Monday, July 27, 2009

Soy Noodles with Braised Tofu

I had soy (tofu or bean) noodles for the first time at King of Noodles a couple weeks ago and fell in love with the firm yet light texture of the noodles. This weekend, I was fortunate enough to find fresh soy noodles at the Hodo Soy Beanery stand at the Ferry Plaza Farmers' Markets. Since I wanted to make this dish as a vegetarian dish, I decided to get their Braised Tofu too as meat substitute.

Fresh soy noodles
Braised tofu, cubed
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon mirin
1 teaspoon sugar/honey
2 stalks of green onion, chopped
several cilantro leaves, chopped

  • In a medium size bowl, mix the soy sauce, sesame oil, mirin and sugar/honey.
  • Add in the soy noodles and cubed braised tofu and let marinate for 1 hour or so.
  • In a large pan or wok, heat up 1 tablespoon of olive oil and stir fry the soy noodle and the braised tofu for 5 minutes.
  • Add in the chopped green onion and cilantro.
  • Serve warm or room temperature as a side dish or a small meal by itself.

Note: We had a similar firm braised tofu in Indonesia called Tahu Bacem that has much more flavor (because it's braised with a mixture of Indonesian spices and coconut milk and then fried).

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ground Turkey and Potatoes in Masala Curry Sauce

I made this dish last night because it's simple to make and super tasty. I don't really know what to call it because I just made it using a couple of Shan Indian spice mix - Chana Masala and Achar Gosht Curry. I am sure you can make a similar dish with other Shan spice mix combination.

1/2 lb of ground turkey
2 lb potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
2 tsp Shan Chana Masala Mix
3 tsp Shan Achar Gosht Curry Mix
3 green onions, chopped
small bunch of parsley, roughly chopped

  • In a large pan, stir fry the ground turkey with 2 tablespoons of olive oil on a medium high heat. Remove the meat aside when cooked.
  • In the same pan, cook the potatoes with a quarter cup of water in a low medium heat for 10-15 minutes. Stir the potatoes occasionally so it will not stick on the bottom of the pan.
  • Add in the Chana Masala and Achar Gosht Curry Mix and mix some more.
  • Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and sweet paprika.
  • Stir in the green onions and parsley.

King of Noodles

ShunBun and I went to King of Noodles in the San Francisco Sunset district to celebrate Esther's birthday with George and Audra. I went to this restaurant a month ago and I really enjoyed their homemade fresh noodles and dumplings. This time, I found a new favorite dish: Fresh Cilantro Bean Noodle. I loved the fresh, cold and firm texture of the noodle so much that I ordered one more to go for myself.

Marinated Pork Feet

Fresh Cilantro Bean Noodle

Pork Dumpling

Shanghai Soup Dumpling

Shanghai Pan Fried Dumpling

Onion Pancake

Dinner at SPQR

Porgy and I had an early dinner at SPQR on Fillmore Street before watching Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince last Wednesday. I had been wanting to try out SPQR in the past couple of years but I was always deterred by the long line. Fortunately, since we went there early enough, there was no line. I had 3 small Antipasti plates ($8 each, or $21 for three) with a glass of Pinot Noir (La Crotta di Vegrenon, Pinot noir, Valle d'asosta 2007) and Porgy that the Antipasti Grande with a glass of white Pecorino (Frentana 'Terre Valse' Pecorino, Abruzzo 2007).

Wild arugula, plums, red onion, fried bread and ricotta salata - $8

Beef tongue with horseradish crema - $8

Local calamari with salt roasted potatoes, salsa verde, celery and olive - $8

Rabbit sausage sandwich with carrots, golden raisins and pancetta - $14

Riso budino with plum confittura and pistachio - $7.5

Monday, July 13, 2009

Coq Au Vin

Although the San Francisco weather had been very nice in the past few weeks, I was craving for a hearty comfort food over the weekend so I decided to make Coq Au Vin (Rooster in Wine) that I served with Polenta slices top with Parmesan cheese. I used several whole chicken legs from Whole Foods because I was not sure where to get rooster meat and how the texture would turn out. Here is my version of the recipe based on several recipes that I found online.

