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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving Dish #2 - Honey-Herb Buttermilk Biscuits

No meal can't be complete without some type of bread. I figured biscuits was the only way to go. I took my usual buttermilk recipe (here) and jazzed it up a little by adding some herbs and a dash of honey. I love making these biscuits as you can get your hands in there to mix up the dough. The taste of it actually reminds me a little of those from Red Lobster.

This was actually the first thing I made on Thanksgiving. It was a good way to start the day with the smell of fresh baked biscuits cooking up in the oven. You can actually smell the herbs as they bake up. A good way to start the day.

Makes 9 biscuits.

Honey-Herb Buttermilk Biscuits

1 1/2 c All Purpose Flour (cake flour works too if you don't have anything else)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
2/3 c buttermilk
1/2 c unsalted butter (best if cold, cut into cubes)
1 Tbsp dry thyme
1 Tbsp dry basil
1-2 Tbsp honey

Preheat oven to 425° 
Sift flour, salt, sugar and baking powder into a bowl. Add dry basil and thyme. Crumble in butter and mix well until almost like a powder-thick consistency. Add honey and buttermilk again mix thoroughly well until it is of a dough consistency. You can add more milk, if needed. 

Then place the dough on a well-floured flat surface and knead a few times. Cut dough into desired size and place on baking sheet. Baked in oven 10-13 min.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Dish #1 - Mashed Sweet Potatoes

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and weekend that followed full of family, friends and, of course, full of good eats.  I'm thankful for so many things in my life in all aspects if, the reader, included. :) The weekend was well spent. With belly fulls of yum yums. 

As always I like to do things simple. I don't like to fuss around too much in the kitchen especially during the holidays. But this was a good excuse for me to spent some time in the kitchen. I've been pretty busy with work related things that I haven't been able to cook as much as I would like. I did enjoy the several hours I spent making this meal and I'm happy with how it all turned out. With a little smoke alarm going off. No worries. Nothing major. I just think my smoke alarm is jealous for not being able to eat the delicious food on the table. So, it's a dinner for two. I always have the trouble of sometimes cooking too much or too little. No matter how much you calculate it. It's never exact.  But I think I did pretty well fine this year. 

First up, sweet potato. No thanksgiving should go without sweet potato in some form. I chose to mash them up instead of serving the traditional mashed potatoes and serve it along with the chicken gravy, which I will post that recipe with the roast chicken. I first steamed rather than boiling them and I used evaporated milk instead of heavy cream to make it smooth along with a couple pats on butter and shredded mozzarella cheese. Delicious! Smooth and creamy.

Serves 2-3

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

3 medium to large sweet potatoes 
1/3 c evaporated milk
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/3 c shredded mozzarella

Steam the sweet potatoes until fork tender.   Once cooked, cool the sweet potatoes before handling and remove the skin. Then place them in a small pot and mash the sweet potatoes thorough. Turn the heat to a medium flame Add the butter, evaporated milk. Stir until combined and the butter has melted. Then add the mozzarella and stir once again until cheese has melted. Season with a a little pepper. Keep warm until ready to serve. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Oh the holiday that puts a smile on food lovers across the United States. Many will be in the kitchen preparing for the holiday feast.

Here's my menu:

Herbed butter Roast Chicken 
Chicken Gravy
Honey Buttermilk Biscuits
Green Bean and Mushroom Casserole
Walnut and Pistachio Strudel in Phyllo dough

Recipes to follow in the coming days. :)

For now, I hope you all have a great holiday and weekend. 
Enjoy it with family and friends. Eat up and be merry!!!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Zono Sushi

I'm still craving soup. There's no deny the fact that rainy and cold weather stirs up the soup cravings. On this dreary cold day, my mom and I ventured into our Sunday lunch thinking soup once again. No, the lobster bisque from the previous day wasn't enough. We head to Zono Sushi. I had written about this place before a while back (here). It was quiet with few customers. I guess it would also be the fact it's kind of hidden away at the courtyard of the Glendale Exchange.

