Friday, July 31, 2009

Green Tea Ice Cream (II)

Updated: August 17, 2009

After my first attempt at making the green tea ice cream, hubby suggested that I make the ice cream with a stronger green tea flavor. I increased the the amount of green tea powder in my next attempt and did not like the flavor or the texture much. It was a little too grainy/powdery for my liking.

So, here’s the green tea ice cream recipe that I like! =) The first time I made the ice cream, I used 3/4 cups of sugar which I found a lil too sweet. In this new recipe, I reduced the sugar to 2/3 cups.

Green Tea Ice Cream1



  • 4 Tbsp Green Tea Powder
  • 2/3 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Cup Milk, Divided
  • 2 Cup Heavy Cream


Heat 1/2 cup of milk for about  40-60 seconds in the microwave. Slowly sieve the green tea powder into the hot milk while whisking the milk quickly until all powder has dissolved. Add sugar, milk and continue whisking until sugar is dissolved. Stir in heavy cream.

Turn the ice cream maker on and pour mixture into freezer bowl. Process ice cream until you get almost a soft serve consistency or according to the manufacturer’s instruction. This took me about 35-40 minutes with my Cuisinart 1.5 Quart Ice Cream Maker. Transfer ice cream into containers and freeze for 2-3 hours before serving.

Green Tea Ice Cream***I found this bag of green tea powder for $7 at an Asian grocery store.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Just Soup

With hubby gone on a business trip, I was in no mood to cook. I decided to make soup today. Creamy potato & bacon soup to be exact. I had a whole bag of potatoes and needed to use as much as I could before they start sprouting. With the last few bacon strips I have, 2 lbs of potatoes, some onions, celery, chicken bouillon cube and milk, I made myself a pot of creamy potato & bacon soup enough to last me 2-3 meals. =) Dinner7Mmm…..smooth creamy soup with chunks of potatoes, crispy bacon bits and chopped scallions which I threw into the soup before they ended up in my tummy! =)

Oh yeah…I gotta remember to make a container of green tea ice cream before I hit the sack tonite…Promised a friend I’ll make her some!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Spaghetti & Meatballs…Asian Version!

I love eating spaghetti with meatballs and decided to do my own Malaysian version of it for one of my lazy Monday syndrome meals. With about half a bag of frozen party meatballs from Trader Joe’s (which I now religiously try to make sure I have a bag of it in the freezer at any given time) and a packet of frozen homemade curry kapitan (imported from Malaysia), I served up my Malaysian version of Spaghetti and Meatballs; Curry Kapitan Meatballs and Cavatappi Pasta.

It was divinely delicious!!! It was so good and so darn easy to make..since everything was already pre-made. =p. This is now my favorite, forget the Italian version of spaghetti & meatball. My new love is my Malaysian version of Spaghetti & Meatballs…. YUMS!!! The Asian herbs and spices in the curry was so fragrant and perfect with the moist meatballs…..the meal was totally to-die-for!Dinner6

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Can you say Bananahhh??

BananaIceCreamAfter watching another episode of Alton Brown’s Good Eats featuring the many ways to eat a banana..I was left drooling at the banana ice cream he made. When I did my grocery shopping, I made sure I got a bunch of bananas to churn out some ice cream.

The ice cream though looked very pale and vanilla ice cream like, turned out lusciously delicious, so creamy, so “banana-ee”, and was so easy to make. When I first tasted the ice cream once I stopped the ice cream machine, the taste of the ice cream was just so-so. After freezing the ice cream for about 5-6 hours, it somehow tasted way better! You can find the original recipe HERE.



Ingredients :

  • 6 (approximately 2 1/4 pounds) ripe bananas
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Method :

Place bananas in freezer and freeze overnight. Remove bananas from freezer and allow to thaw for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Peel bananas and place in bowl of food processor along with the lemon juice. Process for 10 to 15 seconds. Add corn syrup and vanilla bean seeds and turn processor on. Slowly pour in the heavy cream. Process until smooth. Chill mixture in refrigerator until it reaches 40 degrees. Transfer mixture to an ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer's instructions. Place mixture in an airtight container and freeze for 3 to 6 hours before serving.

