I don't claim to create recepies, I just experiment with what I like. Whether it's out of a cookbook or adapting my own, so long as I'm in the kitchen, I'm having fun. Outside of that,
I'm adventurous and curious--some say I'm a restaurant snob (not because of price) because prefer independent or new places/cultures. From groceries to gadgets, I want to share my favorites. Call me a 'foodie,' because I'm not unique in my interests, but I find that's the best part of a community. Follow my take as I share, make, taste, & spend my way thru my non-existent willpower...

August 20, 2009

[ bruffins ]

Quick post. Bad photo, but I just wanted to share my new favorite term, 'bruffins' = bread in muffin form. I repeated the chocolate chip banana recepie (coz I still had leftover ingredients) and I love muffins without the wrapper, so I coined 'bruffins.' I know. I'm corny.

August 17, 2009

[ new to me ]

Both at the grocery store and at the farmers markets, I've seen (for the first time) white and purple bell peppers this last week or so. I know this probably isn't that big of a deal to some of you, but they were a pleasent surprise to me. Very mild in flavor. Just thought I'd share :)

August 14, 2009

[ crepes! and spiced chickpeas and some ]

So, I got off work "early" and decided to play in the kitchen. I haven't jumped on the "Julie & Julia" bandwagon yet, but I did happen to win 2 Julia books from Dinner Diary (I never win anything!), so I thought I'd put to good use. Flipping thru, I've always wanted to try my hand at crepes, so I did....and they worked! Amazingly, in fact. I was thrilled to say the least and surpised at how easy they actually were. Woo hoo.
I also had a chickpea recepie I had been wanting to try. Nothing fancy, but very yummy. Simple to add and adapt. I will definitely do this more often and vary techniques/dishes it goes into.
Lastly, I still had some red cabbage from the risotto, so cooked some of that down with some chicken stock and sauteed some button mushrooms with shallots (be patient and let them get to the almost burnt stage. It's worth it.)

For the crepes, I only did 1/2 of the recepie (below), which still resulted in 5 1/2 full crepes.
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cold milk
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 1 egg + 1 egg white (that was my own adaption)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Mix well, let it sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes

For the chickpeas, I basically used this recepie from eat me, delicious and adapted spices and measurements to taste.

August 12, 2009

[ choc chip banana bread ]

I'm really enjoying making breads lately. I made a zucchini one a couple weeks ago back home @ 7,900 feet and didn't really compensate for high altitude baking, so it didn't turn out perfect. On Sunday night, here @ 5,400 feet, I adapted a banana bread recepie and was very happy with it. Still a couple tweaks I may make next time but definitely good enough to bring to the office and to share here.
There are so many banana bread recepies out there. I went for this one (one reason being foodnetwork.com as a favorite site for recepie searching) and added my own adaptions.
  • No peacans (not that I'm opposed to them. Just wasn't in the mood.)
  • Added Guittard semi-sweet choc chips instead
  • That's it!

[ photography ]

P.S. I'm working on my photos/camera/photography skills. Trust me, I know the photos don't make some of these foods look all that yummy, let alone appetizing. All I can ask is that you stick with me thru this blogging-learning-curve. Muchos gracias.

August 11, 2009

[ red cabbage risotto & girls sunday summer sangria ]

I've never conquered risotto for fear that it's really as difficult to properly make as it sounds, but we've had a lot of risotto talk in my family lately, so I decided to dedicate a Sunday evening to it. On top of it, it ended up being a fun evening with friends where we made way more food than we could eat. And, it wasn't that difficult after all.
I actually adapted the risotto recepie from a new favorite blog, The Italian Dish. I skipped the grilled part and instead of radiccio, I used red cabbage. I know what you're thinking. Yes, I know the difference between the two, but the store didn't have radiccio, I wanted that color contrast, I chose red cabbage. I also added shallots into the sauteed onions and used a combo of chicken and veggie broth for extra flavor.

