Thursday, November 30, 2006

turkey pot pie

It took a while, but we finally got around to eating up our leftover turkey.

spinach & turkey pot pie
I didn't really have a recipe to go by, I just improvised. We're trying to eat lighter, so the bechamel sauce is really made with lowfat milk. There's still a substantial amount of butter, though. The biscuit topping is courtesy of Knott's Berry Farm biscuit mix. It's actually very good.
[spinach, turkey, carrots, onions, garlic, butter, milk, flour, salt, pepper, Knott's Berry Farm biscuit mix]

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


We really don't eat sushi all the time. My mom just happened to have a large slab that she had already defrosted, so we had to eat it.

hamachi in various shapes
Mmmmm. Hamachi.
[sushi rice, nori seaweed, hamachi, radish sprouts, masago, wasabi, soy sauce]

Sunday, November 26, 2006

sushi euphoria

After lunch at Curry House, we went down to Nijiya to pick up some fish.

salmon hamachi handrolls
I guess this isn't really "cooking". I made the rice, but that really takes no effort. I thought I would try to wild salmon sashimi instead of the regular stuff (I guess it's farm-raised). It's much leaner, but still has a buttery texture, and the color is a much deeper red. It's almost tuna-like in color.
[wild salmon sashimi, hamachi, sushi rice, radish sprouts, masago, wasabi, soy sauce]

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

two salads

I love the farmer's market. I don't know why I don't go more frequently.

tomato mozzarella basil
Heirloom tomatoes from the farmers market really made this special. My basil wasn't so special, so I made it into basil oil, rather than trying to use the whole leaves.
[heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil oil, salt, pepper]

beets, walnuts & feta on arugula
I love arugula.
[arugula, roasted beets, feta cheese, walnuts, olive oil, lemon juice, sugar, salt, pepper]

Monday, November 20, 2006


This Margaret must have been some party girl to have both a pizza and a drink named after her; in two different countries, no less.

pizza margherita
Sadly enough, the basil I had bought was already wilting, but I salvaged what I could and used it on the remainder of the leftover pizza dough.
[pizza dough, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, basil, olive oil, salt, pepper]

Saturday, November 18, 2006

hash & eggs

I think this makes a nice abstract composition.

hash browns & poached eggs
Hash browns are really easy to do at home (if you have a food processor), so these are a regular on our Saturday brunch menus.
[russet potatoes, salt, pepper, butter, egg]

Thursday, November 16, 2006

fatty pork

I'm sure there's a proper Chinese name for this dish, but it will always be referred to as "fatty pork" in our household.

braised pork belly
I've been on a "bring-food-to-people" kick. This went as a picnic to R&D's as a pre-move dinner. I braised the pork belly in anise, garlic, ginger, soy sauce and water. I upped the heat level by adding a few slices of my mom's home-grown chili peppers.
[pork belly, water, soy sauce, brown sugar, chinese rice wine, star anise, ginger, garlic, chili pepper; boy choy, zucchini]

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

moroccan feast

I had preserved these lemons several months ago, and have just now gotten around to using them. If I had known how tasty they'd be, I'd have used them up much earlier than this.

moroccan chicken with lemon and olives
This is my first time making anything like this, so I followed the recipe pretty carefully. I did have to double it since I was cooking for 10 people, but I think it came out pretty well. Recipe from epicurious. You'll have to do a search as I can't link directly to the recipe for some reason. It's called chicken with lemons and olives emshmel.
[chicken, garlic, ground ginger, paprika, pepper, oil, onion, saffron, parsley, coriander, olives, preserved lemons, lemon juice]

couscous with almonds and raisins
Who knew couscous would be so easy? It's easier than instant noodles, and I suspect that it's much healthier, too.
[couscous, tomatoes, raisins, almonds, salt, pepper]

I made this hummus from dried garbanzo beans. I'm not sure it's worth the effort. I'm going to go back to canned beans.
[garbanzo beans, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, water, olive oil]

Monday, November 13, 2006

quesadilla - cheese + salad = ?

It's a quesadilla, it's a salad!

cal-mex wrap
A 20-minute meal. Really! The chili spice rub to the rescue!
[chicken, salad greens, flour tortilla, chili spice rub, lime juice]

Saturday, November 11, 2006

simple breakfast

Homemade bread, a fried egg, and salami.

eggs on toast
This was the no-knead bread. It was hard for us not to eat the whole loaf in one go the night before, but the remainder got eaten up for breakfast.
[no-knead bread, egg, salami, butter]

Friday, November 10, 2006

wonder bread

Mark Bittman just did a piece on this amazing bread. It's pretty miraculous.

no-knead bread
This is truly an amazing bread. I still need to try the recipe a few more times to finesse it, but on a first run, it has great potential. I think I should have left it in the oven for another 5 minutes or so (after I removed the lid, I continued baking for 15 minutes.) The crust wasn't as crispy as I would have liked. I also let it rise for almost 24 hours, which may have been a little too long, as there were very large holes in the bread. It looked beautifully rustic, and had a chewy texture.
[bread flour, water, yeast, salt]

