Jul 29, 2008

It's OK to be Bad Once A Year - Fried Oreo Cookies

Good lord that I've been to America for more than five years,
Otherwise I would definitely had a giant culture shock at OC Fair,
It's not because of the rides that were throwing people up and down,
It's not because of the little games that guys tried so hard to win a stuffed toy for their dates,
It's because of the food, the enormous amount of fried food!
The fair has everything fried,
Let me try to count it here,
1. Fried Twinkies
2. Fried Oreo cookies
3. Fried frog legs
4. Fried onion rings
5. Fries (and it shaped like a small treasure box, yes, it is that huge)
6. Fried White Castle burgers
7. Fried veggies
8. Fried chicken
9. Fried snickers

God I just lost my count in that Pacific Ocean sized frying oil.
I wish I can say proudly here that I tried all the fried "goodies" on the list,
Too bad my heart wasn't strong enough to accomplish this goal,
It'll probably be like a 5 year span for me to finish everything fried at the fair,
And who knows if someone will come up with another FRIIIbulous idea during that period,
Fried sausage? Fried banana? Fried turkey legs?

Ignored the risk of getting more pimples on my face, I tried this,
Fried Oreo cookies-

It shouldn't be that hard to recreate this deep fried goodies at home,
Probably just coat the cookies with some kind of pancake mix and fry them for few minutes,
And then sprinkle some confectioner's sugar on the top.

Fried Oreo cookies actually taste pretty dang good!
It tastes kind of like chocolate souffle,
But of course the texture is thicker and heavier,
Besides the fact that it was a little too sweet for me,
I don't mind eating fried Oreo cookies again next year.

OC Fair will last until August 3rd this year,
For all you OC fellas out there,
If you seriously gonna try or tried every fried items at the fair,
Let me know,
You'll be on the top of my super foodie list,
Who knows?
Maybe I'll ship you a cholesterol monitor device as a present too!

Jul 23, 2008

Pancakes with Garlic Chives and Ground Pork - 韮菜肉餅

Have you ever had garlic chives before?
They look almost like scallions and chives,
Thanks for Wikipedia, you can learn more about garlic chives on its website.

The most common place to see garlic chives is --- inside a dumpling,
It's like one of the all time favorite flavors for dumplings among Chinese people,
There's only one reason I can think of if I don't wanna order garlic chives flavored dumplings in a restaurant,
I don't wanna scare people away!
But why?
You should be able to figure out the reason,
"Garlic" chives,
Just like garlic, garlic chives taste so good but yet people will definitely know if you had it for lunch.
So what do you do if you're really craving for garlic chives?
Just make all your friends to eat it with you,
Now that everybody smells the same, no one will have the rights to complain!

Anyhow, after such a long talk about dumplings,
I decided to use that idea about garlic chives stuffing and give it a little twist,
Instead of dumplings, let's make a big pancake with garlic chives and ground pork!-


1 lb of ground pork
1 egg
1 small bundle of garlic chives (about 10 stems, chopped into small pieces)
1/4 small onion (chopped into small pieces)
1 teaspoon of grated ginger
Soy sauce
Extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of cornstarch or tapioca starch
1/2 cup of all purpose flour
Thai chili sauce


Let's marinate the ground pork first with some soy sauce (about 1 tablespoon),
Mix them well and set aside for at least 15 minutes.

While waiting for the meat to absorb the flavor from soy sauce,
We can go ahead and start chopping all the ingredients.

After you're done with all the knife works,
Have a big bowl ready,
Toss in chopped onions, grated ginger, chopped garlic chives, and marinated ground pork,
Don't forget to add the egg, cornstarch, and all purpose flour.
Sprinkle some salt (about 1 teaspoon) and black pepper (I used a lot),
I also added one more tablespoon of soy sauce into the mixture.

Here, please use your hand to combine everything together,
Sometimes hands work way better than food processor,
Don't be scared, just close your eyes and dip your hand into the mixture,
It's not that hard, just a little bit sticky.
Keep your hand there and start mixing!
You'll know it's ready when every little bits of flour are combined well with other ingredients,
Set aside,
Now, go wash your hand.

