Thursday, September 22, 2016

Flan!

Ah, one of life's greatest mysteries, always wanting what you can't have. 

When I'm flooded with work, all I can ever think about is the stuff I would be able to accomplish if I only had the free time. Of course, when I have loads of free time, what happens? Netflix. 

Okay so to break away from my marathons of random shows (because the ones I'm truly addicted to are on hiatus!) and give my eyes a rest and wake my brain up from its deep slumber, I decided to head into the kitchen and try something new, flan!


Honestly it felt like I was making an upside down creme brulee, minus the sugar torch at the end. It was actually a nice little experiment, simple and distracting enough. The version I played with was very rich. I'm thinking of flipping the cream and milk quantities next time and see how that goes. 


The Perfect Flan
from epicurious.com

Ingredients:
  • 1 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup of water
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  •  7 tbsp of sugar
Procedures:
  1. In a medium sauce pan, simmer the cream, milk, salt, and vanilla bean over medium heat. Remove and steep for 30 minutes
  2. Meanwhile in another sauce pan, over low heat combine the sugar and water, stir until sugar is dissolved. Increase to high heat and without stirring cook until sugar turns amber color (about 10 minutes, watch it as it gets close because the sugar is extremely hot, even if you turn the heat off, it continues to cook) Once its done, quickly transfer the sugar to the ramekins and tilt to get the bottoms to be well coated.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk sugar, eggs, and yolk together until blended. Slowly whisk into cream mixture. Pour mixture through a sieve into the ramekins.
  4. Place the ramekins into a water bath making sure the water is halfway up the sides of the ramekins. **The flans will bake in the water bath, make sure it is bath is in an oven safe pan.
  5. Bake for about 40 minutes at 350F or until flan is gently set. Transfer into a cooling rack and allow to cool for about 2 hours. Chill overnight in the refrigerator.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms!

Want something simple, delicious, and totally healthy?  Stuffed portabella mushrooms! I love my meats (sorry, it's addiction for life) but sometimes we all need a bit of veggies so this has become my go to when I want something nutritious and filling.

The first time I put these together, it was really an afterthought to create as a vegetarian option for people who prefer their greens. I was prepping the mushrooms which was basically throw some cheese and breadcrumbs on it, toss onto the grill, done. Well... the grill was awfully busy and I had to wait... so what happens when you get bored in the kitchen with a counter full of ingredients and leftover tad bits? Genius, that what. 


I was snacking on a slice of heirloom tomato when I realized how awesome it would be if I stuffed a slice in with the mushroom... some Italian seasoning, garlic, Parmesan cheese. One thing led to another and before I knew it, an accidental masterpiece. Turns out, it was a hit! Veggie and meat eaters alike, couldn't get enough! It doesn't sound like a lot but let me tell you, eating the whole thing will fill you up!

I haven't mastered the art of grilling yet so every time I've remade these I used the oven and they turn out just as tasty. I love that with this you don't have to stick to the recipe 100%, have fun with it. I haven't tried it yet, but ground turkey, onions, and bell peppers would be a tasty combo as well.


Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms
Ingredients: 
  • 2-3 Portabella mushrooms - de-stemmed and washed
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • Italian bread crumbs 
  • approx 1/2 to 1 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • Mozzarella cheese (optional)
  • 2-3 tbsp of Italian seasoning: oregano, basil, thyme, and rosemary
  • 1 heirloom tomato (large), sliced
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  •  salt/pepper
Procedures:
  1. MIX: Italian bread crumbs and half of the Parmesan cheese together 
  2. LAYER: for each mushroom: add salt/pepper, oil, some chopped garlic >> bread crumb mix >> tomato >> herb seasoning >> finally top with Parmesan or Mozzarella 
  3. BAKE: cover with foil, bake at 325F for 10-15 minutes. Uncover halfway to brown or crisp the cheese  or GRILL: cover with foil, grill for 10-15 minutes or until tender

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Wanderings - Food Finds on College Ave - Oakland, CA

Friday evening, post dinner, the caveman and I were both doing our own thing... typical quality time spent together - aka me flipping through my newest copy of Bon Appetit and him poking at random things on his smart phone (can't get any more 21st century stereotypical than that right??) 


In the mists of my imaginary food journey session, I ran a page talking about ramens where I quickly spotted a local mention (The Ramen Shop, Oakland, CA) and like a crazy person, popped open my computer and looked it up to see if its a worthy trip. 

Considering I just ate and was already drooling over its Yelp pictures, I knew it had made the "places to try" list. Still running on crazy person mode and me half joking about "let's go tomorrow!" by the end of the conversation, I had gotten my wish, we were going tomorrow! As excited as can be, I pulled up Google Maps to look up how far we'd have to drive, before I even got a chance to figure that part out I noticed another small gem in the corner of my map: Fentons Creamery. This is bad...but I know the caveman has a sweet tooth so I manged to weasel that part of the trip in too. 


Does the story end there? If only I wasn't such a food addict... so the next day after we arrived and parked, me humming along happily as we made our way down the street towards our destination, I was suddenly hit with an aroma so powerful it stopped me dead in my tracks but I wasn't the only one, a few steps ahead, the caveman stopped too. The smell was out of this world! I've never smelled something so aromatic! We quickly glanced around trying to figure out what we just walked past. A pizzeria! It was such a plain and boring building anyone would've quickly overlooked it if it wasn't for that wonderful smell....so what did we do? EAT ramen and then went back to ORDER pizza to go for dinner... AND ice cream AND we might have stopped at an indoor marketplace on the walk back to the car where we collected some more goodies. Its really amazing we're not rolling around on the streets like balloons with all this food...


HIGHLIGHTS! 
The Ramen Shop: Menu always changes but from what I can tell, it all looks delicious! The bar is fantastic! Very artisan, not to mention I've never seen a ramen place with a bar before. Slightly pricer than the average bowl.
  • In our bellies: Liberty Farms Duck Shoyu Ramen, Green Garlic Miso Ramen, Local Dungeness Crab and Pork Chashu Donburi, a Hemingway Daiquiri for me (finally a daiquiri made right! mini rant: that blended stuff is NOT daiquiri...all lies!), a stout beer for the caveman. 
Fentons Creamery: Came here for the ice cream only but apparently it's also a restaurant. HUGE, and I mean HUGE portions. Between the 2 of us, we couldn't finish a sundae to share...
  • In our bellies: Black and Tan Sundae with a scoop of dulce de leche and coffee cookie dream.  
Zachary's Chicago Pizza: Amazing. Deep dish pizza to die for. They also sell them half baked so if you can bake it at home which is what we did.
  • In our bellies: 10" half baked Spinach and Mushroom deep dish pizza 
Rockridge Market Hall: Filled with various mini artisan shops which included florist, bakery, butcher, fresh pasta, wines, and cheese. I could live there. 
  • In our bellies: fresh made ravioli pastas.