Wednesday, March 29, 2006

making teriyaki sauce w/o the teriyaki sauce

i've been itching to make this for a while.

~couple tablespoons of mirin (a sweetened sake), ~tablespoon or two of rice wine, ~tablespoon of soy sauce, a splash of asian chili sauce (NOT hot sauce), a small splash of rice vinegar, two cloves of garlic chopped, and a squirt of sesame oil. put raw chicken tenders in it to marinate. pan fried chicken and sauce separately. added a slurry of cornstarch and water to sauce to thicken. caution: the sugar in mirin burns, so keep adding water to the pan to deglaze/keep from burning. so far, i haven't found a way around having sweet things burn in the pan other than drowning it. it'd probably be ok with a ton of oil, but that's just ick. to thicken sauce.. add a slurry of about 1 tsp-1tbsp cornstarch with 2x times water to pan and stir stir stir until it gets thick enough. adjust concentration with water. don't use flour. cornstarch thickens things at a low heat, which is good for sugary liquids. flour doesn't start to thicken until it's "cooked", which usually means boiling temp and it's finicky and hard to judge just how much is enough b/c of that delay.
how's my non-recipe trial and error sauce taste? better than with storebought sauce like mr. yoshida brand teriyaki (by the third try). and with a kick. that stuff is no good for marinating and usually is too salty and even more full of sugar than homemade. that means it's only good for pouring over the top of food when done cooking, the flavor won't penetrate the meat, and it'll burn faster than you can say--well, fast.

dinner at that darn squirrel's house:

some very typical taiwanese foods present such as taiwanese style sausages over pineapples, congee, scrambled eggs, and some not so typical stuff like pan grilled miso marinated salmon on a bed of lettuce, spicy oil/sauce mixed noodles, congee, and pillsbury biscuits among other things. it's been years since i'd eaten anything at home cooked with pineapples, so i forgot completely about that canned commodity. will recreate. curiously enough, for cantonese ppl, congee is usually eaten for breakfast only, and usually not with a slew of side dishes like you would see in northern or taiwanese cuisine. for HKers, it's eaten like cereal at breakfast. but for them, it can be eaten like a bowl of rice at all meals. more on zuk in this post here on the ABC's site

unfortunately, no pictures of either of these as i was too lazy

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

someone suggested larger photos. ok.

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more of the viet style noodle stuff, this time with the meatloaf. you can see the chewy pork skin bits embedded in the meat. i suppose this would be called banh-somethingortheother. i can't get enough of this stuff. plus it literally takes a minute to throw together.

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also included in the meal... boiled watercress and some henry's canned split pea ham soup.

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what to make for "breakfast"? it's 9am and i made super lame curry with celery and eggplant. instant curry bricks from House. hot isn't hot enough, added cayenne. also, too salty. but convenient.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Vinh Hung Supermarket

10550 Camino Ruiz
San Diego, CA 92126

Saturday, March 18, 2006

a week in the life

i moved to here b/c it's muuuch easier to use and better 'cause i can link to stuff among other things. while still being free! there's no way in heck i'd ever pay for something that only i read, haha.
last week, i made this delish veggie stew. it's got lentils(double handful), carrots(2), turnips (2), garlic, onions (1), and tomatoes(1 can). it's in a tomato sauce(1)/chicken broth stock with some random herbs like savory and ginger. i'm not very good with spices. i just don't understand their subtlety. plus for the kind of food i'm used to eating and cooking.. they just don't come up very often. the stew is pretty hearty and thick. i've been eating away at it for a week now. time to throw it out.. because i'm sick of eating it!!!
er.. i made some egg noodles with oyster sauce and sesame oil. it probably would've been better with green onions.. but they don't have a very long refrigerator life. i also ate them before i could take a pic of them. so this is what was in it. prep/cook time after the water has reached boiling? 4 mins. repeat for multiple meals.
my roomate loves to fry things. she cut up some homegrown bananas, wrapped them in springroll wrappers, then fried them up. she says it's some filipino thing. i am no fan of bananas, but i'm sure it tasted good. in the corner you can see some of my frozen jung/zhongzi made circa lunar new year. i love to take these to school to eat b/c they're easy to lug around and then dispose of. and no, it's not THAT weird.
calabaza squash. or at least that's what i think they're called. a little water, garlic, salt, and butter.
no idea what they are called. the bao is filled with ground pork and hardboiled egg and the bread resembles pan de sal, but it's denser and yellower. will ask next time the checkout lady isn't so busy. these were from a filipino bakery called Christy's Bakery. it's on Mira Mesa and Blackforest b/w the 805 and the 15.

