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Friday, April 30, 2010

Chicken Lavash Wrap

This one is another quick meal when you have no time. I stopped by whole mean Whole Foods and picked up a couple items. A pack of lavash wraps, fresh spinach from the salad bar as well as some fresh mushroom and some roasted chicken. This is perfect for using leftover chicken, if you have. Also a nice small block of havarti cheese. Yum. I had some pineapple tidbits left in the fridge, so I figured I'd use that in my ingredients for this as well.

Wraps a relatively easy to put together. You basically just pile everything and wrap it up like you would a burrito. I decided to used ol' Georgie to heat the wrap as well as press it a little. It melts the cheese, cooks up the spinach and mushrooms a bit. Mmmm...just look at the chicken and cheese wanting to bust out of the wrap. The pineapple brings a nice balance, too.

Makes 2 wraps

Chicken Lavash Wrap

1 large cooked chicken breast or 1 large cooked thighs
2 lavash wraps
2 c fresh spinach
1/2 c pineapple chucks or tidbits
1/3 sliced mushrooms
few slices of havarti cheese

Lay a lavash wrap on a flat surface. Layer the spinach, mushroom, chicken, pineapple and cheese. Wrap it up like a burrito.

Heat your panini press and place the wrap seam side down. Heat both side for roughly 5 minutes until warm enough.

To heat over a skillet, Place the wrap seam side down first. Place a plate or something flat over the wrap and place some weight on top to give it some pressure. A 12oz canned good would work. Heat for 5 minutes on medium heat. Flip the other side and do the same.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Late Lunch

Today will just be a little quickie post. Yesterday was on of those days where the day was bright and sunny and cooking was the last thing on my mind. Got s few errands done and had myself a lovely late lunch with my mom at one of our favorite Cuban bakery/cafe, Porto's Bakery  I've featured them befor. 

They've been in business since 1960. That would be 50 years of great pastries and breads. They must be doing something right if they've been around that long. Especially with long lines every single day. They're known for their breads and pastries like their potato balls, empanadas, guava and cheese rolls, it's a large selection. When we decided on our lunch it was still before the rush hour crowd. I tell you the place can get really packed.

I order the Glendale Veggie Sandwich also known as the Porto's Veggie. This has roasted eggplant, peppers, zucchini with havarti cheese, hummas spread, lettuce, tomato on a wheat bun. Served with some mariquitas, which are fried plaintain chips.

Look at the  veggi-licious sandwich. I do love my eggplant. The bread is just soft enouh that you can have a piece of everything in one bite. Although, I was craving a nice meaty sandwich to get some protein, my ultimate choice was this one. I don't know why, but hey I'm glad I did.

My mom orders the Medianoche sandwich (Midnight Sandwich). She had the other half in her hand when I took this pic. This had slow roasted pork, ham, swiss cheese, butter, mayo, mustard, pickles on a sweet roll.

I was able to sample a little bite of this and it was pretty tasty. They also have a really great Cuban sandwich, if you every stop by there. Quite frankly, I love this place a lot fresh made. This is definitely on LA/Glendale spot worth going to.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pork and Beans with a Fried egg

A good ol' fashioned meal. Think back to the pioneer days. Ok...maybe not that far. Or just imagine those days of camping and all you have a canned goods. Although, this has nothing to do with my I made this dish. Anyway... This is actually one of those  "I'm on a super budget with nothing in the kitchen and the fridge yet a can of ____ is staring at me to make something of it."

That can for me was of pork and beans. I remember eating them slightly heated when I was a kid. This time around I turned it into a little quick "stew" of sorts. I wanted to use bacon, but I didn't have any. Then I remember that I had saved the bacon fat from the last I had cooked bacon. W00T! It give is a nice taste. I kept the bacon fat in the freezer. I knew I'd be using it again. Ha! Here ya go! You can use vegetable or olive oil if you'd like. I served it up with a nice fried egg and a couple slices of toast that i sopped up and sandwich all the delicious liquid. Yum!!

