Thursday, January 18, 2018

Perfect scrambled eggs

I did it. I made perfect soft scrambled eggs. They're light fluffy pillows of eggs that really took minimal amounts of effort to scramble up. It was so easy, I can't believe I've been frying my eggs this whole time. I'm quite partial to soft scrambled eggs because the airy texture is just clearly superior to to dry crumbly solid hard scrambled ones. 

So for your next breakfast at home, I recommend pulling out a non stick pan and whipping up some of these babies. That avocado pumpernickel bagel* scrambled egg  plate took me less than 5 minutes to pull together. 

*Bake bagel at 250F in toaster oven for 2-3 minutes. Spread ripe avocado. Sprinkle with Cajun spice and sesame seeds. 

Perfect scrambled eggs
2 tsp avocado oil 
2 eggs, beaten

1. Heat oil in a non stick pan over medium low heat
2. Beat 2 eggs until bubbly, pour into pan
3. Gently fold eggs for 1-2 minutes or until desired consistency 
4. Remove from heat and serve immediately 

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Scrumptious Saturday string beans & coconut ginger skillet rice

Thailand withdrawals are real and I've been seriously craving pad kra prow for days now, but I have yet to get my hand on some Thai basil. It was my first Saturday to myself since I've been back in LA. Of course I planned it around picking up some local produce and cooking up a storm. After a Silver Lake farmers market fail, I decided that I would just make due with the ingredients I had at home (mostly from my Mexican market and Imperfect Produce) for a mean green bean stir fry.  And because I had quite an assortment of ingredients, I pulled together quite an eclectic array of dishes for an afternoon delight.

The rice is inspired from a ginger purple rice I had while staying at Anantara Golden Triangle. It was on the New Years Eve buffet line next to all the Thai barbecue pork belly, chicken, and more meats. I reached for the rice first.

I must say that my green beans came out way more scrumptious than I anticipated. My ground chicken thigh marinade is on point. However, I was still missing Thai basil, fish sauce, and birdeye chilis. But let me tell ya, a little bit of Cajun spice goes a long way. 

Scrumptious Saturday string beans 
1 lb string beans, trimmed and chopped <1" 
1/2 lb ground chicken, marinated*
1 bell pepper, chopped 
1 small red onion, chopped
1" knob ginger, slivered 
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp rice wine 
2 tbsp peanut oil
1 tbsp oyster sauce 
1/2 tsp Cajun spice 

*ground chicken marinade: 
2 tbsp rice wine
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp worcestershire sauce 
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp black pepper

1. In a deep skillet, heat oil and sear ground chicken as a patty on high heat. Once browned on both sides, break up into pieces.
2. Add wine to deglaze pan. Add onions, garlic, and ginger  and brown. 
3. Incorporate string beans and bell pepper. Stir fry for 3-5 min or until cooked. 
4. Mix in oyster sauce and Cajun spice. 

Coconut ginger skillet rice
2 cups leftover brown rice
1 cup carrots, shredded 
1/4 cup coconut flakes 
1" knob ginger, minced
1 tbsp peanut oil 
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1/4 tsp salt 

1. Heat oil in skillet on high heat. Add ginger and sesame. Once browned, add carrots and stir fry for 2-3 minutes. 
2. Mix in rice and salt. Stir fry for another 5 minutes or until crispy.
3. Turn heat down to medium low and add coconut flakes. Slowly stir fry until coconut flakes start toasting. Remove from heat and serve. 

Monday, January 8, 2018

Northern Thailand

Thailand, the Land of Smiles. I was ever so grateful to be able to travel to Thailand over the holidays to spend new years with my family. It was our first time in the northern parts, and it was a heart opening experience. We visited temples ancient and new in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. We went to a few tourist shopping traps, sat in cages with tigers, and bathed water buffalo. We learned how to grow rice and how to respectfully be with elephants. And through it all, we ate loads of jasmine rice, rice noodle soup, crispy pork belly, fried omelets, and my newfound love: coconut cream hotcakes. Thailand has the most fragrant rice and the sweetest fruit I have ever tasted. Words and photos do not do justice to my magical time in this mystical land. I recommend Thailand to everyone, but now especially the humble north. 

Classics: chicken satay and crispy veggie spring rolls
Chiang Mai Old City
Free coffee atop Doi Inthanon
Tourist trap meal at Doi Inthanon with delicious fried fish and veggie meatball soup
Chiang Mai Old City
Hmong markets featuring the sweetest strawberries ever
Lunch at Khao Soi Wulai

Roadside pad kra prao
Fresh market herbs and chilis 
Roast pork and braised pork rice plates
Endless floral mandalas
Coconut cream hotcakes, my favorite was green onion
Linda + Longda <3

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Holiday season fruit salad and kitchen sink Christmas cookies

Holiday party season has been in full swing and there's still a few weeks of merry making on the way. With all the potluck and cookie exchanges and white elephants, I spent most of my weekend shopping and chopping away. I've become quite an expert at seasonal fruit salads, and let me tell you my California almost winter one does not disappoint. I can't explain why there are so many plums around this time of year, but they're my favorite, and I'm going to go with it. 

And if you know me, you already know that I'm the worst at baking because I don't follow instructions. I really tried this time. I picked out a recipe for cornflake cookies and decided to make them festive by adding cherries and cacao. Fine, already not following the recipe. Then I actually started putting it together and decided that 1 egg wasn't enough and I felt guilty using all white flour and I found all these spiced nuts in my fridge and there was this dark chocolate bar I found too bitter to eat... the result are my kitchen sink cookies. More precisely, they should be: Linda's cherry chocolate cacao cornflake Christmas cookies. But really kitchen sink is just as accurate. They're not pretty (because I didn't have brown sugar and prob because I don't follow instructions), but they damn sure were tastier than all the other store bought ones at the potluck. Really, I was so lowkey proud and surprised. It's hard to beat homemade! 

