Almond-Pistachio Vanilla Nougat Candy- no recipe

Following a successful and encouraging first experience at making nougat (see Chocolate Almond Nougat Bites), I got cocky and decided to make nougat candy with a limited amount of add ins so that the nougat would really stand out as the main component.  The nougat recipe I chose sounded especially promising because it had a good amount of honey in it, and pistachios and almonds would provide just the right richness and balance to the sweetness.  However, once I started cooking, my attitude changed very quickly.  Never have I ever hated a recipe as much as I hated this one.  I was irritated and stressed by EVERY SINGLE step involved in making the nougat.  At every step of the way, I was sure the final result would be failure.  Somehow I pushed through, with each step getting more difficult and frustrating, and at the end of it all, somehow, miraculously, I had amazingly delicious little squares of Almond-Pistachio Vanilla Nougat Candy.  I don’t know how that happened, but one thing I know for certain is that I will never ever ever never ever never never make this recipe again.  So, you will not find the recipe below, but enjoy the photo.

The bane of my existence, but oh so delicious.

Red Lobster Cheddar Biscuits

Just a quick public service announcement that if you ever come across Red Lobster’s Cheddar Biscuit mix at your grocery store, buy it.  In fact, buy two boxes.  You won’t be sorry when you bite into these spongy, tender, cheesy, garlicky biscuits.  They are best eaten the day they’re made, so eat up!

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They looked just like the picture on the box.Cheddar Biscuits-red lobster1

Caramels as Currency

I’ve always enjoyed the notion of bartering and the inherent belief that everyone has something that they do, make, etc. that is of value to someone else.  However, it seems like in my daily life, I’ve had less practice with engaging in bartering.  Maybe it’s because I live in a big city where if you want something, you most likely buy it rather than trade for it.  So, I jumped at the opportunity to participate in the LA Food Swap where a group of people across Los Angeles get together to barter foods that’s they’ve made, grown, or foraged.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, so I made four batches of caramels for the swap (apple cider caramels, root beer float caramels, maple syrup caramels, and salted honey caramels) and crossed my fingers that they would translate into high value for other people.  I left home with four pounds of homemade caramels  to swap and returned with a 19 pound bag full of jams, marmalades, kimchi, nut butter, BBQ rubs, muffins, avocados, lemons, kumquats, spiced nuts, and a cookbook.  I guess caramels are hard to resist.  I’ll be posting some of the recipes for the caramels I made for the food swap in a future blog post.  Now I’m wondering what else I can swap caramels for…

LA food swap haul

Soup of the Day

Sorry for the poor picture quality (it was dark out and I couldn’t figure out how to balance my flash), but I couldn’t pass up sharing this sign outside of a Korean restaurant near the ballroom I train at in Los Angeles.   I couldn’t figure out if they were being clever or if it was a translation issue, as its not uncommon for Koreatown restaurants and shops to have strangely translated names, signs, advertisements, etc (as evidence by other stores I’ve seen such as  a restaurant called “Made in Mom” and a cafe called “Hairbucks”).


Frozen Custard

If you’re ever driving the Los Angeles – Las Vegas route and see Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers ( along the freeway, you should pull over for the frozen custard.   It’s smooth and creamy, with a vanilla-y flavor that is never subject to flavor fatigue (i.e., the first and last lick are equally as delicious and vanilla-y on your palate).

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Smores Brûlée according to Rick Moonen

Rick Moonen’s restaurant, Rx Boiler Room (, in Las Vegas, NV is rich in steampunk ambiance and “a moment of silence because it’s so delicious” food.  Being the dessert fiend that I am, I was especially pleased with their Smores Brûlée dessert.  The dish is composed of homemade thin shortbread graham crackers and  a silky smooth, rich, chocolate ganache topped with marshmallow fluff.  My favorite way to eat the dessert was to pile the graham crackers high with chocolate mousse and marshmallow and indulge.

A close up of the chocolate mousse.

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Another Take On Chicken & Waffles

The Grilled Cheese Truck ( was parked just steps from my place today, so I couldn’t resist trying their Fried Chicken and Waffle sandwich. I got it without the “upgrades” (bacon inside and parmesean crusted waffle) because I wanted to taste the purest version of it. The waffle was a bit soggy and could have been a bit sweeter to offset the spicy fried chicken, but the country gravy was surprisingly flavorful. I’m still in search of my “perfect” chicken sandwich, but this one hit my gluttony spot.


A Pie-Cake Sighting

Pie-Cake- Republic of Pie 2a

For a while now, the existence of the famed turducken of desserts, the Pie-Cake, has captured my curiosity, but I wasn’t sure that I would ever come face to face with it.  Well, thanks to Republic of Pie (, that is to be no more.  I had my first taste of their three pies (cherry, pumpkin, and apple) baked in a vanilla cake (they call it the “Triple Threat Pie Cake”).  While it wasn’t THE BEST thing I’ve ever eaten, it was good. The vanilla cake was a little dry on the outside but tasty enough to inspire me to put a vanilla cake recipe on my must-bake list.  The pies tasted how pies normally taste when not baked in a cake.  I didn’t eat much of the pumpkin pie as I’m not a pumpkin pie fan.  Overall, it was an experience to be had and probably not repeated as the Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding Pie at Republic of Pie is calling my name.

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