Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Cupcake Tour 2008

I don't know much about popular food trends, but I do remember a few growing up, though they probably never appeared in Zagat. You know, the uncooked ramen noodles and Lucas Salt from the ice cream man; all the cool kids were doing it. Recently, it seems health nuts have brought a boatload of "trendy" foods to the limelight for whatever reason. Sea salt, raw chocolate, acai berries, and other assorted things that don't necessarily taste good.

Apparently, cupcakes are now in and every hip kid wants one. Don't think for a second we were going to pass up this year's must-have.

December 27th marked the 1st annual(?) Bond Family Cupcake Tour. We hit up three bay area cupcake hotspots to sample the goods.

1st Stop: Satura Cakes, Palo Alto, CA

Satura Cakes
Palo Alto, CA

Flourless Chocolate Souffle

More "cup," than "cake," but still a good eat. The cake was a lot of frosting, but that was ok, being as the cake itself was slightly dry. I suspect the gluten-free recipe might have something to do with this, but maybe it just happened to be that batch. Either way, it was tasty, and appeals to our Celiacs Disease stricken friends.

Red Velvet Cake

If cupcakes are to 2008 what boy bands were to the late 90's, Red Velvet is Justin Timberlake. In the three stores we went into everyone wanted a piece. Just ask Yahoo. They say only Inside-Out Cheeseburgers, Cowboy Tacos, and Burrito Pie get more nods. I thought the cake was delicious. Let's be honest though, with cream cheese frosting, you can't go wrong.

2nd Stop: Sprinkles Cupcakes

Sprinkles Cupcakes
Palo Alto, CA

Milk Chocolate

Out of all the cakes we tried, this was the most dry. I was not impressed by the cake itself, but the overall appearance gets a few drools. The utensils and plating were all biodegradable, only adding to the (sometimes overbearingly) chic, hip attitude of the Stanford Shopping Center establishment. I say quality over atmosphere any day. Sorry, Sprinkles.


Better than its Milk Chocolate predecessor, but still too dry for my taste. I thought the frosting was killer, though. Not too strawberry-ee, and not to sugar-ee, either. If you could put the frosting on a moister cake, you'd probably sleep better at night, knowing you charged $3.50 for a good cupcake, rather than a mediocre one.

3rd Stop: Kara's Cupcakes

Kara's Cupcakes
Palo Alto, CA
(also at Santana Row, San Jose, CA)

Meyer Lemony Lemon

By far, the best cupcake of the day. The cake was moist, the frosting was not overbearing (easy to do with a powerful flavor like lemon), and there was a nice lemon custard filling for surprise. If I were to ever spend the gut-busting, bank-breaking price of $36/dozen, I would do it on this cake. Lemon is one of my favorite dessert flavors, and this one took the cake. (See what I did there?)

Raspberry Dazzle

Though not quite as good as the Lemon, the raspberry cake was delicious. This was not a featured "filled" cupcake, but this is not a disappointment. I don't think a raspberry filling would have done any justice for the cupcake. The frosting was a good flavor and normally chocolate/raspberry combination is my favorite, but I guess this time, I just felt like buying a lemon.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Katie's Birthday

Today was Katie's birthday. We celebrated the best way we know the kitchen. The ultimate outcome was a fun dessert party with some good friends. I am learning that as long as I am around Katie, unless I become a Food Network star, no one will ever believe I am responsible for anything delicious coming out of the kitchen. Oh well.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

Dessert Tower

Giant Cupcake (Lemon Poppyseed)

Pumpkin Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mini Brownie Raspberry Torts

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Hey Everyone,

Sorry I have been lagging on adding new posts. Things have gotten really busy in the realm of school and I haven't had as much time to keep up on the blog. Here is a simple graph to explain.

Sorry again, and I will update as soon as I can! Thanks!!


p.s. Drool on this for awhile....

Cape Cod French Toast
Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe, Boston, MA

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tomato Basil Soup with Italian Sausage Muffins

I don't know if it is because the air is getting colder, or if we are just on a trend, but last night we made some soup again. I am definitely not complaining. Katie put together an incredible soup. The tomato basil soup had a creamy taste, but the sauteed onion allowed for the perfect texture. Creamy enough to swallow without having to chew forever, but thick enough so it doesn't feel like your taking spoonfuls of water. On top of basil, there was also thyme and bay leaf in the soup. The mix of herbs gave it a lot of spice and a little bite.