in the same plaza is the best pho place in SD. unassuming outside belies goodies within. seeing that made me hungry, so i stopped by this market on the way home and bought these goodies.
i was really excited to find this viet market (and a filipino seafood city down the street) b/c there's just no good cheap groceries at american markets like ralph's and vons. the albertsons 3 mins away has closed up and and turning into a bristol farms... a very posh market with impeccable quality for the upper class. clockwise from the jar... a jar of salty shrimp paste, a can of squid, fried shallots, a bunch of watercress, chinese eggplant, viet basil, viet meatloaf infused with pork skin and fish sauce (gio bi), and rice rolled noodles (banh cuon). to the left is this chasiu. inside the market is a cantonese siu lap and dimsum place! it looks pretty shabby, but i wanna try it out. the chasiu was v. good. they sold roast pork and duck just like here. thinking about pho cali, i prepared those noodles with cut up chasiu, shredded basil, shallots, and drizzled with a sauce made of fish sauce, sugar, water, and vinegar. needs some crushed peanuts, bean sprouts, lettuce. i don't know about authenticity, but it's damned tasty!

i like oatmeal. it's probably my favorite grain after rice. i'm not a big fan of the instant packet stuff 'cause they always turn gummy or are too watery and come it those itsy bitsy portions that don't fill you up. i like getting just regular rolled oats in bulk. it only takes 5 mins.. if the 1 minute version is just too time consuming for you. what is time consuming to make are steel cut oats. these are the grains cut into smaller chunks. bought 'em at Henry's in bulk. it took about 20-30 minutes to cook on a simmer with stirring every few minutes. they came out really creamy and have a nice chewy texture that doesn't make you feel like you're eating mush. i stirred in a little butter and added some dried cranberries as a nice lil mix-in. oh yeah, and with fried low sodium spam sans cranberries the next day... which doesn't sound nearly as pleasant.


Sunday, March 12, 2006

i eat creepy crawlies and slippy slimies

one day, several months ago, i went to some spanish tapas restaurant called Picasso.. or something like that in Hillcrest. as the review goes.. service was indeed poor and some things were.. eh. the octopus in red sauce was extremely good though if my memory serves me right. anyways.. the point.. right. anyways, we ordered the baby eels (angulas), not knowing what they were at the time, to be adventurous. what came though.. resembled what cantonese call "white rice fish", also known as whitebait. "white rice fish" is pretty ambiguous.. i've seen it refered to as baby sardines, baby smelt, etc. i guess as whitebait refers to anything similar.. anything goes. if you're not familiar with it, they're kind of a ghetto food commonly eaten boiled in congee, deep fried, or cooked in omelettes. it was pretty hilarious that what the spanish thought were delicacies were this ghetto stuff i was used to eating on top of rice. or that's what i thought. now, i could be wrong.. that they did in fact serve angulae, and i was just too uncultured to notice at the time. or, they tried to foist off a cheaper substitute in hopes that no one would notice. given the watery sangria and the fact that the dishes were either really good, or duds... i think someone needs to make a visit.

