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Keep it Poppin – Basic Bacon Wrapped Jalapenos

First of all, the question you’re gonna have is: Aren’t jalapeno poppers fried? And my answer is: Hell no, not these. You know why? Because you’re going to die if you also bread and fry these. Bacon + Cheese + Cream Cheese + Fried-ness is bad enough. This popper recipe is baked. At least with baking, you’re being… like marginally healthier. So let’s get started.

I usually make them better, but I was trying out some new techniques.

What do you need?

  • Jalapenos
  • Whipped Cream Cheese
  • Cheese (You can use pre-made sliced cheese or shredded)
  • Bacon

I’ve got a couple helpful hints for this recipe. First, don’t use regular cream cheese. Trust me, I don’t care if it’s a dollar cheaper for regular cream cheese, it makes your life hell trying to scoop it into jalapenos. Second, buy your jalapenos at Trader Joes – don’t worry, this isn’t a shameless plug, I wish they were paying me to say that, but they’re not. A pack of jalapenos at Trader Joes is only 99 cents and you get 5 of them, which makes 10 or 20 jalapeno poppers depending on how you cut them.

Set your oven to 350 degrees. Slice the tops off of the jalapenos and then cut  them in half. You can cut the halves in half again to make smaller pieces (quarters).

Take a spoon and scoop out the insides (the light green part) and the seeds. Some people like it spicier and keep some of the insides in there, but take it from me, one time I made them too spicy and NO ONE ate them (boo on you). Also be careful and wash your hands after you scoop that stuff out. I was watching Jersey Shore while I was making these and Ronnie and Sammi got into a fight and while I was staring, I scratched my forehead and it started burned like crazy as if my head was a piece of bacon being fried – not a good feeling at all.

Take another spoon (or wash the same one) and then fill the jalapenos with cream cheese.

Yeah. Sorry, the aluminum foil is wrapped really ghetto, it’s because I accidentally ripped it down the middle. Anyways, now, it’s time to move on to the cheese. This time, I used pre-made cheese slices. I folded each slice into 3 long pieces. Put the pieces over the jalapenos. If you use shredded cheese, just put as much as you want.

Now, take your bacon and wrap it around the jalapeno. And honestly, there’s not really a wrong way to wrap bacon around a jalapeno. I really can’t imagine how you could mess that up. You’ve got two options: You can use an entire piece of bacon  wrap a jalapeno or you can cut the bacon in half. I cut it in half – if you do this, you should stick a toothpick into it because when they bake, the bacon shrinks. If you wrap the whole thing with a piece of bacon, then even if it shrinks, you’re probably still okay.

Stick those suckers into the oven for about 15 minutes. You can give or take depending on how much bacon you used to wrap them – just eyeball it.

Voila: Ready-made Yumminess.

Unfortunately, some of them looked a bit fugs because I didn’t have any toothpicks.

You can do variations too like using a ground pork and herb mix to stuff the jalapenos instead of cream cheese, but then you might have to bake it longer. These are SUPER easy and pretty cheap to make so if you’re going to a potluck or Superbowl party or whatever, it’s something you should consider making because people eat it up like mad.

And it feels great when people eat all of your food.

How To Train Your Dumpling

Remember when you were applying to college and your teachers would tell you to write your essays about experiences that were unique so that you could show other people what a special little star you were in comparison to the other special little stars in the galaxy? Yeah, well that’s how I came up with the idea to write “The Dumpling Story”.

“The Dumpling Story” is not a fairy tale. It’s the story of my supposed journey of self-discovery where, through the simple act of making dumplings, I was able to get in touch with my heritage and create a closer bond of understanding with my family. This story is not true, not really – so here’s the real truth.

1.  My mother is a dumpling master; she’s like the Muffin Man, except for dumplings.  She used to sit down for an entire afternoon and churn out about a hundred dumplings or so, no sweat. I was often conscripted into these Spartan dumpling making sessions until I got bored and ran away to play Neopets.

2.  I hated dumplings. They take an inordinate amount of time to make, I can never fold them nicely, and I think that most flavors taste gross (except for the pork and leek ones which are the only ones that I would eat as a kid).

But one day, I really did have a revelation. It all started when I moved out of the dorms and actually had to start cooking my own food. When I felt brave enough to venture out of my microwaveable food phase, I remembered that I was taught to make dumplings by a master. I started making dumplings and they were actually easy to make, fun, and tasty.