Serves 2

Pork and Beans with a Fried egg

1-2 Tbsp bacon fat or olive oil
1 12oz can pork and beans (Van Camp's)
1 small sweet onion - chopped
1/4 c tomato sauce
1 Tbsp yellow mustard
1 tsp sugar
1/4 c shredded cheese - your choice
pepper to taste

2 eggs
4 slices of bread

In a small sauce pan, heat the bacon fat or oil and saute the onions until tender. Add the pork and beans and the tomato sauce. Raise the heat and bring the mixture to a slight boil then add the mustard and sugar. Stir occasionally.  Once boiling, lower the heat and let it simmer. Stirring occasionally as well.

In a clean skillet, heat up a little drizzle of oil and fry up the egg. The yolk should still be slightly runny.

Toast the bread.

Serve up the pork and beans in a bowl and sprinkle some of the cheese. Top with the egg and serve with the toast.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pineapple POM Smoothie

Summer's not going to be here for another couple of months or so and I figured I'd give my self a taste of what I'll be having during that time. To get the party -- sort of -- started, I made myself a smoothie.  Smoothies are good, tasty and healthy.  I guess from having that fresh fruit smoothie on the set of Hawthorne, a craving kicked in and I had to make me one. This one is simple. I have a bunch of those canned pineapple tidbits. I popped one open. Had some POM juice in the fridge and used that as well.

I had minimal ice, but that didn't matter. Does ice evaporate in the freezer? I've noticed that over time ice trays that were once full have dwindled down to near nubs. But luckily, whatever was left had enough to make two glasses worth. I just stock piled the fresh fruit which I like anyway. Smoothies are probaby the easiest drinks one can make.

Serves 2-3

Pineapple POM Smoothie

2 c pineapple chunk or tidbits plus some juice
1/2 c POM juice
1 c ice

Combine everything in the blender until smooth.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Seared Ahi Sandwich

After a day of hiking, I arrived home and went straight for the kitchen. I open the fridge and what do I see? (Besides a nearly empty shelves) ... A fresh slab of sushi grade ahi tuna. My eyes widened with delight. *twinkle sparkle* But I would have to wait the next day as it was already late for me too cook something up. Plus, I was tried from the day. I had done a 3-mile hike location scout for a project I'm doing this summer. *hint hint*

The next day rolls around and excitement sets in as I prepare lunch. I turned it into somewhat straight forward sandwich. No lettuce or tomato filling. Just a simple fresh ginger mayo spread. I do a quickly marinate the tuna in some soy sauce with lemon. That's it. Nothing else. Then sear it for close to a minute on each side. Toast up a couple pieces of bread or a nice big roll. Spread some of the ginger-mayo, place a few slices of the ahi tuna and chow down. It a little something I like to consider as sashimi in a sandwich.

Makes 2 sandwiches

Seared Ahi Sandwich

1 fresh fillet ahi tuna - sushi grade
4 slices of bread or 2 kaiser rolls
1/2 soy sauce
Juice of half lemon

Mayo-Ginger Spread
1 1/2 Tbsp mayo
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp hot sauce

Combine the soy sauce and lemon juice in a shallow dish and marinate the ahi tuna on each side for a few minutes.

Heat some olive oil (just enough to coat the bottom) in a skillet. Place the ahi tuna in the skillet and sear the meat for 30-60 second per side. You'd still want the inside to be nice and pink. Once the fish is seared. Let is rest for a couple of minutes on a plate covered with foil to let the juices redistribute then slice into 1/2-inch pieces.

Combine the ingredients of the spread in a small bowl and toast the bread.

Spread a generous helping of the spread on the bread and divide the slices between the two sandwiches. Enjoy warm,

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Production Eats - No. 21

This week i worked on the show Hawthorne. It stars Jada Pinkett Smith. I'm not too familiar with the show, but it airs on TNT.  But it also has Michael Vartan aka Vaughn from Alias. For the lunch served it was like Thanksgiving in April. It really was. :)

Top clockwise: Butternut squash, wild rice, carved turkey with cranberry sauce. a little pasta with alfredo sauce, fresh carved honey baked ham, dinner roll.

I put some of the ham and turkey into the bread and made it into a sandwich. There was also, I think, grilled mahi mahi, some sweet potato. mashed potato. I really enjoyed the ham quite a bit. The guy who did the carving gave me a nice portion, too.

