Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Sloppy Jessicas

Saturday, February 20th, 2016

So I was watching all the episodes for Brooklyn Nine-Nine over (I introduced my intern to Brooklyn Nine-Nine and he watched all of them in like 3 days) and towards the end of Season 1 Gina eats a Sloppy Jessica: Mac-and-cheese, Chili, and Pizza on a bun. I actually thought that wouldn’t taste too bad, even though it is a little indulgent. Of course finding good regular mac-and-cheese here in Singapore is a bit tough (it’s always truffle mac and cheese here), let alone chili, I went and googled how other people did it. I found that they all cut a lot of corners and basically just made chili-mac and put it on a bun. So I figured I’d do it right and see how it is.

Cold Storage across the street from me had all the ingredients and I went and picked up everything I’d need. Chili itself is pretty easy, mac-and-cheese is also rather easy as is spaghetti sauce, so I figured the 3 of them together would be fine. I typically let my chili and spaghetti sauce simmer for an hour or two to slow cook the meat and get some great flavors, so I started the spaghetti sauce (with meatballs so I can make meatball sandwiches later) and then moved onto the chili. I do cheat a bit and buy jarred spaghetti sauce, but I brown my meat in a pan first, and then saute fresh garlic and onion (and season with salt/pepper) before adding the jar of sauce and extra oregano/thyme to the sauce and let that simmer for a while.

Chili is really simple, though I don’t get too complex like some people would (and I put kidney beans in mine. Some people think this is sacrilegious). Brown the beef with chili powder (I didn’t get enough beef, but ground beef is rather expensive here in Singapore). Also ground beef here in Singapore is rather lean, so I also added in some olive oil, which helped when I added the garlic and onion next. After that a can of peeled and a can of diced tomatoes, rinsed kidney beans, and enough beef stock to keep everything nice and moist. I love chili powder so I put more of that in, along with some cayenne pepper, paprika, and salt/pepper. Cover and simmer.

While everything was simmering I sat down and watched another episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. 😀

An hour or so later I started on my Bechamel. Make a roux, and add milk slowly while whisking. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Let thicken.

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Chili on Left, Pizza sauce on top right and Bechamel on bottom right

I was worried that the sandwich would be too soggy/watery with the chili, so I only used half the Bechamel I made and added the cheese (Cheddar) to that. I figured once I mixed the two the thicker cheese sauce would help solidify the thinner chili.

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Cheese sauce is ready!

When that was ready I boiled water for the macaroni and preheated my oven to 160C (320F). When the pasta went in, I prepped the buns and put them in the oven.

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Sauced Buns

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…now with cheese!

This way once the pasta was done and mixed with the cheese sauce, the buns would be done and ready. and the timing worked out almost perfectly.

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Here’s the Pizza on a bun

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Mac and Cheese is ready!

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Chili is ready

Now all thats ready is to mix and assemble. I decided to mix the chili and mac and cheese separately, so I could enjoy them separate later if I so desire. As usual with me, with all this food and just me to eat, there will be lots of leftovers.

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Ready to Mix

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Mixed! now ready to assemble

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Putting everything together

These came out great, actually. and were really tasty. The only think I would change for next time would be to add more meat to my chili, as these were very carb-heavy. This wasn’t hard either, it just involved a lot of pots. Very easy and rather straightforward, I would probably do this again, but probably when I have kids to feed and spoil. 😀

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Singapore…

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

So, no one probably reads this anymore, and I’m sorry I’ve dropped off the grid, but I’ve been really busy. Work has been taking over my life. and with all that hard work, I’ve finally been rewarded (I think) and my company moved me back to Asia! I’m now living in Singapore, and while it’s pretty hot and expensive, the food is great, the people are friendly (the girls are cute) and I do like it in Asia more than being in the US of A. All the food is pretty good, bad restaurants don’t survive for long, and food can be surprisingly cheap. I’ve even found a new favorite that pushes my beloved ramen to the wayside. but more on that later.
After moving in to my new place, the first step was to get a bed and somewhere to sleep. The second step… get my kitchen in order. I passed up on it for a long time, but I figured I have to start from (mostly) scratch again, so what the heck, and bought a chamber vacuum sealer and sous vide machine. I spent WAY too much on it, as it was more expensive than the same stuff in the US, but I bit the bullet and ordered them.

