Bakken Met Passie Bakery in Amsterdam

We stumbled upon this bakery on our way to buy concert tickets at the symphony hall.  What a treat!  I know I say Paris has the best desserts in the world, but Amsterdam's Bakken Met Passie definitely gives bakeries in the city of light a run for their money...
This citroen (lemon) cake was one of the best I've ever had.  It was so moist and zesty...On an entirely random note, I think it's funny how citroen is a brand of a car, yet means lemon in Dutch...wonder how well they drive.
Flour-less chocolate cake, raspberry cupcake

Bakken Met Passie is located at Albert Cuypstraat 51-53 in Amsterdam


Tangerine-Vanilla Tea Cakes


I got this delicious recipe from Laura's lovely blog Tutti-Dolci.  I made these tea cakes the other night and the smell of freshly squeezed tangerines brightened up the whole kitchen.  I don't know why I always get the sudden urge to bake at 9 at night but I do.  I'm warning you, these are addicting.  So much so that I gave most of them away to family and friends, because otherwise I could have eaten all. two. dozen.  Recipe below.    

Laura's Tangerine-Vanilla Tea Cakes (Adapted from Cooking Light)
Ingredients for Cakes
2 cups cake flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp tangerine zest
1/4 cup fresh tangerine juice
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Ingredients for Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp tangerine zest
2 Tbsp fresh tangerine juice
Tangerine slices, for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F and spray two 12-cup standard muffin pans with nonstick spray.  (I used cupcake wrappers  and just removed the paper after cooling since I had trouble with the Pam Spray).  Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Beat butter and sugar in a large mixer bowl at medium speed until fluffy. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, and beat until combined; beat in vanilla and tangerine zest. Combine tangerine juice and buttermilk in a small bowl. Reduce speed to low and add half of flour mixture to sugar mixture; beat just until combined. Add buttermilk mixture, then finish with remaining flour mixture.
Using an electric hand mixer with clean and dry beaters, beat egg whites and cream of tartar in a clean bowl at high speed until stiff peaks form. Using a spatula, carefully fold egg whites into the cake batter in 2 additions. Spoon batter evenly into cups and bake 20-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Cool the tea cakes for 2 minutes in the pans on a wire rack, then carefully remove from pans and place them on the wire rack to cool completely.
To prepare glaze, whisk together powdered sugar, tangerine zest, and juice in a small bowl. Set rack with tea cakes over a piece of wax paper and dip tops of each cake into glaze; let glaze set before serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature up to 2 days.


Pho Binh Restaurant in Seattle


Whenever I'm feeling under the weather, I turn to Asian food.  Sometimes Szechuan, other times spicy chicken teriyaki, and on this occasion pho.  Since it's not spicy, I like to add red pepper flakes to help clear out my cold.  I get my pho at Pho Binh-it's a no-frills place, in fact I've never eat inside the restaurant.  But they're quick, friendly, and efficient- I just call ahead and make my order to-go.  I like to order the chicken pho, then add in all the garnishes, squeeze a lime, spoon a little of the plum sauce, and throw in some spice.  After happily slurping the noodles and broth, I'm always guaranteed to feel better. 

Pho Binh is located at 13310 Lake City Way in Seattle.

Pho Binh on Urbanspoon


Birthday Party

For my mom's birthday, S. went all out making caprese salad, spaghetti puttanesca, and bringing home a delicious cake from La Provence Patisserie and Cafe.  


Red Lantern Restaurant


Yesterday I was able to check out an "Asian cuisine" restaurant in the International District, Red Lantern.  We got food to-go and took it home for lunch.  (I'm excited to come back in the evening as the dinner menu is more extensive and several dishes caught my eye).  We enjoyed the garlic and peppercorn beef, the sesame chicken, and the mixed vegetables.  Apart from the yummy food, the highlight of this restaurant is the value (each entree/appetizer dish comes with rice and soup and portions are generous).  Service is also friendly- since we were getting food to-go, we were given our roasted corn tea (which comes with lunch) while we were waiting for the food.  Delicious!  The owner even showed us how they make it.  I'll definitely be stopping back for more.

Above: sesame chicken, sauteed garden vegetables

Red Lantern on Urbanspoon


Cooking with the Barefoot Contessa: Perfect Roast Chicken and A One Year Anniversary

It's hard for me to believe but today is the one-year mark of when I first started this blog.  I thought it would be fun to finally get my own domain name, so now you can find me at wanderingvoyager.com.  In celebration, I would like to offer one of my favorite recipes.  Until a few months ago, I had never roasted a whole chicken before.  Ina Garten's recipe for Perfect Roast Chicken is unfussy yet delicious.  Everyone should have a reliable recipe for roast chicken in their cooking repertoire!  Check out the recipe below.
Ina Garten's Perfect Roast Chicken


  • 1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large bunch fresh thyme, plus 20 sprigs
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise (don't worry about peeling it!)
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
  • 4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1 bulb of fennel, tops removed, and cut into wedges
  • Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Pat outside dry with paper towel. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, both halves of lemon, and all the garlic. Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. (I had a little difficulty with that but luckily everything cooked evenly!)  Place the onions, carrots, and fennel in a roasting pan. Toss with salt, pepper, 20 sprigs of thyme, and olive oil. Spread around the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top.
Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. (If your oven is temperamental like mine, you can turn the chicken over for the last half hour of cooking time).  Remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes.  Serve and enjoy!


