Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Cookie Jar

If you’re ever in Staten Island and driving on Forest Avenue, make sure you stop by The Cookie Jar. For $10, you can get a pound of cookies, which roughly amounts to 16-20 cookies. There were so many to choose from, but the staff was very patient and understanding while I carefully pointed at that one and this one and oh, that one over there!

In case you're wondering, Christina and I initially intended to share the box of cookies with others, but yes, we bit into every single cookie.

There were a couple of favorites, like the honey comb bar- a very distinct honey flavor, chewy and sticky like caramel, a burst of tartness from the dried berries, and a crumbly bottom cookie layer. And the raspberry pecan bar- toasted pecans combined with tart and sweet raspberries. Then there was the raspberry linzer and the dark chocolate cherry cookie and the chocolate rugelach…Almost everything was delicious. The only disappointments, really, came from the whoopie pies- filling was flavorless, cake was nothing special.

And if the cookies aren’t enough to please you, they sell handmade ceramic cookie jars, one for every kind of personality (i.e. Snoopy, Mr. Peanut, Santa Claus, snowmen, ducks, Pillsbury Dough Boy, teddy bears, Aladdin, just to name a few). They’re not exactly cheap ($50-85 bucks).

On top of all that, there’s an open view of the kitchen on the second floor balcony. While you’re choosing your cookies, browsing the cookie jars, or devouring your cookies, you can also watch the bakers preparing the day’s delights. So, if you’re looking to bring a batch of cookies to that upcoming holiday party or just wanting to have an afternoon cup of coffee/tea/hot chocolate with some friends, head over to The Cookie Jar!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Beef Chili

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely dread winter. Having to come out from the warmth of your bed into the cold air in the morning. Shoveling snow. Cold toilet seats. And just…being cold. Your shoulders start to hunch over. Your muscles become all tense. It hurts and it’s tiring.

Your only refuge becomes your bed. Under the blankets. But the obvious problem is that you’re human-not a bear-and last time I checked, you need to live your life. So, the next best thing to your bed is probably filling your body with something hot and yummy, like this chili!

I love this recipe because it’s a one pot dish-easy cooking, easy clean up. And most of the cooking time takes place without you actually having to be there. Just come back for an occasional stir. Serve with a toasted slice of sandwich bread or crackers. It’s also great on its own, of course. You won’t even remember you had a bed :)

Beef Chili with Beans

Adapted from Grant Achatz’ recipe from

Notes: The original recipe used pure ancho chile powder and pure pasila chile powder, but I just bought this hot Mexican chile powder. If you have cayenne pepper, feel free to put in a teaspoon or two. I might have put too much broth or forgot to not add the juice from the beef, so I tried to reduce the liquid by just letting it simmer past 1 ½ hours. But, next time, to avoid drying it out too much, I’ll just add some tomato sauce to give it that thicker consistency. And, though I didn’t include this in my chili as the original recipe does, I would highly recommend adding some seeded and finely chopped chipotle chiles to give it that extra heat and bolder taste.


. 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

. about 3 pounds ground beef chuck

. 1 large onions, finely chopped

. 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped

. 5 garlic cloves, minced

. 2 tablespoons ground cumin

. 2 tablespoons chili powder

. 1 tablespoon brown sugar

. 2 teaspoons chopped oregano

. 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

. 3 cups low-sodium beef broth

. One 15-ounce can pinto beans

. One 14-ounce can whole tomatoes with the juices

. 1/4 cup tomato paste

. Salt

. Grated cheese for garnish

. Cilantro for garnish


1. In a large, heavy pot or a medium enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the oil. Add half of the ground beef and cook over high heat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes; transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Brown the remaining ground beef. Return the first batch of browned beef to the pot.

2. Add the onions and pepper to the pot and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, chile powder, cumin, sugar, oregano, black pepper and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Stir in the beef broth, pinto beans, tomatoes, and tomato paste. Simmer the chili over low heat for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and garnish with cheese and/or cilantro.

