Monday, December 10, 2007

korean feast

1-16-06 022a

i wen to the zion market with my korean friend, who admittedly knows nothing about food, but can read labels in korean *grin*

this was going to be dinner for two.. but somehow it ended up being dinner for 4 + leftovers. i think we got a little food crazy. lighting in the kitchen is always too dim. top- grilled salted mackerel, right- dukbukge, bottom- laver, left and counterclockwise- tofu pockets with seasoned rice, kimchee, spicy sweet fishcake, seasoned cucumbers, soybeans. plus the ubiquitous rice.

pear season!

1-16-06 026

actually, it's not pear season anymore. and if it was pear season, maybe it was in the beginning of october. i really don't know, but that's when massive amounts of pears started arriving in the markets. maybe getting an almanac would help... if i were a farmer. i think i bought one of every pear i could find that day, minus the really expensive ones (aka organics) of course.

seckels, bartlett, d'anjou, starkrimson, comice

taco rice


well, i made this a year and a half ago, and i don't think i posted anything about it.. remembered making this due to mmm-yoso's and others' reminiscences about taco rice. i didn't have any lettuce, cheese, or tomatoes... but tacomeat+onions+sauce on rice is close enough. it probably doesn't taste nearly as good when made by professionals... it tasted pretty bad, in fact. that's why there's some bbq sauce on the top in hopes that it could be salvaged--i mean, bbq sauce makes everything taste better.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

rice bowl

1-16-06 013a

bulgogi and kimchi on rice for late night snack.. some months ago.

the meat was but a fraction of several pounds i'd bought from DB marketworld and cooked with onions previously. even reheated.. it's ooooohhh soooo yummmyyyy.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

sweets from someone sweet?

"...the candy man can because he mixes it with love and makes the world go 'round..."

that's what little Charlie Bucket would have you believe, but as the oompa loompas pointed out, they'll make your teeth rot out and get fat if you eat too much. however, i still have a fondness for novel candies (especially gum) despite the melodic warnings from little orange men. these are some of the edible souvenirs The Brain brought back from a trip to the far east.

the inserts from the xylish gums have some sort of cartoon printed on them and can be folded into a smaller sized box when your supply dwindles.

clockwise from top: xylish sugarfree fruity mint, lotte "bitter" yuzu and grapefruit flavor, whiteen sugerfree strawberry mint, haitai smoke-breath neutralizer(?) gum, glico "peach mint" watering kiss mint

not seen in the first is the xylish hypercool mint which is like chewing listerine. it's so strongly minty that it is almost bitter. the best tasting ones was were the peachmint and fruity mint.

stay tuned for the part 2 of the candy series! (probably in 2 months)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

i spy

with my very own eyes:

12 motorcycle policemen

1 firetruck

3 police squad cars

1 FBI agent

1 building twinkling like a christmas tree

1 news van

2 news helicopters

1 jacque cousteau-esque exploder-chamber thingie

1 person trancing out and dancing to the beat of the evacuation alarms

... just kidding about the last one

starbuck's coffee

stinks. it's waaay too bitter (the mild) and leaves a sour aftertaste even when black. i really gotta ask my uncle what the name of the cafe near echo park with the 10 thousand dollar coffee maker is. mmm.. it was so smooth...

maybe i just like coffee less concentrated than most. i've taken to making my own coffee, but as i'm not at HQ and desperately crave caffiene... there is no other alternative. i love dark chocolate covered expresso beans, but that might not be a good breakfast. i mean, without bacon and fresh blackberries, it's just not a balanced meal.

Monday, November 19, 2007

the lowly potato

As my brother says, I am a eater of the most lowly and humble groveling foods that our society can offer. this group would include beans, gruel, and potatoes. my dinner a few nights ago only strengthen his statement. after a really long day i just wanted something to fill my belly quick so i could go to sleep and hopefully wake up rested for my exam. dinner turned out to be a microwaved yukon potato with some butter and a bit of kimchee, just for an added side excitement. yes, once again i ate a starch and pickled vegetables for dinner. guess it's a step up from ketchup. those vitamins sure come in handy... let me suffice to say that i made up for that meal by a much better one during the weekend. o-toro/kaki/unagi wa totemo oishii desu yo.


it's ridiculous how many pictures i have yet to post about. it's been busy times, so i'll get around to it eventually, especially when i'm an ex-college student.

