Thursday, May 31, 2012

Happy Hour

365-332 Beer Pretzel
Day 332/365

It's Happy Hour (Day) at A Cookie and a Cupcake. The special today is the Beer and Pretzels cupcake -- chocolate dipped pretzel and Guinness buttercream with pretzel bits over and within a rich, moist chocolate cake. It was a delicious way to wind down the day.

- Cassaendra

A Cookie and a Cupcake
2173 Professor Ave
Cleveland, OH 44113
Tel: (216) 344-9433

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pistachio Honey

Uh no, this pistachio and honey pint was not devoured in one sitting. However, I feel a wee bit guilty since we bought this (one of two, the other was wildberry and lavender) on Monday and it was two-thirds full when I grabbed it from the freezer this afternoon.

365-331 Jeni's Pistachio Honey
Day 331/365

Jeni's ice cream flavors we have tried have been luxuriant -- smooth, thick, and creamy. The ingredients for the pistachio and honey are very simple: milk, cream, sugar, roasted pistachios, honey, natural almond flavor, sea salt, and tapioca starch. Simple = elegant.

- Cassaendra

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


365-330 Green Globe
Day 330/365

It seemed like everyone had to drag themselves to work today. I stayed indoors trying unsuccessfully to hide from the humidity and heat. Our place was around 100 °F, hotter and more humid than it was outside since we don't have a cross-breeze, which sapped all will. Others were probably recovering from heat stroke or a hangover by the look on their face or gait. Perhaps some were recovering from all of the above.

- Cassaendra

Monday, May 28, 2012


365-329 Columbine
Day 329/365

As it is presently observed, Memorial Day feels like a 3-day binge of drinking, rib cook-offs, furniture and shoe sales. My opinion matters very little in the vast expanse of the internet, but I would like to show my support for a firm date (May 30th, as proposed) in the hope that it would help to draw attention towards remembrance and not merely a bookend to a 3-day weekend.

- Cassaendra

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Got Ribs

365-328 Ribs
Day 328/365

To celebrate the unofficial start of summer, some ribs for you...

- Cassaendra

Saturday, May 26, 2012


365-327 1160
Day 327/365

I've always thought this condo was spiffy looking from the outside with a walkway that draws contemplation by its rather sparse landscaping. I wonder what it looks like on the inside? Are the rooms wedge-shaped or is it contiguous space?

- Cassaendra

Neuron Dance

365-326 Web
Day 326/365

When I tinkered with some of the settings in Photoshop for this picture, the first thought that came to mind was sitting in Psych 100 class learning about neurons, axons, and synapses. It was a fun class, where I learned first hand in a span of 4 months that chemistry, not only between teacher and student but amongst colleagues, can make all the difference between rote memorization and learning.

- Cassaendra

Shadow Step

365-325 Lolita
Day 325/365

At the doorstep of Michael Symon's restaurant, Lolita. I have our menu planned out already -- cured meat board, prosciutto pizza for Bug and soppressata pizza for me. I'd like to say we will be good kids and walk out without dessert, but with daily sorbet and gelato listed on the menu, that would be unlikely.

- Cassaendra

900 Literary Road
Cleveland, OH 44113
Tel: (216) 771-5652


365-324 Dandy
Day 324/365

I wasn't feeling very fine and dandy...just listless and detached.

- Cassaendra

Oyster Cult

If I could safely pick mushrooms, I the farmers market is as close to foraging for fungi as I will get. Once again, I was reeled in by Scott's Fire and Ice Catering's pizza trailer.

365-323 Fire Ice Mushroom Pizza
Day 323/365

On this day, "oyster mushroom" was scribbled on their board, squeezed in as if added at the last moment. My impression was correct when we were informed the mushrooms were obtained that afternoon from a tent a few feet away.

The mushrooms were quite flavorful, cooked through while maintaining a bite. I detest onions, especially in pizza, due to its harsh flavor and jarring crunch. My onion radar failed me as I did not realize their presence until I was halfway into my first slice, when its smoky caramelized sweetness came through the fresh mozzarella and earthy mushrooms. This is a pie combination to recreate!

365-323 Fire Ice Mushroom Under
Day 323/365

Just as the last time we had their pizza, the crust was cooked beautifully; each bite met initially with a crunch, followed by a slight chew. I could eat this every day.

We polished off our meal with the "ice" portion of their menu, cantaloupe gelato, a sweet melon-y treat. I have a feeling they may not have sold very many. While the weather was beautiful to us, dressed in t-shirt and shorts, everyone around us appeared phase-shifted into autumn, bundled in sweaters, pants, and windbreakers as if it was in the 50s (°F).