Servings: 8

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Leftovers

One of the best parts about Thanksgiving for me is the leftovers. There’s nothing quite like it. Perhaps it’s the taste of love from the various hands that prepared such an extravagant and abundant meal. Or maybe I just really like microwaved turkey and stuffing.

As tasty as the real deal is, I’m always looking forward to the next day’s lunch of leftovers: a heaping plate of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce…And you can’t forget that slice o’ pie for dessert! Yes, I am blessed with a cooperative digestive tract and can endure eating just as much food as I did the previous night. So, I understand if you’re a bit grossed out by the sight/smell/taste of more turkey.

But, instead of just microwaving your leftovers, which I fully support, I wanted to share with you another way to enjoy the last of your leftovers. A croque monsieur! Originating in France, it’s a grilled ham and cheese sandwich that is served as a fast food snack in cafes and bars. For our purposes, we’re using turkey, of course, and adding some cranberry sauce to it.

You spread the sauce, sprinkle cheese, pile on the turkey, (and whatever else you might want to add), and press. Pop it in the oven. Wait for the cheese to melt, the bread to get that golden crisp. And voila! You’ll have yourself a non-leftover lookin’ kind of meal.

Note: If you don’t have any cranberry sauce, I’ve shared the recipe I used below. You could make the sandwich without it, but I strongly suggest that you don’t. It’s a one-pot recipe and well worth it!

Festive Turkey Croque Monsiuer

Adapted slightly from Jamie Oliver Magazine


• 8 slices of white bread

• Cranberry sauce

• 100g gruyère, grated

• Leftover turkey

1. Preheat the oven to 425 F.

2. Line the bread on baking sheet pan. Spread slices with cranberry sauce and sprinkle half the gruyere. Top with turkey and sandwich with the remaining bread. Press lightly and top with the remaining gruyere.

3. Bake until the cheese melts and the sandwiches turn golden brown.

Cranberry Sauce

Recipe from


1 lb. whole cranberries, fresh or frozen

3⁄4 cup sugar

1⁄2 cup fresh orange juice

1⁄2 cup fresh grapefruit juice

1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1⁄2 tsp. salt

Generous pinch freshly grated nutmeg

Zest of 1 orange 

Zest of half a grapefruit

Zest of 1 lemon

1. Put cranberries, sugar, orange juice, grapefruit juice, lemon juice, salt, nutmeg, and zests into a medium pot and bring just to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir well. Cook, covered, without stirring, until liquid has thickened and about half of the berries have collapsed, about 15 minutes.

2. Transfer cranberry sauce to a wide, shallow bowl and let cool. Remove zest. Serve at room temperature or chilled, if you like.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pumpkin Bread

Autumn makes us yearn for something to warm our souls, to ease us into the cool and crisp air. And I’m not just talking about pulling out our boots and fall sweaters, ladies! Although, I know that is something we all look forward to =)

What I am talking about is spices! Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger! You’ll find these ingredients in many fall recipes, including this pumpkin bread. It’s moist, not too sweet, and easy to make!

Also, if you want to change things up for Thanksgiving, this is a delicious alternative to pumpkin pie or whatever pie you’re planning to have. If you have sweet tooths to satisfy, try spicin’ it up with some cream cheese frosting. If your oven is going to be occupied all day, you can easily make this a day ahead, but you might have to hide them or there won’t be any left!

Pumpkin Bread


1-15oz. can of pumpkin puree

4 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

2/3 cup buttermilk

1 ½ cup light brown sugar

½ cup white sugar

3 ½ cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking soda

1 ½ tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

½ tsp cloves

¼ tsp ginger

¾ chopped walnuts (optional)

½ raisins (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Grease and flour two 9x5x3 loaf pans or two muffin pans.

3. In a large bowl, mix together the puree, eggs, oil, buttermilk, sugar until well blended.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger.