Friday, October 26, 2007


It's been nearly one month since my last post, but this post is unfortunately not about food. I was starting to get cabin fever and the smoke was starting to get to me, so I left San Diego with a friend from Diamond Bar. We actually tried to leave the night before... but all northbound traffic on the 5 was shut off past Pendleton at night. La Jolla isn't too close to the fires, but I wanted to be closer to family...

These are some pictures I snapped from the car as we went north on Wednesday. It was mid afternoon. These are what I think parts of the Horno fire along Camp Pendleton and Oceanside. There were even flames right across the freeway from the San Onofre nuclear power plant (it probably wouldn't be good to have that catch on fire or burn power line poles.. so there was a lonely firetruck guarding the area) and right behind the inland border checkpoint. There was scorched land all the way up to the asphalt in many places. But those weren't places next to homes. It looked like Mars or an apocalypse outside.

I hope this will turn out ok. Thank you to everyone who's helping out.

10 24 07 01

10 24 07 02

10 24 07 03

10 24 07 04

10 24 07 05

this is near the same area past San Onofre on a drive up mid-august.


Thursday, September 27, 2007

boiled potatoes


always looking for cheap food options, i've taken a page from America's pioneering ancestors who had to make do with what little they had. here i've concocted a potato stew flavored with salt pork. (maybe i'm just watching too much of Frontier House)

2 slices of bacon (er, salt pork is a little bit tooo unhealthy.. it's more fat than pork!) chopped up into a cold pot. heated on medium until the the fat started to melt all liquidly from the bacon. took 5 smallish-medium potatoes, sliced them up into fries as thick as my thumb, and threw those in the pot along with whatever veggie i had at hand. this time, it was cubes of a zucchini. stirred it around a bit, then added some packaged veggie stock (stockpiled from the Days of Lost Wisdom) and water in a 3:1 ratio, enough to cover an inch in the bottom of the pot, at least. put a tiny sprinkle of chili and ~1 tbsp of vinegar for flavoring. After boiling, cover pot and simmer on low for 20-30 mins (or until the taters get cooked). usually tastes better if allowed to sit a while before eating or reheated.

note to the brain - yes, sausages too

Sunday, September 02, 2007

icy refreshing chicken broth

here's a couple things i made a while back. don't let the first picture deceive you, it's not as untasty as it looks. i split one of those little mini eggplants down the middle, filled it with garlic, dribbled salt and olive oil over it, and then pan grilled it slowly that the juicy insides would slowly cook itself.


these were the toughest, waxiest, limpest green beans i could find. they were also on sale for a ridiculously low price. after letting it age for almost another week (i kind of forgot about them...) i decided it was time to work my magic on 'em. i tossed them in a pot with some water, shrimp paste, fish sauce, and fried garlic and set it to simmer for a looong time. so soft and tender afterwards.. almost.. mushy. but not suite. they were too tough to start out with to get mushy. my roomates all made faces and closed their doors. i am evil.


last of all, this is what i ate for dinner last night? the night before? it's all a blur with the lovely moloko vellocet they gave me. and the wooden choppers aren't quite ready to handle solid food yet plus they need to be aged and treated. ah.. cold jook with dried green shiso leaf on top. and nothing beats an icy refreshing chicken broth with an ice cube floating around in it...


Friday, August 31, 2007

Ouchies Food

i'm missing some teeth. actually, i've exiled them from my mouth and have replaced them with wooden dentures, just like george w. the first. had to fast for the anesthesia, and boy, was that some good stuff. i had to try really hard to keep from cracking up at the dr.'s instructions. afterwards i was really numb. and yes folks, i have a drinking problem. i keep missing my mouth!