June’s comments: I almost had frost bite peeling the semi frozen bananas. It might be a better idea to peel the banana first then freeze it. I wonder if it will make a huge difference to the texture of the banana though. It took me about 15-20 minutes to churn my ice cream in my Cuisinart Ice Cream maker. The ice cream reached a soft served consistency and the paddle wasn’t able to turn as the volume of the churned ice cream was too much for my bowl to handle (it over flowed). Although on the food network site it said the recipe will give you about 1 quart of ice cream, I think it was more 1.5 quart-2 quart of ice cream. It was nevertheless very yummy, very velvety smooth and rich! =)

I took my homemade banana ice cream and created my version of a banana split sundae. Two scoops of banana ice cream dressed up with strawberry sauce, shaved chocolate, topped with a maraschino cherry and served up in a bowl instead of a boat shape ice cream bowl.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Lanna Thai Diner

It’s not everyday you will come across a diner serving up Thai food! =) Over the weekend, hubby and I drove over to this little Thai restaurant diner after driving past the place a few months back. We found parking right in front of this quaint diner. It was my first time dining in a mobile home looking diner and nothing on the menu was your traditional American diner food; it was all authentic Thai food! =) The interior had the typical diner bar look and some tables to fit no more than 30 patrons at a time. Very cozy place.=)

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The place looks like a family run business with Max, the owner serving us and the other customers. He was friendly and was chatting up with his customers while serving them. Here’s what we ordered:

1)  Thai Tom Yum Koong (Left) - Hot and sour with chili, lemon grass, mushrooms, lime juice and shrimp @ $3.50. This was pretty flavorful and good. One of the better Tom Yam Soup we’ve had! I wished they threw in some cilantro in the soup though…

2) Lanna Thai Bags (Right) - Crispy vegetable and chicken stuffed with potatoes and wrapped within spring roll paper, gathered at the neck, tied and deep fried. Served with sweet and sour sauce. @ $6.95. This was sooo good!! The golden bags (5 pcs) where served up warm and crispy, while the filling was flavorful and moist!

 LannaThai1 LannaThai2

3) Spicy Basil/Pad Gra Pow (Left) - Fresh chili pepper and basil leaf stir fried with mushrooms, string beans, bell pepper and onions. @ $14.95 (Duck). Hubby ordered this. The first look, the dish was piled with green beans (and other veges). When you finally dig through the beans, you’ll find pieces of duck breast on the bottom. Duck breast was fried till perfection, where it’s crispy on the outside and juicy (and moist) in the inside. You don’t really see the presence of the basil, but you sure can taste it! This was really good, though it could use a little more gravy. One thing I did not like was how he charged us $1.50 for the rice without asking us. And how they expect us to eat dishes and curry without rice. To be charged $15 for the entree, it wouldn’t hurt to just serve it with a bowl of rice and only charge if a second helping is requested! Apparently, this is a common practice in Asian restaurants in the US where some restaurants will bring you rice (without you asking) and charge you for it!

4) Pad Thai (Right) - Your favorite fried rice noodles with chicken, ground peanuts, eggs, bean sprouts topped with scallions. Served with fresh bean sprouts. Spicy version available @ $9.95. This was what I ordered. Nothing to shout about. It was ok, though the chicken pieces were a bit on the dry side. It came with fresh bean sprouts which I wasn’t really keen of. I prefer my bean sprouts cooked. =)

LannaThai3 LannaThai4 

Overall dining experience was good. It was a nice gestures that all customers were served some complimentary fresh fruits (watermelon to be exact) ! A for that little gesture! The chef also put in some effort in garnishing the dishes served upon us! Another A for that! This place is worth a second visit!

Check out Lanna Thai’s website for address and their delicious menu. Please note that there are lunch and dinner prices.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheese Cake (Tart)


Cheesecake is something I learn to like in the recent years. I’m a big fan of cheese, just not in my desserts. Now, I will indulge in some cheesecake once a while, flavored ones of course. WhiteChocRaspberryCheeseTart3A few days ago, I had this sudden craving to make White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake after indulging in some a couple weeks ago and thinking about the one we had @ Cheesecake Factory many moons back. After a day or two of thinking and contemplating and researching for a recipe, I went out and shopped for my cheesecake ingredients!

I settled with this recipe I found on which had great reviews/ feedbacks. The cheesecake was indeed very delicious! =). I like making cheesecake in a tart pan, that means I don’t get sick of eating too much cheese filling and it was easier to bake it without the fear of an ugly crack forming on the cheesecake!




  • 1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half cream
  • 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


In a medium bowl, mix together cookie crumbs, 3 tablespoons sugar, and melted butter. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan. In a saucepan, combine raspberries, 2 tablespoons sugar, cornstarch, and water. Bring to boil, and continue boiling 5 minutes, or until sauce is thick. Strain sauce through a mesh strainer to remove seeds.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). In a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water, melt white chocolate chips with half-and-half, stirring occasionally until smooth.

