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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Thai Stir-Fry, One Wok Cooking, for serious!



I made the most delicious dinner on Monday night last week, man I was quite pleased with myself.  Not only was it delicious but it was also the first time I'd ever cooked shrimp.  I bought this seasoning pack from the local grocery store thinking it was Tom Yum, but it turned out to be something else, still wonderful.  I just kind of made up everything as I went along but here's what I used in case you want to re-create this:





1 pack panang curry paste

1 can of cocnut milk

2 zucchini

2 yellow squash

1 red pepper

1 yellow pepper

1 onion

10 cloves of garlic (you can put as much or as little in as you want, we love garlic)

1ish cup of snap peas

1ish cup of string muschrooms

1/2 cup of spicy red peppers chopped (including seeds to make it extra spicy)

As much shrimp as you want or whatever kind of meat you'd prefer.


I have a gigantic wok with a lid that I use for this but I think you could also do it in a big pot.


First I missed the garlic, onions, coconut milk and the curry paste together in the wok and turned on the heat low.  I wanted to make sure the garlic cooked all the way and I thought the flavor would be extra awesome.  While that was slowly cooking I chopped up the zucchini, and yellow squash.  I threw those in and stirred them around.  And I put the lid on the wok to keep the heat in and help cook the squash.

Then I chopped up the snap peas, okay I just cut off the stringy ends.  Add those, stir everything around a little so that everything is coated nicely.

I chopped up the spicy red peppers next, they're little so I chopped up 10 of them.  I throw in the ingredients based on how cooked I want things.  That's the reason for this ordering.  Oh, and always stir after you throw in a new ingredient.

Next I chopped up the yellow and red peppers, in large chunks and threw them in, followed shortly by the string mushrooms.

Lastly, I got out the shrimp and butterflied half of them just to see if it would make a difference when it came to soaking up the flavor.  In the end I don't think it mattered too much.  I threw in the shrimp and stirred everything around, put the lid on and let it cook for 5 more minutes-sh and then it was done!

The whole process takes about 45 minutes.  Which is perfect because that's how long it takes for the rice cooker to cook rice and for Bob to get home from the office.

I had picked up a sushi tray earlier in the day and we had that as a little appetizer, although we totally didn't need it because I have a habit of cooking way too much food.  This recipe made about 4 servings, and I'm talking pretty good sized servings.



It was really good, we'll be eating it again in the future.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Ridiculous Burger

My coworker Ryan and I goto HRD Cafe and have decided our plan is to continue to make ridiculous burgers. What we have here is a standard breakfast burger: bun, pickles, lettuce, tomato, mayo and a burger patty. Breakfast fixins' inlude hasbrowns and a fried egg. Ridiculous fixins' include bacon and Korean BBQ pork.

Strangely enough, after eating this I didn't feel nearly as bad had I eaten a McGriddle sandwich. Those things are bricks.

The goal for the next burger is to see if they have roast turkey (which they do now and then) and include that on top of everything else. Three meats? Three times the delicious.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Bacon Wrapped Steelhead (with other stuff)

I made some eats last night: Bacon Wrapped Steelhead (glazed with a little maple syrup and soy sauce) with Red Pepper Mashed Potatoes (mashed by hand) and oven-roasted broccoli (with garlic). Yea, it was pretty good.

The recipe was actually pretty easy to follow. This recipe was actually for salmon, but steelhead is a nice cheaper alternative. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and make sure there's a rack on the top third and bottom third of the oven. Also, the fish will be needing a broiling ban.

Simply salt and pepper the steelhead, wrap it in bacon and then put it on the broiling pan. This should go into the oven for about 12-15 minutes, depending on fish thickness. Place it on the top third rack. Also make sure the bacon is cooked all the way through and crispy.

The broccoli is to be tossed in a mixture of 3 tablespoons of olive oil and three chopped cloves of garlic. A tablespoon of lemon juice helps too. Salt and pepper to taste, then place it on the bottom third rack for 12-15 minutes.

The mashed potatoes were five peeled Yukon gold potatoes, cooked in boiling salted water for 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes and mash them with 1/2 cup of milk (or cream) and 1/2 cup chicken broth. Mash all night long. Garlic salt, black pepper and red pepper to taste.

Just a note to make: we didn't have a broiling pan and our oven is strange (doesn't keep an even heat throughout). So, I had to put the fish in the microwave after the oven for about 3 minutes to make sure it was cooked all the way through. This made the once crispy bacon less crispy, but still bacon-y.