so what's am i eating today? lots and lots of cold chicken broth. and very recently, a very small trader joe's blueberry and cream yogurt. i don't usually like yogurt unless used in savory dishes, so either i'm really hungry, or this stuff really is good. i'm trying to avoid reading food blogs. everything sounds tasty right now. even those weird american sushi rolls with cream cheese in it. hmm, kind of reminds me of a snack i used to eat as a kid. i'd spread a slice of ham with cream cheese, roll it up, and viola, deliciousness.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

scrambled eggs


the brown bits in the egg are that "tianjian preserved vegetable" in the background. it's been a while since i've eaten any sort of or with scrambled eggs as a meal at home or in a restaurant. chinese comfort food? i'm a sucker for anything preserved, salty, and spicy. one of my favorite dishes in the whole wide world is 梅菜扣肉。i wonder where i can find Hakka and ChiuChow style food down here in SD? i always have a craving for preserved lemon duck soup. it's a rarity nowadays of sorts. not many restaurants seem to want to go through the trouble of making it, and places that do make it only make a limited amount of it per day and you have to order it in advance.

you can't find good preserved lemons in the supermarket. that is the kind of thing little old ladies who smell like mothballs (ah, memories) make at home. hmm.. who can guess what my next project is going to be?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

fried tofu s&p

so.. i finally did it.. i took the plunge... and decided to fry something. using more than a few tablespoons of oil.


i've been wanting to fry this for a while, but have always had some other form of protein around until i've cleaned out everything except for the costco-sized bag of chemically chicken breasts that were most likely grown not on a chicken, but in a tank with all the other clones. used firm tofu that i drained and squashed the water out of with a use of two plates and a heavy bottle of soy sauce. the heat was somewhere on med-high with canola oil. i got the crispiness right. it took ~5-10 mins per batch. i have no idea how restaurants make it so tasty. they must put in an entire handful of meijing and spices. before the cornstarch coating, sprinkled ~3 tablespoons of a mixture of salt, white pepper, 5 spice for a block of tofu, and still not enough flavor. maybe it was b/c i didn't add msg? need to flavor more aggressively. and the green onion and chilies topping... i don't know how they do it. mines didn't come out dry and almost with crispy bits like theirs.

in the background you can see the lovely brown veggie curry. japanese style curry with carrots, zucchini, onions, potatoes.

btw, the muffins at Henry's are delicious. i'm not just saying it b/c i like the market. trader joe's breads and things always have a weird dough-y taste...

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

x marks the spot

so i was at the store and i saw a pyramid of angel food cake. so i decided to splurge a little. now that i had that.. well.. certainly i can't eat it alone. it would be like eating my way through a vast empty dessert without an oasis in sight. so i bought some berries to go with it. but just berries and cake can be like a fair maid in a saharan sand storm, so i had to buy cream to smooth things out.

i added a tsp or two of sugar and some cocoa powder to the heavy whipping cream to make chocolatey whipped cream. oh, be sure to use a real whip. the cream actually gets fluffier when it cringes away from the whips.


this lovely presentation was designed by one of my lovely apartment mates. note the pirate themed "x marks the spot" strawberry. thar be treasure here, folks.


this was my roomate's cake. i didn't want her to murder me in the middle of the night, so i tried to make it pretty. however, lighting at my desk isn't exactly the greatest.

i dumped my cake and berries into the bowl i whipped the cream in. extreme laziness.. AND i get the most cream. hehe.

"The Whole Food Meal"

i don't like energy bars. they usually have this weird gritty protein stuff in it, taste like codfish oil, and leave a chalky feeling in your mouth. the closest i'll come to something like that is probably a granola bar, but then those are waaay too sweet. i need to start making my own. anyways, one day, long long ago at school, i was hungry. having spent most of the night awake, i didn't really feel like eating any junk food. didn't want a killer tummy ache. shunning junk food, i skipped the food court and decided to try my luck rummaging around in the student store for something semi-healthy and still tasty. somewhere in between the little debbie ho-hos and the chalky gross cliff bars i found this:


the pro bar. no pictures of the thing. it was brown. i ate it. only saved the wrapper. i'm not really one of those super organic wheat-grass infused Juice Tiger types, but i figure that the people who do buy this stuff tend to be rather particular. the blurb on the back is about how everything in the bar is raw, contain raw dried fruit, raw seeds, raw unprocessed natural cane juice, raw etc etc. i think they had to put in lots of oil to hold the thing together, or it'd be too dry. that kind of showed when i took it outside to eat with my carton of OJ. it started exuding oils from all the nuts and stuff. however, it was tasty. did not taste like cardboard or overly sweet, nor was it heavy and preservative-y tasting. has a nice identifiable mix of protein (nuts) and carbs (rice, oats). i deem this bar safe for consumption.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

liver and lotus root. not together unfortunately.

the market had some nice looking liver... i rinsed off the liver slices, dried them, then dredged them in some masa corn flour (the stuff to make tortillas from) that was mixed with some salt and pepper. then pan fried them.


a hunk of re-toasted french bread (not from that stale loaf) and slices of lotus root stir fried with a little salt.


some slightly freezer burnt slices of beef cooked up in garlic and worcestershire sauce, and chunks of zuchini and tomato cooked with some garlic salt, garlicky mashed potatoes.


