Sunday, February 28

Tasty Dinner, Nice Companies

At a very nice dinner with a great group of people,
old friends, and new friends.
The dinner was well planned, prepared, and executed..


Appetizers: Crusty French bread, creamy Brie, and olive antipasto

My all-time favorite: Francis Coppola Claret
My newfound love: Korean black raspberry wine - Bohae Bokbunjajoo

Caesar salad in making

Perfectly cooked rotisserie leg of lamb, served with homemade hummus,
and wild mushroom orzo - amazingly delicious!

Hong Kong creamy cheesecake with raspberries,
definitely creamier than any cheesecake I've ever had!
Thanks for having me :)

Friday Morning Coffee

One little thing I look forward to in my day is having a nice cup of coffee,
over a good conversation with my friends.
And I am fortunate to have that almost everyday.
Otherwise, there will then be a good conversation over glasses of wines with them.
Last Friday, K and L made it to join me for a morning coffee.

We went out of our way to this lovely Chapelure,
where we find fine pastries and good coffee.
It's always a feast for my eyes seeing their beautifully decorated
and presented products
-- all made in house and fresh!


One of my most favorites - Raisin Roll

Newly introduced - Green Tea Tiramisu
An Oriental twist to a traditional one, I love it!

Chapelure
4750 South Hagadorn Road
East Lansing, MI 48823
(517) 333-7172


Tuesday, February 23

Chocolate For A Good Cause

One of the culinary events I look forward to every year is Michigan State University Museum's annual Chocolate Party Benefit. It is an important fundraiser for the MSU Museum with proceeds to benefit the management and preservation of its diverse natural and cultural history collections. This event offers sponsors and participants a delicious way to support the MSU Museum. Chocolate lovers, foodies, and museum friends get to indulge for a worthy cause. What could be better than this?

Participating sponsors from Greater Lansing and Mid-Michigan area -- local bakers, pastry chef, and chocolatiers -- brought their signature treats for attendees to sample. Then, it was a professional culinary competition that has been my highlight of this event, every single year! It was fascinating to see all the elaborate and imaginative chocolate sculptures made by local chefs. The winners were chosen by professional trained culinary judges.

Three teams competed in the competition to create edible chocolate masterpiece. Their creation was inspired by this year's theme - from the movie, "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian".

1st Place: by Krist Jablonski, from Kaleidoscope Pastries


2nd Place: by Rodney Nichols, Pastry Chef from Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort, and assistant, Jess Leineke


3rd Place: the Art Institute of Michigan, Novi. Denetia Lyons : Chef Instructor, Student Team : Mai, Lupita, Krista & Meghan

******

Here are some of the participating chocolatiers ...

Beautiful displays and scrumptious samples from "Bake N’ Cakes"


Love those pretty cupcakes!


Gourmet Toffees and Brittles from 'R Candys


Pretty Sweet Pretzels: Gourmet Specialities

******

The Michigan State University Museum's collections share the wonders of the natural and cultural world. Event attendees also got to view some of the museum's precious pieces, at the on-site exhibit. I was very excited to see a woman's headpiece for traditional Thai dance was among them...

The MSU Museum is located on West Circle Drive next to Beaumont Tower on the MSU campus. It is open seven days a week free of charge (donations are encouraged).

(Left): Gary Morgan - Museum Director, thanked participants, sponsors, and staffs, in closing of the event.
(Right): Laura Abraczinskas - Collections Manager for Vertebrate Natural Science Collections, and Lynne Swanson - Collections Manager for Cultural Collections


Another view of the winning creation

******


I am already looking forward to the next year's Chocolate Party Benefit :)


Monday, February 15

Fish Ball Green Curry

Thai green curry has a unique character for its heat. Compared with other types of Thai curry dish, green curry is quite spicy, and also has great flavor and aroma of all fresh herbs and ingredients used to make green curry paste. Today, I used pre-made fish balls found in Oriental Market frozen food section, and bamboo shoots - as main ingredients.

This dish is another variation of green curry, besides ones with chicken, beef, or pork. Other ingredients, and method of cooking are pretty much the same as some of the green curry dishes I blogged earlier - like Tofu & Enoki Mushroom Green Curry. It goes well with bamboo shoot, however you can add Thai eggplant as well. It is as popular and delicious served with rice vermicelli noodle, as with steamed rice.

Saturday, February 13

Big Bob's

Located in Gaslight Village, in East Grand Rapids, Big Bob's Pizza - Italian Cafe' is another establishment I would keep on my Grand Rapids Eats list after my first visit. This homey Italian eatery offers on its menu from wings, pasta, calzone, design-your-own pizza, signatures pizzas, a little bit of Mexicans flare, to gelato.

We ordered a couple of Big bob's signature pizzas to share. They were delicious! The crust was perfect and the flavor was excellent. While waiting for our food, we made a few trips to the popcorn cart..

Spicy Chicken Pizza has chicken breast, red & black pepper, chopped garlic, sweet peppers and cheese on butter sauce. I think the banana pepper gives a really nice flavor on top of all the ingredients.

BBQ Chicken Pizza has chicken breast, mozzarella cheese with Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce. Also delicious and everyone enjoyed it.

Some of the flavors of the gelato Big Bob's offers are vanilla, mint chip, dark chocolate, raspberry white chocolate, peanut butter cup, almond joy, and raspberry tiramisu.

Overall experience at Big Bob's Pizza was very nice. Cafe and sport bar atmosphere are there, besides a family pizza place. The service was professional. And definitely, great pizza!


Big Bob's Pizza - Italian cafe'
661 Croswell Avenue Southeast
Grand Rapids, MI 49506
(616) 233-0123

Friday, February 12

Gorgeous & Delicious

Don't they make you feel happy at all ?!?!
They are gorgeous.. and of course, delicious :)

Some of the signature cakes
@ Chapelure
4750 S Hagadorn Rd, East Lansing, MI

Red Velvet & Vanilla Bean Cupcakes
@ Biggby Coffee

Wednesday, February 3

King Oyster Mushroom Stir-fry

King Oyster Mushrooms, also known as King Trumpet Mushrooms, have light tan caps with thick white stems. These delicately flavored mushrooms have a woodsy and sweet taste. They are great grilled or stir-fried! In this dish, I use the king oyster together with the Enoki mushrooms -- which have long, slender white stems with tiny, firm caps. They have a mild, delicate flavor that is complimented by a little crunch. Both are ones of the most popular Japanese mushrooms, as well as my favorites..

King Oyster Mushrooms (or King Trumpet Mushrooms),
and Enoki Mushroom

You will need:
  • 1-2 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. cooking oil
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 4-5 stems King Oyster Mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2 packs Enoki Mushrooms, root trimmed
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • Chopped parsley leaves
  • Ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Add cooking oil and butter to medium-heated pan. Then, add garlics - be careful not to burn them.
  • Add King Oyster mushroom slices, cook until soft and slightly brown on the edges. Then, add Enoki mushrooms - which don't take long to cook at all.
  • Add soy sauce and pepper. Stir to mix all ingredient well.
  • Finally, toss in parsley leaves, then turn off the heat.

Enjoy!

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