Sunday, January 31, 2010

I can't believe I'm actually going to type this whole thing out.

My friend Lauren and I ventured to Little Tokyo today to go to their market. I couldn't believe my eyeballs. 2 stories of magical isles filled with Japanese, Thai, Chinese, American and some Indian treasures. I saved so much money considering I typically shop at Ralphs or Vons and all of this would cost me most likely double this.
If you live in Los Angeles or live in a city that has a Chinese Cultural Center or a market similar I HIGHLY suggest you go.


1 lb 90% lean ground beef (which was $1)
2 ribeye steaks
2 crab legs
2 lbs shrimp
1 whole chicken
1 lb Vietnamese marinated beef
1.5 lb pork shoulder
1.5 lb salmon filets


1/2 lb shiitake mushrooms
1 bag shallots
1 bunch scallions
1 lb Fuji apples
2 lbs oranges
1 bunch bananas
1 bunch lemon grass
1 bag bean sprouts
1 bag king oyster mushrooms
1 box raspberries
1 bag carrots
1 lb little mini potatoes (they're seriously like grapes, i LOVE them)
2 heads bok choy

1 bag uudon noodles
1 bag rice stick noodles
1 bag brown sugar
1 bag sweet rice (for sticky rice)
1 bag long grain rice
3 ready to make soup bowls for quick lunches
1 frozen bag of dumplings
1 bag dumpling wraps (i cant wait to make ravioli)


1 bottle ginger powder
1 bottle hoisin sauce
1 bottle chili garlic sauce
1 bottle Chinese 5 spice
1 bottle spicy Teriyaki marinade
1 bottle olive oil (I was out)
1 bottle sesame oil
1 bottle white rice vinager
1 tub cream cheese
1 bottle soy sauce
1 tub miso paste

I also got a few cans of organic kitty food that they had, randomly.
My total bill with tax was $107.09

Can you believe it? Or am I the only dorky one that gets super excited about this?

For My Favorite Peanut Butter Junkie

If you walk into my parents house on any given night of the week it's highly likely you'll find my dad holding a tub of peanut butter eating it with a spoon. He's done this ever since I can remember. Ice cream for dessert? No. Cake? No. Pie? No thanks. A giant spoonful of PB? YES PLEASE. Now its not really my cup of tea, but whatever floats your boat I guess. I wanted to send some treats over his way and since he does love them so much, I thought I would make peanut butter cookies.

You will need:
1 tub peanut butter (equals 1 cup)
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Super easy, right? Right. I made flourless ones so they're quite a bit richer and have more of a brownie consistency than a cookie.

Combine all ingrediants in no particular order in a bowl.

(side note, I doubled the recipe to keep some at home for my other peanut butter lover)
Fold together until batter is combined completely.
Roll batter into small-ish balls and roll in sugar.
Your oven needs to be at 350 degrees and these need to bake for 8-12 minutes. I baked mine for 12- the first batch that went for 8 were a little too doughy.
So, Dad, keep your eyes peeled for the mailman. He'll be delivering these guys to you no later than Wednesday!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Household Favorite: Pork Chops

 I made this for Ryan's birthday dinner- but in the original recipe it called for a pork ROAST and was to wrap it in proscuito. Well, this time I was only feeding 3 mouths instead of 8 so I figured chops would be fine and would nix the proscuito (sorry Andy) because it would be too difficult to hold all together.

You will need:

2-3 Red bartlett pears (firm)
1-2 Medium sweet potatoes (AKA yams)
1.5 lbs of pork chops
1 1/2 tsp honey
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1-2 tbspn olive oil
salt & pepper

Quarter potatoes and pears- obviusly decore them too. Toss them in olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme. Load them onto a baking sheet. Pop them into the oven pre-heated at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, get chops ready by seasoning with salt & pepper and drizzling honey on top for a little bit of sweetness.

When your timer has 15 minutes left on it for the fruit fire up the grill- in my case grill PAN and cook pork. They'll need to be on for 6 minutes each side.

I served with spring mix and a pear/champagne dressing from TJs. This is SUCH an easy dinner and super delish. It even looks fancy for dinner guests!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Idiot Proof Cookie: Shortbread

I discovered my love for shortbread (and making it) over the holidays. Everything to make a batch should be in your pantry, if not, you're living like a caveman. Ryan is working a 16 (!!) hour day today so I thought  I could win the girlfriend of the month/year/lifetime award and have one of his fave cookies waiting for him when he got home. That, and I am feeling slightly under the weather and am experience what is called "cabin fever". I wanted to put a mini twist on the original recipe so I decided to make a shortbread crumble cookie.


