Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ginger Chicken

One of my favorite things to order at a Chinese restaurant is paper wrapped chicken (I usually don’t because it tends to be greasy, but it is so delish!)

I always wondered how they made the chicken so moist and flavorful. Whenever I cooked chicken in college, it was a dried out mess, but that was probably because I put it in a frying pan with a tiny bit of oil and cranked up the heat.

Monday, May 14, 2012

San Francisco

For Mother’s Day, my parents came up to visit my brother and me. On Saturday, we took a day trip to San Francisco.

When my brother was in the high school band they went on tour in San Francisco. For dinner one night, a group of us asked the front desk for a good Chinese restaurant. They gave us a map and we were on our way. I am pretty sure they said short walk, but I think we walked for like 3 miles. Along the way we had a free sample of fudge and took a wrong turn into the red light district. Arriving at the restaurant was like getting to Mecca.

I don’t know if we looked lost and confused, but the owner came right over to us, asked us what we like, how much we wanted to spend and took all of the menus away.  After that they just brought out plate after plate of food.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Grilled Beef Tenderloin

In junior high they loved showing us E. Coli videos. I don’t know if they got a thrill of scaring us out of eating hamburgers or they really wanted us to learn about the disease...epidemic...sickness? Whatever it was, ever since then I have cooked my meat well done. No pink. Brown all the way through. 

Well, while studying abroad, I didn’t have the luxury of cooking the meat to my liking. They liked it medium rare. And instead of refusing to try it, I decided to forget the awful videos and just take a bite. And it was so good! It was so tender and so flavorful. What had I been missing out on???

So I really wanted to try meat again...cooked to the appropriate doneness. I went to the butcher to get the beef tenderloin, which to my surprise is another name for filet mignon. Yes, a little more than the average steak, but I had already picked out the recipe and I had my heart set on it. (And my dad was paying because it was for Mother’s Day at my Nana’s.)

This recipe is so easy. When you get a good cut of meat, I guess you don't have to fuss with it that much. 

Mix up the spices.

 Rub on beef.

Drink wine.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Watermelon and Feta Salad

Watermelons mean that summer is here! It’s time to break out the barbecues and beach towels. Now I realize that summer doesn’t start until June, but I pretty much feel like I am on an extended summer vacation as I search for a job.

I keep seeing chefs pair watermelon and feta and was really excited to try the interesting combination. 

Chocolate Salami

Another favorite at Santa Chiara was chocolate salami.  We got dessert (rather than fruit) on Wednesday and Sunday nights and cheers would literally erupt in the dining room when we saw them carrying out trays of chocolate salami.  We were fascinated by how simple it was and could never really figure out how it was made.

Toast up chopped nuts and biscotti (crush your biscotti smaller than this if you want your salami to form better and slice easier).

I love aprons, but I usually forget to put them on until I am done cooking. Except when chocolate...or tomato involved. I am notorious for getting chocolate all over me.

Roasted Eggplant Spread

Ryan loves hummus. Any hummus. All hummus. We don’t even buy hummus anymore because Ryan will eat the entire container without even noticing it.

The basis of any hummus is the chickpea and tahini. Now this spread doesn’t have any chickpeas in it, but it does have tahini, which is a middle eastern paste made from ground sesame seeds. 

Colorful veggies.

Chop up and roast.

Orzo with Roasted Vegetables

Pasta salad is my go-to potluck dish. I make it light, fresh, and colorful, so it is always a crowd pleaser.  I was getting a little tired of my old recipe and found this one.

Chop up the veggies, toss with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Chinese Dumplings

At the same time that I was moving to San Mateo, my grandparents were moving from their house to senior living. By downsizing they weren't able to keep some of their kitchen stuff, so I willingly took it. Since I got the wok, I also got the Sunset Wok Cookbook. It was rubberbanded together with Los Angeles Times recipes falling out of it. Surprisingly, one of those recipes was the fried rice recipe that I grew up with. This inspired me to create a whole Asian feast last week (I’ll make it again so that I can blog it).

I had leftover Chinese sausage and won ton wrappers and decided to do a little spin on the dumplings that I had made previously to use up the Chinese sausage.

The original recipe was for pork and shrimp dumplings, but I just did ground pork and minced Chinese sausages this time.

Combine all of the ingredients.

Let sit for about an hour.  Scoop a small spoonful onto the wrapper. 

Fold up and steam for 10-12 minutes.

Ants in Trees

Good Eats was one of the first shows I was really into on Food Network when I was younger. I am a nerd at heart and I love knowing random bits of trivia. I recently discovered that they still air the show at 8 am, so I began taping it because I still can’t seem to drag myself out of bed before 8:30 or 9.

The episode that I just watched was all about Chinese noodles. He made three different noodle dishes using three different types of noodles: rice, wheat, and mung bean. Now I had no idea that they made noodles out of ground mung bean. Yes, I have seen bean threads at the market before, but I guess I never really thought about it.

I decided to make “Ma Yi Shang Shu,” which strangely translates to Ants in Trees...I guess the noodles mixed with the ground pork looks like little ants climbing up idea.

I went to my local Asian market to get the noodles...the entire side of the aisle was top to bottom full of noodles...wheat...then rice...and finally found the bean section. I got the ones that closest resembled the ones he used in the show, which were the skinny, thread like ones.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


I love comfort food with a little twist. The topping on this meatloaf is subtly sweet and overall delicious.

Paula Deen

 Put all the meat loaf ingredients in the bowl.

Paula Deen

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Our first BART trip

San Francisco Transportation

After being in the Bay Area for a couple of months, we have finally embarked on our first BART trip. Our final destination was downtown Berkeley to visit my brother, Brandon, and see Andy Warhol’s polaroids at the Berkeley Art Museum.

Jewish Deli Berkeley

Monday, May 7, 2012

Spaghetti Carbonara


This was a Sunday favorite at Santa Chiara (where I studied abroad) and soon became a favorite in mine and Ryan’s kitchen. It is a simple dish with just pancetta, eggs, fresh cheese, and a ton of cracked black pepper. Don’t get crazy with adding peas and cream, it is just perfect the way it is.

This recipe is from Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, my go-to Italian cookbook. The recipes bring me back to my time abroad when I ate pasta everyday!

I love how she keeps the carbonara simple and adds a touch of white wine for a depth of flavor.

I also love to eat the leftovers for breakfast. I mean, it is bacon and eggs, right?