Friday, July 31, 2009

If You Give A Girl A Cookie...

The night started off like a typical boring Thursday night. We were having leftovers for dinner and decided to break open a bottle of wine. Somehow we ended up downing the entire bottle and dancing in the living room. High off Mendoza wine, I felt the sudden urge to bake. So I drunk baked chocolate chip cookies. It's like drunk dialing... but worse. I've never baked chocolate chip cookies before but for some reason I just had to do it at that moment. Hubby was my partner in crime and mixed the batter while I violently threw in the ingredients (probably all wrong measurements). I totally forgot to put in the nuts and brown sugar. I drunkenly spilled more ingredients on the floor than ended up in the bowl, so I obviously didn't follow the recipe to a tee but somehow the cookies turned out super soft, sweet and yummy. Warm cookies in hand, hubby and I wandered out into the streets of LA to the nearby movie theater and enjoyed these fluffy cookies while watching "(500) Days of Summer." What was a dull night turned out to be such a fun time. Even though I woke up to a disastrous kitchen, it was probably one of the best dates we've ever been on.
CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE RECIPE
Adapted from the Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients:
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (120 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar8 tablespoons (1 stick) (115 grams) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch (1cm) pieces
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups (175 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt or 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt (Deb option)
1 1/2 cups (200 grams) semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup (130 grams) walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped

Directions:

1. Adjust the oven rack to the top third of the oven and preheat to 300F (150C). Line three baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Beat the sugars and butters together until smooth. Mix in the egg, vanilla, and baking soda.

3. Stir together the flour and salt, then mix them into the batter. Mix in the chocolate chips and nuts.

4. Scoop the cookie dough into 2-tablespoon (5cm) balls and place 8 balls, spaced 4 inches (10cm) apart, on each of the baking sheets.

5. Bake for 18 minutes, or until pale golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

6. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Shabu-Shabu Salad

I'm a whuss when it comes to the cold. Growing up in SoCal I've been spoiled my whole life with wonderful weather and anything below 70 degrees is considered freezing to me. I love the summer and I welcome the heat. I'm comfortably warm up to 100 degrees... but if it gets any hotter I'll start to complain.
When it gets close to that complaining temperature, I just don't feel like making a fussy meal. I want something quick and fresh, like this shabu-shabu salad I made the other day. Traditionally, shabu-shabu is made over a boiling hot pot of water but it's just too hot for that so I made the cold salad version. This dish is great for those lazy summer days where you just don't feel like doing a lot of cooking or heavy eating.

SHABU-SHABU SALAD RECIPE
Ingredients:
Thinly sliced pork or beef, boiled
Salad greens and lettuce
Tomatoes
Onions
Sliced cucumber
Ponzu dressing
Grated daikon

Directions:
1. Make sure the boiled meat is cooled to room temperature.
2. Place the meat on a bed of salad, top with grated daikon and ponzu sauce.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Blueberry Scones

I've never had REAL scones until my trip to Scotland last summer. Until then, I've only had the kind they sell at coffee shops that have been sitting in the glass cases for so long that they turn hard as rocks. But in Glasgow I had fresh baked blueberry scones with heavenly clotted cream, and discovered how amazing real scones were. It was my first time trying clotted cream too... it was like butter but better. Scones and clotted cream, a match made in heaven. A new found obsession.
For some reason, I have been totally craving scones lately. I've never made scones before so I scoured the Internet and food blogs for a simple and delicious scone recipe. The other day I came across The Recipe Girl's blog about strawberry scones and I knew that I had to try it out. Unfortunately, I didn't have fresh strawberries or maple sugar that the recipe called for, so I adapted.Borrowing recipes from other people can be like the game of telephone sometimes; the information exchanges hands and becomes something different with each person it meets. The Recipe Girl originally adapted the recipe from Confessions of a Tart, switched it up a little, and now I adapted the scone recipe from The Recipe Girl and switched it up once again. I don't think the Confessions of a Tart blogger would recognize her own recipe if she came across this one. hehe.
BLUEBERRY SCONES
*Adapted from The Recipe Girl (Who adapted from Confessions of a Tart)