Fresh made fruit smoothie for dessert!!!! Sweet!!! For sure I know there's strawberry in there. and maybe another fruit. But it was delicious!!! I haven't been on many sets that made fresh smoothies. That's a plus n my book.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


In-N-Out. That's what all hamburgers...all about. Dang right it is. California. I played tour guide for an afternoon yesterday to a visiting friend. Took him to the Griffith Observatory, Kodak Theater, and Grauman's Chinese Theater. He had an enjoyable time seeing the sights of LA. For dinner, we took him to...

The famed In-N-Out burger. It's like the west coast rival of the east coast White Castle. Their menu may be limited, but they've got themselves a tasty burger. I order the #1.

A double double cheeseburger. Animal style. (two beef patties, lettuce, tomato, cheese, grilled onions, secret sauce on a bun)

I gobbled that right down. A lot of the time I like to eat the lettuce and tomato first, the eat the rest like a sandwich. It's a weird habit, but I like it.

The #1 also comes with french fries. Also had those animal style. Grilled onions, secret sauce and melted cheese. Eat that right up with a fork. and a drink.

I would have gotten a chocolate shake, too, but I knew I'd fill myself up pretty quick. I usually just get them regular without onions, but since I don't eat out for burgers as much and with this be a semi-special occasion, I figured...why not, right? Deliciousness.

Friday, April 23, 2010

I want an okonomiyaki

I'm happy to say that a little under a month from now I'll be traveling to the Philippines for two weeks in May. I'm really excited as I'll get to see my family and eat some really awesome eats. Which would mean a food adventure waiting to happen. Street foods, home-cooked meals, restaurants, eateries. I can't wait to share it with you all.

With my endless fascination with Japanese cuisine here's a little something I really really really really want to try and make. Okonomiyaki!! Japanese pancake. The video below is the same people who made that bento tutorial I posted a couple weeks ago. I love the fact that there's a poodle sitting there.
It looks so good. I remember the Osaka episode of No Reservations where Anthony Bourdain had a feeding fest with a banzai duo. This was one of the things he had eaten. Its just too tempting no to give it a try. I'm trying to find a decent place in LA that serves this.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Panera - French Onion Soup

Thanks for all the support yesterday after my check fraud incident. It's a total bummer that it happened, but there's nothing I can do now. It's being handled by the bank, but the process of dealing with it just sucks.

Yesterday, I woke up with one of those really aweful aura migraines. Also known as a silent migraine. You know when your vision looks like your seeing swiggly-wavy lines, which is accompanied by a headache and possibly other symptons. I've been a sufferer of that for many years. It sucks when it happens. But luckily it isn't as frequent as it used to be. *knock on wood* By coincidence, a friend of mine offered to buy lunch. I was well enough to not to pass up that opportunity. Plus, it gave us time to catch up and chat chit.

We decided on Panera in Pasadena, CA. As much as I love their sandwiches, I wanted something relatively on the light side. I decided soup was the way to go.

I order the french onion soup in a sourdough bread bowl. Onion goodness with croutons and pieces of swiss cheese on top. I mix the cheese in to get it melted good. and scoop up the soup with a scoop of the bread. Yum!! The cap of the bread bowl and insides were also served along with a nice piece of crusty crisp fresh french bread. It's not like I had enough bread as it is, why not add a little more right?  Good thing I love my breads. Go carbs!!!

It was really a soup kind of day with the clouds and rain. The spring rain has been sporadic these past few weeks. I'm not complaining, it's good to have the water for all the trees and plants. I actually like rainy days. Since discovering Panera a couple years ago, it has been one of my favorite place to eat or even... some afternoon writing with a cup of their fresh brewed hazelnut coffee with a little milk.

You know...I've always wondered... why do some people order soup in a bread bowl and never eat the bread, when there is that option to have it served in a regular bowl? It's a waste of perfectly edible bread.  I've seen it happen many times. I like to eat up every bit that absorbed the soup. Soft and mushy. I'll even tear pieces of it apart. That's just me and my random oberservation on the bread bowl. It sparked my curiosity.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Veggie Orzo Pasta with Smoked Scallops

Oh, what a day yesterday had been. If you've seen my tweets and facebook status updates, I was a victim of theft. It's not fun finding out that thieves had cashed a couple a checks that were issued to a different company. How they did it...I have no idea. Just goes to show how desperate people are coming to these days. It's a sad shame. And the wasn't for a small amounts too. Frustration and anger.

