Posts tagged ‘cooking’

Nearly instant ramen

Not quite instant ramen, but the best ramen I’ve ever made at home. The noodles are fresh not freeze dried, and the soup packet is liquid. The noodles are colored with vitamin B so the cooking liquid turns very bright yellow, but I prefer that to traditional food coloring. It also comes in pork and miso flavors, none of the soup packets are vegetarian.

The noodles cook in 2 1/2 mins (then drain, the soup cooks separately). It has that nice chewiness that you can’t get from instant and the soup is not overly salty while still very flavorful. I added scallions, egg, and nori  (you can also throw in some leftovers). I hope the store will keep stocking these, I’m going to be hoarding them.



May 4, 2010 at 3:50 pm 2 comments

Scallion and potatoes

sppan2(before baking)

Here I just threw some red scallions and red potatoes together into the oven. It’s really simple and tasty. The scallions really permeate the potatoes and the olive oil.  Spring onions are in season so this would also take advantage of them and the weather (being not too warm to use the oven).

  • 2lb red bliss potatoes 
  • 1 bunch of scallions or 1 spring onion
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450. Cut potatoes into 4ths or 8ths depending on size. Slice scallions on the diagonal into long pieces.  Toss together with a few tablespoons of olive oil, few dashes of salt and pepper in a baking dish or cast iron pan. Bake for 25mins or till potatoes are done.






April 1, 2009 at 6:32 am 2 comments

Midnight breakfast sandwich


My late night meal, because I’m on my nocturnal schedule. 

Some sauteed pre-sliced mushrooms and baby spinach with garlic (salt & pepper) with two sunny side up eggs in a freshly fried bun* topped with some shaved Parmesan. All done in roughly 15 minutes.  🙂 I had almost everything on hand prepped, and a wok full of oil left over from making falafels and of course the dough.

*Using some stored dough, take a small handful, shaped into a flat disk and deep fry medium high.  If the oil is too hot or the shape too thick the center might remain raw and doughy.

I always save a good chunk of old dough to mix into the new dough and over time my dough has developed a nice flavor.


The yolks made it more of a fork-n-knife sandwich.



I find it harder to cook late at night now because we keep our new puppy Monty in the kitchen. He would wake up, I’d take him out and back, then he stares at me and subversively beg for food. 

lina-sm – Lina

Feels great to be back 😀

January 12, 2009 at 8:57 am 4 comments

mmm adobo!


It was my turn for dinner again this past Monday. I decided I would cook some Filipino food for my friends. I chose pork adobo with rice as the main meal, a simple salad to start with, and a white chocolate cake from a new favorite bakery of mine.

Adobo is pretty simple dish to make. You can use either pork or chicken, but that night was a pork night. It’s one of my favorite dishes, and no matter how I try, mine will never be as delicious as my mother’s. I have no photos of the finished meal, because we were starving and just ate…all of it.


  • 1 lb. of pork butt (sure you could use other pork parts, but trust me, this works best)
  • 1 clove of minced garlic
  • 1/3 c. soy sauce (dark soy sauce is awesome for this)
  • 1/3 c. vinegar
  • 1/2 c. water (should be enough to cover pork)


-Make sure you wash down the pork and pat it dry with a napkin. Then, you’ll want to cut the pork into about 1/2 in. thick slices. With the pork I used, I cut it first into about 5 sections. Then I cut each section into 1/2 in. thick slices. Place pork in pot. Mince 1 clove of garlic and add to pot. Add the soy sauce and the vinegar and mix well with the pork and garlic. Add water. Place on stove on med/high heat and cover. After it’s been boiling about 15 minutes, remove cover and turn heat down to medium. Stir occassionally and cook for another 15 to 20 min. You will know when it’s done when 1. the pork is tender and 2. most of the water has evaporated and you’re left with a nice, dark sauce. If the sauce still looks too watery, turn heat down to med/low and allow it to simmer until not so watery. (I’m so sorry there’s no photo to describe it better) Serve with rice and enjoy! If you really want to go homestyle, serve it with a fried egg. =)

I made a simple salad. I’m no good with making fancy salads, but I did know that Angela & Mike liked the veggies. I’m so thoughtful. ha! So I used green leaf lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, and cucumber and served it thousand island dressing.