365-323 Fire Ice Cantaloupe Gelato
Day 323/365

It was in the 70s (°F). Odd people.

- Cassaendra

Scott's Fire and Ice Catering (food truck)
130 West Streetsboro St
Hudson, OH 44236
Tel: (330) 329-8065

Monday, May 21, 2012

Double Take

365-322 Curious Squirrel
Day 322/365


- Cassaendra

Go West

Another lazy Sunday morning at a quarter past 7. The usual crowd read their newspaper and drink coffee under parasols at the corner coffee shop. Birds chitter, squirrels scamper, and cats saunter. There is something different here.

365-321 Lazy Sunday Marathon 
Day 321/365

No, not because cars aren't parked end to end like a metal caterpillar. Or even that the streets have been swept clean. While these are two rare events, there is something else.

An odd yellow sign stands in the street drawing attention to Ms and HMs. Men? Half Men? As we walk down the middle of the street, a family files out of their house spinning their noisemakers. We notice a water station and portable toilets.

Ah yes, the Cleveland marathon. According to their website, there were 40,000 registrants for the 10k, half marathon, and marathon. Within 30 minutes of taking the photograph, the first runners will have seen this same view, followed by thousands of others, turning the sleepy area into a slalom lined with rattling and frenetic cheers of friends, family, and fans.

- Cassaendra

Sunday, May 20, 2012


365-320 Blue
Day 320/365

An interesting study published in Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, recently posted on, theorizes that the brightness of the color of robins eggs may determine the male robin's level of care for their young. The article noted that healthier female robins tend lay brighter pigmented eggs, which signals the likelihood of healthier offspring. Males were observed to feed hatchlings from brightly colored eggs more food.

Will I inadvertently skip over the white Whoppers Robin Eggs in search of a brightly colored egg when I eat them next year?  I don't discriminate between chocolate covered malt balls.

- Cassaendra

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Simple Dinner

With a clear sky, temperatures in the 60s (°F), it was a perfect evening to have a simple dinner outside. Bug made a quick dinner of breaded pan fried chicken, roasted asparagus and potatoes, and steamed green beans.

365-319 Dinner
Day 319/365

Breading for the chicken is simple and flavorful -- salt, pepper, paprika, and chili powder. I added beni shoga (red pickled ginger) to my plate for color and a sour, peppery ginger snap.

While eating outside means not having to be within a few feet of a television or monitor, but living in the city one contends with the sound of cars, people screaming, horns honking, brakes squealing, and so on. I'm sure it's a lot more peaceful in the countryside. Any time unplugged is good.

- Cassaendra

Friday, May 18, 2012


Cupcake of the day: Mojito

365-318 Mojito
Day 318/365

I would never turn my back on a vehicle delivering mint-lime frosting and candied mint. Mint has a way of brightening my day with its refreshing greenness. With its intense minty scent, I walked around like a lunatic with the cupcake held to my face, enjoying its vapor. At least I didn't do a jig or skip. The tart lime harmonized well with the sweet frosting and spritely mint!

- Cassaendra

A Cookie and a Cupcake
2173 Professor Ave
Cleveland, OH 44113
Tel: (216) 344-9433

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Yet another day with hearts of palm. It's my current addiction. Few-bite sized, refreshing in its artichoke heart-like way but more substantial, they are a lovely snack and accompaniment to any salad or entree.

365-317 Palm Wrap
Day 317/365

Several days ago, Bug wanted to use up a few blocks of cream cheese we bought a month or so ago to make cheesecake, but never got around to it. What immediately came to mind was winging a spinach artichoke dip. As usual, Bug was sucked into that downward spiral of adding a bit of this, trying some of that. He went from a soup bowl, to a larger plastic container, to a mixing bowl, into a gallon sized container.

I was stunned when that container was filled and there as a heaping mound in another bowl. There are only so many bowls of chips one can eat so I began eating the dip with Crunchmaster crackers, then baby carrots. Tonight, I used it as a spread for my sandwich. It works!

After this jar of hearts of palm is scarfed down, I don't think I'll need to eat them for another year. This also goes for spinach artichoke dip. As much as I enjoyed it, I'll give it 5 years.

- Cassaendra

Pear Compote

I have yet to come across a bad cupcake pairing at A Cookie and a Cupcake. Today was no different with the special of the day -- pear compote. 

365-316 Pear Compote
Day 316/365

Pear frosting, light, smooth, and not too sweet, a generous scoop of pear compote filled the buttery cake, and a seriously addictive cluster of black pepper pecan brittle...yes, black pepper pecan brittle! The addition of black pepper didn't make the brittle bitter. If you like brittle, you'll like this.