This was a test of some kind, I can feel it. This is God saying..."you've had it easy to a little while. Here's a little curve ball."  Testing my will power and seeing how I will react. But I'm staying positive that this situation will be resolved. Sure, it'll be a a little difficult for a little while, but in a time when everyone is tightening their belts, I have to tighten mine a little tighter than usual.  Have I passed the test yet? Sorry for this not being as food related, but it's a frightening situation that could happen to anyone that I thought to share with you as an example to be extra cautious with all your personal information. I thought I lived in a quiet and safe neighborhood, yet you'll never know what hides beneath that nice exterior.

Anyway...after dealing with all that. I needed to calm myself down. I ventured into the kitchen and made something. luckily it just around dinnertime. I mentioned before that I find cooking and baking to be therapeutic. It really does help take your mind off things that bother us.

Have you ever heard of smoked scallops in those sardine-like cans? I had gotten a couple of these from the grocery and they looked really interesting. They were small scallops packed in cottonseed oil. I once again make a risotto like dish using orzo pasta with some frozen veggies, chicken stock, and evaporated milk. The result deliciousness on a plate. It helped deviate from the stress of the day.

Edited to add: I'm submitting this recipe to 5 Star Foodie for the 5 Star Makeover. This month is pasta.

Serves 2

Veggie Orzo Pasta with Smoked Scallops 

1 c uncooked orzo
1 12oz can chicken stock
2-3 c frozen mixed veggies - defrosted
1 large garlic clove - fine chopped
1 can smoked scallops in cottonseed oil - drained
1 5 oz can evaorated milk
1 Tbsp paprika
extra virgin olive oil
pepper to taste

Heat a small drizzle of olive oil in a large skillet. Saute the garlic for 30 sec, the add the scallops and saute for a couple minutes. Add the vegetables and paprika. Cook for another few minutes until the vegetables are tender. Add the stock and orzo. Bring the mixture to a boil. Once the orzo looks like it's cooked to al dente and has absorbed most of the stock, lower the heat and add the evaporated milk. Simmer for a few minutes and season with pepper to taste.

Serve warm.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Marinated Broiled Tofu Sandwich

Here's that other tofu recipe I mentioned a few days ago when I posted that Pan-Fried Tofu. The longer title of this would be Marinated Broiled Tofu Sandwich with caramelized onions and mushrooms on sourdough. Way too long to put on the title line. I had a couple pieces of tofu blocks that I had marinated in the Filipino BBQ sauce left and this time around I decided to broil them. Giving them a nice crisp crust and soft inside. I served this along some caramelized onions and I sauteed with some chopped white onion then added some shredded cheese and a dash of hot sauce into the mix.  You hungry yet?

Then on the bread I spread a really tin layer of dijon mustard to give it that nice little tang. Pressed it with ol' Georgie and what you got here is one really good sandwich. You wouldn't really think that you'd be eating tofu, if you ate this.

Makes 2 sandwiches

Marinated Broiled Tofu Sandwich

1 14 oz package firm or extra firm tofu - water drained
4 slices of bread or 2 sandwich rolls

1/4 shredded cheese
1 tbsp butter
salt & pepper to taste
1 tsp hot sauce
dijon mustard
1/2 sliced mushrooms
1/2 small sweet onion - sliced

1/2 c soy sauce
juice of half a lemon
3 Tbsp ketchup
2 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp sugar
1 large garlic clove - fine chopped

Combine the ingredients for the marinade together in a shallow dish. Make sure the sugar has dissolved. Set aside.

Remove the tofu from the package and carefully pat dry with a paper towel. Slice them into 4 or 5 3/4-inch to 1 inch steaks. Places the slices into the marinade.

Marinate the tofu steaks for at least an hour before cooking. Even better is done the night before for better flavors absorption.

Preheat you broiler.

Prepare your skillet. Melt the butter on low heat and saute the onion until they have lightly browned. then add the mushrooms and saute again until the mushrooms had darkened in color. Season with some salt and pepper. Remove the skillet from the heat.

Take you tofu steak and place them on an ungreased baking sheet. Broil for 5-8 minutes until the top layer has charred slightly. Then flip and repeat for the other side.

