Saturday, April 07, 2007

Dinner at a Friend's, Fremont, CA

We had dinner at F.'s house in Fremont tonight. He is Giao's old roommate, and he used to cook for Giao before Alexis did. In any case, he is slowly teaching Alexis some of the Chinese dishes that Giao loves. Last time it was wontons, this time, eggplant...

BBQed Scallops
Seasoned with salt and pepper and BBQed on the grill. We also made a nice little sauce with lime juice, olive oil and garlic to pour over the scallops after they were grilled.

Duck Feet with Wasabi
Cold and a very rubbery.

Spicy Beef and Carrot Stew
Made with Sichuan peppercorns that numb your tongue, this was quite tasty.

Steamed Sticky Rice with Peanuts, Chicken and Sausage
This sticky mass was interesting, if a bit bland.

Fried Eggplant with Pork
This was the star of the night. The eggplant just melts away in your mouth. Totally addictive. This was labor-intensive, but totally worth it.

-3 long, skinny eggplants, cut in semi-sliced coins

The method is to make every other slice only 5/6 of the way down, so you end up with "coins" that have a slit down the middle, kind of like a mini eggplant hot dog bun.

-1/2 lb ground pork
-1" nub grated ginger
-2 tb cooking wine
-2 tb corn starch

Mix all ingredients thoroughly, then smoosh a chickpea-sized dollop of meat inside one of the eggplant coins.

-1/2 cup cornstarch
-1/2 cup water
-2 eggs

Whisk until combined.

-3 scallions, thinly sliced
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-several pickled hot peppers, minced
-1" nub ginger, minced
-3 tb chili bean paste
-1 cube chicken bullion mixed with 1 cup water

After the eggplants coins are stuffed with the pork, as per the directions above, dip in the batter, then place in concentric circles in a pan with several tb of oil in it, over medium-low heat. When browned on one side, flip and fry until browned on the other, then set aside. In the same pan throw all of the ingredients for the sauce and sautee for a couple minutes. Then add the eggplant back into the sauce, cover and then simmer for about 5 minutes. Pour the whole thing into a big dish and eat right away.

Steamed Chicken
We forgot to take a picture of this until after we'd eaten it. So, here's the half eaten carcass.

-4 scallions, thinly sliced
-2" nub of ginger, minced
-lots of salt
-3 tb cooking wine

Poke a whole chicken with the tip of a knive all over. Then rub all over, including the inside, with salt, scallions and ginger. Steam until done.

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Snack at Val's Burgers, Hayward, CA

We headed to Val's for a burger because we have heard that they are great. Val's is a tiny diner that looks and feels like the diner time forgot. Everything, from the counter to the cups to the waitresses looks like it is from a different era. And, since Val's has been around since the 50s everything most likely is from another era. In any case, the food was plentiful and well priced. The waitresses were efficient, yet friendly. We'd certainly eat here again, if we were ever in the area.

Papa Burger $10
We ordered the Papa Burger (2 1/2 lb patties on one bun) to split, but they decided to split it up and give it to us on 2 buns, for the same price. This was a real BBQ burger, with charcoal flavor and a great meat to bun ratio. The fixings were simple, no frills. This was the epitome of the all American burger.

Food: 1
Decor: 1
Service: 1

Health Code Violations not available.

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Breakfast at Home

Veggie Scramble
Cherry tomatos, onions, bell peppers and cheese all scrambled up with eggs.

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Late Night Dinner at Denny's, San Francisco, CA

We went straight from work, to a movie, to a bar, and before we knew it it was 12:30 and we hadn't eaten since lunch...the only solution: Denny's. (It also helped that it was on our way home)

Appetizer Sampler $10
Mozzerella sticks, onions rings and chicken strips. Fried goodness, but far too much of it. Alexis couldn't finish it, which was probably a good thing.

Chicken Fried Steak $10
Although Denny's prices have certainly gone up since the last time we ate there, which for Alexis was probably 10 years ago, but they still serve the same decent classics.

Food: 0
Decor: 0
Service: 1

Health Code Violations

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Friday, April 06, 2007

Lunch at Mijita, San Francisco, CA

We ate at Mijita today, a Mexican place in the Ferry Building. Since last time we were there they seem to have made some changes that made the service faster and smoother. And, the food, while pricy, was still just as tasty.

