Thursday, August 29, 2013

Cafe Sua Da(Vietnamese Iced Coffee)

Cafe Sua Da

Most of you will have already known about this very popular Vietnamese coffee drink called Cafe Sua Da. Personally, I think it tastes 10 times better than other coffee drinks AND it's more affordable. This coffee drink is all I need to get me through a day filled with cooking, cleaning, and chauffeuring my children back and forth between their extracurricular activities.

With that being said...



1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp of hot water

2 1/2 Tbsp of ground coffee(You need to use Cafe Du Monde or Trung Nguyen for authentic Cafe Sua Da flavor)

2 Tbsp of condensed milk(I prefer the Longevity Condensed Milk)

You will also need:

A Vietnamese Coffee Filter

a glass filled with ice(all the way up to the rim)


1. Place your condensed milk into a clear short glass. I like to use a clear glass so that I can see just how fast my coffee is dripping. If it's dripping too fast, then I know that I need to tighten the filter.
2. Add your coffee into your filter, push down firmly, and slightly twist. Shake off any excess and wipe the bottom of the filter. This will help ensure that not too many specks of ground coffee get into your drink.
3. Place your coffee filter on your short glass that's filled with the condensed milk.
4. Pour in 2 Tbsp of hot water(place the lid on)and wait for it to drip. This will soak into the ground coffee and give you a stronger coffee flavor.
5. Add in the remainder of your hot water into the filter and place the lid on again.
6.Remove coffee filter and stir.
7. Pour into a glass filled with ice. Stir and drink immediately!

NOTES: You may adjust the overall sweetness by adding more or less condensed milk. The tighter the filter, the slower the drip so if you want REALLY strong coffee, let it drip slowly. Personally, I just don't have the patience to wait longer than a few minutes. :)

Oven Baked Spare Ribs

Oven Baked Spare Ribs

Are you salivating, yet??? This picture pretty much speaks for itself. I'm no BBQ expert but all I know is that these ribs are tender and they just fall off the bone! I finally figured out that slow roasting it at a low temperature, is what really does the trick! I like to start my ribs off on the outside gas grill. I've realized that doing so, gives the ribs a nice crust...almost like giving them a good sear on the outside, before preparing them for slow roasting. This recipe is a must try for your next BBQ or family gathering!!


3 pound rack of baby back ribs, cleaned with membrane removed
black pepper
garlic powder
my homemade BBQ sauce
olive oil

You will also need:

2-3 onions, sliced into thick onion rings
Baking sheet lined with foil

Line some foil on a baking sheet to make clean up easy. Then, take some thick slices of onion and place them in the middle of the baking sheet. It will act like a "bed" for your ribs, plus you'll end up with some caramelized onions too.

Wash and pat dry your baby back ribs. Remove the membrane(watch the video below on how to do this). Coat both sides of your ribs with some olive oil. Add some salt, black pepper, garlic powder and paprika to both sides. Be generous with the paprika.

Cook your ribs on an outside burner, using indirect heat at 350 degrees, for 1 hour. This will give your ribs a nice looking crust and prepare them for their slow roast. Remove and place on baking sheet.

Preheat your oven to 225 degrees.

Put some BBQ sauce on the bone side of your ribs and then transfer them to your foil lined baking sheet. Next, with the meat side up, sauce them HEAVY with some BBQ sauce. Cover tightly with foil and cook for 4 1/2 hours. After 4 1/2 hours, REMOVE THE FOIL, drain the liquid from the baking sheet, and place it into a small saucepan on medium heat. Cook for a few minutes, just until the sauce thickens. Put the thickened sauce back on top of the ribs and continue to cook UNCOVERED for 1 more hour. Wait for it to cool down slightly before slicing.

Notes: If you use a bigger rack of baby back ribs(or St. Louis style), they will take longer to cook. You can try baking your ribs at a higher temp to reduce oven time as well. Use good judgement and allow yourself some extra time! :)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Salsa Fresca(Pico de Gallo)

Pico and Chips

My husband loooooves Mexican food. I make Salsa Fresca often and we enjoy it with blue corn chips and especially in steak fajitas!

Steak Fajitas


12 diced roma tomatoes(cut them in half and discard pulp before dicing)
1 lime and a half(reserve the half lime for later if needed)
2 cloves of chopped garlic
1 onion finely chopped(soak in cold water first to mellow them out)
1 de-seeded jalapeno minced(do not de-seed if you like it spicy)
1 or 2 finely chopped green onion
6 T. of chopped cilantro(more for garnish)
1/4 tsp plus a small pinch of cumin powder
1 tsp plus 1/4 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp pepper(optional)
1/2 T. to 1 T. of sugar


Add all ingredients into a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Cover and place into the fridge for at least 1 hour. I prefer overnight.


Even though I've offered measurements to you, you really don't need it. Taste as you go along, adding more or less of whatever you'd like. You must let all ingredients sit in the fridge for at least 1 hour. I like it better the next day. The amount of liquid in the pico will triple in volume the longer it sits cause tomatoes give out so much liquid. Serve and garnish with some cilantro.