Spread a thin layer of dijon mustard on all 4 slices of bread. Then add the cheese to the onion and mushroom mix as well as the hot sauce. Combine well. Divide the mixture between the two sandwiches. Slice the tofu steak in to 1/2 pieces and place them among the sandwiches. Put the top bread and toast the sandwich in your panini press of a clean skillet.

Heat each side for 3-5 minutes until the bread is toasted. Or you can toast the bread before assembling the sandwich.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Great Depression Cooking

I had seen a video once with a lady named Clara. In the video she showed how she would cook simple meals during the Great Depression. The other day, Kim from The Ungourmet posted another video featuring this same lady. I ended up watching almost all the videos.

Check out the you tube channel for other videos. It's really interesting and great. Depression Cooking. It's really cooking at its basics. Here's one using pasta. It's really great. She's like the grandmother you wish you had, if you never knew your grandparents like me.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Production Eats - No. 20

This week's production eats comes from a relatively super small production. How small? Try a cast and crew you can count on one hand. Yup, that small and low key. The day went very well. It's physically tiring, but I love working on set.

Corner Bakery it's a restaurant/cafe that serves up delicious sandwiches, soups, salads, pastries, and sweets. My friend had decided to order from their catering menu. "The Corner Classic" This included their sandwich basket which has a selection of Bavarian Ham, Chicken Pesto, D.C. Chicken Salad,  Tomato Mozzarella, Turkey Frisco, and Turkey Swiss. It also included two sides of salad and fresh fruit.

I took one of the tomato, basil and mozarella sandwiches and had one of the ham and cheese as a post shoot snack. You can't really see the inside of the sandwich from the photo above, but it was fresh and tasty and so good. I've always liked the food at Corner Bakery. If you've going to order from their regular menu try. the Chicken Pomodori on sourdough panini. Really good.

Oh, I must not forget...

Dessert! The sweets basket. This also comes with the "Corner Classic" Oh look at those cookies! Oatmeal raisin, chocolate chip, mini m&m's. Brownies, raspberry bars, maple pecan bars and Chocolate, banana and seasonal bite-sized bundt cakes.

I love their raspberry bars and the cookies. It's tempting not to stand next to it and munch off it for the rest of the day.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Pan-Fried Tofu

Tofu doesn't have to be a scary thing. I'm not afraid to admit that I like to eat it once in a while. It may taste bland to some people, but it all depends on how it's prepared. It's great paired with sauces, dips and veggie stir-fry. I purchased myself one package while at Whole Foods the other day. I remember in Trader Joe's, there's this ready to eat teriyaki flavored tofu that I would snack on sometimes. So I thought I make sometimes similar, but lightly pan-fried. I purchased myself the firm variety. Extra-firm works also as they keep their shape very well.

I used my usual Filipino BBQ sauce as a marinade, except instead of using yellow mustard, I used dijon mustard. One of the great things about tofu is that is absorbs flavors and marinades really really well. Marinated overnight, but you can make it the day of. The next day cook away. I lightly pan-fried these on my cast-iron skillet. A nice light crunch on the crust and soft BBQ flavor inside. Tofu is made soybeans, I served it with a handful of sliced mushrooms. See it doesn't look so scary. If I can cook with it, you can too.

I've got one other tofu recipe coming up, but that will have to wait as this weekend I'll be working on another production. Luckily, this one I don't have to worry about much.

Makes 4 tofu steaks.

Pan-Fried Tofu

1 14 oz package firm or extra firm tofu - water drained

1/2 c soy sauce
juice of half a lemon
3 Tbsp ketchup
2 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp sugar
1 large garlic clove - fine chopped

Combine the ingredients for the marinade together in a shallow dish. Make sure the sugar has dissolved. Set aside.

Remove the tofu from the package and carefully pat dry with a paper towel. Slice them into 4 or 5 3/4-inch to 1 inch steaks. Places the slices into the marinade.

Marinate the tofu steaks for at least an hour before cooking. Even better is done the night before for better flavors absorption.

Prepare your grill or skillet. Heat a little olive oil. Just enough to lightly cover the bottom of the pan.

Place the tofu steak and cook each side until it gets a slight char on the edges. roughly 3-5 minutes -- on medium heat. Be careful of splatters.

Serve warm with some of the BBQ marinade. 

