September 30, 2010
I saw this recipe a few weeks ago as I was combing through some recipes online. This sounded amazing so I decided I wanted to give it a try. I usually don’t have as much time to cook in the mornings, so I decided to make breakfast for dinner. I made French Toast Panini with grilled bananas.
It was quite good – I didn’t have the proper bread (should have been much thicker), but it still turned out pretty good. I definitely prefer mine with maple syrup and confectioners sugar sprinkled on top. I have grilled bananas before, just by coating them with brown sugar and throwing them on the grill pan. This recipe just called for brushing the bananas with butter. I wonder how this Panini would taste if I were to grill the bananas after coating them with brown sugar…next time.
Tried a new variation on steak and potatoes. I followed this recipe. In addition, I made spaghetti squash for the first time, which was first introduced to me in college by my roommate. I had never made it myself, though. It’s pretty incredible – once you bake the squash, you basically drag a fork across the skin and it flakes away like spaghetti!!
In the beginning, there was a squash…
After piercing the rind a few times with a fork, and cutting the squash in half, you can bake it for about 45 min on a pan, cut side down. Then, you put both halves in a pan that is filled with water about 2 inches deep. You bake it like so for another 20 min. When you are done, you drag your fork along, and its yummy! I seasoned it with a little bit of butter, salt and pepper, which I liked very much. I also used store bought spaghetti sauce, Parmesan cheese and bacon. Bleagh. I don’t think I’m going to buy store bought spaghetti sauce anymore. It just tastes gross and its a lot better tasting if you make your own sauce. One of my favorite ways to make pasta sauce is Giada’s recipe for making Bucatini All’Amatriciana. Not spaghetti sauce , but I really like this sauce. But I digress…
Back to the steak and potatoes recipe. So, in this bowl is spinach (I gave them a rough chop just so it would make eating easier), onion rings that were put on the grill until charred (after they cooled, I gave those a rough chop as well), salt, pepper, 2 tbs of steak sauce, 2 tbs of olive oil.
I took 1.5 lbs of boneless sirloin steak, just brushed it with olive oil and sprinkled it with some salt and pepper and grilled it to medium rare. Sliced that baby up…
…and laid it on top of the salad. The potatoes were pretty easy to make as well – you just bake the potatoes in the oven (pierce with a fork in several places and brush with olive oil), then chop up and add to a mixture of 2 tbs buttermilk, 1/2 cup sour cream, lemon juice from 1/2 a lemon, salt and pepper to taste. Voila!
It was a feast. Nom nom nom
September 28, 2010
So although I have been moving towards fall in my cooking, today was a record high of 112 degrees in Los Angeles! I think I melted a little in the Target parking lot as I was chatting with my friend. Even so, I am planning out Thanksgiving! I am trying to find a dish that I can make for a large group of people that is still within the Thanksgiving tradition, but not a dish that is already traditionally made by another family member…thoughts?
September 26, 2010
Today was a jam packed day. I spent the first half of my day at the Nokia Club where my cousin was competing in the ETTV singing contest! It was pretty cool, the event was set up basically like American Idol where contestants compete in front of a panel of judges. Each contestant had to sing 2 songs, one fast song and a ballad. I enjoyed it a lot, and my cousin was FIERCE!
Afterwards, I was feeling hungry, but I had plans to eat at the Ledo Cafe in Rosemead in a few hours. So I wanted to get a little snack as I hadn’t eaten all day. I stopped by Little Tokyo because that was really close to the Nokia Club. Initially, I was just going to get a few snacks at the Japanese grocery store in the Japanese Village Plaza, which is incidentally right near East West Players, a theater I have auditioned at previously. However, as I was walking through the plaza, some very appealing imagawayaki caught my eye.
Imagawayaki is a little bun that is perfectly round and filled with red bean paste. It was the first time I had ever tried any, the first time I had ever seen one! This was at the Mitsuri Cafe, and unobtrusive little spot that showcases these delectable treats in the front window.
In addition to imagawayaki, Mitsuri Cafe offers a wide selection of skewered snacks. There were little squid balls, shrimp balls, rice balls, etc. I was particularly interested to try to rice balls as I have never had them before, and they had a soy sauce glaze:
They were very good!
We also ended up stopping by the Japanese grocery store as well and getting some snacks. I lovvvveeee Pocky!
After walking around for a bit (I love the Japanese Village Plaza because there are a ton of cute stores filled with interesting goods), D and I made our way to Ledo Cafe in Rosemead. I found this restaurant to have extremely reasonable prices, and extremely good food! The dinner combo comes with rice and soup. There were two possible selections of soup, cream or vegetable, and I chose to eat the vegetable. I was not disappointed:
I really enjoyed this soup because it wasn’t too thick – I didn’t want a stew. Not only that, the flavors of each vegetable were showcased, not obliterated (as I find some vegetable soups to be). The vegetables weren’t cooked to death, they were just right.
