Saturday, August 04, 2007

Dinner at Home

Pea Shoots with Garlic
Alexis cooked these a bit too long and she didn't add enough salt, so what can be a standout dish was a fairly lackluster, unfortunately.

-1 lb pea shoots
-1 tb rice vinegar
-1 tb rice wine
-salt to taste
-1 head garlic, minced

Sautee the garlic in a little olive oil until just beginning to brown. Add the other ingredients and sautee until tender, but still bright green. You can see from the color in this picture that these were cooked too long.

Spicy Sesame Noodles with Pickled Cucumbers
This very tasty noodle salad is served at room temperature. Usually rice noodles are used for such a dish, but we substituted shirataki noodles with great success for a low carb option.

-6 packages shirataki noodles, boiled for 1 minutes and drained
-1 red pepper, julienned
-1 handful fresh cilantro, chopped
-1 tb sesame seeds

-3 tb dark soy sauce
-2 tb Chinese black vinegar
-1/3 cup tahini or sesame paste
-1 tb chili powder
-8 cloves garlic
-1 inch nub of grated ginger
-1 packet Splenda

Puree all of the above sauce ingredients in a food processer until smooth.

Pickled Cucumbers
-5 baby cucumbers, peeled, halved and cut in 1/2 rounds
-3 tb rice vinegar
-1 ts chili powder
-1 packet Splenda

Mix the chili powder, vinegar and Splenda together and pour over the cucumbers in a shallow bowl. Occasionally, stir and spoon the vinegar mixture collecting at the bottom of the bowl over the cucumbers. Leave for at least an hour, then drain off the excess vinegar.

To Make the Salad:
Place the drained noodles in a large mixing bowl. Add the sauce paste and mix into noodles thoroughly with your hands until fully incorporated. Add the remaining ingredients and continue to mix with your hands until the cucumbers, cilantro, sesame seeds and red pepper are evenly studded throughout the noodles. In my experience, you really do have to use your hands for this.

Korean-Inspired Short Ribs
Once we discovered we could make these in the broiler, we were hooked. You can only get the thin-cut shortribs at Asian grocery stores, we've found. Costco does carry these cross cut ribs, but they are about twice as thick and don't cook up as nicely, getting charred well before the inside is cooked. We broil these on high for about 5 minutes on each side and we make sure to use a rack inside a rimmed cookie sheet so that the copious amount of fat the drips off is caught and doesn't start to burn in the oven.

Marinade for 2 lbs short ribs:
-1/2 cup dark soy
-3 packets Splenda
-1 Tb granulated garlic
-1/8 cup rice vinager
-1/tb chili powder
-1 Tb sesame oil
-1 in nub fresh ginger, grated

Marinate for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.

Plum Tart with Freshly Whipped Vanilla Cream
This tart was tart, but in a good way. We aren't too fond to too-sweet desserts, so the acidity of the plums suits us well. This is a perfect dinner party dessert because it takes only minutes to prepare, contains only 3 ingredients and everyone loves it. You can use any kind of fruit that's in season.

-8 plums, sliced
-1 cup flour
-1 stick butter

Cut the cold butter into chunks and work it into the flour with your hands until the mixture resembles course corn meal. Form into a ball by adding a touch of water and smooshing--in summer, you should be able to form the dough into a ball with no water at all, in winter it might take a couple of tablespoons. Press the dough into a greased pie pan and prebake on 400 for 10 minutes, until the edges are just beginning to get a bit of color. Pour in the sliced fruit and put back in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until the fruit is soft and bubbly and the crust is golden brown. Serve with ice cream or freshly whipped cream.

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Brunch at Mayflower, San Francisco, CA

Whenever we are out in the Richmond, getting our hair cut, we always try to make it to Mayflower, a seafood place with some very tasty dim sum. Usually, we go home about $30 lighter and thoroughly stuffed. This time it was about $45, but $16 of that was the abolone we ordered, which, upon retrospect, wasn't really worth it.

Steamed Abolone with Garlic
The garlic was very tasty, but the abolone didn't had much flavor to match its firm flesh.

Spareribs in Black Beans Sauce
These were better than usual and were fall-off-the-bone tender.

Scallop Dumplings
These were quite good and fell right out of their shells and into our hungry mouths.

Har Gow
Fresh with large chunks of shrimp and not much filler.

Sui Mai
These little pork dumplings were different than usual with fewer meaty chunks and a more uniform texture. We like the normal version better.

Jellyfish and Baby Octopus
Giao thought the jellyfish were decent, and we were both pleasantly surprised with these slightly sweet baby octopus which were subtly flavored with sesame.

Stuffed Fried Tofu
Not much on its own, but a great vehicle for soy sauce and chili sauce.

Mayflower Seafood Restaurant
6255 Geary Boulevard
San Francisco, CA, 94121

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Friday, August 03, 2007

Dinner at V2 Malaysian Cuisine, San Francisco, CA

After reading about V2 in The Guardian's Best of the Bay issue, we decided to give it a shot. It's a bit out of the way and was grossly overrated. While it's cheap, it's not nearly as cheap as say, Tu Lan. And there's definitely better Malaysian and Singaporean food around. We were happy to find another place offering roti prata, however, and this tasty version was V2's only saving grace. I'd stop here for the roti prata if I happened to walk by this place again, but it isn't worth trekking to if you are not in the neighborhood already.

