Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Thanksgiving Feast

Last year, it was just one of my brothers and me for Thanksgiving. Since it was just the two of us, we decided against a turkey entree. This year, my mom was able to fly into town. We planned to cook a turkey, but all the turkeys we found were too large for just 3 people. At Whole Foods, we saw that they had cuts of Pork Shoulder Butts. So that clearly set the menu for this year's Thanksgiving. It was going to be a Bo Ssam Thanksgiving, inspired by David Chang's Momofuku. We opted not to include oysters. Maybe we'll try that for the next round. Overall, it was another memorable holiday home cooked meal!

Marinating the Pork Shoulder
With Salt and Sugar

Close Up

Roasting Process
It takes hours and a low temperature for the pork to get nice and tender.

Ready for Round Two

Before the final glaze and roasting step, we set aside this piece for another meal. I can't wait for Round Two!

Final Step
Crusted with Brown and White Sugar, then ready to broil.

The Pork is Ready!
Check out that color!

Homemade Kimchii
My brother has been making kimchii lately. This was a delicious batch. It was spicy, but not overly spicy, with a nice hint of sweetness.

Homemade Pickled Carrots and Radishes
My mom made her achara for the meal, too. It provided another nice contrasting taste and texture.

Plating Process

Fully Plated!
The pork on a red butter lettuce, topped with kimchii, achara, green onions, and homemade ssam sauce.

The Thanksgiving Desserts
Since it was Thanksgiving, we decided to have a traditional element. We got these pies from Whole Foods.
Pecan Pie

Pumpkin Pie

Charlie Trotter Smoked Salmon

I found this product at Whole Foods, and it was a must-try.
Citrus Cured Smoked Salmon

With Sliced Onions, Capers, Cream Cheese, and Toasted Baguette Slices. The smoked salmon had a subtle citrus taste. Overall, it was a delicious variety of smoked salmon.

Asian Chicken Soup - Two Ways

First Way
Chicken Soup with Ginger and Spinach

Second Way
With Inaniwa Udon Noodles. My parents got these from Hong Kong. They are Japanese udon noodles, but thinner. The taste is delicate and it's nice and chewy.

Chicken Adobo - Bicol Style

When my mom was last here, she added coconut milk as the last step to her traditional adobo. When she made adobo last week, I asked if she could do that again. It's even better than the first time she made it! It still has that great adobo taste, with a slightly sweet and mellow taste from the coconut milk.
Chicken Adobo - Bicol Style

Side of Fresh Tomatoes

Pasta Bake

I've never made this recipe before, but it turned out all right. Penne Pasta with Bolognese topped with Bechamel Sauce. Baked until browned.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Chocolate Caramel Tart, Round One

My all-time favorite restaurant dessert is Scala Bistro's Bostini Cream Pie. Back when I was a chubby kid, I would scrap the entire plate with no shame.

My second favorite restaurant dessert was at the Ritz Carlton San Francisco Sunday brunch buffet. It was a chocolate caramel tart. The caramel was thick, dark, and almost burnt tasting - but burnt in that delicious way. For years, I've been wanting to recreate that dessert.

My mom passes on recipes that she finds online, and all of them look delicious. I finally tried one. It turned out pretty well...actually it was pretty successful. However, there are a few things that I can try out next time to make it even better. I definitely need to work on forming the crust better. The caramel was great, but perhaps I'll try to get it a bit darker. And as for the chocolate, I used Valhrona. A great brand for baking (and eating). Maybe I'll try to use semi-sweet instead of bittersweet - just to compare.

Even More Home Cooking

The first dishes I remember making were eggs and pastas. I still love making them. This is one of my favorite pastas. It's sweet corn with bacon and onions in a cream sauce garnished with parsley. I used whole wheat spaghetti noodles to make the dish healthier.


After I returned my car to the dealership on a Saturday monring, my friend picked me up and eagerly took me to this breakfast place. The interior was so fun, and the food was tasty.

Scrambl'z, San Jose
The Inside

Chicken Apple Sausage Scramble
With onions and goat cheese and campfire potatoes. Such a hearty place. The ingredients tasted nice and fresh.

My scramble plate came with a side of pancakes. Breakfast was so filling. These pancakes were really tasty - fluffy and flavorful.

Friday, November 13, 2009


Lately I've been cooking simple comfort foods. Last night I decided it was time for a little splurge.

Garbanzo Hors d'oeuvres
I pureed some garbanzo beans, anchovies, garlic, butter, and olive oil in a blender. The crackers are the Savory Mini Crackers from Trader Joes.

Roast Potatoes

With bacon, chopped onions, and rosemary

Roast Rack of Lamb
Roasted with an olive oil rub and rosemary

Dessert Time
My brother had some of his cookie dough in the freezer. So I've been enjoying it.

It looks so professional! My brother makes some great desserts.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

More Filipino Home Cookin'

Since lunch time, I was craving for a bowl of rice with meat. Then I started imagining Arroz Cubana, a Spanish-influenced Filipino dish. So at the end of the day, I got the ingredients...

The Pairing
Syrah, Peju, 2006
Syrahs go well with lamb or spicy red meat dishes.

Arroz Cubana
Made with ground beef, onions, and sun-dried tomatoes (it's supposed to be with raisins, but we didn't have any left in the pantry.) Paired with fried bananas and a fried egg. With banana ketchup spiked with Sriracha.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Champorado and Dilis

More Filipino food! Champorado is a chocolate rice porridge. It is eaten with Dilis, fried anchovies. The contrast of taste and texture is delicious. I remember enjoying this dish during Sunday lunches. It's another dish that brings me back to my childhood.

Enjoying the Panini Press

I love the Panini Press. It makes sandwiches soo much better. Simple ingredients turn into goodness. This is a hot dog bun with a turkey hot dog, cheddar cheese and red pepper flakes.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

More Pantry Food

Cheap week continues. (I recently was forced to buy a new laptop because my old one broke down on me. So I've been eating in for the past few days to save some money). With what I have left in the kithcen, I made some pasta for dinner. I found some sun-dried tomatoes in the pantry, and I only had some garlic left in the produce bin. So....

Aglio Olio con Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Garlic, Olive Oil, and Red Pepper Flakes with Sun-Dried Tomatoes.

Another Filipino Treat

Aside from Duman, another one of my favorite Filipino treats (that can be stored in the freezer) is Puto. Puto is a steamed rice cake. From the freezer, I just simply pop it in the microwave for a minute, and then it's all ready. It's great with a little coat of butter or a thin slice of cheese.
Frozen Puto
Stored in Ziplocs. This can last for a loong time. Like ice, it's a staple item in my freezer. I eat a pair at least every other day.

Straight from the microwave. It's so nice and fluffy, tender, and chewy. Mmm!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Comfort Food

It's the day after Halloween. Meaning, it's a lazy and slow day. There's nothing better than some comfort food to make the day feel better.

Zaru Soba
I grew up with this dish. It feels like home and it's so healthy because of the buckwheat noodles. I topped the noodles with Furikake and Shichimi Togarashi (Japanese Seven Spice). For the dipping sauce, I mixed a bit of Wasabi into it.

Sweet Potato Au Gratin

When it comes to cooking for myself at home, I always look at what's in the pantry first before going out to the grocery to buy ingredients. From the pantry food, I then think of random dishes to make out of what I have.

Sweet Potato Au Gratin
I needed to make use of the sweet potatoes and heavy whipping cream before they went bad. So I combined the two with grated cheddar cheese and some cinnamon to make this au gratin.