Maybe you’re a dumpling-hating Asian girl like I used to be. Maybe for some reason or another, you just hate the taste of dumplings, or you’ve never eaten them and you’re scared to try. Here’s a couple reasons why you should give them a shot:

  1. You can pretty much put whatever ingredients you want.
  2. They’re cheap.
  3. In 2 hours, you can make enough to eat for 2 weeks.

I’ve made dumplings with various ingredients, but these recent ones (pork & chives) turned out pretty well. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 lb. of ground pork
  • A small bowl full of chopped chives (Asian chives)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 package of pre-made dumpling skins
  • 2 tablespoons of Sesame Oil
  • 2 tablespoons of Soy Sauce

So first what you’re going to want to do is mix all of the above ingredients in a large bowl.

The best way to mix it all is to use you hands.

You can get all of these ingredients at an Asian supermarket, I suggest Ranch 99. Why go Asian? Because it’s way cheaper and the ingredients are also higher quality. Can you make your own dumpling skins? Sure knock yourself out, but it takes forever. Can you buy dumpling skins from Ralphs? Yeah, but when I opened the package at home they were moldy.

Next, set up your dumpling assembly station. All you really need for you assembly station is your bowl of mixed ingredients, a small bowl of warm water, and a cookie sheet lined with either plastic wrap or wax paper.

My Awesomely Underwhelming Dumpling Assembly Station

My Awesomely Underwhelming Dumpling Assembly Station. This is where I train dumplings...

Here comes the magic. Take a dumpling skin and place it in your palm. Then, take a teaspoon and scoop up a spoonful of your mix and place it in the center of the dumpling skin.

Dip your first two fingers (from the hand without the dumpling skin in it) into the bowl of water and then run them around the circumference of the upturned dumpling skin in your palm around the ball of mix. Sorry, I tried taking a picture of this step, except water is well, transparent… so it looks exactly like the picture above.

This is where you need to be careful. Using the ingredients above, the mix was a bit runny. Take one side of the dumpling skin and fold it over the spoonful of mix as evenly as possible. Do not just fold over the skin and press the ends together. You want to close up the sides evenly and make ridges as you fold the top together. The easiest way to do this is to take your left thumb and forefinger and press both sides of the skin inwards while your right thumb and forefinger push a fold of skin over that. This way you make ridges.

After you make a dumpling, place it on the cookie sheet and repeat. You can sprinkle some flour over the sheet, this keeps the dumpling skin from sticking to the plastic wrap/wax paper.

Now, once you’ve amassed an army of these bad boys, you have a couple of options. You can fry them, boil them, or steam them. I haven’t perfected a frying technique and I’m not Asian-enough to have a steamer in my kitchen, so you’ll have to settle with boiling them, but it’s still a tasty and healthy option.

Boiling Directions:

Fill up a pot 3/4 of the way with water. Bring the water to a boil and then add the dumplings. Depending on the size of your pot, you can adjust the amount of dumplings you cook in a batch. I suggest you only cook as many dumplings as you can fit comfortably in the pot without having them touch each other. As soon as the water begins boiling again, add 1 cup (or 2 if you’re using a really big pot) of water. Wait for the water the re-boil and add another cup of water. When the water finally re-boils again, the dumplings should be floating around at the top of the water, ready for you to scoop out onto your plate.

Best eaten with a soy sauce/sesame oil dip!

Put the extra cookie sheets full of dumplings into the freezer. Wait a few hours until they freeze and then you can take them out and stick them into freezer bags. Voila! You’ve got BLD (breakfast, lunch, and dinner)  for two weeks. You don’t want to put then all in a freezer bag right away because then it will be impossible to separate them later on. Instead of cooking 5 dumplings, you’ll end up having to cook the whole bagful.

I hope you all try making dumplings. They really aren’t as intimidating or as painful to make as they seem. Dumplings have changed my life for the better because now I’ve added one more dish to my scanty list of “Can-Do’s”. Making them for myself really made me appreciate how amazing my mother is for making so many hundreds of these things over the years. The amount of effort my mother put into making these is astounding. Making them for yourself or yourself and a friend isn’t too bad, but feeding a family of 4 must have been insane.

When I go back home, I know exactly what I’m going to ask her to make.

Steak.