Saturday, August 04, 2007

some canned dolmas and marshmallows over a firepit, a lightnin' jack's bbq sandwich. i need to eat more... time for the market.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

nothing to declare

stir-fried up some lotus root with soy sauce as a snack. then i cheated.

a friend came down to visit and found a reason to go to izakaya sakura. i'd always wondered what was there when i first saw it while visiting the pancake house. my friends had suspected a shady storefront for the mafia. i guess we were wrong.

despite comments from a college student (not me) "dude, these waitresses are pretty cute", the place was not engaged in any other sort of shady business. just good good food.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

i feel like the "hillbilly housewife"

i eat the same stuff a lot. preparation is noteworthy though.

1 fist sized hunk of frozen ground beef
1/2 half a frozen jam jar of tomato sauce
half an onion, diced
cooked pasta
garlic salt

threw everything into a pot without thawing and simmered for half an hour before dumping on top of pasta. if you call melting a jar-shaped chunk of frozen tomato sauce "simmering".

point of this: illustrate how i use old jars to hold food and keep food in 1-3 meal sizes in sandwich bags separately for easy preparation. space is tough to find in a fridge when sharing it with 3 other people. pitchers and tall kimchee jars make great containers for soup. small used up caper jars and such are really good for holding freshly made salad dressing, sauces, etc. also good for storing leftover coffee for the next day's reincarnation as iced coffee. it's also fun to drink out of jars...

hummus. kind of. not really.

since i like hummus and it's a great source of fiber and protein, i decided to try making some myself. the market stuff is usually too chemically for me.

didn't quite follow a specific recipe, but combined a couple. i took a double handful of dried chickpeas and soaked them for a day in a jar of water. rinsed them out, then simmered for an hour with some salt. skimmed off the flotsam and jetsam at the top. drained peas, then used a potato masher on them. this.. was a bad idea. it was really hard to mash.. and all the recipes ask for using a blender or food processor. which i don't have. i added the juice of 1 lemon, half a cup of olive oil, 3 medium sized closed of pressed raw garlic, salt and pepper. i didn't have any tahini so i used toasted sesame seeds (i also need a mortar and pestle) and a few drops of sesame oil instead.

the taste.. seemed ok. it's not as zesty or sesame seedy as restaurant hummus.. and it was definately chunky and grainy, even after 10 mins of mashing. so it's not really hummus except for the fact that i started out intending it to be. but it was edible. i think next time i'll just skip the paste texture and just put my garbanzo beans to better use in a salad or soup.

french bread dinner


ahh, another uncolorful brown food dish. but brown is tasty. so i have my camera back, and i guess that leaves me no reason to not post again. my schedule's also slacked a LOT so i'm happy and having a real summer break!

as i haven't shopped for food in over a week, i didn't really have much left in the fridge for dinner tonight. i did have half a loaf of really dry, stale french bread (almost week old), half an onion, and some leftover meat from a potluck at home. being ghettofabulous and not wanting to waste semi-edible food, i sliced up the bread, dipped it into a mixture of borrowed egg, milk, water, salt and pepper, and cooked it int he frying pan. just like savory french toast. made the bread crunchy on the outside, moist and dense and soft on the inside. better than i'd expected on a whim.

next was the half an onion. sliced it, and sauteed it with a mixture of salt, chinese white pepper, and 5-spice powder. if that sounds like asian S&P, you're right. onions tend to get soggy 'cause i don't like the bite of them. i can't wait to try frying something S&P. usually more than a couple tbsp of oil intimidates me.

partways through looking at slices of brain in class, i got a really big hankering for pork rinds. guess what i got at breaktime. i don't usually eat stuff like that, but i think once in a while (say a year or so) is fine. what's really really really tasty that i'll definately eat more than once a year is fresh chicharonnes from the mexican meat market somewhere in pomona. the crispy skin layer.. the fat layer (not to be eaten), and the suuuper delicious meat make it... *starts dreaming* yumm...

