Saturday, August 21, 2010

Summer Cookup Collection

I did a lot of cooking last spring semester. A lot of it wasn't chronicled, but why should every dinner be? Now, that'd be a hassle. I have a couple of pictures of experiments I've tried this summer. I finally decided to stop procrastinating and post them up. I don't know if I have the recipe for all of them, but I can give a gist of what they are and what I did.

Banh Da Lon (Vietnamese Pandan and Mung Bean Layered Cake)

This is a steamed cake, made by alternating layers of coconut-pandan rice cake and mung bean paste. I didn't have green food coloring when I made this, so it doesn't look like the typical one you see in Vietnamese stores, but it came out all right. Steaming was a little hard, and I had a tiny pie pan, so I couldn't do many layers. It came out all right. Will definitely have to keep practicing.


Mushroom Ragu(?) over Cornmeal Mush

I actually can't remember what I did with this and where exactly I got the inspiration. I think I basically put cornmeal in boiling water, then added garlic parmesan dry mix from Costco. The mushrooms were sauteed in olive oil with onions and garlic, and maybe some wine. It came out kind of bland and tough to eat, actually. Won't make this again. Plus, I need to cut off the stems of shiitake mushrooms. Those were the tough part to eat. This was like eating some kind of savory cream of wheat again. Not that great, but pretty in the picture at least.


Strawberry Jam Cake

I can't remember where I got the recipe for this. It was a cake with a swirl of strawberry jam through it. It was tasty and pretty, but not sweet enough. I added icing (lemon, milk, confectioner's sugar, butter) on top to make it more dessert-like and it was perfect.


Homemade Tomato Sauce and Broccoli over Spaghetti

This was a simple, quick, and tasty throw-together. Just put cut-up tomatoes, sauteed with garlic and onions. Cooked with tomato paste and Italian seasonings and salt. Served with steamed/boiled broccoli, parmesan cheese, and spaghetti. Very easy but probably the tastiest of my Spring 2010 cooking attempts.

Next post up is my collection of summer attempts, hits and misses, including my first FANCY CAKE! Here's a preview :D See you soon!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Crazy food all over the place - tortas, pho tacos, and jap crepes

Sooo, I'm actually just going to blog about some interesting new food popping up all over SoCal. Recipes and food I've been making or have made and need to post about shall ensue.

Like any other foodie, I've been obsessed with the torta fad lately. Soft telera rolls generously fillled with succulent meats, smears of avocado and beans, creamy queso fresco, with refreshing lettuce and tomatoes. I've tried a couple of places around North and Southern California, but I definitely have to branch out. I've had it at Senor Pedro's Tacos in San Juan Capistrano and from the Mexican supermarket Cardenas in Norco. I have to say, the one at Cardenas was by far the best so far. Luscious meat, great bread, I dunno, it was just so good. I also had one from some place in Mission District in SF (location is near the BART and McDonalds). That one was all right. Another from NorCal was from the taco truck on 1st and International in Oakland. Veryyyyy good - or maybe cuz it was 1 am in the morning, but I had eaten dinner already and I had to eat the whole thing.

Anyways, AM PM is trying to get on the bandwagon and is currently promoting their own tortas, and now a "Tower of Torta." Intrigued, I went to their facebook where they apparently have a bunch of crazy secret menu items. This is what it looks like:
Sounds like a heart attack of a secret menu, huh? Donut burger? Triple burgers, triple tortas. Pizza wrapped around a hotdog. Yeah...

Nevertheless, I am actually considering trying their torta. Just one, though. NOT that insane tower of torta. Wayyy too much for me. What do you say? Should I do it?

Other interesting food things that I've come across:

(pic from yelp)

Japanese Crepes at Harajuku Crepes in Beverley Hills. I am soooo getting a green tea crepe with azuki beans and strawberry ice cream. Going this Thursday and I'm sooo excited!!! They're so cheap too! $3.50 for crepe, $1 for fruit or azuki, $0.50 for ice cream, $0.50 for whipped cream or nutella!! So cheap but I've read soooo delicious!!!!

Vietnamese Taco: move over Korean taco trucks, the Viet taco is coming to town! Ha, now chefs and aspiring cooks are putting whatever protein they can get their hands on into corn tortillas. My mom just made pho. Maybe I'll just take the rare sliced beef, fresh onions, cilantro and put it in the flour tortillas she just bought. Wow. I've created a pho burrito. I'm gonna be famous. *waves flag*

That's what I've been up to lately. Sucked into my computer. Hope this bit was entertaining for you. Next post will be a collection of some stuff I made up at Berkeley, along with some other recipes.