5. Stir the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.

6. Bake for about 60 minutes for loaf pans and 20 minutes for muffins or when toothpick is inserted in the center and comes out clean.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Chicken and Broccoli

Anyone craving Chinese take out these days? It’s one of those things that you love and hate, isn’t it? Love because it just satisfies your taste buds so perfectly at that moment. Hate because the grease smothers your stomach and your euphoric experience suddenly turns into a very unpleasant, uncomfortable one. But, we’re all human, right? As much as we know it’s bad for us, we give into our cravings from time to time. Luckily, you will never have to feel guilty anymore with this tasty chicken and broccoli recipe that Janice cooked the other week. The chicken was juicy. Broccoli was tender, but still had that bite to it. Hoison sauce and soy sauce rendered those sweet and sour undertones that you look for in Chinese food. Red pepper flakes gave it just enough heat, not overpowering the rest of the flavors. Most importantly, the grease was at a minimum! It’ll hit the spot and leave your stomach happy.

Easy Stir Fried Chicken and Broccoli

4-6 servings


16 oz chicken breast, sliced

2 scallions, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp corn starch

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp sherry cooking wine

1 tbsp sesame oil

2 tbsp vegetable oil

5 cups broccoli

1 tbsp hoison sauce

1 tsp cajun seasoning

1 tbsp red pepper flakes


1. Toss the chicken with the chopped scallions, about half the garlic, soy sauce, sugar, 1 teaspoon of the cornstarch, 1 teaspoon of the salt, the sherry, and the sesame oil. Marinate at room temperature for at least 15 minutes.

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and heat. Add the broccoli stems, and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the florets and the remaining garlic, a bit of water, and season with salt (to taste), and pepper. Stir-fry until the broccoli is bright green but still crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

3. Heat skillet with 1 tablespoons oil and add the chicken and chili flakes/cajun. Stir-fry until the chicken loses its raw color and gets a little brown. Add the hoisin sauce, return the broccoli to the pan and toss to heat through. Add more water if needed to cook. Taste and season with more salt/pepper/hoisin sauce if you like. For more flavor, you can also use garlic powder and sriracha sauce (for a kick).

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Of the many challenging questions we’re confronted with at 180 Church, there is one that no one ever seems to have an answer to. You would think we’d get better at it, considering that we face this question daily, but the usual responses are an indifferent “I dunno,” a shrugging of shoulders, or an angry “Don’t ask me!” Not surprisingly, on a late Thursday night after small group, a bunch of us stood on the sidewalk pondering this very question…“What the heck should we eat?” Not only did we stand there for at least a half hour, we changed our minds on the way to the restaurant we decided to go to, parked our cars, walked into that new restaurant, walked out of there in a matter of two minutes, and then proceeded towards our original destination. Such decisive people we are, huh? Eventually, we found ourselves sitting in an East Village joint, Café Mogador. What a charming little place! If you’re craving for some hummus, falafel, grilled lamb, or any other kind of Moroccan/Mediterranean food, this is definitely the place to go. Every person at the table enjoyed their dish, including the hummus that was served with warm, fluffy pita bread. I think we licked that plate clean. For those of you who don’t know what hummus is, it’s basically pureed chickpeas and it’s so incredibly easy to make at home! You can add different ingredients to spice it up however you like-roasted red peppers, roasted garlic, olives, sundried tomatoes…just to name a few- and serve it with pita bread, pita chips, carrots, celery, crackers, or chips. Isn't it such a great, healthy alternative to a party dip or midday snack?


Adapted from


1 (15 oz) can or 2 cups of garbanzo beans, drained

2 Tbsp tahini*

1 Tbsp lemon juice*

1 teaspoon salt

3 cloves garlic, halved*

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon paprika**

1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley

*You can adjust the amount of each ingredient to your preference.