10 bacon slices, diced
5 whole chicken legs (thighs and drumsticks), separated
6 garlic cloves, smashed
4 medium sized carrots, diced to bite size
30 pearl onions (I used half a bag of frozen pearl onions)
1 package of button mushrooms (I used quarter crimini mushrooms)
1 bay leaf
several sprigs for thyme
1/2 bottle of red wine (I used a Bordeaux)
2 cups of water or chicken broth
1 tablespoon of corn starch
2 tablespoons of butter
a small bunch of parsley
chili powder
salt and pepper

  • Season the chicken pieces with salt, pepper, chili powder and paprika.
  • Fry the bacon until crisp in a large dutch oven over a low medium heat (10 minutes or so), set the bacon bits aside.
  • In the same dutch oven used to cook the bacon, brown the chicken pieces over a medium high heat — skin side down first for 3-4 minutes per side and set aside.
  • Using 2 tablespoons of oil from the bacon and chicken fat, stir fry garlic and carrot until fragrant. Add in the mushrooms and the frozen pearl onions and cook for another 5 minutes or so.
  • Add the chicken pieces back into the pan along with thyme sprigs, bay leaf, wine and water/chicken stock. Add enough water until all the chickens pieces and the vegetables are submerged.
  • Cook until boil, lower the heat to a low medium heat, cover and cook for another 30 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, dissolve the corn starch with a quarter cup of the hot broth and pour back into the pan and mix well.
  • Adjust seasoning by adding sugar, salt and pepper.
  • Cook until it boils again and then stir in the butter and chopped parsley carefully.
  • Serve with roasted sliced Polenta top with Parmesan cheese (or roasted baby potatoes) and sprinkled with the bacon bits.

Kara's Cupcakes

I had been thinking about cupcakes ever since Mo-Fo told me last week that she would have some cupcakes at her party this coming weekend so I decided to do a quick walk to Kara's Cupcakes at Ghirardelli Square to get a few.

From the top: Kara's Karrot (moist carrot cupcake with a silky soft cream cheese frosting), Java (chocolate cupcake with a rich espresso buttercream), and Fleur De Sel (chocolate cupcake with caramel filling, ganache frosting and fleur de sel).

Brunch at Zazie

Yesterday, I had brunch at Zazie with Mo-Fo Duo and Porgy before going to de Young Museum to see the Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs Exhibit. Our original plan was to go to Brenda's French Soul Food but there were a LOT of people waiting outside which meant that the wait would definitely be more than an hour long.

I ordered Eggs Saint Trop (Poached Eggs) with Smoked Salmon, Red Onion and Capers while Porgy had Challah French Toast with fresh fruit.

Although the food at Zazie was good, we all agreed that we must get up super early one of these weekends in order to go to Brenda's early enough to avoid the long wait.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Blueberry Scones

Since the blueberry season is ending soon, I decided to make Blueberry Scones over the weekend. I used my Cranberry Orange Scones recipe as the base recipe, substituting dried cranberries with fresh blueberries and eliminating the orange glaze. I really loved the result — the plump and sweet blueberries bursting in every bite of the scones.

2 cups plus 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 cup sugar
1 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoons kosher salt
zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
3/8 pound (1.5 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup cold heavy cream
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water or milk, for egg wash
1/8 cup raw (turbinado sugar) for sprinkling

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • In the bowl, mix 2 cups of flour, 1/8 cup sugar, the baking powder, salt and half of the zest.
  • Add the cold butter and mix with a hand mixer until the butter is the size of peas.
  • Combine the eggs and heavy cream and, with the mixer on low speed, slowly pour into the flour and butter mixture and mix until just blended. The dough will look lumpy and sticky.
  • Combine the blueberries, the rest of the zest and 1/8 cup of flour, add to the dough, and fold in until blended.
  • Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead it into a ball. Flour your hands and knead the dough 3/4-inch thick. You should see small bits of butter in the dough.
  • Roll the dough into a log and cut triangles of dough.
  • Place the scones on a baking pan lined with parchment paper or silpat.
  • Brush the tops of the scones with egg wash, sprinkle with raw sugar, and bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until the tops are browned and the insides are fully baked.
  • The scones will be firm to the touch.
  • Allow the scones to cool for a couple minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack.

Chicken with Black Bean Sauce

I usually make this simple (and cheap) chicken stir fry dish in a large quantity so I can have them for lunch during the week. Instead of making my own black bean sauce (which I don't know how to), I used Lee Kum Kee's Black Bean Garlic Sauce and added a teaspoon of chili flakes for some heat. You can substitute the chicken with mushroom or any other meats.

2 chicken breast, cubed
1 onion, chopped
1 head of cabbage, chopped or shredded
1 package of firm tofu, pressed & cubed
1 green onion, chopped
2 teaspoons of Black Bean Garlic Sauce

  • In a large pot (or wok) over a medium high heat, stir fry the cubed chicken breast and onion for 5-10 minutes until chicken is cooked and onion is somewhat translucent
  • Add in the shredded cabbage and the black bean garlic sauce and cook for another 10 minutes
  • Add in the cubed tofu and chopped green onion, stir carefully until well mixed
  • Cook for another 5 minutes, adjust seasoning accordingly
  • Serve with a bowl of steam rice

Indonesian Clear Spinach and Corn Soup

I bought some nice ears of corn at the Farmer's Market last week. They're so sweet so I decided to make this healthy Indonesian Clear Spinach and Corn Soup (Sup Bayam Jagung Bening). My Mom used to make us this soup growing up because it helped us to cool down during Indonesian summer.


