Sunday, June 29, 2008

Woo Partay!!

Last night Ken came over for dinner. I had made an Asian coleslaw but forgot to take pictures of all the food. Take my word for it, it was really good. Justyn BBQed some ribs with a teriyaki glaze I made from scratch, some tandoori chicken he had marinated earlier and some pineapple sausage which I suprisingly found to be really delicious.

Anyway, after that, I went to Ken's house for a party which was really fun. I'm still hurting from all of it but you get the idea with the pics below. Not much to say but thanks to Ken for inviting me and I had a blast heh.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Cooking: Vietnamese-Style "Claypot" Chicken

I know.. I know... I haven't cooked in a while. Justyn had leftovers to eat and I finally felt the cooking itch. No matter, at least we'll have leftovers for lunch tomorrow. I had marked a recipe from for this claypot chicken Vietnamese style which sounded divine just by looking at the ingrediants. Not only that, but it seemed like it would be easy enough for a weeknight meal.

The only ingrediants I needed to gather were ginger, garlic, chicken, rice, green onion, shallots, lemon and Thai chillies. Yes, if you look at AFC's recipe, it clearly says to use red onion. I just figured that the Vietnamese use a lot of shallots in their cooking so that's what I used. Plus the red onions at Lucky were too big.

There aren't a lot of pictures shown here because I was missing my memo card for a while. Anyway, you sear the chicken on both sides. To make this more figure friendly, I took the skin off the chicken thighs. Unfortunately, they kept sticking to my dutch oven so I recommend keeping the skin on and then just not eating it if you're watching your weight.

Once you've seared the chicken, remove it from the pot. My recipe differs from AFC in that no claypot or wok was used. I wanted to make it a one pot dish to make it easier on myself especially for a weekday dinner.

Add the thinly sliced shallots and let them carmalize slightly. Then add the ginger (which I used my microplane on instead of mincing), chopped garlic, thai bird chillies. Stir that around until it's fragrant and then add your 1/2 cup of packed brown sugar. Once the sugar has melted, add your tsp of fish sauce. So... I actually added a bit too much which I was worried about cuz the stuff I bought was freaking salty! Way more so than the good stuff so... yeah. I added my mixture of soy sauce, lemon juice, white sugar, chicken broth (instead of water), and vinegar to the pot to deglaze. Then I added the seared chicken thighs back in and let that come to a boil before dropping it down to a simmer. So... this is kind of a braised dish.

I kinda effed up here by forgetting to add the mushrooms about 7 minutes into the simmer, so I dropped them in. Besides, as bad as this sounds, mushrooms cook quick. I'm totally breaking the rules oooo!

I had some white nasty stupid rice cooking in my rice cooker while this was simmering away. I'm kinda pissed because it says "premium long grain rice" and it turned out being dry as hell. Also, I did have some Jasmine rice in the cupboard which I forgot about. Ah well.. Here's how it turned out.

The flavors were extordinary. Sweet, salty, sour & even umaminess from the shiitake mushrooms. I hope tomorrow, it'll be even better!


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Aux's 30th Birthday Beach Thingy

Happy Birthday Aux :D

Well before I get onto Aux's birthday thing, I wanted to give you guys an update on what I did this weekend.

Friday, Justyn and I had dinner with Donoho at a Chicago pizzeria in Palo Alto called Paxti's, pronounced "pah-cheese" just like their pizza box says. It was such a hot day that all I wanted was a beer and salad. Yeah, their pizza is great, but I personally, loved the caesar salad w/ anchovies and a tall pint glass of hoegaarden (one of my favorite beers). Sorry guys, I didn't get a picture of it cuz I left my camera at home. Anyway...

On Saturday we went to dim sum with my parents at Oriental Tea House in San Leandro. Justyn didn't like the place much but I recognized the lack of grease they put in their food which I appreciated. Most dim sum places just don't care how much oil they dump in it as long as it tastes good which ugh.... grease = poo. Not good. We ended up ordering about 15 char sui bows to go for a party. Well, when we got home we were heavily food coma'ed so we opted to not go to the party. However there was another one at 8:00pm, so we brought the bows to Charlotte & Rich's party. Rich just graduated from college so he hosted a party at Linda & Brian's house. They are really cool peeps. Also, I have to note that I did not get drunk at the party! Yeah... Justyn wanted to drink so I had a couple beers and that was it. Needless to say, he got pretty hammered. He made a shot which I call "the FUCKED up shot" which contains vodka, whiskey, rum, Jager and probably something else. To my suprise, people actually liked it. So a couple hours after that I was ready to go. I drove Justyn home and he went straight to bed. Justyn drunk is so cute hehe... Again, I forgot my camera. *sigh*

That brings us to Sunday. Aux had his 30th birthday party at a beach in Santa Cruz. I was kind of worried since he decided to have everyone meet up at 5:00pm. That's late in my book for a Sunday. It worked out though. I had a really really good time. We started out the evening with chicken that Aux grilled with the help of a couple other manly men since he was burning the crap out of them!