Friday, April 16, 2010

Leftover Chicken Salad with Honey-Dijon Dressing

I was wandering around Whole Foods trying to think what I can make for dinner. I had plans to make something with tofu for the weekend when I remember I had a head of lettuce in the veggie compartment as well as a tomato giving me those sad puppy dog eyes saying "eat me." An old fashioned salad just didn't seem too appetizing to me at the time, so I bought myself some pre-sliced white mushrooms, from the hot foods section I got one large cajun roasted chicken breast and one whole roasted yellow bell pepper.

When I got home I just prepared everything. removed the skin from the chicken and shredded it. . Chopped up a tomato, the lettuce, the bell pepper and some of the mushroom. Added some pineapple tidbits. And tossed it all together.  Another way, I'd like to call this is the leftover chicken salad because you can use up any leftovers you may have sitting in the fridge.  Of course, you don't have to follow exactly what I have here. make it your own and jazz it up. I paired with a honey-dijon dressing with a hint of soy sauce and olive oil. It was filling in a good way.

Serves 2-3

Leftover Chicken Salad with Honey-Dijon dressing

1 c cooked shredded chicken (breast) - from roasted, fried or baked - no skin
1 small head lettuce - rough chopped
1 medium tomato - deseeded chopped
1 small yellow bell pepper - deseeded, stemed, rough chopped
1 c pineapple tidbits
1 c  white muchroom - rough chopped
1/2 c firm tofu - cubed - optional

Honey Dijon Dressing
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp soy sauce

Combine ingrediets for the dressing together. Blend thoroughly. Set aside.

For the optional tofu, heat a small skillet with a little olive oil. Pan sear the tofu pieces until they have lightly browned.

Mix together all the salad ingredients. Drizzle the dressing and toss thoroughly to distribute evenly.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A little fun on a Monday night

This past Monday night a few friends and I went to see Butch Walker & the Black Widows perform at the El Rey Theater in Los Angeles. (It was an awesome concert, btw.) Anyway, I hadn't eaten before hand so it just so happens that there's a little tiny restaurant right next door.

The place is called Cowboys & Turbans. They also have a location in Silverlake. It's fusion between Mexican and Indian. Though, the selection they have isn't big. You can choose from naanwiches, tanoori tacos, tikki masala, tandoori burritos, tandoori quesadilla, and a few sides.  I wasn't sure how big certain portions were, so I stuck to ordering from the side dish section. And I'm glad I did.

Masala fries, which is basically regular seasoned french fries served with a side of masala sauce to dip. I shared this one with my friends. The masala had a nice hint of spice to it. i may just have to make some for myself, so I that i can it it with some baked fries next time.

I also ordered a veggie samosa. It may look small in the photo, but that is no optical illusion. That thing was as large, if not larger than the size of my fist! It was good though. I kid you not. The look on my friend's faces as my order came. Their eyes wide with surprise.

Inside were peas and potato with some spices and other ingredients usually found in samosas. Deep fried and served with some sweet chili sauce and a green masala. It was good. It's 'sort of' something you'd definitely need to have a fork hand (...considering the size of it).

After, the concert we hit up a local pub, Timmy Nolan's. I didn't know that place was there. It a quaint  little spot near Universal Studios, but they've got a really great selection. This would definitely be a place I'd like to come back to. It does have a pub vibe to it. They have a kitchen that serves up some food. But by the time we got there, it was pretty late. So afterward we hit up a local Denny's. It's possibly the only thing open in the wee hours of the morning. Plus, it's usually a good late night meal type place. I'll spare you the photo of the biscuits and gravy with hashbrowns. Ok, I'll put just for fun.

A globby mess and what I like to call this one -- "the 3am who cares what" grub. -- It's from the $2 menu selection. Two biscuits, what looks like sausage (I didn't eat the sausage. It was late into the night and eating meat at that time wasn't really appetizing for me) Doused with white gravy and served with hash brown. I did eat the hash browns and the biscuits.

Anyway...  it was a Monday night well spent. With friends and good times!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Baked Mac and Cheese Balls

One of the neat little diner places I like to frequent a lot is this place in the Los Feliz are near Hollywood called Fred 62. I've mentioned them here before. I like the place. One of the times on their menu that always intrigued me is their Mac and cheese balls.