Roti Prata $6
The roti was as good as any we've had--stretchy and flaky all at the same time, but the curry sauce was too thin and a bit lackluster.

Chicken Curry $8
More potatos than chicken. A bit too oily and the sauce was just missing something. Ok, but not great by any means.

Tamarind Shrimp $10
The tangy-sweet sauce was tasty and the shrimp were not overcooked. The only flaw with this dish was that there were too few shrimp.

V2 Malaysian Cuisine
518 Bryant St
San Francisco, CA 94107

Food: 1
Decor: 1
Service: 1

No Website
Health Code Violations

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Lunch at Taylor's Automatic Refresher, San Francisco, CA

Because it was such a beautiful day, we headed to the Ferry Building to Taylor's for some expensive but yummy burgers in the sun.

Chili Dog $5
Covered with chili and cheese, this dog looked better than it tasted. The dog itself was cheap supermarket qualty and the chili had too many beans.

Double Bacon Cheeseburger, No Bun, Extra Special Sauce $12
This is the first time Alexis opted for the double and she won't attempt it again. It was very good, but just too much burger for her stomach.

Blue Cheese Bacon Ring Burger $8
This burger is topped not only with bacon and cheese, but also with a fat, crispy, beer-battered onion ring. Heart attack, here we come.

Taylor's Automatic Refresher
1 Ferry Plaza
San Francisco, CA

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Breakfast at Home

Bacon and Fried Egg
This breakfast, while it might seem decadent for every day, is actually quite good for you. Two slices of cooked bacon contain only 80 calories and contains 11 grams of protein and an egg is only 75 calories and contains 6 grams of protein. Sure, you've got some fat in there, but this breakfast leaves you full and energized until lunch.

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Dinner at Home

Chili Rubbed Baby Back Ribs
We cook these in the Ron Popeil "Set it and forget it" Showtime Rotisserie Grill, and they are done in 38 minutes. We parboil them for 15 minutes, then rub them with Alexis' no-fail wet rub and in less than an hour we have succulent, spicy ribs.

Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese, Red Onions and Nectarine
Adding fruit to a salad is a tasty way to add a bit of sweetness and acid. The flavor of the nectarine melded really well with the creaminess of the crumbled goat cheese. The salad was dressed in a standard balsamic vinagrette.

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Lunch at Work

Leftover Chili Con Carne
Mellower and still very tasty a few days later.

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Breakfast at Home

Bacon and Fried Egg.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Dinner at Home

Tequila Lime Chicken Wings
While Giao was at his work dinner, Alexis succombed to her usual standby as she has little interest in cooking only for herself.

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Dinner at Circa, San Francisco, CA

Giao had a work related dinner at Circa. It was an overall tasty meal of many dishes meant for sharing.

Flank Steak $21
A standard affair, but done properly.

Salmon with Mashed Potatoes $17
Lackluster at best.

Seared Tuna $12
A bit uninventive, but not bad.

Grilled Prawns with Cous Cous $17
The prawns were flavorful, but there were not enough of them.

Caprese Skewers $8.50
A playful take on the classic caprese salad, and a tasty one at that. Easy to eat and easy to share.

Lobster and Truffle Mac n' Cheese $10
This is perhaps the best mac n' cheese that ever way. Totally, ridiculously decadent and truly addictive.

Beef Sliders and Fries $11
Standard but tasty.

Chicken Sliders $11
Big on the bread, but a decent chicken sandwich.

Fried Chicken $20
Surprisingly good. The crispy outside looks to have been accomplished with panko.

2001 Chestnut Street
San Francisco, CA 94123

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Lunch at Work

Leftover Brocolli Cheese Soup
This soup starts to dull in color after a few days, making it look a bit less appetizing, but the flavor is still fine.

Leftover Balsamic Chicken Salad with Spinach

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Breakfast at Home

Bacon and Fried Egg.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Dinner at Rubicon, San Francisco, CA

We decided to head to Rubicon for an impromtu dinner out. It was quite a bit busier mid-week this time than it was last time, and the service, while, very, very friendly, was rather slow. We are attributing the slowness to the busyness and honestly, they were so nice we didn't care that much. Also, again towards the end of the meal, the chef came out to say hello, which is always nice. The food was stellar, just like last time. And what really impressed us, was that the menu was completely different. We only recognized one dish. We love restaurants with good food that change up their menu--that was we get to try a greater variety of dishes.

Goat Cheese Mousse and Mushroom Mini-Muffin (gratuit)
The first of 2 amuse-bouches, the goat cheese was tangy and the mini-muffin (I'm sure it was called something much more sophisticated) was soft and tasty.

Chilled Brandywine Tomato Soup with Pickled Fennel, Eggplant and Goat Cheese (gratuit)
We saw this on the menu, yet didn't order it. So it was a pleasant surprise not only to be served a second amuse-bouche, but that it was this soup, which we had been eyeing. The soup itself was smooth and perfectly tart. The pickled fennel was amazing. The eggplant was nothing special and the goat cheese was very mild and a little hard because of the chilled soup. Overall, this was a very good dish.

