I can’t believe it’s already March. Work and krav has kept me very busy during the last two months. When I did find a spare moment, I past the time by drinking copious amounts of Vietnamese iced coffee and watching lots of National Geographics while getting my baking and cooking on. Most recently, I found myself in a mad dash to bake a Momofuku (MMFK) crack pie, compost cookies, and chicken wings for Rich’s birthday. The recipes were all straight forward, but like all MMFK recipes, sometimes it takes longer to make the dish than it is to deliver a child. No joke.

Anyway, the crack pie turned out like a crack pie should – delicious and addictive, but terrible for you. I think the LA Times article broke it down to 432 calories per slice. (Now don’t get mad that I didn’t tell you because if I did, you wouldn’t have eaten it!) Golden oat cookie crust surrounding a gooey, butterscotchy middle, the pie turned out perfect,  just like the way it was described. Topped off with some powdered sugar and your taste buds are in for a taste overload.

photo courtesy of ltam 2010

The compost cookie held its own against the crack pie though. Coming in at 5 inches in diameter, the 6-ish ounce cookie contains peanuts, chocolate chips, rolos, pretzels, and potato chips.  It’s one heifer of a cookie, I must say. Each bite contains something salty, chewy, sweet, and chocolately. With the compost cookie, you get the most bang for your snacking buck. I also had to give some of these away because like the crack pie, your taste buds will love it, but your waistline and your trainer won’t.

And finally, finally, we present the MMFK chicken wings. Brined in a salt and sugar solution for 2 hours, poached in duck fat and EVOO for another hour, broiled for 10 minutes on each side, and finally tossed in a tare glaze and topped off with fresh scallions, these babies were succulent, almost on the verge of being too salty and flavorful, and perfect with white rice.

photo courtesy of ltam 2010

Although delicious, for the amount of time and effort it took to make said wings, we weren’t quite sure the payoff was entirely worth it.  But what do we know anyway? We’re just regular yups trying to save a buck, not celebrity chefs at 3 star Michelin restaurants. Whatevs.

Momofuku, what else you got for us? We’ve tried your pork belly buns, ramen with slow poached eggs, your ginger scallion noodles, roasted onions, roasted rice cakes, and now your pie, cookies, and chicken wings. The amount of time the recipes took added up to hours of valuable naptime. But nevertheless, we enjoyed every step of the way and look forward to the next challenge. Momofuku, bring it.


nom nom it is

31Jan10

It’s one thing to like eating, but it’s another to enjoy it with good friends. There is something to be said about family style dinners and communal eating. Maybe it satisfies some primal urge to cook and to eat around the community hearth, sharing stories and catching up on life. And nothing quite pleases this urge like a home cooked meal. It must be the Chinese mother in me because I love cooking and feeding people.

Most recently, we’ve shared some amazing food adventures with two fellow epicureans (what up Chris and Logan!). In in this past month alone, we managed to get together several times to feed this insatiable appetite of ours. Inspired by David Chang’s Momofuku, we slaved over the stove for TWO days to produce the pork broth that makes the Momofuku Noodle Bar ramen famous. Incidentally we also made the succulent pork belly buns that were to die for. Never satisfied, we made plans to visit the OC for some 85C sea salt coffee and baked goodies. We consumed too many calories in one sitting, but with bellies satiated we concluded that the drive was worth it. To kill some time before dinner, we squeezed in some retail therapy before we headed over to Westminster for seven courses of beef to round out the weekend. But wait! The fun doesn’t stop there. Today we made and devoured cumin pork and potato filled tamales. Following a recipe from Emeril Lagasse, the smooth masa fell away to tender slow-cooked pork, seasoned with cumin and getting a kick of heat from cayenne pepper. Our appetites know no bounds!

If January was any indication of the culinary adventures to come, I say bring it! We’re already off to a good start, because tomorrow night we’re making a visit to Campanile for restaurant week. I think it goes without saying – where there is food, we will find you and we will eat you.


Hmmm… methinks that puppo eats better than I do sometimes. I made these carob coated banana biscottis for Stella, my roommate’s puppo. (Puppo because she’s not a puppy anymore.) Anyway, she’s such a sweet doggy and I had some time, so I baked her some homemade treats. The recipe is really simple – wheat flour, flax seed, ripe bananas, vegetable oil and carob chips. Not the tastiest combo, but certainly healthy!

When we were making these yesterday, Shawn made the comment that dogs eat better than humans sometimes. Truer words were never spoken! I hardly use wheat flour when baking cakes or cookies. I usually add several sticks of butter too. I suppose dogs have a different digestive system and cannot handle the extra fat and sugar, but I don’t imagine our human arteries and digestive organs to be that much better equipped to churn through the extra starch and fat.

Anyway, I’ll leave you here with a photo of the lovely pup, sniffing up a storm, and begrudgingly wearing some holiday tinsle and ornaments. Merry Christmas!!!!


I’ve found teeny translucent snails in my kale, ladybugs in my spinach, and random buggies in my Swiss chard. Normally I would be grossed out, but finding bugs in my vegetables reminds me that my produce is  free of pesticides and little critters can live in it! Although the organic craze has been around for a while, I was recently struck by its importance. I know, I’m late to jump on the bandwagon, but everyone has their own moment of realization.