here's a rather interesting food blog that featured white rice fish.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

chinese food pics and recipes

i could so go for that peppersalt spareribs right now... salty duck... congee with dried fish... oil/sauce rice... grass mushrooms... hollow heart vegetable... marinated seaweed... duck gizzards... *drool* why does chinese food in SD have to suck?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

your marie calander's frozen pasta is limp and suxxorz

1lb frozen spinach
>1lb ground beef
2-3 tbls minced garlic
splash of wine to taste. red is best. me not being old enough to buy food grade wine settled for rice. weird, but still adds nice flavor to meat.
plain ol tomato/pasta sauce

cooked spinach with half of the garlic until not frozen. [don't add water like the package says.] removed and set aside. chucked the beef in the previously used pan and added the rest of the garlic along with wine or whatever else happened to float my boat [does not recommend peppermint schnapps]. broke it up with a breakerupper [comes in forms such as spatulae, sticks, fingers if you're immune to heat] while cooking. when it turned brown and was pretyt much cooked, added the spinach back in and mixed it up. spooned out meat and veg on top of pasta, covered with sauce. consumed. should last a day or two, unless you've made it too tasty, or you don't care about the food pyramid.

Friday, March 03, 2006

shiro iro to midori (white and green)

turnips and broccoli simmered in a miso based broth. this consists of me tossing random veggies and seasonings to the pot and boiling. aka or shiro miso (red or white) will work. it just depends on your taste. aka is more fermented than shiro and tends to be stronger and saltier in taste. aka's taste is more similar to those little butter-soft cubes of chinese fermented tofu (nam3 jyu2) that smell like sewage. good stuff.
veggies, preferably cut up into small pieces to cook faster
water just enough to cover veggies
a dollop of aka (red) miso to taste (i used 1~2 tbsp)
a splash of rice vinegar, a little garlic powder, a splash of bonito flavored soy..
i bet green onions would have been good.. er you know, whatever you happen to find... then uh, cook until it's done. probably boil less than 10 mins.. my aptmate asks me all the time when i know something is done or not. somehow she doesn't seem to believe it when i tell her that i take it out a piece and try it. trial and error. oh the errors..

oh, also visible is the korean seasoned laver and rice i ate it with. finally, something healthy again.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

fish food

it's what.. 7th or 8th week already?! you know you're a quarter system college student when you have no idea what the date is, but measure the time in weeks numbered 1-10. busy and unmotivated i've been.. so that means more ghetto foods that perhaps aren't so good. various combinations of pasta, cabbage, radishes, eggs were the norm last week.

and tilapia. one of my favorite fishes.. it's got a mild taste, freshwater, farm raised so don't have to feel guilty about overfishing.. and basically tastes great any way you make it. my favorite incarnation is "qing jing lap yu"/"plain steamed tilapia" you can find in canto chinese restaurants that serve "hak fan" and the like (hey! nj star isn't free anymore!). anyway, didn't feel like going all the way to 99 to buy a fish that i would have to clean etc, so i settled for a fillet i found at Henry's. usually i'd be of the mind that fillets aren't fresh enough, especially at an american market.. but.. i really wanted fish that day. so i took it home and pan grilled it 'cause i was afraid it wouldn't be fresh enough to steam. slightly fried up some green onions in hot oil and poured that over the top with some soy sauce. so cooking fish.. i have no idea how to judge when it's done other than poking at it--unless i'm steaming. kind of lame, but it's done when you can smell the cooked fish scent then add 3 mins.

lunch is almost too pathetic and gross to mention. imagine a canned corned beef sandwich with raw broccoli and celery. exactly.

the science and engineering library at ucsd also has a food science display on now.

curiously enough, the school also houses part of the American Institute of Wine and Food collection from:
Bartolomeo Scappi’s Opera... dell’ arte del cucinare (1610), with its beautiful woodcuts of the Renaissance kitchen and culinary implements; Amelia Simmons’ American CookeryA House Servant’s DirectoryHow We Cook in Los Angeles (1894), with more than 600 recipes from more than 200 named Angelenos; and Acerca del chocolate (1730), a manuscript from Mexico that is an attempt to rebut the Church’s strictures against the consumption of chocolate. More contemporary works that help document the culinary history of today may also found in the collection, e.g., Piret’s: the George and Piret Munger Cookbook (1985), six cookbooks from Alice Waters’ famed Chez Panisse restaurant, and Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry Cookbook.

the only thing missing is a culinary school program here like at cal poly pomona