Monday, July 2, 2007

Ratatouille & Cooking Inspiration

Before I start with the weekend here's a random picture of Thursday's bar night at the Britannia Arms on DeAnza Blvd.

On Friday night, Justyn took me to see a movie that I had anticipated on watching since seeing the previews. Ratatouille. What a cute foodie movie!! Friday was opening day for this so we wanted to catch the 5:10pm showing. No such luck. Justyn got stuck at work until 4:30pm and by the time we got to the theatre, we missed it. Oh well, there was a 7:00pm showing that we could catch. We originally wanted to eat at the porridge place in a Cupertino aZny shopping center, but after seeing how packed another restaurant was, we decided to try there. I don't remember the name of the restaurant but here's what we ordered. Can you guess what we had?

(Top left is sliced black bean fish, top right are some chinese greens - ah choy, bottom left is udon stir fried noodles and bottom right is..... pigs ears!) I have a stupid story about why I ordered the pigs ears. I recently reread the chapter in The Soul of a Chef by Michael Ruhlman where he talks about his experience in The French Laundry. Thomas Keller talked about his love for offal and pigs ears came into the conversation. It sounded so good, I had to try pigs ears for my own. Granted these were no French Laundry pigs ears, but they were suprisingly tasty. You get the crunch of the cartiledge (I know I spelled that wrong but I'm too lazy to google it) and good flavor from the jelly. Yummy!
Back to Ratatouille... if you're a foodie head like me, you'll love it. They really paid attention and clearly did their research by recruiting the likes of Anthony Bourdain and some of the staff at French Laundry.
**Spoiler Alert** If you don't want any movie spoilage, don't read the below:
I think my favorite part of the movie was when Alton Ego tasted Remy's ratatouille and got a flash back to his childhood. That was really heart warming and it almost made me cry!!
**Back to your regular programming of gratuitous food blogging**
Alright, after I watched the movie, Justyn asked "So I bet you want to cook something don't you?" Boy was he right! But it was late on Friday night, so we went to bed. Cooking would have to wait.
Saturday morning arrived and I was well rested with cooking still buzzing in my mind. What was I going to make? Well, my sister's potluck was at 2:00pm, so I think I'll make something for the party. What to make.. hmm... I remember the near disaster I had with the pork ribs from Teczcape's blog.. to no fault of her. It was my bad for not following directions. I didn't want to make pork for the potluck because it turned out very fatty when I made it (still tasty though!). I asked myself, what foods do people normally eat at parties? Something finger friendly... drumsticks? Chicken drumsticks. Sure! I zipped off to Albertson's to pick up the only ingrediant I needed which was party wings.
Back at home I whipped out the slow cooker and prepared all the ingrediants. The chicken had to marinate for an hour in a mixture of cornstarch, dark soy sauce, rice wine and sugar. In the meantime, I took a much needed shower. After showering, I quickly got dressed and prepared the rest of the ingrediants. Mashed brown fermented soy beans with ginger and garlic. I sliced up some pickled Thai bird chilis and took the marinated chicken out of the fridge. They went directly into the slow cooker. I took the brown soy beans off the stove and added a dash or two of black vinegar and sesame seed oil. Perfect.. so far so good! The marinated chicken went straight into the slow cooker and I topped it with the ingrediants in the pot. I set the slow cooker for high for 45 minutes. While they were cooking, I decided to check how long the chicken needed to cook for. NO WAY! 8-10 hours? That was not going to work if I was going to make it in time for the potluck. Luckily, I spotted a slow cooker recipe that said I could cook the chicken for 2-3 hours on high. That worked. Whew.... disaster averted!
PS - This is something Justyn made. He calls it leftover Chinese fried rice. Instead of stirfrying the rice he compacted everything into a patty and let the rice crisp up on the bottom. The red sauce you see is Srirachi. Looks kinda unappetizing huh? Believe it or not, it was pretty tasty.

So... here are the results. Flavor wise, perfect! The sauce came out to a gravy consistency, but I like it like that. It was really good! So Tigerfishy... if you're looking for a variation on your recipe... just try it with chicken! :)

I packed up the chicken and headed over to my sister's house. There were a few people already there so we hung out and played with the Wii. It was a pretty relaxing time, but I received a call from Angel saying that she had arrived at my place. We had plans to go out to Hawg's Seafood Bar for oyster shooters and dinner. As soon as I got home, we all hopped in a car and drove to Downtown San Jose. It was getting late and it was a pain in the ass to find parking, but we made it eventually. We sat down at the bar so I could watch the cooks do their thing. Angel and I ordered our oyster shooters which were both perfectly spicy and refreshing. We also ordered some mussels and shared that. The staff at Hawg's were really nice and accomodating. We had a couple glasses of white wine with dinner and I was heavily buzzed at that point. We paid the tab and walked around for a bit. At one point, Angel found a metal grate which she called "Ee-oo" cuz of the sound the crosswalk made when pedestrians could cross. OK, I know it sounds weird, but what do you expect from two inebriated chicks? I grabbed the metal grate from her and started singing Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto. Haha... good times. We got home safely thanks to Justyn being the perfect designated driver. Cupini came over and hung out with us. I believe Angel made him a drink in one of my etchy cups. She etched what was supposed to be his name, but she spelled it wrong. "Ciopini" haha... I don't remember much after that except waking up on Sunday with a hangover.

Sunday morning, Angel, Justyn and I went to Tung Kee so that she could try their #2. Beef sate. This stuff is seriously spicy.. I can't even finish one small bowl of it. I ordered the duck curry with rice noodles and Justyn had their beef stew with thick rice noodles. Angel didn't care for her noodles but I devoured mine. It was the perfect brunch cure for a hangover. After brunch Angel and I hung out at my place while Justyn went to work to finish up some stuff. We cleaned up and then went shopping. That trip wiped us both out since we were still trying to recover from the previous night. I had introduced Angel to a game on the Nintendo DS called Cooking Mama. Cute but annoyingly difficult game. Or maybe it's that I'm doing it wrong. Either way, she started playing the level that I'm currently stuck on which is the one where you have to make steak. That doesn't sound hard does it? Well you know what? It is. Each of us must've put in 10 tries each. It was getting close to dinner time and she was going to head home, but after playing the game, she was suddenly craving steak. I was still inspired by Ratatouille so we went to the grocery store and bought some steaks. What kinda steak did I make? Steak au Poiuvre (sp?) I also made some mashed potatoes with sour cream and chives. This time I made sure the potatoes were fully cooked which made mashing it much easier than the time I made them with the double thick pork chops.
I have no idea why there's a picture of Justyn's seaweed jam. Someone must've hijacked my camera. Hmmmm who could it have been?

After dinner we relaxed a bit more and then Angel went home. Justyn and I watched the season finale of Doctor Who which was awesome!! That concludes my weekend update and food posting! Happy eating this week everyone!


The Cooking Ninja said...

What a great weekend you had :) It's poivre ;) I had a great weekend too - my friends came over for a movie and girl chat :) It has been some time since I had a girlie catch up. :)

JadedOne said...

Heh thanks! I'm glad you had a great weekend too! :D

Frankster said...

My brother and I also went to see Ratatouille this weekend, I loved it!!!

tigerfish said...

I will try with chicken next time. Sounds good. :D