Monday, October 25, 2010

Cali Baguette Express

Cali Baguette Express
9225 Mira Mesa Blvd, #106
San Diego, CA 92126,
(858) 695-8888

Cali Baguette Express has been on my to-do list for quite a while.  I first read about it on CAB Cooks.  I recently thought about it again after seeing a post from foodies: a southern california food blog.

I’m not sure why, but I imagined a store with a drive thru, so I was surprised to find it in the middle of one of those plazas where all the storefronts look the same and the businesses have the same letterheads displaying their names.

Once inside, we were greeted warmly by the owner. I was hoping for some eggrolls, but I saw the display case was empty. Unfortunately, we had come too late for eggrolls. So instead, we opted to order some bahn mi sandwiches.

BF got #13, which was spicy beef. I got a #6, which was bbq pork. The sandwiches were freshly made.

I was surprised to find my bread still hot and crispy. I love fresh french bread. There was a decent amount of bbq pork in my sandwich, though I could have used more herbs and pickled vegetables. I wasn’t as big of a fan of the beef. There was something in the sauce the beef was marinated in that I didn’t particularly like.

Here is the pork:

Here is the beef:

The sandwiches were pretty good.  I’d come back here again, though next time I’m going to come earlier so I can try out the eggrolls.

Cali Baguette Express on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mini Apple cider donuts

Lately, I’ve seen a lot of recipes out there for apple cider donuts.  I’ve never eaten apple cider donuts, so I decided to try making some this weekend.

I used a recipe I found on The City Sisters. The recipe is for baked mini donuts rather than fried ones. I plan on trying a fried version in the new future. The baked donuts recipe gave me a chance to use my mini donut pan again.

I love how easy these baked donut recipes are to whip up. I only used a whisk and no mixer. I had to make a few changes to the recipe. For one thing, I didn’t have any apple butter. I tried to buy some, but couldn’t find any. So I replaced it with apple sauce.  I also didn’t have any maple syrup, so I used agave nectar. I also didn’t sprinkle the pans with sugar. Instead, I waited until the donuts had cooled and then used some melted butter and dipped the donuts in a cinnamon sugar mixture.

These mini baked donuts came out wonderfully. They were so soft and the donuts have a great apple cider taste with a hint of autumn spices. To my surprise, they taste even better the next day because it lets the apple flavor really sink in.

I love these donuts even without the cinnamon sugar topping. But they don’t look so pretty plain so I added the cinnamon sugar mix.

Mini Baked Apple Cider Donuts (adapted from recipe found on The City Sisters)

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 large egg
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/3 cup agave nectar (or maple syrup)
1/3 cup spiced apple cider
1/3 cup nonfat plain yogurt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Topping:

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray mini donut pan with cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

3. In another bowl, whisk together egg, brown sugar, applesauce, agave nectar, cider, yogurt, and oil.

4, Add in dry ingredients and stir until combined.

5. Fill each mini donut halfway.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.  Let donuts cool slightly for a few minutes.  Use a plastic knife, gently pry around edges of the donut until donuts pop out.

6. Let donuts cool completely. Then melt 1/4 cup butter in a small glass bowl. In another small bowl, combine 2/3 cup white sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon.  Dip top of donuts in melted butter and then dip in the sugar mixture.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Nutella chocolate chip cookies (another recipe)

A couple of months ago, I tried a nutella chocolate chip cookie recipe.  At the time, I thought I was just trying out another recipe and didn’t give it much thought.  But the cookies turned out to be a huge hit with my family and became one of my favorite dessert recipes. Not only were they a hit with my family, but they were also a huge hit on my blog.

Since then I’ve revisited the recipe a few times, and I’ve been thinking about tweaking it around a little.

Then I found another nutella chocolate chip cookie recipe on Espresso and Cream and thought I’d try the recipe out before tweaking around with the other recipe.

This recipe uses more nutella, and no brown sugar. The recipe was pretty easy to put together. At first, I worried the dough would be hard to work with because it looked so wet after I was done mixing.

But to my surprise, the dough was easy to pick up and shape. The dough also had a very glossy look to it, which I wasn’t used to.

The cookies baked up quite nice. They did crackle on top a lot, something I’ve realized that often happens with nutella based recipes.

I liked these cookies, but I also felt they were missing something for me. They were a little too soft, I would have preferred a more crispy edge. I also missed the brown sugar. And even though this recipe had a lot more nutella, I didn’t actually taste more nutella. Had I not tried the other nutella chocolate chip cookie recipe, I think I would have loved these even more. I like these, but I still love the other recipe more. You can view the other recipe here.

When I have time again, I’m going to play around with the other recipe.

Nutella chocolate chip cookies version 2 (adapted from Espresso and Cream)

Ingredients

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup Nutella
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat mat.
2. With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add in the egg and beat until combined.  Then, beat in the Nutella, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and vanilla until combined.
3. Next, beat in the flour. Stir in the chocolate chips with a large wooden spoon.
4. Scoop dough by large tabelspoons and form into balls. Place balls onto baking sheet about 2 inches apart and flatten slighlty.
5. Bake for about 8 minutes, until edges are crispy.