Sunday, July 08, 2007

shirataki noodles

shirataki noodles 1 pkg
couple slices of presliced sirloin that was on sale at zion korean market
half an onion, thin wedges
soy sauce

heated a pan with a little bit of vegetable oil in it. tossed in the beef when it was good and hot and cooked for a min or so. tossed in the onions and let those cook underneath the beef for a couple of mins, adjusted heat to simmer. splash of mirin (2-3 tbsp?). larger splash of soy sauce (3-4 tbsp?). i think all recipes i found said to add dashi, but i didn't feel like making any so used water (~1 cup). simmered for almost 20 mins. now you have crazy chewy noodles. i like the beefy taste, but the beef comes out a bit tough at the end of that simmering. the piece i fished out and munched on early on was perfect. now.. how do i get the beefy flavor in without turning my meat tough?

whilst that was cooking, ate some bread (b/c shirataki noodles have no calories, i would starve if that's all i ate) and prepared this cucumber salad.

3 persian cucumbers sliced bite sized
grated daikon (from the rest of the hunk i didn't use in soup)
1 green onion sliced
some cilantro
1 korean pepper sliced
little splash of soy sauce
big splash of rice vinegar
some fish sauce
some ginger, grated
sprinkle of sugar
little bit of sesame oil
a few tbsp of water

poured straight from bottles, etc into a tupperware with the cucumbers. close lid. shake.

simple soup

1 lb pork meaty bones (i used spareribs)

1 foot long length of a big daikon

salt to taste

rinse meat. boil a large pot of water, drop the bones in and boil for a few mins, then turn down the heat to very low and simmer. skim off the froth and other undesirable junk from the top. i hour before done, drop in cut up pieces of daikon. i think i've seen any size from .5 inch cubes to fist sized chunks. today, i favored inch thick pie wedges 'cause i like bite sized nuggets of daikon joy. it doesn't really matter how you cut up the stuff in the pot as long as it fits, i think. total simmering time was 2 hours. really should get a crock pot. i guess other people would call it broth. but i always grew up calling it soup.

i found the recipe below online. it sounds so gross that i'm willing to try it. the ground beef and onions sound good.. by themselves. the next question is, where do i get the canned chinese vegetables and canned bean sprouts? fresh is easy.. but canned?

1 1/2 lb. ground beef or turkey, optional
1 can V-8 juice or tomato juice
1 can water chestnuts, drained
1 can bean sprouts, drained
1 can Chinese vegetables, drained
2 stalks celery, diced
1 med. onion, diced
1/4 c. soy sauce
1 can French style green beans, drained
Cook ground beef and onions. Drain off grease. Add all other ingredients and simmer 45 minutes. Keeps well in refrigerator.

Friday, June 29, 2007

a pressing matter (aka, mashed potato sandwich)

as i mentioned, i've been trying to save money and time lately, so i bought food in bulk. that costco -sized bag o spinach is still around and today, it's being reincarnated as a topping on my pizza. a friend took me out to dinner at Leucadia last night and lucky for me he doesn't like leftovers, esp soggy pizza. doggy bag, please! woof!


also on the pizza is some fresh smushed garlic in olive oil. buying a garlic press has been one of my better investments. comes with a thimble-like insert for easy cleanup. another one of my recent investments is a potato masher. it's so much easier to use than a fork. i'm probably 10x more likely to make something mushy now. behold, my magical mashing stick! and the smushinator x2000!



remember those potatoes from last sat? here they are in a delicious portable sandwich format. all your fiber, vits, butter, carbs, more carbs, and more carbs in one on-the-go package. i ate the same thing for lunch the day before, except with a fried egg in it too, when i still had eggs left.


