Jul 30, 2010

Five Colored Veggies Fried Rice (at least)

Few days ago I had a very satisfying dinner at my friend's place,
Chinese spicy hot pot!
Dumping all the ingredients into spicy broth filled with chili oil and spices,
To bring it up to another level,
You can mix and match different sauces to make your ultimate dipping sauce,
My stomach was almost as big as Himalayas,
No no no, it was almost like a giant volcano that was gonna explode any moment.

In order to calm my belly down a little bit,
The very next morning, I made five colored veggies fried rice,
Let's stay on the healthy route for at least 3 days?

Ingredients (3 to 4 plates)?

2 1/2 cups of brown rice
1/3 cup of dried wood ear
2 shitake mushroom
1/2 cup shimeji mushroom
1/2 onion
1/2 canned corns
1 can of tuna (drained out the liquid)
1/3 cup of cooked salmon flakes (it's ok if you don't have it)
1 small carrot
1 stalk of scallion
Some Japanese light soy sauce
Some roasted white sesame seeds
Olive oil
Black pepper/white pepper


Dried wood ear needs to be rinsed and soaked in water before cooking,
So give them a quick rinse and soak in lukewarm water for about 15 minutes,
Afterwards, drain the water and cut into small pieces, set aside.

Dice the scallion, onion, and mushrooms into smaller cubes/pieces,
Cook the brown rice according to package instruction.
I usually use more water when cooking brown rice since it tends to be dryer than regular white rice.

Drizzle some olive oil in a large pan, toss in chopped onions,
Sprinkle some salt and black pepper, give it a quick stir, cook till the onions turned translucent,
Toss in the scallions, cook for another 10 seconds,
Toss in chopped carrot and wood ear, cook for about 20 seconds,
Add 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce,
I actually used a type of Japanese "soup base,"
It's similar to soy sauce, but infused with the flavors from other ingredients such as mushrooms or katsuo.

Let the carrot cooked in the sauce for a little bit longer,
Once that's done, toss in chopped mushrooms and corns,
Add about 1 more tablespoon of light soy sauce into the mixture,
Mix well, there should be some liquid present in the pan,
That's good, no worries, once we add the rice in, all the liquid will be absorbed by the rice.

Cook the mushrooms for about 1 minute,
Mix in canned tuna and salmon flakes,
You don't really need salmon flakes,
I was just too greedy and thought that one tiny can of tuna won't be enough (especially having such meaty spicy hot pot dinner the day before),
Cook for a little bit longer, taste it and see if more salts are needed,
It should be on the salty side because the flavor will get "diluted" once we add the rice in.

When the mixture is ready, turn the heat to medium low.
Add the cooked rice in 3 batches, don't dump it in all at once,
Mix the rice well with the sauces and ingredients for every batch,
During the mixing process,
The sauce should be gradually absorbed by the rice, turning them into tiny light brown goodies.

Sprinkle some roasted white sesame seeds before serving,
Some white pepper or sriracha sauce is also good with this dish.

Let's see,
Wood ear - black
Corn - yellow
Carrot - red
Scallion - green
Onion - white? translucent?
Mushrooms - black and white
Sesame seeds - white

So many colors, so many vegetables, so healthy!
This is my "detox" or "de-oil" food for at least 3 days straight!
By the way,
I found this link below that will calculate the daily veggies needed based on your age, gender, and physical activity:
Go give it a try,
I found out that I'm actually eating way less veggies than I'm supposed to be...
Well...guess it's time to catch up!

Cindy's Rating: 8

Jul 27, 2010

SLS Hotel @ Beverly Hills Trilogy, Last Chapter: SAAM

First Chapter:

Second Chapter:

10 p.m.

12th Course: Japanese Baby Peaches

The little green things are Japanese baby peaches, how cute is that?!
This dish was served with Burrata cheese,
It's a type of fresh Italian cheese,
Imagine the flavor of creamy Mozzarella cheese then you'll get how Burrata tastes like.

13th Course: Hot & Cold Foie Soup with Corn

Cold foam on the top and hot soup on the bottom,
Scoop your bite all the way down to the end and enjoy it all at once,
Nice contrast of flavors, 
The sweetness from the corn also has a strong presence in this dish,
Definitely my top three favorites of the night.

10:30 p.m.

14th Course: Norwegian Cigalas

The little cup in the back contains lobster head broth,
Intense flavor, almost comes with a wee bit bitterness,
Not a big fan of it.

15th Course: Not Your Everyday Caprese

Kind of like regular caprese reconstruction,
SAAM applied the same spherification technique here used for the black olives,
As a result, you get a small liquefied mozzarella cheese ball,
The sensation of cheese burst in your mouth is..."fun!"