- Cassaendra

A Cookie and a Cupcake
2173 Professor Ave
Cleveland, OH 44113
Tel: (216) 344-9433

Monday, May 14, 2012


While preparing this breakfast took 10 minutes longer than my morning regimen of a bowl of multigrain Cheerios, Trader Joe's High Fiber cereal, sliced banana, and chia seeds with soy milk, this was three times the amount of food I normally eat, but it hit the spot. As a result, I walked into work relaxed and sated for some time, which equated to being happy for some time.

365-315 Breakast
Day 315/365

The salad was prepared with tomatoes, hearts of palm, kalamata olives, and cucumbers with olive oil and black pepper.

Curry powder, crushed red peppers, and turmeric were mixed into the egg. The center concoction consisted of red pepper, Hebrew National hot dogs, asparagus, mushrooms, crushed red pepper, black pepper, and smoked salt. On the far end, salsa with parmigiano reggiano, a mess on a plate but tasty.

For a sweet bite, a strawberry with a few crushed morsels of our favorite chocolate bark from Lilly, Azteka -- dark chocolate, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, ancho chile, cocoa, Hawaiian black salt.

We recently tried Hebrew National's hot dogs for the first time and are quite satisfied. I read somewhere a couple of years ago that quality was better some years ago. That must have been impressive. Cutting into a wiener (I'm Asian, after 2 packs, I have yet to eat these hot dogs as hot dogs in a bun), I was surprised by the texture and density.

Considering effort versus gain, this is well worth the 10 extra minutes. I ought to do this every morning, or at the least every Monday morning. 

- Cassaendra

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

It's a beautiful day in these parts with ambient temperature in the 60s (°F). Of course, I prefer overcast skies and fog or rain. Instead, we have sunny, clear skies with a light cool breeze -- weather 99% of Clevelanders probably prefer, especially for those traveling to celebrate Mother's Day.

365-314 Magenta Twin Death Star
Day 314/365

Mother's Day is celebrated differently in our household because our nearest mother lives 1,200 miles away. Our routine is to send gifts a week prior and call our mothers with well-wishes. We are fortunate that our families are healthy and are deeply grateful for the sacrifices made so we may become productive and think independently.

I saw a photograph today of a sign that read, "Happy Baby Momma's Day" and laughed. You know, that similar kind of laugh when your car breaks down 10 miles from home, it's pouring, your shoe breaks 2 miles into the muddy walk, and when you finally arrive home, peeled off your drenched clothes, enjoying a warm sudsy bath, a toilet falls through the ceiling.

Well, hopefully you brought your keys with you. Anyway, happy Mother's Day!

- Cassaendra

Saturday, May 12, 2012


As a bud in its protective cocoon, life seems infinite.

365-313 Poppy Furled
Day 313/365

Once its wings are unfurled, its life is basked in beauty and awe, but fleeting.

365-313 Poppy
Day 313/365

- Cassaendra

Thursday, May 10, 2012


It was a beautiful evening, so we decided to linger outside a while longer. I still haven't learned...

365-312 SoHo Storefront
Day 312/365 - One shot

Check and/or charge my camera battery before going out. Le sigh.

- Cassaendra

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I Sprawled

When I happened upon this, it reminded me of someone sprawled out. Perhaps enjoying some time alone, outstretched, taking a nap. Or floating in the infinite sea of cement. Or paralyzed by fear.

365-311 Life Like
Day 311/365

It's okay to groan at the title (perhaps growl is more fitting) if you love The Swans. ;)

- Cassaendra

Fire and Ice

Last week, a trailer with a pizza oven tickled my curiosity. We only had $6, which wasn't enough money to buy pizza. This week, however, we came prepared. Listed on Scott's Fire and Ice Catering's board: cheese, margherita, and prosciutto + arugala pizzas, as well as salted caramel gelato. Get it? Fire and ice?

A woman ahead of us ordered what I thought was prosciutto and arugala pizza. [In a flat football announcer's voice] After further review...this does not look like proscuitto and arugala. I must have forgotten another pizza offering. 4th down.

I watched as the dough was pressed flat and the toppings were carefully laid. Several minutes later, a pizza peel carried the colorful pie into a flaming wood burning oven. I was mesmerized by the beautiful flame fluttering beyond the mouth, and asked if it would be possible to get a picture of a pizza cooking.

