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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Glazed Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Couscous Stuffing

First we made a stuffing using whole wheat couscous, pistachios, raisins and blueberries. Salted and peppered the hens then stuffed the hens with the couscous and tied the legs together. Made an orange glaze with butter, orange juice, orange zest, coriander, cumin, honey, turmeric, and a little cayenne.

Glazed the birds, then placed them breast-side up in a 425*F oven. Baste every 10 minutes until the internal temp in the thigh reaches 170*F. Remove and rest.

Roasted some veggies: onions, bell peppers, broccoli, zucchini, and mushrooms. Seasoned with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

The entree was paired with a 2001 Mirassou Monterey Riesling. Excellent combination!



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McCormick & Schmick's Seafood (Downtown San Jose)

On Christmas Day, we went to downtown San Jose to catch a movie. Coming out, we were a bit hungry. But there weren't many restaurants open on Christmas Day down there. The only two we found within a couple of blocks of the theater was McCormick & Schmick's Seafood, and The Grill. Both are on the $$$ side but we weren't feeling like meat so we chose M&S.

The place was busy but we were seated right away. Their menu was simple - a large page of mostly seafood. Annie went for the skewer of grilled shrimp and scallop while I went for the cedar plank salmon.

Annie's seafood came to her quite underdone. The scallops were almost like sushi and the shrimp were nearly inedible. The mashed potatoes were over-mashed and gummy, and the blueberry sauce didn't work with the dish.

My cedar plank salmon came out okay but it needed salt. I also did not care for the blueberry sauce.

We complained to the waiter about the shrimp and scallop dish but we declined to have them take it and cook it some more. Afraid it might come back with some "spitial sauce". Fortunately, the manager comped us that dish.

For a fine restaurant like this, I would expect better dishes. But the past two times we've been there, I was underwhelmed. To pay so much for unspectacular food is discouraging. We may go back, but I'm not in any hurry.



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Wednesday, December 20, 2006


We hadn't had gyoza in a while so Annie bought some ingredients last night and made them for dinner tonight. The filling includes ground pork, minced shrimp, garlic, ginger, won bok, chives, salt, white pepper, soy sauce and sesame oil. We bought swei gow wrappers for the gyoza skins. I wish I had a video of how she pleats the gyozas - she's quite skilled with that.

How long do you boil them until they're done? We use the thrice boiled method: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the gyozas. When the water starts to boil again, pour in a little bit of tap water. Wait for it to come to a boil again. Pour in a little more tap water. When it boils for a third time, remove the gyozas.

My dipping sauce contains soy sauce, Chinkiang Chinese black vinegar, salt, white pepper, sugar, and sesame oil.

Annie made 111 gyozas but we only cooked 45 of them...and ate them all!



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Sunday, December 17, 2006


We had picked up some bulgolgi from the Korean grocery store last week. Annie decided to make some tonight for dinner. There was way more vegetables than meat in this dish, which was perfectly fine with me. It went quite well with the rice and Korean seaweed.



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Mushroom, Egg, and Cheese Burrito

Kids were eating quesadillas for lunch but I wanted something a little more substantial. We had some musgovian mushrooms in the fridge so I diced that up and sauteed them in some EVOO with s&p and Italian seasoning. Then I beat an egg and scrambled it, mixing the mushrooms in with the egg.

I warmed up a tortilla, laid down some shredded cheese, then spooned on some of the mushroom and egg filling. Folded it into a burrito, and let it heat through.

It was good, but I think it could have used the crunch of an onion or bell pepper.



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Tokushima do-Henkotsu Ramen (West San Jose)

Went to the Tokushima do-Henkotsu Ramen restaurant yesterday for dinner. It is located in a little mall on Saratoga Avenue near Hwy 280 in west San Jose, right next to the Mitsuwa Marketplace. We've eaten here before, but wanted to introduce a friend of ours to this place.

We got there a little after 6 pm - traffic was pretty bad as it was rush hour on Friday - but we were able to find a table. The place is even smaller than Ramen Halu. Lucky we got a table right away because people who came after us had to wait.

Tokushima-style ramen is different from normal Tokyo-style ramen. The noodles are more like spaghetti noodles than regular ramen. The broth is really special though - very dark and rich with lots of pork flavor.

I got the "Negi & Niku" special - it comes with more shredded green onion and more chashu pork. Their pork is really wonderful. Instead of dry loin meat, they use fattier pieces - almost like bacon. So delicious.