In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Blend in vanilla and melted white chocolate. Pour half of batter over crust. Spoon 3 tablespoons raspberry sauce over batter. Pour remaining cheesecake batter into pan, and again spoon 3 tablespoons raspberry sauce over the top. Swirl batter with the tip of a knife to create a marbled effect.

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until filling is set. Cool, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 8 hours before removing from pan. Serve with remaining raspberry sauce.

June’s Comments : I’m not a big fan of chocolate cookies, so instead of using chocolate cookies crumbs, I used this yummy Biscoff (European) Cookies which had a caramel flavor. And since I prefer baking it in a tart pan, I increased the amount of cookie crumbs to a little over 1-1/4 cup (compact) so that I have a crust on the the side of the pan as well. I increased the melted butter by about 1 tbsp to the cookie crumbs. As for my cheesecake filling, I reduced it by half to fit in the tart pan. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to double the raspberry sauce recipe, as there weren’t much left after I added them into the cheese tart. As I made this in a tart pan, I only baked the cheese tart for about 40 minutes. WhiteChocRaspberryCheeseTart2

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Penang Hokkien Mee

Penang Hokkien (Prawn Mee) Mee is one of hubby’s favorite Malaysian food. I profess that hubby is a Hokkien Mee Connoisseur when it comes this soupy noodle dish since he will order this from hawker stalls in Malaysia and will occasionally order this from Malaysian restaurants in the US. This is one dish that I will always receive a bit of complaints comments on from the hubby.

For those of you who’s not familiar with this dish, the spicy soup is made from boiling shrimp, dried chili (shrimp shells/heads) and pork till fragrant. The regular condiments added to the soup besides yellow noodle and rice vermicelli are shrimp, bean sprouts, water convolvulus, egg, pork and fried shallots.HokkienMee1Since the this soup base requires the usage of shrimp shell to achieve the shrimpy flavor, I tend to keep the shells from peeling shrimps and cook them once I get a good amount or when they are taking over my freezer! With help of some paste to further enhance the “shrimpiness”, I will boil the broth with the shrimp shells (or heads whenever possible), pork, dried shrimp, fried shallots, garlic, salt, soy sauce, chilli and sugar over a few hours.

In the mean time, I will prepare the noodles and condiments as shown in the above picture. The verdict, (as usual) Mr. Hokkien Mee Connoisseur a.k.a. hubby will complain that the soup is not flavorful enough (even when I think it was already good!).

I made this a few nights back and received the same comment from hubby who said that it would be better the next day and he said it could use a little more heat. In my defense, after all I do not consume as much Hokkien Mee as he does to be able to taste difference from good to spectacular.HokkienMeeSince, I made a big pot of the broth, hubby’s dream came true…… I added more heat to the overnight shrimp broth the next day. He claimed it was better and ate it lighting quick!! So quick that he requested a second bowl, while I’m still working on my first bowl. I on the other hand was left hosing down my throat with ice cold water with this new batch of shrimp broth during dinner time! =(

Maybe next time, I’ll make hubby cook my some Penang Hokkien Mee and I’ll be the judge? =P

Friday, July 24, 2009

Hup Loong Belacan Chicken

Belacan is made from fermented ground shrimp which are sun dried, compressed then cut into blocks or these days there are also available in powder form. As nasty as it may sound, belacan can be found in many Malaysian (and maybe South East Asian) dishes and surprisingly makes them yummy! You may want to avoid cooking using belacan in tight / confined rooms as it will surely stink up the room /hallway etc. Make sure you have good ventilation when cooking dishes with belacan if you still want your neighbors (if you live abroad) to love you! =P

For dinner a couple nights ago, I went through my pantry and found a packet of Hup Loong Belacan Powder. It has been a long time since I had this Malaysian Nonya dish and I know hubby will love me for serving up some fried chicken!!Belacan ChickenAs this powder is already premixed and almost ready to go, all I did was cutting up some chicken, added a dash of sesame oil and pepper and followed the instructions on the back of the packet. Instead of deep frying the chicken, I shallow fried it using less oil since I cut up my chicken into almost bite size pieces. I served the chicken along with some fried vermicelli (bee hoon); my favorite!!Dinner5