SushiStop – Los Angeles, CA

Funemployed Friends, REJOICE! SushiStop on Sawtelle is totally funemployed budget friendly! Each plate is only $2.50. And I know what you’re thinking: Oh lord, it has got to be some ghetto sushi if it’s only $2.50/plate, but the truth is that this place is AMAZING! Not only is the sushi really tasty, the quality of the fish is also really good. Check out the pictures below.

And, if you check Yelp, I’m the first review – whoot!!

My favorites and my definite suggestions are for you to try are the Aburi (Flame-seared) sushi. There are four different kinds of Aburi available: Salmon belly, Yellowtail belly, White Tuna, and Japanese Mackerel. I tried both the Salmon and the Yellowtail, which were both delicious! They’re lightly seared and melt in your mouth with each bite with a faintly smoky aftertaste. They’re perfectly seasoned with just enough salt and special toppings. Trust me, you DEFINITELY MUST try the Aburi!!

My two favorite rolls were the Popcorn Shrimp Roll and the Habenero Roll. The Popcorn Shrimp was large and tasty instead of heavy; the shrimp didn’t have that greasy, gross deep fried feeling. The Habenero Roll had a good kick of spice to it too.

Next up are the Guacamole Roll and the Las Vegas Roll. The guacamole is actually made fresh – it’s definitely not low grade at all. The Las Vegas Roll comes with a fried lotus root, which gives it a nice crunch. We also ordered the Furikake Chicken Roll, which I thought was just ok; it was a bit dry. I think I liked the other ones more.

Some people are really big quantity eaters who might be afraid that 4 pieces per plate is not enough (no matter how delicious, and trust me, they are delicious). If you’re that kind of person, never fear, you can also order regular rolls that are 8 pieces per order and still $2.50! Awesomeness! Below are the Salmon and Avacado Roll and the Spicy Tuna Roll. There was a good amount of salmon in the roll and the spicy tuna roll was made the right way – some people just make a tuna roll and sprinkle it with spicy sauce (CHEATERS).

Do yourself, your wallet, and your stomach a favor and get over to Sushi Stop immediately!! I can’t wait to go again! Next time, I can’t wait to try the Curry Udon and the Blue Crab Handroll!! Yum!

Celebrating with Cavaillon!

Yesterday, my sister’s wedding was catered by Chef Phillippe Verpiand who owns Cavaillon Restaurant in San Diego. Dinner consisted of a 4 course meal (salad, soup, and two entrées) plus amazing desserts! I’ve never had legitimate French cuisine before so this was my first official foray into French territory… and I loved it. Note: sorry, some of the pictures are rather dark because dinner took place outdoors in dim lighting and flash makes the food look ugly, which it most definitely was not. And I would have lost all of the lovely details too, so I opted for non-flash micro shots instead.)

From left to right: Cheeseballs, Bacon wrapped Shrimp, and Ahi Tuna

Before we even get to the actual meal, they served hor’deurves. Sorry, I was unable to take better pictures of these yummy things because I was running around attending to things. However, I did get to eat one of each and my favorite was definitely the Ahi Tuna! The cucumber was fresh and crisp and gave the perfect crunch to the soft tuna. I thought the bacon wrapped shrimp was a bit too salty, mostly because I think I’m not that much of a bacon person. The cheeseballs were deliciously fluffy and the cheese oozed out in the perfect consistency (not too congealed, not too runny).

First course: Endive Salad with Walnuts and Cranberry served with Fourme d’Ambert crostini drizzled in Honey

This dish came with a crostini on the side, which was spread with cheese and sprinkled with what I believe is pear? The salad was surprising because the salad used bitter greens, which as they sound, taste quite bitter; however, the sweet vinaigrette were able to balance out the bitterness of the salad and actually enhanced the positive elements in the flavor of the bitter greens.

Second course: Leek and Celery Root Soup garnished with fresh Burgundy black truffles

A bit blurry, but the soup was a cream color with a sprinkle of fresh truffles floating on the top.

To be honest, I hate celery – so it was with some hesitation and a trembling spoon that I approached my first sip. But after that first sip, I realized that I was being silly. I could definitely taste a hint of celery flavor from the root, but it wasn’t as crisp or as sharp as fresh celery and it complimented the leek flavor well. And the truffles. Oh lord, saying that I love truffles does not give it justice. Truffles make the world a better place and made this soup delicious. Overall, the soup was rather creamy, but left me scraping the bowl for more!

