When the Temperature Goes Down...

After being debilitated last weekend and melting away in the crazy humid heat, I am so happy to announce that I cooked this week! And thank god I did, because I had leftovers in my fridge that were getting impatient with me. Some stuff did go bad but some stuff survived. Here is what I made this week trying to use up all the leftovers...

It's still hot on Monday. Bugger. I picked up a few slices of prosciutto, marinated some leftover roasted pepper with sherry vinegar, capers, golden raisans, and olive oil, toasted leftover baguette that had been sitting in my fridge drawer, sliced up some manchego. And a simple dinner it became as Manchego Prosciutto Crostini with Roasted Pepper Relish. The crostinis could have been thinner but I was in a hurry to stop being hot!


No cooking! Ate spicy tuna roll and hwaedupbap (sashimi rice) takeout from Yanusa.

My mom told me to eat the rest of the turnip beef soup for dinner that she had made a few days before. But little did she know that I've been eating this for breakfast. It makes a perfect breakfast though with a little mound of rice. Soupy, soothing, something nice to gently wake me up in the morning.


But there were only dregs left in the pot by Wednesday. I had eaten the last good bit in the morning and was planning to clean the pot when I got home from work. But then when I got home, I suddenly got an idea to use up the scraps. Donburi! Now I've never made donburi before but had been checking out oyako donburi recipes when I crave comfort food.


I took the meat, flank I believe, out of the pot and shredded by hand. Marinated it in equal portions of mirin and soy sauce. I wisked up a few eggs with scallion, mirin and soy sauce. I brought the tidbit of broth up to a boil, added the meat, then added the egg. Although the eggs didn't coddle wholesomely as I would have liked, the dish was delicious. I ended up mashing the beef and egg into the rice anyways, so who needs perfect coddling? (Next time I will try better though). My mom was surprised at how good it was and also impressed with my use of trash-destined scraps.


I also had leftover carmelized onion and sauteed cremini mushrooms begging to be used. Sorry but it's just been way to hot to cook. Until Wednesday that is. I defrosted a sheet of puff pastry, rolled it out, laid some carmelized onion and cremini on top, sprinkled some thyme leaves, grated a bit of pecorino, and baked it off. Puff pastry is never bad is it? The Carmelized Onion & Cremini Tart made for a delicious and satisfying lunch the next day.


I had made plans to make Apple Coffee Cake last week. Instead the heat got me lazy the apple I had bought for this recipe were sitting in my fridge. Poor things, they were a little bit dried up and bruised lightly in some spots. I used Emeril's recipe and they came out perfect. I reduced the amount of sugar by a third though, which is perfect for my taste.

Oh yeah, the reason I searched out this recipe was because I had leftover sour cream and had nothing to use it in. Although the sour cream expiration date was 7/15, it stayed good until the 26th. It stayed good for 11 more days than it said it would! Miracle I tell ya. The container stamped with 7/14 went bad. Good thing I finally used the sour cream up. I think it was waiting for me to make the coffee cake.


By now you're probably thinking damn this girl's got so much leftovers! Yes, yes I do. I had some leftover chocolate sauce from making profiterols two weeks ago. I searched and searched for a recipe to use this up in. And Chocolate Mousse was the winner.
I had stored the chocolate sauce in a 2-cup glass measuring cup. I popped that in the microwave with a few tablespoons of butter. Whisked in 3 yolks into the chocolate mixture. Then whipped up 3 egg whites in the mixer with cream of tartar and sugar. Whipped up some cream by hand and added vanilla extract. Folded the egg white into the chocolate. Then folded the whipped cream into the chocolate egg mixture. Then finally spooned into little ramekins and chilled. Topped it off with some whipped cream and grated chocolate.

It was so airy and light! It almost give you the impression you're not eating that much chocolate, but more like chocolate air. A happy success for my first chocolate mousse.

*pic to be inserted here*

More leftovers or stored food... Long time ago I made chicken stock from scratch. It's been sitting in my freezer for a while now. Not so long that I couldn't use it but long enough that I better find something good to put it in. With plans to make brown curry I defrosted the two containers full of my first homemade chicken stock ever. I also had turkey meatloaf sitting in my freezer too. It's more like emergency food, if I don't have time to make lunch or get lazy or something. I defrosted two balls of those.

