Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Kale, Meatballs, and Honey-Pear Sauce hmm....

Earthquake engineering ... quite a fun class I have to say. I think this is the first time that I wanted to go to class. The professor shows us cool earthquake diagrams and videos of destruction. I have to say this is going to be quite a fun quarter and busy of course.

Enough about boring you with my classes ... While I was shopping around Trader Joes, I saw a bag of organic pears for 1.99. I got to say, that is quite a deal. The pears were fragrant and not too sweet, and then an idea hit me. My brain was processing the ingredients available in my fridge. "I should probably make a pear sauce that goes with my leftover meatballs and kale, and why not add spaghetti noodles too and call it a pasta dish?" Indeed, I followed thoughts.

Spaghetti and Meatballs ... with Kale and Honey-Pear Sauce

2 D'anjou Pears (Find it in Trader Joes, but any oval pear would do)
1 batch Kale (5 leaves)
1/4 Yellow onion
1/4 cup White wine
3 tbs Butter
2 tbs Honey
1 tsp Black pepper
Almonds for garnish and crunch texture
4-5 Basic meatball

Preparation of creativeness
1. Dice onion
2. Cut pears into slices
3. Boil water and cook kale
4. Remove kale and chop leaves into 1 inch sections
5. Bake meatballs
6. Boil water and cook spaghetti noodles

up an experiment
1. Put oil in a pan and caramelize onions and pears
2. Toss in white wine and reduce 2/3 of the liquid
3. Put everything in a blender and add butter and pepper
4. Blend until smooth.
5. If too thick, add in chicken stock to thin in a sauce pan
6. Taste and add necessary pepper.
7. Add kale, meatballs, and noodles together and add almonds to garnish

For vegetarians, you do not need the meatballs. This dish has a nice aroma and contrasts nicely with the kale and meatballs. In addition, it is pretty healthy and provides a lot of daily nutrients.

All About Kale

Kale? What in the world is this? Most of my friends always ask me, "What is that huge leafy bunch in your shopping bag?". I figured I should write an article for this mysterious vegetable.

Why do I eat it? Simple, it is healthy and cheaper than most vegetables at Ralphs. For the health conscious readers, kale has a very high nutrient value, in which it is high in vitamin A, C, and K. The fiber content is also pretty high. In addition, there are several antioxidants contained in this plant and reduces cancer risk. Wow! That is a load of health benefits that I think America should move onto the Kale Healthcare Plan, in which all Americans should eat 3-5 servings a week (1 serving = 1 cup).

The "leafy bunch" is also delicious if prepared right. Kale has a green earthy taste if you are to eat it plain after boiling it in water. I like this taste, but for those who desire flavor, I shall share ways you can prepare this vegetable.

First, wash the vegetable. I notice a lot of people do not like washing their vegetables. It is quite shocking to find dirt in cooked foods, but it has occurred in several instances. The next step is to cut away the leaves from the stems, or you can just remove the leafy part with your hands.

Now onto the cooking! The simplest way is to salt and pepper the green leaves and toss with a bit of olive oil after boiling it with water. Another method is to stir-fry the kale with garlic, butter, and white wine.

To the last part ...when is it in season? Kale is available year-round in major supermarkets, but it is best consumed during the winter and spring, where there is a bitter-sweet taste.

Balsamic Strawberry Sauce

As mentioned in my previous post, I made a balsamic strawberry sauce that goes well with the meatballs.

Balsamic Strawberry Sauce

1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup Strawberry jam
1/4 Sweet yellow onion
2 tbs Butter
1 tbs Rosemary

1. Dice the onion

1. Caramelize the onions
2. Add in vinegar and jam and reduce 1/2 of the liquid and stir occasionally
3. Add in rosemary and reduce for 1 minute
4. Turn off heat and add in butter
5. Stir quickly to form sauce


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Basic Meatball

Guess what everyone? The UPS man delivered my Canon EOS 20D. Ironically, this model is older than my SD1000 haha. Oh well, for d-slr cameras, the quality depends on the user. I am still trying to learn about all the features and how to take good photos. I am excited as the time I got the Starcraft 2 Beta.

I decided to make meatballs with rice. Who would have thought that meatballs go with rice xD. I have to apologize for the picture quality because I am still trying to get the hang of taking pictures with my camera. It is a bit blurry because my hand is not use to balancing and holding my camera steady. I might also have to adjust the shutter speed or get a tripod.

The basic meatball consists of ground meat, breadcrumbs soaked in milk, cheese product, seasoning. I shall give you what I added to my meatballs.

