Aug 31, 2009

Seared Scallops with Tomato Salsa

Gonna be a quick post here.

My eyes are so try now that they just won't allow me to keep staring at the monitor for another hour or so.

So here's a small whining I want to make today,

Every time people talk about Southern California,
The first thing that came to their mind is nice weather,
Well, after living here for 6 years...I'm actually kind of...sick of it?
Mmm...let's put it this way...I don't like it as much anymore.

The dryness is driving me insane!!!

What can I say, after all, this place is supposed to be a desert,
No trees, no rain, only sands blowing everywhere,
Somehow a long long time ago, someone decided to turn Southern California into a heavenly place to live,
Now everywhere I go, I see trees, flowers, even freaking swimming pools,
(Talking about water conservation here..)

Just like a mirage,
The only real thing remains behind all that pretty city planning - the dryness...there is no water vapor at all in the air...
I can't keep up with it anymore (Roarrrrrr!!)
It's been causing me dry eyes, irritated skin, and itchy nose...

Cough cough*

Bare with me here, the weather is absolutely driving me crazy,
Let's just move on to the recipe of the week, seared scallops with tomato salsa-


6 large scallops
1/2 seeded and finely chopped tomato
(use ripe tomato, also try to avoid Roman tomato, it's too sweet for making this dish)
2 tablespoons of finely chopped onion
1 orange
(we gonna use 1/4 orange juice and some orange zest later)
3 teaspoons of finely chopped cilantro
(also prepare 6 extra cilantro leaves for garnishing)
1 tablespoon of ponzu sauce
1 teaspoon of sriracha sauce
Extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Sea salt


Sprinkle some salt and black pepper on both sides of the scallops.

For the salsa, simply mix the chopped tomatoes, chopped onions, chopped cilantro, ponzu, sriracha, and orange juice together,
Set aside.

Cilantro leaves close up view (pretty huh?)-

Drizzle some olive oil in a nonstick frying pan, turn to high heat and wait till the oil gets really hot,
Add in the scallops, sear both sides till slightly golden brown,
Transfer them to the serving plate,
Place one cilantro leaf on each scallops, top with fresh salsa, and garnish with orange zest.
Simple and delicious!

One more picture here-

Cindy's rating: 9 (very yummy, not kidding here!)

Aug 28, 2009

L.A. Burdick Handmade Chocolates

What is this cat doing here??
Is he waving for something??

Cat: Come to mama.....come to mama meow.....

Those are the chocolate mice I got from Jimmy! Thank you!

The brown colored one is made with "dark chocolate ganache with freshly squeezed orange juice, covered with dark chocolate."
And the what colored one is made with "dark chocolate ganache with cinnamon, covered with white chocolate."

Close up view, it even comes with a colorful tail!
I haven't tried the chocolate yet, they are just too cute to be eaten!
Here's the website for these chocolate mice.

Aug 27, 2009

Bengawan Solo - All the Way from Singapore!

Special thanks to Mr. W, who donated one box of delicious cookies to me!

But let's first examine the reasoning behind it,
At first he said he had way too many cookies already,
He felt so guilty that he had to go to the gym right away,
As a result, he decided to give it again, indulging this sweet stuff is too sinful.

Then one other friend was thinking about taking over those yummy goodies,
However, Mr. W was being so considerate, he doesn't want that friend to gain extra pounds over these cookies,
So this box, flew all the way from Singapore (as you can see the bag was already wrinkled up),
Ended up in my house-

So I guess it's ok to make me fat??
Maybe I should just put those cookies aside or feed it to other people as well (yes! make them fat!! or we can all be fat together!)

Those are the macadamia cashew sugee from Bengawan Solo,
Bengawan Solo is one of the most popular bakery chain stores in Singapore,
I can totally see why the store is so popular, these cookies were gooooood!

It tastes like butter cookies, but fluffier,
I'm guessing it was made with macadamia cashew butter,
You do get a hint of nutty aroma from these cookie,
Just a slight hint, which is good, so you won't get sick eating like 10 of them at the same time!