I threw in some potato, onion, carrots, zucchini, summer squash, and button mushroom into the broth. Added the cubed up tender pieces of turkey meatloaf. Added the curry mix. And the deed was done - delicious Brown Curry with Veges and Turkey Meatloaf.

Ahh, I feel clean and purged of my leftovers and freezer-stored foods. I still have bits of leftovers here and there but mostly I've cleaned out my fridge. And my conscience at that. I crown myself Master of Leftovers. :)

And here is today. Well I happened to get hooked up to a catering gig tomorrow for 70 people so I'll be cooking it up tonight with a few friends. Hopefully I won't have too much leftover ingredients from the gig or else I will have to rack my brain for more recipes!

Lavash with Roasted Veges and Lemon-Cumin Yogurt; Tabouli


Roasting is one of my favorite ways to cook vegetables. They develop a deeper flavor as they roast, becoming sweet, nutty, and carmelized in all the right places. For this simple wrap, I roasted an eggplant, farmer's market carrots, red pepper, zucchini, and onion. I added a basil leaf or two after the vegetables cooled a little bit.


Now top that lavash with the beautiful roasted veges, a sprinkle of tabouli and a dollop of thick, creamy whole yogurt tinged with lemon zest and cumin. So simple and so good! Lavash has become a good friend to me. How can one so versatile be a bad friend in the kitchen?


Marilyn's dessert: Pistachio Truffles with Ice Cream

A catered menu for www.writingpad.com


Hot Weekend Things


I had grand plans for squash blossoms and tapas with roasted pepper relish livened up with raisan, capers and parsley. For a simple tomato salad with fleur de sel and peppery olive oil and pasta bianco with shavings of pecorino and black pepper.

But I did none of that. Zero. In fact, I could barely move this whole weekend. When is this heat and humidity going to stop? Earth please have mercy on us cooks!

After late escapading til 5 on Friday, I woke up Saturday mid-morning contemplating whether to head over to the Santa Monica farmer's market. But it was already hot and I thought about my previously made plans to deep fry some squash blossoms. Hmmm... stay home and watch tv and nap. Or goto the farmer's market so I can deep fry on one of the hottest days of this season.

I stayed home. Ate a bowl of my mom's turnip soup made with a light beef broth, mixed grain rice, and kimchi. This is my ideal breakfast anytime - Korean soup that is. So then I napped, watched TV. Rolled around my living room as the day got hotter and hotter. I watched 4 episodes of a Korean drama called Dae Jang Geum. It's about a royal cook way back in the days. It's frickin awesome and there is a lot of food shots in there. I believe there is a dvd version of it with subtitles. Really educational and so intriguing. Anyhow, that is what I did until Boy came over around lunch time.

Then we ate spicy chicken and potatoes with mushroom and red peppers. Rice, scallion salad, and a bowl of the turnip soup. Ahh, life is good when the fridge is stocked with previously made food. Then we watched Miller's Crossing on IFC as we tried to cool down unsuccessfully. Oh did I mention that the AC is broken? Yip.

Instead we sat in front of a plug in air conditioner named Narita. Narita really did try her best but dammit, we were melting and melting. It was horrible.

Then it was time to eat again. We ordered Korean-Chinese food from Mandarin House. Some Chinese meatballs, yaki dumplings, and jiajangmyun. I got full. It was still hot. I could not move. Bleh.

Then Sunday came about. Boy and I headed over to Cactus Tacqueria for lunch. Ate on one of their benches. It was hard to breathe but the tacos were so good I survived. Then off to see Strangers with Candy at the Sunset Laemmle. Hallelujah! The theater was so well air-conditioned that I almost even got goosebumps at one point. The movie was funny, I was nicely chilled and happy. Until we left that is. I told Boy maybe we should go back inside for another movie since neither of our places are air conditioned and at $10/2 hr it's probably the cheapest thing we could do.