Hingham Lobster Pound

This was the weather we found ourselves in last summer when we were back east in Massachusetts visiting relatives.  While the weather currently gracing us here in the Pacific Northwest leaves a lot to be desired, I hear New England is having beautiful spring weather.  On a night you don't feel like cooking, leave it to the pros and stop by the Hingham Lobster Pound.  It's a great bang for your buck and sure beats breaking a sweat in the kitchen when the mercury is triple digits.  I recommend the fried clam strips and homemade onion rings which hit the spot on a spring or summer evening.  

The Hingham Lobster Pound is located at: 4 Broad Cove Road  Hingham, MA 02043.  Ph: (781) 749-1984
Hingham Lobster Pound on Urbanspoon

Yogurt-Mint Pasta

The other day I stumbled upon the lovely food blog Gourmette NYC and found this fabulous recipe.  We didn't have tagliatelle on hand but the strozzapreti worked well.  This was our St. Patrick's Day dinner- the green from the freshly shelled peas and mint were a festive touch.  It's such an easy recipe and great for the spring and summer months.  I think it would taste delicious as a cold pasta salad as well, perfect for a picnic!
Recipe, from Laura of Gourmette NYC
1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano (plus extra for garnish)
1/2 cup fresh mint, cut into ribbons
1/2 cup shelled peas
1 tbsp lemon zest (preferably from an organic lemon)
4 servings of pasta (the original recipe calls for tagliatelle)
Salt and pepper
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water and a small pot of water to a boil.
In the small pot, blanch peas until al dente, about 1-2 minutes. Drain the peas and reserve.
In the large pot, cook the pasta until al dente (follow package directions). Drain pasta and toss with yogurt, parmigiano, mint, peas, and lemon zest. Salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with parmigiano and a mint leaf. Serve immediately.


Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I don't know if it's from having an Irish grandmother or simply being American, but St. Patrick's Day is always celebrated in my house.  Off to get this year's preparations, I leave you with pictures from last year's St. Patrick's Day tea.


Stuffed Bell Peppers

Stuffed peppers are a great meal for entertaining because they taste great, you can use leftover rice, and they make a beautiful presentation.  After having this dish at Di Nero's in Cohasset, we were determined to make some of our own.  Whenever we make risotto, we often use the leftover rice for stuffed peppers the next day because the texture of Arborio rice works so well.  You can also use any other kind of rice such as brown rice which we did most recently.  Simply cut off the tops of the bell peppers and rather than waste them, finely chop them up (minus the stems) and fry them in olive oil, salt, and pepper until they are soft.  Then mix the chopped peppers with the leftover rice and add whatever chopped herbs (we like to use rosemary, thyme, basil, dill, etc.) you have on hand.  Stuff the hollowed out peppers with the rice mixture and place them in a glass baking dish.  Top with some fontina cheese and pop them in the oven at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the peppers are soft.


Tapas Party

Back from my trip yesterday, I woke up in typical jetlagged fashion this morning at 3am.  Until I upload my photos, here is a look back at a tapas dinner party we threw for our friends last month.  Although we only started prepping a few hours before, the beauty of this type of party is that it can be as little or as much as you make of it.  Following the Barefoot Contessa's golden rule of stress-free entertaining, we didn't make every dish from scratch.  There was the cheese and meat plate we put together with fig jam and the mixed olives bought from the deli.  Fresh caught prawns bought from the store to go with our homemade lemon butter dipping sauce.  And as far as cooking, everything was pretty simple.  We stuffed piquillo peppers (from a jar)  with tuna fish, mayonnaise, and lemon juice.  I tossed evenly-cut potatoes with Spanish paprika and oven roasted them.  I made a homemade aioli to go with that.  There were roasted curry chickpeas. Oven roasted chicken wings.  Simply-cooked asparagus.  

And then there was dessert.  Since M. is gluten-free, we whipped up a gluten-free mixed berry crumble.  There wasn't any measuring going on.  In a bowl, I thawed a bag of mixed fruit with a little sugar.  I put some brown sugar, rice flour, and gluten-free oats in the food processor.  Then I slowly added cold chunks of unsalted butter.  I pulsed the mixture until it got a crumbly texture.  I mixed the fruit with the crumble, adding extra crumble on top, and baked it in the oven at 350 F for about 45 minutes.