Hearts, eyes, and frog eggs

Our Vietnamese neighbor’s son was having a birthday party, and we were invited to come over and join in the celebration. Even after stuffing ourselves with all the amazing salads, rolls, noodles, and fried chicken, we couldn’t say no to dessert – a lovely bowl of hearts, eyes, and frog eggs.

No, there aren’t really animal parts in this dessert. It’s actually made up of hearts of palm, dragon eyes (longan fruit), and what Annie calls “frog eggs” or biji selasih, (otherwise known as the seed of Holy Basil), swimming in a cold, sweet syrup.

It was so good, I had seconds, and thirds, and took home a container full to enjoy the day after. :-)

I wish I knew where they got the Holy Basil seeds. I’ve only seen them sold in the Asian grocery as a drink. I wonder if the Indian store has them.

Aloha, Nate

Waldorf Salad

A long time ago, I used to think that salads were just about leaf lettuce plus toppings. (Okay, macaroni salad and fruit salad also count). Then one night my uncle made this Waldorf salad using apples, celery, raisins, sunflower seeds, and (of all things unholy) mayonnaise. What kind of a wierd combo was this?

But I tasted it, and liked it. I don’t normally see Waldorf salads served very often but when I do, I make sure to take a helping.

Here, Annie made this version using Granny Smith and Fuji apples, celery, grapes, craisins, black and golden raisins, and chopped toasted pecans. The dressing was made from mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, and sugar. Inspired by another recipe off of Epicurious.

Aloha, Nate

Cranberry Raisin Walnut Bread

We’re lucky to have a good, artisanal bakery in the Bay Area known as Acme Breads. We bought (and devoured) a few loaves from their stall at the San Francisco Ferry Building Farmer’s Market. Recently, they debuted a cranberry-walnut whole-wheat bread that was divine. Annie tasted some during a trip to Lunardi’s and immediately placed an order for a boule.

A few days later, when that boule was but a happy memory, she decided to make her own cranberry-walnut bread, based on the “Cranberry-Walnut Celebration Bread” recipe in “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice”.

Though the recipe called for 3 cups of white flour, she substituted one cup of whole wheat flour and added some vital wheat gluten. She also added some golden raisins to the mix.

Here is the bread at the first rise after kneading.

She skipped the braiding part and just baked the dough as loaves in two bread pans. Here is the final result.

The loaf lasted just about as long as the Acme bread.

Aloha, Nate

Racetrack Cake

Annie made this racetrack cake for Daniel’s birthday.

First, she baked 4, round 9-inch chocolate cakes. Then she used a cake leveler to make them flat, and cut a slice out of each piece so that they fit closer together.

She thinned out some raspberry jam with water and spread that on the bottom layers. She made a dark chocolate butter cream frosting and spread that on top of the raspberry jam before covering with the top cake layer.
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My Photo Annie is mistress of the kitchen while Nate is the master of the grill and smoker. We cook the homestyle Asian and Hawaiian foods of our younger days while also exploring the wider worlds of Western foods.

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