Friday, November 12, 2010

HaiDiLao - HOT POT!!!! Jing'An, Shanghai

Poor Eric and Bob had lots of meetings on Thursday so we all went out to HaiDiLao for dinner at the end of the day. We LOVE HaiDiLao, the place is seriously amazing, and we're like celebrities there.  Ever since the first time Eric took us with Richard, whenever we go we never have to wait for a table, even if the place is packed.  They always seat us right away, I think it's because we're fat americans so they think we'll order more, which to be fair, we probably do.

Even if we weren't celebrities there, the wait would still be awesome.  The way HaiDiLao is set up, even when you're waiting for a table they take great care of you.  There are snacks and games, and if you want you can get a hand massage, or get your hair cut or your shoes shine, or have your nails done, FOR FREE while you wait.  It is truly amazing and full service and I have never met a nicer staff.

Our Miso Base:


Anyway, we decided that rather than getting the two variations of cooking soup/sauce that we usually do, one spicy and one more miso-esque that we would just do the miso-esque one and I'm quite please that we did, it was great.  We had mushrooms, lotus root, bamboo shoots, cabbage, tofu strips, shrimp balls, beef balls and thin slices of beef and Kung Fu Noodles.  We love HaiDiLao, it's like fondue in the sense that you cook the food yourself, but even better because there's a spice bar.

Yummy fixings:


I love the shrimp balls, lotus root and tofu the best.  I think they pick up the most flavor, and have the best texture.  The tofu is neat because instead of being chunks, they're strips of tofu that are textured.  And if you've never had lotus root you should definitely try it out.  It's very similar to a potato, but I think it's a little sweeter.  After it's been sitting in the the soup mixture for a while it's all nice and tender but still has a little bit of a crisp bite to it.  YUMMY!

The Kung Fu Noodles are pretty rad.  They call them Kung Fu noodles because when you order them a guy comes to your table with just a ball of dough and then starts to kneed it and then twirl it like a ribbon to get it thin and it's like watching an olympic sport.

Kung Fu Noodle Awesomeness:


The spice bar is seriously amazing, there is every kind of spice you could ever want and more, plus a sort of salad bar area.  I typically like crushed garlic, seasame seeds, thai peppers, chili sauce, mushroom sauce and various other things all mixed together to dip my food in.  There's also peanuts, cherry tomatoes and sugar cane for you to snack on, plus they'll bring slices of cantaloupe and watermelon to your table.  It's an eating extravaganza.

They also provide you with red aprons so you don't spill on yourself, which I definitely appreciate as I have managed to ruin some of my clothes here with all the grease in the food.  They'll also give you wipes for your glasses for at the end of the meal to wipe all the steam off your lenses.  And there's a wonderful woman who comes by the table all the time with hot clothes to wipe your hands and face off with.

Bob modeling his apron:


HaiDiLao is actually a chain, and we've tried one of their locations in Beijing as well and it was just as awesome.  I will definitely miss eating at HaiDiLao when we return to the states, it's just a great eating experience.




Gourmet Cafe Lunch -Jing'An, Shanghai

For lunch on Thursday November 11th, I walked down to the Jing'An area of Shanghai and ate at my favorite burger place, Gourmet Cafe.  It was a beautiful day so I was able to take advantage of their outdoor seating, unfortunately this means that service goes down the tube because they pay very little attention to you when you sit outside.

I ordered a mint lemonade, an Unbrielievable Burger, and garlic fries.  I didn't need the fries, but kinda wanted to check them out as I hadn't had them before.  I really like the mint lemonade because they don't sweeten it at all, and bring you a side of simple syrup for you to sweeten it yourself.  I choose not to sweeten it because I think it's pretty great as is, it's kind of like really lemony water, which I think is quite refreshing.

Yum, lemonade:


The burger, as usual was awesome!  Brie cheese on a perfectly seasoned patty, with tomato, and caramelized onions with a sun-dried tomato sauce.  It was kind of mess and I ended up eating it with a knife and fork, but it was still delicious.  The garlic fries were a little disappointing, mostly because I'm pretty sure they weren't garlic fries at all, and were just fries with crushed bacon on top.  Don't get me wrong, I like crushed bacon as much as the next person, but I had really wanted garlic fries.  Oh well, there's always next time.  All the burgers come with a small side salad that reminds me of grass and four leaf clovers, but the dressing is nice, it's kind of mustardy.