16th Course: Kurobuta Pork Belly

Kuro means black, buta means pig/pork.
Served with honey lemon vinaigrette and baby vegetables,
Look at that baby zucchini flower, so adorable.

This dish is good, but I tried pork belly from Bouchon by Thomas Keller before,
His was better.

17th Course: Wagyu Beef Cheeks

The three highest quality beef from Japan are:
Wagyu, Kobe, and Matsusaka.
Wagyu and Kobe are more common in the United States,
I haven't really seen Matsusaka here yet (hopefully we'll get some soon, it's so yummy!).

This dish was served with passion fruit seed and pumpkin seed oil,
On the side, porcini onion and mandarin orange.
Meat itself was awesome, almost melt in your mouth,
Sauce-wise, so so, I couldn't get away with that sticky, oily texture on my tongue.

18th Course: Summer White Truffle Risotto

Extra order of the night since SAAM had white truffles from Italy that night,
Very "truffle-y" with al dente risotto.

11:30 p.m.

19th Course: Philly Cheesesteak

Served by a small bronze monkey.

The bread itself is very thin, with gooey cheese in the center,
Philly cheesesteak reinterpretation.

20th Course: Dragon's Breath Popcorn

Fun, fun, fun dish!
The waiter tossed the popcorn into nitrogen liquid,
Moments after, we were asked to chew it with our mouths closed immediately,
A mirror was also provided so we can have a good look of ourselves,
But why "dragon's breath?"

I think you get the idea here.

21st Course: Rose Clementine

Served with rose water foam,
Absolutely loved that foam.
I recalled that the "American Beauty" from Extraordinary Dessert in San Diego was one of my favorite drinks, and it was made with rose water also,
I think I'm just in love with rose water, such elegant aroma.


22nd Course: Lychee and Coffee

Coffee jelly on the bottom with lychee crumble and white chocolate.

23rd Course: Sexy Little Sweets

Little sweets infused with Saffron, passion fruits...
Up to this point, it was way passed midnight,
My stomach was full so pardon me,
I didn't even try all the bonbons from this plate...
This might be my first time say...too much sweet stuff...

My long 4 hours journey at SAAM came to an end,
And that doesn't include the time passed at Bar Centro before our dinner reservation,
Wanna try another 20-something courses tasting menu?
Nah...at least not within the next 6 months.

Cindy's Rating: 7

SAAM @ SLS Hotel
465 South La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90048

Jul 23, 2010

Very Cheesy Oven Baked Eggs

Summer vacation probably is one of the best things for a student,
I have already spent one month in Taiwan,
Which means...I still have two more months left (lucky me huh?),

happy unpleasant side effect does come with my long months-off: 
Totally messed up sleeping schedule.

Waking up when the sun is right in the middle of the sky,
I had to reluctantly crawling out of my bed, "so sad....."
(some people might start hating me here)

By the time my eyes are fully opened...
It's not exactly breakfast time, not really lunch time,
How about making something "brunch-like?"

Very Cheesy Baked Eggs -

3 eggs
1 tablespoon of butter
2 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons of baby brie (break into small pieces)
Some salt
Some pepper
(Bread of your liking)


Turn on the oven broiler,
Put the butter and heavy whipping cream in a ramekin (medium/large),
Into the oven till the butter melts and the whipping cream starts bubbling a little bit.
Once that is done, take out the ramekin and set aside,
(Simply heating up these two ingredients with a small sauce pan works too,
I just don't feel like washing another pan)

Change the oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Break 3 eggs into the ramekin and try to keep the yolks (handle with care),
Sprinkle some salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning,
In addition, evenly sprinkle the cheese over the top,
You don't have to use Parmesan and brie here,
Just mix any kind of cheese of your liking,
After a few trials, you'll definitely find the perfect match!

Cheese I like for baked eggs:

Transfer the ramekin into the oven and bake for about 7 minutes,
Afterwards, turn on the broiler and bake till the cheese are slightly burned,
This dish is done when the egg whites are set and the yolks are semi-cooked.

I just absolutely adore the first bite,
Well, more like I love to be the person who "destroy" the perfect egg yolks,

Cindy's Rating: 7

Jul 19, 2010

Honey Milk Bread (for the very first time)

Some bread everybody?

I was actually planning to make white toast,
However, after finding out it might take hours to do so,
You know, all that kneading and waiting for the dough to get "puffed,"
Hmm, maybe we'll save that for later,
Let's start out with something easy first yep?

Honey milk bread!

Ingredients (for 1 loaf)?