Have a skillet ready,
Drizzle some olive oil, or you can substitute it with cooking spray,
Just make sure your pancake mixture won't stick to the skillet later.

Wait till the skillet turns really hot,
Pour in the mixture and spread it out evenly,
Cook for about 3 minutes or slightly browned on each side.

I was gonna make a big round pancake instead of breaking it up into smaller pieces,
Sadly, there was this little accident in the kitchen,
Ok fine, it was my fault,
I tried to flip the pancake over and the next thing I know..
My one big round pancake turned into pieces of uneven-shaped pancakes,
With some smaller bits scattering on the stove and on the counter....
Hey, practice makes perfect yeah?
Until the next time.

Serve with Thai chili sauce.
The crunchy edges definitely give this pancake...ok these pancakes an irresistible kick!
Makes a perfect snack to munch on!

Cindy's Rating: 7

Jul 18, 2008

Mayonnaise Baked Shrimps

First of all,
I would like to thank Zen Chef, who passed along the Arte y Pico award to me,
Out of my curiosity,
I went to Arte y Pico's website to scoop around, trying to figure out what this award is all about,
But..the whole blog is in Spanish...
Come on...English is hard enough for me already...now I have to deal with Spanish??
So I went on and searched for other bloggers who received such an honor,
And here's the information I learned from Red Cook,

"The Rules for the Arte Award:
1. Pick 5 blogs that you consider deserve this award with their creativity, design, interesting
material, and also contribute to the blogger community, no matter what language.
2. Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog.
3. Each award-winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has
given her or him the award.
4. Award-winners and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of “Arte y Pico
blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award.
5. Display these rules on your blog."

So here are my 5 picks:

1. Tiger Fish - Teczcape
2. Mochachocolata Rita - Mochachocolata Rita
3. Elmomonster - Monster Munching
4. Ivan Chan - Ivan Chan Studio

Those are few blogs I check regularly,
Some have great pictures, some have awesome recipes,
Some have amazing artwork, and some have amusing contents,
One thing you don't need to worry about is that all the above 5 blogs are written with perfect English!!
(Unlike my broken Engrish writing that usually scare people away!)

Enough said,
So what am I cooking today?
Mayonnaise Baked Shrimps (Take One)-

(Take Two)-


5 medium sized shrimps (preferably with heads on)
White pepper powder
Sake (scratch this one out if you can't find this ingredient)
Chives (chopped)


Let me put this up front,
Mayonnaise baked shrimps is one of the simplest dishes I can think of.
It's like cooking 101,
You don't even need a spatula or a wok,
Just a basic oven will do.
The only hard part I can think of from my tiny little brain probably goes to cleaning,
But come on,
That's like the hardest thing to do for all kinds of cooking,
Unless you have a cute little dog at home that licks every leftover bits on the plates,
Or a lovely husband/boyfriend who reluctantly offered to wash the dishes for you.
*Sadly that's the case for me, I have to clean all the mess myself.

Moving on,
Let's get some preparation done first.
Rinse the shrimps with water and make sure the shells are clean.
Get your kitchen scissor out,
Cut off the legs along the body and the small long claws in the front,
Snip out the antenna and the end of "rostrum",
*rostrum - the spiny part that sticks out on top of the head.
You don't wanna accidentally hurt yourself while dealing with these crustaceans,
Just take them off!

Run the knife on the upper part of the shell from head to tail,
Make a shallow cut along the back of the shrimp and pick out the dark poo poo vein,
Also make a few small cuts along the inner side of the shrimps,
This prevents the shrimps from curling while cooking.
Line up those shrimps on a baking sheet.

Finally, time for making the sauce,
In a small bowl,
Mix together 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon of sake, and a tiny bit of white pepper powder.
Stir it well,
Spread the mixture evenly on top of each shrimps (inside the shell),

Into the oven, 350 degrees Fahrenheits, for 15 to 20 minutes, or till the top of the mayonnaise turned slightly brown.

When the shrimps are ready,
Garnish with some chopped chives and lemon wedges (not required),
Serve immediately.

I finished all five shrimps by myself,
Was I too greedy?