Basic Meatball

1 lb Ground beef (lean)
2 large Eggs
1 1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/2 Milk
1/2 cup Romano cheese
5 cloves Garlic
1 tbs Extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs Honey
1 tbs Rosemary
Salt and pepper

1. Soak Panko crumbs in milk
2. Dice garlic and rosemary
3. Lightly beat the eggs
4. Throw all the ingredients together and mix well
5. Shape meatballs from the mixture of diameter 1 inch

Method 1 (pan frying --> baking) Preheat oven 350F
1. Heat up oil in an ovenproof pan
2. Throw in meatballs and rotate meatballs occasionally until all sides are brown
(about 5 min)
3. Put skillet in the oven for 5-7 minutes.
4. Remove and serve with favorite sauce

Method 2 (braising with red wine)
1. Heat up oil in a pan and sear all sides of the meatballs
2. Pour in about 1/4 cup red wine, cover, and allow it to simmer for 10 minutes
3. Check if the meatballs are done.
4. Serve with favorite sauce

The sauce I served the meatballs with is a balsamic strawberry sauce. It is quite tangy and sweet and contrasts nicely with the meatballs.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Basics: Mire Poix

I can't stress how much I use mire poix in my cooking. I use it to make stocks, soups, cooking meats, and sauces. This is an essential to any western style cooking. It's as important as having a TI-83 for my structural analysis final exam.

Mire Poix

Small dice of 2 parts onions, one part carrot and celery

Usually take some butter and saute to form a base.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Basic Italian Meat Sauce

Well ... the time has come for the last night of spring break. Tomorrow, I revert back to college life by attending class, doing homework, and studying about civil engineering topics. Hopefully, this quarter I will learn something new and not get bored out of my mind in any of my classes.

To celebrate the last dinner of spring break, I've decided to go to basics and simplicity. I realized that the more complex I get, the harder it becomes for my readers to follow through and try what I make like how my professors go through all this theory for something unpractical at all, which causes me to fall into a long 2 hour slumber called lecture.

There are two parts to this recipe. The sauce without the meat and then cooking the meat.

Basic Italian Meat Sauce

Ingredients for sauce (vegetarian portion)
1 lb Roma tomatoes
2 cups Mire poix
5 cloves Garlic
1/4 cup Butter
1 tbs Dry oregano
1 tbs Dry marjoram leaves
1 tbs Dry basil
1 tsp Thyme powder
t tsp Sugar
Ample amounts of salt and fresh ground black pepper

1. Dice tomatoes
2. Peel garlic

Cooking the sauce
1. Melt butter in pan
2. Add in mire poix and garlic and saute until onion is translucent and carrots are soft. Careful not to burn anything!
3. Add in tomatoes and its juices, and then add in herbs, salt, and pepper
4. Stir around until tomatoes are soft
5. Cover and turn heat on medium low and simmer for 15 minutes
6. Put everything in a blender and blend until smooth
7. More sauce to a sauce pot to keep warm on the stove top
8. Taste for salt or pepper

Now the meat section

Ingredients of meaty goodness
1 lb Ground beef (leanest you can get)
2 tbs Butter (less if you have fatty ground beef)
1 tbs Fennel seeds (chopped)
1 tbs Garlic powder
1 tbs Dry marjoram leaves
Salt and Pepper

Directions of manliness meat
1. Melt butter in pan
2. Add ground beef and cook until half of it is cooked
3. Add in seasoning of various ingredients
4. Taste for enough salt and pepper when no more red is showing
Note: Do not burn it like my apartment mate. Keep the heat steady on medium and wait for the oil to get just about right for hotness. If the oil is way too hot, the meat will burn quickly!

Combination of ultra combo fight moves
1. Combine meat with sauce
2. Add meat to cooked noodles

Enjoy this simple dish. Well goodnight everyone ... school begins tomorrow yay!... -_-

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

I got to say... spring break passed pretty quickly. In two days, I will be back to crunching numbers away and learning about how earthquakes will destroy everything in the world as in the horrible movie 2012. Well, as a civil engineer, I'm supposed to prevent that from happening.

Putting those thoughts aside, I encountered spaghetti alla carbonara in one of the Italian cookbooks I've been reading over break (hence the load of Italian food posts). This dish is extremely simple and hard to mess up. All you need is cheese, eggs, bacon, and hot spaghetti.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

5 slabs Bacon
2 Eggs
1 Egg yolk
1/2 lb Spaghetti
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup Romano cheese
1 tbs Combination ground Green pepper, white pepper, black pepper (you can exclude green if you can't find it or you can also use medley of peppercorns from your local supermarket)

Preparation for simplicity
1. Beat the egg, egg yolk
2. Mix in cheeses, peppers, and salt
3. Boil water with salt in it
4. Warm up a bowl by putting it in the oven (use thermometer and check if 80-100F range)

*Note before cooking: Make sure when you mix the pasta the egg does not curdle or be too liquidy. Temperature control is key.

1. Throw in noodles to cook for 10-15 minutes
2. In a pan heat up a little oil and cook bacon until crispy
3. Chop bacon into bits
4. Remove noodles and add to bacon fat/oil and toss around quickly.
5. Remove bowl from oven and throw in bacon and noodles
6. Slowly drip the egg mixture while stirring quickly until noodles are evenly coated.

Well, I guess I am almost at the end of my Italian cooking journey for spring break. I only have one last thing to make ... lasagna.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Sugar Cookies

It's 9 o'clock, and I don't want to go to Ralphs to get sweets. Craving something sugary and diabetes inducing, I made sugar cookies.