The verdict on the belacan (fried) chicken; totally awesomeness! Crispy on the outside and moist in the inside. The pungent belacan chicken was so finger licking good!! MMm….. I’m drooling as I’m writing this entry… I want more belacan chicken!!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Green Tea Ice Cream (I)

I finally found some green tea powder at an Asian grocery store. At last, I have my missing ingredient to churn out some green tea ice cream and green tea flavored cakes! Yums!!! This bag of green tea powder from Taiwan cost me $7, but I should be able to make several rounds of dessert with it!Green Tea Ice CreamMy taste testers (hubby and Chris) thought that my homemade green tea ice cream was pretty good! I do have to agree and I’m happy that my first attempt of the green tea ice cream was a success! Just like the ice cream we get in the restaurants! I do however want to reduce some sugar while hubby suggests that I should increase the green tea powder. So, I gather I will need another try with the recipe before sharing! =)Green Tea Ice Cream1Since I had Chris over for dinner, I decided to serve my green tea ice cream in these cute ice cream bowls. They were gifts from Chris for my birthday! Aren’t they the cutest (Williams-Sonoma) ice cream bowls ever?? =) Thanks again, Chris!Bowl

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

US Open 2009

US open

My US Open 2009 tickets have arrived in the mail! It took about one week from the day I bought the tickets online to receiving them in my mailbox. =) I’m a little bummed that I could not get the day tickets (at the price and days we wanted), due to a little habit call procrastination!! Nevertheless, we still manage to get hold of the night tickets to Arthur Ash… Perhaps we will buy the regular ground tickets so that my tennis savvy dad-in-law can experience the whole US Open atmosphere!!

This will be our (hubby and I) third time going to the US Open and I’m excited to be going again this year, this time with my in-laws! I’m crossing all fingers and toes that I would get a glimpse of my favorite tennis idol; Roger Federer!!


I found out that Friday’s is having a BYOB (Bring Your Buddies) Promotion. All you need to do is print out the coupon HERE, bring your buddies (to a participating Friday’s) and take $5 off each of your buddies’ entrees. I think would be a great reason to get together with friends! =) Hurry up and hit your nearest Friday’s location!


PS: I’m not in any way affiliated with Friday’s..just merely passing the word around to save a few bucks! =)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ristorante Saraceno @ Boston, MA

A couple weeks back after our Sail Boston/Tall Ships event, we walked our hungry selves to North End for some yummy Italian food. North End Boston is Boston’s own Little Italy with streets filled with various Italian restaurants and cafes. If you want authentic Italian food, this is where you should be going!

Saraceno Saraceno1

We settled for a quaint looking restaurant; Ristorante Saraceno on Hanover Street. Apart from feeling a little cozy, the food and the service was overall awesome. Prices was quite reasonable for their decent portion.

Here’s what we ordered and no sharing coz everyone was starving!! :

1) Petti di pollo al Marsala (Chicken breasts sauteed in Marsala wine) @ $13.95. This was what I ordered and it was good! Chicken breast was thinly sliced and pan fried to perfection. The sauce were loaded with sliced mushrooms and ham. This was my first time seeing ham in my Chicken Marsala. I do however appreciate that the waitress asked me if I was ok that there was ham in my dish. I think it would have been better if they were to use Italian cured hams. I would prefer to have some mashed potatoes or pasta with my chicken instead of the potatoes. Nevertheless it’s tummy and it filled me up!                             Saraceno2 2) Spaghetti alla Vongole (Spaghetti with white or red clam sauce)  @ $14.50. Hubby per my suggestion ordered this with white sauce (perhaps garlic butter sauce with a splash of wine). Yummy yummy in my tummy. The pasta was loaded with lots of fresh clams! I think there were surely more clams than pasta! =)Saraceno33)  Melanzane alla Parmigiana (Eggplant parmigiana) @ $12.50. Seyda ordered this and I would have to assume it’s good coz she finished it. =) It was swimming in tons of tomato sauce which turns me off a little.Saraceno4 4) Lasagne al forno della Casa (Homemade lasagne) @ $13.50. Bobby ordered this and I would think it should be good! After all, it’s lasagna…I don’t think Italian restaurants could screw this up! =) And just like the Eggplant Parmigiana, it was swimming in quite a bit of tomato sauce.Saraceno5

5) Saltinbocca alla Romana (Veal scaloppine with prosciutto & fine herbs on a wine sauce) @ $16.95. Chris ordered this. As good as it sounds and look, this is one dish I’ll never try. I’ll never consume Veal.Saraceno6 Our lunch cost us $25 per person (that includes tips and a bottle of house Chianti). It was overall a good experience at Ristorante Saraceno. As much as I would like to go back for it’s good food and service, I think there’re many more Italian places in the North End area that’s worth a try!