My awesome burger:


My not garlic fries:


I was disappointed with the service, like I said, sitting outside kills their service.  I moved all my empty dishes to the side of me while I read my book in hopes that they'd come out and clear everything and I could ask for another lemonade and the check, but it didn't happen.  I ended up packing up my things and walking into the counter to pay for my food.

The service is crap, but the food is delicious.  It is a little on the steep side, but these are gourmet burgers and they are delicious so it's totally worth it.  And if you like beer, they have an excellent beer selection.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Korean Lunch - Tech Park Food Court

So the Mochi China office is across the street from an outdoor foodcourt area that has a lot of different places to eat, and we've typically eaten at the same places because, we like familiar things and don't like to be disappointed at lunch.  I decided that while I do like to know what I'm getting for lunch, we should also be trying out new things, and so has begun our adventure of the Tech Park Food Court.  The Tech Park is on the East side of the river in PuDong, where our office is also located.

The Tech Food Court:


The Korean Lunch Place:


We had Korean for lunch on Wednesday, November 10th, to be honest I have no idea what the name of the place is, because they didn't have anything in English.  Nothing on the menu was in English and the after ordering food I'm pretty sure no one who works there speaks English.  That's okay, because they have excellent pictures and Bob and I are familiar enough with Korean food that we were able to order something yummy.

DIY bibimbop:


We both had beef bibimbop for lunch.  The idea of the place is DIY (do it yourself), so they bring a giant stone bowl that's burn your face off hot and throw in all the ingredients in front of you at the table.  For those of you who have not had bibimbop, first, go find the closest korean place to your home and go try it, now!  It's delicious.  We had carrots, onions, sprouts, zucchini, and other veggies mixed in with rice and beef slices.  We each had a side of kimichi which we threw into our bibimbop, which made it even more delish.

Top view of my awesome food:


I will definitely be going back to this place, it was spicy but not too spicy and while the language barrier was there we had no problem ordering our food.  Plus, as usual the food was super cheap.  The meal was the bibimbop, side of kimichi and a miso soup for $4USD.  And it's a huge bowl.   Next time I'm going to get the bibimbop with egg, I love when they throw the egg on top and stir it around, but my favorite part is really when the rice has gotten a little burnt because then it's crispy.  Go have Korean now!


Monday, October 11, 2010

Element Fresh and Boxing Cat Brewery


Boxing Cat Brewery (and a foot massage) -

IMG_0621.jpgSo on Saturday night (October 9th) Bob took me to the Boxing Cat Brewery for dinner, and omg it was delicious!  (  It's a micro brewery in the French Concession serving typical pub food, the only difference is that it's delicious!  Delicious to the point of mouth watering goodness.  We ordered a 4 appetizers to share: the baked mac and cheese, chili cheese fries, pulled pork quesadilla, and pulled pork sliders.  The pulled pork quesadilla was my favorite, the pork was so juicy and tender and had a real kick to it.  We could have been eating at a great place in the states.  The mac and cheese was pretty good but needed a little something more to complete the taste, we were thinking jalapenos would have finished it off nicely.  The pulled pork sliders were also really good, but I preferred the pulled pork on the quesadilla, still good though.  The chili cheese fries were okay, the chili itself was good but the fries were kind of blah.  I will definitely be back for the pulled pork quesadilla.


The beers they brew were only so-so and they didn't have the two kinds on tap that we wanted to try.  But it's not like we went there for exceptional beer, we went for awesome food, and got it!  AND  we found out they do brunch!  I can't wait to try their breakfast burrito.  Yummmy!

After dinner Bob and I wandered around the neighborhood and found a little strip with a bunch of bars with patio seating.  We played liars dice for a while, and I was terrible at it so I was the one who ended up drinking more.  After cutting myself off we finished the night by going to our favorite massage place.  We were getting foot massages when the woman rubbing Bob's feet told us we were fat!  It's true, we're not skinny, but really.  And then she told us that I was fatter than the last time she had seen us, I was horrified.  She followed it up by telling me I was adorable, so I'm apparently fat and adorable.  I vowed never to eat again.....until.....


Element Fresh -


I woke up the next morning and wanted pancakes.  I had wanted pancakes the morning before but we ended up eating stir fry at home that Bob made.  That's right, Bob made us lunch and it was very good, he did an amazing job.  It was beef strips, broccoli, mushrooms, onions, tomato and garlic in a chili sauce.  I told him he can cook whenever he'd like :)


Anyway, we went to Element Fresh for pancakes because I'd read in one of the local magainzes that Element Fresh had the best pancakes.  After getting to the restaurant though and looking at the menu, neither of us had pancakes.  Bob had steak and eggs and I had peanut butter and banana french toast which was pretty good.  The place over all was only so-so, I don't think we'll go back for breakfast, maybe for lunch, but not for breakfast.

