Browniiieess ^_^

Seth Greenberg of East End Cookie Company was sweet enough to drop off a fresh baked batch of his signature brownies as I headed down to apartment showings last Friday. The babies come a dozen to an order, all neatly packed into a brown and gold box. For those who play the cakey versus fudgey game, these are for fans of the latter. The brownies are fudge to the n-th degree, impossibly rich as the photos implies and studded with pecans.

If the Greenberg name sounds familiar, it’s because Seth is the son of William Greenberg Jr who previously owned a bakery by the same name on the Upper East Side (they do the black & white cookie that was mentioned in my cookie post). The bakery is no longer owned by the Greenberg family, but Seth started his own bakery and is responsible for these brownies along with a line of Sticky Schnecken Buns and Lemon Squares.

The brownies don’t have that crackly crunchy top I’m so very fond of, but they more than redeem themselves with the most chocolate-y of innards and lots and lots of pecans.

A glass of milk on the side is mandatory. Nuts are optional, but why say ‘no’ when you can say ‘yes’? ^_^

East End Cookie Company
By Delivery Only

Thank Youuuu…

…to my very awesome mom and dad for mailing the most recent surprise package. Every now and then, my parents send over random gifts just because. Those are the most wonderful type of presents – ones given for no particular reason whatsoever :)

The most recent package, which arrived yesterday, was particularly swell. These “happy packages” are often a random collection of objects, or food…this time around it was clothing, shoes and bags.

First off, a splendid pair of red and black heels…

…and a silk black dress with heavy beading around the neckline – I am especially excited about this one.

A new office bag for work.

And a long black jersey dress and blue cashmere cardigan.

My mom and dad are indeed the most wonderful parents in the world as far as I am concerned :)

Malassada in the Mail?

It’s been three long and lonely years since I’ve last had a Punahou Malassada. And these years have passed by with great pain when my parents would phone the first week of each February, regaling me with the stories of the many malassadas they were lucky enough to consume. “I’ll save some in the freezer!” I was promised every year, but by the time summer rolled around, the malassadas would have somehow, magically disappeared into my sister’s stomach. Such are the hardship of my life.

But this year, this year was different, very different. You see, Steph went abroad to Melbourne this semester and didn’t have to leave Hawaii until the Monday after our high school carnival. Which means that she got malassadas. She even called me and over the phone I heard noise of carnival, the rides, the food booths, think teriburgers, Portuguese bean soup and even the Hawaiian plate and I swear could even catch a whiff of the crisp, freshly fried malassadas bathing in a secret blend of sugar, cinnamon, and I suspect, a hit of nutmeg. What I would have given to be there in person!

But instead I went back to my homework, creating an auditing presentation and reading about the SEC and federal regulations. And Friday went, Saturday came, and Sunday was long. So was Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday I went to the mailroom. And there was a package for me.

It looked like this. Did someone send me a can of soda? Tennis balls? I looked at the return address: STEPH SHAO.

I ran back to my dorm, up three flights of stairs, gasping and out of breath. I whipped out my blogging camera and shot pictures (just for you). Then when I could wait no longer I tore the package apart.

Something was in this clear container that previously held locally made smoked squid. It was golden, it looked like dessert. OMG. It could not be!

But it was, it was! STEPH SENT ME A MALASSADA IN THE MAIL. I didn’t event think this was possible! THE PUNAHOU MALASSADA. Holy cow. THANK YOU THANK YOU STEPH! It had been sitting in the mailroom for a while though – was it still good? I took it of the Ziploc bag and popped it in the toaster. Five minutes later, I carefully removed it, and generously dusted my golden ball of doughy happiness with sugar. Then I bit it. Sure, it was little more sour than I would have liked and it was very greasy (but hey, worse things can happen over the course of five days in the mail). But what I ate was the memory of Punahou Carnival. The good years of middle school and high school were I spent the first weekend of every February basking in the fun and joy of carnival. But it was not the ferris wheel and pirates ship that made me happy (those made me throw up). It was the malassadas, and perhaps even more importantly, my friends. I remember waiting in the ever growing lines of locals hungry for their once a year treat of the best malassadas on the island.

A quarter would buy you a tennis ball size treat of pure heaven, fried hard and crispy on the outside and rolled sugar and magic. I would always burn my tongue, but it was so worth it and I’d easily do it again. Once you broke past the crust, you would be rewarded by the most awesome doughyness, soft, sweet and eggy, like nothing you would dare to imagine in your wildest dream. One year I even worked at the malassada booth, and boy, I was never more than happy to be surround by vats of oils and hundred of pounds of sugar. That’s carnival for you. And one year, my friends and I’ve decided, we will all go back. Sometime in the years after we’ve graduated college but before we’re all married and tugging screaming toddlers around. And it’ll be just like we never left.

Today I was blessed by the delivery of the many books I ordered from Amazon. There are a total of five books. The three related to hospitality and restaurant accounting are for my senior thesis. I really wanted to write about food, just food, croissants in particular, for thesis. But alas, I was told that in order to graduate with honors, you MUST write thesis in the topic of your major (gasp!). It is difficult to meld the topics of croissants and financial accounting into a 100-page thesis. What to do? So I sat down and did some heavy thinking over an In-N-Out Neapolitan milkshake. And there must be something magical in that milkshake, cause within three sinfully thick and creamy sips of chocolate, strawberry and vanilla, my thesis topic popped into my head: restaurant accounting!