3 ears of corn, prepped and husked
1 big bowl of spinach
1-2 shallots, minced
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar

  • Cut corn into 2-3" sections
  • In a large pot over medium heat (with enough water to cover the corn sections plus 1-2 inches), boil corn sections for 30 minutes
  • Add in minced shallots and spinach
  • Adjust seasoning accordingly
  • Serve at room temperature

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Peanut Butter Cookies

Porgy was craving for some Peanut Butter Cookies so he forwarded me this recipe from his coworker. The cookies turned out good although the dough was pretty crumbly so it was hard to work with.

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter at room temperature (I used the freshly ground peanut butter from Whole Foods)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup peanut butter chips (Didn't used any since I didn't have any)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • In a large bowl, beat the butter and the peanut butter together until fluffy
  • Add the sugars and beat until smooth
  • Add the egg and mix well
  • Add the milk and the vanilla extract
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, the baking soda, the baking powder, and the salt
  • Add the flour mixture and beat thoroughly
  • Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls into the sugar and cover, then onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving several inches between for expansion
  • Using a fork, lightly indent with a crisss-cross pattern, but do not overly flatten cookies (I didn't not do much of this because the dough was pretty crumbly)
  • Bake for 9 to 10 minutes for chewier texture
  • Cool the cookies on the sheets for 1 minute, then remove to a rack to cool completely

Early Summer Pasta

Here is a simple and delicious pasta utilizing late spring and early summer vegetables - Pasta with Bacon, Corn and Peas

Fresh pasta
Fresh peas
Kernels of 1 ear of corn
4 bacon - chopped to bite sizes and cooked
2 garlic cloves - chopped
2 teaspoon chili flakes
2 sprigs of fresh thyme - chopped
1 sprig of rosemary - chopped
1 cup of white wine
2 tablespoon butter

  • Chop garlic with thyme and rosemary
  • Using 1 tablespoon of bacon fat in the same heavy bottomed pan used to cook the bacon, cook the garlic, thyme, rosemary and chili flakes over medium heat for 1-2 minutes until fragrant
  • Glaze the pan with the white wine, scrapping the bottom of the pan
  • Lower the heat, add in the peas and the corn and cook for 5 minutes
  • In the mean time, cook the fresh pasta and drain well (usually it takes about 3-4 minutes)
  • Add butter into the sauce and mix well
  • Add in the pasta into the sauce mixture and toss well so that pasta is coated with the sauce
  • Serve the pasta with bacon bits on top

Friday, July 3, 2009

Brenda's French Soul Food

Last Monday, Porgy and I had lunch at Brenda's French Soul Food. I had been wanting to try it out in the past couple of years so I was excited to finally able to check it out. We got there after 1 pm hoping to avoid the lunch crowd but we still had to wait for 15 minutes. It was not a big deal since the menu and their specials looked so good.

We started with Plain Beignets (delicious! They're one of the best ones that I've ever had) and ordered Sweet Watermelon Tea (refreshing). Porgy had the Croque Monsieur (extremely rich according to him but he liked it) and I had one of their daily specials, Crawfish and Andouille Sausage Pot Pie (yummy, although I had to scrap off the cheese on top of it since I can't eat too much cheese).

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Momofuku Noodle Bar, NYC

Momofuku Noodle Bar is a restaurant that I always go to when I'm in New York. I was surprised to see that they offered Prix Fixe dinner menu now (for a very good price of $30!) in addition to their fabulous ramen noodles. So, I ordered the Prix Fixe dinner and Porgy had the Pork Belly Steamed Buns and the Momofuku Ramen. Oh... they were so good, too bad that they don't have a branch in San Francisco.

Peter Luger Steakhouse, Brooklyn

After going to New York several times in the past couple of years, I finally got the chance to go to Peter Luger Steakhouse in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I was totally in love with the steak — it was DELICIOUS. It was charred on the outside and medium rare inside. It also had the best thick cut smoked bacon that I've ever had. I didn't use their steak sauce because I did not want to ruin the steak and their burger was not memorable. Another good thing was that the service was not as bad as what the people said on Yelp. The only thing I am perplexed about is that we were seated in the Asian corner of the restaurant. Wonder why...