We spent the rest of the day shopping for snacks and things to stock up on while Jay and Staci are in town.  (For more info on this read the MargaretOnTheGo blog)



Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Mongolian Beef Cheesesteak Sandwich

There this one restaurant Ryan and I like to go to once a week called HRD Coffee Shop. I suppose you'd call it a hole-in-the-wall-grease-spoon place, but in actuality, it's probably a lot better in both quality and value than your average fast food chain. Heck, a newspaper dipped in soy sauce is probably better in both quality and value than your average fast food chain (except Newspaper Soy Joy, a fictional national fast food chain I made up for the sake of this post).

After going to this place for the last few months, the staff have gotten to know us pretty well. Anyway, to the sandwich.

I'd say it was overall a very filling meal. A Mongolian beef cheesesteak sandwich is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: Mongolian beef on a roll with some cheese melted on top. The idea is pretty ridiculous, but the results were pretty amazing. The Mongolian beef they serve here specifically is a little drier and chewier than I'm used to, but by no means was it unsatisfying. You couldn't taste much of the cheese and it seemed to just add color than anything else.

However, at $5.95 in the city, this is one of the best deals in town.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Pin Chuan (Spicy Sichuan) in Shanghai, China

Last night Bob and I were actually going to go to Haiku, a sushi restaurant, but apparently you need to make reservations for the place on a Friday night. We'll know better next time. With out any idea of where we should go, we wandered down the street and ended up at Pin Chuan, whose tagline is "Simply Spicy Sichuan," and we were quite pleased with the meal. To be honest, we didn't know the restaurant was a sichuan place until we sat down and saw the menu, everything outside the restaurant was in Chinese, so we took a chance. I'm glad we did.

We ordered 4 dishes and shared a dessert. We had pan fried green beans with bacon. The dish wasn't spicy, but it was very good. The green beans were so fresh and were only cooked a little bit, so they had a nice bite. They were a little oily, and we could have done with out that, but they were still very very good and I would recommend the dish to anyone. The bacon was pretty salty, but a nice pairing with the green beans.

We also ordered a spicy chicken cashew dish that I thought was awesome! It was a spicy/sweet dish and we hadn't expected the sweet part, so Bob was a little disappointed, but I thought it was wonderful. The chicken had been cooked in some kind of spicy vinegar and it was melt in your mouth tender. Plus, I'm a sucker for any kind of dish with cashews in it.

We ordered a spicy beef and prawns dish that was the perfect spiciness. As Bob pointed out to me, we need to be careful when ordering spicy dishes, mostly because if the meat hasn't been specifically mentioned as a part of an animal you usually eat, it's possible that you're eating stomach, which is no bueno. The spice acts as an anti-microbial on dishes like intestine and stomach. Lucky for us, the beef was great and the prawns were even better. I have noticed that the spice they use here leaves a metallic after taste in my mouth. I asked Bob about it but he hasn't noticed any such thing, so it must just be me.

We had shrimp dumplings in a spicy chili sauce, but they were only "eh." They didn't really have a lot of flavor and were pretty greasy. I wouldn't order them again, they didn't bring anything special to the meal.

Lastly we ordered sesame balls in egg/vinegar/sugar sauce/soup thing, called glutinous rice dumplings. The sesame balls were great! That's definitely something I'll miss when we eventually leave China, sesame is soooo good. Bob just told me the sesame balls are made with sesame paste, sugar and lard. No wonder they're so good.

I would definitely recommend Pin Chuan, it was great and the price was great. We enjoyed our dinner with the local beer and Chrysanthemum tea. They actually crush up the flowers and throw it in the tea pot, it's kind of perfumy but it was a really good compliment to the food.We had all that food plus Chrysanthemum Tea and three beers for about $55USD. I think we'll probably take our friend Richard there while he's staying with us.

After we finished dinner we walked around the French Concession and stopped at a bar with an outside patio. We enjoyed a beer there and then walked on to find another place. We ended up at a bar called the Bulldog Pub. It was 4 stories tall! They had a pool, boardgames and drink specials, so we hung out there for the rest of the even. We'll likely go back to check out their 2 for 1 burger deal that they have on Friday nights. :)M

Friday, August 27, 2010

Snacks - They're awesome! (In Shanghai)

"NomNomNomNomNom" (That's the noise I make sitting at my desk all day.)