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
3 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt

1 cup of 2% milk
1/2 cup of amber honey
4 tablespoons of melted butter
1 large egg


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Take a loaf pan, brush with some melted butter and coat it evenly with flour.

Sift all the dry ingredients and set aside.
For the wet ingredients,
Pour both the honey and milk into a sauce pan,
Turn to medium low heat,
Gently stir the mixture till the ingredients are fully dissolved,
Once that's done, pour in the remaining melted butter and keep stirring.

Remove the sauce pan from heat,
I actually just poured it into the container used for my mixer,
Once it's cooled down a little bit, add in the egg and mix well, about 1 minute.

Now let's add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients,
Do it in two batches,
Pour in half of the dry ingredients while mixing slowly at the same time,
Once combined well, pour in the remaining half and keep mixing.

That's it,
Slowly pour the mixture into the loaf pan, 
About one hour or so, depending on the size of the loaf pan,
Or you can tell by sticking a toothpick in,
If it comes out clean, it's done!

Judging by my pictures,
My first try ain't that bad yep?
(Somehow it looks like meat loaf to me!)

Simply heat it up and spread some butter all over it before serving,

Cindy's Rating: 6 or 7? (still room for improvements!)

Jul 12, 2010

SLS Hotel @ Beverly Hills Trilogy, Second Chapter: SAAM

First Chapter:

8:30 p.m.

From Bar Centro to SAAM,
Our dining experience has finally begun.

It surely is an "intimate" room,
Only 7 or 8 smaller tables with our larger, longer table in the middle.

This post gonna contains a lot, A LOT of pictures,
To make the story short,
The tasting menu comes with 22 courses created by Chef Jose Andres,
SAAM happened to have white truffles that day,
So our menu became 22 "+1" courses.

8:45 p.m.

I pushed the wine pairing away and embraced my champagne instead.

1st Course: The Golden Boy (in the making)

Final product -

Alcohol first. Yes, just make us drunk before serving the dishes.
Pardon my tiny knowledge regarding alcoholic beverages,
Little is known regarding the first course (maybe that one drink at Bar Centro already knocked me out (> _.<)" )
The drink was infused with lemon, and some gold dust sprinkled on top,
Tastes kind of salty. Yes, that's my only input for the 1st course.

2nd Course: Lotus Root Chip

Thinly sliced lotus root, deep fried, and sprinkled with star anise powder.
Very good with or without alcohol,
Never realized star anise powder can be used this way.

3rd Course: Olive Oil Bonbon

Some interesting techniques were used for this course,
The Spanish extra virgin olive oil was reserved in a sugar/sea salt casing,
Simply grab the tip with your hand and savor the combination of all these ingredients.
Hmm..too bad I'm not a big fan of olive oil tasting..

4th Course: Bagel & Lox Steam Bun

Cheese in the center,
Salmon roe and fresh dill on top of the steam bun,
Not bad, but I think the uni bun from Bar Centro has better taste and texture.

5th Course: Tuna Handroll 2009

Wonder if they have a 2010 version of this dish..
The handroll was wrapped in super thin filo, admire the skills used.
By the way, don't be fooled by the picture,
One roll is about half the size of my pinky finger.

9:30 p.m.

6th Course: Black Olives Ferran Adria

One uncommon technique was used here called spherification,
To make it sounds easier,
You take the liquid-form ingredient and drip it into calcium chloride solution,
The end result is sphere-like droplets with semi-solidified casing and liquid center.

7th Course: Jose's Combination

Ham from Spain, paired with caviar.
I totally screwed up this course,
Was supposed to "gently" roll the ham towards myself and eat the whole thing together,
Somehow my clumsy fingers made a mess and all the caviars were scattered throughout my plate...
It was good though.

8th Course: Buffalo Wing

The wing was deboned and marinated prior cooking,
Blue cheese and celery were also used for this dish.

9th Course: Crispy Nigiri

Yellow jack served on rice crisp. So so.

10th Course: Chipirones en su Tinta

Comes with flavored squid ink sauce and some kind of Japanese veggies (black stuff).
Asian readers,
Don't you think that black thing looks kind of like 豬血糕??

11th Course: Linguini and Clams

Linguini was made with dashi broth in a gelatin form,
Served with yuzu vinaigrette and black garlic,
Talking about black garlic, not sure what kind they used in SAAM,
But the black garlic back in Asia was more like fermented garlic.
*This dish was very good.

10 p.m.

(Champagne in front of candle light)
I still had more than half of the champagne left,
Taking it slow....just like our long lasting meal...2 hours already...

To be continued...