Saturday, June 23, 2007

fancy yogurt and and semi-homemade eats

i really don't know how those frozen yogurt places manage to stay in business. you know, the fancy ones with the fruit they scoop over the top. first off, it's pricey, second.. it's just frozen yogurt with fruit, cereal, and sprinkles on top! do they really get enough money from the occasional desserter to pay the rent and make a profit?? ok, nevermind, i probably just offended thousands of devotees to pinkberry. i guess i am just too cheap. there's a place in PB that offered free samples.. dolci mangoli or something like that along the the main drag of garnet. i can say i've tried it.. and it was good, i guess. but still!


anyways, here's what i had for dinner tonight. mashed potatoes with dill (dried, b/c the fresh stuff is hard to keep.. and cheaper), garlic, and almost half a stick of butter (to make up for not having any milk/cream around). spinach salad with plums in some sort of "oriental" dressing filched from a roomie (thanks!). some overly salty chicken breast that came pre-marinated in tequila lime stuff. it tastes like chemicals and is unnaturally tender. i blame the need for convenience. i am now in school Mon-Sat. joy.

Colorful food contest entry

take this, sir orang3!


my entry is "white light", containing all the wavelengths in the visible spectrum. it's waaaay more colorful than yours. maybe. ok, nevermind, you win. i can't remember if i presented this beautiful bowl or boringness yet. it's bamboo fungus and tofu. that i made quite a long time ago.

1 pkg bamboo fungus
1 block tofu
1 can no sodium chicken stock
~.5-1.0 tbsp cornstarch
soy sauce to taste.. and for lack of color.

soaked the bamboo fungus in warm water for... as long as the package says. something like 20 mins, drained. washed a couple more times b/c they're usually full of dirt and grit. last time i made it, i didn't wash enough, and i had crunchy bamboo fungus... it was not appetizing. however, i was hungry and a little dirt doesn't hurt. boiled for whatever the package said.. 2 mins? drained again, and put it into a new pan (sand and grit was at the bottom of the other one), dumped in some tofu and the chicken stock, simmered for a few mins, added the cornstarch mixed in with soy sauce to thicken the sauce. scoop on rice, consume.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

apple licorice

5-8-06 003

snacks. i'm digging through some old pictures (b/c i've left my camera back at a friend's place up in LA) and i found this er, vibrant photo of one very addicting snack. can't remember if i posted it before. but it's apple flavored licorice. the market sells all sorts of flavors, which they order from some other company.. i've seen the exact same types of licorice sold at The Fruit Stand near Price Club--Costco. but.. they are much more expensive there. i think i will stick to the traditional fruits and veggies there. anyways, they usually sell out of this flavor first at the market, leaving an empty spot next to the nasty pina colada and strange grape medicine flavored licorice for weeks before they get more in stock. so i stocked up. they don't really taste like real apples and don't contain any licorice root flavoring, but they're still neon-green delicious. here are some comments from ppl who have tried it:

"that's special."

"the taste reminds me a bit of soap but somehow i can't stop eating it"

Thursday, June 14, 2007

ginger tea

i've always been prone to motion-sickness. when i was a kid, i'd pretty much throw up every time we went to the market. it's no surprise that my parents didn't take very many road trips when i was a kid. one of the few trips i managed to survive exists today as a memory of being intensely dizzy and as a picture of me looking grumpy and scared at the grand canyon. i'm don't get motion-sick so easily anymore... but a trip to school and back on the bus when i'm tired is enough to make me feel quite ill. for some strange reason, the bus ride didn't wear off as usual, and after trying to keep my head from swimming for an hour or so in the library, i gave up and went home to find a remedy. i've found that there's nothing better than ginger tea to fight off nausea. the way my mom makes it is to peel some fresh ginger, slice it up, and cook a nodule in some water with a chunk of "slab/sheet sugar". i think that's the translation of it. it's like a little brick of regular sugar sandwiched by brown sugar. i didn't have any of that, so i substituted some honey instead. ~1 inch ginger sliced into ~2-3 cups of water, boil, let sit half an hour to extract all that gingeriness. pour into cup, add honey to taste. sweet and spicy!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Solving the Omnivore's Dilemma

Solving the Omnivore's Dilemma
Professor Michael Pollan gives talk about his new book