The other two books are much more interesting I assure you. Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink and Calvin Trillin’s The Tummy Trilogy. The Tummy Trilogy is a collection of my three favorite books from Trillin, American Fried, Alice, Let’s Eat, and Third Helpings. I’ve read all of Trillin’s books before in the past, but he’s just one of those writers I come back to over and over again. Because no matter how many times you’ve read his stories, they will never fail to make you laugh. And happy. Oh so happy.

Well, it’s going to be a difficult decision, trying to decide what I’ll do with my next free hour before class. Start the bagazillion page senior thesis or do some food reading for pleasure? ;)

(On the subject of my dorm room carpet: Friday night I made miso soup to have with my rice, Spam, eggs and ume furikake. All was going well. I made the soup in my saimin pot on the hot plate, and poured the soup into a ceramic bowl. Mistake #1: I forgot to turn off the hot plate. Roommate says, “is something burning?” “Oh no!” I cried and quickly dashed six feet across to the other side of our dorm. I turn off the hot plate, and thinking it would be stupid to leave an empty pot on a still hot surface, I remove the pot and put it on the ground (we’re operating in a college dorm here). Our ground is carpeted. That was mistake #2.

So I had my dinner, and enjoyed it quite a bit even though I ate way more Spam than intended. It was so good though, cause I pan fried it until really crispy and even added some teriyaki sauce. And after I finished I decided that, well, why don’t I be good today, and do the dishes. So I pick up my bowl, chopsticks, and saimin pot off the ground. Only the pot wouldn’t lift. I mean, it wouldn’t move. My god! It was stuck to the floor! Holy moley, I melted the carpet. Oh no. I started to tremble. I gathered a good portion of the girls living on my floor. We must lift the pot from the carpet!!! But it wouldn’t go. It wouldn’t leave. It wouldn’t budge. I was so sure I was doomed. And I started to cry.

But wait! I had a knife. Not the puny steak knife kind, but the big butchers knife, all shiny and sharp. Just in case I’d ever need it. And so I whipped it out from the dark corners of my pantry shelf and started slicing the pot off the carpet. It was ridiculous I tell you. The pot came off after great muscle strength exertion. I was home free. The bottom of the pot was covered in nice thick layer of carpet fur. And our carpet was naked.)

Oh man, many little good things happened/were accomplished today, but none inspired me to write a post until the ever magical and most-fun-person-to-eat-with-in-the world, Robyn, made an appearance in my mailbox. Via a box of chocolates. Wait! But not just any chocolates, but the most picture perfect set by Pierre Herme.


And then I turned to my dad, who was clearly confused by my excitement, and declared, “hoooooo, these are so amazing, I’m not going to share them with anyone in world!” He didn’t look like he gave a hoot, so I continued, “but I might share them with you…because, you are cool like that, dad!” And then he looked really confused, so I went back to oohing and ahhing over Pierre Herme’s strategically designed box.

I don’t know even where to begin! With names like Mathilda, Mogador, Cho Chocolat, Ispahan, Azur, Lou, Ouvre-toi, I can barely decipher which type of chocolate is what, but there are hints of pralines, caramel, rose, cirus, and nougatines to come. I think I’ve gone to fairyland. I’m going to taste these bit by bit and do a post on all of them at once, though till then, I’m going to savor the chocolately scent for as long as I can. Thank you SO MUCH Robyn!

And that’s the end of the really delicious chocolate part, but if want to know what I did with the rest of day, read on!

OK. So I woke up late after a post-Christmas pre-New Years potluck party with all my high school friends. We had Zippy’s Chili, poke, Zippy’s Fried Chicken, lots of hummus and pita, garlic-shoyu edamame, CPK pizza, brownies, Ted’s Pumpkin-Hapuia pie and plenty of other good stuff. Ah, how much I miss potlucks!
Well I was still half asleep on the living room couch when I heard the doorbell ring. Our couch is not so strategically placed within feet of our completely see thru door, and when I looked up groggily, I saw…the FEDEX MAN. oh no! How embarrassing! I was still wearing my hello kitty pajamas from 7th grade! so I ran and hid in my sister’s room. The doorbell left unanswered. I’m sure the fexex man understands.

A good half hour later, I bravely opened the door to get the package. I looked at the name. It was addressed to me! Wow, it must have been my lucky day. I dragged in it and ripped it open. And what was inside? A new suitcase from my employer! Neato! Even though I’m not starting work for a good eight more months, gifts already? It’s not quite big enough to check in at the airport, and little bigger than the typical carry on…but it’s the fact that i got a SUITCASE in the mail that makes me happy. As you can see, it doesn’t take much to make me happy.

I also had a very bad cinnamon roll ($2.25) from Great Harvest Bakery. It’s like dry bread sprinkled with brown sugar then rolled up into a pseudo cinnamon roll. Though the frosting, given in a little container on the side, is very nice, smooth, thick with cream cheesy goodness and not too sweet. If only I had a good cinnamon roll to spread it on!

I also got Buddy a new dog tag (after he got lost yesterday). It’s a yellow hexagon that very plainly says, BUDDY, and then my mom’s cell phone number on the next line. We couldn’t put our home address cause we’re going to move soon. Dad suggested putting our PO Box, but I highly doubt anyone would return Buddy to a PO Box.