I didn't get a good photo of the sangria, but it turned out delicious. We were too lazy to buy all the asked for liquors, etc, so we made our own 'ghetto' version which turned out refreshing and tasty.
  • Full bottle of sauvignon blanc
  • 3/4 bottle of cabernet
  • 20oz 7up
  • 16oz orange juice
  • Cut the fruit in thin slices or cubes, whichever you prefer
  • Variety of fruit: apples, plums, lemons, oranges, grapes
  • Serve over ice

August 10, 2009

[ pasta blend with yellow cherry tomatoes, haystack green chile goat cheese]

I'm not the biggest believer of 'quick' meals because it usually takes me easily more than 30 minutes to follow any 'quick and easy' recepie. However, if you know what you're doing (or pretend to know what you're doing like I like to do), you can master the art of 'under 30 minute meals.' As much as I love to cook, in the last year, I honestly have very little time (and unfortunately, energy) 90% of the time to dedicate to following, let alone creating, more extensive recepies. Thus, I've experimented much more than ever with whatever happens to be in my fridge, pantry, countertop.
Last week, I got out of yoga at 8:30p, home by 8:38ish, 20 minutes of whirlwind later, I was standing in my kitchen devouring this (surprisingly awesome) pasta dish so that I could shower, change, and meet a friend at 9:30p. Whew. Talk about a quick meal...that turned out deliciously satisfying, fresh, and left me wanting more.
  • Pappardelle's Gourmet Pasta Blend from the farmer's market included: beet, spinach, red pepper, plain, and tumeric pastas -- by the way, I LOVE this company's products

  • Saute one large shallot in olive oil with salt and pepper

  • When the pasta is almost al dente, throw in some frozen peas

  • Meanwhile, slice the yellow cherry tomatoes into halves, save all the juices

  • Put the shallots, tomatoes, and crumbled Haystack Mountain green chile goat cheese in the bottom of a bowl

  • When the pasta and peas are cooked, briefly run under cold water to cool it down a bit (so as not to completely liquefy the soft goat cheese)

  • Toss everything in a bowl and enjoy

Simple flavors. The pasta truly plays a starring role with fresh bursts of yellow cherry tomatoes (which I lovingly picked up from the Boulder Farmers Market) and the Haystack Mountain green chile goat cheese adds a light, creamy element to the bowl. Seriously. From boiling water to fork, it was 20 minutes.

August 7, 2009

[ why did they cancel this? ]

Kitchen Confidential. One full season. That's it. It's actually really funny, entertaining, and a bit of a 'guilty pleasure' show. Stupid Fox. I bet it would be quite popular now with Bradley Cooper's fame. Or maybe if they changed the title--I don't like the title very much.
Thanks, Al. Thanks, hulu.

August 4, 2009

[ grilled pork with green chile corn 'saulsa' and cilantro lime rice ]

My brother conquered the HOT green chiles from Saturday's farmer's market, and I played sous. Deconstructing a pork posole/stew recepie, he created a delicious 'saulsa' (kinda salsa, kinda sauce) to pair with the grilled pork, corn, and his trademark cilantro lime rice. Needless to say, the dish was fantastic--definitely some heat to those chiles!

Grilled goods:
  • Pork: rubbed with olive oil, sea salt, cracked pepper, cumin
  • Corn: husks off, olive oil, sea salt, cracked pepper

Green Chile and Corn 'Saulsa"

  • 3-4 roasted green chiles (from the farmer's market)
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Green pepper (optional, to taste)
  • Lime juice and zest
  • Cumin
  • Salt, pepper
  • Chicken broth
  • Puree for a few minutes with hand blender to desired texture
  • Touch of honey
  • Cilantro
  • Add grilled corn, if you'd like

Cilantro Lime Rice

  • Long grain, white rice cooked with salt and lime zest
  • When rice is finished, toss in oiled bowl with more lime juice and salt
  • Fold carefully as to not break up the rice too much
  • Add fresh, chopped cilantro

July 29, 2009

[ pea sprouts summer salad ]

[photo] I would've liked to do a nicer presentation, but this was the 'work lunch' version

This totally came together because of the random and 'leftover' produce I had in my kitchen. I had beets from Oxford Gardens and tomatoes from the Boulder Farmer's Market (don't remember the farm). Plus, I was at the Asian market with some family on Sunday and they have huge packages of pea sprouts (and VERY inexpensive, especially compared to the boutique grocery stores I usually love).
The best part about this salad and the farmer's market goodies (which I wanted to post about) is the 'duh epiphany' I finally had. I know, I know. Being the foodie as I rave to be, I may completely love and 'support' farmer's markets, but I rarely 'financially support' the farms. I will be honest, and it is truly about budget. However, this year, I've tried to get a few things here and there--I've always picked up lunch, drinks, etc at the Boulder Farmer's Market (more to post about my love for that soon), but I rarely buy veggies. Wowie! It makes a world of difference. From the kohlrabi to fava beans to the tomatoes I got last week, the veggies are soooo pure and rich in NATURAL flavor. Again, I call it a 'duh epiphany' because I've known this. Just never made the purchase. Makes me also realize why 'farm to table' is becoming such a big 'trend' as much as it's trendy to be 'green.' That's another story. Anyway, shame more people--myself included--can't or dont't shop and eat this way more often. Do what you can. I will.