For the main course, I ordered shrimp with scrambled egg. I know, I know, I could have tried something new, but there is just something so comforting about this dish. Also, I haven’t figured out how to make it exactly like this at home. Somehow my eggs end up being drier, and its just not as good! I will have to ask my mom for the secret when I go home next!
D got their prime rib, and it did not disappoint. Very tasty and good, and juicy as well!
What I love about these Chinese restaurants in CA is the tea. O.O This is the lemon ice tea, which was delicious. Somehow, when I am making my own version, it never tastes exactly the same. I make my sweet ice tea by making simple syrup (I boil 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar) and adding that to my tea I have made with tea bags. Hrm. Will keep on trying to figure it out.
After that? I was stuffed (happily so) and pooped.
September 24, 2010
Some sweet potato soup
Ok. So yesterday I went a little crazy. I had to get some groceries to restock the fridge and pantry, and I ended up looking at the foodnetwork.com for some inspiration. They had all these recipes gearing up for fall, and I got a little excited. Even if the leaves don’t change color here, at least I can ring in fall with my cooking. I used sweet potatoes and apples, and I’m going to start using squash soon, too.
I decided to make Corned Beef Hash (simple, and a new option for breakfast), Baked Apples with Fennel (the grocery store didn’t have the fennel and I was too lazy to go to another one, so really it was just baked apples), and Curried Sweet Potato-Apple Soup. I finished it off by making onion filled biscuits with sesame seeds on top.
The Corned beef Hash
This was shot during the preparation phase of the baked apple. As I mentioned before, I didn’t have any fennel so I just left it out. While I am still curious about how fennel would affect the taste, the baked apples and onions were still good without.
The sweet potato soup was good, I made my own chips by slicing the sweet potato very thinly, and then baking them on a baking sheet. I think I could have stood to leave them in the oven for slightly longer so they would be crispy, but I’m decently happy with the result.
A close up shot of some yum yum biscuits with onion inside and sesame on top. Me and D can eat a whole batch in about a day. O.O Of course, we finished off the meal with mooncake as it was autumn moon. This was a new flavor of moon cake – Honey with citrus. It was pretty good – I could definitely taste hints of the citrus, which gave the cake an overall fresh flavor. But I still think my favorite is the red bean.
September 21, 2010
Although I eat at this restaurant fairly often, I have yet to blog about it…until now. It has been a busy few days – had to work on a scene for acting class, had to work on a scene for the Universal Studios showcase, as well as another audition. The good news – I made it through to the Universal Studios showcase! To celebrate, D and I went to Sanam Luangs Cafe. This restaurant is open until pretty late at night, the food is good and the price is extremely reasonable. Ahhhhh! I only took pictures of the appetizers because when the main course came….well, I was too excited. I gobbled it down before I remembered. But enjoy the pics of the delicious appetizer!
Over the past few weeks I have been working on a scene with my friend Michelle Luchese. Well, we auditioned tonight and made it into the Universal Studios Showcase! Stay tuned – the showcase takes place on November 15, 2010!
September 19, 2010
For those of us who live in Los Angeles, or who have visited Los Angeles, we know that the place to be for Chinese food and culture is Monterey Park. So D and I went over to Monterey Park this Saturday to do some exploring. We first stopped at The Atlantic Place Shopping Center. I have been there many times as a child visiting CA. We would always eat dim sum and dinner at the restaurant there, the Empress Harbor Seafood Restaurant. I also remember a book store that was in the same shopping plaza, which is where I used to buy small knick knacks like stickers, mechanical pencils, and cute stationary. Unfortunately, that plaza is pretty empty now – only the restaurant and some other small stores still remain there. The bookstore is long gone, which was sad.
We checked out a nearby shopping center where we had to visit the Chinese bakery. They had moon cakes out in all different shapes and sizes. Made me wish I was home celebrating Harvest Moon with my family. For those of you who don’t know, Harvest Moon is a festival that takes place in autumn. It is celebrated in various Asian cultures, and families get together, eat special foods, and enjoy the beautiful full moon. In my family, our tradition is eating special foods, hanging beautiful paper lanterns outside, and just enjoying each others’ company. There are many different stories that have been traditionally associated or told during Harvest Moon. One of the most famous stories is about Chang e. The story follows that Chang e was once married to a man who was a very famous archer. Over the years, he became selfish and cruel. He wanted to become immortal, so he traveled to the high mountains to seek a magical elixir from the gods. When he was returning home with this elixir, he drew terrifying creatures on the gourd containing the potion to dissuade others from drinking it. When he came home, he was told that Chang e had been unfaithful. In a jealous rage, he flew at her to beat her. Chang e was so distraught, she grabbed the gourd from her husband, believing it was poison, and drank it all. She slowly floated to the moon, and has lived there every since with one solitary rabbit.
