Friday, February 29, 2008

Butter Lettuce Avocado Salad with Citrus Dressing

This recipe was inspired by a salad recipe I saw using lime juice. I made some adjustments to the ingredients and I used juice from Meyer lemons since I still have so many on the tree. The combination of the butter lettuce with avocado and citrus sounded really refreshing and it turned out great. Butter lettuce is also known as Boston lettuce.

1 medium head Butter lettuce, discard any wilted leaves
1 large Haas avocado, pitted and sliced into thin wedges
1 scallion, thinly sliced
Cilantro leaves, finely chopped (I used about a tablespoonful)

1 Meyer lemon, juiced
Zest from Meyer lemon (I think the zest really added to the overall flavor)
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar (I used 2 packs of Splenda)
Fresh ground black pepper
1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard

Rinse the individual leaves gently under cold water and lay out on clean towels to dry. I hand ripped the lettuce leaves to minimized bruising. Gave it a quick spin in a salad spinner.

Whisk together all the dressing ingredients.

Arrange the lettuce leaves on a plate and top with the avocado wedges, scallion, and cilantro. Finish with a healthy drizzling of the dressing.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I do. Have a wonderful Aloha Friday and a great weekend. Now go and eat well.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Sabres Trade Brian Campbell to San Jose Sharks

Well, it's final. Brian Campbell did play his last game as a Sabres last night. He's now officially with the Sharks. Rumors were true but the writing was on the wall. At least the front office didn't do what they did with Chris Drury and Daniel Briere and got something for Campbell. Let's just hope that Steve Bernier as a first-round draft pick of San Jose in 2003 turns into something really good for the Sabres. The trade was Campbell and 7th round pick for Bernier and a 1st round pick.

So how do I feel about losing Campbell? Worse than losing Briere (sorry Danny) but not as much as Drury. Campbell has seasoned into a very talented player over the years with the Sabres. He's someone who the team can count on. Enough said, now Campbell is the past, like the others, so I'll focus on the future.

Bernier could be a good thing since according to the Mister, the Sabres are starting to run out of young talent from their once fully stocked pool. Having pulled up so many in the past few years, they do need to replenish the young talents. I watched some of the Sharks game footage and Bernier has good speed and decent puck handling. He's been doing pretty well with the Sharks, showing some good instincts, so I've got my fingers crossed.

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Friday, February 22, 2008

Silver Bay Kennel Club Dog Show

The annual Silver Bay Kennel Club Dog Show will be at the Del Mar Fairgrounds this weekend. There will be dog agility competition during the show, as well as confirmation. It's suppose to be partly cloudy tomorrow, no reports of rain, and Sunday with some scattered showers later in the day. So pop over to the dog show and see some of your favorite canine. Also, there will be a variety of vendors there (if it rains, not sure how the rain will affect the booths). Great to see the latest toys, treats and such.

Aloha Friday and have a wonderful weekend! Now go and eat well.

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Another Beef Recall

This time, it's a manufacturer in So. Cal. Sigh...

The recall affects beef products dating to Feb. 1, 2006, coming from Chino-based Westland/Hallmark Meat Co. No illnesses are linked so far to the recalled meat, and Agriculture officials say health threat was likely small. The reason for the recall is due to the mishandling of cattle, not following rules and breaking laws, according to Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer. But this isn't the first incident of this kind. The Department of Agriculture has 7,800 inspectors who check more than 6,200 plants. In 2007, the agency suspended 66 plants; 12 of which were related to humane handling violations.

Many school districts across the nation stopped using ground beef from Hallmark Meat Packing Co. Of course being the biggest recall of meat in history, advocacy groups and certain government officials are taking the opportunity to voice their concerns. One of the biggest question is how the Department of Agriculture did not catch the problem since its inspectors are supposed to be monitoring slaughterhouses for abuse. Although the Department of Agriculture doesn't actually have the authority to recall meat, they can pressure companies with various things to pursuade them to issue recalls.

This recall is the pinnacle of a year long of issues for the beef industry. According to the NY Times, last year's 21 recalls of beef related to potential E. coli contamination have some theorizing the increase could be due to "the cyclical nature of pathogens and changes in cattle-feeding practices caused by the ethanol boom." Huh, ethanol boom, that's a whole other rant post.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

It's Snowing in San Diego??

Yuppers. It's snowing in parts of San Diego county. Parts of Hwy 8 have been closed and vehicles are being re-routed due to snow. Don't believe me it's snowing? (Especially all you freaky global warming folks?) Check out the pictures at SignOnSanDiego. Sheesh, the weather people had forcasted days in the 80's for this week. Uh huh. So...if they can't even get the weather right from day-to-day, how can they say that the science of global warming is settled? As a matter of fact, some experts have said it's more likely that another little ice age is coming.