Tomato Basil Soup

This was the second time I made the Italian Sausage Muffins. I always associated muffins with blueberries and crumbled tops, so the idea of a savory muffin was intriguing. There is half a pound of Italian Sausage dispersed throughout 12 muffins, giving you a bit of meat in every bite. The other major ingredient, spaghetti sauce, rounds out the overall taste and makes the muffins almost like little compact meals.

Italian Sausage Muffins

The muffin and the soups made a great combination (unless you really dislike tomatoes, of course). For me, though...sausage, tomato sauce, and onion...its fail proof.

Recipes to follow. I kind of promise.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Lemon Pork Chops with Grilled Zucchini

This will be a landmark post. Due to popular demand, I am going to start posting recipes along with some of the foods I post. I hope by doing this people will try them out and also do some swapping.

Lemon Pork Chops

Last night we tried a new recipe: Lemon Pork Chops. The pork cooked in a sauce of tomatoes, onions, peppers and lemons for about 6 hours. The pork was so tender that we didn't even really need to use our knives. That is pretty much desirable. The recipe made 4 pork chops (though we could've easily fit more into the pot). The only thing that stopped me from eating a second one was Katie's reminder that we decided to have leftovers on Thursday.

We ate it with Parmesan Couscous. The really strong lemon flavor from the pork was a perfect match with the simple flavor of the Couscous. Couscous is a great side to have with any meal really. If you haven't had it, try it. Imagine the taste of pasta or rice, but chopped up extremely small. It also tends to soak up a bit of whatever sauce it touches.

Grilled Zucchini

The zucchini was really great as well. Just a little bit of olive oil and garlic salt, salt, and pepper were all they needed. My dad grills these at home all the time. Due to the lack of grill in our small Provo apartment, we just used our panini pan. It seemed to have done the trick.

Lemon Pork Chops

1 T vegetable oil
4 boneless pork chops
3 cans (8 oz each) tomato sauce
1 large onion, quartered and sliced
1 large green pepper, cut into strips
1 T lemon-pepper seasoning
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 large lemon, quartered

1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-low heat until hot. Brown pork chops on both sides. Drain and discard excess fat. Transfer to slow cooker.
2. Combine tomato sauce, onion, bell pepper, lemon-pepper seasoning and Worcestershire sauce. Add to slow cooker.
3. Squeeze juice from lemon quarters over mixture; drop squeezed lemon quarters into slow cooker. Cover; cook on low for six to eight hours or until pork is tender.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sushiya and Gloria's Little Italy

To round out a weekend full of international cuisine, Katie, my brother Brian, and I paid a visit to Sushiya for a night of all you can eat sushi. I thoroughly enjoyed every fish-filled bite. The rolls were just like they should be: big and never ending. There isn't too much more you could ask for. Katie really enjoyed the Crunchy California Roll, I ate the majority of a tuna-topped, tempura shrimp roll, and Brian was the only one who ate the Roe. In addition to those, we tried the California Roll, some Spicy Tuna roll, a Crystal Shrimp roll, The Playboy Roll, and a few pieces of Nigiri before tossing in the towel.

But that didn't mean we were done.

Katie and I have a favorite little eatery in Provo: Gloria's Little Italy. Located just south of Center Street, it has the most amazing desserts. It was the bakery that first caught our attention, but we have gone there for dinner as well. The dinner entrees match up perfectly to the quality of the desserts. We both favor the Chicken Carbonara but would also recommend the lasagna with meat sauce. We wanted to end the evening right so we headed on over, but being filled with about ten feet of sushi, we stuck to the dessert menu.

Keith's Pick

For me, it was between this thing of beauty and a different chocolate cake with Italian creme covered in shaved chocolate. I chose this one after a employee recommendation and was not let down in the slightest. The cake was moist, the creme was delicious, and the crumbled topping also was also soft cake, dusted in confectioner's sugar and cocoa powder. Like any other dessert from Gloria's, the only disappointment is when it is gone. Oh, I almost forgot, this piece was so big, they had to use the large size to go box, rather than the normal sized boxes (see pictures below).

