Monday, January 31, 2011

The Danville, KY bakery tour

Last week, I decided to explore my surroundings, starting with the most important part of Main Street.  :)  Burke's Bakery and Delicatessen has been in Danville for four generations, and it appears to be your typical small-town bakery, offering doughnuts, gingerbread cookies, petit fours, pies, different breads, and lots of cookies.  I walked in and asked, "What is your best selling item?"  I then purchased chocolate macaroons, a butter roll, and Mexican wedding cookies (the last isn't a best-seller, but I was curious).

The "macaroons" (for they are unlike any macaroon I've ever seen...) were crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and faintly reminiscent of chocolate.  I liked them.  The Mexican wedding cookies tasted like sugar and walnuts/pecans.  The fantail roll tasted like butter and was very dense--- good, but not a favorite.

I saved the best for last.  I tried a chocolate cupcake with vanilla/cream cheese frosting at work and fell in love with the works of The Twisted Sifter Cake Shoppe (  I'm not a cupcake person---in fact, I normally treat cupcake shops with scorn---but these are definitely worth the $4.77 I paid.  (Plus, they're cheaper than every other cupcake place I've seen!)

Key lime pie- even the frosting tasted like lime.  This was divine.
Tiramisu- The bottom of this was slightly bitter and soaked with coffee.  :\  I shouldn't have waited a day to eat it.  The frosting was lovely (vanilla/cream cheese again!) although I couldn't taste the espresso sprinkles.

On Wed., I will be taking a cake decorating class at The Twisted Sifter, learning how to make and work with marshmallow fondant.  :D  I hope to document this process---having a new hobby is exciting!  Rolling out sugar cookies frustrates me greatly, so I am moving to cupcakes to practice my frosting skills.  I must make use of the Wilton 52 tip set I have, after all....

Friday, January 28, 2011

Mozz | Mozzarella Bar and Enoteca

Mozz is a fairly new restaurant in Louisville.  It's main attraction is a mozzarella bar, featuring homemade cheeses.   This restaurant, like many other higher-end places in town, also features food from local farms.  

I had an incredible dinner there last week with Mr. S. and a true gastronome.  We talked about nothing but food, wine, and restaurants for three hours and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  His generosity and commitment to savoring culinary pleasures is truly admirable.

And now, for my review!

This was a hollow flatbread with shredded cheese and parsley atop.  The first loaf we received (shown here) was very crispy.  The second loaf was softer and tasted more like pita bread.
The calamari was perfectly breaded and came with a lemon tartar sauce.  (Sorry for the slant.  We had two bottles of Willamette Valley pinot noir and someone got a little tipsy...)  Our other appetizer was a ball of mozzarella topped with pesto and sprouts, alongside cherry tomatoes.  Very tasty, especially the cheese.
This was my entree- the Bourbon Barrel Smoked Salt & Pepper Sliced Filet "Tagliata" Spicy Mustard & Arugula, Gorgonzola Dolce, and Duck Fat Fries.  The filet was tasty, and the flavors of the gorgonzola, lemony baby arugula, and spicy mustard complimented it perfectly.  (The spicy mustard wasn't hot at all, and also had a lemon flavor.)  The duck fat fries were very thin, crispy, and not greasy at all.  This dish was completely lukewarm by the time it arrived, so I focused on the meat and greens more than the fries.  The taste of duck fat wasn't distinctive at all, either. 
Mr. S's meal---the Marksbury Farm's Brick Chicken, Roasted Vegetables, Marsala, 15-year Aged Balsamic Vinegar, Arugula & Lemon.  He enjoyed it immensely, stating that it was the best chicken he's ever had.  We were so impressed that he received a whole chicken!
 We tried each others' desserts.  This is the Meyer lemon tart.  I finally understand why Meyer lemons are so prized---this was lemony without being overly tart.  Perfect.
 Mr. S.'s cannoli.  I typically do not care for the stuff, but this tasted good.  It also had mini chocolate chips in it.
 My tiramisu; this was the lightest coffee flavor that I've ever tasted.  Very light on the tongue and easy on the eyes.

The one downside to this place is that it is extremely loud.  By the end of the evening, my throat was so hoarse from yelling across the table.  We were seated near a stage with a singer and live music, but it seemed to be loud everywhere.  The seating arrangement (long benches with interspersed tables for different parties) could be awkward at times as well.  We should've checked our coats in at the desk.  :)

Overall, I had an amazing time and I think that we'll be back someday.