Pea Sprout Summer Salad
  • Handful of pea sprouts
  • Blanched frozen peas
  • Chilled roasted beets (roasted in the oven with salt, pepper, olive oil, basil)
  • Feta cheese
  • Raisins
  • Sprinkle of flax seeds
  • Soy nuts (I didn't put them in this time, but I would next time to add a bit more texture)
  • And of course....slices of red and yellow tomatoes
  • I didn't use any dressing as the tomato and beet juices were enough moisture for me that day, however, the next day I used a simple: olive oil, balsamic vingear, lemon juice, dash of brown mustard dressing

July 28, 2009

[ rachel's ]

[photo] My empty vanilla chai / 2nd & 3rd images courtesey of Google search

I've wanted to rave about Rachel's yogurt for a while now. I tried it about a year or two ago when it first popped up in the grocery store--grapefruit lychee was the flavor that caught my eye. So cliche, but it was love at first bite, or spoonful, of this creamy, yet light, absolutely fresh flavor of yogurt. I don't buy yogurt often, but whenever I do...Rachel's is always my first pick. I've tried all of the flavors by now, another favorite being the vanilla chai. Honestly, the 'best yogurt' I've ever had was in Switzerland--some store brand version but must be the milk or the process or whatever, but it was some of the lightest, yet smooth and refreshing yogurt I have ever had. Rachel's is close to reminding me of that, and ironcally, when I looked up the company's history, it is based out of the UK having only debuted in the US in 2007. Ah, finally, some good yogurt.
I must admit, Wallaby's Down Under (fruit on the bottom) yogurt is a newfound favorite, too. Rachel's still takes 1st in my book, but Wallaby's is quite the treat as well. I especially love their packaging. Ingenious to capitalize on 'you eat with your eyes.' Try them both.

July 17, 2009

[ hommage to ica chairman ]

[photo] Screenshot from video clip below.

I've always joked with my brother about that 'chairman' character on Food Network's Iron Chef America. Who is he? Why do they even have that comical intro? Not that I'm saying he doesn't belong, coz he is HILARIOUS!
My interest in this show goes in and out, so I definitely don't have an extensive episode repertoire to talk from nor can I fully decide on how I feel about this American take on the classic Japanese version of Iron Chef. Either way, who cares? It's just a show, and it's entertaining. I must say, of all the dramatic intros I've seen, the first six minutes of this video takes the cake. Thought I'd share.
P.S. I know this episode is from November, but I never actually watched it until now. That's for the 'old news.'

July 16, 2009

[ i'm obsessed ]

[photo] Window image courtesey of Google Search / Vegan banana cake -- don't be fooled by the two forks. Eva only took one bite. Still, I couldn't finish it.