Cindy's Rating: 7

Jul 14, 2008

Royal/T Maid Cafe - Meido Kissa

Interested in cute girls dressed in French maid costumes serving you tea?
Or maybe I’m wrong here,
You can be more careless about cute girls,
Let’s try this again,
Interested in cute girls dressed in French maid costumes serving you tea, while you can enjoy some modern artwork at the same time?

Welcome to Royal/T-

This place just opened couple months ago,
And I first heard about it while watching morning news on Fox Channel.
* Please don't frown with that suspicious look on your face. I do watch news.

The whole concept is based on Japanese Meido Kissa,
According to the explanation on Royal/T's brochure,
"Meido Kissa is a cafe where the service staff dress as elegant maids. The purpose of the maid cafes and their service is to make customers feel as though they are at home and to encourage them to relax."

Royal/T is integrated with three parts: art space, café, and a small shop.
If my memorizing ability was functioning correctly that morning,
I can recall this lady in the news was talking about some reasons to open up Royal/T,
And one of them was to share her collections to the public,
So more people can have the chance to appreciate those modern art works.

Some of the collections at Royal/T include works by Ghada Amer, Yayoi Deki, Hideaki Kawashima, Aya Takano, Yoshitomo Nara, Takashi Murakami, and the list goes on.

And this giant black and red squid is my favorite piece in Royal/T-

Royal/T resides on a very spacious rectangular area,
The shop, café, and part of the exhibit are in the front,
The remaining exhibit locates in the back end,
What lies in between the two art spaces are areas reserved for VIP/groups and restrooms.

After scanning through all the art works,
My friends and I finally settled on our table, ready to order some tea drinks,
And this cute little flower drew my attention-

Besides tea, Royal/T also offers many other items on the menu for you to snack on,
Croissants, baked eggs, salads, sweets, even rice bowls,
We had a dinner plan later that day, otherwise I really wanna try out their baked eggs,
One of the options under baked eggs was “baked eggs with roasted tomato and crème fraiche,”
It sounds so good, and this dish used one of the ingredients that I can never say no to,
- Crème fraiche -
I guess I’ll just have to wait till next time.

Budding Jasmine Rose-

My friend took this picture with my camera.
I have to be honest here,
I was trying to retake this picture of the flower bud,
Don't want to admit it, but my picture didn't turn out as great as the one above.

We also ordered other tea:
Yuzu Sencha - Yuzu rinds and Sencha green tea.
Darling Darjeeling - Organic Darjeeling with subtle notes of Muscat.
Royal/T Milk Tea - Black tea with rose petals, pieces of fruit & vanilla, brewed in soy milk.

Royal/T adds a little twist on all these regular every day drinks,
So instead of some strong, over-powering flavored tea you get from other places,
Royal/T's drinks are actually delicate and subtle,
You can definitely tell the difference with a small sip.

And here’s my favorite picture of the day-

Thanks to my friends who tried so hard waving their hands in order to block me from taking a picture of the flowers,
But it still turned out pretty good yeah!?
I’m the expert of dodging obstacles!

Highly recommended place,
The drinks were delicate (still need to try their savory items though),
The artwork were stunning,
The atmosphere was relaxing,
And the service was great,
Come on,
Who can ever complain about cute girls serving you in French maid costumes?

Cindy’s Rating: 8

Royal/T Maid Café
8910 Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 559-6300

Jul 9, 2008

Asian + Italian + Mexican = Breakfast in Grand Style

Have you ever had egg pancakes 蛋餅 in a Chinese breakfast joint?
If not, you can find a picture of egg pancakes in my previous post.

I was craving for egg pancakes the other day,
But it was around 9 a.m. in the morning,
I just got off the bed (yes I'm currently unemployed and don't need to go to school),
And still in my pajamas...with an semi-afro hair style,
I don't think there's enough motivation for me to wash up, change clothes, and drive for who knows how long to buy egg pancakes.

"Egg pancakes.....egg pancakes...."
Ahhhhh what's that noise!?!
Am I still dreaming? Is my stomach talking to me?
Is it shouting out loud for egg pancakes?
Arghhh fine! I'll find a way to shut my stomach up!