Ingredients:
1/2 cup dried blueberries
2 Tbs granulated sugar
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
3 Tbs butter, in cubes, slightly softened
1/3 cup whipping cream
coarse sugar for topping
The scones turned out so wonderful! Especially with a cup of English tea, jam and butter... I don't know where in LA I could find clotted cream, so butter had to do, but it was a perfect breakfast and really hit the spot.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tempura

I love to eat tempura... but I hate to make it. But someones gotta do the job *ahem, mom*. Especially when you fry squid and shrimp, the hot oil just pops right at you. It's not that I don't know how to make it, I'm just too scared! I avoid making tempura, so whenever I crave it my mom or oba-chan takes on the task.

Enjoyed a great tempura dinner at home while visiting the parents over the weekend. Thanks mom.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Pao de Queijo

During my visit to Brazil I saw signs all over, "Lanchonete." At first I had no idea what it meant but I caught on quickly. It means snack! Everyone in Brazil eats snack between lunch and dinner. Even when I was staying at my aunt & uncle's place in Manaus, my auntie served us lanchonete everyday. She would bake a fresh cake, make us sandwiches, and even serve us fresh squeezed juice.

One thing I loved having for lanchonete was pao de queijo, a Brazilian cheese puff pastry. *This is a photo of a bag of pao de queijos I picked up at a bakery in Ipanema when I was in Brazil.
This ping pong ball sized bread is just so cheezy and chewy. I love pao de queijo so much that I even attempted to make these from scratch myself, but failed miserably. They turned out tasting like balls of chalk... But this time, I went to the local Brazilian super market (Supermercado Brazil) in Culver City and picked me up a bag of pao de queijo mix!The bag of mix costs about $2.50, and is completely fool proof. All you do is mix some water and eggs, then roll the dough into little balls.Pop them into the oven and bake!Sooooo easy, soooo delicious, and quite the crowd pleaser. They taste especially yummy when they are hot out of the oven. I don't think I'll ever try making these from scratch again. Why bother when the instant mix is so yummy anyways right?

SUPERMERCADO BRAZIL

10826 Venice Blvd.

Culver City, CA 90232

(310) 837-4294

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Atsuyaki Tamago

Hubby loves atsuyaki tamago (Japanese rolled omelet). It's enjoyed as a side dish in any meal of the day and I'd often find it in my bento box as a kid. Basically it's just egg... but this slightly sweet and salty moist square-shaped goodie is wonderful! Although I love to eat Atsuyaki Tamago, I avoid making it because it's a lot harder than it looks! You need a special square shaped frying pan, and rolling the egg and cooking it to a perfect consistency is not an easy feat. But since my hubby likes to have it for breakfast I decided to do some research and study the art of Tamago making with Youtube.

I admit, I totally burnt the first batch and it ended up in the trash can but the second batch came out alright. Hopefully with practice I can improve my skills.
ATSUYAKI TAMAGO RECIPE
Ingredients:
3 eggs
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup dashi
Directions:
watch youtube! You need to visually learn how to make Tamagoyaki.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Homemade Kogi Tacos

I decided to try making my own "Kogi" style tacos today for lunch. I used marinated short ribs in corn tacos. I topped the tacos off with cilantro, chopped onions, and spicy cabbage salad. They actually turned out really good! These are going to be on my regular menu now.