In the tutorial, I cut the recipe in HALF and used 6 roma tomatoes.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Homemade Fondant

Homemade Fondant

Whether or not you are an avid cake baker or just starting out, I'm sure you either LOVE fondant or HATE it. Some store bought fondants are plain DISGUSTING, so trust me when I say that I understand where you're coming from!

This homemade fondant is not only easy to make but equally DELICIOUS!! It tastes kind of like a cross between cotton candy, marshmallows, and candied unicorns.


Have you not tasted candied unicorns before??


1/2 cup whole milk
3 Tbsp of unflavored gelatin(or 4 envelops of Knox's Gelatin)
1 cup of light corn syrup
3 Tbsp of SALTED butter
2 1/2 Tbsp of glycerin
2 tsp of vanilla extract(you may use clear vanilla)
1 tsp of butter flavoring
1 tsp of lemon juice powder(optional)
3 1/2 to 4 pounds of powdered sugar
2 pinches of salt

Additional items needed:

Vegetable shortening
Extra glycerin(for kneading in, if necessary)
some corn starch
A stand mixer


Place your milk in a 2 cup measuring cup. Sprinkle in your gelatin and allow it to firm up or bloom(should take 3-4 minutes).

Place mixture in the microwave and heat on HIGH for 1 minute. Stir. If your gelatin does not become liquid, then continue to microwave using 15 second intervals until melted. Make sure to stir between heating cycles.

Put corn syrup, butter, glycerin, vanilla extract, butter flavoring, and salt into a large measuring cup. Add this into your milk and gelatin mixture. Stir.

Microwave on high for 2 minutes(or until butter has melted). Stir. Set this aside and allow it to cool to LUKE WARM.

Place 2 pounds of powdered sugar into your stand mixer. Add in your lemon juice powder if using.

Strain LUKE WARM mixture into your powdered sugar. Mix it by hand with a spatula until blended.

Fit your mixer with the dough hook and turn the mixer on to "stir." Slowly start to incorporate the rest of the powdered sugar, adding a cup at a time.

Your fondant is ready when it starts to pull away from the sides and starts to clump around the dough hook.

On a clean surface, add some vegetable shortening and then corn starch onto the counter to prevent sticking.

With some crisco on your hands, dump the fondant onto the counter and begin to work it into a smooth round ball. It will be slightly soft and you may use additional powdered sugar(or corn starch)AS NEEDED to form your ball.

Divide the dough in half and wrap them up tightly in some crisco coated saran wrap. Do not use a spray because that will form a crust. Repeat with a second wrapping, then repeat the same process with the other half of fondant.

Place in an air tight container and allow it to sit overnight on the counter.

The next day, knead only the amount required to cover your cake.

On a non stick surface, knead out some fondant. Interchange between a little glycerin and some shortening, just until soft and supple.


If you are positive that you are not going to color your fondant, then you can add 3 Tbsp of glycerin instead of 2 1/2 to start with. I like to control how much goes into my fondant and if you put too much then it will be too soft, not to mention that food coloring also contains glycerin. If you are unfamiliar with the texture of fondant, go out and purchase some store bought fondant to note the texture.

Do not use butter flavoring shortening. It does not taste good in this.

And no, you cannot taste the crisco in this recipe. :)

This recipe yields about 4 1/2 pounds of fondant.

Work your fondant in batches until nice and smooth.

If at anytime it appears too soft, just knead in more powdered sugar. If it appears too stiff, add in more glycerin.

The sugar and cooking process preserves the dairy ingredients, so there is no worry of spoilage.

Good tasting brands of commercial fondant: Fondx and Fondarific. I hear Satin Ice is good too.

Adapted from Michele Foster's Fondant recipe.

Watch the tutorial below!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Pomegranate Lemonade

pomegranate lemonade

My pomegranate lemonade is the perfect drink to have on a hot, summer day. Well, here in the Pacific Northwest it feels like summer has already come and gone. And even though the sunshine has left me, that sure as hell won't stop me from enjoying my ICE COLD pomegranate lemonade with a side of EXTRA ice. Word.


1 1/2 cups of fresh lemonade(about 6-7 lemons)
3 cups of cold water
2 cups(16 ounces) of pomegranate juice

For the simple syrup:

2 cups of sugar
2 cups of water
1/4 tsp of salt

Make your simple syrup by placing your sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring it to a quick rolling boil(or until sugar dissolves). Turn off the heat, add in your salt, and remove from heat and allow it to cool slightly.

Using a juicer, extract your lemon juice from your lemons. Set aside.

Into a glass pitcher, add in your fresh lemonade along with your pomegranate juice and cold water. Add in a little more than HALF of the sugar syrup first and then stir. Taste check. If it's still too tart for you, add in more of your sugar syrup. Add ice and lemon wedges and serve immediately.

NOTES: This drink is to taste. Feel free to add more cold water or more/less lemonade. To make it a watermelon and pomegranate lemonade, add watermelon into a blender to make "watermelon ice cubes", freeze in ice tray, and then add ice cubes into your glass pitcher.

Designed with love by BDD