365-310 Fire Ice Pizza Oven
Day 310/365 - Pizza oven

My request was kindly obliged, with the pizza about one-fourth into its cooking time. I took a few pictures and wished I had one in our yard. Scott's Fire and Ice Catering has had their wood burning oven for 10 months.

Bug and I were chatting about all the dogs roaming around us, Star Wars: The Old Republic, the giant gyro from Mad Mouth Gyro that walked by, when out of the corner of my eye, I saw someone quickly walking toward us. When I focused on the figure, it was our pizzaiolo and our beautiful pizza approaching.

365-310 Fire Ice Margherita Pizza
Day 310/365 - Margherita

The crust was faintly sweet and of ideal thickness (thinness would be more accurate) -- thick enough to hold all the fresh ingredients and thin enough that it didn't seem like dough was all I was eating. It had a slight textured crunch and nice chew. While I would have preferred a bit more char, this was a fantastic crust. I ate every bit of my pizza, edge to edge, which is saying a lot since I normally chuck the bones. The tomato sauce was enough to moisten and augment the crust without drowning the toppings, not gut burning slathered goo.

365-310 Fire Ice Pizza Upskirt
Day 310/365 - Upskirt

I look forward to trying another Fire and Ice pizza! I'll also try their gelato.

- Cassaendra

Scott's Fire and Ice Catering
130 West Streetsboro St
Hudson, OH 44236
Tel: (330) 329-8065

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


365-309 Spider
Day 309/365

Went shopping for some cat toys at a pet store and took this picture of a spider. It's probably the closest I'll ever get to a spider this big...actually, a spider, period.

- Cassaendra

Bhindi and Palak

I love Manjula's Kitchen. It's not a restaurant, but a website filled with Manjula Jain's vegetarian recipes, both in print and video. We love Indian food and have been using various recipes here and there, but these recipes for palak paneer (spinach with cheese) and bhindi masala (spicy fried okra) provided fantastic results and were very easy to follow.

365-308 Palak Paneer
Day 308/365 - Lost: Paneer (it really is in there, just not in there-in there)

We followed her recipes to a T, so I will not republish them here as there were no substitutions made, with the exception of excluding bell peppers in the bhindi masala. Bug even fried up cumin papadum (paper thin chips with flecks of cumin seeds) as an accompaniment. We had a delicious and filling dinner.

When we began making these recipes, we were surprised that tomatoes were pureed in palak paneer. The green color is so predominant that I must have overlooked the red tinge. There really was paneer in our palak paneer, but I somehow managed to grab a shot without any.

I almost forgot to note that we did not puree the spinach, preferring to have some texture remaining. To eat palak paneer more often, I think we need to tweak the amount of paneer and heavy cream, unfortunately. Once that is perfected, our results will be posted.

365-308 Bhindi Masala
Day 308/365 - Bhindi masala

Bhindi masala is an addictive dish with the blend of coriander, cumin, and hing. I found myself taking a bite here, a bite there, each time I passed by the kitchen. Some restraint was needed and Bug made it clear that if the okras disappeared before he could sit down to eat, he would never make it again. Even with the niggling temptation to sneak just one more okra, that was enough for me to stop cold.

Bug cooked the raw okras long enough so its firmness was retained. I am unsure how frozen cut okra would fair, since we always use fresh okra.

The one thing I cannot fail to remark upon is the one ingredient that most people will scratch their heads over -- hing or asafoetida, a gum from a rhizome that is native to Afghanistan. There are no words to describe how pungent this ingredient is. Once you familiarize yourself with this odoriferous spice, you will single the scent out of hundreds of smells each time you walk into an Indian grocery store. While it is noxious in its tiny container, once cooked, a funky transformation occurs. The stinky smell vanishes. In its place is a wonderfully smooth and rounded flavor similar in essence to cooked onions.

- Cassaendra

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Palm Saturday

Dinner was an experiment with hearts of palm. We've had it once before when a friend invited us for dinner and made a fantastic batch of Brazilian stroganoff and replaced the mushrooms with hearts of palm.

365-307 Palm Dinner
Day 307/365

We recently purchased a bottle of hearts of palm that I could have easily eaten entirely from the jar in one sitting, much like I enjoy snacking on artichokes -- they have a similar flavor, but their texture is akin to young bamboo shoots. Instead, I ate a few fingers and decided some restraint was needed, but I wanted to incorporate it into our dinner this evening.

Pasta? Not in the mood.
Stroganoff? No meat or sour cream in the house.
Salad? Yes, a light salad mixed with some warm ingredients. Now, what shall I add? Beans? Quinoa?

