Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Macaroni Salad with Imitation Crab

Although this post is titled 'Macaroni Salad,' no macaroni were actually used in this recipe. You've just been trolled! In all seriousness though you can pretty much substitute any non-noodley pasta. In this case I opted to use campanelle which are bell shaped pastas; it was nice because the bell kind of served as little cornucopias for the sauce and ingredients. I decided to do this recipe because I've been craving macaroni salad for ages. No not the gooey crud you get in a bucket from the supermarket; I was craving something restaurant quality. More specifically, I was craving the macaroni salad from a little business in the South Bay called Cherrystones. The quality of their food is amazing and one of the most memorable things of course was their macaroni salad. If you're ever in the area, do try the Chilean sea bass; it comes with macaroni salad. (;  Bon Appetit!

Macaroni Salad
1/2 pound pasta
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I went real light on the mayo, just add more if desired)
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 stalks of celery, diced in small pieces
1/2 carrot, diced in small pieces
1/4 cup onions, diced finely
4 sticks of imitation crab, shredded

1. Cook pasta as instructed on the package. Rinse cooked pasta under cold water and allow pasta to cool and excess water to drain.
2. Mix the mayonnaise, onion, rice vinegar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.
3. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and coat evenly.
4. Fold in the chopped celery, carrot, and imitation crab.
5. Refrigerate and serve cold.

If desired, you can also add some chopped boiled egg! I didn't add egg because I forgot. ): Enjoy!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Kimchee Quesadilla

I got the idea for kimchee quesadilla during my college days when one of my roommates brought some back from the famed Kogi Truck. If you are not familiar with the Kogi Truck, it's basically a Los Angeles based food truck that has gained substantial popularity in the food industry and has since then caused the gourmet food truck explosion; they serve yummy korean fusion food. My impression of their food is that it is delicious but what they charge is a little steep for me; especially if it's just quesadillas. So I decided to make some on my own! After some experimenting and many calories later, I got something that taste pretty good! The only thing that's missing is the sauce but I'll figure that out later. Enjoy! (;

Kimchee Quesadilla
1 cup kimchee
2 stalks green onion shredded
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Mexican blend shredded cheese (cheddar, monterey jack, mozzarella)
tortillas (flour or corn is okay)

1. Heat sesame oil in pan over medium heat and fry kimchee and sugar until caramelized and translucent.
2. Add green onion and sesame seeds to the pan and cook until the green onion is wilted.
3. Place tortilla on a heated pan and sprinkle with cheese. Add one layer of kimchee and sprinkle with an additional layer of cheese and fold in half. Cook until the cheese is melted and the tortilla golden and crispy.
4. Serve immediately!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Blueberry Bread Pudding

Bread pudding is one of those staple comfort foods that everyone loves. Carbs + Milk + Eggs? Yes please! It's hard to believe that this dish used to be poor man's food. Back in the day it was just a means to use up stale bread and it still is today but one of the major differences is that instead of soaking the break in water, we use milk. And it doesn't suck. Nowadays the dish can actually be quite decadent and rich. On the one hand summer is here so I opted to make a lighter bread pudding. The beauty of this recipe is that because it is so light, it's good both as a breakfast dish and dessert. Bon app├ętit!

Blueberry Bread Pudding
1 pound white bread cubed (I used Asian bread)
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
4 tablespoons of melted butter cooled
1 can 12 oz evaporated milk
2 cups milk
zest of half a lemon
1 cup blueberries (do add more if you like)
sliced almonds for garnish
powdered sugar for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
2. In a mixer whip eggs and sugar on high speed for about 5 minutes or until mixture forms a ribbon when the wire whip is lifted, the color should be pale yellow.
3. Beat in vanilla extract, spices, and lemon zest. Then beat in melted butter, evaporated milk and milk.
4. Place cubed bread and blueberries in baking pan lined with parchment paper or cupcake pan lined with foil cupcake liners. (I made a dozen bread pudding cupcakes and one 9 by 9 pan.)
5. Careful ladle prepared custard over bread until completely covered. Press down on the bread cubes so the bread pieces absorb the liquid completely. Sprinkle with almond slices.
6. Prepare a water bath. Carefully pour in enough hot water until the water is halfway up the sides of the pans. Bake cupcakes approximately 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Pans take about an hour to cook through. Remove the bread pudding from the water bath and allow to cool slightly before serving.