Better to pair up the cookies with hot tea, so it won't get too dry in your mouth,
Something like jasmine tea or rose tea will go very well with these creamy cookies.
Yum yum...
I think my friend's evil plan (of making me fat) has worked...
I just can't stop stuffing cookies into my mouth......

Aug 24, 2009

Hot Doug's - Where You Can Find Endless Possibilities in a Hot Dog

Let's yell "Chicago!"

After nearly one week of my visit in Chicago, I'm deeply in love with the windy city,
Well, let me put it this way, I'm deeply in love with it during summer time only,
(Haven't experienced the freezing winter storm there, but I doubt that I'll be ok with it, after all, I'm from a tropical country of Taiwan!)

Chicago is so beautiful, so well-planned, with easy access to everything you need,
Not to mention the food, simply Deeeeeelicious!
Especially Hot Doug's, one of the well known hot dog joints in Chicago,
It was also on the TV show Anthony Bourdain No Reservations,
Enough said, look at how long the line was last Wednesday-

After nearly 20 minutes wait outside (have to wait a little bit longer in the store), we finally got our foot in the door,
The interior is very colorful indeed, yellow, blue, and red are the main colors here-

The menu is displayed on the wall, including daily specials and some regular items-

The owner, Doug, has named some flavor combinations with celebrities' names,
For instance, there is Keira Knightley as fire dog, because she is super hot (per Doug's view).
By the way, Doug was actually at the counter taking every one's orders,
Super cool and friendly guy, this kind of genuine service plus awesome food,
No wonder this place is packed with customers every minutes!

Me and my friend ordered three hot dogs,
Starting from the top:
"Foie Gras and Sauternes Duck Sausage with Truffle Aioli, Foie Gras Mousse and Sel Gris,"
"Blue Cheese Pork Sausage with Sir William Pear Creme Fraiche and Roasted Almonds,"
"The Dog - Chicago-Style Hot Dog with all the trimmings: 'nuff said."

Foie gras hot dog solo shot-

The sausage is no longer the focus for this hot dog,
Instead, the main flavor comes from foie gras mousse, that also applies for the texture,
I had a mouthful of smooth, creamy bite without really feeling the chunkiness from the sausage,
It was also not as fatty/oily as I expected, which is a good, otherwise my palate is gonna be tired after devouring the whole thing.

Pear creme fraiche hot dog solo shot-

My favorite!!!! Seriously, Cindy's rating 9!!! Sooooooo good!
Some people might frown at the idea of putting dessert-like items over a savory hot dog,
But it was DA Bomb!
I would never thought that these ingredients can go so well with one another,
The slight pear aroma complements the stronger taste from blue cheese,
What a perfect harmony in my mouth,
I can eat it everyday!

The Dog solo shot-

I have to try the original Chicago dog since I was visiting the city,
The hot dog itself was juicy and flavorful,
Some characteristics for a true Chicago hot dog are the whole pickle and fresh relish that comes with it,
Also the quality of the meat is unbeatable, supposedly 100% beef,
And no ketchup will be offered,
You can add it yourself later on, but those Chicago hot dog makers will never serve it with ketchup, even per your request.

Too bad I didn't get a chance to try their duck fat fries,
It's only available on Fridays and Saturdays,
Does that mean I'll have to fly to Chicago again one of these days?
I totally don't mind at all!
I wanna go eat there once a week if I can, too bad I'm so far away now,
Maybe one day...they will deliver......(I wish...)

Overall rating: 9!!

Hot Doug's
3324 North California
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 279 - 9550
*Check out their website for more interesting flavor combinations!

Aug 17, 2009

Asain Style Stuffed Mushrooms in 15 Minutes

I'm leaving for Chicago soon!
Can't wait for piles of deep dish pizza, hot dogs, and probably other local goodies after I get there!
Any recommendations? Any "must-have" dishes?