Always an easy statement to make when it comes to food, but Karyn's Cooked deserves that from me. Night three of Chicago.
Polar opposite dinner intentions that night. We originally headed toward Mr. Beef on Orleans (was highly recommended, Italian food, greasy spoon) but due to their odd Saturday hours, it got us wandering toward an L stop where we stumbled upon this hip, indie looking vegan restaurant with the phrase "concious cooking" under it's name. Perked. Sliding thru the street seating 'patio' to check out the menu by the door, I was initially confused on if it was a vegan restaurant or a raw restaurant (another I'd love to try someday) because of the website address listed [http://www.karynraw.com/]. Items like 'tofu jerk' and 'sloppy joe' caught my eye, but upon taking our first step in the door, I knew I'd like this place. Warm colors yet trendy feeling, the deep narrowness of the restaurant opened at the front with a bakery-like display case of assorted goodies, a 'take one' sample cake stand on top, and wrapping to the left of the case was *tada*...a selection of grand-sized, simple frosted cakes and pies, all missing just a few slices. Dessert? Yes, please.
Ok, I love dessert, but honestly, that impressive display wasn't the driving reason to try Karyn's. From minimal past experieces, I remembered that vegan dishes, and especially desserts, always struck a place in my stomach. Yummy. Without reservations, we were seated in the window 'well' facing Wells Street...awesome bar table for two, actually.
The drink list tempted me with its Sangria and beet juice, but I had a vision of dessert I had to splurge on. Eva ordered it though, and not only was it a beautiful ruby red, it tasted of sweet juice with a hint of the organic red wine.
Couldn't settle on one entree, at which point I wished that this restaurant was in Boulder--oh, how it would fit the demographic AND I could try everything on the menu...and more. Had to go with the Tofu Jerk Sandwich, and Eva had the special, Coconut Curry. I never had such flavorful, grill kissed tofu where the jerk slowly creeped to spicy by the end of the meal. With a side of finely shredded cole slaw and two wedge potatoes, once again, I was blown away by 'vegan food.' (Although, I don't hold that stereotypical stigma against 'vegan food' as I've only had delicous experiences.) Eva's curry was tasty too, and although she didn't care for it, I liked the brown rice intermixed.
Ah, the long awaited dessert. Tempted by the assortment and weary of not finishing such a large piece of cake, I still had to go with the banana cake despite the over half gone carrot recommended by our charming waiter. No regrets except that I couldn't eat it all. Extremely moist, light yet creamy frosting on top, the middle frosting speckled with nuts, and a layer of mushy bananas on the bottom. Heaven. Best part of it all? Yes, I overate a bit (what meal in Chicago did I NOT?) but I do agree with my cousin's comment about feeling 'light' despite the amount of food I ate. Eva and I then had a discussion about vegetarians/vegans and that 'light' feeling mainly due to the lack of grease/oil/animal fats, but oh no, that wasn't about to covert me. I enjoy a balance of foods--well, maybe need to work on the balance of proportion lately, but you know what I mean. Oh yeah, and we sampled the blueberry cheesecake--wowie for a vegan cheesecake--and the tiramasu cake--comme ci comme ca on that one.
Until next time, Chicago. See, that's why I can't live in a big city. Too many choices, too many good eats I feel overwhelmed by not knowing/covering them all.

July 14, 2009

[ blog logistics and crust ]

[photo] Lou Malnati's "The Lou" with sausage, of course / Gino's East small, patty style sausage pizza /
Giordano's stuffed pizza

I said I hesitated starting a blog for so long for many reasons. I just butt head on with one of them. I'm a perfectionist.
On 7/2 when I started this and tested out a couple different posts, I wasn't thrilled with the lack-of-bells-and-whistles site, but was definitely satisfied. Aware that with my lack of HTML skills and use of such a templated/restricting host, I would make do.
Well, I felt very accomplished and ready to "be a blogger" after my first posts until I checked my site at home and all my photos--those of which I spent hours perfecting layout and strategic spacing--were all OUT OF WHACK. Welcome to web design.
I considered giving up the whole blog thing, but here I am. It may not be the most eye-catching format, but I'm going forth...with single, center aligned photos. *cringe* I'll be ok. Please still enjoy.

Back to the important stuff. Went to Chicago last weekend. More to come, but for now, here's how I rate the top Chicago-Style Pizzerias (of course, based on first hand experience!):

[uno] Lou Malnati's -- Usually a long wait but worth it for the (optional) buttery crust, homemade sausage, perfect balance of cheese, sauce, and crust, fabulous fresh tomatoes. Most affordable AND I carried 5 frozen ones home on the plane. [http://loumalnatis.com/]

[dos] Gino's East -- At a VERY close second. I'd say sometimes #1 depending on type of crust you're craving that day coz they have a much thicker crust, especially on the bottom that just hits the spot. Unique patty style sausage option as well. [http://ginoseast.com/]

[tres] Giordano's -- Stuffed pizza style. Fanastic compared to any remotely close to 'Chicago-Style' pizza I've had in Colorado but definitely my least favorite out of the three here. Pricest, too. [http://www.giordanos.com/]

[quattro] Uno's -- Waiting to try their pizza back home. It's a chain (auto-down grade in Jenny's book) so why waste precious Chicago time for that? [http://www.unos.com/]

Hmmm...just realized my last post was about pizza, too. Honestly, I'm not THAT big of a pizza fan. Just coincidence.