- 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
- 3/4 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
- Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

By Mark Bittman, from the New York Times, November 8, 2006
Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery

Sunday, November 05, 2006

hot n spicy

I think YS taught me this dish, and it's great for cold winter nights. We don't get so many now that we've moved back to LA, but it's still a good, hearty, one-pot meal. I forgot to take a picture, so you'll just have to imagine it.

kimchee pork
I just let this stew for the afternoon, while I'm working. It's pretty basic, throw the pork ribs into a pot with some water and a couple of slices of ginger and crushed garlic. A few hours later, add the kimchee and let simmer for as long as you need. If I have any around, I add some rehydrated shiitake mushrooms. D likes to dip his pork into more soy sauce as we're eating it.
[pork ribs, kimchee, garlic, ginger, water]

Friday, November 03, 2006

pizza party

We decided to have a mini-design-class reunion. This is a terrible photo, but it's the best one we had.

build your own pizzas
I parbaked a bunch of pizza doughs, and put out a variety of toppings for people to build their own pizzas.
[pizza dough, eggplant, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, onions, mushrooms, pepperoni, salami, mozzarella/cheddar mix, red peppers, chicken, tomato sauce, garlic-chili oil]

lemon bundt cake
For dessert, I had made a lemon bundt cake, from Cook's Illustrated magazine. It was extremely lemony and rich. I didn't do the second coating of glaze (I didn't have enough confectioner's sugar), so I just dusted the top with the small amount of confectioner's sugar I had left.

- 3 lemons , zest grated and saved, then juiced for 3 tablespoons juice (see note above)
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (15 ounces)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk (preferably)
- 3 large eggs , at room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk , at room temperature
- 18 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 1/4 sticks), at room temperature
- 2 cups sugar (14 ounces)

- 2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (see note above)
- 1 tablespoon buttermilk
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar (8 ounces)

1. FOR THE CAKE: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 12-cup Bundt pan with nonstick baking spray with flour (alternatively, brush pan with mixture of 1 tablespoon flour and 1 tablespoon melted butter). Mince lemon zest to fine paste (you should have about 2 tablespoons). Combine zest and lemon juice in small bowl; set aside to soften, 10 to 15 minutes.

2. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Combine lemon juice mixture, vanilla, and buttermilk in medium bowl. In small bowl, gently whisk eggs and yolk to combine. In standing mixer fitted with flat beater, cream butter and sugar at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes; scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula. Reduce to medium speed and add half of eggs, mixing until incorporated, about 15 seconds. Repeat with remaining eggs; scrape down bowl again. Reduce to low speed; add about one-third of flour mixture, followed by half of buttermilk mixture, mixing until just incorporated after each addition (about 5 seconds). Repeat using half of remaining flour mixture and all of remaining buttermilk mixture. Scrape bowl and add remaining flour mixture; mix at medium-low speed until batter is thoroughly combined, about 15 seconds. Remove bowl from mixer and fold batter once or twice with rubber spatula to incorporate any remaining flour. Scrape into prepared pan.

3. Bake until top is golden brown and wooden skewer or toothpick inserted into center comes out with no crumbs attached, 45 to 50 minutes.

4. FOR THE GLAZE: While cake is baking, whisk 2 tablespoons lemon juice, buttermilk, and confectioners' sugar until smooth, adding more lemon juice gradually as needed until glaze is thick but still pourable (mixture should leave faint trail across bottom of mixing bowl when drizzled from whisk). Cool cake in pan on wire rack set over baking sheet for 10 minutes, then invert cake directly onto rack. Pour half of glaze over warm cake and let cool for 1 hour; pour remaining glaze evenly over top of cake and continue to cool to room temperature, at least 2 hours. Cut into slices and serve.

Recipe from Cook's Illustrated magazine.

egg "mc"muffin

As much as I love McDonald's Egg McMuffins, the ones made at home are that much better!

egg on english muffin
I had a leftover egg white from the cake baking, so I decided to scramble some eggs for myself this morning. It turned into a little open-faced sandwich. To make the scrambled eggs all soft and creamy, I add a little bit of heavy cream.
[english muffin, butter, salami, eggs, heavy cream]

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

china recap

The trip to China was lots of fun; a lot of quality time spent with the sibs. If anyone is curious to see about 1/10 of our ridiculous number of pictures, they're up. Flickr tag is "pandasaur" if you want to see the sibs' posted photos, too.

The most noteworthy food we had was the Peking duck. We went to a restaurant particularly known for their "extra-lean" peking duck. And it was amazingly lean, and the most unusual thing was that they cut off the crispiest part of the skin, and instead of wrapping that in the bread, you dipped in some raw sugar and ate it like that. It really just melted in your mouth. It's worth another trip to Beijing to have it again.