Instead we headed over to Santa Monica to get a drink at Father's Office. It was hot, but a tiny bit better on the oceanside of town. There was a short wait but we got in and got ourselves bar seats. Chilled glasses of Russian River's Pliny the Elder brought back a bit of happiness to our lives. We sipped and ate their soft-shell crab with corn relish, which was excellent by the way. Then a basket of the sweet potatoes fries with roasted garlic cabrales aioli came our way. It was excellent as usual. Unfortunately, with the heat and the exhaustion that comes with it, the glass of double IPA did not sit well with my head. Pounding ensued. Sigh.

So we headed to Boy's place to watch Deadwood. It was 89 degrees in his place. Ai yai yai. I am really looking forward to this week of cooling down. The food this weekend was excellent and delicious but I want to cook for a change without melting away!

How was everyone else's weekend?


Yay for Yai

After reading Santos's delicious post of a few Thai restaurants I straight headed over to Yai, her favorite of the group, to try some of the wonderful sounding dishes. My mouth is getting watery just thinking about the food now. Here is what we tried...

Gai sapp nok...
This was a nice and spicy dish of ground chicken and curry. Perfect over fluffy jasmine rice to soak up some of the juices and also provide a little relief from the chiles.


The sole was also nice and spicy. Although at the time I didn't think that it was that spicy, when I had it for lunch the next day my tongue was kind of starting to burn up. I enjoy that though. :)


Delicious chicken satay with the ubiquitous plate accessory - white bread. Who started this? I thought it funny the first time I saw white bread come out with an appetizer at Sanamluang.

Black egg pow...
This was my first taste of preserved egg. Although it looks kind of scary it was delicious. I didn't expect such a soft silky texture. I loved the heap of fried basil on top of this dish. I wouldn't mind having a bowl of rice with just the fried basil leaves and some soy sauce. Truly delicious.

We also tried the dry bbq duck noodles which I loved! Okay, I loved everything. I really enjoyed the brothy sauce and the bean sprouts at the bottom. The duck meat was tender and delicious and plenty to go around.

All of us enjoyed our lunch and we stuffed ourselves. And who would have thought that the little Thai restaurant in the tiny strip mall could serve it up so good? I never even noticed the place before. But thank god for food bloggers or else I would have never known!

5757 Hollywood Blvd


Squash Blossoms


Here is my first attempt at deep frying and squash blossoms. I can't say it was completely a success since I adore the ones at AOC and Hungry Cat, but the first few were delicious. You can see the beautiful color of the squash blossoms through the thin batter. Although this is quite visually enjoyable I want to achieve a more crunchy tempura like batter next time. I must be crazy to want to fry in this weather but the thought of waiting until next summer to have squash blossoms again makes me panic.

I stuffed these with ricotta and goat cheese. The ricotta was full of moisture and I didn't have the forethought to drain it a little bit. Duh! So by the last frying squash blossom these cheese was leaking out of the flower. And of course I was freaking out from a few feet away. I thought the oil was going to explode or something at this point. See? No deep frying experience over here.

I'm not so into frying at home although I love fried foods. The hot weather right now, the hot oil splattering over my hands and stove, cleaning and disposing of the oil - not my ideal way to enjoy food. But squash blossoms are worth it. I'm going to give another go this weekend.

Now that I'm no longer a frying virgin (hehe that sounds weird) I guess I can move onto all those wonderful foods I've been avoiding making at home. Fried chicken, tempura, fried shrimp and oysters, and fries. Mmmm~!


Raspberry Pavlova


I'm not too into sweets and would almost always prefer ending a meal with a cheese plate with the last sips of my wine than get a dessert. What can I say? I am a savory gal.

But pavlovas, that's another story. Now here's a dessert I can definitely have lots of in one sitting. Pavlova is basically a meringue base with whipped cream topped with fresh fruit. In this case, beautiful apricot-hued raspberries tumbled upon a pile of freshly whipped cream upon a light meringue base that just melts in your mouth. There is no frickin way that can't be good.

