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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Years-end already?

I hope you all had a wonderfully fabulous holiday. I spending these last few days of the year taking care of year-end stuff like catching up on tons of reading I have to do and some errands here and there. Plus, making my for 2011. I was surprised this year that my lovely mom had volunteered to cook up our Christmas meal. A simple celebration we had this year. Nothing to fancy. Over the years, I forego gifts to just being able to spend time with loved ones. This year was no exception.

From top left: Honeybaked Ham, Queso De Bola (cheese), Chicken Pastel, Puchero (center), Embutido, some fruit and wine.

The ham and cheese were bought from the store, but they were really good. Embutido is the Filipino version of meatloaf with a little banan ketchup garnished over them. Really good slightly chilled or fresh the steamer with some pandesal (Filipino dinner rolls) I'll be making this for B+B soon. It's the only way really I could eat meatloaf. I love my mom's cooking. It's from her that I got my love for cooking. :) My mom had recently told me that before we came to America she would cook the puchero every week because it was one of my favorite. Reliving the fond memories for one day.  Of course, we had the traditional steamed rice. I'll just have to get the recipes from her so that I can cook some for myself. Yum yum!!!

 Our lovely tree this year.

Later that night the rain returned and poured down through the night. This gave me a fun 
excuse to jump in some puddles and kick up the waters in my new rainboots and to finish off the night with a nice glass of wine. :)

Saturday, December 25, 2010


I think my card this year says it all. Have a safe and wonderful day to all you lovely B+ B readers!!!! Stay warm and cozy!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Dim Sum Brunch

The best times to eat dim sum is during brunch. Usually shortly after they open is a really good time. No long lines and no waiting. Best of all you know you're getting first pick of the fresh batch of whatever they have cooking up  in those carts! I had to go to Chinatown in LA already so I made the most of this trip with some dim sum. The place we went to was Empress Pavilion just off the 110 south freeway in Los Angeles. I written about them before a little over a year ago. (Here)

Shrimp eggrolls

Fried Dumplings

Chicken and mushroom in rice noodles

Sesame Rice Dumplings

Pork siumai

Spicy Garlic Spareribs

The delicious empty plate and happy full stomachs

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Production Eats No. 37

Wednesday and Thursday of last week, I worked the show Make It or Break it. There was a lot of people and let's just say it made for an interesting day especially with the really long hours on both days.

Day 1

Mixed veggies, turkey, salad, rice.

The turkey was tender. Though, I was a bit hungry after that plate. I didn't get much to begin with especially with a large group of us on that day. So I was left to nibble on the cookie I had gotten earlier in the day. It was tasty, though. They did serve up some hotdogs later. 

On this was my friend. I think this was cup number 2. 

Day 2

Sauteed veggies, penne pasta in white sauce with mushrooms and chicken, an oatmeal cookie, and some caesar salad. Coffee was my friend on this day, too. I won't mention how many I had considering the fact that I'm not much of a coffee drinker to begin with. 

They had some tamales during break later that night. Beef, chicken and cheese. I went for the cheese. It was pretty good. I haven't had tamales in such a long time and It made me crave for the ones a former co-worker's mo would make for the office I used to work in. And coffee was my companion as well on this day. I guess my mind was set on holiday break hence my lack of energy on set. Haha...

Monday, December 20, 2010

Production Eats No. 36

For No. 36...I worked briefly on the second unit for a movie on Hollywood last Monday. Nothing big here. But we were served some pretty tasty lunch. Aside from the it was a pretty low-key day. A few shots here and there and back into our comfy bus to wait for the next spot to shoot at. It was mostly extra exterior shots.  

Mashed poatoes and gracy, some salad (with some Italian dressing, cucumber, corn, peaches), roast pork with mushroom and onion sauce, grilled chicken, mixed veggies.

The mushroom sauce was really good. The catering company is a new one I haven't seen before. as many production tend to use a couple of the same companies over and over. The company for this set did a pretty good job.

For dessert...a square slice of chocolate cake, a chocolate chip cookie, and a couple slices of pineapple. Cake was rich and moist. Mmmm.... If you can't tell by now I'm a total chocoholic. :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Pizza? Yes, Please.