SAAM @ SLS Hotel
465 South La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90048

Jul 10, 2010

SLS Hotel @ Beverly Hills Trilogy, First Chapter: Bar Centro

Last night was the beginning of my interesting food journey at the SLS Hotel,
Started out with a few bites and drinks at Bar Centro,
Then changed venue to SAAM, the intimate chef's tasting room,
Well well, that was a "journey" indeed,
Our dining experience went from 7 p.m. till after midnight,
You see why I had to made my blog entries "trilogy" style?

SLS stands for Something Lovely's Started,
It's one of the luxury collections managed by the renowned Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.
Besides standard extravagance hotel services, SLS also offers exquisite food and beverage venues such as:
The Bazaar (Chef Jose Andres's creation in a lounge-like environment)
Bar Centro (cocktails and mostly Spanish influenced food)
Rojo y Blanca (tapas)
Patisserie at SLS (sweets!)
SAAM (Chef Jose Andres' prix fixe menu)

6:45 p.m. @ Bar Centro

The entire space (including SAAM) was born under the creative eyes of Philippe Starck and Moss (Murray Moss, Franklin Getchell),
Unique details can be found not only in large piece furniture, but also various small objects such as menu and candle holders.

Feasting our eyes with SLS' amazing interior design and furniture selections weren't enough,
It was 7 p.m. and our dinner reservation at SAAM was at 8:15 p.m.,
Our stomachs were rumbling,
To make our time go by faster, a few drinks and tapas will do the trick.

7 p.m.

Pardon my blurry pictures, everything happened too fast.
Our waitress brought over this cotton candy drink - magic mojito,
Well, she actually brought over a glass of cotton candy and the alcohol part on the side,
As she quickly (really quickly that I wasn't fully prepared to take pictures) poured the mojito over the candy, my drink was completed, in a blink.

It's not as sourish as regular mojito,
Yet it comes with a slightly burned cotton candy aroma,
Very good, delicious for both the eyes and the taste buds.

My friend's monkey drink (beg for forgiveness again, what is thy name!?)

The waitress noticed we had 3 gigantic cameras sitting around,
Nice of her, she specially pointed out the monkey face so we can take pictures before the drink gets devoured.

7:30 p.m.

Drinking alcohol with empty stomach is not recommended,
So two orders of small bar food were sent to us,
"Bunuelos (cod fish fritters, honey aioli) -

Solid balls of fish, seriously, I got a full bite of fish meat in that tiny round thing,
The sauce has a strong honey aroma, can't really taste the garlic at all.

7:50 p.m.

Sea urchin sandwich -

A wee bit Asian influenced dish, using Asian buns instead of Western bread for the sandwich,
P.S. Sea urchin is like garlic to me, they're both good with everything!

8:10 p.m.

Bill arrived. Closed the tap and we're ready for our real food treat, SAAM.

To be continued...

*Cindy's Rating for Bar Centro: 8

Bar Centro @ SLS Hotel
465 South La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(310) 246-5555

Jul 6, 2010

Stir Fry Veggies with Tiny White Fish - 吻仔魚炒菜

I'm back to California!
My exact one month stay in Taiwan surely spoiled this little rat (yes, that's me!),
I was being fed well with all the yummy homemade food - by my mom!

Sadly, this little food blogger is not so welcomed in the kitchen back in Taiwan,
No one will want to eat my bad tasting food!
( > __.< )
Sometimes I wonder, does my food really tastes that bad or my parents just happened to be extremely picky?
Either way, since I'm back to my little kitchen in CA, it's time for "ME" to cook!


1/2 small cabbage
1 medium carrot
3 garlic cloves
1/4 small onion
Some tiny white fish (about a handful)
Toasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoons of ponzu sauce
Olive oil


Let's do the preparation work first,
Slice the carrot into little round pieces,
Dice the cabbage and onion into smaller squares,
Peel the garlic cloves and slice them.

Drizzle some olive oil in the pan, turn to high heat,
Toss in onion and garlic, sprinkle some salt, cook till the garlic almost gets burned,
Toss in sliced carrot, sprinkle some more salt,
Cook for about 1 minute,
Add the tiny white fish (can be found at local Asian grocery stores) and cabbage,
Add about 2 tablespoons of ponzu sauce, give it a quick stir, wait for about 2 minutes,
If the mixture looks a wee bit dry, add more water instead of ponzu sauce.

Cook till all the ingredients turned soft,
Taste it and see if more salts are needed.
Transfer the ingredients to a plate, sprinkle some sesame seeds,
That's it, my first "delicious" energy boost dish after Taiwan!
(Maybe I should FedEx some to my parents, hopefully I won't get a return package!)

Cindy's Rating: 8