Mozz on Urbanspoon

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Blogs I Like: (If you want to be awed by gorgeousness)

I don't remember how I came across Kiss My Spatula (, but I was in love from the first couple of posts.  It helped that the author lived in a place I hold very dear, Whidbey Island, but what kept me returning were both her photography and lyrical writing.  She doesn't seem to post very often, but when she does, it's always enjoyable to read.  I especially want to visit Paris in the wintertime now!

Another site I check often belongs to Ms. Humble at Not So Humble Pie (  I first found her site through a link for science cookies (being the nerd that I am..heh).  Since then, I have admired her perfect ice cream sandwiches, candies, and other treats.  She has a guide to macarons that will be very useful someday, if I ever decide to pursue that culinary challenge. 

Next time on The Hungry Panda---
-basil fettuccine
-Danville, KY bakery tour

Monday, January 17, 2011

Leftovers from OKC

 Italian bread---I was not completely satisfied with this because I was unable to get the steaming technique down just right.  When I try again and am successful, I will post the recipe in full.
 Blood and tongue sandwich from Ingrid's Kitchen.  Despite the horror inducing name, this tasted like a cross between roast beef and salami.  Quite tasty, really.
 Our cookie tour of Ingrid's Kitchen.  Starting at the left upper corner and going clockwise: chocolate crisp, snickerdoodle, sugar, pinwheel, rum, divinity, Russian rock, spice, and Swedish dream.  The chocolate crisp was VERY crispy and tasted like a brownie.  Snickerdoodle and sugar were excellent.  The rum and Russian rock were also favorites (the latter tastes like cinnamon).  Spice was overly sweet and frosted.  The worst cookies by far were divinity, Swedish dream, and pinwheel, all of which had an overwhelming sweetness.  The first two cookies were also chalky and very dense. 
 Grilled pork sandwich from Lee's Sandwiches.  YUM.  I also love their "European-style"  (??) sandwiches on freshly made croissants.  Saigon Baguettes also has an amazing banh mi sandwich, as I also discovered.  (And the best egg roll I've had outside of home!)  Unfortunately, the camera did not come along that time. 

 Some of my mom's delicious food

 Mr. S's homemade smoked salmon
 Sushi at Sumo Restaurant in Edmond.  This is the Red Canyon Roll.  I especially loved the bits of crawfish that were everywhere. 
These are the spicy salmon and Leon rolls; also tasty.

I will only be cooking on the weekends for the next month thanks to my mercurial schedule, but a basil egg fettuccine tutorial is pending!

Ingrid's Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Adventures in baklava making


-regular honey
-no lemon/orange peels

-Buying a better quality honey and trying the peels would be nice.  
-I used smoked almonds, which I think messed with what baklava should taste like.  (I'd use all walnuts, or a walnut/pistachio mix in the future.)  
-The phyllo dough was extremely hard to work with because it is almost as thin as tissue paper.  It already had tears in it when I opened the package.   In addition, it dries out very quickly.  
-I ran out of butter on a snowy day and used canola oil between the last 5 layers.  This was detrimental, as you can imagine. 
-My baklava appears thin compared to most I've seen.  Maybe it needs more layers?  I did halve the recipe.
-This took only 50 minutes at ~315 degrees in my ornery electric oven.  
-In my experience, this tasted fine about 10 minutes after I poured the syrup on and it all sank to the bottom.  Three hours of sitting, as well as overnight, hasn't seemed to make much of a difference in flavor.

So obviously there is room for improvement.  But I am looking forward to giving this another try.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The first feast of the new year

I present to you Gyro Fest 2011.  Here's the recipe in case you are interested:

Mr. S. pulverized the ground lamb and assorted spices in our new Cuisinart 8 cup food processor (a Craigslist find for $10) the night before.  

 The rotisserie on our friend's grill was turning...hence the blur.  :\
 The texture on the bread----would anyone like to teach me how to make pita bread or naan without a tandoori oven?  Pretty please?  I'll make you cookies.  :)
This tasted awesome---flavorful and MUCH better than a mall gyro for sure.  :D  I was going to make tzatziki sauce, but our friend T.K. had already made some.  (I cut up all of the vegetables and sauteed peppers and onions, in case you were wondering what my contribution was.  :P )