Then I spent way too much time and several trips to Temple Street in Chinatown. My new favorite place is Sia Huat, which is a professional kitchen store. Yes, they sell to restaurants, and the whole street has shop after shop after shop.

So after a month and a half of being in Singapore and eating nothing but local food, I did start to miss some american food, namely a good burger. I’m not talking fast food, but a good steakhouse burger that is nicely pink all the way through. So I made a trip to a butcher/deli that I found online and then proceeded to poke around and buy all sorts of meat. (the guy behind the counter even asked if I studied meat, because of the cuts I was asking).

I went out and bought some brisket and top round (I was looking for chuck) and I debated on buying some short rib as well to throw into the mix, but I figured it was a lot of meat already, so I left it out. Back home I had a coworker in for the day (he had spent the previous 2 weeks working here from the UK) and I treated him to the best burger I’ve had since arriving in Singapore. I ground my own meat, and then made patties, vacuum sealed them then into the sous vide machine they went, 57 C for 4 hours.

Sous vide burgers

Pulled them out, they really didn’t look like much outside the bag.

Sous vide out of the bag

But I seasoned and then seared on the grill for maybe a minute each side.

Grillin away!
Assembled them with lettuce, tomato, and some pickled red onions I made while waiting for them to sous vide (quick pickling with the vacuum chamber is freaking insane) and then I couldn’t wait to take a bite. So I did before even leaving the kitchen.
This looks nice...Heaven

mmm… food.

Monday, May 11th, 2009

So if you couldn’t tell by now, I’m a foodie. Actually most of my family are foodies. For example, my sister and I got into a discussion about kinds of pots and pans. My mom really likes the Calphalon series, while my sister likes the All-Clad MC2 series. I have some friends that are/were chefs at Hamersley’s Bistro here in Boston and they really like their copper pans. My collection, on the other hand, is a mixture of all three (I just got my first copper saucier) although I am liking All-Clad’s MC2 and LTD series. In addition to just tasting the food, I enjoy cooking as well. Now, however, I’m trying to figure out the leap from “home-style cooking” to “restaurant-quality”. I’ve been looking for a food presentation class, or somewhere that’ll teach me how to plate, but there isn’t much here in Boston 🙁 I’m taking private lessons from my friends who are chefs when I can, but with schedules as they are, that’s not very often.

Anway, here’s one of my first attempts at plating… this was an impromptu meal for my friends Dawn and Andrew, we were trying to figure out what to do for dinner when I randomly decided to cook (we’re very last-minute like that… or indecisive, whichever you prefer). Anyway I made poached salmon with herb sauce, sauteed potato balls (I finally got to use my mellon scoop) with onion, and roasted fennel.

I also tried my hand at raamen. I tried to make tonkotsu raamen, but couldn’t find the right bones. All the store had was pork necks, hocks, and feet, so the broth was more a yellow instead of a milky white. It turned into miso raamen instead. It was pretty good, I had all the toppings, except my buta no kakuni (豚の角煮)… that wasn’t melt-in-your-mouth goodness like I had in Japan. I think i need to get a dutch oven.