I'm a big snacker, and it's been a little difficult trying to figure out snacks while in China. Mostly difficult because I don't always want a sweet snack covered in some kind of pork product, which seems to be fairly common. I have found a few things I really enjoy though, and of course they're sweet and I don't need to eat them, but I still do.


1- Pejoy - I love Pejoy, it's like Pocky but instead of a long stick pretzel covered in chocolate or whatever you like, it's a hollow pretzel/waffer thing filled with different kinds of wonderful creamy insides. I've managed to find: matcha (green tea), chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, cheesecake, tiramisu, chocolate/vanilla combo and a wine flavored one which I haven't tried just because it looks gross. The Tiramisu one is by far the best because it's like a really sweet coffee. Mmmmmm. Each box of Pejoy comes with two little packets of about 8 sticks. They're delicious and I can't help but eat a whole box by myself sometimes.

2- Pillow - OMG! I don't even really know what these things are, but I love them. They come in three flavors (that I've found so far, there could be more) Taro, Red Bean and Chocolate. Taro and Chocolate are my favorite, the Red Bean is okay, but not as addictive. They're about the size as mini-wheats cereal and they have a Captin' Crunch consistency, and are filled with one of the three flavors. The Taro Pillows actually taste like Captin' Crunch on the outside and then have the yumm
y Taro flavor on the inside. The Chocolate ones are like Coco Puffs on the outside with a Chocolate center. The Red Bean Pillows are less flavorful and kinda wheaty on the outside, red bean "eh" okay on the inside. Bob and I particularly enjoy the Pillows on top of ice cream, it's amazing.

3- Milk Tea -This is not my first experience with Milk Tea, I've been enjoying it since about Spring Break of 2003 when I road tripped to the OC with my friend Kelsea. She introduced me to the drink as (phonetically) "Bow-ba." It's a drink/slushee/icee/ usually with tapioca balls the size of your thumb in it. You drink it through a large straw to suck up the balls of tapioca. At first it's a little weird to be chewing your drink, but I've come to love it soooo much. Anyway, here it's a milk tea, mostly because if you order a regular milk tea, it's a milky consistency and it's got kind of a soy milk sweet taste with the tapioca balls. You can also get (again, phonetically) "say-go" which is a smaller version of tapioca balls. There are also different kinds of flavors you can get. It seems like there are typically 4 different kinds of the "Bubble Tea" (another name for them, because of the Pearls, aka tapioca balls), juicy, dessert, coffee, and strangely enough salty. The regular milk tea falls into the coffee category. I usually get a coffee based milk tea or a dessert milk tea. Back in the US though I'm a fan of the Avacado Slurpee-esque Bubble Tea from a place called "Quickly." Yum! Here my favorite is a chain called "Happy Lemon." I usually pick up a milk tea whenever I'm at the mall, it's a ritual.

4- Flavor Rolls - Sorta in the same line of thinking as Pejoy, these are about the size of your thumb, waffers filled with different kinds of cream. I picked up a bunch just the other day at a grocery store. I bought 16 for less than $1USD. So far I've only tried butter(vanilla) and chocolate but I must say they're pretty decent and it's nice that they're individually wrapped. I also picked up: strawberry, pineapple, mango and apple, so we'll have to see if I like those as well. I would say they're like those little waffers you can buy in the states with the cream in them. I can never remember what they're called but I promise, these taste about the same, just with more variety.

5- Tea - What kind of person would I be if I were living in China and not drinking mass quantities of hot tea? A bad person, that's right. Right now we have three different kinds of teas in our house and every morning I wake up, I wash out my mug and throw in a new bag of tea and I just re-fill my cup all day long. Yes, the tea bag lasts that long, it's truly amazing. We currently have your basic Green Tea, Oolong Tea and another kind that I cannot remember the name of for the life of me. Our friend Eric picked it up for me because I told him how much I love the tea we get whenever we go out to restaurants. So I guess it's just basic Dinner Tea. Bob and I bought special mugs that are like mason jars with handles. This way he can take his tea with him in the morning to work. The mugs also came with a little siv thing for loose leaf tea, which is pretty nice.

