powder to make them chocolate fortune cookies and dipped them in white for a black/white theme look as well.  That is the good things about making them since the options are endless!

But it was worth it in the end, since I was able to insert romantic quotes from popular books and Buddha.  Since the bride to be is Buddhist, I was able to find spiritual inspirations for her.  I also included my favorite lines from Little Women such as “she will be rich in the possession of a good man’s heart, and that is better than a fortune.”

I gave these to the girls packaged in a hand made take out box.  Now, handmade cookies and fortunes that I had a hand in is like a red cherry on top of a great dessert.


New Orleans French Quarter Festival

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So, I thought that New Orleans would make an ideal girl trip.  It meets my foodie criteria:  beignets, gumbo, oyster, bread pudding, crawfish pies!  Best of all, it happened to be the weekend of French Quarter festival.  Since we only had a day, the festival brought all the great restaurants of NOLA in one place. We literally ate our way the entire day.  In fact, we began and ended our day with beignets.

Here is what us four girls ate in just one day:

Beignets and cafe au lait at Cafe Du Monde

Gumbo and bread pudding at The Gumbo Shop

We walked a few blocks to Acme Oysters for some chargrilled oysters and fried oyster and shrimp po-boys



Now, that was only appetizers, since they were just setting up for the festival.  But once the food vendors were set up, I headed straight to what I was waiting for: crawfish pie and duck po-boys.  We had both crawfish pies from Lasyones meat and company as well as Mrs. Wheat pies.  Both were good but the Lasyone was more crunchy and flavorful.  At Jacque Imo’s, we had the duck po-boy as well as the alligator cheesecake.

We also had the goat crepe at Muriels.  The other girls loved it but goat is not my thing.


As if Acme oyster house did not satiate satisfied our curiosity for chargrilled oysters, we took the trolley to Hilton for Dragos.  The original location is actually in Metaire.  But, this location was convenient being that it is accessible via trolley and next to Harrah’s casino.  I personally liked chargrilled oysters at Dragos than Acme.  Although both are good,  Draogos oysters were bigger and not too charred so the oyster taste and texture was more appreciated.  We also had the crabmeat stuffed lobster as well as their house gumbo.  The gumbo was salty and not authentic tasting as the Gumbo Shop.



Now, what food trip with a few girls withous some booze to go with these delicious dishes?  We went to Bourbon street and had a few hurricans and other fruity drinks.  But, we did ended the evening with another round of beignets and coffee.

Jordan Marsh blueberry muffins

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I guess you know figured my love for blueberry muffins?  I have seen and tried so many flavors at central market.  They even have ginger and pear and apricot as well.  But somehow, I am always loyal to the berry kind..especially plump blueberries that burst in your mouth.  I like my muffins to have blueberries in every bite!  Unlike the tiny, dried blueberries you find in the prepackage muffins.  These muffins are so simple to make that my daughter whipped them up for her lunch snack.  With summer around the corner, you’ll bet I will be using blueberries in many of my desserts.  As soon as I filled the muffin liners with the batter,  I like to top extra blueberries before baking them.  Now that is like a red cherry on top a great dessert.

Jordon Marsh Blueberry muffins

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
2 cups unsifted flour
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups large fresh blueberries
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sugar (for top of muffins)

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy; add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.

In a second bowl, combine all dry ingredients. (You can use an electric mixer to combine the dry ingredients thoroughly at this point so that you won’t need to overmix once the wet and dry ingredients are combined.

Gradually add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter and sugar mixture along with the milk and vanilla.

Optionally, mash 1/2 cup of the blueberries, and stir in by hand (this will turn batter a light shade of blue and add a touch of blueberry flavor, but this step may be skipped, if you wish). Add the remaining whole berries and stir in gently by hand.

Spray a 12 muffin baking pan with Baker’s Joy (or other non-stick spray). Fill greased muffin cups.

Sprinkle sugar on top of unbaked muffins (we like to use Turbinado sugar for sprinkling the tops).

Bake at 375°F for 25-30 minutes. Cool in pan. Run a knife around the edge of each muffin after several minutes to free it from the pan and cool on wire racks. Muffins may be brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with sugar, if desired.

At our test kitchen, we sometimes sprinkle blueberry muffin tops with cinnamon sugar or ground hazelnuts or spread with lemon or vanilla icing and top with thinly sliced almonds.

Tip: If you have trouble with blueberries settling to the bottom try tossing them in flour before adding to the batter. It may just be that your batter is too thin. Another trick is to fill muffin cups 1/4 full with batter which hasn’t had blueberries added to it yet; then stir the blueberries in and continue to fill the muffin cups. This way you won’t start out with blueberries at the bottom!