Thursday, December 17, 2009

Midnight Macaroons

I don't know if it's the sugar rush from taste-testing, or if it's because I figured out how to use the self-clean cycle on my oven. A revelation! Next time I broil some eggplant, I hope I won't have to have the sheet pan ready to fan the smoke detector.

I couldn't sleep, so I decided I would try to make some macaroons. After my pathetic attempt this summer, I thought I'd try to do it again with the full experience of a baking class backing me.

This time, I did it!

Piped and ready to bake:

Dried out as much as possible, but I'm still going to sit it in a warm oven overnight:

Time to attempt the Bryan Voltaggio macaroon again. That's what inspired me and got me in trouble the first time.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Oatmeal philia

I wrote a while ago about my Oatmeal phobia. My friend the ProFussor emailed me about oatmeal that would change my life.

He was right. I had been exposed only to the horrible instant rolled oats variety of oatmeal (cardboard with a hint o' ass). This morning I tried his preparation with steel cut oats toasted in butter before simmering. It's oatmeal with bite and teeth and not a hint o' ass or cardboard anywhere. I didn't need a fried egg to cover up the flavor because the oatmeal was nutty and flavorful.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pate a choux

Better known as the pastry dough that forms cream puffs and eclairs, I tried out a savory version with chives,sprinkled with gruyere, and stuffed with fenugreek mashed potatoes.

I've really learned a lot in my 8-week intro baking class. Prior to the class, I didn't think much about baking, but now I have a whole new appreciation for this art which creates such a variety of different products from a handful of standard ingredients.

Prior to this class, I also used to think I was a nice person, but after 8 weeks of dealing with classmates who had the mental capacity of a peanut, I realize I will probably go to hell because I have so little tolerance for idiots. I am chock full of horror, bitterness, and a little bit of shock. Raised in the Asian way, I believed if you worked hard enough, you'd learn. Work problems over and over and eventually, you'll know how to do calculus. Basically, I was taught nurture over nature. Now, I don't know. A lot of it is the luck of the genetic and socio-economic draw. There is a lot of nature involved. I find this very disturbing and contrary to the American way of thinking.

Maybe it's not so good to have this American ideal of achievement when so much of American society is stacked against the odds of having nurture overcome nature.

Monday, August 24, 2009


New loaf, same aesthetics. For some reason, this loaf turned out drier than the last.


I suspect I baked it too long. The internal temp was upwards 205 Fahrenheit when I took it out of the oven.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Home-made Bread

My first two attempts at a sandwich bread loaf in the last two weeks have tasted fine, but have looked unappealing - lopsided, too brown on top, too light on the bottom.

Today, I used a different "recipe" (from Michael Ruhlman's book RATIO) and let it rise overnight in the refrigerator so some lethargic yeast could lazily munch on some sugar in their slowed metabolic state. I also brushed on some egg wash halfway through the baking.

MUCH better looking and better tasting!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009


Now I'm just getting ridiculous. Crossing in a panic = running forward and back on the board like a chicken with its head cut off.

Do chickens surf?

Tuesday, August 04, 2009


Cross-stepping forward is getting slightly easier.

Backward is non-existant as I shuffle-hopped back to the tail only to lose it and have the board shoot out from under me.

Monday, August 03, 2009


I did a few honest-to-goodness cross-steps this weekend instead of my usual sideways bunny hop.

Now I just have to learn how to do it at the right time instead of at the end of the wave when I just sink the nose into the water.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Things to note

I stepped on a weight scale yesterday out of solidarity for our dog Otis who was having his annual check-up. Oof. Both the dog and I are heavier than last year.

This is why I decided to surf this morning.

I'm rusty and surfing without a leash at El Porto does not help my rusty-ness. Swam once and that was enough to make me really picky about my waves.

Stupidly took the wrong key with me when I locked my car, locking the car key inside. Thanks to the awesome surfer woman with AAA!

Friday, July 24, 2009


Joel Tudor interview on longboarding and why it's not shortboarding

Watched the surfers on a major swell today at Topanga. Shortboarders bore me. The sexy ones were the three longboarders who were killing it with five toes over and powerful turns.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Oatmeal phobia

I had this impression that plain oatmeal tastes like ass with a hint of cardboard. I don't know where I got this impression. I don't actually remember ever eating oatmeal, but maybe I was just suppressing a memory which lingers as just an impression.

So, being an adventurous sort of foodie, I decided to try oatmeal this morning. I am happy to report that I was wrong, it actually tastes more like cardboard with a hint of ass. I decided it would help to dress it up... salt (lots of it), butter, and a fried egg on top. I broke the yolk with my spoon and had myself some egg-flavored oatmeal. No cardboard or ass.

Now I feel healthy because I ate oatmeal.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I surf / I don't surf

I think this is a lull.

My weekend commitment to "paddle no matter what" went by the wayside after about two weekends. One weekend had no surf, and I paddled. One weekend had some small fun surf and I had some small fun waves, and I paddled. This weekend was a swell and the yahoos were out. Close-outs did not look fun to paddle over or out of at home break and hunting down non-crowded points on the first Los Angeles weekend swell in two months did not sound like a fun way to spend the morning.

So I don't surf.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Lately, understanding comes just before I fall asleep. This is frustrating.

