Thursday, September 22, 2011

Layered Orange Salad

It has been a really long time since I've blogged. I thought maybe I can slowly try to blog again, baby steps. It's hot in AZ so these days I just want to make something light and quick, without staying too long in the kitchen because I can't handle the heat. This salad is really easy to make and delicious. It's healthy so for the weight conscious (raises hand, me!), you can eat without any guilt.

Layered Orange Salad from Cuisine at Home.

3 oranges, peeled and sliced
3 Tbsp chopped toasted almonds
3 Tbsp halved manzanilla (or other green) olives
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp sherry vinegar or white vinegar
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp minced red onion

Layered orange slices on a platter. Toss together the rest of the ingredients and spoon over oranges.

I didn't have green olives so I just used kalamata olives and added a little bit of capers too. YUM!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Finally...Updates for Oct and Nov 08

I can't believe that I have let this blog slide for so long. Today, after 3 long days of vacation I am prepare to update my blog. This will just be a long post with snippets of some of the dishes that I've made in the past 2 months. I can't believe that Nov is almost over. EEK!...

In chronological order...the delicious times that were had at living with soy sauce and masala...

So, I follow quite a few food blogs. I am almost addicted to food blogs because I have some ridiculous fears that if I don't subscribe to them, I'd run out...of food blogs. In reality, the more I subscribe, browse, the more I find of blogs that I like and it is so bad that at this point, I just don't have enough time to browse/read them all. However, good food blogs have motivated me to improve MY food blogs with one of the goals being - to take better pictures. So I did some research and learned that one of the best things that you can do to take better pictures is take them in natural light. The problem for me now is during the weekdays, I don't get home until 5:30ish and by then, it's already dark! I can't believe it get so dark so fast in AZ. The solution to this is very simple. I can cook on the weekends and take pictures then and there but I rarely feel like cooking on the weekends. Weekends are time for the hubby and I to go out to eat or for relaxing on the couch while watching TV. Good times but definitely unproductive. As a result, my pictures are a little bit over-exposed but I am working on it.

Oct 21st

Now, my memory is a bit cloudy as these things happened awhile ago but by looking at the food choice, I can safely gather that I was on another one of my journeys toward a healthy lifestyle and diet. That means, eat lean protein and vegies so dinner was baked tilapia and grilled asparagus (seasoned with garlic, salt/pepper, tossed with olive oil and topped with Parmesan cheese). I have never used asparagus before but there was a big bag of yummy looking asparagus on sale at Costco so why not.

It was also beginning to cool down in Arizona (apparently for only that lone weekend). I decided to make us a hearty Italian soup (pasta e fagioli) to warm up the soul. This soup was DELICIOUS!! 5 stars and more and very easy to make. It's italian sausage with vegies, beans, and pasta. This soup will become a regular in this household.

Oct 25th

I finally cooked during the weekend but it was a slow cook meal and thought I started cooking it at 12:30 in the afternoon, it wasn't finished until 8:30 PM. I have always wanted to try making a pot roast but it was just too meaty a dish for me but I had a change of heart after purchasing a slow cooker. I have heard so much about how convenient a crock pot is so I went out and bought my own crock pot. Unfortunately, after bringing it home, I broke the lid while washing it. I was forced to substitute another lid that did not fit well. Lastly, I didn't realize that if you open the lid during cooking, you basically added more time to your cook time and I opened that thing a few time during the roasting. The result was a pretty good pot roast but I bet it would have been more tender if I didn't open the lid. Next time, I will just leave it alone. Nevertheless, we finished the pot roast within 2 days. Dinner that night was pot roast with potatoes, carrots, and onions with a side of butter garlic mashed potatoes. It was late and I was hungry (ie. grumpy) so I was in a hurry to eat but hubby insisted on taking pictures. I am glad that he did bust out the camera to capture our pot roast moment.

oct 27th - Diwali
After work, I rushed to the market to pick up some food and tried to make an Indian dinner in celebration of Diwali and a little surprise for the hubby. Diwali is one of Kar's favorite holidays and I know that he miss celebrating it in grande fashion with lights, fireworks, and SWEETS in India. He suggested that we visit India during festival time next time we go there so that will be what we will do, later. I went to the market and picked up some sweets, Jelebi, some milk sweet, and some vegetable samosas. I also made some coconut burfi for our neighbors (who weren't home when we visisted to drop of some sweets). Dinner was potato roast and drumsticks sambar. Unfortunately, we took only one picture of everything so this were all that we had captured.