Sugar Cookies

2 1/4 cups Flour
1 cup Butter
1 cup Sugar
1 Egg
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1 tsp Baking soda
1 tbs Maple syrup
1/2 tsp Baking powder

1. Cream butter and sugar.
2. Add in egg, maple syrup, vanilla extract.
3. Slowly add in dry ingredients and mix.
4. In a oiled pan, add a spoon of dough and roll into a ball
5. Slightly press the dough down
6. Bake at 375F for 8-10 minutes

Red Wine Balsamic Sauce

I made this sauce to go with my ravioli. I guess I liked the mixture of balsamic vinegar and red wine after making it with the chicken. I did a little variation to it after pondering about the origin of the universe. I think I should stop watching so much anime about space and universe travel.

Red Wine Balsamic Sauce

1 cup Red wine
3 cloves Garlic (unpeeled)
3 tbs Balsamic vinegar
2 tbs Sugar
2 tbs Butter
Salt and pepper as needed

Directions of saucing
1. Add a little olive oil and start cooking the garlic
2. Add in the red wine and balsamic until it is reduced by 2/3
3. Stir in sugar and turn heat to low
4. Melt in butter until sauce-like consistency
5. Add in necessary amount of salt and pepper

Chicken and Bacon Ravioli

After going through a long day of work, I was going to make lasagna for my friend, Cynthia, but I found out that I did not have a baking dish : (. As a result, I rolled out my pasta dough to make ravioli. Spring break is coming to a close -_-. I guess it shall be back to my studies of a civil engineer. While I was making my pasta dough, I was already thinking about the structural integrity of my flour well, and how well it can support the pressures exerted by the eggs and my mixing motion.

Chicken and Bacon Ravioli

1 Chicken breast
5 slabs Bacon
1/2 cup Ricotta cheese
1 tbs Maple agave syrup
Salt and pepper

Filling from above
Egg wash

Directionals of filling
1. Finely chop or ground the chicken
2. Add oil in a pan and cook the bacon
3. Remove and pat the bacon dry and finely chop
4. Add chicken in the same pan with minimal salt and pepper
5. Remove chicken and mix all the filling ingredients together.

Directionals for wrapping
1. Roll dough into a very thin sheet
2. Square off the sheet
3. On one half of the sheet, spoon 1 tbs of filling evenly spaced across the length of the sheet
4. Brush non-filling area with egg wash
5. Fold the pasta over in half and press down on the edge
6. Use a knife or pasta roller to cut the ravioli squares
7. In a pot of boiling water, cook for 7-10 minutes.

The ravioli is done! Now add your favorite sauce. I used a red wine balsamic sauce. This sauce complemented nicely with a nice sweet and tangy taste. Well time to enjoy the rest of my spring break watching more anime ^_^.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Balsamic Braised Chicken

My spring break is coming to a close. I have decided that my blog looks too plain and needs some cool new background. I guess I'll be working on that this weekend with my artsy friends at school. Meanwhile, I watched Alice and Wonderland and found it to be quite exciting because I have always wondered how Disney would portray the future Alice. On a side note ... this movie was far better to watch than the animated one because there weren't so many colors to make your head spin.

For yesterday's lunch, I made balsamic braised chicken after reading my new Italian cookbook, Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Italian Cooking. Quite a simple and delicious dish to be served with asparagus and rice. The sauce itself is sweet and tangy due to the balsamic vinegar and red wine mixture. I would recommend this dish if you are serving a crowd for a party because of its simplicity.

Balsamic Braised Chicken

1 chicken breast
2 cloves garlic (unpeeled)
2/3 cup red wine
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Rosemary
Salt and white pepper

Prep work
1. Pat chicken dry
2. Salt and pepper the chicken

1. Heat up moderate amount of olive oil in a pan
2. Throw in garlic and chicken and cook on medium-low, flipping occasionally for 10 minutes to slowly brown the chicken
3. Add in rosemary, vinegar, and red wine and stir chicken around and cover for 5 minutes on low heat to allow liquid to simmer slowly and cover
4. Turn chicken over and simmer for 5 minutes until liquid is reduced to a sauce (do this uncovered)
5. Serve with rice and asparagus

Note: If sauce is too acidic, add water and cornstarch mix.

Tonight, I am debating whether I shall make lasagna or make something with my wasabi powder.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

BBQ Chicken Pizza Bagel

As stated in my previous post, "Plain Bagel Recipe", my friend, David, suggested making a pizza bagel place. I came up with making a BBQ chicken pizza bagel because that is my favorite type of pizza in America. I have also made my own BBQ sauce, but I am not going to share that until I have consistently made it; so far, I have been getting different results for my BBQ sauce. With whatever tools you have, this is really simple.

BBQ Chicken Pizza Bagel

1 Chicken breast
6 Bagels of choice (heck ... you can even go with chocolate chip, though I don't guarantee it will taste good)
2 cup BBQ sauce (set aside 1 cup for marinating the chicken)
1 cup Mozzarella cheese
2 Carrots
1/2 Red onion
1 batch Cilantro

Prep work
1. Dice onion
2. Chop cilantro
3. Shred the carrots into thin strips

Chicken preparation
1. Chop the chicken into 1/2 cm (tiny) pieces
2. Marinate in BBQ sauce
3. Put chicken in baking tray and bake for 10 minutes at 350F

1. Cut the bagel in half
2. Spread BBQ sauce over the bagel
3. Top with onion, carrots, and chicken
4. Add the cheese
5. Broil in a small toaster oven or your big oven on high for 2 minutes or until cheese melts
6. Garnish with cilantro

Enjoy this bagel pizza. This is absolutely delicious. I am still wondering why no one has started the pizza bagel trend yet.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Plain Bagel Recipe

Day five of spring break ... already? I really think my break is ending very fast. Tomorrow will be Wednesday, and I have not done anything productive! I did have two failed trails on my pasta and also a batch of failed bagels because I did not use proper techniques. I guess my spring break is currently well spent on experimenting items that take a long time to prepare.