Holiday season fruit salad (serves 8)
6 plums, sliced 
1 Asian pear, sliced
3 clementines, peeled and sliced 
1/2 c pomegranate seeds
1 tsp lemon juice

1. Mix together all ingredients
2. Chill until ready to serve 

Kitchen sink Christmas cookies (makes 48)
3 cups flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup oats
1 cup cornflakes, crushed
1 cup butter
1 cup vegetable oil (I used 1/2 avocado, 1/2 olive)
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried pitted cherries
1/2 cup pecans
2 tbsp cacao nibs
2 eggs
1 tbsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. Cream together butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract
3. Incorporate vegetable oil
4. Mix in flour, oats, cornflakes, baking soda
5. Fold in chocolate chips, cherries, pecans, and cacao nibs until even
6. Space out walnut sized balls of dough on baking sheet, press down with fork
7. Bake for 10-12 minutes
8. Cool before transferring

Monday, December 18, 2017

Vietnamese food south of LA

The past few weekends I've been doing plenty of traveling in southern California. With a few extra friends in town, we got an oceanfront apartment in Laguna Beach and let me tell ya, beach front living is not as relaxing as it sounds. Yes, it's revitalizing waking up and stretching on an open balcony facing the boundless Pacific Ocean, but its strength and massiveness can be overpowering and the constant crashing of the waves in the darkness is rather unsettling. Regardless, it was an Airbnb to remember and definitely worth the experience and the #views.

After all the late night Laguna debauchery (not really a thing, it was a very quiet beach town from our wanderings), a meal at Brodard's was just what we needed for our drive back to LA. Brodard's, until this past weekend, was the only Vietnamese restaurant I've eaten at since I moved to the West Coast and with great reason -- it's simply the best. Their summer rolls are legendary due to the extra crunch layer that contrasts the pork sausage. For the first time I had their shrimp sausage roll, and I must say that it's my new favorite. Brodard's pork chop rice, bun bo hue, and chicken rice are all delicious as well. Just note that no pho is served at this establishment. And expect to wait in line.

The weekend after, we all drove down to San Diego for some holiday partying and actual debauchery. We went to town in Gaslamp. We got all the stamps, beat all the covers, got conned by promoters, and collectively paid way too much for too many drinks. It was a great night of fun, followed by tacos, and finally horrid Saturday morning hangovers because aging is real. To remedy this, we dined at Phuong Trang where we ordered up a feast. We first shared a seven courses of beef. I've never seen such set ups in Vietnamese cuisine, where we boil beef, butter fry beef, wrap beef sausages, and all topped off with beef congee. There was also plenty of pho, of course. But what really stood out were the fried egg rolls (extra crispy) and garlic wings (inexplicably delicious).

After a long day of doing absolutely nothing besides being bundled on the couch, it was dinner time. With Jun-wan, the options for meals are typically Asian if not Cantonese. A quick online search revealed that most closed by 9pm and that delivery really was not an option. We made the move to Minh Ky to avoid marked up room service (a lot harder than it sounds). It's Vietnamese Chinese food at its finest. No barbecued meats, but lots of fresh off the wok options. It was definitely the way to go and some of the best stir fry I have had in awhile. Also the cheapest meal I've had in San Diego (the tacos are overpriced down here). All the veggies, lots of flavor. Skip the wontons.

Order lots of spring rolls at Brodard's. You will not regret it. 

Phuong Trang feat. seven courses of beef

Minh Ky

California coastin'

Brodard Restaurant
9892 Westminster Blvd R
Garden Grove, CA

Phuong Trang
4170 Convoy St, 
San Diego, CA

Minh Ky Restaurant
4644 El Cajon Blvd #101
San Diego, CA

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Thanksgiving turkey leftovers bone broth

Happy December! Hope everyone had as splendidly lit a Thanksgiving as I did. Highlights included a splendid cheese platter with not enough baguette, four cheese lobster mac and cheese, abalone jambalaya, Bill's first time green bean casserole, and of course my mom's classic steamed king crab legs. The evening after, my family always hosts a Friendsgiving where we eat remade leftovers and Chinese food. My mom always tosses the leftover bones and meats from Thanksgiving into*  her largest stock pot to simmer up some bone broth for Friendsgiving. This year we had endless leftovers from our 2 Popeyes turkeys*, so I was able to fly some back with me to LA (yes, I'm that person getting checked at security always). 

Back in LA, I threw together carrots from an Imperfect Produce box, some frozen corn on the cob (I love the sweet flavor of corn when paired with poultry), and Chinese herbs with all the leftover turkey that I didn't finish eating.  It came out so clear and heart warming. Here's the recipe, feel free to substitute with a fresh or leftover chicken and add other vegetables! I was wishing I had a mirliton. 

Thanksgiving turkey leftovers bone broth (serve 8-12)
2 lb turkey bones
2 medium carrots
2 corn on a cob
2 tomatoes, quartered 
4 slices dried Chinese yam
2 Chinese honey date
12 goji berries 

1. Rinse and soak all dried goods
2. In a large stockpot, being 3 quarts of water to a boil.
3. Once a rolling boil, insert turkey bones. 
4. Once water comes to another boil, turn heat to low and add vegetables and dried goods.
5. Cover and simmer for 2-3 hours. 

*For the past 2 years, my family has had Popeyes turkeys on the table for Thanksgiving. It's $40, takes 90 minutes to heat up, and is oh so juicy and Cajun spiced! 

Summer boil or Mama Yung's king crab legs and buttered corn