I like the cool milkiness of the freshly whipped cream sans sugar, the sweet juiciness of the berries and the crunchy light meringue. I've tried strawberries but I am partial to raspberries for this dessert. Everyone I've made pavlova for absolutely loves it. Including me. :)

Roasted Cauliflower with Curry & Paprika; Israeli Couscous with Currants, Golden Raisans & Pinenuts


Roasted cauliflower with spices is so easy to make and so affordable. You get a great bang for your buck with this flavorful dish. First you cut off the florets, toss it with olive oil, cumin, coriander, curry, paprika, and a teeny bit of black pepper. The roasted it with wedges of onion and little knobs of butter. I like it when the floret edges get really and carmelized and charred. The above picture does not show such carmelized edges - waahh. Broiling for a few minutes could have worked that out though.

To go with the roasted cauliflower I made Israeli couscous. I sauteed some shallots and then added water to this. Brought it up to a boil, added the couscous, and cooked it covered until the water had been absorbed. Alternatively, you can cook the couscous in more water then drain it. To the cooked couscous I added dried currants, raisans, parsley, black pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil. The sweetness from the currants and raisans in the couscous paired up well with the spiced cauliflower. I really enjoyed the texture of the Israeli couscous, so much more than Moroccan couscous which is the only couscous I knew until I made this one.


Marilyn's dessert: Papaya Lime Soup Shooter

A catered menu for www.writingpad.com


Burrata & Tomato Salad; Fresh Shell Pasta with Pancetta, Corn & Brown Butter Salsa Verde; Profiterol with Vanilla Ice Cream & Chocolate Sauce


The yellow one is Lemon Boy, the darker one is Purple Cherokee, and the green one is Green Zebra. Aren't they just darling?! I hit up the Saturday farmer's market over in Santa Monica this weekend, in preparation for a lunch I was preparing for my friend H for her birthday. Then I hit up Bay Cities and went crazy. I do that sometimes. Go crazy buying all sorts of stuff I need and may need. Did that last week at Mitsuwa too. What's wrong with me?! I've gone food shopping crazy!


I got some wonderful wonderful burrata at Bay Cities. The skin on this creamy mozzarella was super thin and the flesh creamy and milky. What better way to enjoy it then a simple salad with beautiful tomatoes and fragrant basil straight from the market? I drizzled the salad with a Spanish olive oil, sprinkled some fleur de sel, and ground black pepper. Nothing else, and it was truly delicious.


I also picked up some corn and chanterelle mushrooms at the farmer's market and fresh shell pasta at Bay Cities. I sauteed some pancetta, onion and garlic. Then added thyme, chanterelles, and a pinch of saffron. Deglazed with a bit of white wine then added the cut corn. Meanwhile I cooked the pasta in a pot of well salted water. Then tossed all together along with brown butter salsa verde, and shaved over some Pecorino Romano.

The dish I originally had in mind was fresh pasta with pancetta, pea, saffron and pecorino. And the leftover salsa verde was to be employed in the burrata tomato salad. But instead I kept the salad simple with a drizzle of the olive oil and decided to make brown butter salsa verde (a la Lucques) to finish the pasta. Brown butter is, well, browned butter. The salsa verde is made of parsley, mint, anchovies and capers. Now add those two together and you got yourself some herb infused nutty brown butter.

But in my little spontaneous turn of the recipe I believed I faltered a bit. The pasta definitely could do without the saffron since there was a lot of herb flavor going on. I would have used less butter or oil in order to control the total amount of fat in the dish. When I added the brown butter salsa verde, it was a bit too buttery. Perhaps more chanterelles would have been nice but those things are expensive and also I was out of money. Okay, enough analysis!

However, this is not to say that it wasn't delicious. H happily filled herself up with the pasta as did the rest of us. The corn was sweet, fresh, and cooked just enough to keep intact some of the pleasant crunch. And the Bay Cities' fresh pasta is so delicious. Do try it. It'll do well even with just a grind of black pepper, a shave of pecorino, and a drizzle of good olive oil.


I even decided to make the dessert. You guys know I only make dessert once in a while but since this menu was pretty simple I decided to put in some time in the dessert department. So profiterols with Ben & Jerry's Vanilla Ice Cream and chocolate sauce. I followed the Barefoot Contessa recipe for the profiterols and they came out delicious. The dough is sticky and messy to clean from the food processor but the recipe is super easy. I was happy with the results. I think we all were!