Katie's Pick

The few bites I stole from Katie's piece of cake were absolutely delicious. It was a soft, moist, vanilla cake with Italian creme, raspberry filling, and shaved coconut around the outside.

Brian's Pick

Another amazing chocolate cake and creme concoction. This cake was covered in a rich chocolate shell and drizzled with caramel. Honestly, this place can do no wrong.

We were excited to see that Gloria's announced they are opening a bigger restaurant on Center Street. The floor plan looked much larger, with more dining area. It is really exciting to see a new, yet small, restaurant succeeding and being able to expand. If you live in or near Provo, you must check out Gloria's Little Italy.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Four Seasons Hot Pot

Four Seasons Hot Pot is a solid answer for anyone who feels there isn't enough diverse restaurants in Provo, or Utah as a whole. On a recommendation from a good friend, we decided to pay a visit to the small restaurant on University Avenue.

This was the first time either of us ventured into a "hot pot" experience. Wow. We chose a spicy broth and made our way to the raw ingredients table. The owner of the restaurant walked us through our first round. We added shrimp, chicken, beef, meatballs, Tilapia, a collection of vegetables including Chinese Mushrooms, and a few different varieties of noodles. All of the ingredients get put into the boiling broth on your table top and all there is left to do is grab your chop sticks and enjoy. We made a second soup with noodles, broccoli and beef. The highlight of the meal and what will have us returning often to Four Seasons were their dumplings.
I am not, by any means, a food critic, but these dumplings were one of the best things I have ever tasted. We had the pork and cilantro filling and I look forward to trying the other fillings.

Pork and Cilantro filled Dumplings

The most standout aspect of these drops of heaven is that they are made fresh to order. We placed an order and got up to get some more water and saw our waitress rolling the dough and pinching their edges. They were served in a bamboo steamer on our table. Completely amazing!

After a few goes with the hot pot, we were a bit full, so we took a few of the dumplings home. Of course, they didn't last more than 15 minutes.

Lemon Poppyseed Cake

In recent Thursdays we have been joining up with our great friends Lauren and Tyson Johnson for dinner. Two weeks ago Katie made a pasta dish with Italian sausage and broccoli. It was a recipe from her mom and I am sure we will be having it again so keep your eyes other sensory organs peeled for that one. The Johnson's brought over chocolate melting cakes for dessert.

This past Thursday it was our turn to provide the dessert so Katie made a Lemon Poppyseed Cake. I would say it was pretty much flawless.

Lemon Poppyseed Cake

The cake was ultra moist and had the perfect amount of lemon flavor in the cake and icing. The icing did end up a little thin and spread thin over the cake, but it didn't alter the deliciousness factor. All in all, another perfect 10 from the kitchen of Katie.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Chicken Chili

If you and I were talking face to face right now, you would find trace scents of stewed tomatoes, green bell pepper, and ground cumin fresh on my breath. That is how fast I am coming at you with this post. The dishes have not even been washed yet; they can wait.

The snow is starting to fall in Utah County and that makes it prime time chili time. Katie had this one sitting on the stove when I got home from class tonight (yes, that is my plug for marriage).

Chicken Chili

You know that tingling you get in the bottom of your mouth, right under and to the sides of the tongue when you smell something strong and delicious? Well that happened when I opened the door to our apartment. Apparently, there is only a teaspoon of cumin in the entire pot, but it is definitely the king of the spices in this dish.

A special thank you goes to Megan Christensen, my sister-in-law, for this recipe.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Chicken Noodle Soup

There is a big cold front on its way from the Northeast to Provo. Katie decided to plan accordingly by making a big pot of Chicken Noodle Soup. I was surprised by how easy it is to make a good chicken noodle soup. The only thing that came out of a can is the chicken broth. Add a few vegetables, some noodles, chicken, and spices and you have a delicious bowl of warmth.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Roasted Garlic Hummus

The other night, Katie and I faced a tough situation: lots of pita bread, and no hummus.
We normally buy hummus from the store. It tastes great, isn't horribly expensive, and makes a great snack or add on to a meal.
Fortunately, a few weeks ago, we had the idea of making our own and purchased a couple cans of chickpeas. The hummus making project was underway.
For some added flavor, I roasted a head of garlic with some olive oil. The garlic slid right out of their skins and blended well with the chickpeas and additional olive oil.