I got the inspiration to make bagels from my friend and co-worker, David, who had the brilliant idea of starting a pizza bagel shop somewhere in Los Angeles or even a food truck. I agree with him. There are no such thing as a place that specifically sells pizza bagels. I decided to find how difficult it is to make your own bagels.

Bagel Dough

430 g Bread flour
225 ml water (100-110F range)
20 g Sugar
15 g Maple agave syrup
10 g Active yeast
7 g Salt

1. Make sure the water is within 100-110F with a thermometer
2. Mix in the yeast until dissolved
3. In a mixing bowl and electric mixer with dough hook attachment, add in yeast mixture, sugar, syrup, and salt.
4. Begin stirring on medium speed and gradually add in the flour until firm dough is formed (about 8 minutes)
5. Kneed the dough a few times to make sure the dough has a springy consistency (if you push down it should come back up)
6. Put dough back in the mixing bowl and cover with warm, damp paper towel
7. Store in a warm environment for an hour (80-85F, I used my oven for this. Turn on the oven for a short while and wait for the internal temperature to get within that range)
8. Remove dough and roll into a 14 in roll
9. Split roll into 6 or 7 parts with a knife
10. Form bagel from each part
Note: There are different ways to form the bagel. I like to form it by putting my thumb in the middle of one part and my finger on the other side and begin swinging it in circles or punch a whole in the middle.

Cooking/Baking the bagel
1. Prepare a gallon of simmering water with 1/4 cup of honey
2. Poach bagels in the pot and simmer for 1-2 minutes on each side
3. Place poached bagels on parchment paper and a pan.
4. Bake at 450F for 10 minutes on each side

You can also add egg wash and other toppings, such as poppy seeds, sesame seeds, etc.
Here's a picture of the final result:

Monday, March 22, 2010

Fettuccine Chicken Alfredo

Watching the LA Marathon at the finish line was awesome! Man, those elite runners are fast! I was also amazed at how many people ran the marathon. I think that I'll start training for next year's marathon because I gotta say, it is quite an accomplishment.

In addition to handing out fliers today, I got several boxes of cheese and some free Naked Coconut Juice because they were giving them away at the marathon along with several other items. For the next few days, I'll think about what I am going to do with 5 lbs of cheddar cheese.

As for today's menu, I made fresh fettuccine noodles and Alfredo sauce with bacon and chicken. Quite a delicious and filling meal, but the bacon does add a bit of saltiness to the dish.

Fettuccine Chicken Alfredo

1/2 lb Fettuccine pasta
5 slabs Bacon
1 Chicken breast
3 Cloves garlic (crushed and sliced)
1 cup Milk
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup Romano cheese
2 tbs Butter
1/2 cup White wine
Salt and pepper (salt use only a little)
Corn starch (for coating)

1. Make the fresh pasta

2. Cube chicken
3. Coat chicken in corn starch, salt, and pepper
4. Mix the cheese together with a some pepper

Cooking the meats
1. In a pan with some olive oil, cook the bacon until crispy (Note: I pan cooked it for 5 minutes and stuck it into a small oven for another 5 minuets)
2. With the same oil throw in the chicken and toss until most of the sides are white (3 minutes)
3. Put in enough white wine to cover 1/2 of the chicken and cover
4. Cook covered for 5 minutes
5. Remove chicken into a bowl

Cooking noodles (5-7 minutes)
1. While the chicken is cooking begin boiling, salted water in another pot
2. Throw in the pasta when you are ready to make the sauce

Cooking sauce (5 minutes)
1. In the pan that cooked the chicken, use the residue in the pan (white wine mostly)
2. Turn heat on low and stir in the butter until all incorporated
3. Stir and add the milk and garlic
4. Wait for a simmer (not full on boiling!)
5. Add in cheese 1 tsp at a time and stir with a whisk rapidly
6. Add in enough cheese to thick sauce consistency and bring to a boiling simmer
7. Strain sauce in a mesh strainer and transfer to a bowl

Combining everything together!

1. Dice the bacon
2. Combine sauce, bacon, chicken, and salt (if necessary) in a bowl
3. Toss in the noodles and serve

Enjoy! On a side note ... I feel that spring break is going to be really short : (.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Fresh Homemade Pasta

What a long fun-filled day! Circle K of UCLA went to Santa Monica to flier for the LA Marathon. The LA marathon is going to start in a few hours, and I will be at the finish line volunteering by handing out more fliers about the marathon.

