Monday, January 28, 2008

Farina with Friends

An group of us went to Farina for DAT, but as it turned out, they didn't have the DAT menu that evening. So we just ordered off the regular menu and ate family style instead.

Prosciutto di Parma e burrata su focaccina - one cannot go wrong with smoked meats and fluffy clouds of cheese. Pizzata di Recco - flatbread with tomato and capers. Was just so-so. Gamberoni con passatina di ceci e cipoline verdi - prawns in chick peas puree. An unexpected combo.
Filetto piemontese di manzo con burro al tarfufo bianco e salsa al Barolo - filet mignon with white truffle butter. Perfect done-ness and decadent as advertised.
Branzino avvolto alla mela verde - branzino with leeeks. Very delicate.
Raviolini di carne alle erbette - ravilois filled with braised beff, borage, and veal. The meat was dry inside and not as rich as I would have thought.
Pansotti al sugo di noci - totelli with ricotta and walnut cream sauce. Was a bit dry but still good.
While I loved the modern decor, I was not wowed by the food. I think I would save my dining dollars for another Iatlian venue.

German For a Cold Day and A Pondering

A while ago, Sherri and I beat the cold winter blues with a hearty meal at Suppenkuche.
Sherri had the beef goulash. I had the jagerschnitzel.
Both with plenty of of spaetzle and red cabbage as accompaniment.

The question I have is regarding German Pig Trotter. It's a dish I hear ALL the time on TW TV and when I was in Taipei. I googled to see what it's called in German and I got the dishes "eisbein" and "schweinshaxe". They both look delicious and similar to the pictures I've seen in Taipei of "German Pig Trotter". Howver, I have never seen either on menu of German food in SF or NYC. Am I missing something? Or is it a German dish that is not popular in the US due to our lack of appreciation for non-fillet meat cuts?

More Basa Cooking

In an effort to cook more at home and eat more fish, I have been experimenting with fish recipes. This was a dish that I made over the weekend that goes well over a bit of rice. I took basa fillets and marinated in white rice wine, tapioca starch, salt, white pepper for about 30 minutes. Then I took half a can of mustard greens and heated it up with a bit of canola oil. I added in the fish mixture and a cup of water. I let the whole dish cook on medium for about 10 minutes. The result? Succulent, tender, moist fillets of fish lightly seasoned and not at all fishy. Perfect!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Getting That Drug Soup Fix

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE beyond words the cumin lamb pot as Spices!1. The cold and wet weather lately has only intensified that craving. Well, I got my fix yesterday with Angeles in tow. The lamb is tender, the broth heavily scented with cumin... ah.... I need to learn how to make this dish. The only part I am worried about is how to get the meat so tender. Lamb isn't exactly an easy protein to work with.

Other dishes we had were the ma la cucumber salad
Garlic eggplant
Zha jiang mien (nowhere near the quality of New Mandarin Garden's noodles)

A Club I Don't Want To Be A Member Of...

Some co-workers and I went to Ramen Club a couple of weeks ago for lunch. I got the spicy garlic ramen. Despite of asking for my noddles to be cooked hard, they came out floppy. The broth was just okay. I've eaten at Ramen Club now 3 times... I don't think I will waste ramen calories here again. Bleh...

Monday, January 7, 2008

ZJM Battle: Part 1

I've been watching the Korean drama, "Witch Yoo Hee" which has been killing me with all their images of food and cooking. Two of the main characters are French chefs and one character owns a jajangmyeon shop. The scenes with the jajangmyeon (both eating and making of noodles) had me almost venture out in our pounding winter storm to go find a Korean place that serves this.
Korean jajangmyeon is Chinese zha jiang mien (ZJM) from Shangdong province. It's basically noodles with a bean sauce of some sort over it. Today I remembered that New Mandarin Garden in SSF has a Korean menu and went there to try. I asked for the ZJM from their Korean menu. Th waitress made sure that I wanted the Korean version rather than their Taiwanese version. She warned me, "It's black." I confirmed that indeed I wanted the black sauce version.
This was everything the TV version made me hanker for. The noodles were toothsome, the sauce was sweet and smoky. The crisp cumbers provided a nice contrast. The waitress mentioned that when most people order ZJM, they give them the Taiwanese version (which they say has dried bean curd). In fact, she told me that their Cantonese clientele HATE the Korean ZJM. I wonder why? I must come back to try the TW ZJM. Stay tuned to Part II...

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Shabu Shabu for Xmas Eve Eve

This year I opted to go with a Liang family Xmas tradition - shabu shabu. It's the easiest and best dinner party fare ever. I had two pots... one for meats eaters and one for the vegetarians. I simply found quality fresh ingredients, prepped them for easy dipping/cooking, and voila... a beautiful spread.

Meat tray with ribeye, basa fillet, shrimp, and TW style fish balls

Veggies included two kinds of tofu, 3 kinds of mushrooms, baby bok choy, spinach, bamboo shoots, daikon, and cellophane noodles.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

A Very Zuni Christmas

I really went overboard in cooking over the Christmas holiday - I was hosting eight for Christmas Dinner and got a bit amibitious with the Zuni Cafe cookbook. The meal turned out fabulous with thanks to David as sous chef. The pics came out crappy so I won't even bother with them, but this was our menu:
Potato Leek Soup
Zuni Roast Chicken with Bread Salad
Corn, Pancetta, and Sage Fettucine
Chimay Braised Short Ribs
Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Aged Balsamic
I really need to get a new battery charger for my camera so I can stop taking crappy pictures with my phone camera.