I remember coming here every Sunday after mass when I was younger and ordering their bento lunch. The place looked really different then what it looks like in the picture above. We seat ourselves in an open booth. Out waitress hands us out menus, which also has a new design. She brings out a small bowl of fresh edemame and miso soup. Yum!

We finally make out order.

I order the Sushi Combo 1, which is 5 sushi pieces (tuna nigiri, shrimp nigiri, salmon nigiri, and 2 mackrel nigiri, topped with fried onion shavings.  I ate them all up along with the pickled ginger the usually accompanies any sushi. Have I mentioned that I love sushi?

The combo also included a piping hot bowl of udon noodle soup. Served in a cast-iron bowl with a square piece of wood under to keep the pot from burning the table.  Look at those noodle deliciousness. There were a few slices of egg, bamboo and heads of shiitake mushroom in the broth as well. I love the way it's served. I need to find me some cast-iron bowl/pots like those. I ate this all up as well.

Aren't soup days great?

Zono Sushi (Glendale)

139 N Maryland Ave
GlendaleCA 91206
(818) 507-4819

Monday, November 22, 2010

Harry Potter, Car Trouble, and Lobster Bisque-- Just another Saturday

Saturday was an interesting day. First, I had myself a little car trouble. Nothing to do with the engine, bu more to do with my window. And it just so happens that on that day it was raining. Not fun. Then a matinee trip to the Cineramadome at the Arclight Theater in Hollywood to watch Harry Potter. Yes, I'm an HP geek. I've read all the books and I love the movies. I wouldn't miss seeing it on opening weekend. I've been wait for the movie for the past year, soooo worth it! Cant wait for part 2.

Then spent a couple hours after trying to fix my window again. I need to take it to an auto body shop. Ugh! :( By then my stomach was grumbling, I was stressing out and it was getting late. I'm kind of picky sometimes at what times I eat. So I took an early dinner with my mom to Granville Cafe at the Americana. I've written about the place before in this post. Our trip this time around was basically just to relieve some of the stresses of the day. 

As we made our way there, we passed by another restaurant and conversed about a lobster bisque they had on their menu. We spend a few good minutes on that. Ha. 

We arrive at Granville and take our seats. First thing we ask was the soup of the day. I had been craving soup for a while and rainy days are perfect for those. Our waitress kindly tells us, which was...lobster bisque. Well...wouldn't you know? So we each order a cup. We also order the rest of our meal from the Shareables section. 

Loberster Bisque seasoned with apple brandy. Two toasty slices of french bread with herbs. Not to mention the two large chunks of lobster in the soup. I enjoyed this one. It's got a nice creamy texture to it. I love how the toasted baguette slices didn't soak up the soup too much, so you got that nice soft/crunch when you bite down onto it. and they were generous with the pieces of lobster. It wasn't those pea-sized pieces.

Sweet Potato fries with ranch dressing, ketchup and blue cheese dressing. I'm a sucker for this. Any restaurant. I'll be tempted to order it no matter what. This was when I realized that I had a small deep fryer at home. I had a mini lightbulb moment. 

Lettuce Cups.  Butter lettuce with a mix of mango, avocado, grape tomato and asian slaw. Served with a side of asian dipping sauce. My mom had ordered this before but with some slices of beef. This time around we left it purely vegetarian style. Still tasty.

Granville's Artisan Cheese Quesdilla
Fontina, Gruyere and Mozzarella Cheeses in a flour tortilla, with Basil Pesto, Grilled Vegetables, Caramelized Onions and Crumbled Goat Cheese

I like quesadilla. Period. Need I say more. Hehe...okay. I love the chunks of veggies that were in it. Zucchini, bell pepper...

It was a good way to end a semi-stressful day. A good meal and an awesome movie. 

Grandville Cafe (Glendale) 
The Americana at Brand
807 Americana Way
Glendale, California 91210
(818) 550-0472

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Early holiday surprise?

The other day, I notice this large package right beside my door. It had some good weight to it. I don't remember ordering anything that had a lot of weight to it. I take it in and open it.