Carnitas Taco $4
Lots of meat and fresh onions, parsley and pickled carrots and jalapenos.

Tortilla Soup $7
A very large bowl of soup, probably the most bang for your buck portion-wise at Mijita. Alexis dumped the carnitas in the soup to create a nice, thick, meaty soup.

Queso Fundido $5
Melted cheese and chorizo. How can you go wrong?

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Breakfast at Home

Cheesy Eggs
Alexis' mom used to make her cheesy eggs on weekends. The trick is to not add the cheese until the very end, so you get bites of egg and pockets of gooey cheese.

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Dinner at Home

Rutabaga and Turnip Soup
A hearty soup for an unusually cold spring day.

-1 large rutabaga, peeled and chopped
-2 turnips, peeled and chopped
-5 cloves garlic, peeled
-1/2 onion, chopped
-2 cans chicken broth
-salt and pepper to taste

Sautee the onions and garlic in a bit of olive oil. When beginning to brown, add the turnips, rutabaga and chicken broth, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until veggies are soft. Puree with an immersion blender and serve.

Mustard Seed Chicken
Garlicky, bite sized chicken with the tang of crushed mustard seeds.

-10 chicken thighs, cut into pieces
-1 and 1/2 onions, quartered and thinly sliced
-1 head of garlic, cloves peeled and minced
-2 tb mustard seed, crushed with a mortar and pestle
-salt and pepper to taste

Sautee the onions and garlic over low heat until carmelized. Add the chicken and brown. Add the mustard seed, season with salt and pepper, cover and cook until chicken is cooked through, stirring occasionally.

Green Salad with Balsamic Vinagrette
Simple and delicious.

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Dinner from Brandy Ho's, San Francisco, CA

Giao played poker and ate take-out. We ordered a fish, but it didn't show up, unfortunately.

Beef with Wine Sauce and Tofu with Meat Sauce

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Lunch at Work

From Manhattan Hub:

Chicken and Steak Cheese Steak $12
2 separate sandwiches, squeezed into one.

From home:

Leftover Meatballs with Vodka Sauce and Creamed Spinach
Still tasty.

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Breakfast at Home

Salami and Egg Scramble
A good use for some salami that was drying out in the fridge.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Dinner at Home

Creamed Spinach
Alexis discovered that her cast-iron pan works very well for creamed spinach--no sticking.

-3 lbs spinach
-1/2 onion, diced
-8 cloves garlic, minced
-3 strips bacon, cut in lardons
-1 and 1/2 cups cream
-salt and pepper to taste
-a sprinkling of nutmeg

Blanch the spinach, drain and set aside. Start to render the bacon in a pan. When translucent, add onions and garlic. Stir frequently until bacon, onions and garlic are browned. Put the spinach in a towel and squeeze as much liquid as possible out, then chop. Add the spinach and the cream and stir to combine. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and continue to cook, stirring every once in a while on low heat for about 1/2 hour.

Meatballs with Vodka Cream Sauce
Usually I put ricotta in the meatballs as a sort of filler, this time I didn't have any and thus the texture of the meatballs suffered. They tasted good, but they came out a little hard. The sauce was tart and creamy at the same time.

-1 lb ground beef
-1 large handful fresh parsley, chopped finely
-1 egg, beaten
-1 tb garlic powder
-1 ts salt
-1 ts black pepper

Mix all ingredients with hands until combined. Roll into balls, 1 inch in diameter. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake on 400 for about 25 minutes, or until done in the center.

Vodka Cream Sauce
-2 cans diced tomatos
-1/2 onion, chopped
-5 cloves garlics, peeled
-1 handful fresh basil
-salt and pepper to taste
-1/2 cup vodka
-1/2 cup cream

Sautee the onions and garlic in a bit of olive oil. When beginning to carmelize add the tomatos, and basil. Cover and simmer for 1/2 an hour. Puree with an immersion blender. Add the vodka and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Add the cream and pour over the meatballs.

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Lunch from Mehfil Indian, San Francisco, CA

Mehfil Indian, winner of our Best of 2006 Award for Take Out/Delivery is finally back open after suffering a monor electrical fire. Since we've only had mediocre Indian food since their closing, we were very happy they were back open.