Oysters from Washington State $5
Giao was a bit disappointed with these, actually.

Deep Fried Duck Egg with Tomatos, Grated Cheese and Crispy Ham $12
A deep fried egg, with a runny yolk is a truly delicious thing. The tartness of the sweet tomatos cut right though the richness. So good.

Seared Scallops with Mushrooms, Spinach and Sesame Seeds $15
A tiny bit overcooked, but the flavors were right on.

Duck with Torchon of Foie Gras, Peaches, Onions and Brocollini $29
The duck was very tender, and the plate was packed with veggies and fruit. One is always a tiny bit disappointed to see torchon rather than seared foie gras, but it was tasty nonetheless.

Spinach Dumplings with Mushrooms, String Beans, Caulflower and a Curry Cream Sauce $25
The dumplings weren't all that special but the dish as a whole was really wonderful. I like that the chef really loads the dish up with veggies, rather than using them as a sort of garnish or afterthought.

Chocolate-Lemon Verbena Frozen Sabayon with Carmelized Puffed Rice and Pistachio Puree $10
Generally Alexis tried not to succomb to the lure of dessert on a standard night out. However, after having has Nicole Krasinski's desserts at the StarChefs Rising Stars Revue, she just had to order something. This dish was very good, although the lemon-verbena didn't come through very well. Also, the carmelized rice was a bit too sweet for our taste, but I'm sure most people would have loved it.

558 Sacramento Street
San Francisco, CA 94111

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Lunch at Work

Leftover Chili Con Carne
This is a great lunch dish, as you can make large batches of it, it lasts about a week in the fridge, much longer in the freezer and the flavors get better with age.

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Breakfast at Home

Goat Cheese-Artichoke-Red Pepper Spread and Smoked Trout on Low Carb Crackers. Whoever said fish and cheese don't go together was wrong.

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Monday, July 30, 2007

Dinner at Home

Since Alexis came down with a cold and was trying to avoid giving it to Giao, we had a hot pot for dinner. This way, all the ingredients were boiled in between Alexis' prep and Giao's mouth.

Thinly Sliced Porterhouse and Shrimp
These tasty morsels were boiled in an oniony, garlicky, chicken broth. Then they were dipped in a variety of sauces: worcestershire, mustard, tartar sauce, chili-garlic-soy sauce, wasabi mayo and horseradish.

The Bubbling Broth

The Soup
After most of the meats and shrimp have been cooked and eaten, we add a couple of eggs, 1 package of shirataki noodles, about 1/2 ln of spinach and the leftover meats and shrimp to the broth to make a tasty soup.

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Lunch at Work

Balsamic Chicken Salad with Spinach
A healthier chicken salad than our standard mayonnaise-based versions.

-1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
-2 small cucumbers, peeled and diced
-1 bell pepper, diced
-2 tb whole grain mustard
-4 tb balsamic vinegar
-2 tb olive oil

Mix the mustard, balsamic and olive oil into a vinegarette. Pour over the other ingredients. stir to combine and serve over baby spinach.

We also had some leftover Brocolli Cheese Soup.

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Breakfast at Home

Low Carb Crackers with Artichoke, Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Spread and Smoked Trout
A nice departure from our standard bacon and eggs breakfast. The spread was made by mixing equal parts artichoke and red pepper tapenade and goat cheese.

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Dinner at Home

Chili Con Carne
We made a very large portion of Giao's awesome chili and simmered it for about 5 hours.

-5 lbs ground beef
-2 large onions, diced
-2 bell peppers, diced
-5 cans diced tomatos
-1 can water
-3 tb beef boullion
-5 bay leaves
-2 tb garlic powder
-3 oz ground chili powder
-1 tb cayenne
-3 tb cumin

Brown the beef and the onions in a very large pot. Drain the fat and return the meat and onions to the pot. Add the tomatos, the boullion dissolved in the water and the bell pepper. Stir to combine. Add all of the spices, mix thoroughly and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to very low and simmer for a few hours, stirring every so often, until the chili is thick and not watery. Serve with sour cream (or Fage yogurt), diced red onion and grated cheese.

Fresh Strawberries with Chocolate Whipped Cream
Add a little cocoa powder, vanilla and Splenda to whipping cream and whip until stiff peaks are formed.

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Late Afternoon Snack at Home

Low Carb Cracker with Brie and Smoked Trout
Giao needed a post-workout, protein-rich snack, and this quick fix certainly sufficed.

Brocolli-Cheese Soup
An old standby and a great way to use a large amount of brocolli that only has a few days left before it will spoil.

-1/2 onion, roughly chopped
-4 cloves garlic, peeled
-1 lb brocolli, roughly chopped
-4 cans chicken broth
-pepper to taste
-1 cup grated sharp hard cheese

Sautee the onions and garlic in a bit of olive oil. When beginning to brown, add the broth and bring to a boil. Add the brocolli and simmer until tender, but still bright green. Puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Add the cheese and stir until combined. Remove from heat.

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