*Happy birthday H! Glad you enjoyed your lunch. :)


Quickeasy Meal - Flatbread Pizza


As I demonstrated to myself before that flatbread is indeed an easy meal waiting to be fixed, I thought the last piece of lavash would well received (in my mouth that is) as a quickie dinner. A flatbread pizza sounded like something that was easy, fast & not too messy of a recipe for a weeknight tv dinner.

I topped the lavash with some semi-carmelized brown onion, thyme, anchovy pieces, goat cheese and s&p. Baked it off. Easy as that!

The results were delicious - the crispy lavash with the sweet onion, salty anchovy, and tangy goat cheese. I did sprinkle an one too many sprinkle of the salt and it was a bit salty especially with the anchovy. Next time more chops to the anchovy and less sprinkles of the salt. Am I forgiven? I may even add a smear of ricotta to the base. Mmmm.


La Chouffe's Dobbelen IPA Tripel accompanied this easy meal. It's Belgian, it's a tripel, but not too much of them hops as the name might suggest. However, it was still a delicious beverage to imbibe, well-balanced and not as heavy as the "Tripel" made me think.

I think flatbread pizzas may become a recurring dish on this blog. It's a perfect entertaining dish. Hmm, time for a party?

Back Up

My computer is back up! Yay! At least for the time being. I have no idea how it goes from not recognizing the hard drive one day to turning back on another day. Anyhow, until it breaks again I will be posting. A delicious lunch at Yai, Writing Pad menu, birthday lunch... to be posted soon!


Technological Difficulties

My computer crashed the other day so postings may be delayed. The previous post was the last bit of the uploaded pics. Maybe I'll post without pics until the comp gets fixed/replaced. I feel self-conscious writing without the photos though! Because then I'll really have to pay attention to what I'm writing instead of cheating with the pics. :) I hope you understand and I hope I make sense sans pics.



My brother alerted me to the delicious pad kee mow at Sanamluang a few years ago. At first bite I was addicted. The food here is fast, cheap and delicious. Perfect for a drop-by dinner before an activity, such as watching The Pirates of the Carribean.

So we drove down Hollywood Blvd. Of course when we got there the parking situation was ridiculous, the parking lot being extremely small and this being LA. But no biggie, we parked a block down. I figured I could count the short walk as exercise. My friend H said no. But how about round trip? That could equal out a quarter-mile I said. She laughed, I think in agreement.


We started with their eggrolls, which I find to be delicious minus the celery slices. These eggrolls are a good size, so pleasingly crunchy and steaming hot inside. Good thing H and I are good friends, because double dipping is essential to finishing each eggroll. I guess you could dip the ends, avoiding double dipping, but it doesn't soak up much of the sauce the exposed side does.


The we got the shrimp salad. This came piled high with cilantro and I could see all the marinating juice at the bottom of the plate ready to be slopped up by shrimp, leaves and all. The shrimp were a bit small but moist and cooked perfectly. The marinade was pungent, not too spicy, fragrant with lemongrass, fish sauce and cilantro. This one was tad sweeter than the one I used to have a Palms Thai. I haven't been to Palms Thai in years. Maybe it's time for comparison dining!


Then finally we waited for the pad kee mow, the dish I was raving about. Then came pad prik king. Question marks floated over my head. A communication flop had deprived me of my pad kee mow!! Nooooo! The waitress looked a little peeved about the mistake although the mistake is certainly in her ears. This problem was quickly rectified within less than 10 minutes and a hot plate of pad kee mow came to our table. Ground beef, aromatic basil, ground chili, and soft pillowy rice noodles - what more can I ask for? It's awfully delicious. Period.

Full of so much good food, I nearly got food coma. I hung on by a thread and we headed off to the theater after my exercise walk back to the car. Unfortunately it was a box breaking weekend for the PoTC and we couldn't get tickets. Instead I went to Boy's to watch tv and so sweetly gave him the leftover pad kee mow. Then I ate all of it. Hehe.

Sadly, I think Sanamluang and Palms Thai are the only two Thai restaurants I've been to in Thai Town. Fortunately Santos from The Scent of Green Bananas reviewed a few delicious options on her LA Blog. I warn you, the photos on her blog will make you drool!

