You never know where clicking around the web will take you. A few weeks ago I was learning about Cake Pops. I often forget You Tube isn't just for watching your favorite movie and cartoon clips illegally. I was watching videos on how to make cake lollipops and in the suggestions section were videos on baking cupcakes inside ice cream cones. Granted, most of the amateur videos should be made fun of on Tosh.O, but here is this kid, making cupcakes for his Mom on Mother's Day, and hocking his T-shirts - with 27,000 views! Complete with porn-style background music! I really enjoyed it. It's 9 minutes long, but worth watching the whole thing.

Su-Tang Cupcake Clan

My take

The other day was a special anniversary here in the Hungry Household. Fifteen years ago, there was a blizzard in the Northeast. NYC Public Schools were closed for a snow day for the first time in a long while. I was a junior in high school. I was spending the day on the Internet, much like today. On that day, I met my future husband! Online. He was snowed in, in King of Prussia, PA. I didn't know a town called King of Prussia existed and was sure he was making it up. What is not made up, is that we fell in love and spent many years commuting back and forth on weekends to see each other. To mark this occasion I wanted to make something with similar flavors as one of our 2 wedding cakes, and so I created my own cupcakes in ice cream cones. Chocolate cake with lemon curd filling and rich chocolate frosting.

I explained to the Hubby that I didn't invent these, but he was as excited as the first person to see sliced bread must have been. ♥

Place the cones in a foil wrapped muffin tin to hold them upright.

The finished product. I seem to always frost cupcakes the same way.

The original cake!


Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

When I was itty bitty, my Mom's chicken noodle soup began with Soup Starter. I thought it was great, and I didn't pay any attention to the fact that the only fresh, non processed food in that soup was the chicken itself, which had been boiled to death. The vegetables were freeze dried and came mixed with a powdered concoction of flavorings including loads of MSG and salt. I don't mind MSG (see Steingarten's, "Why Doesn't Everyone In China Have a Headache?") but the levels it included, along with the salt, were probably highly unnecessary. Soon my Mom started adding tortellini to that soup, along with the chicken. What else would you expect Italians to do? I also doused the soup with handfuls of Parmigiano Reggiano. I am still a huge fan of tortellini in soup, and adore the minimalist tortellini en brodo.

Now, all grown up, and with some decent culinary training and experience, I make a different soup almost every week. It's no secret that soup's awesomeness has many levels, including but not limited to: being able to cook once and eat for 2 or more days, being inexpensive, takes well to using up fridge scraps, and can even be transformed into another dish entirely - such as leftover potato fennel soup becoming a sauce for clams or mussels. French Onion soup remains my barometer for a restaurant. If it's on the menu, I must order it at least once, and base most of my opinions about the establishment on their preparation and service of that soup. It's easy to make it great, and easy to mess it up or be careless.

Get to the Thai chicken soup already!

O.K., O.K.! Years ago when I visited a friend in the hospital who had just given birth, she was eating chicken noodle soup with coconut milk and other Thai flair. It caught my eye and really stood out to me how many different cultures have their own version of dishes I'm familiar with. Think: meatballs, pastas, cabbage, custards, breads - these are universal items and are borrowed and adapted endlessly throughout history and around the globe. Then last week on Twitter, ChefWifeDotCom mentioned Vegan Thai Coconut Soup and it reminded me of that chicken noodle soup. I did some web research and decided what I wanted mine to be. The timing was perfect as we've been getting blankets of snow nearly every day here in PA. In fact, it's snowing right now. I don't often post actual recipes here, but here's an attempt.

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup Adapted from Tom Kha Gai
*Not at all traditional and with Asian components not particularly Thai!

2 stalks lemongrass
1 knob ginger
1 bunch scallions
48 oz chicken broth, low sodium (veg is fine too)
2 Tbsp tamari
2 Tbsp fish sauce
1 can of coconut milk, shaken before opening
1 package of chicken thighs, about 1.25 pounds
1 bunch cilantro
1 cup julienned carrot
1 Tbsp sriracha
2 limes
6 oz (half a package) of udon noodles

Bruise the lemongrass, chop roughly. Slice the ginger, slice scallions in half - keeping dark green and light green parts separate. In a 5 QT soup pot, heat first 7 ingredients and peel from limes. When simmering, add chicken. Poach until mostly cooked through, 20 minutes. While poaching, cook udon according to package directions, (I broke them up to look like traditional noodles for chicken soup and to accommodate my chopstick-impaired Hubby) drain, rinse, set aside. Remove chicken from broth, strain broth back into soup pot, keeping heat on low. Add carrots to broth. Add sriracha. Shred chicken, add to broth. Simmer 10 minutes to cook carrots, leaving them a smidge crunchy. Serve in deep bowls, adding a generous handful of torn cilantro and chopped scallion to each. Squeeze lime wedges over soup just before eating. Who cares if the wedges are without the peel? Make use of the whole lime!

Use rice noodles or plain pasta
Add curry (red or yellow)
Add sliced chiles
Add packaged dumplings for a larger meal
Add sliced mushrooms
Add toasted unsweetened coconut



Last weekend we were working hard on a short term goal of ours. Getting an unpacked junk room turned into a useful office. Most people have junk drawers, we have a whole room. The contents are a combination of: my culinary library which I've been sad to have very limited access to (the books are in storage boxes), computer equipment, stuff we moved but didn't unpack, and leftovers from each time we tidy up for company in a hurry and need a place to throw stuff. You can imagine the black hole of its contents.

We've found some interesting things. The only VHS in existence of my early childhood in Arizona, our wedding cards and wedding paraphernalia, and my school report cards and photos. In with my school things was a "what I did on my Summer vacation" report from 1990. It was my first year at Seth Low I.S. 96. I got to write about my family's time in Hawaii, which was the last vacation we ever took together. At the time I did not know I was a future chef, or a foodie in the making. Or even a future lazy blogger/aspiring food writer. What did I write about? The FOOD of Hawaii. Mahi mahi, poi, and a whole pig cooked in the ground. I even wrote that in one day I ate mahi mahi in an omelette for breakfast, in a sandwich for lunch, and as an entrée for dinner. Foreshadowing? Yes. Also intriguing, I wrote this report on 9/11/90, eleven years before that awful day.