Third Course: Sea Bass, Yellow Chanterelles, Mushroom Risotto

I have never, ever, ever had such delicious risotto in my life!! If not done correctly, risotto has the potential to be rather flavorless and bland, but this risotto was flavor packed with a huge punch. The mushrooms were flavored equisitely – everyone at our table made a comment about how delicious the mushrooms were (and fyi, if you’re wondering what a chanterelle is, it’s a funky looking mushroom that you’ve probably seen before). I was really excited for the sea bass because it is one of my favorite fish. My mom cooks it in white wine and the fish literally melts in your mouth, so I was expecting a lot; however, I felt like the sea bass kind of fell short. The sea bass was cooked well and the meat was tender and soft; however, I felt like it could have done with a little bit of salt or a bit more flavor.

Fourth Course: Five-hour slowly braised short ribs, red wine demi-glace, butternut squash mousseline.

Sweet Mother of God. Even though all of the dishes were delicious and well made, this dish was by far everyone’s favorite. First off, the short rib was incredibly tender. It was basically a chunk of short rib cut into a large cube. Usually with such a thick cut, you run the risk of overcooking the meat, but because it was braised for such a long time, the moment your fork began to sink into the meat, the short rib came off easily. For those of you who have never had mousseline, it’s sort of like a mousse. The consistency of the mousseline was a rather thick cream, which when smothered over a piece of short rib, tasted absolutely heavenly. The sweetness of the mousseline and the demi-glace blended perfectly with the savory flavor of the short rib to make one kick ass party in your mouth. You know when you watch Top Chef or Iron Chef or any of those cooking shows and the judges keep commenting about the perfect balance of flavors or whatanot? Well, while eating this dish, for a moment, I finally understood how these judges feel when they sample an absolutely stunning dish.

Now for the awesome part: Dessert. There was a choice of one out of three; however, I was able to take a small sample of each.

Dessert #1: Lavender Ricotta Cheesecake

Disclaimer: I don’t like ricotta cheese and I don’t like lavender flavored desserts. I also despise cheesecake. So obviously, I didn’t really like this one; however, from the tiny bite I had, I do think that the consistency of the cheesecake was spot on and the crust at the bottom was quite delicious. This dessert was the lightest in both sweetness and in flavor of the three desserts. It’s a must have if you like cheesecake, but unfortunately, I don’t.

Dessert #2: White Chocolate Pistachio Torte

This is the dessert that I picked out of the three. It doesn’t mention in the title, but there is a thin layer of raspberry preserve inside of the torte. The funny thing is that I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE pistachio, but I hate white chocolate and raspberry. Despite this, I thought this dish was phenomenal!! I was really full after the short rib course, but after a bite of the torte, I knew I just had to finish it. The first bite literally melted in my mouth in a complex mix of flavors. I could definitely make out the pistachio flavor, but something about it also reminded me of a sharp almond flavor as well. Everyone seemed to like this one the best and I completely agree!

Dessert #3: Chocolate Pyramid

This dessert is my next favorite. Really, it’s like a Ferrero Rocher disguised as a chocolate mousse cake. Starting at the top, there is a thin layer of chocolate. Below that, and for most of the cake, there is a lighter chocolate mousse inside. In the very center of the cake is a ball of thick chocolate, which I think was slightly hazelnut flavored. On the very bottom on the cake was a thin wafer that definitely had a hazelnut flavor. So really, it was a Ferrero Rocher in cake form. That’s not an insult, it’s a compliment, Ferrero Rochers are bomb.

Anyhoo, this is probably one of the last restaurant/food reviews that are coming up for a little bit because unfortunately, funemployment = operating on a budget. And if you really are funemployed too you probably wouldn’t be able to eat out either, ha. But really, on a good note, I will be cooking more and posting more recipes and results online so if you’re broke like me, we can enjoy delicious home cooked food together. Wish me luck, Thanksgiving is coming! Oh and since I’m going to spend Thanksgiving with my family in Norcal, my cousin Teresa, who took a culinary course in France, is going to show me how to make this FREAKING AMAZING stuffing! So look out for more delicious things to come!

Absolutely Gratuitous – Cafe 21, San Diego Part II

Hello all. Sorry for the lack of posting. My sister is about to get married this weekend so I’ve been lending a helping hand. Please continue to check back periodically! In the near future, I will be trying a new recipe for spaghetti squash, candied yams, deviled eggs, and a surprise dish (whooot!).