Oct 31st

Halloween was PJ, unibrow, ugly moles, bad make-up, and moo shoes. I actually went to work like this...all of my coworkers were dressed up in PJs...I am contemplating whether I wanted to post my ugly make up face but I will at least post my moo shoes. We got to experience our very first "trick-or-treat" this year and the kids that came to our door were so cute. We decided to do that again from now on because this time I had to cut our candy giving experience short to catch a Hindi movie (Golmaal Returns). It was OK. It was "very expensive movie--hint hint" (Kar finally got a speeding ticket while we were driving to the movie via photo radar). This type of ticket is usually pretty expensive but does not add points to your driving record and/or insurance.

Nov 6th and soon after
Recently a popular Asian market in Arizona had opened another branch that relatively closed to my house. I decided to stop by Lee Lee (in Peoria) and picked up a piece of salmon and a couple of pomprets for fish fry. The salman was prepared the normal way that my mom prepared them which was frying and then topped with sauteed onions, garlic, and tomatoes. I also had some gyoza. The pomprets were prepared a few days later and it's Indian style. It was turmeric, chilli powder, salt/pepper, and ginger garlic paste. I followed Amma's recipe with addition of ginger garlic paste. Delicious, both style, Vietnamese and Indian. I really love fish and well most seafood.

Nov 17th

Beef fry, almost Kerela style - did not have coconut oil at home and substituted desecrated coconut for actual coconut chunks. I was too lazy to run over to the store and did the best with what I had at home. This was as Rachael Ray would say, YUMM-O! This dish was gone in a flash and Kar was giving it 6 stars out of 5 stars. I tried to be artistic in this picture. Does anybody see any improvements?

Happy belated Thanksgiving! We celebrated with a Thanksgiving meal cooked by Mimi's cafe. During out lunch, we got rained on, in fact, we got hailed! We sat outside on the patio and it rained with chunks of ice. We didn't need anybody to refill our iced water. The next day, we spent it SHOPPING. I bought clothes and Kar bought an XBOX360.

Lastly, I really despise terrorists.
Our thoughts and prayers for Mumbai.

On 2nd thought, I didn't want to end this post on a bad note so I am going to squeeze in a little bit more of update. Hubby was so sweet. He surprised me (almost) with a keyboard since my keyboard had a couple of buttons that didn't work. What a thoughtful gesture--- small gesture but a lot of heart! Thank you! I love those nice things that you do for your partner without any reasons.

Until next time...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Bird Nest of Toasts and Eggs

The first time I saw this dish made was in the really good movie called V for Vendetta.  It's basically buttered toast and a fried egg, together.  It's that perfect breakfast food for a lazy Saturday morning and extra perfect for me because I LOVE bread and EGGS <3.

2 pieces of bread
2 eggs

Lightly butter both sides of a slices of bread. Cut or tear out a hole in the middle of each slice. Heat non-stick skillet or griddle on medium. Place bread on grill, crack egg into a dish (to make sure its good) and put it in the hole. Cook round piece off to the side until golden brown on both sides. Fry until egg looks half done. Carefully flip egg and toast and cook until done.

I also bought some nice plums so I ate it with my plum.  

Birthday - the last of the 20s

I had a great birthday this year.  I had recieved a lot of nice emails, text messages, and phone calls (especially ones from India =o).  I felt really special, thank you! Friday, I had cake with co-workers at work.  Later that night, we met up with friends to eat pizza and fried chicken while playing Scattergories and Taboo.  I managed to win at Scattorgories with things like "Nicholas the dalmation and hydrolic gears".  When we played Taboo, I was part of the Girls Team and we were really good.  We managed to beat the three guys.  Saturday, Hubby took me to Ruth's Chris steakhouse again but at a different location.  This time, I was dissapointed with the food but the ambience at this location was better.  I thought that the food needed a little bit of salt (compare to the last time that we were there where everything was perfectly seasoned).  Our potato au gratin side dish was a little bit undercooked.  I did not like their french onion soup.  The best thing was the chocolate cake which was really good.  I can't be bother to go into details about the food since it was OK!  Sunday, we went to lunch with my parents at California Pizza Kitchen.  I love their Waldorf Chicken Salad and Scicilian Pizza.  We ended the lunch with a nice slice of cheese cake.

