Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Cooking: Chicken Satay Burgers (Lite)

Today, to continue my lite cooking expedition, I decided to make Chicken Satay Burgers. Yet another recipe from self.com since I was so impressed with the Shrimp Scampi. There weren't a lot of different ingrediants in this recipe so I was, again, a little skeptical. However when it came back I was amazed. I had to have a little heat with the sauce, so the only thing that deviated from the recipe was the Sriracha sauce. I served it with some blanched broccoli with a drizzle of miso based salad dressing. Really not a bad recipe and it definitely packs tons of flavor to make up for the fact that it's better and healthier for you.
Also I'm glad I have a hubby that can grill for me. It definitely made cooking even easier!

PS - Yeah I know my posts have been short lately, it's my other hobby that's taking up most of my time! Well, tonight I'm not making any new videos but I'm pooped from work so no long posts today.

Memorial Day Riiiibs!

My hubby made ribs for Memorial Day weekend and damn they were good. He first made a dry rub out of brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika on Friday and let the deliciousness covered ribs sit in the fridge for a day. On Saturday he wrapped them up in double layered foil and baked them for about 3-4 hours in a 250 degree oven. To finish them off he grilled them off on the grill. Baking them in the oven seemed to make them more moist than his previous ribs. Yummm... Also, the green salad like stuff on the plate is a cactus salad that my friend Angle made. It had a sour tang close to salsa and the cactus had a texture like okra without the slime. I liked it!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Cooking: Shrimp Scampi (Lite)

Alright, after eating what I've wanted for quite sometime, I've put on too much weight. I'm subscribed to self.com's magazine which is inspirational and makes me envious at the same time. I checked my ideal weight on self.com and it says I need to be 134.5 lbs! I'm not even going to tell you what I weigh now, but let's just say I need to lose a bunch. Out of the blue, my friend convinced me to join her in our quest to lose weight together. Fine... I conceded. I love food way to much to lose weight on my own.

Self.com has a bunch of recipes for lighter and healthier meals but I was skeptical of the change in flavor by using healthier ingrediants. I settled on making shrimp scampi which is normally very oil laden, but this recipe (http://www.self.com/health/recipes/2008/03/0324shrimp_scampi) seemed quite the opposite with fresh ingrediants such as bell peppers, poblano peppers, garlic, limes and cilantro. Surely those ingrediants would make the dish explode with flavors right? Well, I still wasn't convinced until I started cooking.

As soon as the shrimp hit the hot olive oiled pan, the smells wafted into the air. Alright, maybe it's not so bad. Justyn was outside charring the poblano peppers for me so I could de-skin them and chop them up.

I added the thinly sliced red and yellow bell peppers, lime zest with garlic and shallot (shallot was my addition) and sauteed them until they had softened a bit.

Next went in the thinly sliced poblano peppers which I then deglazed by adding some white wine.

After the wine had reduced, I added the lime juice. Mix and season and then add some pasta. Speaking pasta, the recipe says to use farfalle which I think is a better choice than penne, but Justyn really doesn't like the farfalle. He says they don't look right (even though it's just pasta). Whatever...

And finally you plate and enjoy. We had a little white wine to compliment the shrimp and sat outside in the patio. The weather outside was slightly warm but not overly hot so we had a perfect Spring dinner. I was a skeptic at first, but after this recipe, I've changed my mind about healthy eating. I think I will still take some convincing but now I have a more open mind to it. The flavor of the cilantro, roasted poblano, lime juice and white wine combination really did make the dish pop and I didn't miss the otherwise heavy and fatty shrimp scampi.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Review: Il Fornaio

Since I didn't get a chance to celebrate Mother's Day last weekend when it was actually Mother's Day, we celebrated this past Saturday at Il Fornaio in Downtown San Jose. I wore painful heels which I could barely walk in so getting seated promptly was a plus. We were a tad bit early but the hostess seated us anyway. Oh yeah, and coincidentally it was also prom night. I dont know why I pointed that out by the way.

When my parents arrived and sat down, I ordered a couple appetizers. Since it was such a warm day, I ordered tuna tartare & bruschetta. The tuna tartare was amazing. It kinda had an Asian twist on it with what I think was either wasabi or hot mustard. The tuna was really fresh and paired extremely well with the thin crouton like crackers. The bruschetta on the other hand was nothing special. In fact, I'd go as far as to say my bruschetta is better!

We sat around chatting until our entrees arrived. Oddly enough, Justyn's mom, Justyn and I all ordered the same thing! That was kinda weird. That's why you only see three entrees below. Our ravioli was expertly cooked with a tiny bit of al dente bite. The only complaint that I had was that the ravioli skin was huge and only held a tiny bit of sausage filling. My dad's fresh pasta bolognese was not good at all. It tasted burnt. "It tastes like burning!" Heh OK, I had to throw Ralphie in the mix. My mom's seafood pasta was nothing special either, but at least the clams were good. Nice and sweet and definitely fresh.

Overall it was a nice relaxing evening with the parents. The only part that really sucked was walking back to the car in my heels. Ouch! Never again.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Random Updating

Whew guys. I have to tell you it has been a rough couple of weeks. One of my closest friends passed away. Work has been super stressful for me. And I just haven't been feeling like I'm on the top of my game lately... Needless to say, I've been kinda blue so I haven't been cooking as much as I should be. However, I just wanted to make a random post about different things.