Ioana Patringenaru | May 1, 2007

What’s for dinner? According to New York Times Magazine contributor and UC Berkeley professor Michael Pollan, our very survival as a species depends on how we answer this seemingly simple question. He will explain why during the latest installment of UCSD’s Revelle Forum Series June 12 at The Neurosciences Institute in La Jolla.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

part 2 of 3 cup chicken

chronologically, this post should have come first, but i thought it'd be more appetizing to present the food before the stuff that's growing on this plate.


so we had a food and water contamination experiment a couple of weeks ago in class where we had to collect food and water sample, then try and find out what was growing on them. more specifically, we were looking for fecal contamination. remember those alfalfa and spinach scares?
realizing i could do homework and cook at the same time, i got a water sample from rinsing out the styrofoam package for the chicken into an old sterilized jam jar and brought that to lab the next day. after incubating a sample for a few days at around body temp and adding some prepared reagents for a diagnostic test (Colilert), the sample was shown to contain E.coli. then i streaked it out onto an EMB agar (not as yummy as almond flavored agar-agar) plate and grew it on and tried to identify just one of the isolated colonies (there can be a bunch of different bacteria in a sample). in case you're curious, it's Serratia liquefaciens.

anyhow, long story short--cook your food thoroughly! oh and no need to worry about drinking fountains.. all samples from there tested negative. however..someone's kitty water bowl, Mission Bay, and Los Penasquitos creek are teeming with contamination. oh, and if it hasn't killed you yet, don't worry. no need to rush out and buy that antibacterial Palmolive stuff (which actually works. maybe i'll take a picture of that at work. still not going to make me use it though).

here's an excerpt from my lab report to explain what's going on:

The largest source of potentially pathogenic microorganisms in water is animal feces. Some enteric diseases can be spread from infected to healthy persons through fecally contaminated water supplies. Typhoid fever and cholera are examples of enteric diseases that can be caused by bacteria in water. (1)

A common test for water safety depends on the presence of coliform (any organism that is like E. coli, an enteric bacteria) bacteria in a sample. E. coli, an enteric coliform, is the more reliable sewage indicator since it is not normally present in soil, while E. aerogenes has been isolated from soil and grains. In addition, E. coli lives longer in water than other intestinal pathogens, therefore if no E.coli are present, one can assume that there are no other intestinal pathogens present. (2, 4)... Coliform bacteria have the key characteristics of being small gram-negative rods, non-spore forming, lactose fermentation in the presence of bile with acid and gas production, and production of a green metallic sheen on eosin-methylene-blue (EMB) agar. EMB agar is a selective medium whose dyes usually inhibit the growth of gram-positive bacteria. EMB agar is also a differential medium because it differentiates bacteria that ferment lactose with the production of small to copious amounts of acid. That green metallic sheen on EMB is formed by the excretion of so much acid during acid fermentation that the dyes precipitate in and on the surface of the coliform colonies. (1, 4)

part 1 of 3 cup chicken

can you believe that it's been more than a month since my last post? time sure flies by fast when there isn't enough of it. haven't been inspired to cook very much or at all, and having lent my camera to my aptmate for a spiffy project, pictures and tasty eats have somehow eluded me. i think the last time i've actually cooked anything other than rice was sometime a week ago.. or was it two weeks since the snow peas and beef? so let's see what i've been subsisting on:

granola bars (some of you will know my efforts to foist them off on you at every chance i can get)
bagged salad... ew, right? what has been happening???

i hope that this supreme laziness and apathy towards food will soon pass. in the meantime, here's something i made a couple of weeks ago out of curiosity. presenting part 1 of 3 cup chicken. and yes, there will be a part 2 sometime in the near future.

hearing TheABC enthusiastically rave over the best 3 cup chicken he's ever had, i decided to try to make my own just to see if it'd be any good. so 3 cup chicken is this chinese dish whose name comes from the (or so the story goes) 1 cup of oil, 1 cup of soy sauce, and 1 cup of wine used to cook chicken. decided to recreate this dish in the spirit of the the SCA (Society for Compulsive Authenticity) by using exactly one cup of each ingredient... plus a half a bulb of garlic, some ginger, and a couple stalks of green onion.