Low and behold it's a package from Hickory Farms. What?! Then I remembered I opted in on an opportunity to try some samples via the Tastemaker program from Foodbuzz. (Thanks, Foodbuzz and Hickory Farms!!) Who are they?'ve probably received one of their lovely gift packages for Christmas as a gift from someone. I know I do every year. At least one or two tops of the small boxes that have a sausage, cheese, crackers and a small jar of hot mustard, which I simply love to spread on sandwiches. Not to mention the cute little spread knife and strawberry candies that come in the package. I knew to always expect one every Christmas.

Sometimes you get one and wonder...what the heck are going to do with it? Have a cheese and cracker party? You know that's not a bad idea. You can. Or you can make a delicious meal out of it. Can you tell the hamster wheel in my head already turning?

Look at it!! 

In the box:
1 Sweet Hot Mustard -- I love this one!!
1 Honey and Pineapple Mustard
1 Three Cheese and Onion Wedge
1 Smooth and Sharp Wedge
1 block Cheddar & Havarti blend
1 block Big Barn Cheddar
2 small boxes of Sesame, Caraway, and Sea Salt Crackers
3 Beef Summer Sausage (2 Premium Beef -- Semi-Dry and 1 White Pepper Slow Cured)
3 strawberry candies

Now I don't want to serve this up like cheese and crackers appetizer snacks. I've got some plans for those babies especially them sausages. Like mac and cheese or pizza or fried rice. Just to name a few. If you have any suggestions I'd be most happy to hear them. I'm definitely open to making something out of them.  You'll just have to wait and see.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Production Eats No.33

Short PE post today. Once again I worked the show No Ordinary Family. This wasn't a super long day. The usual 6am call time. But for some reason my energy was just lagging. I did have a nice omelette for breakfast and coffee, so that game me a good boost of energy. It was a pretty chill day in Santa Anita, CA, which is about 30 minutes from LA. They have the famed race track where portions of the film Seabiscuit was filmed. There's also a nice mall there.

Top clockwise: grille salmon, a slice of tri-tip with mushroom gravy sauce, a slice of french bread, roasted potatoes, broccoli, and a scoop of fried rice.

I didn't really eat the tri-tip as much. It was good and tender. I did take a small bite, but I was more in it for the mushroom gravy that I scooped up with the bread and potatoes. Mmm...mushroom gravy.

Some spinach greens with a couple grape tomatoes, croutons and a little blue cheese dressing. and a little crab salad. Yum yum!!

I like crab. I've been craving crab lately and this helped with that craving. For the spinach salad, I thought it was ranch dressing. Sometimes they never label them, so I'm left to guess which is which. And certain dressing do look alike.  Have I mentioned that I'm not really a fan of blue cheese. Granted, I will still eat it, but it's just not my favorite cheese.

An oatmeal raisin cookie and some fruit cocktail. :) 
There was cake, but I was content with a cookie and some fruit. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Comforts of home

"Turo-turo" meaning point-point in tagalog. You literally point to the food that you want for the server scoop a good amount on your plate.

One of the neat things about living in LA is that I'm never homesick for the foods of the Philippines. It's just a short drive away. Though, there are moments when I get lazy to drive out. Ha!

What to choose? What to choose? :) Homeland deliciousness. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Production Eats No. 32

Tuesday...I worked on the show Bones again. This time it was a 4:30am call time. Yes, you read that right. It was that early. I think it's the earliest I've ever had to get to set. So imagine...I had just gotten home around 8pm the day before from working The Cape to find out that I only had a few hours to do whatever I need to get done and get some rest. Get up by 2:45am, get ready and try to get to set by 4-4:15am. I like to arrive at least 15-30 minutes for those "just in case of emergency" moments. I'm not usually someone who likes to sleep early too, so trying to get a few "zzz" didn't work out to my advantage. It would be a long day as well. Shooting outside. There was a lot of us working that day. And luckily, my close friend was working that day too and I met some really cool people, so it wasn't too bad.

Top clockwise: Crusted Tilapia with capers, Rye bread, rice, some veggies, and 
penne pasta with tomato sauce.