By Sunday night, I will also have posted pictures of food from my sister’s wedding. They’re having dinner/dessert privately catered; although you may not be able to eat those exact dishes, the chef is quite amazing and you can eat his cooking at his various restaurants in Southern California (more details later!).

For now, for your viewing pleasure, here are some pictures from Cafe 21. The morning after I got to San Diego, I absolutely begged to go back to Cafe 21. Now that I’ve been here twice, I think I want to explore some more, but as always, it was delicious.

Chai Expresso

This time, I ordered a Shrimp Pesto Sandwich. The sharp contrast of raw red onion with creamy avacado was heavenly, great ingredient pairing! The pieces of shrimp were large and well seasoned with pesto – almost a bit too seasoned (read: salty), but delicious nonetheless!

My Shrimp Pesto Sandwich wants to flash you. Smexy!

BITE ME!! >:E

I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, wtf is this. Well, it is an egg poached in red wine resting on a cake of zucchini and eggplant surrounded by red pepper sauce. Yes, that was a long description. The actual title of the dish was quite conveniently and efficiently named: Vegetable Cakes.

Okay so, in my first review for Cafe 21, I mentioned their awesome list of crazy tea. This time, I ordered a Red Chai, which was had a great, spicy, chai flavor. I also managed to snag a picture of how awesome their tea containers are. You literally place the container of tea on top of your cup and it pours automatically – no mess, no spills. If you’re interested in getting one, check it out: The Adiago IngenuiTEA Teapot

Please Santa, I've been such a good girl. In fact, I should get one of these plus a ceramic knife set for being such a good girl...

Action shot! Amazeballs.

Check back soon for more updates! Thanksgiving is almost here, which means LOTS AND LOTS of cooking! Huzzah!

Huckleberry – Santa Monica

While running errands for my sister on Thursday, I fell in love.

Let’s start at the beginning.

Since my sister’s wedding is coming up (next Saturday!), she needed me to pick up a few things from a couple of stores. So she calls me at 9am and I literally roll out of bed and out the door. After I drop her off at work, I ask her about places to grab breakfast in Santa Monica and she tells me to hit up Huckleberry.

Mind you, I’ve never heard of this place, much less visited. So while I’m driving over to Huckleberry (Wilshire and 10th St.), I really need to go to the bathroom. I’m on Lincoln so I’m right next to a Denny’s. I was sorely tempted to just stop at Denny’s because – come on people, I just need to go to the bathroom and eat something.

But as soon as I walked in to Huckleberry, I thanked the good Lord above that I held it all in and drove the extra 5 minutes it took to get there. The moment I walked into the main room the words, “POACHED EGGS,” appeared and I knew I was in Heaven. I looked over at the display cases where there were literally little mountains of fresh croissants, danishes, cookies, muffins, and a million other amazing things.

I must have died and gone to pastry heaven. And apparently, pastry heaven serves gourmet soda.

Just an example of one of the boards. This isn't an example of the regular menu. It's a special Thanksgiving one.

The menu consists of 3-4 huge chalkboards that have the dishes and descriptions written to the side, which gives the place a really homey, comfortable feeling. On the chalkboard menu are soups, salads, and other sandwiches. They have a breakfast only menu, which consists of the usual items like poached eggs, omelettes, etc. But when you read the descriptions of them, you will drool. They typically go something like this: Poached eggs drizzled with pesto and sundried tomatoes on a bed of roasted potatoes and fresh baked brioche covered with slices of mozzarella.

Word to my fellow funemployed homies, this place is NOT funemployed budget friendly! In fact, in terms of price, my official rating for this place is: You best have a job. Most items on the menu (both breakfast and lunch/dinner) are between $9-15, with the average price of most dishes coming out to $12.95 (minus tax). The pastries are dazzling, but they come with an equally dazzling price. Pastries are anywhere from $3-8 dollars a pop. I remember looking at something and thinking, oh man, that looks yummy, until I saw that the price was $7. Thanks, but no thanks. The price was the only real downer of this entire experience.

Thankfully, I had my sister’s credit card AND her blessing to spend on breakfast and lunch so I went ahead and ordered a Fried Egg Sandwich (approx. $9). Now, I’m aware that a Fried Egg Sandwich doesn’t sound like much, but that’s where you are sorely mistaken!