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Deep Dish Pizza from Chicago

Monday, May 11th, 2009

Another post I’ve been meaning to put up for a while… I was in Chicago last october, and decided to bring back a deep dish pizza from chicago, for my friends back in boston. So I asked the local sales guys in Chicago, what the best deep dish pizza was, and they suggested I bring back a few different types for everyone to try out. I took everyone’s suggestion to what they thought was the best, and carried 5 frozen pizza’s on the plane to bring back. Here is how my friends and I ranked the pizzas (from least favorite to the best):

5. Lou Malnati’s small cheese pizza (for Katie)

4. Lou Malnati’s Large Sausage pizza

3. Gino’s East Supreme Pizza

2. Giordano’s Stuffed Spinach pizza

1. Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder’s Pizza Pot Pie (yes, it’s as good as it sounds)

Of course Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder would take first…. I’ve been told it ranked 6th on the Travel Channel’s “Best Pizzas in the US” (as told to me from the local sales guy, I cannot verify this). Giordano’s came in a close second (and not because I really like spinach). The crust was really flaky and buttery, and they encased the cheese and spinach in a thin layer of crust and topped it with sauce. Gino’s East was really good too, but in comparison to the first two, lost out on the ranking. Unfortunately Lou Malnati’s wasn’t our favorite, but it did rank better than the local pizzeria UNO’s. Lou Malnati’s seems to be a chain mainly specializing in take-out pizzas. Giordano’s and Gino’s East were also chain restaurants, but they primarily focus on in restaurant diners. Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder is a one off. There’s only one, and I hear the waits are impossible. The local sales guy lives a few blocks from there, so we went on a tuesday…. no wait at all. Afterwards we went to see Second City, and that was an incredible night.

Now for the pics:

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Weekend in Napa

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

So I think I lucked out this past weekend… I was only supposed to be in San Fransisco’s bay area for a few days. I flew in on Mondy and was supposed to fly back home on Saturday, but there was a problem in getting gear to one of our customer sites. So I was able to extend my trip and fly back on Wednesday. however for the weekend I was able to get a hotel at the end of Napa Valley and visit wine country.

It sorta sucks being at a really nice place by yourself, and (again) no girlfriend, so I decided to go on a group tour. the first place I called was Platypus tours, but they were all booked solid for the next week or so. But I was able to get on Napa Valley Wine tours. I would highly recommend them, and if you go, ask for Lawrence. He’s a nice friendly guy, and the next time I come back (and I will be back) I’m going to ask for him again. We went to 9 wineries in total, Black Stallion, Hagafen (an Israeli winery right next to the Iranian winery, go figure), the Andretti winery (owned by ex-racecar driver Mario Andretti), Trefethen (one of the oldest wineries in Napa), Montecello (named after Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello), Silverado (the winery owned by Walt Disney’s daughter and the heir to See’s candy), Plump Jack Winery, Domaine Chandon (a lot of sparkling wines), and finally the Laird Family Estate. I had so much wine. However the best wines I think I had here was actually from the winery I visited the day I arrived in Napa, Cuvaison. Cuvaison had an outdoor seating area where you could taste the wines and they were all incredible, with gorgeous views. I bought 12 bottles to take home, but unfortunately they don’t ship to Massachusetts, so I have to check them in on the plane.

Anyway see some of the gorgeous scenery:

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InterOP Break II

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

I didn’t wrap up the last time. After InterOp Hotstage I was able to spend the weekend in San Fransisco. It was rather nice, I was able to go golfing, and I ate some of the best raamen I’ve had outside of Japan. While I was back in San Fransisco for the weekend I also decided to stop by Japantown again for lunch. I just happened to stumble upon the beginning of the cherry blossom festival (as pictured below). I wish I was there for the following weekend, as they had the 神輿 (portable japanese shrines) around the city. I had a great time when i saw them in Japan. I saw on JTV people taking these shrines and running down the street with them tearing into buildings, ripping off balconies, and causing destruction and mayhem. ながおかさん said that they were probably 関西人 (south western japanese) because they’re “crazy” down there.