Components of the salad:
- spinach: cooked long enough to wilt in butter, cracked black pepper, turmeric, crushed chili peppers, and smoked salt (approximately a minute)
- asparagus and red pepper: flash fried in olive oil with cracked black pepper (few minutes)
- couscous: toasted with a small pinch of cumin seeds and oregano (several minutes), then cooked in chicken broth with a pinch of smoked salt (10 minutes)
- pine nuts: toasted (several minutes)
- hearts of palm and Cherub (cherry) tomatoes: remained in their unaltered state

Dressing was made by squeezing a Cara Cara orange, leaving some of the pulp, then adding olive oil, black pepper, and smoked salt to taste.

Palm Couscous Pine Nuts Dinner

The dish was light yet sated us until late the next morning. Bug enjoyed it, too. Plus, he was overjoyed that he did not get the dreaded pine mouth this time!

- Cassaendra

May Flowers

The month of May introduces us to two new flavors from Lilly, a chocolatier in Tremont: Sprinkles McGee and coconut curry. As always, Frou Frou and Lime, our favorites, make their way into our selection.

365-306 Lilly May
Day 306/365

Top row:
Sprinkles McGee (triple chocolate ganache, vanilla bean, salted caramel, dark chocolate) - Coconut Curry (garam masala, hot curry, sriracha, coconut creme, milk and dark chocolate) - Frou Frou (blood orange juice, freeze dried passion fruit)

Bottom row:
Lime (lime juice, clover honey) - Oink (apple cider reduction, maple brown sugar, milk chocolate ganache, smoked bacon) - Cinnabunny (Vietnamese cinnamon, ground ginger, clover honey)

Sprinkles McGee sounds like a set-up for a "... walks into a bar" joke, doesn't it? While it is a playful piece visually and texturally from the sprinkles, the combination of dark chocolate, chocolate ganache, vanilla bean, and salted caramel has a traditional flavor, but is by no means mediocre.

Coconut Curry may seem odd for a sweet, but the garam masala and hot curry flavors are not overpowering. The heat does come through, but not to the point of needing a sip of milk; however, I enjoy spicy food. Those who are very sensitive to heat may want to consider this.

I was surprised by the complexity of Oink [what an odd sentence]. Blindfolded, I wouldn't have been able to immediately finger apple cider, smoked bacon, and maple brown sugar individually. Instead, the amalgam blended into a soft rather woodsy balance bundled in chocolate.

- Cassaendra

761 Starkweather Ave
Cleveland, OH 44113
Tel: (216) 771-3333

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Victory Cupcakes

Joining the celebration of one of Mexico's victories against the French, A Cookie and a Cupcake celebrated Cinco de Mayo early with two special cupcakes:
:: margarita - yellow cake, lime zest buttercream, and salt
:: Mexican hot chocolate - chocolate cake, cinnamon-chocolate buttercream, giant marshmallow

365-305 Margarita Mexican Hot Chocolate
Day 305/365

Each cupcake was distinct. I preferred the margarita because I am fond of yellow cake and citrus over chocolate, especially sweet chocolate. The chocolate cake was almost suffocating, too intense for me, that I gave half of my cake to Bug (I am a wimp); however, I loved the gigantic marshmallow on top. The exaggerated size made this a more playful cupcake.

While lime is typically a spritely flavor, it was rather bold in this incarnation. The sprinkle of salt added variation to the texture and flavor. Too bad margaritas, well, limes, have a seasonal connotation, as this combination would make an incredible addition to the regular line-up.

- Cassaendra

A Cookie and a Cupcake
2173 Professor Ave
Cleveland, OH 44113
Tel: (216) 344-9433


365-304 Grey
Day 304/365

Standing guard, a grey cat watches us walk by his domain. It appears the cyclops (camera) piqued its curiosity as our dog walks by unnoticed.

- Cassaendra

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Mad Mouth

We happened upon 5 food trucks/trailers this afternoon, of which two piqued my interest. One was a brick oven pizza trailer and the other was a gyro truck. I haven't had a gyro in a while, so that was the obvious choice for me.

365-303 Mad Mouth Classic
Day 303/365

Yeah, the onions are missing...on purpose. I believe they normally come with thin slices of red onions.

Bug and I shared the pillowy grilled pita stuffed with shaved spiced lamb and beef, saucy tzatziki, sweet tomatoes, and a few freshly cut skin-on fries for dinner. Now I've got a case of Mad Mouth -- Mad Mouth Gyro!

- Cassaendra

Mad Mouth Gyro (food truck)
Streets of Cleveland, OH
Tel: (440) 853-7732
Twitter: @MadMouthGyro

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