Kogi

What is all this hype about Kogi Tacos? It's the hottest thing in LA right now.
Basically all it really is, is a taco truck! But it's not just a regular taco truck. They serve Korean/Mexican tacos, quesadillas, and burritos. A simple but brilliant concept. Korean marinated BBQ meats wrapped in Mexican tortillas. Why didn't I think of that? I heard that the lines for these trucks can be upto 100 people! The day we got there we were one of the first 20 people in line so the wait wasn't all that bad, but boy, they must make bank! Another unique thing about these Kogi trucks is that you never know where they will be. You have to find out where they will be headed or located via Twitter. I got the three taco combo with marinated Korean BBQ pork, beef, and chicken. Each taco is an affordable $2. The tacos are topped with a cilantro, lime, and onion relish, a crisp salad of cabbage and Romaine lettuce dressed with a sesame-chili salsa roja, and then garnished with radish, and lime wedges. I don't know if these tacos are worth the wait or hassle but they were quite yummy. Next time I crave these tacos, I can attempt to make them myself or go to their restaurant the Alibi Room.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Windy City

Hashbrown Breakfast

Hubby has been studying hard lately and woke up early to prepare for his midterm, so I decided to make him a energy packed breakfast. We love having hasbrowns at breakfast joints and I've never tried making them myself so I decided to take on the task this morning.

CRISPY HASHBROWNS
Ingredients:
1 Russet Potato
Salt & Pepper to taste
Cooking Oil

Directions:
1. Wash and peel the potato, then pat dry.
2. Shred the potato using a cheese grater.
3. Pat the shredded potatoes again with a paper towel and make sure you get all the moisture out or you will have mushy hash browns.
4. Spread cooking oil evenly in a medium sized frying pan.
5. When the oil is hot, sprinkle the shredded potato pieces on the pan.
6. Season with salt and pepper and continue to layer the shredded potato about a quarter inch thickness.
7. Fry the potatoes until the underside is golden brown.
8. Flip it over and fry the other side till golden.
9. Enjoy your crispy potato hashbrowns!

Hubby thought that the hashbrowns were store bought. I took that as a compliment because they sure did turn out perfectly.

Bobby Q

All that long driving made us hungry! During our stay in Phoenix we "Yelped" restaurants and found Bobby Q. BBQ has been my thing lately. I've been craving saucy ribs and eating them whenever I get a chance so I was excited to try this place out.

The restaurant itself was very cute and the service was great. We even got a 10% discount off of our bill when we mentioned Yelp.

The meal started off with cornbread and it was soooo yummy, fluffy, and warm! We ate it all up!
We got the two rib combo with baby back ribs and St. Louis style ribs. It was so finger lickin' good we scarfed it all up. The meat just melted in your mouth and fell off the bones. I love me some good BBQ.
At the end of the meal, the waitress even brought over a bag of "Thank Q's" so cute! It was a little paper bag filled with mini Q shaped donuts. I wish we had a BBQ place like this in LA~.
Bobby Q
8501 N 27th Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85051
Tel: (602) 995-5982

Monday, July 20, 2009

Page, Arizona

After the Grand Canyon we headed to Page, Arizona. The first thing we did was hike to Horseshoe Bend. Saying it was HOT is an understatement but the sweaty hike was well worth it because the view was amazing. It really took my breath away. The rock formations in Arizona are just so neat! Arizona was all desert and I've never been anyplace like this before.The highlight of my trip was probably Antelope Canyon in Page. At first you arrive to an unimpressive little slot canyon... but when you walk inside... wow! The afternoon sun just made the walls of the canyon glow! Antelope Canyon was formed by Sandstone and flash flooding. Hubby and I took so many photos!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Grand Canyon

Hubby drove 1,360 miles on this road trip! Thank goodness for our hybrid car, we saved a lot on gas. We had such a fun time that I can't wait till our next one! :) At one point a herd of elk were running along our car as we were heading towards the Grand Canyon at sunrise. I have always wanted to visit the Grand Canyon and it was spectacular. I'm so happy that I got to experience it! Words can't really describe the grandness of this place. (*love this shot I took of a Buddhist monk at the Grand Canyon! National Geographic here I come.)The canyon was created and carved by the Colorado River over a six million year period. I tried to take this picture while zooming in on the roaring rapids far below the canyons. Definitely a place you must see before you die.

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