Finally I was also able to make it back into Chinatown (mainly to do my お土産 (gift) shopping). While I was there I bought my grandmother some really good tea (if you know her, don’t tell her yet. I’m going back to DC in a few weeks to give it to her) and happened upon Golden Gate Bakery, where they have “world famous” (according to my boss) dantat (egg custards). So I bought a box of a dozen to bring back for my co-workers and my friends back in Boston.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 23rd, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Im currently in class supposedly writing a sakubun (Japanese composition) but I finished and decided to jump on. Thanksgiving was yesterday and we held a pot luck thanksgiving party here at school. I cooked the turkey and stuffing that I made last year, although it was slightly different. it was still good. I will see if I can get pictures from that and put them up. the recipies are posted in an earlier blog post. I will admit, I was a little crunched for time, so i increased the heat on the turkey a bit and it was a little dry. still good, but a bit dry. and I couldnt find italian sausage so i made the stuffing without sausage.

A big load of thanks goes out to Maria’s host family, who graciously let me invade their kitchen for an entire day. They are actually really cool, and really nice, and I am thinking of buying them some sort of present or cooking them dinner someday to thank them. I also want to thank everyone who brought food, as we had a lot of leftovers. Everyone said they enjoyed it, and there were no complaints. It was actually quite pleasant.

oh. and Yuima’s friend was cute. 🙂  and I promise I will put up those pictures soon.

Dinner and a Movie

Saturday, September 9th, 2006

So we had a going away dinner for me today, and followed it up with Tony Jaa’s new movie, “The Protector”. a lot of people said they’d come, but only 3 people ended up actually showing up, but we had a great dinner anyway.

Steamed Tilapia, twin lobster, dao miao, and the crispy shrimp (aromatic shrimp?).

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One of my friends said taking pictures of the food was very mainland of me. I was amused.

The movie was pretty good. I was so thankful it wasn’t all dubbed. it was about half and half, and I’ll tell you, some of the dubbed parts were bad. don’t go see the movie expecting a plot. or making much sense the first half hour. But it did have some really good action. I was shocked to see a whole scene with nothing but Chin Na. no muay thai at all. But not a bad action movie at all.

Mac and Cheese

Wednesday, September 6th, 2006

So this is an email from my sister and her mac and cheese recipe. I’m going to try it this weekend, so I’ll take pics then.

this is essentially a martha stewart recipe (whatever you think about her, her recipes are really good) that i alter ever so slightly according to whim. this is the original recipe. i like to use orreciettes (sp?) or ziti or another hollow pasta instead of elbow macaroni. i like the really large hollow pasta best. i also use pepper jack in place of cheddar cause i don’t like my mac n cheese to be super cheesy and i like the kick. also, it makes it a non-generic version. monterrey jack or another mild cheese is also good. also i will add a bit more of the cayenne pepper than is called for, for that reason. obviously if you use anything more than 1% milk, it’s richer. if you use skim, i cut it down to 1 1/2 C milk or the roux is just too wet. jonathan* gave my mac n cheese with the pepper jack the jonathan seal of approval (he’s picky). it’s by no means good for you, but i don’t imagine that any mac n cheese recipe is good for you… let me know what you think.

1/2 tsp thyme
Breadcrumbs (approx 1 C or 5 slices of bread)
2 T butter
1 lb elbow macaroni
2 C chicken stock
5 T flour
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of cayenne pepper
2 C 1% milk
8 oz extra sharp cheddar, grated (2 1/4 C)
1 oz parmesan grated (1/2 C)

Preheat over to 400 degrees F.

Melt 1 T better with 1 T oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and toss to coat. Season w/ salt and pepper. Set aside.

Cook pasta until almost al dente, about 5 min. Drain, run under cold water to stop cooking. Set aside.

Whisk 1/2 C stock into flour in a m edium bowl; set aside. Melt remaining T butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in nutmeg, cayenne, thyme, 1 tsp salt. Add milk and remaining 1 1/2 C stock. Whisk in flour mixture. Bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Reduce to a simmer. Cook 8 min, whisking frequently. Add cheeses; cook, stirring until melted. Pour over macaroni, stirring to combine.

Place on baking sheet. Sprinkle w/ breadcrumbs and a little thyme. Bake until bubbling and golden brown, about 30 min.