Two sunny side up eggs with arugala, organic bacon, gruyere, and home-made aioli on toasted bread.

The eggs were perfectly cooked for sunny side up eggs; the yolks were runny and delicious and added a bright contrast to the arugala. The bacon wasn’t fatty or greasy, it was thick and meaty. The bread, however, was toasted a bit too much. I love crunchy bread and it’s amazing to me that despite my egg yolks exploding in the sandwich, the bread was not soggy at all. This is great because you don’t have to eat some nasty mushy bread, but it’s bad because the bread was toasted to the point where it hurt a little bit to eat it. Tell me, why does true love always hurt?

I have to apologize to you all. I wanted to take pictures of the pastry display, but I didn’t. The problem was, there were a lot of people around so I felt like I would look like some crazy nut job. After meditating on the problem while eating, I finished my breakfast and sauntered over to the pastry counter, hovering, trying to play it cool like I’m considering what to order. I had my camera out, but I lost my nerve. For this, I have to offer you all a heartfelt apology. I have let you all down. That was one freaking amazing pastry display. I promise to grow some balls in the future and just take the damn pictures.

UPDATE: My awesome friend/pledge sister/roommate from last year, An visited Huckleberry and was awesome enough to take a picture of the pastry display! <3 Thank youu!

Overall, Huckleberry is that love-at-first-sight kind of place. Unfortunately, Huckleberry is also like the girl of your dreams who orders the most expensive thing on the menu on the first date. Amidst your happiness, alarm bells are ringing and your credit card is hiding in fear. Huckleberry, you put me in a quandary, I would love to take you out on a second date, but woman, you are just too damn expensive for me.

Cafe 21 – University Heights, San Diego

While helping my sister work on wedding stuff over this past weekend, we went with her fiance, Benjie to try a new place: Cafe 21.

Decor: Right when I stepped into the door, I thought it was an adorable place to eat. The primary colors in the room are different shades of bronze and green.

Service: The servers were all very friendly and helpful. We were served by the owner, Jason, who was a funny guy. From the yelp reviews of Cafe 21, this guy seems to rub some people the wrong way, but he was funny and helpful.

Price: Food ranges from around $8-$15. It’s a bit pricey for the funemployed, but it’s definitely a great place to eat every now and again. Alcoholic drinks are around $5+ and coffee/tea start from $3+.

Food: Brunch is my favorite meal of the day. We went for the brunch/lunch menu. It includes breakfast foods, brunch foods, sandwiches, and salads. They have 3 different Monte Carlo variations (According to my sister, a Monte Carlo is a fried sandwich which is pretty much going to kill you but is delicious).

My sister ordered the special, which was shrimp and corn mixed into potato pancakes and topped with poached eggs and pesto sauce (and edible flowers!). It was really delicious; however, I felt like I didn’t really taste much pesto sauce at all. The sauce didn’t seem to be hollandaise, it seemed more like a gravy sauce, but it was delicious nonetheless. The presentation was absolutely gorgeous and the eggs were cooked perfectly. It comes with a slice of artisan bread and a pat of butter on the side.

 

Shrimp & Corn Potato Pancakes with Poached Eggs covered in Pesto Sauce

 

I got a Rosemary Lamb and Apricot Sandwich with in-house made potato chips. This thing was HUGE. Definitely enough for two meals. I only ate half of it, but it was really good. The bread was buttered, so it felt kind of rich and cheesy, but the apricots within the sandwich were a refreshing surprise. The lamb was cooked well, but I didn’t taste the rosemary as much as I would have liked. One of the most awesome things about their sandwiches is how they come with a handful of self-made potato chips! They’re HUGE – totally a must try. I think they’re seasoned with a dash of Old Bay and salt. The nice thing about these chips is that they’re not greasy at all – they’re very light and crispy without being heavy and oily.

 

Rosemary Lamb and Apricot Sandwich

 

Benjie got a Prosciutto Crepe Salad. I usually don’t order salads at brunch places, but this salad looked amazing. Not only was the presentation beautiful, but the dressing was also very good – not too heavy. Surrounding the salad are little bits of sliced crepes filled with cream cheese. I thought the crepes were a bit rich, but if you pair it with the salad, then I can see how it could strike a good balance.