On a side note ... I went to Chinatown today because my friend, Luke, wanted to get some Chinatown food ><. He was nice to get me, Nguyet, and Nhat some skewers. Though that was nice, the meat was not fresh and tasted rancid. I guess that is Chinatown food for ya ... cheap at the expense of quality. Now onto the main topic: pasta... All of winter quarter, I have been dying to make fresh pasta. Noodles that are fresh have a nice springy texture when you eat them, and their dried, boxed counterpart is always bland and falls apart easily.

Homemade Pasta (adapted from Essential of Italian: Michele Scicolone)

2 1/2 cups Flour (380 g)
4 Large eggs
1 Tbs Olive oil

Directions (Several notes to follow)
1. Measure the flour carefully
2. Mix all the wet ingredients in a bowl
3. Make a well in the flour and pour in the mix

4. Now is the hard part ... Incorporating the wet and dry together. In order to do this consistently, you must slowly use chopsticks, a fork, or a spoon to slowly stir slowly along the edges of the well and slowly make the flour come into the egg mixture.
5. Once you start getting gooey consistency, start moving more flour in until you form dough that is similar to bread dough. At this point, start kneading the dough and add more flour and folding it in half and pressing your palm forward and rotate. Do this until the dough feels firm and can stretch without breaking.
6. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough sit for an hour.
7. Take the dough out and flatten with a rolling pin and split into two parts
8. Run the dough through the pasta machine to flatten it out some more.
9. Run it through the pasta cutting mechanism
10. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until done.
11. Enjoy with your favorite sauce!

Simple olive oil pasta!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Beer Batter Peanut Fish

To mark the start of Spring Break 2010, I decided to clean out my fridge to make room for a few exciting projects that I have planned. The fridge had two fillets of mahi mahi, beer, asparagus, and kale. As a college student, the following would wander around in my head: a) Beer? Chug the beer with a bunch of friends b) Mahi mahi? Bake it, easy food. c) Asparagus? Nasty ... my friend says it makes your urine smell worse ... I need more meat.

According to my stomach, the most logical choice would be none of the above. The fact is my tummy has a conscience of its own. "Why not make beer batter fish? While your at it, add some peanuts to it and spiciness."

I guess my stomach will do more of the thinking than my brain during spring break because the brain is undergoing hibernation due to academic stress.

Beer Batter Peanut Fish

Ingredients (batter section)
2 Fish fillets (I used mahi mahi. Tilapia works too or similar white fish)
1/2 cup All-purpose flour
1/2 bottle Beer (I used Blue-Moon)
1/4 cup Peanuts
1 tbs Salt
1 tsp Cayenne pepper (or more if you want spicy)
Black pepper
Extra flour for coating the fish

Prep work
1. Chop peanuts into shreds and set aside in a flat plate.
2. Mix the flour, salt, cayenne pepper, and black pepper and well incorporate
3. Pour in beer until it resembles pancake batter

Now time to prep the fish
1. Wash the fish (make sure it doesn't smell like a rotting sea wharf)
2. Pat the fish dry with a paper towel or clean towel
3. Coat the fish in flour so the batter will stick
4. Coat the fish in the peanuts

1. Heat up deep fryer (if you have one) or heat up a pan with vegetable or peanut oil
2. Throw in fish for 3-4 minutes
3. Put fish on paper towels to absorb grease (Yum grease)

Enjoy! I was quite surprised the peanuts and the fish turned out well. The texture was nice and crunchy and gave the fish a nutty flavour.

As for the poor asparagus, I boiled it and ate it. Vegetables do taste good seasoned with salt and pepper.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Notes: Ideas during my sleep

I have my last final in 40 minutes and then I'll be done with finals for this quarter! While I was sleeping, I had the idea of making wasabi macarons with a sweet ginger cream.

Anyways I'll try making that during spring break and tell you how it turns out.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Farfalle with Peanut Almond Sauce and Mahi Mahi (Brain Food!)

With my last final being on Thursday, I proceeded to make some brain food. As mentioned in the previous post, I heard that fish can stimulate parts of the brain for creativity and concentration. In addition, nuts, such as peanuts and almonds. Here is a guide to good studying food.

In my pantry, I found that I had some pasta. I decided to do a little experimenting.

Farfalle with Peanut Almond Sauce and Mahi Mahi (Brain Food!)

Sorry readers, no picture today!

1 cup Farfalle pasta or any type of pasta
1 Mahi mahi fillet
1/4 cup Peanuts
1/4 cup Almonds
1/4 cup White wine
1/4 Onion
1 Garlic clove
2 tbsp Maple syrup
1 tsp Fennel seeds
Salt and Pepper
Corn starch for coating fish

Prep work
1. Slice the onion
2. Chop the garlic
3. Chop peanuts and almonds
4. Chop fennel seeds
5. Cut mahi mahi into squares
6. Toss the mahi mahi into the corn starch to coat
7. Salt and pepper the fish
8. Boil water and toss pasta in the pot

Cooking (About 5-7 minutes)
1. Heat pan with olive oil
2. Throw in onions, fennel seeds, and garlic until translucent
3. Toss in mahi mahi and cook for 1 minute
4. Throw in white wine, syrup, nuts, and stir
5. Cover for 3-5 minutes or until the fish is flaky
6. Pasta should be ready (make sure by tasting)
7. Strain pasta into a boil and toss 1 tbsp of olive oil in it
8. Pour sauce in and mix

Good luck on finals for those who are students reading this post!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Mahi Mahi Marinated in Lemon and Dill

The worst of my finals are over now. I have only one final left and that is my structures final; a subject that I am good at doing. Since my final is on Thursday, I decided to cook some mahi mahi in order to stiulate brain activity because I hear that fish is good for the brain.