I'm thinking I need to cook with capers a bit more. I used to not like them as much, but I guess if used right they can taste pretty good. I do have a small jar of them in my pantry. 

The traditional salad witha piece of cantalope and some raspberry tarts dessert.

I'm a fan of fruity tart stuff. I managed to get one of the last pieces on the serving dish. I was clse to fighting off another person to get it. Ok, not really, but I wouldn't necessarily result to violence to get a good treat. (Or would I?)

Wednesday...I worked on the show United States of Tara on the Paramount lot. Good thing about this is that I didn't have to show up before the crack of dawn! It was an afternoon and night shoot. Which meant having to be outside again. This time more in the cold weather. I worked a couple scenes in where I was a young, hip New Yorker.

Brown rice, halibut, dinner roll, Some penne pasta, a little bit of veggies and a potato.

I didn't really top my plate with a lot as I had a nice snack during the afternoon. Good thing too because the fish tasted a little under-seasoned (?). Not sure if it was just my piece, but it was a bit on the bland side. Almost like someone in the catering department was in the hurry to get it off into a pan. Oh well... I'd have to give props to the craft service guy though who put out some snacks of ding dongs, twinkies, fruit and cup of noodles and an assortment of chips. That made up for the lackluster fish. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Production Eats No. 31

I'm relatively gonna keep today's production eats short. The last three days have been a major energy kicker.  Show number one for this week was The Cape. It's a new one. Not really sure what it's about, but it's got a masked character in it. Almost like a caped crusader out to seek justice kind of thing. I'm not sure when it'll air on tv. This was on Monday. It was a long day. 6:30am call time. Luckily one of my close friends was there, so we kept each other company the whole day.  As much as I love talking to people, this particular didn't I wasn't really in the mood to chat with anyone else. We had shot the scene inside, but had to wait outside when we weren't shooting. With the weather this week being a much colder than last and on this day the winds were seriously blowing about.

So lunch on this production...

Top clockwise: Some salad with fresh mushrooms and tomato, some broccoli, Roasted potato, 
some rice, black beans, grilled salmon

The salmon was pretty good. I liked the herbs it had. I mixed up the rice and beans and ate them together. I haven't had salmon in such a long time. I remember grilling up whole fillets and making them into sandwiches. I think I need to do that again. :)

Soft chocolate chip cookies. Yum! I can never reject cookies. I crave chocolate morning, noon and night.

Strawberry fruit smoothie. This one was just for the crew, but I managed to sneak one for me. Shhhh... Don't tell. Hehehe... It was very tasty. There were chunks of ice in it still, but they eventually melted. A cold drink on a slightly cold day.

The rest of the day was just "so-so" I dunno. Maybe it was because it was Monday. :-/

Btw...I've got myself a little photo/personal blog on tumblr now.  This one will eventually become the permanent home of my other personal blog "Misadventures of Little J", but for now it's mostly photos that I take and sometimes a little more of a look into the work that I actually do. You may have seen some of the automatic tweets posted on twitter. Check it out as I update this one daily. Sometimes more than once. Feel free to follow, like, comment as well...that is, if you want. :) 

Friday, November 5, 2010

Spinach and Mushroom Pizza

Tis a time for pizza once again. The one thing I notice about thin crust is that it tends to bake up a little quicker than the regular thick. Means faster time less time I have to wait to eat. Yum! Anyway...This time around it's just simple ingredients. I didn't do any thing special with them. Just the usual sprinkle and spread evenly of fresh spinach and white mushroom slices. I reserved some of the fresh spinach so that I can place it on top after it's bake, so it'll have a mix of cooked and fresh. Another easy weeknight good eats.

Now I'm thinking about dessert pizzas? Even breakfast pizzas.  Hmm...the ol' hamster wheel in my head is turning and turning and turning.