put all the aforementioned ingredients into a pot, along with a few teaspoons of sugar and set to boil. once it hit boil, i tossed in some chicken thigh pieces, and after reaching boil again, turned the heat down to a simmer. kept it like that for about 20 mins b/c i was afraid to under cook the chicken (the pieces were pretty thick) then fished them out. as you can see in the picture, one piece has been disfigured to check for doneness. it looked and smelled great.. but was waaay too salty. i think i'll cut back on the soy next time, or the cooking time and use smaller pieces.
btw, i used sesame and vegetable oil, rice wine, and dark soy. using merlot and olive oil is not recommended.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Classy eats

Hi all, guess I've been either very busy, lazy, or somewhere in between for the past few weeks. maybe i'm just grossed out that the stuff i grow e.coli and s.aureus (remember those antibacterial soap commercials? of which i don't really believe in, btw) on smells like beef bullion and chicken broth. yum. i also feel rather guilty at leaving this thing neglected, esp when i found that Yummy 4 My Tummy linked to me! wow! i guess i have to post some more then. got a lot of catching up to do.

had a big craving for hamburger and meaty goodness. hamburger mixed with garlic salt and other stuff can't remember, pattied, with a slice of mozzarella melted over the top. collard greens and linguine and some generic sauce.


oatmeal, frozen broccoli (so darned convenient when there's nothing fresh) in chicken broth, and a stalk of celery with slightly diluted negi miso as a dip.


broad rice noodles stir fried with cabbage and chili, oyster sauce, fried garlic, and fried shallots. i always keep a jar of fried shallots and garlic around now top use as topping on rice and other boring dishes when i really don't have time to cook anything. the chili is this jar of dried crushed chilies in hot oil... it's in chinese and there's a picture of a Very Stern Lady on the label. also, the noodles aren't very brown or colorful. i assure you it's only cosmetic.


this a a rather horrendous and unappetizing picture. i steamed some pork short ribs with rice wine and pickled plums, and i over-steamed it b/c i was paranoid about the pork being thoroughly cooked. especially since there's bone involved. also didn't bother to cut it before tossing it in. looks like some sort of alien worm-like creatures swimming around in barf.


a snack. canned pineapple slices from the "buy it now before we throw it out" rack in the back of ralphs. who can resist at 70 cents a can? was going to prepare some chinese big sausages with them, but forgot. instead, they've been rinsed of that horrible syrup and sprinkled with cayenne pepper. and what's left of a carrot.


food is steadily getting worse. this was during finals week. the oatmeal is kind of dry, i have hunks of spam spooned straight from the can on it, and some leftover kabocha on its last days. i consider spam to belong to the "meat" food group. some ppl don't.


pasta with basil and anchovies. truly a dish with conflicting flavors. herbal and salty. kind of like bamboosalt toothpaste. i bought so much basil that i made a salad with it....


unagi with cucumbers. then spam when i still had lots of leftover sushi rice. you can see how pretty my handiwork is. i cut my hand earlier that day, so i was trying to make things mostly with one hand. i don't think i'll ever make this at home again. everything from start to finish took waaay too long and was a big mess. note the ugliest pillow-shaped onigiri ever in the back. it all goes into the biological blender anyways. i'll leave it to the pros. i'll just end up tossing stuff on top of rice next time.


almost a month later for dinner tonight... and i did in fact toss it on top of rice. unagi no kabayaki on rice with a pickled plum and some pickled radish strips. of course the eel came prepared and frozen. this was what was left over from making sushi at home. and some miso soup with frozen broccoli in it. this was another one of those 5 min meals, not counting the rice.


a kobocha and sharpening my knife before i attempt to hack it open. i don't have a whetstone or a fancy sharpener, so i use the bottoms of ceramic cups.


lemon and soy simmered kobocha squash. from Washoku. i was in a cooking mood that night. this tasted really good. i used a whole lemon's juice instead of half as suggested.


greasy stir fried chinese liver sausage and garlic chives.


Orang3's collard greens with a few mods. i used some chicken broth instead of water, a pinch of sugar, and some chili peppers so it'd have a bit of kick. here it is with some dried noodles. what are they called? dried onion noodles? it's was whatever was sitting on the counter at my brother's place.


another condiment fried rice. this time it's chili, fermented shrimp paste, and garlic.


midnight snack tin for the delaying hunger in the library. they've allowed a new policy of snack foods being allowed inside the library after ppl brought them in anyways. most people go there to study anyways, and not read library books.