Monthly Archives: March 2013

Happy first official day o’ Spring & a belated St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!
In light of things that are green – pistachios come to mind, as I am currently going through a pistachio infatuation.. Pistachio macarons.. cake.. muffins.. biscotti.. FINANCIERS. I love to eat (& make!) them all.

I made pistachio financiers to bring to my family last month for the Chinese lunar new year (in addition to the macarons that vanished upon their sights); the financiers were well received. Nice decadent little morsels, not too sweet, very fragrant (due to the browned butter & fragrance of the pistachio) – also; they are perfect to have with tea or coffee. Little tea cakes. My mother took some back to Washington where my sister was able to try them – she loved them & later told me that she thought they were worthy of being served at my wedding reception!

Whether they end up at my wedding reception during the coffee/tea hour or no; this recipe is a definite favourite & one that I am more than happy to share. It’s adapted from  Gabriella Gershenson (Saveur). Instead of simply combining the egg whites, sugar & salt; I whisk them into a stiff meringue – which makes the financiers even more light & airy (though I do like a nice dense financier; it’s all about what you’re in the mood for). Also, when the financiers are baked, I flip them out of the baking molds onto a cooling rack & brush them with honey & sprinkle some crushed pistachios on top for a nice aesthetic finish & a touch of sweetness! (otherwise they just look a little brown & drab).

yields 18 tea cakes, depending on what pan/mold you may use

4 oz (or 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 cup of sugar (OR  ½ C sugar + ½ C light brown sugar, if you have any light brown sugar on hand!)
½ teaspoon sea salt
4 egg whites
½ cup  all-purpose flour
½ cup  finely ground lightly toasted pistachios (so fine that you can push them through a sieve)
2 tablespoons of almond flour
½ cup coarsely ground lightly toasted pistachios
1 teaspoon baking powder


One of the key steps of this recipe is to brown the butter – which is to leave the butter in a saucepan on low heat on the stovetop. Allow the butter to melt & eventually simmer & brown – remove from the element immediately & strain the butter, leaving the milk solids & funk behind. Set aside to cool. Hopefully at this point, you’ve gotten dry ingredients together – I tend to sift my flour, pistachio flour (that I grind at home, I set the un-siftable pieces aside as part of the ‘coarsely ground pistachio pieces’), almond flour & leavening (in this case, it is baking powder) & ultimately whisk them all together. I’m all about maximizing the mixing process.

& the egg whites, sugar(s) & salt: with the whisk attachment on the KitchenAid, whip them into a stiff meringue – if you lack a stand-mixer or egg beater; no worries, a whisk will do just fine – your financiers won’t be as light & fluffy, but rather, a bit more dense – which is not a bad thing! They will taste delicious regardless, they’ll just have a different consistency!


Fold the dry, including the coarse pistachio pieces into the meringue mixture until combined. Add the browned butter & vanilla extract, mix until well incorporated. Cover the financier batter & place it in the refrigerator for an hour. In the meanwhile, set the oven temperature to 350ºF & butter and flour your baking molds (I’ve used a muffin tin). When the batter has been properly chilled, portion the batter evenly – depending on whether you desire a tall tea cake, portion more; or if you’d like squat & petite cakes, portion less. If you’d like even more petite cakes; use a miniature muffin pan! Depending on how you portion, you may have leftover financier batter that you can stick back in the fridge for round two of baking (unless you have a plethora of muffin tins to bake all in one go). Bake until golden brown; approximately 15 minutes. After they are baked, turn them out onto a cooling rack upside down – brush with honey or simple syrup & sprinkle some more pistachio pieces on the honey’d surface as garnish. Enjoy!

& on one final pistachio related note, here’s a shot of a pistachio cake (with a honey rose Swiss buttercream) that I made for my fiancé’s open studio guests recently – it was delicious & let’s just say that it was quickly devoured (there were two other cakes there – but given the choice between this, red velvet or chocolate? Pistachio would clearly win (: )

ImageAny other pistachio enthusiasts out there? I know that I can’t be the only one!


After a long & exhaustive work week; a girlfriend & I went to have a lunch date; which later progressed to a window shopping date.. Which ultimately turned into a successful Anthropologie trip! To justify my purchases, I must say that almost every item picked up today was on sale (because, you know.. I really just saved money (; ) & surprisingly, none of the items were clothing pieces!

One of the treasures from this trip is this gorgeous Linda Fahey (a SoCal ceramicist no less!) stoneware plate from her Pacifica collection. Not only was it uniquely painted & glazed; it has such a wonderful weight & feel to it. Sturdy, durable yet still so elegant. Not to mention, the shape is faintly reminiscent of a water droplet.


& the underside!

ImageAfter I checked out, one of the sales associates (who was helping my friend); excitedly told me that she has the very same plate that I just purchased & how much she adores it. We briefly chatted about how it was so subtly nautical & whimsical. So endearing! Despite Anthropologie’s large presence, they really do carry such unique pieces – always lovely things for sale there!


Another small item that I bought was this adorable little Molly Hatch ceramic basil plant marker. Okay, at first I thought it was a bit trivial but then I saw how marked down it was.. ($3! A steal!) As you can see.. This goes perfectly with my little basil plant (so far, she’s survived 3 weeks with me! I am impressed!)

Happy March! I daresay that I am increasingly preparing for springtime now (:

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