Stumbled to the fridge...I saw...
Few leftover tortillas and mozzarella,
Mmmm even though I'm not supposed to use tortilla for Chinese egg pancakes,
But hey, they're pretty similar in a way right?
They're both round...flat...and made with some kind of flour,
I'm sure it'll tastes great no matter what.

But only tortillas and mozzerella seemed a little bit plain..
It'll definitely be better if I can spice it up with some other ingredients.
So I picked out a few "regular guests" in my fridge and made this tri-national version egg pancake!


Regular guests in my fridge:
2 eggs
1/4 onion (diced)
4 button mushrooms (sliced)
1 sausage (remove the case and break off the meat, any flavor is fine)
Spaghetti sauce (marinara, but alfredo works too)

Random guests in my fridge:
Mozzarella (cut about 5 to 8 strips)
1 tortilla

Plus other long lived residents outside the fridge:
Extra virgin olive oil
Black pepper


Let's make the sauce first,
First drizzle some olive oil in the pan,
Toss in diced onions, sprinkle with some salt & pepper, cook till color turned translucent.
*Don't add pepper if using alfredo sauce.

Add sausages and mushrooms into the pan,
Cook for about 1 minute,
Add 3 tablespoons of spaghetti sauce and cook for 2 or 3 minutes.

Give it a quick taste, add more salt if desired.
Sauce is ready.

Now it's time to work on the real thing!
Break 2 eggs in a ball, sprinkle some salt (only a little bit), beat it well.

Prepare another skillet and turn up the heat,
Drizzle some olive oil and wait till it gets really hot,
Pour in the eggs,
Be careful here, don't stir the eggs, just simply let the bottom part cook for a little longer,
Spread the cheese strips evenly on the top of the uncooked eggs,
Put the tortilla over it,
Use your spatula to weigh it down a little bit,
About 10 seconds, flip the whole thing to the other side,
So the tortilla should be on the bottom now unless the whole thing sticks to the ceiling when you try to hard flipping it.

Cook till tortilla is heated through, fold it in half,
Transfer to a cutting board and cut into strips-

Pour the sauce over-

See the cheese inside?

I think I'm eating too well in the morning,
But people always say thatbreakfast is the most important meal during the day,
And I did successfully shut my stomach up,
Oh, there's one more bonus,
I get to enjoy my tri-national egg pancakes in my pajamas!

Cindy's Rating: 7

Jul 4, 2008

Caramelized Banana with Creme Fraiche

I wake up at 8:30 a.m. every morning, without my alarm clock.
And that also applies to weekends,
Something must be wrong with me,
No matter how tired I was, or how late I went to bed,
8:30 a.m.
My eyes will be wide open, starring at the ceiling.

Same thing today.
And I'm starving.
Time to get out of the bed,
So my morning routine goes:
Fold the bed sheet, use the bathroom, clean up my face, and open the fridge.
Yeah! I said open the fridge!
I'll be walking like a zombie if I don't eat something in the morning.

Sticking my head inside the fridge,
There! I found a banana,
And I'm gonna pump it up with something else,
One simple banana can't satisfy my monster stomach this morning.

Caramelized Banana with Creme Fraiche-


1 banana (preferably riped)
2 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
2 drops of vanilla extract
2 scoops of creme fraiche
Some aged balsamic vinegar


Put the butter in the skillet and heat it up,
After the butter's melted, evenly sprinkle some brown sugar into the skillet.
Add the vanilla extract,
Stir it well and wait until the the sugar started to caramelize.

Before the sugar get hard (don't wait too long), add the peeled banana into the skillet.
Sear every side well,
You can tell when the banana gets this nice brown color on all sides.
Transfer to a cutting board and cut into 5 or 6 pieces.

Scoop some creme fraiche (if you can make it, that's even better!) and drizzle some balsamic vinegar over the banana.

Banana makeover!
Even without creme fraiche and balsamic vinegar,
This dish will still taste good,
When you bite into banana pieces,
You get this crunchy sugar crust with soft and warm center,
Infused with the aroma from vanilla extract,
If you want,
Substitute creme fraiche with vanilla ice cream,
A nice breakfast turned wonderful dessert!

Cindy's Rating: 6