Serve chilled or still warm with fresh fruit, nuts, whipped cream, ice cream, or any combination of the above!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Springtime Lunch ft. Sachiko Studios & Drifting Pretty

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to cater for the very first time for the ladies of Drifting Pretty. Needless to say the day before and the actual date was hectic but the event turned out better than expected. I'm kind of surprised because this was the first time I attempted these recipes. Heh... shame on my for being such a procrastinator but luckily my foody senses are pretty good. To make the experience even more memorable, Nadine of Sachiko Studios was kind enough to do a photoshoot for my blog. The theme for the shoot was spring and because of my natural affinity for all things Japanesey I chose to do a Japanese fusion kind of menu. The experience was awesome; you can never go wrong with good food and good company although I certainly won't mind having an assistant the next time! Apologies for not updating my site for awhile but I hope you enjoy this super epic post featuring the photography from Sachiko Studios (check out her blog here), the ladies of Drifting Pretty (check out the cool things we do here), and of course yours truly, CHIBI CHOMPS. Please enjoy my recipes for kabocha pumpkin croquettes, chashu pulled pork, and lotus root chips. We're hitting three birds with one stone in this post!

Kabocha Pumpkin Croquettes

Chashu Pulled Pork Sandwich with Lotus Chips. 
Perfect cook book cover? (;

Drifting Pretty gals. (;

P.S. I'd like to thank Nadine and Mark for taking these awesome pictures and of course my helpers during plating! 

Chashu Pulled Pork Sandwiches
6 pounds pork (boston butt with bone)
3 cups water
1 cup soy sauce
2 cups sake
2 cups mirin
1 cups sugar
12 scallions
12 garlic cloves
2 medium shallots
6 inches of ginger
Spring veggie salad mix or vegetables of choice
Sesame Seeds for garnish

1. Place all ingredients save the pork in a crock pot and bring to boil.
2. When the mixture is simmering, place the pork in the crock pot, set a timer, and relax. (Cooking time may vary depending on the crock pot but I cooked my pork for 12+ hours and it was fall off fork tender.)
3. Remove pork from the slow cooker and allow meat to rest.
4. Take the left over juices from slow cooker and simmer to reduce the liquid. When the sauce is thickened, ladle onto the pork for extra deliciousness. (I added the sauce after assembling the sandwich so the bread absorbed the extra liquid.)
5. Assemble the sandwich and enjoy.

Lotus Root Chips
Recipe inspired by Spirit House Bar. 
6 pounds of lotus root
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon water
oil for frying

1. Heat oil to 340°F.
2. Slice the lotus root to 2-3mm in thickness.
3. To make glaze, mix the powdered sugar and water together until smooth.
4. Fry the lotus root slices in the oil until golden brown and place on a wrack to drain the excess oil.
5. While the fried pieces are still hot, brush the chips with glaze then sprinkle with salt and furikake.

Kabocha Pumpkin Croquettes
4 pounds kabocha pumpkin
6 hard boiled eggs
1 large brown onion
2 tablespoon butter
1 can corn
2 teaspoon salt
1 pinch nutmeg
1 pinch pepper
panko bread crumbs
2 beaten eggs