It all started when I joined the Healthy Market Basket program at work. The program brings baskets of fresh, locally grown, sustainable and sometimes organic produce to my work place every week. One basket provides me with enough produce to satisfy a weekly recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. I initially joined so that I could include more vegetables into my diet. The added perk was that the stuff also happens to be locally grown, sustainable, and organic. With the basket, I’ve killed about 4 or 5 birds with one stone. Even so, all these factors were just perks. I didn’t actively seek out these types of fruits and veggies if shopping at Ralph’s or Pavilions.

But everything came together in one fell swoop when I watched Food, Inc. This documentary highlighted every single aspect of the food industry – the people who run it, those affected by it, and those of us who eat it. It wasn’t the dirty practices of the meat industry or the governmental involvement that was upsetting, but rather the helplessness I felt after realizing that we, as consumers, are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Only a handful of companies oversee the meat industry. Everything we see on the store shelves has some corn product in it. Where do we go if we want to buy grass-fed beef and corn-less motrin?! Whole Foods (aka Whole Paycheck)? Local farmer? It’s almost has if we have been cornered and are left with no alternative options – that is what pisses me off. If I go out to eat, I’m going to have to be that person who asks if the beef is grass fed or if the chicken is free range. It seems like one of the few options is to be a non-participant, a passive stance against these conglomerates.

Sigh.

Ok, enough ranting. Instead I can be an active non-participant. I can consume less meat, I can buy from farmer’s markets instead of big chain groceries, I can stop going to fast food restaurants, I can encourage those around me to do these things. Heck, I can raise my own chickens if it came down to it. Don’t get me wrong, this will not be an easy process. I will still crave In-N-Out, I will still eat at restaurants where they serve me who knows what. But I will be reminded every time I wash my veggies and find little bugs floating in the wash that I am supporting a hugely important change that needs to happen soon.

After I saw the movie, I could not shut  up about it. I came into work on Monday, and talked to everyone who would listen to me. Hopefully I will never shut up about it – until things change and hopefully before pigs fly.


Leftovers

11Dec09

Do you guys eat leftovers? Some people won’t touch them, but I  love it. Often times if I don’t finish up a meal, I will ask for a doggy bag and save it for lunch the next day. If refrigerated and heated up properly, leftovers satisfy so much more than just hunger – it’s free and wallet friendly, quick to heat up, and sometimes tastier the second day.

The other day I ate leftover chicken curry and rice for lunch. Although leftovers never look as appetizing as a dish coming off the stove, it’s nothing a little microwave action can’t help. Reheating leftovers saves me money and time. I don’t have to spend money on a mediocre sandwich and waste time waiting in the checkout line.  I could use the time to surf the web or something, you know, something important.

Some dishes always taste better the next day. For instance, after 3 hours of simmering, beef noodle soup broth tastes full-bodied and beefy, but allowing it to sit overnight gives the the star anise, the black bean paste, dark soy  sauce a chance to meld into the broth, making it mellower and richer. Something similar happens with curry dishes. The curry chicken was milder but still rich in turmeric and cumin flavors.

I don’t fully understand the food science behind long simmering times and overnight marinades. I’m sure it has to do with the slow migration of flavor and taste molecules into hidden nooks and crannies. Certainly some magic happens when you bring great seasonings and spices together, allowing them to seep into one another overnight to form something more delectable.

In these trying economic times, I hereby advocate the return of leftovers. During a busy work week or even a lazy Saturday, leftovers bring comfort, satisfaction, and a little money-saving, one meal at a time.


Look at that fatty sitting in its own juices amongst a nest of roasted potatoes and carrots. Looking at this picture reminds me of how I feel when I’ve eaten too much and surpassed the threshold of fullness. Oh, but eating it was such a delightful sensory experience!

This roasted birdy got me thinking the other roasted bird that I’ll be happily consuming next week. I’m thinking about all the wonderful accompaniments I will be eating and all the drinks I will be imbibing and the subsequent sleepy stupor I will be sitting in afterward. It’s such a lovely way to spend a long weekend.

As much as the holidays are commercialized, I am more than happy to indulge in the company of friends and family, loosen the belt buckle to eat thirds and fourths, and to celebrate the holiday cheer!

HAPPY TURKEY DAY!!!


It started almost 3 years ago with a gift. Sister to brother for Christmas, because she’s awesome. Had to fire it up, epic style.

Enter: Inaugural annual Fry Fest. Jan 1st, 2007. Yep, gotta start the year off right.

Of course we did the obligatory must-fry foods, such as potatoes, onions, mushrooms, zucchini, clams, scallops, etc etc. Yes, we fried anything and everything. Life was grand.

Pictured here is the pride of the last Fry Fest: Battered deep fried twink-os (i’m not being paid for product advertising yet). Crispy on the outside, moist and cakey on the inside.  Surprisingly, it actually tasted “healthier” than I thought it would be. Definitely getting twink-os again for the next one.

Whoever invented doing this gets 2 cool points in my book.