Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Gingerbread Men

No one in my family likes gingerbread men other than me. But I can’t imagine taking them off my holiday baking list. I just love how gingerbread look and I like the flavors and crunchy cookies.

Last year, I spent a lot of time decorating my gingerbread family cookies, but afterward I couldn’t bite into them without feeling extremely guilty. This year I needed to remedy that.

I found holiday message in a cookie cutters from William Sonoma that come in three holiday shapes, including a gingerbread cut out. I think the gingerbread cut out is cute since the gingerbread already have smiling faces on them. Since I didn’t have to do additional decorating, I felt a little less attached to these cookies and was able to eat them.

I love how cute these gingerbread men look and I like that I was able to write different messages on the body of the cookies. Recently I did a giveaway for the regular William Sonoma message in a cookie cutters and I asked readers to tell me what messages they would put on the cookies. I got a lot of great responses which I plan on using soon. For this test run, I took a few of the messages. The cookies say “Happy Holidays,” “Eat Me,” “Nom Nom” and “Don’t Eat Me.” The little baby gingerbread kids have “Hi” written on their tummys.

I’m a big Hello Kitty fan, so when I saw Hello Kitty dressed up in a gingerbread outfit I had to get it.  =)

I used the same recipe as last year, which can be found here.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Jeong Won Korean BBQ Buffet


4690 Convoy St
San Diego, CA 92111
(858) 292-4670

One of the things I’ve missed since moving to San Diego is the lack of korean bbq buffets. Back in the South Bay Area, there are quite a few korean bbq buffet restaurants, but they are almost non-existent in San Diego.

About a year ago, I checked out Jeong Won Korean Buffet. They offered an all you can eat option, which was the closest I had seen to a korean bbq buffet. At the time they had about 12 selections of meat, but instead of a buffet set up, you would order the meats off the menu and they would bring it out to you. You could only order about 2 at a time, and the service was really slow about bringing out your meat.

In addition to the meat, which you grilled at your table, they also provided quite a few banchan dishes and they had soft serve ice cream for dessert. Weekdays for lunch it was $16.95, and dinner and weekends were $19.95. I found the food was alright, but the price was a bit expensive.

Recently, I learned that Jeong Won changed its format to have a real buffet style korean bbq, which I read about on The Misadventures of a Diligent Diletante. I immediately had to go and check it out.

The decor of the restaurant has changed from my last visit. It is a lot darker and looks more like a bar. Inside, there is a small buffet station, where you have 15 cuts of meat to choose from (some marinated, some not), a row of vegetables, and a row of banchan dishes.

Once you are seated, the bring you out some hot korean pancake, which they had done previously as well. We were also provided with rice and miso soup.

Even though there seemed to be a lot of meat and a decent amount of vegetables and banchan, the buffet station looked so small. At the korean bbq buffets in the Bay Area, they usually have other food items as well, such as some hot food dishes, sushi, dessert, etc, making the buffet section look a lot bigger.

I like the new format better than the old one because you get a lot more food since you get it yourself and you don’t have to wait on the server to bring out the food. We filled up on meat, some veggies, and the banchan.

For dessert, there was still soft serve ice cream. The ice cream here is pretty creamy and not the watered down version you often find at buffets.

All in all, I think it’s an okay spot to satisfy your korean bbq cravings. I do think the price is high at $19.95 per person and I wish they had some more food options offered. Mmm-yoso recently informed us of a Manna korean bbq buffet that will soon be opening. I’ve seen the sign, but so far I haven’t seen when it will open. Hopefully this one will have more food options.
Jeong Won Korean BBQ on Urbanspoon

Monday, December 20, 2010

Chocolate gift cakelets

I vowed that I didn’t need any more Nordic Ware pans. And then I saw this one. And suddenly I found myself with a new Nordic Ware Gift Cakelette Pan. In my defense, I don’t have a mini holiday gift pan. Well I have this one holiday mini muffin pan, but the cakes I’ve baked in it don’t come out well. You can barely see the shapes. So I needed a new one.

I love how cute the mini cakes are in this pan. I wish I had a mini Christmas tree to stick them under. I wanted to make a holiday type cake for this pan. I originally was planning on making chocolate gingerbread cake but then realized I was out of molasses. So instead I decided to make chocolate cinnamon cakes.

These cakes are easy to make and delicious. They cakes aren’t intensely chocolate, but they still have a good chocolate flavor and the cinnamon adds a great dimension to the cake and is perfect for this holiday season.

Mini Cinnamon Chocolate Bundt Cakes (adapted from Food Librarian)

Yield: approximately eight cakelets

Ingredients:
1 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
1/2 cup butter
5 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1 tsp  vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. In a small pot bring water, oil, butter and cocoa to a boil, and stir until mixed.

3. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon with a whisk.

4. Add the chocolate mixture to the flour and mix until combined.

5. Add the sour cream, baking soda, eggs and vanilla to the batter and mix until combined.

6.  Greased mini bundt pans with Pam with flour, then pour in batter about 2/3 full. Bake in a preheated oven for approximately 20-25 minutes.