Thursday, May 14, 2009

Barefoot Plumies is now CAB Cooks!!

It's final. The small blog of Barefoot Plumies will be no more after today. But with encouragement from readers and the Mister, I have decided to start a new blog elsewhere. I'm hoping to make it better than Barefoot Plumies with more recipes, more pictures, and more kitchen gadget reviews.

My sincere thanks to everyone who has stopped by, to those who have shared thoughts to help improve the blog, and most of all, to the Mister and Guinea Pig Panel for being the first to try my concoctions and supporting my half-baked ideas (sorry for the bad pun)! Hang on to your slippas cuz there will be more for the new site.

What's the new site, you ask? It is....(wait for it...) CAB Cooks ! Okay, maybe not original but at least it's to the point. I will be migrating most of the recipes from this blog over to the new one so they are all in one convenient place. Hope to see you over there!

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Google Screw-up

I'm posting this since mainly to notify readers who have RSS feeds or Google Readers to my site to let you know of the problem I am having with my blog at the moment.

Some of you have been wondering what in the world is going on with this blog. Well, I'm trying to re-establish but Google Apps dropped the ball and Blogger is completely useless at this point. Fo the time being, I am reactivating the old URL: until the issue is resolved one way or another by the end of the week.

At this point, I'm debating to even stay with Blogger or go with another blog service provided (possibly Typepad). And quite frankly, I'm ready to just dump the whole thing and recreated Barefoot Plumies under a completely different URL with a more reliable (i.e., paid services!) provider. I guess this is my lesson on getting what I paid for, hehe.

Thanks for hanging in there and as always, thanks for all your support and visitations. I would be such a lonely person without you guys!

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Monterey Pasta Company Lobster Ravioli

On a recent shopping trip to Costco, I kept an eye out for fresh lobster raviolis that my friend L said was really good. So when I saw these in the refrigerator section, I didn't hesitate to pick up a package, especially at about $9 (which should have been an indication as to what's to come).

Actually, it is 2 packages, 16 raviolis in each. The ravioli is a rectangular shape and didn't look quite as "pillowy" as the pictures depicted.

I originally wanted to make a lobster cream sauce to go with it but I didn't have time and had to improvise. I used some previously made and frozen simple tomato sauce, hoping it wouldn't overpower the raviolis.

Sauce was heated up and the raviolis cooked up in matter of minutes (5 to be exact). Plated everything up, sprinkled some cheese and the Mister and I were ready to chow down.

Before taking a first bite, I cut open one of the raviolis and the filing didn't look anything like the raviolis on the package (surprise! not). The filling looked like a lump of white mystery meat of some sort. The red sauce in the picture below is from the tomato sauce, not the red "creamy Newburg Sauce" advertised on the package. As a matter of fact, neither of us tasted any kind of sauciness to the filling.

I was starting to wonder if there was some mix up at the packaging site. Could we have gotten some other kind of ravioli by mistake? After we started eating more, and dissecting what we were eating, I came to the conclusion that this was most likely lobster ravioli since I can taste clams, which was one of the ingredients (maybe they should have called it lobster and clam raviolis). I think I actually tasted a little bit of the lobster (there was some kind of stringy meat which could have resembled lobster).

Anyway. The Mister summed it up pretty well on this meal. Tomato sauce aside (which did kind of overpower the ravioli a tad and I would definitely recommend cream sauce), if no one told us these were lobster raviolis, we would have thought these were some kind of cheese raviolis with maybe some mystery seafood in them, fish perhaps. Overall, it was not a bad meal, it wasn't a toe-curling meal by any means, just a so-so meal that filled the belly. And the Mister said not to buy them again. Oh well. How would you know if you don't try, right?

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend.

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Wishing mothers everywhere a wonderful day!

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Thai Fried Chicken Wings

If I had a dollar for every time I said I love fried chicken wings...

I finally made Pim's Thai Fried Chicken recipe using chicken wings. I had a family sized package in the freezer and have not fried anything in over a month (unheard of!). I like cooking with wings since I seem to have a better handle on cooking it just right. Besides, how can you resist those cute little and delicious drummettes.

I didn't do anything too different from Pim's original recipe. I do, however, like my fried chicken (wings and other parts) very crunchy. So instead of putting straight into the oil after dredging, I let the wings sit a bit to help crust formation. I then dredged it one more time and then shaking off excess flour before putting them into the oil. While one batch was cooking, which took about 7 minutes to cook through and to get a nice golden brown, I would dredge the next batch and let them rest. Then while the oil was getting back up to temperature (350 degrees), I'd dredge them again and then into the oil. If you like the thinner crust, just follow Pim's original directions. Either way, I think you'll love these.