We also got a side order of chaofan (fried rice). There's something really special about this rice that I can't put my finger on. It is so good, you can't stop eating it. I also like that they put pieces of pickled ginger in the rice.

Although I think the noodles at Ramen Halu are better, the prices here at Henkotsu are better. My special large bowl was $8.50. AND, they take Visa or MasterCard (Halu is cash only).



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Friday, December 15, 2006

Baked char siu bao

Annie made some baked char siu bao last night that are really excellent. We picked up some char siu from the store next to Lion Market on King Rd and Tully. First, cut the char siu into cubes. Dice some onion and sweat it in a frying pan, then add the char siu. Mix in a sauce containing soy sauce, oyster sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar, salt, pepper, and some corn starch as a thickener.

She made a sweet bread dough consisting of flour, bread flour, powdered milk, sugar, yeast, butter, eggs, and water. Brought it together then set it aside to rise. Then she divided the dough up into 50-gram balls.

She flattened the ball into a pancake then spooned in some filling. Pinched the edges together and laid the ball seam-side down.

Proofed the balls for an hour to epand. Preheated the oven to 350*F. Brushed with an egg wash, then baked for at least 12 minutes, checking regularly until the tops were golden brown.

Here's a video of some of the process:


More favorite baked goods: Cranberry-Raisin Walnut Bread, Dinner Rolls, Dutch Apple Cake, Cinnamon Monkey Bread, Portuguese Sweet Bread, Red Bean Buns, Roti Boy Butter Buns, Third Aunt's Butter Cake

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Blog upgraded to new version of Blogger

I'd been holding off from upgrading this blog to the new version of Blogger. The new Blogger allowed the use of tags ("Labels" in Blogger terms) but I was afraid of transition issues and lingering bugs. Finally, I decided I could not wait any longer and decided to take the plunge. (gulp)

What's nice about the new Blogger is that you can easily add custom page elements to the sidebar. As you can see, there is a Labels element now. Click on a label, and you will see all the articles that have been tagged with this category.

You will also see an element called the Picasa Web Album. Okay, this is a really cool feature. I've been jealous of all those blogs that have Flickr badges on them, displaying thumbnails of photos from various Flicker albums. So I googled up Picasa widget and, lo and behold, someone has actually programmed a widget creator. You plug in the RSS URL of your Picasa Web album, click the Generate button, and wowza - it outputs the widget code that will display 20 images from the album. You can copy the code to any blog or web page. Click another button, and the widget is automatically added to your new Blogger layout. Very, very cool!

One downside I've seen so far is that when I'm using Picasa to blog the photos, it will not publish the blog if I have trackback turned on. No big deal. Another small nit is that I have to log in to the Dashboard and add the labels after I publish from Picasa. I haven't tried posting more than 4 pictures yet, so I don't know if that is still broken or not.



It turns out that the Picasa beta I'm running on my Linux box does not like the new Blogger. I get a blank screen when I try to blog pictures. That's a pain.

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Spicy Cod Roe Spaghetti

Annie picked up a couple of packets of this when we were at the Korean grocery store. I haven't had this in a really long time! The first time it was offered to me, I was skeptical. But one taste and I was hooked!

Fixing it is so easy - boil up some spaghetti noodles and plate it up. Squirt on the sauce then mix well. Sprinkle on the seaweed.

As easy as it is to make, it is even easier to eat! I inhaled the first two bites and then I realized I wasn't getting seconds. I had to slow down and savor every bite until it was all gone. It was so good, I even licked the plate clean!



More quick and easy recipes: Corned Beef Hash, Crab Cake with Salad, Cream of Corn Soup, Pan Fried Tilapia, Smoked Salmon Salad, Sweet-Sour Tilapia Fillet

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Macaroni, cauliflower, and two cheeses

Daniel said he wanted some cheesy macaroni for lunch so I obliged him.

Diced up some cauliflower and added that to the pasta about halfway through the cooking process. Grated up some more gruyere and also some aged cheddar. When the pasta is done, drain, add a little bit of milk, fold in the cheese, add a couple of dashes of white pepper, and voila!

Way better than that yucky Kraft boxed mac n cheese, and doesn't take any longer to fix.



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Mushroom and Gruyere Omelette, Banana-Nut-illa

Saturday morning. Time for sleeping in and lazing around. Time for me (Nate) to make breakfast.