**If you want a little more spice, use cayenne pepper or jalepenos instead.


1. Place the garbanzo beans, tahini, lemon juice, salt and garlic in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Transfer mixture to a serving bowl.

2. Drizzle olive oil over the garbanzo bean mixture. Sprinkle with paprika and parsley.

Granola winners!


Thank you all for your comments. They were very helpful in giving us more ideas!
Our lucky winners were Sarah Kang Kim, Cindy Truong, and Nancy Xu. Enjoy the granola!

Stay tuned for more free giveaways...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Homemade Granola

In honor of all the participants of the League of Macho Men (and Women), 180 Food Network will be sharing recipes that are both delicious AND heart healthy throughout the duration of the competition. I know we all miss the convenience of chicken mcnuggets or junior bacon cheeseburgers, the taste of crispy fried chicken or a fresh baked chocolate chip cookie melting in your mouth…(I’m drooling already). But, how many of us are already feeling more energized, liking the way you’re toning up and shedding those pounds, and maybe most importantly, pooping regularly now without all that fried, artificially flavored, processed stuff in your system? Yea, I thought so. :)

Healthy food doesn’t have to taste bad or be hard to make. Exhibit A- homemade granola. It can be breakfast or a (guiltless) midday snack. When you’re having one of those crazy mornings, you can grab it on the go. When you actually have time to sit down, you can eat it with yogurt, milk, or on its own. The best part of it is that you can easily change the ingredients to your liking- the possibilities are endless!

Homemade granola


2 ½ cups rolled oats

2 Tbsp honey

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

2 Tbsp granulated white sugar or brown sugar

Pinch of salt

1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

¾ cup craisins or golden raisins

½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

½ cup toasted coconut flakes (optional)

¾ cup dried apricots, chopped (optional)


1. In a small bowl, combine and mix honey, oil, sugar, and salt. Set aside.

2. Heat a large skillet or sauté pan over medium high heat. Add oats to the hot pan and stir constantly until lightly toasted. Pour the oats onto a baking sheet.

3. Using the same pan, add the walnuts and toast, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat.

4. Combine toasted oats and honey mixture in a large bowl. Thoroughly mix with spatula or hands until the oats are coated. Stir in the walnuts and craisins.

5. Pour mixture onto baking sheet and let it cool (the granola will harden as it cools). When cool, transfer to an airtight container and store at room temperature.

Also, because we’re nice, because we love you, because we want you to try this amazing granola,we’re giving away 3 jars of granola. Just comment below with questions, requests, or anything that you would like to see (i.e. I love desserts and I can’t live without them. Can you share any healthy dessert recipes? OR Are there any healthier alternatives to X ingredient/food?). Winners will be randomly selected.

UPDATE: 10/17/10 Giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to our winners Sarah, Cindy, and Nancy! Hope you enjoy the granola :)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Strawberry Muffins (with Basil)

Pictures by Ms zing bowl
Post and recipe by: P.Ladle
Inspired by: Strawberries, basil, Nathan, Mud Coffee and Ms. Julie Brunch. 

Strawberry Muffins with Basil. Yup, Basil! 
It's good. So simple, yet so delicious! It's definitely going to be a new favorite around here. 

1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup chopped strawberries
3 leaves of basil chopped
1tsp lemon zest

  • Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F. 
  • Oil an 8 cup muffin tin or use paper liners. 
  • In small bowl, combine oil, milk and egg. 
  • Beat lightly. 
  • In a large bowl, mix flour , salt, baking powder and sugar.  
  • Toss in chopped strawberries and stir to coat with flour. 
  • Add chopped basil and the lemon zest.
  • Pour in milk and stir together.
  • Fill muffin cups. 
  • Bake at 375 degrees F for 25 minutes or until the tops bounce back from the touch. 
  • Cool 10 minutes and remove from pans. 

