Thursday, January 31, 2008


Yes, it's ramen soup. No, it's not like the 20/$1 stuff you get at the grocery. If you've never tried restaurant ramen, especially Hakata ramen - you MUST. It's a creamy and very flavorful pork based broth with firm yet chewy ramen noodles and it's just irresistible! I could literally eat it until I exploded.

It arrives...

And 5 minutes later it's gone. :)

They also have other goodies, like a Yakitori menu and things like dumplings and the best fried rice you've ever had!


Shin-Sen-Gumi is located on Brookhurst and Yorktown(ish) in fountain Valley. Be prepared to wait for a seat in this very small yet very popular hangout.

Monday, January 28, 2008


My local market always has eggs on sale. I have no idea why. Buy one, get one free. At first I thought they must be junk eggs or something, but actually they're not. They're fine. So... how can you buy a carton of eggs, and not take the free carton? You don't, you take both cartons. Now you have way too many eggs. Ugh. And I can't be making pound cake and hollandaise all the time... we'd be fat as cows. So, I usually end up throwing half the eggs away. Yes, I toss out the free eggs. Not always, but a lot. And it kills me -KILLS ME I tell you- to throw out yolks. You know, for things like egg white omelets. And I'm not a dessert person, so making egg-white desserts like Angel Food cake is just not "me." If the eggs expire, then so be it. They get tossed. But sending a perfectly healthy yolk down the drain... just can't do it.

So anyway, looking at the twelve thousand eggs in my garage fridge on Sunday, I realized I need to make something quick or they'd be tossed. How about egg salad? Theo loves egg salad. I'll have him go to the French bakery, C'est Si Bon, and get a fresh baguette, and then we'll have a killer egg salad sandwich for brunch.

When I make egg salad, I like to mash the eggs, rather than cut them. It makes it creamier and richer. Toss with a couple good glugs of Best Food Light Mayo (it's almost identical in flavor to the full fat BF and it's much better for you) and a fair amount of salt & pepper. Yum. But what else could I do though to make this special? It is Sunday after all. Ooooo I know! How about truffle oil! Truffles and eggs are a perfect match. And how about some crispy bacon.

Oh yeah. It was good. Very good.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


We LOVE Kappo Honda Japanese restaurant in Huntington Beach/Fountain Valley. We have been eating there since we moved to HB in 2002. It's always busy, and the wait is usually 20-45 minutes on Fri & Sat nights. But now they take reservations! Last night we arrived at 7:50 for an 8pm rezzie and we walked right past the 50 people waiting outside, and into the cozy restaurant. We were immediately greeted by our favorite guy (they totally know us - we used to go almost every Fri night for years!) and he pointed to a beautiful booth across the room, empty in the otherwise packed room and waiting just for US! What a treat!

Oh, my camera battery died right out of the gate last night, so all we had was the iPhone - so these were the best pics I could get. I know they suck.

The selection here is just amazing. They have small plates of various grilled goodies, they have soups and rice and fried stuff and stewed stuff. They have normal stuff and odd stuff. Whether you like traditional safe items, like vegetable tempura, or want something a little more exotic, like squid guts, they got a little something for everyone.

Masumi Sake - The perfect balance, not too sweet, not too dry. Never gives you a headache.

Some Red Snapper and Spanish Mackerel sushi for Theo. He said it was the good stuff too...

Look at this salmon belly! This was the most decadent dish ever. Look at all that fat! No chewing necessary, it just melts in your mouth. It was to die for!

This fried sweet shrimp is the best. I always get it. Very lightly breaded, it is deep fried whole and you eat it shells and all.

Here is some stuff from the Yakitori menu; Squid, pork belly, some kind of beef, quail eggs and then asparagus and gobo wrapped in bacon (they like wrapping stuff in bacon. Hey, who doesn't?!)

Salmon and tuna poke...

And they even have salads!

Friday, January 25, 2008


Doesn't this look good!? When was the last time you had a tostada? For me it had been a long time - in fact, the last time I had a tostada was in Mexico a few years ago. So... it was time. So... I made one.