Just a quickie little post today. I used a small portion of another beef summer sausage from my Hickory Farms samples and some of the smooth and sharp cheddar that was included (Here's a refresher of what items I had received HERE) I still had some pizza dough I had made earlier. It pays to make a big batch. that way you have some handy for future use. Anyway... This pizza a a retake on my Fire-Roasted Bell Pepper and Broiled Eggplant that I had made several weeks ago. After baking I had placed the pizza in the broiler for a few minutes to help the cheese brown up a little. I nearly lost my train of thought for a moment a left it in there a little too long and slightly charred the top crust. No worries though the bottom and the rest of the pizza was still fine. Quite frankly, it was pretty darn tasty if I say so myself. Char and all.

Fire-Roasted Bell Pepper, Broiled Eggplant, Sausage Pizza

1 pizza dough (homemade or store dough)

1/2 stick Hickory Farms Beef Summer Sausage - Rough chopped
1/3 c chopped Hickory Farms Smooth and Sharp Cheddar Cheese
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 and sausage then top with the cheddar.

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

Serve warm.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Sausage Patty Sandwich

I've been meaning to post this since the past week... Been so busy with work I haven't had time for much. I have so much to catch up on. But now that the holiday break is here, I can catch up on all non-work related stuff like cooking and baking, reading up on blogs. So I finally used up one of the sausages and cheese that I had received from Hickory Farms via the Tastemaker program from FoodBuzz. (Thanks again for the free samples!) Remember this little package I blog about several weeks ago? The one I got from Hickory Farms. (View post here)

  I used up one of the Beef Summer Sausage and some of the Three Cheese and onion wedge (the white triangle wedge on the top) I ground up the sausage in my little food processor and  and made two nice sausage patties with them. I paired it Honey and Pineapple mustard and a fried egg. I actually like the three cheese and onion. You can definitely taste the different flavors in them. I do wish I had more. Maybe someone will give me one for a gift on Christmas. It was a totally delicious last minute dinner idea. When in doubt...go for a sandwich. 

Makes 2 sandwiches.

Sausage Patty Sandwich

4 slices of bread (your choice)
1 stick Hickory Farms Beef Summer Sausage
3-5 slices Hickory Farms Three Cheese and Onion (Cheese)
Hickory Farms Honey and Pineapple Mustard
3 eggs
2/3c panko crumbs
extra virgin olive oil

Rough chop the sausage into sizeable chucks and grind in  your food processor.  Once the sausage is ground add in the egg and panko crumbs. Mix thoroughly and divide into two balls. Shape into sizable patties.

Heat a skillet and cook the patties for roughly 5-10 minutes on medium to high heat. Flip halfway through.

Toast the bread and spread some of the honey and pineapple mustard. Place the sausage patty on one of the slices of bread and divide the cheese slices between the two sandwiches.

In the same skillet where you had cooked the sausage, pour a tiny drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. When the oil is hot, fry up the eggs. (one per sandwich) 

When the egg is done place on the sandwich and top with another slice of bread.

Serve warm.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Production Eats No. 35

So today's Production Eats comes courtesy from working a commercial. It was a pretty fun small shoot and a little more relaxing.  I was 1 of 2 background performers chosen for the spot. Not bad, I think. I gotta do more commercials. :) The only downside was driving home during rush hour. Ha.

Potatoes, sauteed carrots, a wheat dinner roll with butter, freshly grilled chicken, some spaghetti, a little salad with some sesame dressing and a few slices of pineapple.

There was also some seared tuna and freshly grilled steaks. I was tempted to grab a piece, but the chicken was already pretty big and I didn't want to push it. One of the neat things about working on small shoots is that catering is always a little better than working the larger shoots.

For dessert, a square piece of cheese cake and a chocolate chip cookie!!! Yum yum!! Delicious cookie.

You know it's a good day when the craft service guy lets you take home the left over gummy bears in a cup. A nice little snack as I drove home in traffic during rush hour on the 405 north, 101 south, 134 east freeways. Those in LA know what I'm talking about. :) Good ol' LA freeway system.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Production Eats No. 34

It's time for another edition of Production Eats. The show for today's meal is from The Cape. It's a new show that hasn't aired yet. I think it's a mid-season show. It was a relatively short day with me playing a business/lawyer type looking official witha fake ID badget and "case" file.

A couple slices of tomato with a piece of mozarella, some grilled fish, a dinner roll with some parmesan melted on top, a little brown rice, fettucini in alfredo sauce, some scalloped potatoes and a small piece of grilled chicken.