Sorry, this isn't about the fallacy of humans causing global warning, nor about ill-informed celebraties who jumped on the bandwagon after watching Al Gore (another ill-informed, energy sucking weasel) win an academy award and the Nobel Prize for a sham. (Hey Sheryl Crow, how's that 1 square of toilet paper working out for you? Oh, right. It was a joke. Funny how people conveniently use the joke excuse to cover up what an IDIOT they are!) And Al Gore can never give back his Academy or his Nobel Prize award because it's all going into paying for his last year's utility bill. Maybe he'll be able to get a nice penny on eBay for that Nobel medal to help pay this year's utility bill. But I digress. Back to the lovely winter wonderland we know as San Diego.

It was chilly yesterday! There was some slushy sleet (is that redundant?) coming down when I went to lunch. Brrrrrr. I was hoping that the snow would make it where I lived but no such luck. Boo. The dogs said boo, too. It's suppose to warm up a whopping 5 degrees by mid next week, and then right into some more showers until next weekend. Sun would be good since the Silver Bay Kennel Club is holding its annual dog show at Del Mar Fairgrounds on Feb. 23-24. So be there or be...somewhere else.

Have a wonderful and dry weekend! Now go and eat well.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

One Week's Worth of Food

I came across this from one of the food forums I frequent. It was so interesting to see what 1 week's worth of food looked like from around the world. Wonder what my photo would look like??

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Weekend Eats and Ramblings (2/11/08)

It was a quiet weekend for the most part, just the way I like it. On Saturday, in an effort to use some of the Meyer lemons that are growing in the yard, I decided to try my hand on making a lemon meringue pie. The Mister loves lemon meringue pies so I figured, why not. Since we were having dinner that night with the Eating Machines, who also happen to love lemon meringue pies, I could see if it's good enough for them to eat. (But then that's like asking my dogs if they want a cookie.)

Anyway, I used the recipes in a very old cookbook I got long time ago. Three recipes in all, lemon pie crust, lemon pie, and meringue. Everything was pretty straight forward except the meringue had me a bit nervous. Too much sugar and the meringue would get crystals, not enough cream of tartar and the meringue would not be fluffy and tender. I've never had lemon meringue pie before and don't really know what a good meringue should be. Also, I don't like lemony foods, like lemon bars or lemon chicken (yes, another one of those food ticks). So I just followed the instructions exactly.

The result? The Mister said it was very good, tasted just like a good lemon meringue pie should taste. The Eating Machines also enjoyed it very much. As a matter of fact, we learned that the lemon filling that my MIL used to make was not homemade but from a box. MIL especially liked my filling, probably because of the Meyer lemon. The filling could have been a little thicker, so I think I'll cook it just a bit longer the next time.

So what did I think of my first LM pie? It is one of the most nastiest tasting pies I have ever had or made. Yup, it tasted so yucky to me that I wanted to eat some shoe polish to get the taste out of my mouth. I even tried it several times, thinking maybe I just needed to warm up to the taste. Nope, never did. But that's okay, as long as everyone else enjoyed the pie, that's alright with me!

So other things that I made on Sunday which I enjoyed eating, were NE clam chowder and chopped liver. Both were also first time making for me and both were delicious. I was very surprised at how well and simple the chowder was. I didn't actually follow a recipe for the chowder. Instead, I read many versions and pulled out what I wanted in my NE clam chowder. The Mister says he's not sure if he'll ever be able to eat canned chowder again.

As for the chopped liver, very simple, very good. But there are as many chopped liver recipes as there are NE clam chowder recipes. I just chose one that sounded good and went with it. Chopped liver is the Jewish foie gras. If you like liver or pate, you will probably like chopped liver. I had to cook the chicken liver in Canola oil since I didn't have any schmaltz (rendered animal fat), which is acceptable. When made right, it has a slight sweet flavor to it, possibly from the cooked onions. I think I was pretty darn close. We loved it. It's a keeper. Had it with some crusty sourdough bread and some chowder. What could be better. The Mister said he doesn't think he can go back to Liverwurst again.

I would have posted the recipes here but didn't bring my notes with me. If you want either of these, let me know.

Have a wonderful week. Now go and eat well.

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Friday, February 8, 2008

Poway Sushi Lounge

The Mister and I decided to have dinner at Poway Sushi Lounge last night. We've had several lunches and dinner, each very enjoyable. This has become our favorite local sushi place; close to home and wonderful food. I finally took pictures of "most" of the items we had this time. So yes, kiddies, we've got pictures!!

