Friday, February 22, 2008


D's mother had given me some red peppers, and I had grilled and marinated them a few days ago. Since we had some nice goat cheese around anyway, and also a great loaf of rosemary bread sitting around, I decided that a roasted red pepper panini was in order.

roasted red pepper and goat cheese panini
This was a yummy sandwich. The fog lights cheese was a nice foil for the peppers.
[rosemary bread, fog lights goat cheese, red peppers (marinated in olive oil, red wine vinegar, rosemary, salt)]


Thursday, February 21, 2008

best banana cake

This recipe comes from a cookbook our friend wrote, called The Sweet Spot.This is what her husband had to say about the recipe:
"Best. Banana . Bread. Ever. OK, stop. I know what you're thinking. Did he really have to resort to tired punctuation cliches to make his point? And, c'mon already, how good can banana bread really be? Friend, I am gently weeping at the memory of this bread. I almost mailed a piece to you, but I was too selfish. We kept it from our kids. We cried when Pichet took half the loaf to share with Sherry Yard, the pastry chef at Spago. I'm not ashamed to say that long after the last piece was gone, I combed the kitchen for stray crumbs like I would search the woods for a lost child. Seriously, one of the ten best things I've ever eaten. Easy."

Unfortunately, I don't have the mad skills of the pastry chef who created it, so no tears were really shed when the last piece was gone. But, it was an extremely good banana cake. You should all run out and buy the cookbook.

banana cake
The one thing I always do with banana bread is fry it with butter. It crisps up so nicely and is much nicer to eat when it's warm.
[butter, flour, baking powder, honey, light brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, bananas, vanilla extract, eggs, yogurt, chocolate chips]


Monday, February 18, 2008

guest chef series #9: more decadence

This is something we usually only get at restaurants, namely or favorite Taiwanese beer hall called Indian (yes, it's a bizarre and politically incorrect theme), but my super mom made some for us. It's essentially deep fried cha-siu (which is cantonese style bbq pork).

hong shao rou
I think the trick is tapioca flour, but I'm not sure. The coating isn't really thick, more like it's lightly dusted with some sort of starch.


Sunday, February 17, 2008


We always feel kind of guilty for eating like this for dinner. Somehow the cheese and charcuterie plate seems like an overabundance of good things. D always thinks of the scene in Lord of the Rings where Denethor is eating and sending Faramir off to be killed. We don't send our children on suicide missions or eat tomatoes and let it dribble down our chins, but I think D's sense of the decadence of that scene carries into our eating.

cheese & charcuterie plates
The cheeses are Fog Lights from Cypress Grove Chevre, Piave, and Manchego. The charcuterie is from La Quercia - speck and proscuitto. All were purchased at the new mega Whole Foods in Pasadena.

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

taste testing

We have an inordinate fondness for taste tests. So, L + E invited us over for a fried chicken taste test. The contenders: Popeyes, Ralphs, and Pollo Campero. The overall winner was Popeyes, with Pollo Campero coming in second. There were tons of leftovers, so this is where they ended up.

fried chicken salad
We put the fried chicken on romaine to offset the fact that we were eating fried chicken two days in a row. As you can see, the top contender didn't last to make it into leftovers - we ate all of it the first night.


Friday, February 08, 2008

freaky veggies

I have no idea what this vegetable is. The final cooked texture was sort of melon/cucumber-like. The outside was really prickly. It had a mild, greenish taste, sort of like wintermelon.

stir-fried beef and vegetables
I marinated the beef in sa cha sauce, soy sauce and garlic, and then stir fried it together with onions and the mystery vegetable.
[beef, mystery vegetable, onions, sa cha sauce, soy sauce, garlic, ginger]

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Monday, February 04, 2008

more things made with duck

Here are a couple more things made with the duck confit.

duck breast with butternut squash gratin redux
This is basically the same meal we had at the beginning of the whole duck adventure, except I took the butternut squash gratin and pureed it into a soup.

duck rillettes
Duck fat + duck confit + food processor = rillettes. Very tasty on toast.


Sunday, February 03, 2008


We got invited to a superbowl party, but really, we're the sort of people who only watch the superbowl for the commercials. I brought some chili and cornbread for the festivities.

pork chili and cornbread
I should have added a little more chipotle to the chili, but I was pretty worried about making it too spicy for the non-spicy folks at the party. (I added it to the leftovers the next day, and it was so much tastier.) The cornbread was made with toasted cornmeal, which brings out an extra dimension to the flavor. It also makes your house smell like popcorn.
[chili: pork shoulder, bacon, black-eye peas, tomatoes, chipotle, ancho, cayenne, salt, pepper; cornbread: cornmeal, eggs, butter, sugar, buttermilk, baking soda, baking powder, salt]

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Saturday, February 02, 2008

decadent midnight snack

I was given these ridiculously fresh scallops. I couldn't bear to do anything to them but season them with salt and pepper and then barely sear them.

duck confit with mixed greens
These were so sweet and tender, it was amazing. The pink block in the background is pink rock salt.
[scallops, salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon juice]


Friday, February 01, 2008


After 1.5 days of salt-marinating and 2-3 hours of braising, I had some very nice duck confit.

duck confit with mixed greens
It's actually quite easy to make confit, you just can't be squamish about the large amounts of fat used in the process. I think I marinated it a little too long, since the duck legs were on the small side, but eaten in combination with a salad, it was perfect.
[duck confit: duck legs & wings, duck fat, salt, thyme, garlic; salad:salad greens, walnuts, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper]

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