Monthly Archives: September 2007

*Hiccup*

Is it in bad form to get drunk at one in the afternoon when you’re not in Vegas or at Mardi Gras? Classy I am, I know. I had intentions to go to Moreno Valley to check out Salo Salo Grill after hearing so much about it from Angela, but didn’t find time to head that direction. Instead today we went to Rancho Cucamonga to Victoria Gardens where they were having a Wine Festival. It was very minimal, with only three wineries there, but oooooooooh tasty. For $5, I got seven ounces of pure bliss. In attendance was Joseph Filippi Winery and I had some of their Fondant√ɬ© Ciello – “Sweet Heaven” Port. Very chocolatey and at 18% alcohol, 7 ounces, empty stomach and warm weather….I got quite drunk pretty fast. Oops. Jason was entertained by my utter silliness and a pastrami sandwich and chilli cheese fries from The Hat never tasted so good. For dessert, Pinkberry! Original with mochi. Mmmmmm.

In other news, Jason wants to be able to carry me by our one year anniversary. No comment. :-P LOL Is it doable? Sure. Very easily? Hmm…that’s another story. But I vow to put my best foot forward in losing weight and getting in shape. We’ll see how things go.

Che Dau

So simple and oh so good. Every so often I miss my mom’s cooking and the stuff I can find in Monterey Park and find a way to whip it up myself. Che dau is a variety of different Vietnamese desserts that use beans. You can usually find these in plastic cups at a banh mi shop. I made the one below last weekend. The rice kind of stuck at the bottom of the pan, I can’t stand when that happens. I wonder if this would work in a rice cooker…

Other recipes to come in the future! :-)

IMG_0531

1/2 cup dry black-eyed peas
5 cups water
1/2 cup glutinious rice
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Soak black-eyed peas in warm water for three hours or overnight
2. In a small saucepan, combine black-eyed peas and three cups fresh water. Bring to a boil, turn heat down to medium and cook peas until done – about 25 minutes. Drain and set aside.
3. In a separate saucepan, combine rice and two cups water. Bring to a boil, turn heat to medium. Stir black-eyed peas into rice and cook about 10 minutes. Pudding should look thick and soupy.
4. Reserve 1/2 cup coconut millk for sauce. Stir remaining coconut milk, sugar, and salt into pudding. Stir vigorously over low heat for about two minutes. Remove from heat and cool.
5. Heat remaining coconut milk, add sugar to taste and 1 tsp tapioca starch to thicken for sauce.

Serve in a small bowl or cup and spoon coconut sauce over the top. Serves 4

Pest control

Meet my spider killing machine, Birdie.

IMG_0248

Looks harmless and adorable, no? Most times she is, but boy was she in action today! She was sitting by sliding glass door staring at the outside world as usual and next thing I know she was hopping around in a frenzy. Took me a moment for me to notice the skinny spider on the floor trying to mind it’s own business. Split second later she pounced on it again and scored. Ran off to the bedroom before I could get it away from her. Like a little kid with a new toy or candy. LOL I guess if we ever find a mouse, we are in good hands with her.

Dreamy

Last Saturday I went and did an introductory session over at Dream Dinners. If you’ve never heard of them, it is a meal assembly store to make cooking meals a little easier on those short on time or perhaps a little short on kitchen talent. They rotate items and have different menus every month to choose from. You sign up ahead of time for a session and pick out your meals. Then when it’s time to go there, all you need to do is bring along a cooler or box to pack up all your food. They’ve got several food prep stations laid out for each different meal they offer. When you get there, you get a set of labels with the food your ordered complete with cooking instructions and you go station to station and prepare your meals. Each station has a recipe list of the ingredients you will need. What is great is that outside of the main food item (meat usually), you can add or subtract the other ingredients to your liking. So if you like things spicy, you can add more heat. Don’t like ginger? Cut it out. The introductory offer was 3 meals (six servings each) for $50. About $3 a serving. After that, any future sessions are booked at a 36 serving minimum. You can do 6 serving meals or if you can do half that and do 3 serving meals if you’re feeding a smaller number of people. It is slightly more cost effective to do the 6 serving meals.