Aren’t these moon cakes beautiful? They are tiny – I have never seen any so small!
There are many different flavors of moon cakes – red bean, red bean with egg, lotus seed. I like red bean the best. The moon cake with egg are considered a delicacy, but I don’t particularly like the egg. :/
More tasty treats – I love dan tat!
We went to different DVD stores to look for movies, and then we went to get dinner at the “Hong Kong Kitchen” in Alhambra. D had found it on yelp, and they had a coupon that you could print out for $10 any purchase of 25 dollars or more. O.O Not bad. And the food there was decently priced and pretty darn good.
To start with, we had some Jai. This is a food made out of gluten and seasoned to be DELICIOUS. It was D’s first time trying it, and he enjoyed it a lot. My mom first introduced this to me when I first moved to LA – I haven’t seen this back on the East Coast.
We got pork chop with tomato over rice – kind of a fusion dish. Yum yum yum! I usually like this dish, but I wasn’t particularly fond of it today. I have had it at JJ’s before, and I thought it was much tastier there. This was still a good version of the dish, but I thought it was a little too tangy for my taste. It was a pretty good deal though, because if you ordered one of the main noodle or rice dishes, you could get a drink and dessert for $3.50…
So I got passion fruit black tea. So. Good. Sweet and refreshing and now I want to try to recreate this myself.
Ugh. This was the best dish. It competed with the Jai for first place and won. The vegetables were made with garlic, which was not overpowering but blended in nicely – it didn’t overpower the taste of the actual vegetables, it enhanced it. The texture of the Chinese broccoli was perfect. Just perfect. I might have to go eat some more before I go to sleep(we had leftovers).
Another beautiful shot…
The meal ended with some red bean soup – I actually ordered an almond dessert but I think there was some kind of miscommunication. The soup was bad. There, I said it. My mom makes some delicious red bean soup, so I know what it *should* taste like. This soup was not good. So I’m not going to put a picture up, lol.
Mm, mm, mm. I’m all ready for Harvest Moon Festival now.
September 17, 2010
For dinner tonight, D and I went to Orochon, a Japanese Ramen restaurant in Little Tokyo in LA. D got the soy sauce based ramen, with a spiciness level of 3, which is pretty spicy. I got the miso based ramen, with no spiciness.
This is the miso based ramen. It was good!
D’s soy sauce spicy ramen
Ramen was a great idea for such a cold night (It’s probably only 60 degrees here in LA but it feels FREEZING to one who has acclimated to the warm weather). I liked eating my miso ramen with a few spoonfuls of D’s ramen. I thought it was good to highlight my meal with the spiciness/saltiness.
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September 16, 2010
So. The other day I made a ton of stuffing, which was delicious. However. When you have to finish an entire pan of stuffing between two people, it gets old really fast. So it was fortunate that I discovered this recipe (again by my hero, Giada) which utilized leftover stuffing in a delicious meatloaf.
This meatloaf called for marinara sauce. So I asked D to pick some up from the store on the way home. Unfortunately, much to my dismay, he accidentally picked up spaghetti sauce instead. So. I decided to make my own glaze. Instead of topping my meatloaf with marinara sauce and cheese as Giada had done, I wanted instead to make a glaze that was sweet. Near my house is a unbelievable restaurant called “Miss Peaches.” This is one of the best restaurants I have eaten at in LA. Period. It is tiny and homey and the food is amazing. I had tried their meatloaf, and they had a very sweet glaze, but still tasted ketchup-y. So I decided to make my own glaze with a combination of spicy brown mustard, ketchup, brown sugar, and some honey. And let me tell you. It was DELICIOUS.
A shot of the cut meatloaf. You may notice that a corner of the meatloaf has been eaten…let’s just say it was too hard to wait when I pulled it out of the oven. Hee!
I think D felt obligated to pitch in as I’ve been cooking a lot lately (and taking care of the dishes, too!). So he contributed to our meal by making the vegetable portion. He made asparagus in my absolute favorite way of cooking it. All he did was take the asparagus (the thin kind, which I prefer), trim the ends, and spread them on a thin pan. Then he covered them with salt and pepper, and olive oil and minced garlic. The result? Stalks of asparagus that are have crispy ends with tender bodies, salty just enough to enhance the taste, but not mask or overpower the taste of the asparagus. MMMM!
And to top off our meal? Well, rice, of course.