* Just so you all know, Jonathan is my little brother.

update: I made it and took some pics. I used a bit too much milk, so it was a little runny, and i was missing some spices (obecause they were all packed up) but it was pretty good overall.

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Old Posts Recovered!

Tuesday, September 5th, 2006

I found out that I was rather smart and backed up my recipes from my old account. So here they are.

Gobo’s Thanksgiving Stuffing, Thanksgiving Turkey, and Mudslides. 😀

Thanksgiving Stuffing
This works much better when you make it in a large amount, so I’ll just list it regarding the way i bought everything. I just made it in 3 batches for 2 different thanksgiving dinners.
1 pound, pork sausage
2 pounds, sweet italian sausage
1 package Celery Hearts (2 bunches)
1 Large onion (it was a big one 5-6″ diameter)
1 bag baby carrots (they were on sale and cheaper than regular carrots)
1 box (16oz) chicken broth (turkey broth would work better, but we ran out and was too lazy to go back to the grocery store)
3 bags pepperidge farm stuffing mix
3 sticks butter (1 stick per batch)
Rosemary
Thyme
Savory
Parsley (I have a bad habit of not measuring out how much spice i use)
salt and pepper (always)

1. remove casings from sausage, and mix well. (I used a mixer, but a food processor would work better)
2. dice onion, celery, and carrot, into small pieces (no larger than .7cm)
3. over Med-high heat, melt 3Tbs butter in a large pot, and add 1/3 of the diced onion, carrot and celery, as well as salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, savory, and parsley. You’ll want generally equal amounts salt and pepper, as well as equal amounts rosemary, thyme and parsley. a little more savory than the rosemary, thyme and parsley unit amounts.
4. add in 1/3 of the sausage, breaking up the clumps with a fork, wooden spoon, or whatever you have handy.
5. when the sausage is cooked (not red/pink) add in the rest of the stick of butter you used, 1/3 of the broth, and a cup and a half of water (cold). Increase heat to High.
6. when boiling, remove from heat, and add in one package of the stuffing mix. and toss thoroughly.

If it’s still too dry, boil some water in another pot, and add it in small amounts, tossing the stuffing as you do. serves a Lot of people. we had a lot of leftovers, but i happen to like stuffing. My cousin complained it was too salty, so you might want to use low-sodium broth, or less salt. but in reality, no one complained, and no one really cares what my cousin thinks (plus he lives to give me a hard time), so I’ll just say season to taste.

Thanksgiving Turkey
Well, since i included a stuffing recipe, i probably should include a turkey recipe. We got a 12 pound turkey. a fresh one, not a frozen (a frozen turkey needs 3 days to defrost and we bought it the day before). anyway, turkey, cooking. We rubbed a stick of butter on it, and put it in a preheated oven at 375 deg farenheit (I have no clue what it is in celcius… go to a conversion site :p)
when it first started turning brown (maybe…. 45 mins? an hour?) we covered it with foil. every half an hour thereafter my friend got his turkey baster, and poured the drippings all over the top of the turkey. after about 3 and a half hours of cooking, we took the foil off and let it sit in the oven for another half hour – 40 mins. when done, we drained off the juices to make gravy. this was one of THE best turkeys I’ve ever had. i’m really not bragging. moist, juicy… no dry white meat here! when we were carving it, literally 2 cups of juices came off. I ended up putting that and all the little bits of turkey that my friend made (he had no clue how to carve it) into the gravy. it was wonderful.

Mudslides
This is for my friend ryan, who wanted to learn how to make a mudslide.
in a blender add about a shot of vodka, a shot of kahlua, and a bit of bailey’s irish cream. Add a scoop to a scoop and a half of vanilla ice cream, a bit of milk, and 3/4 of your cupsize of ice. Blend until smooth. if too strong, add more ice cream, or sugar and a dash of vanilla extract.
good garnishes would be cocoa poder, chocolate sprinkles, or even the powdered nesquick.
a sprig of mint would be good too.