I tried to do things light though because tostadas are pretty scary on the calorie scale by the time you add all the stuff. I figured I could still make one that was somewhat healthy. I pureed white beans, shredded white meat chicken, used reduced fat cheese, finely shredded fresh lettuce, onions and tomatoes and used a 100 calorie flour tortilla. On the surface it looks fine, but without that crunchy corn tortilla or even a crunchy fried flour tortilla - it just didn't "work." Everything else was great, but that damn tortilla ruined the whole thing. I used the low calorie tortilla and I baked mine, instead of frying it. It was not good. Sort of chewy, not crunchy. I ended up just scraping the toppings off and eating them with a fork which was more like eating bean dip than a tostada... so it still stands that the last tortilla I had was in Mexico a few years ago.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Sunday I got out my slow cooker (aka crockpot) and dusted it off - literally. It was dusty. I don't use it much, but it's kind of a neat thing to have. Much more fuel effecient than slow cooking something in the oven for 6 hours. I had picked up some short ribs and thought I'd try them in the crockpot. So, Sunday morning I browned the ribs, then added them to the crockpot with some stewed tomatoes (from a can of course), a Heineken, some fresh diced onion, thyme, bay leaves and salt & pepper. Very simple. Lid on, set for 6 hours. Dinner is waiting for you at the end of the day :)


Oh my gosh. Nothing beats fresh lemons. I mean right from the tree. With most produce there is usually a time during their peak season when you can get beautiful, fresh, vine ripe vegetables at the grocery or Farmer's Market. But lemons... never. They're always these small, hard pieces of junk. Well, in California anyway. Which is ironic since this is where lemons are GROWN and just about everyone has a lemon tree in their backyard! I was at my mother in law's the other day and was amazed to see that her sad looking lemon tree that was missing most of it's leaves was COVERED in big bright lemons. I was contemplating stealing lemons at night from neighbors then I found my legitimate source! I used to have a tree but it died after a year of heavy rain. I have been meaning to get a new one, but just don't have anywhere at the moment to plant it. I want the perfect spot, even if it means cutting out a hole in my concrete patio.

Lemons that are allowed to ripen on the tree are big and beautiful and the second you touch them you get a rush of sweet lemon aroma from the oil rich skin. Ahhhh......

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


International food markets are just so inspiring to me. The way they respect their food; always arranged so beautifully, and everything is so fresh. And you can always find neat stuff your local white bread grocery would never have. This weekend we went to the Japanese market. I love their pretty seafood, their interesting vegetables and the deal you can get on dried mushrooms is amazing!

This was from their food court. They love their plastic food displays, but I have to admit it is nice to be able to see what the food you've never heard of and can't pronounce looks like before you order it. :)

Some Sake....

I also am addicted to their dishes. Always handmade, interesting shapes and the beautiful glazing. The colors are usually always in a neutral tone, whether it's browns and tans or brighter hues, like blues and greens of the ocean. They can be quite expensive too... but when you consider they are all handmade, it's expected. It's all part of their love of food thing I guess. Even the dishes get respect. :)

Friday, January 18, 2008


I'm sort of the Queen of garbage cooking. I like just throwing all sorts of leftovers and junk together and making what I hope will be a masterpiece. It's my style. And sometimes it IS a masterpiece, but other times... it's just a piece of crap. But you hardly ever see the same dish twice in this house because everything is a "one of a kind" dish. Have you ever been to a Diner and they have like a garbage breakfast or maybe you've seen a garbage plate at a seafood restaurant? Basically it's just whatever you have in the house, all thrown together. I love garbage. :)

Tuesday night I made a garbage meatball goulash thingie.

Make very small meatballs out of seasoned ground beef (no egg, no bread in these).

When the meatballs were brown I added a can of diced tomatoes, sliced red onion, some fresh baby spinach, a little zucchini, some garlic and some leftover rice I had. At the end I added some green zaatar, some dried mint, salt & pepper. This is what I ended up with. It didn't suck.

Monday, January 14, 2008


I'm not a big fan of duck breast - but a crispy leg & thigh I LOVE.

We drove out to Whole Foods in Irvine (or is it Tustin?) on Sunday and they had these beautiful duck legs, and I just couldn't resist! The prep is very easy (in my house anyway) - salt, pepper, a little bit of my house herbs and in a 350 oven it goes until crispy and tender and delicious.

Now, Theo doesn't like beans of any kind, so the traditional fried potatoes and white bean dish I prefer with the duck was not an option. So, back to the eggplant, and then I had a zucchini and half of a potato leftover from a previous dish.

Cooked the potatoes first of course, so they'd be crispy.

Then added the diced zucchini and eggplant and cooked until tender - then mixed it with the potatoes. Oh, I added a few paper thin slices of chorizo to the mix too. Why? Because chorizo rocks, that's why.

Oh yeah, that's crispy! And LOOK at all that delicious duck fat that came off of those two little legs!

Get me a fork...