Strawberry Picking and a refreshing strawberry ice cream cone! #stonyhillgarden #alstedefarms #strawberry festival (at Stony Hill Gardens)
I eat. I cook. I travel. And I blog about it.
We flew out of Osaka and arrived in Taipei in the late afternoon. Looking to save some money, we decided to book an apartment in Taipei rather than spend $200 a night for a hotel. I found an apartment rental through www.vrbo.com and made several inquiries for apartments throughout Taipei city prior to the trip. We decided on an apartment located in the Daan District. It was nicely located within walking distance to some great food locations, about 7 minutes away from the MRT subway station, and it was pretty well priced at around US$82/day. The apartment was clean and just enough space for 3 people. We were living among the locals.
Lydia has family in Taipei and her cousin Meng met up with us at the apartment. Meng had a whole itinerary planned out for us. Our first stop was dinner at Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐), the original store located on Xinyi Road in Daan. When in Taipei, Din Tai Fung is a mandatory stop. Everyone goes there for their famous paper thin yet juicy soup dumplings.
Being the original restaurant, the Xinyi Road location usually is pretty crowded but we were seated pretty quickly. Over the few years, many other stores have opened around Taipei as well as overseas. They must get a lot of Japanese tourist because all waiters and waitresses speak fluent Japanese. For a second, I thought I was back in Japan.
I particularly love their Shanghainese appetizers especially the drunken chicken and pickled spicy cucumbers.
We ordered a round of soup dumplings and some other vegetarian dumplings to share.
So good! I’m drooling just thinking about it.
Next we walked to a nearby night market and settled for some pan fried dumplings. Made on the street, fried on the street, and eat on the street. So good!
Next we went to look for shaved ice! I did not get to eat shaved ice the last time I came to Taipei so I was really looking forward to it. Meng took us to this famous local dessert spot. We shared a strawberry shaved ice and a bowl of hot peanut tong yuan (sweet glutenous rice ball). It was so refreshing and good. I was in heaven!
After shaved ice, we walked back into the night market. Taipei is filled with night markets where various vendors set up shop. Vendor range from clothing, jewelry,to all kinds of food. It’s especially busy during the weekends. I found a gua boa stand (steamed bun wrapped around fatty pork) I just had to have one! Lydia and I each got one to go and ate it while walking back to our apartment. I love Taipei!
More eating in Taipei to come!
Thank you Lydia for sharing some of your photos.
Chocolate Covered Strawberries…Taken with Instagram
I went strawberry picking again today at Stony Hill Garden in Chester, NJ. The strawberries this time were bigger and sweeter than the ones I picked 2 weeks ago. They are so good and delicious! I got some pretty plump ones which are the perfect size to make very nice chocolate covered strawberries with. Mmm…the are so good!
I went strawberry picking with my friend Deborah over the weekend at Stony Hill Garden in Chester, NJ. While driving back we were discussing the different desserts we were going to make with our strawberry harvest. Deborah was going to make ice cream while I was thinking of fresh strawberry popsicles and strawberry cheesecake. So this is how they turn out…so yummy!
Mini Baked Strawberry Cheesecakes- yields 12 servings
For the crust:
For the filling:
Cha-An has the best desserts ever!
We started out with their jasmine tea ice cream with a toasty sesame cracker, a mango mousse, a strawberry tart, a green tea shortbread cookie, and a chocolate brownie. This all comes as a dessert set for $17. Back then, it also came with a pot of tea, but now it’s an extra $5 if you want tea with your dessert. We washed everything down with a pot of Honey Phoenix Oolong tea which was just perfect!
The mango mousse and strawberry tart were heavenly! I love Cha-An’s desserts because they are not overly sweet and a set menu gives you a chance to try a little of everything.
Cha-An, 230 East 9th Street 2nd Floor, New York, NY
Photos courtesy of Tim.
Mini Green Tea Cheesecakes with Whipped Cream and Strawberry
I actually thought these cheesecakes were going to be a disaster. I didn’t realized I forgot to add the flour into the batter until it was too late. The cheesecakes were already in the oven. I frantically tried to search for flour-less cheesecake recipes in Google to see if there were such a thing around. Apparently, to my relief, there is! Flour in the batter just gives you a denser cake. You don’t really need to add flour. Whewww!
Although these cheesecakes didn’t turn out looking exactly the way I wanted, a little last minute whipped cream idea saved the day. What happened was, I whipped the batter too long which added in a lot of air. When they baked in the oven, the cheesecakes puffed up and then deflated. The whipped cream was never intended in the original idea, but I needed to make these look pretty for Easter dessert. In the end, it turned out okay and everyone loved it!
The 200 wedding cupcakes I’ve been telling my family and friends about for months now are finally done! Hip hip horray! I spent the whole day Friday baking and the morning on Saturday frosting. Whew…it was a lot of work especially with 1 mixer and 1 oven. I made 100 red velvet cupcakes with vanilla buttercream, 100 vanilla cupcakes with strawberry buttercream, and a 6” top cake for cutting.
There were some mishaps along the way. The first 6” cake would not come out of the pan and fell apart when I used a little force. I had to bake another one. Then, when I was baking a batch of the red velvets, I forgot to add the baking soda and they came out hard as bricks. Those will turn into bird and squirrel food or part of the compost pile.
I’ve been praying and hoping for good weather and I’m so grateful that I got that. Low humidity and low 80 degree weather. I couldn’t have ask for anything better especially in August. Transporting the cupcakes was smooth; however, every turn and bump caused my heart to beat faster hoping nothing got turned over. The bride’s sister provided the two cute owl cake toppers and the L-O-V-E letters which made the display even more fun and lovely.
Congrats to the bride and groom Susan and Jimmy! Wishing you guys the best. Thanks for giving me this chance to bake for you guys. Thanks to my friend Deborah for suggesting this great opportunity. Thanks to everyone who have tasted my cupcakes the past few months while I’ve been practicing. Finally, thanks to my lovely mother who helped me with this process: taste testing, cleaning after my mess, and with her numerous suggestions on set-up, etc…
This experience was fun, tiring, exciting, and nerve-wrecking all in one. I’m still not a good baker, but I’ll keep practicing!
Strawberries are in season right now, and they are so sweet and yummy! I decided to use them in my salad. In addition to strawberries, this salad also includes baby spinach, grilled spicy honey chicken, cucumbers, sliced onions, walnuts, and avocado. I also made my own honey citrus vinaigrette using a recipe I found on Our Best Bite’s blog.