Mahi Mahi Marinated in Lemon and Dill


1 Mahi mahi fillet
1/2 Lemon (the juice)
1/4 cup Extra virgin olive oil
2 Garlic cloves (chopped)
1 tbs Dill
Salt and pepper

1. Throw and mix all the ingredients together
2. Marinate for more than one hour


Option 1 (The Grill)
Grill the Mahi Mahi for five minutes on each side

Option 2 (The Oven)
1. Preheat the oven at 350F
2. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until fish is flaky

Sauce (optional)
The fish is pretty good alone, but I think a sauce is good too

1/4 cup white wine
1 tbs Butter
1 Clove Garlic
Salt ande Pepper

Cooking Direction
1. Heat up oil in a pan and add garlic until browned
2. Add in white wine and reduce 2/3 of the liquid
3. Turn heat to low and add butter
4. Mix quickly and reduce until sauce-like consistency
5. Salt and pepper to taste
6. Add with the fish and enjoy

I ate the fish with kale. I think I am one of the rare people in the world that eat kale because I never see people buying it at Ralphs.

Anyways, I'm off to study my other final now. To my readers, I'll be back soon!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Tomodachi Sushi: Adventurous and Creative Sushi

Restaurant Review:
Tomodachi Sushi
10975 Weyburn Ave
(Westwood) Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310) 824-8805

Tomodachi, meaning friends in Japanese, well deserves its name, for the restaurant is an excellent place to go with friends, new and old. The restaurant is small, but can accommodate a small group of buddies for chatter.

Out of the various restaurants that offer sushi in Westwood, Tomodachi has the best selection of items with over 50 types of rolls. Not only do the sushi chefs know the basic California and spicy tuna rolls, but they also are innovative and create unheard of items, such as the colorful mango and tuna roll. Of the several rolls sampled, from the classic salmon roll to the intriguing spicy tuna and salmon volcano roll, each had a great texture and flavor.

For the non-sushi lovers, Tomodachi also offers Japanese dishes, such as teriyaki salmon, various rice bowls, and salad. Even though those dishes are available, the restaurant name says it all. It is a sushi restaurant and should stick to what it does ... make sushi.

With great tastes and menu selections, Tomodachi will create curiosity that will drain your wallet. The specialty rolls range from $10-$15. If you want to sample a variety of rolls, bring friends and share the wealth.

Review Rating: 3.9/5.0
Menu Price: Moderate

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Lunch at Gypsy Cafe on Broxton Ave.

Restaurant Review:
Gypsy Cafe

940 Broxton Ave
(Westwood Village) Los Angeles, CA 90024

Tucked next to the Bruin Mann Theater, near UCLA's campus, Gypsy Cafe has a prime location for food and hookah, attracting many hungry college students.

Businessmen, students, medical workers slide into the restaurant filled with the sweet aroma of fruits and spices from the hookah. On a nice, Californian, sunny day, you see a few customers enjoying the Westwood scenery on the sidewalk, while smoking hookah and enjoying their kabobs. Step into the restaurant, you would be sent into a rustic world. The clay tile floor, large wood framed windows, and wooden chairs provide a Mediterranean feel with the addition of Spanish guitar music quietly droning in the background. Though, on the downside, the LCD televisions, were out of place by playing hip-hop music videos without the music.

For lunch and dinner, Gypsy cafe offers a specials menu with a variety of sandwiches, kabobs plates with rice and salad, and pastas. The open kitchen serves excellent kabobs with a side of hummus, rice, and salad. The meat is juicy and well-seasoned without an overpowering flavor of herbs and spices. The hummus is a bit watered down, but the pita bread is thin, delicious, and well-baked. Both items produce a good combination with the rice and kabob.

With the addition to the tasteful food, the wait staff is friendly, quick, and efficient. The meal was quickly made and sent to my table in less than 10 minutes, which is quite fast for a busy restaurant.

Review Rating: 3.0/5.0
Menu prices ranges from $7 to $20

Monday, March 8, 2010

Corndogs ... Preparation for National Corndog Day!

I heard from my co-worker last week that National Corndog Day is coming up in late March; thus that got me in the mood for corndogs for the entire week. Finally, I found some time to make these delicious pancake warped hotdogs during my study break. I might as well make the best out of these beef hotdogs I bought on sale at Ralphs. I think this is the only time I would actually buy and eat hotdogs from the supermarket because not to be a food snob ... but I do not see hotdogs to be appetizing for dinner or lunch due to the numerous amounts of bad grade meats and chemicals they stuff into those pink rubber sticks.

As for this case ... since I haven't had a corndog in awhile, I decided to make them.