Last night, I thought I understood Molly Daniels old teachings about stories not being fiction until you have that extra 30%. Just had to get that down before I forgot.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Garlic roasted crab and seafood risotto

Dungeness crab. My first time killing things with eyes. What guilt I had was washed away with dinner.

Risotto -- much better texture than my first attempt the other day, not mushy at all. Killed clams for this dish, but they don't have eyes, do they?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Mushy, but tasty risotto

In my first attempt, I totally overcooked the risotto last night. It was fine... then it wasn't. I learned that the arborio likes to keep cooking even when you take it off the heat. Tasty, though.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Caramelized onions

I made some caramelized onions for the first time yesterday. I was folding dumplings and shu-mai, and I parked myself at the kitchen counter so I could periodically stir the onions.

As the onions seemed to melt into a delicious reddish-brown goo, I wondered aloud to my husband whether it was done. He was pan-frying some sweet potato ravioli I learned from watching Ming Tsai.

"Smells good. I think it's done. What's next?"

"This is it. I caramelized onions. That was the point."

"I thought you were working off a recipe!"

"Yeaaaahh. A recipe for caramelizing onions. That's the point. I wanted to caramelized onions."

He shook his head. He obviously doesn't get how my obsessive nature applies to food. Sure, I have ideas about putting the onions on steak maybe doing something with potatoes in the pantry. But obviously, an ingredient that takes 4 hours of periodic attention is something you prep ahead of time to keep in your fridge for a week of experimentation to come.

Already, I love me some caramelized onions with some scrambled eggs.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Dongpo Pork

Sunday's experiment was a dongpo ro (braised pork belly). Here's the recipe I kind of used.

The boy (who has some strange aversion to fat and skin) even liked it.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

100,001 wontons

Last Friday I took an Asian shellfish class mainly because I saw salt and pepper shrimp (one of my favorite Chinese restaurant dishes ever) was on the menu and partly because I wanted to check out this cooking school. We paired up and drew from a bowl to see which dish we'd be preparing that evening. I was crossing my fingers for salt and pepper shrimp, but I would have been more than happy to do garlic roasted crab, too.

Just my luck?

My partner and I drew Scallop and chive dumplings. It's not like I haven't made hundreds or thousands or HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of dumplings before. We tried to trade, but everybody was happy with their draws. So, my goal became: fold these little fuckers as fast as I can and then watch every other station cook their dish.

More luck?

I also happened to partner up with the one Taiwanese-American mother of two in the world who has never folded dumplings in her life, so no help there. My BROTHERS can fold dumplings.

When the instructor called the rest of the class over to demo the folding process, I was already out the gate and on auto-pilot while she carefully pleated her dumpling on the cutting board. Sure her dumpling was beautiful, but I'd already finished three by the time she was done. I don't think I made a friend.

To add to my annoyance, the two assistant instructors actually came over to me and asked me to show them how I was folding the dumplings. (Someone give me my class fee back!)

The dumplings tasted good (although, I question the recipe's instruction to use a food processor on scallops - puree anyone?) and I got to observe and eat all the food including giant portions of crab, so yay.

Gordon Ramsay at the London Hotel

Went to a Restaurant Week special prix fixe last night.

1020 N. San Vicente Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069


Choice 1 - Confit Beet Salad - with ricotta cheese, beetroot dressing and crispy endive
Choice 2 - Wild Mushroom Veloute - with sauteed mushrooms and chive cream
Choice 3 - Rabbit and Smoked Bacon Ballottine - with vegetable piccalilli and toasted brioche

Choice 1 - Jerusalem Artichoke Risotto - with artichoke chips, black truffle and sherry caramel reduction
Choice 2 - Crispy Pave of Sea Trout - with white cabbage and pickled ginger, kohlrabi and celeriac cream sauce
Choice 3 - Braised Ox Cheek - with port wine, horseradish creamed potatoes, glazed turnips and braising jus

Choice 1 - Chocolate Savarin - with malted milk emulsion, salted caramel ice cream and caramel powder
Choice 2 - Creme Fraiche and Quince Panna Cotta - with gingerbread ice cream
Choice 3 - Kabocha Pumpkin Chiboust - with chestnut cream and green tea gelato

Dinner also includes: Steamed Bamboo and Shiitake Mushroom Chawanmushi amuse and "Pre-Dessert".

Friday, January 23, 2009


I am not usually an emotional person (although, I do cry at the sappiest movies). I was more overcome by paranoid worry than joy on Election Day. The insane McCain supporters who made the headlines (and who won't go away... Joe) had me worried about a loud, boorish portion of our country. The pomp of Inauguration Day went by in silence as I watched C-Span. Listening to CNN talk of 10-disk CD changers in the bullet-proof limos or to Fox News lionizing Bush one last time drove me to the preferable silence of the C-Span feed.

I have never been one of the Hope-filled Change-meisters marching to the beat of a charismatic leader, though I did campaign for the guy.

Instead, I was waiting for something besides inspirational words (and inspiring they are). I was waiting for an action.

As I read that President Obama signed an order to shut down Guantanamo and quit torture practices, I was overcome with emotion. I cried. That our country no longer stands for torture and illegal detention, that our country respects human life, that our country is moving to be better than its enemies... I was overcome. Finally, I felt relief, pride, and yes, even hope.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The start of beef broth

Roasted beef bones, veal bones, and pork bones.