Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Tofu "fries"

I had some tofu in my fridge and decided to try something out. So I cut the block into fry-like shapes, season with salt, pepper, olive oil and baked them in the oven. I made a peanut/satay-style sauce to go with. But...

Grievance 1: In my desire to achieve fry-like crispness, I baked the tofu at a high temperature for longer than I should have. Some of the thinner pieces came out too hard to enjoy munching on it.

Grievance 2: S&P was not enough seasoning for the tofu. I should have marinated it before baking. Maybe some soy and sesame oil to go with the peanut sauce.

All in all, I think I'd try this recipe again.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

It's Going to Hit You All At Once!

Apologies for being lax about updates. Much has happened in the past months - travels abound, the death of a beloved aunt, etc. There were many food-related items I wished to post. Sadly, I can only recall a few. [Note to self: this is why you must regularly keep tabs with your blog].

In my absence, it appears I have been blog-tagged by my friend Elizabeth (sorry, Liz… didn’t realize I was tagged until now)!

Here are the rules:
Each player starts with seven random facts or habits about himself or herself. A tagged player then writes a blog entry with the seven things, as well as these rules. Then the player tags seven others and lists their names on his or her blog. Remember to leave a comment for your newly tagged players, letting them know they have been tagged and to read your blog!

Seven random facts/habits about me:
1. I would love to be a globe-trotting-foodie/bum-about-the-world for the remainder of my life. Though in all sense of practicality, I would have to amass some monies before embarking on said adventure (so I wouldn’t starve and/or have something for random splurges on food-related expenses). On the other hand, I could just make an attempt to be resourceful and figure out the living expenses as I go along.

2. The more I watch reruns of Friends, the more I realize that Monica (moi)=Monica (Gellar, on Friends). She is me and I am her in all of her obsessive-anal-controlling-neat freak-competitive persona.

3. I have a love/hate relationship with mathematics. I love learning mathematics history and theory. I hate when it takes me days (or weeks) to solve something, but then again, I love the gratification that comes when solving something so complex and reducing it to a simple, elegant solution.

4. I want to live abroad one day, hopefully as a culinary student in France. But anywhere in any profession will do.

5. I talk in my sleep. And not just a random mumbling of words. I will have an actual conversation with you if you talk to me while I sleep. (I also have dream sequences in foreign languages, including those I do not speak. Don’t ask how, don’t ask why).

6. I movie hop. And who, might you ask are the masters of movie hopping, who passed along their skills to me? My loving parents. I used to be very much against this because my theory was that films would not get their rightful earnings. Because my one, yes one single ticket would prevent whatever film from earning their full potential in box office earnings. Which, according to my dad, is indicative of how good a movie was. Anyway, with the rising movie prices in Texas (and the ridiculous amount they charge in NYC), I then saw the practicality of movie hopping.

7. I enjoy brain teasers and puzzles like sudoku. I guess that’s the nerdy geek calling from within.

Let’s see… who to tag? Well, since I can’t blog-tag people on facebook, I’ll tag only my sister. Purely to irritate her. :)

Two Fat Ladies

I was reminiscing about pub grub and for some reason or other, my train of thought led me to the Two Fat Ladies. I miss watching those episodes on BBC… I wonder if they have DVDs.

Cheeseburger Empanadas/Calzones

My sister has been wanting me to recreate these cheeseburger empanadas we had one night at Essex. I didn’t want to go grocery shopping, so I had to make use of what I had on hand.

I ad-libbed a cheese sauce (butter, flour, garlic, beer, wine, cheddar) using mostly beer and white wine as liquids since I had no milk in the fridge. To get rid of the distinct beer taste, I boiled off as much as I could, mixed water with the liquids, and added mustard to counter and mellow out the beer flavor. Ground beef was sautéed with garlic (no onions in house). And I used leftover foccacia dough as the wrapper. So I guess this would be more of a cheeseburger calzone. I tossed the ground beef with some of the cheese sauce, pat out little circles of dough, filled, topped with shredded cheese, and sealed.

Have to say, the end result was not half bad. The cheese sauce kind of mellowed out with the further cooking in the oven. The sauce also seemed to have been partially absorbed by the dough, so the next batch could do with more cheese sauce and shredded cheese.