Serves 2-3 depending on pizza size

Spinach and Mushroom Pizza

1 homemade or pre-made pizza dough (recipe)
1/2 c marinara, pasta or your choice of pizza sauce.
3/4 c sliced white mushrooms
1 small bundle of fresh spinach (stems shortened)
1 1/2 c shredded mozzarella
extra virgin olive oil

Preheat your oven to 450˚F

On a lightly floured flat surface. Roll out the pizza dough to your designed size. Place the dough on a baking sheet.

Perforate the dough with a fork all around. Spread the marinara sauce evenly on top, then sprinkle 1 cup of the shredded cheese, follow by 2/3 of the fresh spinach and mushroom and the rest of the mozzarella. Drizzle a a little olive oil over and bake in the oven for roughly 10-15 minutes or until the crust has turned a light brown.

When the pizza is done take the rest of the fresh spinach and spread them on top.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Fire-Roasted Bell Pepper and Broiled Eggplant Pizza

I took an initiative and made a large batch of pizza dough. I'm going to be having myself some homemade pizzas for the next few weeks. W00T!! It was nice getting my hands dirty once again mixing up dough. Kneading it to the right consistency. Is it weird to say that I was way too excited to see the dough double in size. Goes to show how much I miss being in the kitchen.

For the first pizza, I fire-roasted a yellow bell pepper on my stove top to remove the skin and broiled the eggplants in the broiler at the same time. Did a little scoopage to separate the skin from the eggplant after.

I rolled out one of the dough into a super thin crust. Once baked it will be nice and crisp. I tend to prefer thin crust now-a-days, but I still like those bready ones, too. The sauce isn't anything special. It's just the canned version. I used Hunt's 4-cheese pasta sauce, which is pretty tasty. The cheese is shredded mozzarella. What you have here is a veggie-licious dish. Have it with a beer or a can of pop. Perfect for those movie and pizza nights. :)

Serves 2-3 depending on pizza size.

Pizza Dough
4 C All Purpose Flour plus (extra for dusting or you may use cornmeal)
2 c warm water (110 to 120˚F)
1 packet or 2 tsp dry active yeast
2 tsp salt
5 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (plus extra for the bowl and basting)
1 tsp sugar

Combine the water, yeast and sugar together. Let is sit for roughly 5 min..

In a large bowl combine the flour, salt and oil. Blend well. Add in the yeast mixture and mix all together until it forms into a dough ball.

On a well-floured surface. Knead the dough for a couple of minutes until almost elastic in feel. Place the dough into another bowl lubed with olive oil. Cover with platic wrap and a towel and keep away from light until the dough rises and doubles in size. Roughly 1-2 hours.

When the dough doubles, lightly punch down the dough to release the gases inside.

Layout the dough on a well-floured surface and divide into 4-6 balls. Wrap unused dough in plastic wrap and keep in the freezer until ready to use.

Fire-Roasted Bell Pepper and Broiled Eggplant Pizza

1 pizza dough (homemade or store dough)
1 yellow bell pepper
2 japanese eggplants
2 c shredded mozzarella
1/2 c marinara, pasta sauce or your choice of pizza sauce
extra virgin olive oil

Preheat your broiler. Slice the eggplant in half and baste is with some olive oil. Place on a baking pan and broil for 15-20 minutes. Flip half-way through. Once slightly charred on both sides remove from broiler and let cool before handling. Scoop out the meat and discard the skins. Give it a rough chop and set aside.

Turn on one flame of your stove to medium-high. Place the bell pepper directly on the flame. You want to char the skin until they have blackened. Use a pair of tongs to turn the bell pepper. Once most or all the skin has been charred, let it cool for a couple minutes before handling. Using the back of a knife or a straight edge, scrap off the skin. Then remove the seeds and give the bell pepper and rough chop.  Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 450˚F.

In a lightly dusted surface, roll out the dough until 1/8-inch thick. Place the dough on an ungreased baking sheet. Take a clean fork and perforate the dough all around, then evenly spread the marinara sauce. Take 1 cup of the cheese and sprinkle it over the sauce. Followed by the eggplant, then the bell pepper, then the rest of the cheese.

Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over the entire pizza and bake for 10-15 minutes. Or until the crust looks lightly brown and crisp.

Serve warm.

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