(looks like eggrolls on sticks XD)

Ingredients of processed foods
1 package Hot dogs (8 count)
120 g Cornmeal (about 3/4 cup)
105 g All purpose flour (about 2/3 cup)
30 g Cake flour (about 1/4 cup)
1 cup Milk
1/4 tsp Baking soda
2 tbs Maple syrup
3 tbs Brown sugar
1 tsp Baking powder
1 Egg
Cornstarch (for coating)

Preparation for an American heart attack!
1. Mix all the dry ingredients together
2. Mix all the wet ingredients together
3. Combine dry to wet ingredients
4. Pour in a tall glass
5. Dry hot dogs and coat with corn starch
6. Stick chopsticks or skewers through the hot dog and dip them into the batter

Cooking in fatty goodness
1. Pour some oil into a pan thats good for frying
2. Cook the corndog until all sides are browned

Man ... now I feel stuffed ... I better get on those vegetables soon ^_^ ... not anytime soon though xD.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Somen Noodles with Miso Tilapia

Because I am too poor to afford black cod... once again, I have tilapia, which I have to say is my new favorite fish as you can see from my previous posts. It's cheap and delicious ><.. I probably should be concerned with the amount of mercury, lead, and various toxins from this "previously frozen in China" fish. I guess I'd have to go to Whole Foods for the good stuff, but heck I am a college student and do not have that kind of money for organics. I guess this will be as bad as eating instant noodles or even worse ... because at least in instant noodles, I know what chemicals I am consuming, while for this lump of fish, I have no clue what toxins have been in its system. Enough talk about organics and what is healthy. This dish was probably one of the fastest or least time consuming dishes I have ever made. Hope you enjoy it during the finals stress.

Somen Noodles with Miso Tilapia

1 Tilapia fillet
2 tbs White miso paste
1 tbs Sugar
1 tsp Sesame oil
1 tsp Soy sauce
1 Green onion
1 Batch somen noodles

Prep Directions
1. Mix all those ingredients together
2. Pat the rinse and pat the tilapia dry
3. Evenly pat the miso mixture on the fish
4. Marinate for about 3 hour (I would marinate it for a day)

1. Preheat the oven for 375F.
2. Place fish in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
3. Boil water and throw in noodles.
4. When noodles are done, pour a tsp of sesame oil, soy sauce, and black vinegar and mix with the noodles.
5. Put some bonito flakes or favorite seaweed topping over the noodles and serve with the fish.

Tilapia with White Wine Sauce

Yesterday, when I poached my tilapia with white wine, I proceeded to leave one of the fillets in the pan, while the other more fortunate fillet would be paired with the orange sauce. My apartment buddy decided to taste the lonely fillet in the pan and said it was delicious. At first, I thought it would be bland, but it turned out to be quite savory. The fish melted instantly in my mouth and swam down my throat.

Too bad there isn't a picture for this one because it got destroyed because everyone was digging into it at the stove. There goes my lunch...

If you are short on time, this is a very quick fish to make!
Time: approx 10 minutes

Tilapia with White Wine Sauce

Ingredients of simplicity
1 Tilapia fillet
Salt and pepper
Enough white wine to barely cover the fillet

Prepwork of one step (maybe two)
1. Salt and pepper fillet after drying it.

Cooking up a storm (not really xD)
1. Put olive oil in the pan.
2. Sear the fish for 10 seconds on each side.
3. Turn the heat to low and add in the white wine.
4. Allow the white wine to simmer and not boil!
5. Cook for about 10 minutes on one side or until fish flakes.
6. Remove fish and reduce the white wine until 2 tbs of liquid is left..
7. Drizzle white wine sauce over the fish.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Tilapia with Orange Sauce

Man, I love fish! It was once again on sale at Ralphs. I got 3 fillets for $1.50. You might say it sounds fishy about that price, but the fish tasted excellent and was fresh. On my little break from studying, I made orange sauce and poached two fillets with white wine.

I have dinner for 12 strangers later, so I might post what I had for dinner depending on what they make for us ^_^.

Tilapia with Orange Sauce

Ingredients for fish
2 Tilapia fillets
1/2 cup White wine (or enough to barely cover the fish for poaching)
Salt and pepper

How to cook the fish

1. Oil a pan and sear fillets for 20 seconds each side
2. Salt and pepper the fish while your doing the searing
3. Add in white wine and turn heat on low so it is simmering
4. Cook until flaky (About 10 minutes)
5. Make sauce while fish is cooking

Ingredients for orange sauce
1 Orange
1 tbs Orange zest (I took the zest from the entire orange)
2 tbs Butter
1/4 cup White wine
1 tbs Sugar
1 tsp Ginger (1/2 in of ginger)
1 Green onion (for garnish, about 2 inches)

Prep work
1. Julienne ginger and green onion
2. Zest the orange (should be about 1 tbs) set aside tsp for garnish
3. Squeeze all the juice from the orange

Creating the sauce
1. Add in orange juice in sauce pan until boiling/simmering
2. Add in sugar, zest, ginger and stir and reduce to 1/2
3. Add in white wine and reduce 2/3 liquid
4. Turn heat on low and add butter and stir quickly so it becomes sauce-like

Plate the fish and sauce and throw green onion and zest on top and pour sauce.
Yum yum... enjoy!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Pasta with Sausage and Mustard Sauce

Man it is Friday already! That means finals are coming up and then spring break! I plan to have my spring break filled with Italian food after I get my pasta maker. Today was rather uneventful day with my meetings and lab work.

