November 7, 2010

happy day light savings day

November already....I can't believe it. Apologies for the lack of updates lately. School has and will always be a struggle to keep on top of things, but I'm not complaining. I love every second of it here. So here's a few pictures of what's been going on lately. All pictures below were taken with my cell phone.
My sister came up a few weeks ago, and we wanted to check out a local sushi joint, but they were closed for lunch, so we went next door to Thai Recipes. It's no secret of my love for soups, so I ordered the Tom Kha Jay: a hot and sour soup filled with zucchini, mushrooms, and cauliflower with lemon grass, galangal, cilantro, chili, and lime juice. Overall, I thought it was a decent soup. I'm going to have to make this myself one of these days because it's one of my favorites.
I also went with the papaya salad. I've only had this salad once or twice before so it was interesting to see apples in this. The sauce gave it a nice pungent kick. I ordered the spiciness level at a medium, and the heat was definitely there as it slowly built up to burn away at my lips.
I've been experimenting with different salads at home. Here is an purple cabbage slaw with green onions, cilantro, and tomatoes in a gochoojang (red pepper paste) dressing.
Another time, I tried making a nicoise salad (I suppose I should have taken the picture before I mixed things up, sorry to those that lost their lunch looking at this picture) in a mustard vinaigrette.
And of course, I try and take advantage of every free lunch talk the school has. Usually, it's pizza, but occasionally, we get a treat. Here's a steak sandwich from Pluto's.
For the most part, I've been cooking at home and haven't been exploring the restaurants too much. It's a great way to relax and forget about school for the one or two hours in the kitchen.
Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend!

October 4, 2010

let them eat soup (and then some)

Here ye, hear yee. Let it be known that I love soup. But you can't be jabbering without the wock, so I decided to make some to feed me for the rest of the week. After perusing a few blogs, I decided to try making Portugese kale soup (caldo verde) after remembering an old episode on the food network where Emeril is a creeper and goes to some grandma's kitchen and watches her make soup. All the produce from Davis' farmer market.
As well as some chorizo from Bledsoe, that sells humanely raises, natural, no antibiotics added pork at the farmer's market at well, and man this chorizo was good. I was tempted to just eat it instead of throwing it in the soup.
I sauteed the sausage and onions first.
I then added the beans, potatoes, kale, a bay leaf and filled up the pot w/ chicken broth. Cooked it for about an hour.
My finished product. What I knew was once again reinforced. To make a good soup, you can't do it half assed w/ premade chicken broth/I shoulda cooked it for longer. I can't really talk poop on it though...I just don't have the time right now to make my own broth. The soup wasn't that great, but the next few days it got better. I would definitely try this again, but add some more herbs/veggies to perk up the soop.
Sorry about the lack of posts. School is just rushing by as I desperately try to keep up w/ the pace. Sometimes in class, I feel like I'm in a dream, that I still can't believe that I'm going here. What's even more bananas is that I'll be a doctor in four years. The highlight of my day today was standing in the hall eating chips and salsa that people had left out from the lunch talk.
To end, I have a quick question. How much do you guys spend per week/month on food (groceries wise)? I felt like I dropped a lot this weekend (granted the farmer's market can be more expensive, but for some things I think well worth it), and I've already cleaned out a majority of it. Well, back to studying some bones, muscles, and the glycolytic pathway.
No soup for me tonight.

September 19, 2010

eat yo greens

I'm so glad it's the weekend...this first whole week of school was definitely though, and my body is still adjusting to the long hours. But, i love every second of it here. The past weekend at the farmer's market, I passed by a booth that was selling collard greens and decided to try making it. It's always so hard to just stick to my list of things because everything looks so good there!

I looked up a few recipes, and it seemed simple enough. I think usually it's made with ham hock, but I didn't have the time to get that going so I just used bacon instead.
Cook one diced onion with some bacon (I used 4 slices of thick cut) and garlic until the onion turns translucent.
Then add the greens. I used two bunches destemmed. It may seem like a lot, but they really reduce in size after a few minutes. I added a few tablespoons of vinegar, then when the size goes down, add 1 cup of water of chicken broth. Simmer for about 30 minutes.
The finished product. Overall not bad at all.
I've been eating pretty simply otherwise. For dinner today I just had a salad of corn, bell peppers, celery w/ garlic olive oil/vinegar dressing, a piece of gouda, and a cup of wine ( I have no wine glasses). I think my cooking strategy is to make a lot of something on Sunday, then have that for the rest of the week. I bought some kale today at that same stand I got the greens, so my next post will be about that.
The cat is doing well, and we're both slowly learning about one another. I've discovered he loves the laser pointer. I've thought of a few names, but I'm still not sure if they completely fit him: Poot (short for Pooter), Little Man, and Hubert. Happy Sunday!