It seems like a lot, but it's really small scoops and portions of the stuff being served. I like to taste a little of everything. :) 

A little bit o' salad with some thousand island dressing and a chocolate chip cookie for dessert. This time I made sure I got the right dressing for my salad. The cookie was a given. Who would resist a soft cookie? One in particular that has chocolate.

Last, but not least...a mango smoothie. Granted it was chilly cold in terms of weather, but I didn't care. I love mangoes and I love smoothies and I wasn't going to pass this one up. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Eat My Blog: White Chocolate Brownies with Peanut Butter chips

I once again participated in the Eat My Blog bake sale that took place this past Saturday at Tender Greens in West Hollywood. I had made these tasty guys last year and I felt it was right to bake them up once again for others to taste the deliciousness of chocolate. :) I whipped up some white chocolate brownies with peanut butter chips.

I ate up the side scraps and bits and pieces that fell off. Call it a rewarding midnight snack. :)  The texture is a mix between a cake and a brownie with the peanut butter chips half way melted int he nooks and crannies.  Hope that's a good enough description to whet your appetite.


Wrapped each square in a treat bag with a little B + B card attached to the back, then made my delivery. I did make a small little batch for myself the next day. Those scraps weren't enough to fill  me up with white chocolate goodness.  I'm happy to report that the Eat My Blog bake sale went great. Raising over $3700 for the LA Food Bank. Woohoo... I'm sure you can find recaps on the event from many LA bloggers. (Here's one from Cathy at Gastronomy Blog.) I'm glad to have been able to participate in some capacity. Can't wait for the next one.

White Chocolate Brownies with Peanut Butter chips

1 c white chocolate chips (plus extra)
1 c granulated sugar
1/2 c unsalted butter or margarine (softened)
2 eggs
1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 c cake flour or all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 c peanut butter chips
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 c water

Preheat oven to 350˚F

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt. Set aside.

Melt the white chocolate white chocolate chips in a bowl with the water. Heat in the mircowave for 1 1/2 - 2 min or until melted. Stir the mixture after the first minute to combine. Or use the double boiler method. Bring some water to a boil in a small pot. Once the water is boiling bring it down to a simmer. Place the chocolate and water in a metal bowl and place on top of the pot. Stir chocolate ocassionally to combine until melted.

In another bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Then add in the eggs, mixing after each one. Add in vanilla, then the melted white chocolate. Combine well then slowly add the flour mixture. Mix well until there are no lumps.

Add in the peanuts butter chips.

Lightly grease preferred baking pan and pour in the batter. Sprinkle a little more white chocolate chips on top.

Baked for 25 min. Let it cool for at least 5-10min then cut into squares.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Thanksgiving Dish #5 - Strudel with Phyllo dough

Finally. Last, but not least. No meal would be complete without dessert. As much as I wanted to make pie, I wasn't going to make pie this year. I already had a full menu and I wanted to try and spend a little time in the kitchen and still enjoy the cooking. I had seen something similar to this on one of those Food Network Challenge show. It was the Thanksgiving episode. One of the contestants made a strudel using phyllo dough that she had made herself. It was a cool process to see homemade phyllo dough. Though I wouldn't really attempt to make my own. I wasn't quite clearly paying attention to what ingredients she made the filling with , but I remember vaguely bits and pieces of it.

For mine, I used a combination of chopped walnut, crushed pistachios and cranberry sauce. With a nice little mix of cinnamon-sugar. Tangy and sweet would be the two words that come to mind with this dessert. THe nice crisp crunch of the phyllo dough when you bite into it. Be sure to let it off off a bit before taking a bite or you'll burn your tongue like I did. I was hungry and eager by that point. It's a nice way to end a meal, too. Kind of gets rid of that meaty herby taste of the chicken. Deliciousness.

Strudel with Phyllo dough

4 12-inch sheets of phyllo dough
2 Tbsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 c chopped pistachios
1 c chopped walnuts
1 c cranberry jam or sauce
egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp water)

Preheat your oven to 350˚F. Combine the cinnamon, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Mix well and set aside.

Lay out two phyllo dough on a flat surface. Cover the rest with a damp paper towel to keep it from drying out. Layout two sheets of the phyllo dough, one on top of the other. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon mixture over and spread it evenly all over. Sprinkle half the walnuts and half the pistachios. evenly distribute the cranberry sauce over various areas.

Then, carefully roll the phyllo dough from one end to the other. Gently lifting one end as to not tear the sheets. Try to roll them as tight as possible to prevent from spilling the filling.  Cut into even smaller pieces and place onto a baking sheet. Baste with the egg wash and place on a baking sheet.