And, in my local Korean grocery store (HMART – 1302 Blalock, Houston TX 77055), there is a bakery called Tous Les Jours. I’ve bought other baked goods from there before, and the breads have always been so yummy and soft and just so tasty. I figured their cakes would be decent, so I bought a small white chocolate cake. It was that soft spongecake often used for Asian cakes, with the tastiest and lightest buttercream icing, and topped with white chocolate shavings. It was delicious. I am going to be buying more cakes from there, let me tell you. The cake was light and fresh. It didn’t feel too heavy and it was perfect for our meal. It also comes in the cutest box with a complimentary plastic cake knife.


P.S. my food blog partner, Lina, and her husband came to visit me last week and we had the most fun time. I made shrimp lumpia and will share that recipe next time!

reina-sm – chelle

December 13, 2008 at 5:21 am 3 comments

Pickled Herring Ume Cucumber Rolls

I bought a jar of pickled herring out of curiosity. I imagined it would taste like fish in pickle brine and I was not disappointed. The hubby didn’t think the jarred gray matter looked very appetizing, but thought it tasted pretty good. The texture was chewy and not ‘cooked’. It had some onions (with a little crunch) in there with specks of dill. The only thing I didn’t care for was the amount of sugar, it was a bit on the sweet side and I never liked sweet pickles. I was just snacking on it randomly till I had half the jar left and then thought of sushi. The addition of pickled plums helped cut the sweetness (I buy the type with no sugar added). The cucumber adds texture but I think it could’ve been better if I had cut it into thinner strips. I left the rice unseasoned because the pickled herring and onions did the job. The scallion added a nice layer to the flavors, you can always use more if you love scallions. The rice and cucumber nicely balances the salty, sweet, and tart. You won’t need any soy sauce either.

Pickled Herring Ume Cucumber Rolls

  • 1 1/2 cup uncooked sushi rice (or 2 cups measured with rice cooker cups)
  • 4 sheets of nori
  • 5 or 6 umeboshi (pickled plums) or 5-6 tsp of ume paste
  • 1 stalk of scallion, chopped finely
  • ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cucumber, seeded and sliced vertically
  • 12oz jar pickled herring with onion

  1. Cook the sushi rice according to directions.
  2. Divide warm cooked rice into 4 parts. Spread one part onto nori sheet covering about 3/4 or 4/5 of it.
  3. Lay cucumber slices over exposed part of nori.
  4. Peel flesh off pickled plums, removing pit, break up into small bits and lay (or smear) across the rice next to the cucumber. Or if using plum paste, spread onto rice in a thin line.
  5. Sprinkle on 1/4 of the scallions and a little black pepper on top of the plum.
  6. Remove herring and onions from jar and drain off excess liquids. Place a single layer of herring with a few onions on top of plums/scallions. If the pieces are large or not uniformed, cut up accordingly. (You might not use up the whole jar for 4 rolls.)
  7. Start rolling up the nori from cucumber side. Roll and press with bamboo mat (covered in plastic wrap).
  8. Slice up each roll into 8 pieces. Eat while warm.


August 29, 2008 at 10:53 am 2 comments

sandwich cubano + maduros

I cobbled together this recipe when I moved from Austin to Houston and needed a substitute for the Sandwich Cubano at La Habana, one of my favorite Austin restaurants. I got the marinade recipe from BBQ USA by Steven Raichlen, my favorite chef and one the greatest grill masters around. Maduros are fried slices of plantain bananas. Plantains can be tedious to ripen and frying can be an inconvenience or hazard. I still have a scare on my arm from when I was frying buffalo chicken hearts back in June. But if you want to go all-out there is a great recipe for grilled maduros in the aforementioned book. My cheaters version for the popular Caribbean and South American side dish follows.

For the sandwiches

1 5 lb pork loin
12 slices of deli ham (any brand will do)
3 loaves French bread
1 jar pickle slices
6 slices of Swiss cheese
Mustard to taste

For the marinade

1 head of garlic
1 tbp coarse salt (I use sea)
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup orange juice
1 1/2  cups lime juice
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tbp olive oil

You will also need

-A charcoal grill set up for indirect grilling. This means coals on two sides with the meat on the grate in between them. You should also fashion a drip pan to catch the fan and other juices that fall from the pork as it cooks. You won’t reuse it but it helps for a cleaner grill.
-A Foreman grill or a panini press.
-A carving knife
-A mixing bowl
-A Pyrex or similar marinating dish large enough to accommodate the pork loin.
-Cutting board
-Saran wrap or similar product
-A large pan

Advance Prep
Four hours for marinating, three hours for cooking the pork. FYI, you should start the coals 30 minutes before you put the pork on so they’re good n’ glowing.

