Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Paula Deen Will Be Proud: Mini Donut Project Prep

I just bought three 1-lb blocks of unsalted butter from Safeway at 11 pm.

Mini Baked Donut semester-long project.

It's on.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Food Blips from Texas

A long overdue and unfortunately truncated post, this is a picture recap of some food-related things I pursued during my internship in Texas.

Sundried tomato risotto (Lundberg) with Blue Baker Olive Focaccia,
made for an intern dinner I planned.

Bourbon Bread Pudding from Bell Ranch Steakhouse,
in the Hilton Hotel.  Very very sweet and very large portion.

Pho Bo Tai - rare sliced beef pho - from Rosie's pho. This was so good.
I never realized pho could rival or exceed my mom's homemade pho.

Japan vs US cake made for the Women's FIFA Final game.

Cream cheese frosting....Japan or US. Who would win?....

Hard to celebrate after, since most of my friends were rooting for
America, so they didn't feel like eating cake. Cake was like a cinnamon
muffin texture and flavor.

Failed attempt at beer bread (made it bland this time around), and
surprisingly delectable cornmeal cookies. Easy to snack on.

Like crisper, but still light and airy, corn bread in bite sized pieces,
lightly dusted with powdered sugar.

Secret menu item at McDonalds: Strawberry Pie McFlurry.
Only $1 in Texas. So good! Not overtly sweet like DQ Blizzards.

La Bodega crab enchiladas. Decent. Their tomato sauce is like
a strange pasta sauce.

Fish burrito. Green sauce is okay. Too much creamy topping. Red
sauce also like pasta sauce. Innards do not have enough fish >:(

Potbelly's Berry Smoothie. So many seeds, so you know
it's real fruit. Good taste, good price. So cute with the
cookies on top!

My last baking in Texas. Had to make Texas "chicken in a chive biscuit"
with my Texas cookie cutter. ^_^

That pretty much recaps my food adventures in Texas. Sorry for the lack of recipes of some of the things I made. The result of these recipes I think were only all right, not anything spectacular. I was mostly proud of the presentation for my FIFA cake and my Texas-shaped biscuits. And I had to share the Pie McFlurry with you all. Everyone has to definitely try this at least once. The saltiness of the pie crust complements the sweetness of the filling and the sweet milkiness of the ice cream.

Hope you have enjoyed my (partial) itinerary of Texas!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Forgot to thaw your meat? Try...Tofu Sloppy Joe's!

Oh no. You've done it again.

After a long day at work (or school, in my case), you return home in the evening and realize that you never put out your frozen meat to thaw out. It is sitting nice and frigid in the freezer, encased in frost and icicles, hard as a rock.

Source: What's Cooking America

You don't want to try and thaw it now. Nuking in the microwave would just result in an exterior of tan-white cooked sections over a still-frozen nucleus. Darn, why does that cell have to have both a membrane and a cell wall as barriers!

...But I digress...way too far into biology.

The matter is that you have no centerpiece to your dinner tonight? What do you do?

This is where tofu comes to the rescue. Yes, all you carnivores. Tofu. Although many people cringe at the thought of tofu, prepared correctly, it can be the shining star of a dish. The great thing about tofu nowadays is that it comes it so many varieties and can keep in the refrigerator for one or two weeks without going bad. Even then, you can just freeze it for use later.

Source: Restaurant Widow

Last week, I had come home and had nothing for quick dinner options but ramen, soup in a can, or buying out. Luckily, I had a pack of firm tofu in the fridge, which would complement well with the abundance of tomatoes I had. The idea for tofu sloppy joes came up. Healthy, quick, and not too warm for these hot summer nights (which are fading soon!).

I started off by looking up recipes for tofu sloppy joes, coming across this and this, but nothing was really satisfactory to me nor to the ingredients I had at hand. So I improvised, which means the recipe below is a rough estimate of what I did. I admit, what resulted did not have the original smoky, hearty flavor of a classic beef sloppy joe, but it was very flavorful and made a great sandwich filling that was not sloppy at all. Maybe I should call these Tofu Clean Joe's, instead!

Tofu Sloppy (or Clean) Joe's (serves 4-6)
1 block (12-16oz) silken firm tofu
3-4 tomatoes, diced, some seeds and liquid innards removed
3-4 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
2-3 Tbs Gochujang sauce (Korean red pepper paste, *see Notes)
1 Tbs ketchup
1 small white or yellow onion, fine diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 stalks of green onion, chopped
Sprinkling of sugar
salt and pepper

For assembly:
8-12 bread slices (Whole Food's organic multigrain is a great one)
8-12 green lettuce leaves
2-4 tomato slices per sandwich if desired

1. Drain the tofu and mash. Set aside.
2. Heat a medium skillet pan over medium heat. Add in some oil and saute the onion till yellow. Add in half of the garlic and saute until fragrant and lightly tanned. Add in the tofu and cook, stirring occasionally for 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat.
3. In a large pan, saute the garlic until lightly tanned. Throw in all the tomatoes and simmer. Add in the Worcestershire, Gochujang, and ketchup. Add in sugar, salt, and pepper until you get the taste you want. For more spicy, add more Gochujang. More tang, add more Worcestershire. More sweet, add more sugar or molasses or brown sugar.
4. Add in the tofu onion mixture. Simmer about 5-10 minutes. Adjust seasoning further as desired. Sprinkle top with chopped green onion.
5. To assemble, spread the tofu mixture 1/3-1/2 inch thick on one bread slice. Place tomato slices on top. Place two lettuce leaves on the other side of the bread and serve (let guests see the wonderful filling before they place the sandwich it all together!).

*This came out super tasty and my two housemates really liked it. Really try the Whole Food's organic multigrain small batch bread. Its texture, thickness, and taste is great for pretty much anything. I would definitely make this again when I have some extra tomatoes and silken firm tofu lying about.
* If I had more ketchup laying around and had the made the effort to cut one or two more tomatoes, it would have made more sauce, which I think would have added to the dish overall.
* If you don't have gochujang, you can probably just use some tomato paste from a can and add in pepper flakes or powder.