Here's what I modified for the chicken wings.

3-4 lbs of chicken wings, separated, discard tips
6-8 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 Tbsp coarsely chopped cilantro stalks
1 Tbsp ground black pepper
1 tsp kosher salt (or other course salt)
6 Tbsp oyster sauce
1/3 cup fish sauce
2 cups of rice flour, you might need more if double dredging
Canola oil for frying

In a small food processor, ground cilantro stalks, garlic and salt until you get a rough paste. You can also do this in a mortar/pestle or using the flat side of a wide knife to grind into paste.

In a large container or food storage bag, combine paste with oyster sauce, fish sauce and ground pepper. Add chicken wings and mix until all wings have been coated. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. About half way through the marinating time, retoss to make sure all the wings get equal marination.

In a Dutch oven, add about 1 - 1 1/2" of oil. Heat oil to 350 - 360 degrees Fahrenheit. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit; put a cooling rack on top of a baking sheet into the oven. This will keep the cooked wings warm and crispy as you finish frying all the wings.

Put rice flour in a medium to large bowl for dredging. Dredge the wings and let rest for a few minutes. I did this while the oil was just reaching 350 degrees F. Dredge the wings again and shake off excess flour and gently put it into the hot oil. I was able to get about 9-10 wing sections into my DO and adjusted the heat to keep the temperature around 315 degrees F. The wings were done around 7-8 minutes.

Drain the wings on paper towel for a minute or two before putting it into the oven. I did this to remove any excess oil that might have been on the wings. Let the oil temperature come back to 350 degrees before putting in the next batch. Continue frying up remaining wings in the same way.

The wings were not greasy at all and were wonderfully crunchy and mouth-smacking good! We had them with some macaroni salad and steamed white rice. Delicious! The Mister said these were the most crunchiest chicken to date and called them "money." What more can I want? Okay, maybe a vacation to Hawaii but I'll take what I can get!

Hope y'all are having a wonderful week. Now go and eat well.

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

WOW Grinds Kalbi Kong Challenge Results

I just noticed that WOW Grinds posted the Kalbi Kong Challenge results! Kum Chee Korean Buffet won with Yummy's Korean BBQ coming in second (Yummy's is my second favorite too). What's great is that the Homemade Challenger was 3rd place winnah!

While you're there, check out the mochiko chicken musubi from by Akyth Inc. Looks ono! I might have to try that recipe.

Hope everyone is haveing a wonderful Hump Day. It's half way through the week (come on Friday!).

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Brownie #5

I just couldn't leave well enough alone. It's not as if I had too much time on my hands or something but I decided to tweak Brownie #4, slightly. I've seen some recipes that call for adding instant expresso or coffee to boost the chocolate flavor in chocolate desserts. Instant coffee/expresso is not something I keep on hand. So instead, I decided to try cold coffee (Kona coffee to be specific since that's what we had that morning). Other than some minor modifications to the ingredients, I also baked these a bit longer than the other recipes. In reality, these probably could have withstood another 2 minutes or so since the overall texture is fudgy-soft. As I'm biting into a piece of it right now, I kind of like the fudgy, softer texture this one has.

One thing to note, the batter on this one will be a bit wetter than the previous 2 recipes. Other than that, directions are still the same. One bowl, quick and easy.

2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 C white sugar
1/2 C packed dark brown sugar
3 Tbsp Canola oil (or vegetable oil)
3 Tbsp cold coffee
1 stick melted butter (1/2 cup)
1 1/2 C unbleached AP flour
3/4 C dutch-processed cocoa powder (Callebaut)
1/2 tsp table salt
3/4 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven at 350°F oven.

In a medium bowl, mix together eggs, oil, butter, coffee and vanilla (hand mixed with a wooden spoon). Add both sugars and mix. Let it sit for 5 minutes.

In a large sifter (I use a large fine mesh strainer), combine flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder together. Sift directly into the wet ingredients. (Add optional chopped nuts at this point.) I think sifting the dry ingredients help with a lighter texture, I don't think it's absolutely necessary and can be skipped if you don't have a sifter.

Mix until everything is combined. Try not to overwork the batter at this point.

Lightly spray Baker’s Edge Brownie Pan (or an 8" x 8" pan) with oil. Spread mix into pan. Bake for 22-26 minutes until toothpick inserted into center comes out with light crumbs. Cool completely in pan and cut into squares.