 

Prosciutto Crepe Salad

 

The three of us shared Pound Cake Fries. It came with raspberry/strawberry jam, powdered sugar, and sliced strawberries and kiwis. The presentation was, of course, gorgeous; however, the pound cake fries were kind of over-fried as they were black on the edges. I think this dish would have been better if it wasn’t overcooked, but fried cake! That’s a new experience…

 

Pound Cake Fries!

 

With my dish, I also got some hot Hazelnut and Almond tea. The tea comes in this awesome container. You put the container on the top of your cup and the tea drops into it. If you look closely into the picture, you can see slivers of almonds and hazelnut. They recommended you drink it with milk and sugar – so ultimately it came out tasting like boba milk tea (sous the boba). The tea was light and the flavor was great.

 

Hazelnut and Almond Tea

 

Overall, I think that this place is a must try! Get one of the special coffees or teas! Their list is extensive and all of them sound amazing. I really want to come back here for the dinner menu – I hear there’s Lobster and Mushroom Cakes! Yum…!

Here are some extra, gratuitous pictures, for your viewing pleasure. Yes, it was yummy. You should go if you’re ever in SD. Definitely.

 

Close up of the Sandwich

Hand-made Potato Chips

Mmm.... Yummm...

Loose tea, Hazelnuts, and Almond Slivers

 

Let go of my eg… groll

Today, I had an eggroll adventure with my roommates (Marian and Cookie). We were getting kind of hungry, so we cooked up some eggrolls that Melissa’s mom had made. But onto the action – while Cookie was explaining how to correctly fry the eggrolls, Marian and I decided that it would be a good idea to heat up the oil first before adding the eggrolls instead of dumping the eggrolls into the oil and letting them cook together. My whole reasoning was: well, when you cook pasta, you wait for the water to boil, so when you fry stuff, it’s probably the same process right?

Well that probably would have worked out except the History channel had on some episode about Mail Order Bride Trafficking and Marian was cooking lamb (with my marinade recipe-yay!) so we didn’t notice the pot of hot oil steaming and smoking.

At this point, Marian goes, “Oh, I think the oils ready.” I jump up and drop a frozen eggroll into the pot of smoking hot oil and no joke- it starts fizzing, bubbling, and making schizophrenic sounds like a cross between a psychotic lawnmower and a hissing cat. Literally, after I drop the eggroll into the pot, it turns brown – not yellow, not gold, not even tan, I mean POOP brown. We waited ten seconds and it turned black. That’s how hot the oil was. It took flash-fry to new heights.

This is what happens when you watch the History Channel instead of keeping an eye on your pot of hot oil.

So… after that fiasco, we just decided to do it Cookie’s way (put the eggrolls in the oil and cook them together instead of adding it later on), which turned out really well and they cooked in about 10 minutes or so. Our apartment is going to have springroll/eggroll night so when that happens, I’ll have the recipe for them both. Cookie has promised to teach us how to make shrimp and crab filled eggrolls. Seriously, them eggrolls were delicious.

 

Yummm.

Why were those eggrolls so delicious? Marian and I have decided that this is because Vietnamese eggrolls own Chinese eggrolls. Sorry to my motherland and my homegirls and boys, this one goes to team Vietnamese.

Inside: Shrimp, mushrooms, carrots, glass noodles, and spices.

So what’s the moral of the story?:

  1. Pots of boiling oil can kill.
  2. Don’t watch the History Channel while cooking.
  3. It is possible for oil to be too hot.

This story has a happy ending with some perfectly cooked and delicious eggrolls. Huzzah.

The Cookie Hitlist

*note* All upcoming posts will have recipes, ingredient lists, details, and pictures. This is just a list. :)

Lately, I have invested in a huge bag of flour, a rolling pin, and a “stand-your-ground-and-beat-that-dough-down” can-do attitude. My sister and her fiance were about to generously donate to me an electric mixer, but I forgot it at their house. D’oh… so for now, I guess I’ve got to be gangsta and do it all by hand.

So far on our cookie hitlist we’ve got:

Sugar Cookies – recipe courtesy BakeGreek @ BakeGreek.com

Cookie Hitlist Victim #1

My first time using a rolling pin.

Chocolate Chip (No picture, but I’ll probably make more soon)

Snickerdoodles – courtesy someone out there who has a recipe online…

They look like bread rolls, but rest assured, they're not!

Hitlist request: Tracy Cookies – I have yet to figure out what that means, but never fear, dear public. You Tracy Cookies are as good as baked! I’m coming to get you!

More to come…

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