The menu has a very good selection. Check the website for menu. The previous time we were there for dinner, we ended up sitting at the sushi bar for the first time (no available tables) and we were very glad we did. Eric Wong, one of the owners was our sushi chef and he took really took care of us. The only thing I really regret from that visit was not taking a picture of the wonderful presentation of Aji that he made for us. It had aji sashimi, cucumber aji roll, and aji fried bones. The fried bones was so good and the only part I didn't eat was the tail.

I learned about Aji awhile back from Kirk of mmm-yoso (where else?) and have really gotten into it. The only other fried bones I've had was yellow tail at Sammy's Sushi awhile back (no aji that night). Sammy had told me that Aji has more flavor and was better than yellow tail. He was right, aji fried bones are definitely good eats (sorry, Alton). Being the typical me, I didn't take pictures on that visit to Sammy's and just didn't want to bore with my lame review, especially when you can read Kirk and Ed's great reviews with pictures at mmm-yoso here, here and here.

So back to Poway Sushi. We got there about 6:45 pm and the place was already busy. Looks like people in Poway like to eat early. We had a choice of sitting at a table or at the bar this time and for some reason, I decided to sit at a table this time. Mainly because I wanted to be discreet about taking pictures (the Mister gets a bit uncomfortable sometimes when I whip out the camera). As we were waiting for our table, Eric saw us and smiled. As we were heading to our table, Eric mentioned that he had aji. Woohoo! Guess what I'm getting? At that instant, I was sorry I asked for a table rather than sitting at the bar. But that's okay, we'll sit at the bar from now on.

There's always the same placard on each table, one side listing the 1/2 Tuesday Wine and Sake special.

The other side lists the Lounge's Saketinis. Sorry the saketini side is a bit blurry but shows Pomegranate, Lemon Drop, Melon Ball, Raspberry Lemon Drop, and Blue Hawaii. These aren't Japanese saketinis since they are made with Ku Soju, which is a brand of Korean distilled beverage using sweet potatos. I think Ku Soju is trying to rebrand it as vodku (kind of cute). Traditionally, soju is made from rice.

The Mister decided to try the Pomegranate saketini (he picked up a fondness for soju when he used to fly to South Korea a lot). I had a sip and it is a very tasty drink. Not overly sweet, just enough to make it a drink that can sneak up on you fast, you know what I mean (wink, wink)? I likey. I'm going to have to have him try other ones so I can taste them, hehe.

So on to the food. We place our standard order with a very nice waitress (who's served us several times before), the Chef's Sashimi Platter, a Dragon Roll, Aji sashimi, cucumber salad, and a tako sunomono (which is similar to the cucumber salad but with sliced octopus and more seaweed). The salads were served first (sorry, we ate most of it before i remembered to take a picture of it.).

Next was the Dragon roll. I really like this roll because it has some of my favorite roll ingredients and they don't drench it in eel sauce.

Next was our sashimi platter with the aji. We got a 1 1/2 portion (can't tell you what that means, just how it's rung up on the receipt) compared to the 2 1/2 portion from last time. I attribute that to me not really knowing how to order it properly. Nonetheless, it was still very good. The maguro was just okay on this night, other times have been great. The rest were delicious. The Mister said the sake (salmon) was very good, as usual.

By now, we were starting to get full but still had a little room for perhaps, dessert! The Mister decided to try the cheesecake with macadamia nut crust. I had 2 mochi ice cream, mango and strawberry. Good way to finish off a nice meal. The total bill was just over $76, not counting tip. As we were leaving, Eric asked how everything was from behind the bar and bid us with a "see you next time!" Definitely and soon.

Have a wonderful weekend! Now go and eat well

Poway Sushi Lounge
13132 Poway Rd.
Poway, CA 92064
Tel: (858) 748-0070

Business Hours:
Lunch: Daily 11:30am - 2:30pm

Dinner: Sun-Thur: 5:00pm - 9:30pm
Fri - Sat: 5:00pm - 10:00pm

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Thursday, February 7, 2008

Happy Chinese New Year

Gong Xi Fa Cai! It's Chinese New Year and 2008 is the Year of the Rat.

As a kid, this was my second favorite holiday because of hong bao (red bags or envelopes) and all the food! The amount of money in red bags depended on how old I was and who it was from. I was born 11 days before Chinese New Year so my "lunar" birthday was often part of the family's New Year celebration until I reached teenage-hood.

There are a lot of traditions and superstition and practices related to Chinese New Year. Typically, I would make Chinese hot pot on the first day of the New Year. But this year, we're having dumplings. I hope everyone will be doing a little something to celebrate Chinese New Year today. Maybe wear something new, something red, and wish someone Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Now go and eat well.

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Monday, February 4, 2008

NE Patriots SUCK! And the World Knows it!