Here's drugs. Tsk tsk... naww j/k. He needs them for medical reasons. Sheesh. Not what you're thinking.

Here's the view and a picture I took of a piece of chicken that was dropped on the sand. NOM NOM!

I haven't been to the beach since last year! Tori (my new BFF hahah... ) and I built a sand castle which totally took me back to my childhood. It was so fun!

Me snorting cocaine sand. Haha...

Justyn being silly


Random pics

Sunday, June 15, 2008

4th Annual Napa Trip

Man what a weekend! Justyn and I picked up Donoho and we were on our way to the 4th annual Napa trip. I don't even know how this thing got started. I guess the one thing that our friends have in common with us is a definite love for wine. The group met at Peju at 10am this past Saturday where we were entertained by our wine guru. He sang for us and made us sing with him. It was a good start to the day and everyone picked up at least one bottle from the winery. I'm was excited that people liked their wine since I'm the one that suggested we stop there first.

Our next stop was Alpha Omega which Justyn and I have been to before. The first time we visited, the winery had just opened and neither of us liked their wine. This time, however, we were thorougly impressed. Their Chardonnay was delicate, mild with just enough fruit flavor. We also got to taste from one of their barrels which impressed me. The wine wasn't that good though heh.

Our third stop before lunch was at Hall Winery. They had a lovely outdoor patio where we sat and tasted two of their wines. I think at this point I was a little buzzed because I can't remember whether I liked their wines or not. It was a great spot to hang out with a group of 15 though!

For lunch we stopped off at Taylor's Refresher. We also came here last year and was so impressed by their burgers and sweet potato fries that we decided to visit them again. I don't know what was up with my appetite but for some reason I didn't enjoy my cheeseburger as much as last time. Their sweet potato fries were stellar though.

After lunch we went to Silverado Vineyards which a beautiful property. Their wines were so-so but otherwise it was a pleasant experience.

Our last winery stop of the day was at Hagafen Cellars. I was pretty full of wine at this point and didn't want to taste anymore. I'm glad I didn't because based on the reactions of those who did taste their wine, they were not impressed. Justyn and I walked around the property while people did tastings.

After all the wineries we all stopped at Chateau Hotel (don't let the name fool you) to check in and relax a bit before dinner. The hotel itself was old but cheaper than other hotels. Besides, we were only going there to sleep and shower so no big deal. For dinner we went to Siena Restaurant located in more upscale hotel. I had zero expectations for this place but even that didn't help what I'm about to say. The bread was satisfactory, though there was nothing really spectacular about it. When we ordered, the food took exceptionally long but I gave them a chance because it is hard to cook for a group of 13 people. However when the food arrived, the gorgonzola and fig pizza was disgusting. I tasted a bit from Justyn's pizza and almost threw up. The gorgonzola was way too overpowering for a pizza like this and the pesto and fig contrasted horribly. My seafood risotto was decent albeit a little overdone. The rice was almost the consistency of porridge. The waitress swapped the two kobe steaks so the doneness of the steaks were wrong. I had to talk to the waitress and got her to waive the charges on the pizza. We still made the best out of the evening though. Some of the group went to an after party and we went back to the hotel to crash. Donoho and I ended up staying up until 12:30am watching youtube videos haha.

The next morning I woke up around 9:00am to get ready for brunch, pack and hang out for a while. Everyone met downstairs and soon we were on our way to what I would call the BEST brunch place EVER. Bleaux Magnolia is a small restaurant with a cute patio area where a live band plays jazz. I immediately felt drawn to the place after seeing the patio. Unfortunately, due to the size of our group, we were seated indoors. The restaurant had a large patio door that connected outdoors so we were still able to enjoy the music. Oh wow, and talk about the eye candy. All the waiters, general manager and chef were all so cute! My sister took pictures with almost all of them haha... I'll post those later when she sends them to me. And most importantly the food? Amazing. Hugo, our waiter, even brought us a couple complimentary wine tastings to go with our meals. I had the Gator Tator Tots which were a little on the smokey side. I'm not sure if that was intentional or not.... they tasted a little burnt to me but everything else that I tasted was so good! I tried some of Donoho's eggs benedict which was creamy and rich with tons of flavor in the hollandaise sauce, not just your usual. My sister's breakfast burrito was a nice savory bite with more than fluffy eggs. I wonder how they did that? Justyn's ribs were mouthwateringly delicious too. I was most impressed with their monte cristo sammich. The figgy/fruity jam that was served alongside complimented the savory, crispy sammich extremely well. *sigh* Just talking about it makes me want to go back! After a couple hours of soaking in the cute restaurant, food & people we were all ready to go our separate ways. Thanks to Cheri & JTT for helping me organize this thing. We'll definitely do it again next year :D