5170 Hollywood Blvd


Roast Lamb & Chorizo Wrap with Feta & Lemon-Cumin Yogurt


Boy and I have been proscrastinating this season so far about getting concert tickets and all. But last minute we decided to goto the Belle & Sebastian show at the Hollywood Bowl. We had been wishy washy about going, so ticket buying had been pushed all around last month until we pretty much forgot about the concert. But then spontanaeity hit and lucky us, the Hollywood Bowl site still showed many areas with available seats.

Then the next obvious question for me is: what do we eat?? I mulled over the ingredients in my fridge... what did I have? lavash, mixed spring greens, feta, yogurt. And lucky me, I had frozen leftover roasted lamb with chorizo stuffing from a dinner few weeks ago. I defrosted a slice in the microwave and sliced it very thin. Piled up the sliced lamb along with the chorizo stuffing on the lavash. Scattered sliced scallion and greek feta on top of that. Sprinkled on a handful of lettuce and beautiful wrap it became. And in the process used up all the bits and scraps in my fridge. I liiike.


I packed a bottle of pinot noir, Boy grabbed a few bottles of Franzikaner Hefe Weisse and off we went heading towards the Hollywood hills. We were even lucky enough to find a parking spot a few blocks away.

Finally we got to the box office. Tickets were sold out!!! Arg! Their website totally lied. I hate lying websites. The only seats available now were obstructed for over $40. Are you kidding me? Forget that bullshit. Good thing I had something delicious with me or else a bowl employee would have had to taken a fall for the lying website.

Instead I concentrated on the wrap. Boy looked around a little bit for tickets but I had already decided that I wanted to sit down and eat at that point. Actually I was pretty excited about the wrap - the lamb was so moist and flavorful, and the thought of creamy whole milk yogurt tinged with cumin and lemon juice over the moist lamb made me park the ticket situation far back in my mind.

So we sat, while concert goers continued to pass us. Bastards! No, it's not their fault the site lied... Bastards! We got a few glances at our wraps from passerbys (I would like to think jealous ones). The wrap was indeed delicious and numerous people carrying in CPK should have been jealous. And then traded their tickets for the lamb wraps!

This wrap should be sold in a shack. A drive by shack perhaps. Of course one that serves cold beer. Duh.


Gluttony on the 4th of July


My blog (and I) got a one-liner in LA Weekly's article about Writing Pad which I cater for. I guess this means I better update my blog!

I did cook over the 4th of July weekend although I don't have the photos to prove it... Suzanne Goin's Pork Burgers to be exact. And when I say pork, I mean pork. Diced bacon and mexican chorizo mixed with ground pork. The chorizo gives a kick of spice and deep flavor to the mixture while the bits of bacon run through the patty waiting for heat to hit and melt into blissful pork fat in the patty. Heavenly, I tell ya.

It's important to avoid overmixing the meat mixture or else the patty will come out tough. Toughness=very very bad, whether in burgers, meatloaf, or anything. So I usually do the minimum mixing possible, except this time my minimal methods could have used an extra toss or two. A few delicious bits of the burger fell through the grill. Read delicious as the charred grilled bits on the edge where the crunch of the thinner edge will make harmony with the juicy interior. I think a few teardrops from my face also fell through the grill.

I also made Rob's Famous Coleslaw from the same Sunday Suppers at Lucques menu with the pork burgers. Being optimistic about people's usual bbq appetite I chose the biggest red cabbage at the market bin. There is more than 1/2 of the batch still left in Boy's fridge. Poor Boy. He is doomed to eat this as he knows I hate waste. I did provide some useful recipes though - how about grilled shrimp po'boy topped with the delicious cole slaw?

For dessert I made Rebecca Charles' Blackberry Nectarine Crisp posted by The Wednesday Chef. Well I didn't make this exact recipe because I lost the printed recipe. So I had to wing it. I forgot a lot of stuff, including proportions of dry ingredients and butter for the crisp part and cinnamon. I was frigteningly off now that I check the recipe. But it was delicious layered with Ben & Jerry's vanilla ice cream in between spoonfuls of the fruity rustic dessert according to my tasters.

It was hot and humid this 4th but I was full of delicious food and beer and in good company - exactly what a summer weekend should be.