Apparently my disdain for the NE Patriots is shared not by a few but many thousands, hundred of thousands people even. It's not that I like the NY Giants (unless you're talking baseball years ago, and yes, I am an SF Giants fan, and yes, I know they suck). As a matter of fact, I hate the Manning brothers. Hey, I live in San Diego. Remember the little stint the snot-nosed, just out of diapers Eli pulled when he was drafted? Yeah. Well, okay, I wasn't all broken up about that becaues I don't like the Chargers. Yeah! I said it! I don't like the Chargers! Got a problem with that?!?

Anywho, I hate the Manning brothers more than I dislike the Chargers, but most of all, I hate the [insert colorful phrases here] NE Patriots, Tom Brady (aka skanky man whore), and Belichick (aka Beli-cheat, who is a wannabe skanky man whore but he's too ugly, too old, and too fat) with every single ounce of fiber in my body. I hate them so much, I was cheering and rooting for the snot-nosed kid. And when it's not football season, every once of fiber in my body is devoted to hating the Boston Red Sox. Yeah, hate them too. Hate them!!! What's even worse are the stereotypical NE Patriots and Red Sox fans. Bunch of whiney, self loathing bunch of [insert more colorful phrases here]. Want to know what kind of fans they are? Read this. My stomach was hurting from laughing after reading it. And you know what? That isn't far from the truth.

Oh, got a joke for you. What do Yankee fans and Red Sox fans have in common? When the Yankees lose the pennant, they blame the Yankees organization. When the Red Sox fans lose, they blame the Yankees organization.

Oh yeah, I was talking about football and how the Patriots SUCK! What poetic justice it was last night, although it would have been better if it was someone else other than a Manning. But beggers can't be choosers. Seau, why don't you just retire, for good this time, okay? Go run your restaurant or something. You are NOT going to win a Super Bowl. Just accept it and go away. Guess it serves you right for hugging and celebrating before the game was really over.

And speaking of celebrating, to show you what kind of sportsmans the Patriots players are, those [insert really colorful phrases here] were talking smack on the field to Giants players, telling them it was all over and even had the balls to invite Giants players to the Patriots Super Bowl Championship party afterwards. Right, you mean the one where only the sound of crickets can be heard?

Just for the record, I don't watch football anymore, primarily because of dickheads (oops, that slipped out accidentally) like those on the Patriots team (and Pittsburgh, and a few others). Football is becoming what the NBA has become, a punk's game. Enough said, I'm going to go watch some hockey. At least those guys show some sportsman-like conduct by calling each other out before taking off the gloves. PUNCH THEM IN THE FACE!

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Saturday, February 2, 2008

Baked Orzo with Fontina and Peas

I was watching Giada's Everyday Italian this morning and got another inspiration. If you haven't guess it by now, I'm a big fan of Giada. She was making a steak dinner meal but what caught my eye (or stomach rather) was the baked orzo. You can check out the recipe here. The Mister agreed that it sounded really good and would make a very nice side dish for the roast chicken he was going to make for dinner.

We decided to pop into BevMo to get a bottle of Marsala wine (and Madeira wine for another dish that I have in mind). Then off to the grocery store. It didn't take too long to make it, pretty close to the recipe's prescribed time. If you want to make this ahead of time, you can time the baking so that it comes out just as dinner is being served. It really is delicious when it's hot and all that cheese to melted.

We were wonderfully surprised how delicious this dish was. It's rustic and the marry of the cream and Marsala wine is perfect. We just wanted to keep eating it. Since I've never cooked with Marsala wine before, I wasn't sure how "winey" the dish would taste. I've made other dishes using red wine where the wine taste overpowered the entire dish. So I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. I wasn't too worried since I felt the 1/2 cup of heavy cream would mellow out the wine flavor. I tasted the Marsala wine and it was very sweet and milder than a typical red.

As far as making the dish, I pretty much followed the recipe except that I did add about 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese to the orzo because I wanted a little more saltiness to it without adding more salt. Perfect.

Here is a picture of the mixture in the pan without the bread crumbs.

Here's a picture with the bread crumbs.

And here's the final product. If you look at the bottom of the picture, you can see creaminess of the orzo and mushrooms.

BTW, this was a lot for 2 people and we had 2 healthy helpings each. Just slightly more than half a pan leftover. Good for 1-2 more meals.

The Mister said this was a keeper. Only request he made was that I add a little more peas next time.

Giada served hers on the side with steak although I think this could be made into a 1 dish meal. Perhaps add some grilled chicken before baking, or some hot Italian sausage. I think it would also go well with duck, perhaps a little duck confit? I think even grilled fish would work nicely served on top of the orzo.

Hope you are having a wonderful weekend.

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