Repeat the process with the other two sheets of phyllo dough. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the phyllo dough has lightly browned. Serve warm.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thanksgiving Dish #4 - Herb-Butter Roast Chicken

As legend has it, in the first Thanksgiving, the settlers didn't really have turkey. It was some kind of bird, but it was never specify what. With several types of fowl to chose from I went for a whole chicken.  I would have gone turkey, but cooking a 25lb turkey for two is a bit much don't you think? Plus, imagine how much left over there would be. One can only go on turkey for so long until you get tired of eating leftovers for a while.

This a perfect match with those honey-herb biscuits. I also put a simple recipe for chicken gravy as well. Juicy, drool-worthy chicken. Luckily, since I was cooking for two, I didn't have to fight for the leg or thigh. Ha!

Herb-Butter Roast Chicken

1 2-3 lb whole chicken
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme - chopped
1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary - chopped
3 sprigs of thyme
3 sprigs of rosemary
1/2 sweet onion
1 lemon - halved

Preheat your oven to 375˚F. Combine the butter, chopped thyme and chopped rosemary in a small bowl.  Set aside. Tie to sprigs of rosemary and thyme together. Set aside.

Remove the giblets (usually packed in the cavity). Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel. Season (all over) with salt pepper and paprika. Rub evenly over the surface as well as in the cavity. Gently separate the skin from the breast. Stuff the butter in between. Rub into the breast and neck area. The stuff the tied herbs, onion and lemon into the cavity of the chicken. Gently place on a roasting pan and cook for roughly 1 1/2 hours until the thickest hart of the thigh is at 180˚F.

Baste every 20 minutes with it's own juices. If the skin looks to be browning quicker loosely cover with foil. When done roasting let the chicken rest for 15-20 minutes. Serve warm. 

Chicken Gravy 
3 tbsp flour, 
1/2 c Chicken drippings from roast
1/2 c chicken broth

Take the drippings of the chicken and place in a cup. Let it sit for a moment to let the fat separate from the juices.  When it floats to the top remove as much of the fat with a spoon. If you have a fat separator, you may use that. 

Once the fat has been removed whisk in the flour. Stir until smooth and no lumps. Serve with chicken.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thanksgiving Dish #3 - Green Bean and Mushroom Casserole

I love green beans. I love casserole, but I didn't want to go the traditional route of the green bean casserole with the canned mushroom soup. There's just something about the canned stuff that I'm not a fan of. So I searched the interweb for a recipe that didn't use the canned stuff. And I found one that was made by Alton Brown (original recipe here). Woohoo... Love Alton Brown. I love Good Eats. It's a fun show and I actually learn quite a bit of stuff about certain ingredients and history about dishes that i wouldn't otherwise have known.

Now I didn't have the crisp onions to put on top and I sort of tried to bake some in the oven, but those turned out burnt to a crisp. Bummer. So I just kinda used it as decoration on top of the casserole, not really much for eating.  So I put some panko crumbs on top instead, which turned out pretty tasty actually. And sauteed the portion of onion that I didn't used into the mushroom brean bean mix. Oh, you can use crushed crackers, too. The original recipe also called for half and half, which I don't have. I'm not much of a coffee drink in my own home. I used evaporated milk instead. The whole thing turned out pretty tasty even with the substitutions. This is a recipe I will be using over and over and over for sure. There's no need to use the canned stuff. Yay!!

Serves 2-3

Green Bean and Mushroom Casserole
Original by Alton Brown
Adapted by Bread + Butter

salt (plus 1 tsp)
1 pound fresh green beans, rinsed, trimmed and halved
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 ounces sliced baby bella mushrooms
1/2 sweet onion - sliced
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 c panko crumbs or crushed cracker

Preheat your oven to 350˚F

Bring a pot water seasoned with salt  to a boil. Add the beans and blanch for 5 minutes. Drain to and immediately soak in cold water. Drain again and set aside.

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and onions, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to give up some of their liquid and onions are tender. Add the garlic and nutmeg. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir to combine.  Add the broth and simmer for 1 minute. Lower the heat to medium-low and add the evaporated milk. Cook until the mixture thickens, stirring occasionally for roughly 6-8 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the green beans and place into a baking dish. Top with the panko crumbs or crushed cracker. Place into the oven and bake until bubbly, roughly 15 minutes. Remove and serve immediately.

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