1. Cook hard boiled eggs, set aside the yolk, and roughly mince the egg whites.
2. Cut the kabocha pumpkin into medium sized chunks (leave the skin on) and boil in salted water until soft. (You should easily skewer a chopstick through it.) Drain and mash the pumpkin while still hot. To further evaporate excess liquid, mash over low heat. When most of the moisture has evaporated, mash in the egg yolks.
3. Mince and saute onion in melted butter until soft. Season with salt, nutmeg and pepper.
4. In the pot of mashed pumpkin, mix in the egg whites, corn (drained), and onion.
5. Divide mixture into 24 equal portions. (You can make smaller ones if you like.)
6. Make flat and oval shaped patties with the mixture. Coat each piece with flour, dip in the beaten egg, and coat with panko bread crumbs.
7. Optional: Place the finished pieces in the fridge for 30 minutes prior to frying to decrease the chances of the croquette falling apart.
8. Fry the croquettes in 340°F oil until golden brown.
9. Serve the croquettes with bulldog sauce, ketchup, or mayonnaise if desired, and garnish with vegetables of your choice. (Typically Japanese croquettes are served with finely sliced cabbage.)

Monday, April 30, 2012

Sweden: More than just meatballs

I visited a number of places on my European adventure and I must say Sweden takes the cake for best food of the entire trip. I went to Sweden not knowing what to expect; aside from swedish meatballs, lingonberries, swedish pancakes, and IKEA. In fact, I had no idea what was there. However I was pleasantly surprised with what I found; Sweden is a country that's more than just meatballs.
Our first meal in Sweden: Swedish Meatballs. If you're in Sweden, how can you not have the meatballs right? Disclaimer: These were American made! Either way, they were tasty. 

One of the things I love in Sweden is their caviar. It's basically fish roe in a tube and is eaten with eggs. After this trip, I think I've developed a new appreciation for eggs. Stay posted for egg recipes!
This here is a herring sandwich. It is absolutely delicious and puts McDonald's fillet-o-fish to shame. Yum! Again, the freshness of the ingredients in Europe is amazing!
Smoked fish shop near Ale's Stones which is pretty much Swedish Stone Henge. We tried the smoked eel (sea snake ;D) and it was really tasty; I love smoked foods! This is also where we got the fish sandwich above.
Swedish Easter was so awesome. Traditionally Swedes eat herring, drink Schnapps, and sing Easter songs during the meal. Unlike the US, what's interesting is that on this holiday, they have witches, cats, and tie feathers on branches! 
This was my plate. Look's like a an entire meal in itself right? Well this was just the "appetizer." Can you see why I gained weight on this trip? Totally worth it though.
And so our Swedish adventure ends. I'm pretty sure this post barely scratches the surface of what Sweden is. Hopefully this will not be the last time I visit! To be honest, I don't think we would have had half the fun we did without the hospitality of the Simonsson family. We were really fortunate to have them welcome us into their home and pretty much take care of us the entire time in Sweden. How awesome were they? They bought lactose free milk because they knew we were lactose intolerant. Wow! It's thanks to them that we were able to have such a good time there and experience a Sweden that's beyond the meatballs so I dedicate this post to them! Tack! Please visit in California! (:

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Thin 'n Crispy Almond Cookies

You'll often find these cookies in Asian bakeries for about 3 bucks for a very small package. Considering how thin they are, you're not really getting much. Good news is, these are super easy to make. Unlike your conventional cookie, I think these are great as a light snack or something to munch on without feeling too guilty. If you're a fan of almonds and crispy things, this is the recipe for you.

Thin 'n Crispy Almond Cookies
80 grams powdered sugar
40 grams cake flour
50 grams melted butter
3 egg whites
100 grams almond slices

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Sift flour and powdered sugar together in a bowl.
3. Add egg whites and melted butter to the flour and sugar mixture and mix well.
4. Gently fold in the almond slices to the mixture.
5. On a large rectangular baking sheet lined with a nonstick silicone mat or greased foil (grease with butter or oil generously), spread the batter onto the baking sheet evenly and thinly. (I split the batter in half to make two sheets but you can probably do 3 or 4 depending on how patient you are and on how thin you want your cookie to be.)
6. Bake for 20-30 minutes, checking halfway, until golden brown. (If it does not brown evenly, no worries, break off the golden parts and pop the non-golden bits back into the oven.)
7. Allow to cool. When cool and hardened, peel cookie off the foil and break into desired pieces.