Prepare the marinade. Break off and shuck all the cloves and finely chop, then place in a mixing bowl. Using a mortar and pestle (a mixing bowl and the back of a spoon is a good substitute) grind the garlic and the sea salt into a paste. Add the pepper, orange and lime juice, cumin, oregano and olive oil and stir together. It should look like salad dressing.

Prepare the pork loin. Most people get their pork loin in a package from a grocer. If it smells kind of funky when you open the package, don’t worry about it. This is normal and has no effect on the taste. I promise! Rinse the pork off and pat it dry with paper towels. Place the pork in the marinating dish, fat side up. (Most pork loins come with a thin layer of fat on them) Make several half-inch deep incisions with a knife into the fatty side of the loin. Pour the marinade over the pork, massaging the marinade into the slits with your hands. It helps to get a spoon and spoon some of the marinade directly into the cuts. Cover with the wrap (to keep the garlic fumes in) and put in the fridge. Turn it over every hour to be sure it marinates evenly. A note on the marinating: The original recipe is for lechon asado, a stand-alone pork dish that is a staple of Cuban cuisine around Christmas time. You can use this marinade on pork shoulder of even an uncured ham (the ham could feed over 10 ppl and takes longer to cook, obviously). Raichlen calls for 12-24 hours of marinading, and if you would like to serve the pork loin stand-alone and not in sandwich form I would recommend that time frame. However since we’re making sandwiches, four to six hours should be fine.

After about 3 hours and 30 minutes of marinading let the pork finish outside of the fridge for the last half-hour. This gives the meat a chance to relax. You never want to put meat straight from the fridge onto the grill. After marinating is finally done, pour off and discard the marinade. Salt and pepper the loin. Once you have the grill ready (see above for setup directions, and don’t forget to clean the grate) place the pork in the center of the grate and cover.

After about an hour you will need to add more coals. Be very careful. Gently remove the pork from the grate and place it on a roasting pan. Using a metal prong or similar instrument (not your hands) remove the grate and add about 10 coals per side. Replace the grate, put the pork back where it was, and recover.

After the meat has been cooking for about 2 hrs 30 min it’s a good idea to get your sandwich fixings ready. Go ahead and slice the loaves in half, so you are left with six half-loaves. Apply mustard and set aside. Slice them down the middle horizontally. In the large pan, heat the ham slices. You don’t want to burn them, just brown them a little to enhance their flavor. Set aside once you’re done.

After 3 hrs remove the meat from the grill and place on the cutting board. Let it set for about 5 minutes so the juices have time to settle. Use this time to plug in the Foreman grill. Cut the pork into inch-thick slices. Each half-loaf should hold 1 1/2 – 2 slices of pork. Put the ham on top, then a slice of Swiss. Layer the pickles on top and sprinkle with pepper. Put the other half of bread on top to complete the sandwich. Place on the Foreman grill and press until the bread is crispy and the cheese is melted. Slice in half and serve with maduros.

Suburban Maduros

1 lb of sweetened banana chips
1 1/2 tbp olive oil
1 tbp salt

A note on the ingredients. Real maduros are made from slices plantains, but I found a good substitute. Whole Foods has a section in the store where you can make your own trail mix. One of the ingredients you can buy for less 2 bucks a pound is sweetened, dried banana chips. If you go on a lot of roadtrips for work like I do they make a great, healthy car snack. Anyway, toss the chips in a large mixing bowl with the oil and salt. Just use your hands and don’t be a wuss. Spread the chips on a large roasting pan. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. When it’s ready put the chips in and cook for about 20 minutes. The chips should be nice, brown and crispy.

Drink either a mojito, a cuba libre, or an Ironbeer and enjoy! Serves 6.

–by contributing chef Alex

August 9, 2008 at 2:48 am 3 comments

Scallion pancakes

Well it’s less like a pancake and more of a crispy flat savory pastry. I got the recipe from Basil and Ginger, with excellent pictures and instructions. It’s really good and relatively easy to make (and I usually dislike anything requiring rolling). I used organic shortening, and rolled it very thin (as thin as I can get before all the scallion pieces poke out). I cooked it extra crispy and browned.

July 28, 2008 at 2:16 am 4 comments

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