Chicken Mahkni, Saag Paneer and Naan
Yum. Alexis ate too much.

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Breakfast at Home

Bacon and Fried Egg.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Dinner from Pomodoro

We went to Members' Night for the SF Film Society to learn more about the program for this year's SF International Film Festival. It was catered by Pasta Pomodoro. The food was edible, but not great.

Butternut Squash Ravioli (the pasta was too thick and Giao found the filling too sweet); Braised Beef with Polenta (the beef was not salty enough and the polenta was sort of sticky and hard); Spinach Salad with Crispy Pancetta (this salad was the best part of the meal).

Very authentic.

Food: 0
Decor: NA (catered event)
Service: NA (buffet line)

Health Code Violations

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Lunch at Work

Leftover Lettuce Cups
A thoroughly messy, yet delicious, lunch.

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Breakfast at Home

Bacon and Fried Egg.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Dinner at Home

Chili-Black Bean Pork with Edamame
A spicy, tasty weeknight dinner made with only 3 ingredients.

-1 1/2 lb pork loin, cut into strips
-2 tbs chili-black bean sauce
-2 cups pre-cooked edamame

Sautee the pork strips until almost cooked through. Add the chili-black bean sauce and stir to coat. Cover until cooked through. Add the edamame and stir it all together. Sautee for about another minute. Remove from heat and serve.

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Lunch from Amici's East Coast Pizzeria, San Francisco, CA

Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken
The dressing was too salty and the chicken was weird and rubbery.

Food: 0
Decor: NA (delivery)
Service: NA (delivery)

Health Code Violations

Leftover Chicken Salad

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Breakfast at Home

Bacon and Fried Egg.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Dinner at Home

Miso Broth
A lighter version of the standard miso soup, omitting the seaweed and tofu.

-2 quarts water
-3 or 4 TB miso
-3 scallions, chopped

Bring the water to a boil. Add the miso and whisk until fully combined. Add the scallions, remove from heat and serve.

Turkey Lettuce Cups
The meat mixture is spooned into the lettuce "cups" shown below in this messy but fun to eat dish.

-2 lbs ground turkey
-6 stalks celery, diced
-1 large onion, diced
-1 bell pepper, diced
-1 head of garlic, cloves peeled and minced
-4 tb chili garlic sauce
-1/4 cup oyster sauce
-2 tb hoisin sauce
-2 tb rice vinegar
-2 tb fish sauce
-4 tb soy sauce
-1 package mung bean sprouts
-1 bunch cilantro, leaves removed and chopped
-1/4 cup peanuts, chopped

Sautee the celery, onions, bell pepper and garlic in a bit of olive oil until soft and beginning to brown. Add the turkey and saute until almost cooked through. Add all of the sauces and simmer until cooked through and most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the bean sprouts and cook for another minutes or so. Add the peanuts and cilantro, stir thoroughly and spoon into lettuce leaves.

Whole Leaves of Iceberg Lettuce

Baked Custard
This custard was not smooth enough, but it was ok for a low carb dessert.

-2 cups cream or milk
-2 eggs
-3 packets Splenda
-1/4 ts salt

Whisk all ingredients together and bake on 325 for an hour in a water bath. Custards are done when they are a bit jiggly in the center, but an inserted knife comes out clean.

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Lunch at Home

Lemon-Dill Chicken Salad
A yummy chicken salad, served on greens, and made from a Costco rotisserie chicken.

-1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
-1 bell pepper, diced
-1 cucumber, seeded, peeled and diced
-1/2 cup mayo
-juice of 1/2 lemon
-1 ts pepper

Mix all ingredients thoroughly and serve over fresh greens.

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Breakfast at Home

Crab Salad and Poached Egg
We decided to buy some canned crab at Costco, just to see what it was like. It wasn't terrible, but it was a little dry.

Crab Salad
-1 large can of crab, drained
-1/4 cup mayo
-juice of 1/2 lemon
-1 handful fresh basil, chopped
-dash of pepper

Mix all ingredients thoroughly.

Poaching eggs works best with a little bit of vinegar in the water, as it helps the egg to stick together.

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