I'll continue to check out snacks and report back. In the time I wrote this I ate an entire bag of Taro Pillows. They were delicious. :)M

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hot Pot Lunch

For those of you who've never had hot pot, it's kind of like going to a fondue place. You cook your own food in a giant pot of boiling broth of your choosing. I find it to be rather messy, but delicious usually. I went to one hot top place that provided aprons to the patrons of the restaurant, which I loved because too many of my nice shirts have been destroyed by hot pot grease. (Take a moment to say ew, it's okay.)

Anyway, when you go for hot pot, there's a burner in the middle of the table that they place the giant pot on. Bob and I chose the spicy broth today, and let me tell you, we can handle spicy but this was burn your lips off spicy. We've decided that from now on we're going to order less spicy and then adjust the spicy-ness using the spice and fixin's bar. Speaking of the fixin's bar, you'll love it, I know I do. It's just a counter usually with all the different kind of spices you can use to adjust your hot pot's flavor and yumminess level. We went with garlic, chives, onions and chili flakes today, although the chili flakes were entirely unnecessary.

I'd like to tell you the name of the place we went for hot pot today, but I truly have no idea. All I can say is that it's 4 blocks away from our apartment on Haifang Lu. Yeh, I know, that's not very helpful. The name was only in Chinese and of course I forgot to take a picture. But don't worry, I plan on going back, so I'll get a picture of the name of the restaurant next time.

We ordered lotus, mushrooms, tofu, pork slices and beef slices for our hot pot. I LOVE lotus, if you've never had it, it's reminiscent of okra but even better! It's kinda sweet and savory at the same time, go out and find some to try now. The pork was kinda blah, it didn't even really pick up anything from the spices in the hot pot. The beef slices were good, and cooked up very nicely. The mushrooms were okay, I'm still not use to my mushrooms being chewy. The tofu was great, it worked wonderfully like a little sponge and soaked up all the great flavors of the pot.

We threw all the lotus, tofu and mushrooms in right at the beginning so they could cook up and get tender, then we cooked the meat slice by slice as we ate it. Some places will provide you with a little fork thing to throw the meat in the hot pot, but this place didn't. I like the fork thing because then I'm not picking up my uncooked meat with my chopsticks. To make me feel better I'd always stir my chopsticks around in the broth while it's boiling before eating off the chopsticks again.

We had an interesting experience with the way the broth was prepared, that we'd never seen before. It was like a big chunk of spices and flavors had been frozen and then thrown in the hot water, so originally before everything began to boil there was a big chunk of flavor floating in the water. Our tofu, lotus and meat was also frozen to begin with, which made putting the tofu in the pot a little difficult. We ended up picking up the tofu with our fingers and delicately dropping it in the boiling pot.

Overall I liked the place. I don't think it's the best hot pot I've had but the staff was really nice and the place was big, open and airy. The spice/fixin's bar was well stocked and had lots of choices. And I feel like the price was pretty reasonable. (Reasonable being about $26 for both of us to eat, including my coke, and watermelon for dessert.) I would say it's too much for lunch, the quantity, not the price. The only really down side for me, although it's not that big of a deal, is that there isn't an english menu. We did all our ordering by looking at pictures, and there aren't pictures of everything. I guess it's just a sign that I need to be working on my Mandarin.

We're going to go back and try a different broth, so that we'll have more control over the flavors and spice factor. It seems like if you order spicy here, you lose some of the flavor and it's all spice, but we'll see.

I think tonight is Sushi night, stay posted. :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Juicy Lucy

Josie and I watched this one episode of Man vs. Food via Netflix streaming and were bombarded with images of hamburgers that didn't have cheese on them, but cheese in them. We decided that this would be a simple recipe to try and complete. I decided to use my standard hamburger mixture for this little experiment.

- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 1 pound grass fed beef
- 1 slice of 4-year old aged cheddar from Seattle
- 1 slick of pepper jack
- A tomato
- Romaine lettuce
- Salt and pepper to taste

Putting It All Together
0. Prepare the hamburger by adding the egg, bread crumbs and mixing it all around until your hands are cold. Add salt and pepper to taste... but don't taste it with your finger. That's e. coli country. Just use your best judgment.

1. Split the pound of beef into four equal sized patties. This makes four quarter pounder patties.

2. Split each quarter pounder in half (making eight 1/8 pounders).

3. Flatten each of these halves into patty shapes. The thinner the better as thick burgers, as we found out, have a hard time cooking all the way through evenly.

4. Break one of the cheese into small pieces so it fits in the center of one of the small 1/8 pound patties.

5. Take another of the 1/8 pound patties and put it on top. It should look like you're hiding a tiny mound of cheese under a hamburger patty.