We had some white button mushrooms and some nice gruyere cheese in the fridge. I sliced up the mushrooms and sauteed them in bacon fat. Seasoned with salt, cracked black pepper, a little Italian seasoning, and a touch of soy sauce. Fried them until they got a nice golden brown color.

In the meantime, I grated up some gruyere cheese and also cut up some mozzarella cheese into small chunks. Just as the mushrooms were finishing, I started the omelettes. As soon as the egg began to set, I put on the mushrooms, topped with the cheese, and folded.

Plated it up, garnished with chopped parsley, and added a few dashes of hot sauce. This was very good!

Annie came out and said she wanted to try using the flour tortillas that we normally use to make quesadillas, and add bananas and Nutella. Kind of a banana-Nutella crepe but using tortillas instead of crepe.

It was...interesting. Oh well. You make some, you break some.


More breakfast recipes: Chantilly Crepes, Omurice, Pandan Waffles

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Friday, December 08, 2006

Cream of Corn Soup

This is a very easy recipe to make. The basic ingredients are 1 can of cream-style corn, 1 can of sweet corn, water and bouillon to make 3 cups of stock, 1-1/2 cup milk, 1/2 onion, some butter and flour.

Saute the onion in butter over low heat until soft. Add 4 tbsp flour and stir for 3 minutes. Add the bouillon and stock and bring to a low boil. Stir occasionally for 5 minutes. Add the milk and the corn. Salt and pepper to taste. Keep on medium heat for 5-10 minutes to thicken.

In our version, we added a couple of diced potatoes and 1/3 head of cauliflower, cubed, when we added the stock. We garnished with chopped parsley. You could put in bacon, cheese, whatever you think might work.

Very easy, very tasty, very hearty!



More quick and easy recipes: Corned Beef Hash, Crab Cake with Salad, Pan Fried Tilapia, Smoked Salmon Salad, Spicy Cod Roe Spaghetti, Sweet-Sour Tilapia Fillet

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Roasted Chicken and veggies with lemon asparagus sauce

Annie made this absolutely delicious meal with less than an hour of prep. She took a whole chicken and rubbed it with kosher salt and let it sit in the fridge for about 6 hours. Ground some pepper and sprinkled a little sugar on the skin before putting it in the oven. Roasted at 450*F for 30 minutes breast-side down, then flipped and roast for another 20 minutes.

The sauce started with sauteeing chopped garlic and artichoke hearts in olive oil. Then added a mixture of chicken stock, lemon juice, and vermouth. Added defatted pan drippings from the chicken. Simmered to reduce.

Cut up some carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower, then tossed with some olive oil, salt, fresh cracked black pepper, and Italian seasoning. Spread out on a foiled baking sheet and roasted with the chicken for the last 20 minutes. Boiled some russet potatoes until fork tender and then drained, then mashed with salt, white pepper, heavy cream and granulated garlic.

The chicken skin was nice and crispy from the sugar. The meat (including the breast) was juicy and tasty all the way through. Definite do-over!

Chicken and sauce recipes were from Fine Cooking Magazine, February/March 2005 issue. Veggies were simply hantam.



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Saturday, December 02, 2006

Fish Quesadilla and Shrimp Quesadilla

Costco sells these wonderful flour tortilla starts that you have to finish cooking in a warm skillet. There are many applications but the kids love just a standard cheese quesadilla made with a shredded Mexican cheese blend (also from Costco).

I was feeling like fish the other day but wasn't in the mood for Chinese-style steamed fish. I was feeling more like a grilled fish sandwich. Annie said we have some tilapia fillets in the freezer...*ding!* How about a fish quesadilla?

We seasoned the fillets with salt and pepper then pan fried them with some olive oil. In another skillet we cooked the tortilla, sprinkled on the cheese, crumbled the fish onto the tortilla, then folded it in half to finish.

Meanwhile, I took a ripe avocado and diced it up. Then I diced up some garden tomatoes. Minced about a third of a red onion. Added a minced garlic clove. Seasoned with salt and pepper, and squeezed the juice from half a lemon over it all. Mixed together, and we have a lovely but not spicy salsa.

We still had half a bag of wild-caught shrimp in the freezer, so we defrosted, peeled, and deveined them. Then we sauteed the shrimp with chopped garlic and seasoned with salt and pepper. Those "shrimpadillas" were awesome!



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