My friend Jeannie decided to make some pasta with spicy sausage and mustard cream sauce. Here is my modified version of the recipe.

Pasta with Sausage and Mustard Sauce

1 cup Pasta shells (depending on how much you want)
4 Italian sausages (spicy ones)
4 cloves Garlic
1 Shallot
1/4 cup Red wine
1/4 cup Heavy cream
1 tbs Whole grain dijon mustard
1 tsp Chili pepper
Chopped parsley (garnish)

Prep work
1. Smash garlic and dice
2. Dice the shallots
3. Chop the sausages into slices
4. Boil water

Cooking section
1. Heat up pan and add sausages to cook for about 2 minutes (brown them)
2. Throw in pasta into boiling water while the sausage is cooking
3. Add in garlic and shallots until translucent and cook until sausage about done
4. Remove sausages and place on top of paper towel to soak up the grease and keep warm.
5. With the same pan, deglaze with red wine and reduce about 2/3 of the liquid
6. Stir in the heavy cream, chili, and mustard
7. Reduce until sauce-like and check if your pasta is done, taste sauce if salt is needed (probably very minimal because the sausages are salty)
8. Plate pasta then sausages and use a strainer to strain the sauce into the dish
9. Sprinkle parsley on top

Enjoy eating this spicy pasta dish. Now time to clean up and work on my lab report ... fun stuff ... along with editing my group report and essays, which people need to learn how to cite their sources properly -_-.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Parmesan Cheese Souffle

It's Thursday... That means another day at work and studying for finals along with finishing up projects. I found that I would never use up the eggs and cheese I bought awhile ago. Thus, I proceeded to create a cheese souffle. Not much to say today, though I did start watching this anime called Welcome to the NHK and found out how much of a hikamaru I am...

Parmesan Cheese Souffle

Yes it is in a cup....

100 g Parmesan cheese
4 eggs (separated)
1 cup Milk
2 tbs Butter
85 g Panko breadcrumbs
1 dash of Mustard
Salt and pepper

of cheesiness
1. If the cheese is not grated finely use a knife to cut it into tiny pieces ( I had shredded cheese)
2. Separate the eggs
3. Melt the butter
4. Warm the milk to lukewarm
5. Butter the dish you desire to put it in (oven safe dish!)
6. Preheat oven for 350F
7. Heat up some water for a water bath (put water in a larger pan than baking dish)
*This is a water bath


1. Mix breadcrumbs, butter, milk, egg yolks (one at a time while stirring fast), mustard, and dash of salt and pepper
2. Beat the egg whites until peaks are stiff
3. Fold egg whites into the mixture of step 1. (Do this quickly until barely all of it is incorporated)
4. Fold in cheese
5. Dump into oven safe dish
6. Put dish on top of water bath
7. Put it on the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the top is nice and puffy and brown.

I would suggest making a blackberry or berry type sauce to put on top of this souffle, but that will be saved for another day.
Turned out to be nice and crispy shell with a nice soft inside.. so delicious!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Tilapia with Cheese Topping

Ahhhh. FINALS WEEK is approaching.... Doom is about to approach. I haven't had any time to cook and have been eating out or precooked foods from my freezer. I went to sleep at 6am today and got woken up at 9am by the fire alarm because some idiot in my apartment burned his soup and then proceeded to open the front door, which caused the whole apartment's fire alarm to be set off.

Tilapia is on sale at Ralphs for 1.70/lb. Surprisingly, one fillet was only 80 cents! This week shall be fish week for me as I prep for finals. I heard fish is brain food ^_^.

I decided to experiment a little today because the fish was so cheap. No picture today because I got back at 9:30 pm and was very very hungry.

Tilapia with Cheese Topping
2 Tilapia fillet (I got 1/2 lb)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 Lemon
1/4 onion
5 White mushrooms
1 tbs Dijon mustard
1 tsp Thyme powder
1 tsp Paprika
Salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
White wine

Prep work

1. Preheat the oven for 375F
2. Dice onion
3. Dice mushrooms and cook in butter until cooked state
4. Put cheese, lemon juice, mustard, thyme, paprika, mushroom, salt and pepper in one bowl
5. Blend in food processor or mix together
6. Wash and pat fish dry.
7. Oil up fish and salt and pepper
7. Place mixture on top of the fish

1. Put fish on aluminum foil and sheet pan
2. Pour white wine over the fish fillets (about 1/4 cup)
2. Put fish in the oven for 10 minutes on middle rack
3. Move fish to the top rack and broil at 475F for 2 minutes or until flaky state and the cheese is browned (means its done)

Results of my mad creation!
1. Needs a balance to the mustard, such as mayo
2. Different cheese should be used such as mozzarella
3. Garlic should be used ... too bad I didn't have any :(
4. Pretty good and filling, yet not the best thing I've made. Tasted normal like something I would order from a chain restaurant like Red Lobster.

Well off to do my lab reports yay! Civil engineer fun time!