I found it to be super easy and so convenient! My three choices were garlic and balsamic marinated roast, Caribbean pork roast with honey mustard sauce, and stuffed flounder with white wine sauce. Everything is laid out for you at the different food stations and you just put the different ingredients into zip lock bags and you are all set. I love that the meats are all lean and lowfat as possible. Most of the recipes are pretty simple. I was able to remember most of the ingredients and jotted them all down when I got home. This way, if we like something I got through them and I can get a good deal on the meat through a sale, I will be able to make it myself for about the same price or cheaper!

I’ve already cooked the sirloin roast and it is sooo delish. Had it for lunch today. We are not big dinner eaters and are also cutting down our portions to lose some weight, so I was able to stretch the 6 servings into 8 and they are our Dream Lunches rather than dinner. The marinade made a wonderful sauce for the roast. They tell you to discard the marinade but why!?! Stick it on the stove and let it cook and reduce, add a bit of starch and it makes an amazing sauce to put over the meat. To go along with it, I made some spaghetti squash with grated mizithra cheese and some mushroom and quinoa risotto.

I’ve already signed up for another session for the end of October. It’s not something I would do every month…it’s a lot of food for two people on diets! But this is definitely something I would do a handful of times a year to try new things. It’s a great way to add new things to my cooking repertoire.

Is this a carb or a protein?

With my begging, Jason and I spent last night at the LA County Fair. It’s the foodie in me. I don’t go for the rides. Or the animals. Or all the weird stuff on sale. Point me to the the crazy deep fried stuff! It took some time to get there as we got lost along the way.

IMG_0439

But we finally made it after making a stop at the mall to get tickets through an AT&T store. Grabbed a map of the fair food and off we went! I wasn’t about to eat my way through the fair. All I wanted was to try some fried Coke. I mean really….who the hell thinks up of frying Coke!?! Took quite a bit of walking (gotta walk off what we eat afterall) and a lot of squirming through crowds but we eventually hit jackpot.

IMG_0434

A month’s worth of calories all in one photo. Fried veggies, fried s’more and of course, the fried Coke.

IMG_0435

The Coke and s’more were tasty!! The Coke looked like itty bitty bits of funnel cake made with Coke and then topped with whipped cream and a cherry. I think the cherry was the healthiest thing in the photo. The Coke flavor was subtle, but just right for me. The s’more was just a oozing pile of pure bliss. However, the veggies were no bueno. I think everyone was going after the sweets and they were sitting out for awhile. Blech. Make matters worse, I thought I would buy an ear of roasted corn to make up for the disastrous veggies. $4 for so so corn dripping in butter. I can make better corn than that. Lesson learned…just say no to veggies at the fair. ;-)

I think all that grease had side effects on my vision…

IMG_0441

In the end, we had spent at most two hours there. We left the house with $100 in hand and came back with about $40. We didn’t even go on any rides. I don’t want to imagine how much other people are spending at the fair. At these costs, I find myself feeling that Disneyland is cheaper!

Hot hot hot!

Will this insane heat go away already!?! And why oh why did the worst of the weather have to fall during Labor Day weekend? Jason and I spent all day Sunday at Huntington Beach with some friends for a last summer hurrah. As glad I was to not have been in the sweltering IE, it was still pretty hot at the beach. This Asian chicky got sunburned BAD! I hardly do, at most my shoulders, but this time my legs, arms, and chest are all nice and red. My saving grace was the ice cold ocean.

In spite of the burns, it was a great time at the beach with Sean, Carla, Eddy, Skip, and Sue. Yummy food on the BBQ + a nice bonfire with s’mores + sun, sand, water + friends = good times.

We tried to plan our next beach outing to be at one of the Crystal Cove cottages for our anniversary, but no such luck. Those suckers went fast and I clicked on the reserve button right at 8 am when they became available. :-( So now we need to decide to go with a different beach rental or to go up to the mountains and rent a cozy cabin. I’m leaning towards a cabin right now.

We also need to decide between Mardi Gras or a trip to China next February. If we do Mardi Gras, we need to start looking for flights soon. I would LOVE to go to Mardi Gras again. I miss the city. I miss my hooches. But depending on the details of the China trip, which would be with my parents, it may be an opportunity that we can’t pass up and will have to push NOLA back one more year. Must find some time this week to talk to my mom.