Bakeway NYC

Heard about this new Astoria bakery. Went down to try it yesterday. (Inadvertently came across a filming shoot - they like to film Law and Order episodes near the apartment. Incidentally, that may not be such a good thing). Got to bakeway. Nice set up. But the sweet confections case looked best. Bought cupcakes to try - cherry, praline, dulce de leche. The presentation was cute, and the icing was decent, the cupcakes were dry. The other baked goods they had (stuffed croissants, cookies, pizza, brownies, etc) looked very dry in their display cases, which is why we opted for the cupcakes. Mostly disappointed with this place. But I will venture there another time. Maybe they do have something worth paying for.

Mango-Ginger Wontons

Mango, grated ginger, and a touch of brown sugar (the mangoes were a little tart).

Drop Off Service and Old Speckled Hen

Went to Drop Off Service with my cousins after my aunt’s funeral. And yes, I know what you’re thinking… going to a bar after a funeral? But knowing my aunt, it’s what she would have wanted. She was always wanting us cousins to get to know each other better and hang out more. So we all (those of us under 30, anyway) headed out and had a splendid time (the humor of the evening coming at my expense). Tried: a delicious girl-friendly beer, Old Speckled Hen, some girly cocktails, and a not-so-tasty-stomach-curdling shot of something I can’t recall. That last one resulted in an lovely upchucking episode (par moi) and us being essentially kicked out of the bar.

Chicago - Vosges, NoMI, Deep Dish Pizza

Took a trip to Chi-town in mid-July. My mother was having her 30th college reunion and allowed my sister and I to tag along.

I had been wanting to try out Vosges chocolates for a long time, but never really had the opportunity. As luck would have it, I was shopping with my sister when I happened upon a Vosges boutique. I opted for the truffles, three I selected on my own and one at the suggestion of the sales associate. By far, my favorite was the Naga (sweet Indian curry, coconut, milk chocolate). I also enjoyed the Balsamic (10 year old balsamic vinegar, dark chocolate, roasted Sicilian hazelnuts). The other flavors I tried were Black Pearl (ginger, wasabi, sesame seeds, dark chocolate) and a mango/white chocolate truffle. I’ll have to admit that the Naga was probably the best chocolate truffle I’ve ever had - and I don’t even like chocolate!

Saturday night, my sister and I hit the NoMI Lounge. Cocktails sampled: Looking Glass (Absolut Raspberri, Champagne, Triple Sec, White Cranberry Juice, Fresh Raspberries), Moscow Mule (Hanger One Kaffir Lime, Fresh Lime, Kaffir Lime Leaves, Homemade Ginger Beer), Pimms Cup (Pimms No. 1, Meyer Lemon Lemonade, Garnished with Fresh Cucumber, Orange, Lemon, and Mint). Deliciousness all around!

And you can’t leave Chicago without sampling a deep dish pizza! (Even if my family in the area prefer New York thin crust to their own Chicago deep dish). I wasn’t expecting much because from what I remember, I intensely disliked deep dish - too much cheese/sauce/toppings for my taste. This time around, I actually enjoyed the pizza. I still much prefer New York thin crust, but at least I had a better experience with the deep dish this time.

Roasted Chicken

Such a comforting food. I can use the roasted chicken in salad, pastas, casseroles, enchiladas. Or devour it just on its own.

Adventures in Baking

So I was asked to do a cake and some decorated cookies for a birthday. My largest baking request to date. And it had fabulous results! Everyone loved the cake and cookies! Makes me want to tackle a tiered cake again, but who will be the taste testers? That’s a LOT of cake for just my roomie and I. I also need to start experimenting with low/no sugar recipes.

Saturday, September 01, 2007


New-ish frozen yogurt hotspot, pinkberry. And no, not like TCBY frozen yogurt. Literally yogurt (as in bacterially fermented milk). Frozen. Comes in green tea and plain. Healthy choice of yummy fresh fruit toppings. Or not so healthy candy toppings. They also have shaved ice and smoothie options.

I went with my cousin , her husband, and their son, Jakob. Jakob didn’t really enjoy the tartness of the ice cream. I actually liked it very much. To me, it was light and refreshing. A nice alternative to the heavier, sweet-cream based ice creams. Not to mention I could top it with fresh raspberries and blackberries - my favorite!