Taste Results:

CAB: Chocolate taste seems smoother than than Brownie 5. Softer and fudgier in a good way. The top has a bit more crust that I like. Don't taste any hint of coffee, as expected. Very nice mellow chocolate aftertaste. Maybe baking another 2-3 minutes will make it more chewy. When I compared the photos to previous experiments, I noticed that this brownie is darker, richer in color. Had to be the coffee.

GP1: Really good chocolate flavor. I think the chocolate taste is better than [Brownie #4]. It's softer and good but maybe needs to be a little chewier. Maybe. It's really good, rich.

GP2: Oh I love all the brownies and this one is really really good. I like the texture of it, soft and rich. Definitely the moistest of all of the brownies so far.

GP3: (MIA)

GP4: I like this one, good flavor. Would be really good with a cup of coffee. Like the texture.

GP5: I think I like the last one better [Brownie #4] but this one is good. I can really smell the chocolate. I like the aftertaste. Might be a bit too soft for my taste but my daughter would love this version.

GP6: This would go really well with nuts (here we go again!). I think the flavor would round out nuts. I like the flavor, it seems to fill my whole mouth and smoother tasting than the last one. Really good, I like the texture, soft but still a bit crusty on top.

Guest GP: This is exactly the way I like my brownies. I love the soft brownies that taste like fudge. You made this from scratch? Really?

Conclusion: Looks like it was split between the panel on the texture, some liked it more than others. I think I'll make this again this weekend and bake it a bit longer to see how the middle sets up. But it was pretty unanimous that the coffee did enhance the chocolate flavor, considering that this version had 1/4 cup less cocoa powder and the exact same amount of sugar.

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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Buga Korean BBQ Restaurant

My favorite Korean BBQ restaurant is Buga. I crave it quite a bit and can eat there all the time. No joke. I've even been known to choose it above my favorite "special occasions" restaurant (The Oceanaire). A few things have changed since Kirk's (mmm-yoso!!!) first review back in 2005 (here) and my first visit to Buga. (Read Kirk's other posts here and here.)

The panchan, although still the best around, has become somewhat "standardized" and less seafood ones (haven't been served any seafood panchan in a long time). I sure do miss those tiny anchovies.

The top 2 dishes are the rice paper and daikon radishes used for wrapping the meat, yum! And a couple of other panchan dishes on that day.

Buga's price has always been a bit higher than other K-BBQ places but the meat quality, IMHO, is also still the best around. We always get 2 orders of galbi (need 2 orders or more of meat selection for grilling with maybe a couple of exceptions).

Service has not changed, still smiling faces, friendly servers, and sometimes still hurried when the restaurant is full.

One of the items that comes with the meal is Gyeran Jjim (steamed egg). I forgot to take a picture of it while it was still "poofy" but here it is after it deflated (kind of souffle-like). Sorry the picture was a bit blurry. The Blackberry isn't known for its photo quality. I love this stuff. My mom and grandmother used to make this for me for breakfast on weekends when I was a kid. I used to like to add just a tad of soy sauce on top but I like to eat Buga's as is. Even the Mister has gotten into it lately.

Every so often when we're really really hungry, we also order the Daeji Bulgogi (Spicy Marinated Pork) along with the galbi. I usually take some of this home, which makes for a great leftover! Next time we order it, I'll add a picture.

Although a little pricier than other Korean BBQ places, I still think Buga is the best Korean BBQ place in town. Certainly worth splurging for.

Buga Korean BBQ Restaurant
5580 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92117
Open daily 11:00 am to 11:00 pm

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Friday, May 1, 2009

May Day is Lei Day

I loved May Day when I was a kid. The schools would plan for days for May Day Celebration. Family and friends would come and watch all the songs and dances from each class. My mom would always take that day off from work to come see my school's performances. I remember climbing those gigantic plumeria trees in the back courtyard the day before to make leis for my Mom and me to wear. If I close my eyes, I can still smell the scented air from those trees.

The first Lei Day was held on May 1, 1928 and the phrase "Lei Day is May Day" was coined by Grace Tower Warren. It was made an official holiday in 1929 in the territory (before Hawaii achieved statehood in 1959 as the 50th State in U.S.). Did you know that each Island has its own lei? You can read all about it here.

If you're lucky to be on O'ahu today, stop by Kapi‘olani Park for the Lei Day Celebration. If you're into making leis, it might not be too late to enter the lei contest (rules here). You can also check for more Lei Day celebration information.

Happy Lei Day, everyone!

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