To kill time I've been watching youtube videos and while doing this, I stumbled upon Cloud8745. Admittedly, he has been part of the reason why I haven't been motivated to cook. As nerdy as this sounds, I really like what he does. Basically he does narration while playing video games and this stuff is HILARIOUS. Well, to me at least. Here's a taste of it which is also one of my favorite videos: http://youtube.com/watch?v=jH16KpygLw4. Anyway, I think I may have found my next calling. I have also made some videos with narration while playing GTA3 on the PS2. Some of you may ask why I haven't been playing GTA4 on the PS3. Because... I don't own the system nor the game yet. Soon... then I can do videos on that too! In the meantime, enjoy my videos. Warning: It's pretty nerdy and stupid so keep an open mind haha. http://youtube.com/user/Jadedone888

Alright... well. The next thing I wanted to talk about is something called Oden. Justyn loves the stuff so we went to Nijiya Market in Mountain View to pick some up. It comes in a frozen pack with a soup base. Just add water and boil. Presto! Instant dinner. I have to say that it was pretty good and healthy.

Angel's birthday was a couple weekends ago but due to circumstance, I couldn't celebrate it with her. Instead we celebrated her birthday this past weekend which pushed Mother's Day dinner out to this upcoming weekend. Sorry mom! I owed Angel this much for missing her birthday. Justyn baked her a sherry cake and we ended up going to Cache Creek. If you're wondering how I did, don't ask. Just know that I still have to go to work. On top of that, I have to go to work to make up for the money I lost. Poopie. At least you guys can enjoy some pictures. By the way, the food there sucked. I expected so much more but then again, I probably ordered the wrong thing. The soup was bland, the noodles were soggy and WTF was up with the toppings. Yucky. It was a good time.

Ohh, we're almost caught up! Yesterday, Justyn wanted to do something with some leftover dill so I immediately thought of salmon. I found a recipe on epicurious.com but I put a spin on it because I wanted to serve it with some pasta. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/104705

Instead of roasting the salmon with the rest of the ingrediants I simply seasoned it with salt, pepper and olive oil. While the salmon was roasting with the asparagus, I made a sauce with lemon zest, lemon juice, butter, salt, pepper, capers, thyme, shallot, fennel, white wine, splash of milk and honey. Whew, say that 3 times fast. I'm out of breath. No I'm not, I'm typing. Haha... OK moving on. Here's how it turned out. Flavor wise, I didn't think the sauce was good, but once paired with the salmon, asparagus and pasta, it worked somehow. Miracles!!

Lastly, I just got back from getting a haircut after not getting one for more than 6 months. I feel so much lighter. Just in time for the upcoming heatwave that's going to hit. This was the only decent picture that came out so yeah.

I hope those that are reading have a good rest of the week and weekend. Take care and thanks for reading!
Oh yeah and because I love you guys so much, I'm sharing these cookies with you. OM NOM NOM.. Panda approved! I don't have much of a sweet tooth, but damn these are good.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Yelp Elite Event: Parcel 104

Yesterday, Justyn and I went to a Yelp event after work at Parcel 104 which is located in Santa Clara, kinda near Great America... next to the Marriot. I've always heard excellent things about this restaurant but never got the time or chance to visit. This event was so popular that within 2 hours of the email invite being sent it, it was fully booked. I'm glad I happened to check my email when I did!

Here's a couple pictures of their menu. The one on the right is the Yelper tasting menu.

The first thing I had was this cup with fresh veggies including edamame, fennel and fresh spring peas. On the bottom of the cup was this almost custard like thing. Unfortunately, this did not do it for me. It looked good though.

Scattered throughout the event were bowls of garlic and thyme marinated olives and spiced mixed nuts. Both were amazing and I don't even like olives straight up like that.

Here is a picture of a couple of the kitchen crew. I'm pretty sure one of two was the chef, but I didn't ask because I was shy. On another note, their kitchen is really open and amazing. I wouldn't mind living there heh.

J. Lohr winery was set up in the backroom with wine tasting. I was pleased to see that they offered a Pinot Noir since that's currently my favorite wine, however I didn't care for it. It was way to oaky. I'm used to Pinots that are sweeter and more fruity. Justyn liked it though.

The next thing I tasted were the Pacific Oysters in a Spring Onion Fondue. Basically a fried oyster on top of carmelized onions, a dallop of uni and sprig of chive to garnish. Absolutely amazing. It was heaven on a half shell.

Next came out the 28 Day Dry Aged Beef Sliders which were snatched up before the waiters could get out of the kitchen. I luckily snapped a picture before they were eaten. Unfortunately, this was one where I didn't get to taste, but I'm sure they were amazing. Can't go wrong with sliders.

I'm not sure what this was. It was definitely strawberry flavored with some sort of liquor and the rim was salted. Blech... I hated it. There was just nothing good about it. I wonder if this was the "Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test". The description was Bay Are seasonal inspired cocktail that pays homage to Ken Kesey. Strawberry flavored grain alchohol that contains secondary notes of vanilla, ginger and lime.

Next came the Delta Asparagus Fries with a bernaise sauce. I didn't like these either nor was I impressed with them. Anyone can batter asparagus and fry it. There's very little skill involved with it. Justyn ended up peeling the batter off and eating the asparagus.

Now the gem of the evening. These little rock shrimp tacos were simply lucious, fresh and packed tons of flavor. It had heat, acid, cold, meaty and crunch all at the same time. I could've taken the entire platter and eaten them. The avacado lended a nice creamy cool finish as well.

And there you have it... tasting at Parcel 104. Thanks to Connie, the Yelp staff and Parcel 104 for a lovely evening of cocktails and hors d'ouvres. No thanks goes out to Justyn who got drunk so I had to stay sober and drive. Heh... J/K.

I know I didn't give enough credit to Parcel 104 for the tasting, but it's my honest opinion of the food and there were definitely highlights which blew my mind. In fact the shrimp taco and oyster are drawing me back. We're going to visit Parcel 104 for dinner on Tuesday night!