The original is deep-fried classic style mac and cheese, but my version is baked. It's a fingerfood friendly version of the classic baked mac and cheese basically.  I used a shredded four cheese mix rather than just simply cheddar. I cooked it up the old fashioned way then after letting it cool for a bit, I scoop up a little shaped it with my hands and dipping them into a panko crumb, egg wash bath. Baked it. This version still has that crisp crust you'd find in the fried version and a little healthier without all that grease and oil. I love the crunchy crust it has after it bakes and the inside is still soft and cheesy. Yum!!

Is it weird that I ate a few of them with ketchup? It's a habit of mine. I tend to mix and match the oddest condiments, dips and sauce with the most unlikely of dishes. Is there anyone else out there that does that? Like for example, putting sweet pickle relish on a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich.

Roughly makes 12 balls

Mac and Cheese Balls

2 c uncooked elbow macaroni
2-3 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp flour
pinch of salt
pepper to taste
1 c evaporated milk
1 c shredded cheddar cheese (your choice)
1 tsp tobasco
1 tsp paprika

panko crumbs
egg wash - 1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp of water

Cook the Pasta in salted boiling water. Save 1/2 cup of the pasta water and drain the rest. Set aside.

In a sauce pan, melt the 2 tablespoons of the butter and add the flour. Combine to make a type of dough. Add the milk and mix together. Bring it to a slight boil to help it thicken slightly and bring the heat to a low flame to simmer. Add the cheese. Stir to combine to melt the cheese. Once the cheese has melted. Season with a little salt and pepper and add the leftover butter.  Then mix in the pasta and stor to combine. Add the saved pasta water as well. Let the mac and cheese cool completely before handling.

Preheat your oven to 400˚F

In a shallow dish, place the panko crumbs in a shallow and the egg wash in a small bowl. Once the mac and cheese has cool take a small (egg-sized) scoop and with clean hands or two spoons, shape it into a ball. Dip the ball into the panko crumbs, egg, then panko again in that order. Place them on a ungreased parchment lined baking sheet and back for 15-20 minutes or until the panko crumbs have lightly browned. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bento 2

I just thought I had to share this. I was just randomly looking at bento lunches once again. I have my phases of going through food moments and kicks. I guess this time around it's been the bento lunch. As I was randomly looking around the interweb, I came upon this little video that some one had made using various photos they collected of different kinds of bentos. I'm always amazed by the creativity that have done into making them sometimes. As in making your food look like characters. Practice, I guess. The meticulous shapes and patterns. One can only imagine the time and effort put into them. Anyway... don't mind the song. It's the images I want you to see. Fun with food.


Monday, April 12, 2010

Production Eats - No. 19

I'm happy to say the the shoot went very well. So that makes me, as producer, happy. A big thanks to the crew for making it a smooth production. This makes my job easier even the slightest bit.

One of the many things I have to do is make sure that the crew is happy, especially through the stomach. I had gone with a company called Too Tasty Catering. I'd have to agree that they were really tasty. I had tasted their creations before on another project and was happy with the outcome of their dishes.

Top clockwise: Organic Green Salad with ranch dressing, Volcano BBQ Chicken, Bean Ragu with Aromatic Vegetables and white rice.

We all ate it up. Delicious tender chicken, the black beans mixed with the rice. Yum. It was an enjoyable meal. Which can make or break the second half of the shooting schedule of the day.

After the shoot, a few of the crew, whom I've worked with on several projects before went for a post-shoot meal and drink. We decided on the Red Lion Tavern in Silverlake, Ca. They describe themselves as a "German 'Gasthaus' & Beer Garden Food and & Drink." From the outside it may seem like a small tavern. You enter and inside there's a small bar are and table with booths. You head upstairs and you're treated to a spacious outdoor seating area. 

I like this place quite a bit. I've been here many times before, but usually just for drinks with friends. It wasn't too often that I'd order something from their menu.

To munch on: I get the classic fish and chips. The fish was nice and tender. The batter slightly crisp. Serve with a side of tartar sauce, a few lemon wedges, and some malt vinegar. Though these weren't beer battered, but they were good.

To wash it down I have myself a glass of their Oktoberfest beer. Sorry for the yellowish-orange color of the last two photos. I didn't want to use the flash on my phone to distract all the other bar patrons. It was a good bookend to a near end of a production. Now I enter the post-production phase. Which is way easier. No much stress to worry about there.
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