PS: They may want to change out those 9 year old “Millenium Plates” they were using to serve us our entree. =)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Designing On A Dime??

Over the weekend, hubby and I went around looking for decorative stuff for our dining room makeover. We hit several stores including Ikea and JC Penny. We did not allocate a specific budget for this room makeover, just merely buying stuff which are affordable (and hopefully on sale) and fits in with our color scheme and idea.

One blank/white canvas wall has been painted “Gobi Desert” (that’s the name of the paint color which resembles light taupe, maybe?). We’re changing the curtains, adding some decorative pieces on the newly painted wall. And getting new light fixture. That was at least the basic idea.

I got some curtains that tie together some wooden furniture in the kitchen/dining and the new wall color. It was on 50% off and the color seem to work. At least it was true, before we scored some awesome bar stools from Ikea. Now the curtain seem out of place and will be returned to the shop. I’m on a mission to hunt down curtains AGAIN…something affordable and contemporary looking.

Oh yea, our new bar stools were originally $90 a piece…WE BOUGHT THEM FOR $41.90 EACH!!! We saved more than 50% for some good looking bar stools. It was never in the plan to change out bar stools we had, though I never liked them much for fear of toppling over once I get my butt on it. Though we got the bar stools and its cushion cover from the “As Is” corner, the only thing wrong with our new bar stools ($38.90 each) were that they were missing their packaging. There weren’t any blemish or imperfection on them and best part it’s all assembled! We paid $2 each for the cushion covers which was being discontinued. Again nothing wrong with them, just maybe the colors or fabric were being discontinued.

Here’s one of my new bar stool against my newly painted “Gobi Desert” wall! =)IkeaWe also found a big black frame with glass missing from the same “As Is” for $5. The missing glass was fine by me, as I do not like the glares from the glass. We bought some fabric from Ikea to come up with a new piece of artwork to hang above our fireplace. For about $10, we proudly created our very own (unique?) masterpiece which (we think) made our living looked larger. It’s about time we have a large piece of something above our fireplace. =)

 Ikea1 Ikea2

I have more fabric which I will be framing up to make more decorative pieces around the house! Now all I really need is to find some matching curtains that will tie in the following colors; red, off-white, light taupe, black/black-brown. Other wall decorative accent pieces should be fairly easy. I forgot about a new light fixture that I wanna get and also a new backsplash for my kitchen… Hehe!Ikea3 Oh yeah…….. I guess I now need to shop for more decorative accesories for my living room as well! =)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Of Sand Sculptures & Beaches…..Part Two

After viewing the sand sculptures and hanging out under a shaded area…. We headed for a scenic drive to more beautiful beaches of Massachusetts……. Seyda was kind to do the driving and drove us to Nahant where we had lunch by the beach. And since both hubby and I were “Massachusetts-Beach-Newbies”.. we drove along the coast and headed to Marblehead for a quick tour before returning to Revere where we parked our car. It was fun to finally “get-to-know” the beautiful beaches in Massachusetts.

Beach5 Beach Beach2 Beach4

Can you spot Brady here?? It looks like he was doing some agility course up the rocks!


Of Sand Sculptures & Beaches….. Part One

We went to Revere Beach on Saturday to catch the annual Sand Sculptures Competition. Revere Beach which I found out was the America’s first public beach and is just minutes away from Boston.

The weather that morning was gloomy (and it rained the night before)…but by noon it cleared up and was hot and sunny!

Here are the sand sculptures we saw….. I had expected to see more and was slightly disappointed that there were only 8 competitors…=(.. I forgot to take notes on the name of the creations and the sculptors….

RevereBeach RevereBeach1

I love the “Bird Man” looking sculpture, but I think the Pyramid-Dragon one won second place. I found out that the sand sculpture was called "Ouroboros: Life, Rebirth, and Stuff" and the sculptor is Dan Belche.

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The snowman-looking one is cute, but the “Broken Mirror” sculpture was one of my favorite and the winning sand sculpture. It was called “Mirror” and was created by Sue McGrew.

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I kinda like the lizard looking sculpture too, however the wizard looking one called “Face Plant” by Dan Doubleday took third place.

RevereBeach7     RevereBeach4

It’s truly amazing how those sculptors could carved intricate details out of sand! And I can’t even manage a sand castle!! =P

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