6. Pinch the sides of this new quarter pounder with cheese ON THE INSIDE.

7. Do the same for the three (3) remaining quarter pounders.

8. Grease up a pan and start frying up the burgers. This should work just as well on a grill.

9. While the burgers are cooking, cut the tomatoes into slices of your liking as well as the romaine lettuce.

10. After the burgers are cooked all the way through (check by cutting closer to the outside so cheese doesn't spill out yet), remove them and place them on a plate.

11. Place vegetables as needed. Add salt and pepper on top of tomatoes for a nice kick in your face.

12. Eat heartily and don't forget to turn off the stove.

Man! Look at that cheese! Using toasted buns is also an option, but we found ourselves completely full without. In hindsight, there's not really too much different between this and a standard cheeseburger... except that the beef juices cook into that delicious cheese and all over your stomach. I mean mouth.

More Stir-Fry from my Kitchen (Apple Pork Potato)

So, again I speak of my love of stir-fry. I couldn't help myself, I blame the blog post I wrote about the last stir-fry. Last night I created a sweet and citrusy concoction that truly was one wok stir-fry awesomeness. And I'm going to tell you how to do it. I shall hence forth refer to it as "Apple Pork Potato Stir-fry," you of course can call it whatever you like when you make it.

This dish is not spicy at all, it's more sweet and tangy/citrusy. Here's what you'll need (and no, I didn't provide quantities because I didn't measure anything, I just threw it in.)


- pork (cut up in small chunks)
- green beans (although you could probably use broccoli or asparagus)
- potato(es) sliced in very thin slices so they cook easily (I cut my potatoes in half and then slice thin half medallions
- onion (chopped up however you want)
- garlic (coarsely chopped, at least I like it that way)
- apple cut into small cubed pieces
- orange, I pulled it apart and kinda mushed it around in a container
- honey
- soy sauce
- brown sugar
- lemon juice
- butter
- rice (or whatever you want to serve it with, I bet noodles would be good too)

Cooking Implements:

1 wok/or flat frying pan
1 rice cooker/or pot for cooking rice or noodles

Okay, let's begin:

Step 1: As mentioned previously, I like to take care of step 1 around lunch time when I'm in the kitchen anyway.

- Put pork, onion in a zip lock bag. Toss in some brown sugar and then pour in some soy sauce. You don't need a lot of soy sauce, just put in enough soy sauce to mush everything around and get it all covered. Okay, put it in the fridge.

- Cut up your greens and garlic and put them in a container in the fridge.

- Cut up the potato, you could probably also cut the potato into cubes, but I think the slices look nicer and cook more easily. Put the cut up potato in a container and put it in the fridge.

- Cut up your apple and put it in a container. Now, as we all know, after you cut open an apple it starts to get brown and dry out, so to prevent that from happening and to mix some flavor peel your orange and mush up the inside and throw it in the same container as the apple cubes. Now put it in the fridge for later.
Step 2: (1 hour before you eat, for rice prep and other fun.)

- As taken directly from my last post "Start the rice. I love my rice cooker, if you have one I suggest you use it. If you don't then the easiest thing to do is what my mom taught me. Measure your rice and throw it in a pot with out water in it. Okay now stick your finger in there and note where the rice comes up to on your finger. Okay, now put in enough water that when you put your finger on top of the rice the water goes up to that same mark. (It's roughly twice the amount of water to rice.) Now put a lid on the pot and bring the water to a boil, after it's boiling turn the burner down to just barely on (or a simmer if you will) and put the lid back on and let it sit and cook slowly for 45 to 50 minutes."

- If you're not having rice, I suggest you wait until about 20 minutes before you're ready to eat to start the noodles.

- Set the table. I'm a big believer in eating at the table. Don't get me wrong, I will also eat in front of the tv, but I think eating at table is much nicer.

Step 3: Half an hour before dinner.

- Pour some lemon juice in your wok, and throw in about a 1/8th a stick of butter. Throw in your green beans and garlic. Stir them around for a few minutes with the heat way up. (Put the container in the sink.)

- About 5 minutes later put in the potatoes and drizzle some honey over everything and stir it around. (Put that container in the sink.) Turn down the heat and stir everything around for about 10 minutes. You don't have to constantly stir, but you don't want things to burn either.