September 6, 2010

new toys and some beef

Hello from Davis! Things have been busy with moving into my new place and orientation and such, so I'm glad to have this holiday weekend to writeup a quick post!
I went on a little splurge and, with a lot of help from CAB, I bought some new knives for my place, a Shun 4" paring knife and a Global 7" Santoku.
So far, I'm quite happy with my purchase although I am a little scared when I use them because they are quite sharp.
I've been trying to save money and eating at home, and my meals have been simple for the most part. Here is a bunch of stuff I got at the farmer's market (post to come in the future). The tortilla type thing is a potato Bolani, an afghan bread thingermabob. It's pretty darn good, a bit thin but the potatoes make it pretty filling.
What I've been missing in my diet though is meat, and after a few days, I couldn't take it anymore, so I tried making boeuf bourguignon (don't ask me to pronounce it), inspired by Paestry's lovely post. The recipe seemed simple enough and reminded me of the Stone Soup story, and I was excited to see how a few ingredients would mix together to make a tasty stew.
I know nothing about wine and just ended up getting the cheapest one. Until yesterday, I don't think I've ever had a Pinot Noir, but man it was good and so gentle on the tongue!
Down the bottle went into the pot.
After a few hours with some added mushrooms, tomato paste, and flour+butter.
I ate it with a big hunk of french bread. I made a bunch to eat for the next couple days. Overall, I was happy with the product, but next time I am going to add some herbs and see how it turns out.
In other news, I got a new roommate/my first cat! His previous owners couldn't keep him because he didn't get along with their other cat, and when they got him from the shelter, he was named "Tizer." I've been wanting to rename him, but can't think of anything good at the moment although I'm sure it'll come. Hope everyone's enjoyin their holiday!

August 25, 2010

S.A.T.C 2010

No, this isn't a post about Carrie or one of her whiny friends. I'm here to talk to you about LIFE and what's real: Santa.Ana.Taco.Crawl, HOLLA-day inn (i love that line paestry!)! I hadn't done one of these in a while, and I made sure to do quick run beforehand to work up the appetite and rockin my gym shorts with the expandable waistline. Some quick shoutouts:
-Gratitude to Elmo and Gustavo, and everyone else from stickaforkinit who provided the necessary info from their blogs.
-Much love to my adventurous friends who braved the heat with me and persevered to five spots + dessert. Special thanks to the young and up and coming Jomo (who can bake bread in your rice cooker, biatch!) who took all the pictures, drove, and made it to the bonus round.
This year's taco crawl is brought to you in part by:
And now, with the formalities out of the way, I introduce to you Harry Potter and the Santa Ana Taco Crawl.
The secret list.

Marauder's Map.
Amuse bouche.
A. Alebrije's Grill. The owner (?) was quite a friendly guy who enthusiastically described his product and some of his favorite items. We ordered a Taco Acorazado to share and sat down on some plastic crates outside the pink truck.
This thing was bananas. A freshly made tortilla(so good), beans, rice, thin pounded breaded beef steak, tomatoes, onions, avocados, and a sprinkle of cotija cheese with some cactus on the side. We liberally added some hot carrots and some of the tasty salsas, and this was quite a delicious meal. I was tempted to order another for myself, but we had places to go and tacos to see!
Dayammmm!!!! A perfect remedy for the heat.
Sandia, tamarindo, horchata. I enjoyed my watermelon very much.
We ordered the Torta Cubana to share. Ham, spicy pork, beef steak, and headcheese all stuffed with veggies on their own freshly baked mexican bun, which was a bit airy although my piece had significantly less bread than the other two. A monster.
They also make baked goods and were giving out free samples of their tres leches cake. Amiga made the comparison of this place to Lee's Sandwiches.
C. Taqueria Tapatia
Here we each ordered an al pastor taco. Overall, it wasn't great, but it was above average imo although the others didn't seem to like it too much. No picture, but they make a pretty damn good melon aqua fresca.
D. I'm still not sure if this place is called Torta Ahogada or Chiva Torta. I had visited this place on the last run I did.
We ordered their specialty, the torta ahogada and split it three ways. This looked a lot more naked than the last time I had it although I suppose I could have added the pico and what not myself. The bread was like an crunchy baguette and I think the filling was pork though honestly, I have trouble telling the difference sometimes. Also inside was some beans and onions. Being a pansy, I requested it to be "media" so that slow burning sauce didn't drown the sandwich completely. Definitely a different kind of torta and one worth trying.
To aid digestion, we walked around the adjacent Northgate Market and picked up some mexican candy.
Also D. El Rincon de Sabor. We went on a bit of a wild goose chase for this one. We saw a truck a few feet away but didn't see a name. After some turkey jivin and some wild turkey shots though, we headed back and saw the name on the other side. I laughed so hard at my dumb mistake that I walked into a pole. I cried for a bit, then I laughed some more.
We saw that this place offered the acorazado too, so we had to try it out to compare. While overall, this was a pretty decent taco, it fell short of Alebrije's Grill. The tortilla didn't seem hand made and more oily (seemed lightly fried). There were also no beans and other veggie goodies.
We didn't get to go to E, so we went straight for dessert to Natural in Anaheim.
I ordered the chamoyada. Basically apricot+chile+salt+mango shake. Read the full description here. This was a really intense drink.
Comes with a special straw!
The young eligible bachelor got a cantaloupe smoothee. Two white gloved thumbs up he sang. We then headed back home. The end. Or was it?
A few hours later after some gentle coaxing (like the guy is trying to do on the right), we met up at Bootlegger's for a beer and some more tacos for the bonus round. I thought the Dos Chinos Truck was gonna be there, but instead it was Calbi. No pics of the beer, but it seems they raised their prices a little bit and a lot of their selection is gone although I did get to try a delicious hopped up hef.
I've had this truck before once after a tipsy night in L.A. The cute worker took my order of a spicy pork and chicken taco. The chicken wasn't very good...cubed pieces that reminded me of sandwich meat. The spicy pork was better though. It had this sweet taste to it that kinda reminded me of apple juice and later on, a slow burn. I wasn't a big fan of the lettuce or cheese on it. But my friends both said they thought it was better than Kogi.
All in all, a pretty fun and successful crawl, and I didn't get sick either. +1 star. This will be my last socal post, and I think it's fitting that I go out with a bang as I'm moving up to Davis tomorrow to spend my next four years. So to end, lemme hear you say, "hotel, motel, HOLLA-day inn!" Peace love and tacos everybody!

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