The preparation for the batter is fairly easy. The trick to this recipe lies in spreading the batter evenly and thinly. Otherwise, its a piece of cake.

Friday, April 20, 2012

London, you're my mate.

Hello my fellow followers. As you may have noticed I have been MIA for awhile and that is because I have been backpacking in Europe. The trip was great and for the next few posts I will be sharing my foodie adventures with you. Let's start with London shall we?
My first meal in London was Fish and Chips at The Half Moon near the Queens Mary Campus. Unfortunately the picture I took of that was blurry so I'll provide you with a shot of my beer instead. Besides, it's just fish and chips right? What surprised me most is that the pint in the UK is huge! In the US, a pint is 16 ounces whereas in the UK it is 20 ounces. What do you get when you add exhaustion and alcohol together? This:
Needless to say, I did not feel very well however I managed to recover so yay me!

One of the things I really enjoyed was the Farmer's Market on the Queens Mary campus. There was fresh produce, sausages, baked goods, exotic meats, and food vendors.
All very tempting. 
Unlike the US doughnut, the ones here have a more bread-like texture. 
Giant vat of paella!
I've never even heard of some of these veggies before. I'd love to live here to be able to have access to all these awesome ingredients. 
Cheese bread; still warm!!!
The only thing I bought; it was delicious! There's just something about farmer's markets that I love. 
Prior to coming to London, a friend of mine suggested that I try a pasty. There were numerous flavors to choose from such as lamb and mint, chicken and mushroom, cheese and bacon, etc; I opted for a steak and ale pasty. Although this is probably more of a snack kind of food, I thought it could be a meal by itself.
If you're going to London, you must try an afternoon tea session. This was definitely one of the more memorable moments. It's just a great opportunity to feel fancy, eat dainty goodies, and have a nice chat. Pinkies up!
High tea ranges from approximately £10 to £50 depending on the place. As a more wallet friendly alternative, we had sweet tea at Bea's of Bloomsbury. There's actually more than one location for this place and funny thing is we got lost getting here. We ended up going to an alternative location and they happened to be having a 2 for 1 deal. It was only for sweet tea so the set did not contain sandwiches however it was as lovely as can be and more than enough to eat!
I chose Earl Grey, however my sister got the Jasmine Silver Needle White Tea and it wass AMAZING!
One of my most favorite things from London is clotted cream.  Average of 64% fat content? YOLO!
Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is one of the cooler pubs I had the opportunity to visit during my stay in London. I'd say you should go too because it is one of those places with a lot of history and the interior is super cool. Apparently this pub has been frequented by the likes of Mark Twain an Charles Dickens. Awesome huh? Originally I wanted to come here for the Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding but unfortunately I cheaped out and got the Ye Olde Famous Steak and Kidney pie instead.
I'm not sure if this was one of my favorite dishes but I thought the meaty filling would've been great with a side of rice. Am I too Asian or what? Next time, I definitely need to get that Yorkshire Pudding!
And of course, if you're in the UK, you need to try a full English breakfast. I thoroughly enjoyed this! Yum!

Although it makes me feel guilty to say this, the rumors are true! Food here is generally on the bland side. On a positive note, compared to the states the produce in London is amazingly fresh and of superior quality. I just wished they used more spices than salt and pepper. So is food in London all bad? Not at all! I loved their Asian food and by Asian I mean their Indian and Bangladeshi cuisine. After all, the national dish in the UK is Indian Curry.
With all seriousness, seriously. Indians sure have a way with spices. 
This was not a typical Indian biryani. I think it's actually Bangladeshi. What I found was interesting was the  ingredients they put in here. Lemon peel, herbs, chili peppers, etc; great ideas for future recipes no?

And here I end this British adventure with something sweet. There were also a lot of Indian sweets shops nearby where I stayed. (For all your Indian needs, check out Brick Lane.) I'm not sure what this is called but this is just one of the many things I sampled. I say if you're in a foreign country, just try it if it looks interesting. Cheers!