- Now add your apples and mushed up orange and stir it in real good. (Put the container in the sink.) After you've stirred everything around you can let it sit for a little bit with the burner turned down low. And while it's sitting you can clean up your mess in the sink. Do it.

- Okay, now add all the yumminess from the ziplock bag to the wok and stir it in really well, and turn the heat up to about medium. Stir everything around until the pork is cooked all the way and you're done!

As you can see in the picture above, I enjoyed my stir-fry with a nice glass of coconut milk. Mmmmm, delish.

I think when I make this recipe again I'll add peanuts to it, and maybe try using sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes. That's the beauty of stir-fry, you can make anything you want.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Oh yeah, Homemade Stir-Fry!

So I was very domestic last night and I cooked dinner for Bob and our friend Eric. I'm a huge fan of stir-fry because you can really make anything stir-fry style. My friend Rachel and I use to make Mexican Stir-Fry, and I've dabbled with Moroccan Stir-fry and Italian Stir-fry. I guess I should define what I consider stir-fry....

Stir-fry: anything that you could make in a single wok. (Obviously not including rice or noodles.)

Anyway, last night was had good ole regular stir-fry in the rice sense of the word. And you know what, it was delicious! Spicy and delicious.

So I went to the market/grocery whatever you want to call it, or wherever you'd like to go. I bought:

- 1.5 pounds of chunks of pre-cut beef
- 1 small container of mushrooms
- 1 small container of spicy red peppers (the little tiny ones)
- 1 small onion
- 2 carrots
- garlic
- a large container of what I thought was bok choy (the greens), but wasn't, I'm still not sure what it was, but for a US version you could use broccoli or spinach
- 1 lemon
- soy sauce
- schezuan pepper salt (I think this could be replicated using black pepper, chili pepper and cayenne pepper)
- soy sauce
- rice
- butter (half a stick)


-rice cooker/or pot to cook rice in with a lid
-steamer/or pot with a steamer basket and a lid
-wok/or flat large pan

Okay, so now you know what you need. Now you need to prep your dinner. There are three steps to this now, I say three because there are three time frames for getting everything ready. I like to cut up all my veggies and everything earlier in the day so that clean up is easier later in the evening. So...

Step 1: (Earlier in the afternoon, I like to do it around lunch time because I'm already in the kitchen making my lunch anyway.)

-Cut up the mushrooms, onion, red peppers, 1 finely chopped garlic clove (or more or less depending on how much you like garlic) and throw everything in a plastic zip log bag with the meat chunks. Throw some black pepper, chili pepper/powder and cayenne pepper in the bag and then seal it. Mush it around in your hands a little to get everything coated nicely. Okay, now put it in the fridge.

-Cut up the carrots, another clove of garlic (big chunks this time), prep your greens (rinse them or whatever you need to do). Put the carrots and garlic in a container and the greens in another container. Okay, put it in the fridge.

Step 2: One hour before you want to eat.

- Start the rice. I love my rice cooker, if you have one I suggest you use it. If you don't then the easiest thing to do is what my mom taught me. Measure your rice and throw it in a pot with out water in it. Okay now stick your finger in there and note where the rice comes up to on your finger. Okay, now put in enough water that when you put your finger on top of the rice the water goes up to that same mark. (It's roughly twice the amount of water to rice.) Now put a lid on the pot and bring the water to a boil, after it's boiling turn the burner down to just barely on (or a simmer if you will) and put the lid back on and let it sit and cook slowly for 45 to 50 minutes.

- Set the table. Don't laugh at me. I like to set the table, it makes things nice.

Step 3: Okay, now it should be about half an hour before dinner.

- Throw the carrots and garlic in a steamer on the stove. (If you're using broccoli, I suggest putting it in now too, if not using broccoli wait until I say.) While the steamer is going cut up your lemon into slices, like you would put in iced tea. Clean up your mess (do it).

- (15 minutes before dinner) Get out your bag of mixed meat, veggies and spices. Prep the wok by pouring about three table spoons of soy sauce on it. And put 1/4 of a stick of butter in there, and add your bag of yumminess. (Turn the heat on low/medium)

- Add your greens to the steamer pot and place the lemon slices on top. Also throw in the rest of your butter. Cover and let steam.

-Stir your meats and veggies and when everything is cooked the way you like it....EAT!

I like to serve my stir-fry in bowls, but you could serve it in anything you like.

If you want you can also make wontons like I did, but they're not necessary, I was just really hungry.

And now, if you don't mind, I'm going to go enjoy last night's leftovers for lunch. YUM!