Month: December 2015

Chocolate Chip Pistachio Mascarpone Cookies

Soft, pillowy cookies with chunks of pistachio and chocolate!

 

Hi there! Currently, I’m in Taiwan on a vacation with my extended family. It’s a trip I looked forward to all year, and it’s finally come. Hopefully I’ll get a post up about the trip. I hope you had a great Christmas and wish you a happy new year! Anyways, let’s get on with these cookies.

I’ve never used mascarpone cheese up until just days ago. I’ve seen recipes that use it, but I could never find it so I always just used cream cheese in its place. However, I saw a small tub of it at Trader Joe’s and I had to buy it.

chocolate-chip-pistachio-cookies (2)

Mascarpone cheese was different from what I expected. It is very different from cream cheese. Instead of tangy, its flavor is subtly sweet. It is very high in fat, making it very creamy. I wanted to find a way to incorporate them into the classic chocolate chip cookie.

 

I also wanted to add pistachios, a favorite nut of mine. My childhood memories include my mom’s favorite nut being the pistachio, and buying pistachio ice cream for her because I remembered it was her favorite. My brother also bought a packet of instant pistachio pudding that I prepared and we all enjoyed.

chocolate-chip-pistachio-cookies-2

I love the vibrant green color that they lend. Pistachios are a rather soft nut. I love that the edible bits are referred to as “nutmeats”. I think that name is so cute! And they pair with chocolate in the cookie so well, especially if you use dark chocolate chips.

(more…)

Trader Joe’s December 2015

Once again, I’d like to share what I purchased at Trader Joe’s. I feel that this month’s goods were especially worth sharing.

 

I love going to Trader Joe’s in December because it reminds me of my first time shopping there. Where I grew up, there was no Trader Joe’s close by. The nearest one was a 30 minute drive that I hardly knew existed. Ever since my first trip, I have fallen in love with their grocery store, products, and whimsical Fearless Flyer.

It sounds ridiculous, but I get genuinely excited whenever I go to Trader Joe’s. Anyway, let’s get started with this month’s products, shall we?

trader-joes-sticky-toffee-cheese

(more…)

Chai Spiced Shortbread

Classic buttery shortbread with a hint of chai spice. Perfect for the holidays and can even be gifted!

  chai-shortbread (4) 

Surprise! A Wednesday post!

This year, I participated in the annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. It’s sort of like Secret Santa, but with food bloggers. Each person makes cookies to send a dozen each to 3 people, and in turn receives a dozen cookies from 3 different bloggers. I received chocolate dipped orange shortbread from Brenda, piparkakut (a traditional Finnish gingerbread cookie) from Tara, and chocolate peppermint cookies from Megan.

 

The Cookie Swap isn’t just exchanging cookies, though. It was a fundraiser for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. It was so much fun receiving cookies in the mail and also sending off some goodies to other bloggers!

 

I already had chai shortbread in mind. Chai is such a winter flavor, and I love cozying up with chai lattes. It’s such a wonderful blend of black tea and other spices. I sent these to Sonja, Sue, and Nicole. Be sure to check out their blogs!

chai-shortbread 

These chai shortbread cookies take little time to prep, a few hours to chill, and only around 10 minutes in the oven. The hands-on work is minimal. They are crunchy, yet somehow still just a little bit soft so it doesn’t break your teeth. The chai flavor is slightly subtle and warming, making these the perfect winter cookies.

(more…)

Xanh

110 Castro Street,

Mountain View, CA, 94041

www.xanhrestaurant.com/

We’ve been checking out some restaurants in downtown Mountain View lately. Cascal didn’t disappoint, and this time we decided to go to Xanh.

xanh

Xanh is a Vietnamese restaurant on the end of Castro, near the train station. They serve a lunch buffet sort of thing, but we went for dinner on a Friday evening. We went a little early, so the place was only slightly full and not buzzing with people.

xanh-decor

The decor is very modern. There’s the whole blue-glass feel but along the walls there are some more traditional style paintings. The food is also a bit more modern than traditional. I’d rather call it Asian Fusion than Vietnamese.

(more…)