Basil and Chillies

Now that I have started cooking more regularly, I wanted to have easy access to fresh ingredients, something on the line of going to the backyard and picking my own vegetables and herbs.  Unfortunately, the house does not have a real backyard but we have a small courtyard.  That was by choice because when we first looked at houses, we wanted something extremely low maintenance and we did not want a backyard.  Now, I would really like a garden, nothing big but enough spaces to plant a few things.  For now, this courtyard is enough to house my new basil and chilli plants!  I secured them from my dad who has a green thumb so they are currently in good health.  Everyday after work, I immediately go outside to water them.  I am hoping that I can keep these two plants alive. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Addicted to Cookbooks...

Although I have moved into my husband's house for 3+ months now, I have not fully unpacked everything yet.  The house was a little bit messy so we decided to slowly organize/clean/decorate each room slowly.  The first room we tackled was our living room.  were boxes, books that were piled up in towers leaning against the wall.  It felt very, college-dorm-ish.  SO, a few weeks ago, we went to the local store and bought 2 bookcases for our books.  After spending 2 hours trying to decipher the "simple" all pictures instructions, we managed to put together our two bookcases.  I was very proud of us!  So now we have a his/her bookcases that stand side by side. I thought it was interesting that I have so many cookbooks---and notice that they're all different cusines.  I ADORE cookbooks with pictures and can't help but browse through a few every time that I go to the bookstores.  I love trying different types of food and would get bored if I am forced to eat the same type of food everyday...

Moving on now to some food...I was looking for an easy and delicious chicken dish to make for dinner.  Lo and behold look at what I've found --- May I introduce you to the best chicken dish ever?...ever?? BOURBON CHICKEN (but actually needed no bourbon to make.) This dish is ridiculously easy!!! DELISH!!! Fabulous with rice. I will divulge this fantastic recipe below. 

2 lbs boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1-2 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/4 teaspoon ginger
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup apple juice
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup soy sauce

1. Heat oil in a large skillet.
2. Add chicken pieces and cook until lightly browned.
3. Remove chicken.
4. Add remaining ingredients, heating over medium Heat until well mixed and dissolved.
5. Add chicken and bring to a hard boil.
6. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
7. Serve over hot rice and ENJOY.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Dimsum with friends

Two weeks ago, on a lazy Saturday we had DIMSUM with some friends. Dimsum are little treats that you normally eat for breakfast or brunch. It is a light Chinese cuisine consisting of many little dishes ordered ala carte. The best thing about dimsum is the variety of seafood, meat, vegetable, and even fruit and dessert dishes. All perfect to share with friends and family members. We met up with John, my college friend, his girlfriend, Trang, and Kar's work friend Mike.

John and Trang


Kar & Me

You can get your food when these carts come by your table. I never know the names of these Chinese dishes so we basically pointed to what we wanted. Basic communication but very effective.

Then, how they bill you was putting a mark on a sheet like this. Dishes fall into certain price range. You need to be vigilant because sometimes it becomes very hectic and people might put an extra mark here or there. Not common, but happens sometimes.

Some of the food dishes

Food spread out on the table - YUMMY!

Special mention - Chicken feet, considered to be a Chinese delicacy. This were chicken feet that were fried, boiled, marinated in a sweet black bean sauce, and steamed. They're soft and chewy.

Mike was brave enough to try one. He said it's not bad but too chewy for his taste. He is not likely to try this dish again for awhile. My dad loves this stuff.

The full group together.

We ended the day with 2 games of Killer Bunnies, 1 ticket to ride, and some random Taboo!
Good times...

Actually, on the way home, Kar and I stopped for a Korean dessert, pat bing soo which is very popular in Korea and gaining momentum in the US. It is shaved ice with fresh fruit and sweetened red bean. It is also drizzle with milk, fresh and sometimes condensed milk. Really delicious summer treat.

We ended the day with...a rainbow in the sky!