Friday, April 30, 2010

P Ladle's "Dakdoritang": Korean Spicy Chicken Stew

This is a pretty popular dish in our family. My mom used to make this for us when we were younger, and when I got married, I called her up one day and asked her for the recipe, but of course, she didn't really have a set recipe. Everything was a little bit of this, and that and stir and fry this and that, so I did just that. I experimented a lot over the last 7 years and I guess you can say this recipe is my own rendition of the "dakdoritang." It's spicy, sweet, and very very savory. Enjoy~

 Chicken, a pack of this size.
 2 Potatoes
 1 Small piece of ginger
 4 cloves of garlic
 3 Scallions
 2 Carrots
 2 Onions

For the sauce: 
3 Tbsp Soy Sauce, 
1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil, 
2 Tbsp Sesame oil, 
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar, 
2-3 Tbsp Korean Pepper Flakes, 
2 tsp Black pepper, 
2 tsp Salt, 
2 Tbsp Cooking Wine(mirin)
1/2 cup of water 

1.First, let's make the sauce:

Get all these ingredients into a bowl.

 Mix it together and set aside the sauce.

2. Let's prep the Chicken and the vegetables now.
Chop the potatoes, carrots and onions, and mince the ginger.
Mince the garlic. Ever use one of these? It's really convenient to use.
Chop the scallions.

3. Let's start cooking!
Heat the pot in medium heat, pour some cooking oil, then pour in the chicken, (I've already trimmed any excess fat and skin off and salted and peppered the chicken slightly. 
Don't use too much salt, just about a tsp.)
start browning the outside of the chicken. 

Throw in the minced ginger. 
(Putting ginger in now helps take away any stinky chicken smell out)

Close the pot and let it cook for about 5 minutes in medium heat.

Pour in the vegetables into the pot.

Stir and cook.

Close the pot and let it cook for 5 minutes.

Open the pot and pour the sauce in and stir and coat the chicken and vegetable well.

Cover and let it cook for about 10 minutes or until the chicken is almost cooked.

Open up and pour the water in.

Cook and stir again.

Close the lid and cook for 20 minutes in low-medium heat, stirring occasionally. 
Watch the potatoes and carrots from sticking to the bottom. 
Stewing, Stewing, the flavors all Soaking... 
 Stewing, Stewing, the flavors all Soaking... 
( my little stewing song)

tick tock, tick tock....

 Add in the last ingredient, our scallions.
Stir in together, and turn the heat off. 
You are done!

Scoop yourself a bowl of rice and some kimchee. 
And voila~ 
Your meal is served!

All gone!
Hope you try it. 

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Strawberry Almond Tart

Recipe and Pictures by "Ms. Pie"
Ingredients are:


  • 36 honey graham crackers (about 9 sheets) Crust
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 4 teaspoons water
  • Cooking spray
  • 2/3 cup light cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 6 cups small fresh strawberries, divided
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted


1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2.To prepare crust, place crackers in a food processor; process until crumbly.
3.Add 2 tablespoons sugar, butter, and water; pulse just until moist.
4.Place mixture in a 9-inch round removable-bottom tart pan coated with cooking spray, pressing into bottom and up sides of pan to 3/4 inch. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack.


5.To prepare filling, combine cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, and extracts in a medium bowl; stir until smooth. Spread mixture evenly over bottom of tart shell.

6.To prepare topping, place 2 cups strawberries in food processor; process until pureed.
7.Combine strawberry puree, 2/3 cup sugar, and cornstarch in a small saucepan over medium heat,
stirring with a whisk.
8.Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low; cook 1 minute.
Remove glaze from heat, and cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
9.Combine 4 cups strawberries and juice; toss to coat. Arrange berries, bottoms up, in a circular pattern over filling. Spoon half of glaze evenly over berries (reserve remaining glaze for another use).
Sprinkle nuts around edge. Cover and chill 3 hours.

Note: You can use either an 8 x 12-inch rectangular pan or a 9-inch round tart pan. The recipe also works with a 9-inch springform pan and a 10-inch pie plate.