For Shortbread:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups UNSALTED butter

For topping:

1 cup apricot preserves
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans or nut of choice (that's what she said....sorry mom)

Combine salt, sugar and flour in large bowl. *This recipe calls for using a mixer to blend in the butter cubed and chilled but since I don't have one mybirthdayisin8months I soften the butter first and use my hands*

I don't make a mess or anything when I bake....
Mix in butter until mixture sticks together.

Press all but 1/4 cup shortbread dough into a 9x9" GREASED baking pan.
Spread 1 cup apricot preserves over dough in pan.
Chop up pecans or whatever into smaller pieces and combine with leftover dough and 1/4 tsp cinnamon.

Sprinkle combination over dough in pan evenly, or not evenly, whatever.
Stick it in the oven (preheated to 325 degrees) and bake for 50 minutes. I realize that 50 minutes is a seriously LONG time to bake cookies but they're worth the wait and super delicious.

These puppies will be gone by morning.

About The Chef

10 things you probably don't know about me:

1. When I was little I told everyone I wanted to be a "cooker person"
2. The only thing I could make when I wanted to be said "cooker person" was a berry trifle because all I had to do was dump berries on top of angel food cake (store bought).
3. I am in the fashion industry but only subscribe to food and cooking magazines.
4. At a Christmas party 3 Christmases (is that a word?) ago I made my Grandpa's famous Egg Nog Cake. To this day I still get recipe requests.
5. I map out a menu every week for dinner based on my and Ryans work schedule.
6. I refuse to bring anything store bought or serve anything out of a box with hosting or attending parties.
7. Without fail, every time I cook bacon I almost burn the house down.
8. Thyme is my favorite herb.
9. I get upset if my version doesn't look like the picture. Does it ever?
10. I haven't baked using chocolate in almost 2 years.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Challenge: Shrimp & Corn Chowder with Fennel

I LOVE Real Simple. Their "Weeknight Meals" are always delicious and relatively painless. Seeing as though I work 40+ hours a week and attempt to get dinner on the table before midnight, I don't always have the time or energy for something too complicated.

Here's what the recipe calls for:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 leeks

1 fennel bulb (chopped)

kosher salt & pepper

2 tablespoons all purpose flour

1 8oz can of clam juice

3 cups whole milk

1 pound potatoes cut into 1/2" pieces

3/4 pound cooked shrimp

1 10oz package corn

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

2 tablespoons lemon juice
Heat butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add the leaks & fennel, season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionaly until veggies are tender (4-5 mins) stir in flour. NOTE: I decided against using the fennel- reason being my #1 taste tester/boyfriend/father to our two kittens is not a fan of it.

Add the clam juice, milk and potatoes and bring to a boil.


Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally for 12 minutes. During this time I decided to cook 6 strips of bacon to crumple up and sprinkle in the soup when it was finished. I figured it could handle the extra flavor because I didn't use fennel.

Stir in the shrimp (make sure it's cooked before adding) and corn. Heat until potatoes are tender and corn has been heated all the way through.

Lastly, stir in fresh parsley and lemon juice.

Serve by itself or with fresh bread. I decided on a sourdough loaf (I have not attempted bread baking yet- although I'm sure it's only a matter of time)
This dish was delicious- a bit on the rich side, so I'm glad I decided against the fennel. It could have been a bit overwhelming with it.

PS. How come it never looks like the picture?

No Thank You Bite?

Ever since we were little (by we I mean my sisters and I), my mom has been ambitious in the kitchen. She's an incredible chef and baker, but sometimes her creations were a little... "mature" for a 5 year old. If something was on my plate that I thought didn't look right or was a vegetable I most certainly did not want to eat it. My parents would tell my sisters and I we had to have a "no thank you bite". After all, the polite thing to do is to try a bit of everything. And as my mother always said, "How are you supposed to know you don't like that unless you try it?".

So here I am, in my mid twenties, with the same kitchen-ambition as my mom. You don't have to like everything I make, but all I'm asking is to have a no thank you bite.