Roasted Garlic Hummus

The end result was fantastic. It was much heartier and rich tasting than store bought hummus and leaves so many options for additional flavors (roasted red peppers, jalapenos, curry, etc.).

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Ham and Cheese Strata

This one came out of a crock pot recipe book. We were excited to see more than just stews and your basic "throw in a bag of chicken and everything else in your fridge and let cook for eight hours" recipes. (Don't get me wrong, I really love those "throw in a bag of chicken and everything else in your fridge and let cook for eight hours" recipes). Anyhow, we decided to try the strata for a breakfast for dinner type meal. It took three hours in the crock pot and about fifteen minutes to eat.

Ham and Cheese Strata

The recipe called for French Bread, but we are thinking of using sourdough next time and replacing the ham with a flavored sausage, like apple chicken. It also has a lot of green onion which happens to be my favorite add on right now. It makes everything taste incredible.

Except for muffins.

Orange Pecan Muffins

I have a new found love for muffins. They are relatively simple to make and can pack a lot of flavor in a single bite.

I recently tried out a few new recipes. An Italian Sausage muffin and Orange Pecan muffins. The Italian Sausage muffins were awesome! They are made with, of course, Italian Sausage and spaghetti sauce. I always associated muffins with breakfast, but these made a good lunch. Katie suggested we eat them with some tomato soup next time. Something to definitely look forward to!

The Orange Pecan Muffins are my new favorite. They would make a good breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, ice cream topper, picnic treat, you get the point.
Orange Pecan Muffins

The zest of an orange goes into twelve of these pieces of heaven making each bite ultra refreshing. Right when they come out of the oven, you brush fresh squeezed orange juice on each muffin top then sprinkle with granulated sugar. Katie thought a little more orange zest wouldn't hurt and I agree. Orange is a fantastic flavor, especially in pastries and baked goods.

Fun on the grill

Nothing beats food off of the grill. I learned to appreciate grilled food from my father who, I believe, would gladly replace any indoor oven with a Weber grill and a few Dutch Ovens.

Before we moved back to school in Provo, I took advantage of my Father-in-law's grill to cook a few dishes for Katie and me. The recipes came from a Weight Watchers cook book given to Katie as a bridal shower gift. Cheers to the gift giver for their culinary appreciations.

Spinach salad over Hummus on a Grilled Pita

Hummus is another love shared with me from my Father. It has a delicious taste and with the many available flavors, it is a really versatile spread or dip. The salad was simple and had a vinaigrette made with some citrus juice and ground cumin. The pita you see is a second try. The first one was left on the grill too long and turned into a black frisbee.

Sauteed Mushrooms over Grilled Polenta

This was definitely my favorite dish of the meal. The polenta was grilled and topped with Mozzarella. The mushrooms were marinated with rosemary and soy sauce. After sauteeing the mushrooms they were added on top of the polenta and the dish was done. Simple and incredible.

Grilled Chicken stuffed with Herb Goat Cheese

This one was a bit messy to make. The herb goat cheese in combination with the texture of the raw chicken made things a bit greasy, but in the end, it was much worth it. As the chicken grilled, the cheese melted into the chicken. The dill, parsley and other herbs mixed in with the cheese was a killer combo that you got with every bite.

The only problem Katie and I had with this meal was finishing it all. Everything reheated pretty well and made some good leftovers.


I love food.

I always have. I love to eat, cook, prepare, grocery shop, and dine. I love to talk about food and try new recipes. I am a college student studying Nutritional Science and married to the most beautiful girl, Katie, who studies Dietetics. Not only is she incredibly smart, she is extremely gifted in the culinary world.

As I talk with fellow students about food, I have made a sort of realization: I eat incredibly well for a college student. My days of top ramen and mac and cheese are behind me, I suppose.

I hope to share my love of food discovery and consumption with anyone who stumbles across this blog. I would love to receive your comments, suggestions and shared recipes as much as you would like to give.