July 2, 2009

[ hick house bbq chicken pizza ]

Nothing fancy, many 'restaurant-bought' items, but it was quite the yummy accomplishment--especially for a first time pizza. Really, we just wanted to put our favorite things on a pizza. Simple and yummy. (This was a collaboration with my brother, Alan, and Emily) Honestly, the key item here is the barbeque sauce. Yes, from the guys with the infamous ribs, the Hickory House. Another favorite, if not THE favorite, restaurant back home.
[By the way, you'll find that my 'food blogging style' may be slightly different. I'm not big on fancy or detailed instructions, which may make it harder for someone like you to recreate, but that's the beauty of cooking. Make it your own. I'm here to share more than teach. I'll include minmal instructions. We'll see where we go from here...] Anyway, here's the pizza.
  • Oven @ 400 degrees
  • Ceramic pizza stone
  • Corn meal for base
  • Pizzeria dough [ours was from NYP]
  • Shape pizza as desired, crust optional
  • Medium to thick coat of Hickory House BBQ sauce
  • Shredded chicken
  • Jalapenos, to taste
  • Canadian bacon
  • Pizza cheese: mozz, provolone, parm, swiss
  • Crushed red pepper, to taste
  • Brush a mix of oil and kosher salt on the crust before it goes into oven (the Emily Parcell touch)
  • Bake until it's done (yes, that means you gauge it)

[ f & w classic 2009 ]

[photos in order] Tomato Water Martini with Basil Oil, Heirloom Tomatoes, and Fresh Mozz with Michael Chiarello in the background / Chef Michael Symon / D19 logo image courtesey of d19aspen.com

Food and Wine Classic 2009 in Aspen was a couple weeks ago, but I'm still riding the high off of it. I know it's so celebrity focused sometimes, but it almost always reinstills a fresh passion in me. I think it's just being around all these vendors, consumers, and yes, celebrities, whose entire careers and most of their lives are dedicated to food. Whether they are in it for an intention other than passion, so be it, but they are in a career path I hope to cross someday. [http://www.foodandwine.com/ext/classic/]
First off, I went home that weekend not at all expecting to attend anything F&W related. I just like the crowd and atmosphere. The morning kicked off waiting in line for Giada's demo, which sold out, so I went to Michael Chiarello's Farm to Table talk/demo. It was fun in that we got to sit down, have a glass of wine, and sample his unique 'tomato water martini with basil oil, heirloom tomatoes, and fresh mozz cheese'--I must say, weary at first, but that tomato water was so fresh and pure, I can't find the right words to describe it. (I know, food blog = talking about food = need to master that 'description' part. Working on it, thanks.)
I hurried thru the Grand Tasting Tent sneaking in samples of basically everything but wine and liquor (ya, ya, I don't wanna hear it) but so typical of me. The tent really isn't my stye--well, except the 'free' samples part--it's just too crazy in there for how short of a time I get to sneak in for.
And the highlight...Michael Symon's 'Praise of Pork' demo. Who the heck cares what he was cooking--kidding! Obsessive-one aside, he was another chef who I enjoyed watching in that sort of situation--the raw, live cooking demo. He may be in the spotlight, but I felt like he was a bit unnatural during parts of the demo and where he really shined was when it was just about cooking or the food. Not the camera, advertising plugs, etc. Still goes down in the books as memorable. [http://symonsays.typepad.com/] I really like his blog even though 'he' doesn't really keep up with it anymore.
Finished the fabulous day at one of my favorites, D19, with co-workers who came up for the event. [http://www.d19aspen.com/] Love the restaurant from day one til now, but the menu has definitely changed--for the better, but unfortunately, out of my 'common folk, anytime restaurant' rating. Handmade fetticcini was absolutely amazing--soft like fresh pasta is, but perfectly al dente paired with a simple but deeply flavored tomato sauce.
Such a hard life.

[ ah. yes. ]

[photos] Courtesey of Google search

A blog. I hesitated for so long because I didn't think I was going to keep up with it, I didn't want to be trendy, I'm too much of a perfectionist, so on and so forth. Finally, I figured I'd make best of the 'time on my butt' during the workday and give myself a passionate outlet (and inlet--if that's a word) to one of my favorite things of all time. FOOD.
I cook, frequently. I bake, often. I wish I had more time to do both--maybe a future career? For now, here's my hommage to anything food related. Things I make, things I invent, things I f* up, restaurants, groceries, whatever. Bon appetito.

paprika. a spice made from ground capsicum (bell peppers). utilized differently from country to country. prominent in hugarian and spanish cooking. often smoked to enhance the flavor.

brown sugar. unrefined or partially refined sugar with the presence of molasses. natural brown sugar is produced from the first crystalization of the sugar cane. free of dyes and chemicals. higher mineral content.