Wait! What about Mister who is gonna be left home alone without any food?
Well, I made some dishes and wrapped them up as lunch boxes,
Hopefully it'll last him a few more days before I'm back!

This dish, (or dishes, you'll find out later on) was made from a little bit of everything left in the cabinet..
I was intended to add some scallions into the mixture..but..forgot to buy it...
As a result, I just grabbed the leftover onion in the fridge and sprinkled some spices here and there,
Good thing it ain't taste that bad!
Besides, you only need microwave to make it! How convenient is that!

6 minutes in the microwave then you'll get this-


12 shitake mushrooms
3 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 lb of ground pork
1/4 small or medium sized onion (finely chopped)
2 tablespoons of roasted sesame
2 teaspoons of dried seaweed
2 teaspoons of corn starch
1 teaspoon of sesame oil
1 teaspoon of curry powder
Hot water
Some Japanese soup base
Thai chili sauce


First let's pour some hot water in a big bowl and add some soup base,
If you can't find soup base, a smaller portion of soy sauce will do.
Remove the stems from the mushrooms and soak them in the water mixture for at least 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the pork with roasted sesame, dried seaweed, corn starch, sesame oil, curry powder, and soy sauce,
When the mushrooms are ready, transfer them on to a microwavable plate,
Form the pork mixture into small balls and press them into the center of the mushrooms.

Moist a paper towel with either water or the soup base liquid mixture,
Gently cover the stuffed mushrooms,
Into the microwave and start cooking it!
6 minutes for my microwave (medium-high power).

Beeeeeeep!!! Not even enough time for me to wash the dishes and my food, oh no, mister's food is done!
Just drizzle some Thai chili sauce over it and there you have it!

I also had some leftover pork mixture so I just formed them into smaller patties and seared them till fully cooked, about 2 minutes on each side.
After that, spread some Japanese burger sauce (hambaku) over,
I even added chunks of fresh mozzarella and put the patties back into the microwave for one minute,
Sprinkle some dried seaweed and there you have another dish!-

If you can't find burger sauce, teriyaki works too,
Or just prepare another sauce pan, add some soy sauce, corn starch, sugar, and mirin,
That's your instant hambaku sauce!

I think Mister at home won't be starving for sure.

Cindy's Rating: 6 (pretty good considered it was made with leftover stuff)

Aug 8, 2009

Yun Kan Beef Noodles 永康牛肉麵

I'm back to California!
Well, I've been back for two weeks, just didn't get a chance to update my blog,
Ok...I was slacking off...blame it to the jet lag..
So this is gonna be my last post regarding yummy restaurants in Taiwan this summer,
But don't be disappointed, I shall return to my home country in December again!
(Life is good traveling around)

So this is the beef noodles joint that's been opened for more than 40 years,
The main flavor of the soup is coming from spicy bean paste and other spices of course,
But it doesn't carry any strong Chinese herbs aroma,
It's more like Sichuan style noodles-

We first start out with some appetizers,
This is stewed bean curd 滷花干-

Sichuan pickled cabbage 四川泡菜 and my favorite: steamed intestines 粉蒸肥腸-

They put sweet potato on the bottom of the intestines, so sweet, super good,
And the intestines are so soft too, not chewy at all, LOVE it!

Here's where the ladies scooped the pickled cabbage for us, inside that big pot-

*They also use some Sichuan peppercorns while making the pickled veggies.

Braised beef soup noodles 紅燒牛肉湯麵-

I think my dad had too much meat the night before so he decided not to have beef this time,
Interestingly, the owner knows what my dad wants without asking him,
How in the world he knows if my dad wants beef or not??
Mystery unsolved.

Back to the food, my dad added a lot of pickled cabbage (another kind of pickled cabbage) to his soup,
The texture is similar to sauerkraut,
He also put a lot of chili paste in the soup, bang! 3 big spoons!
Yun Kan's chili paste is super spicy, I can only handle 2 big spoonful if I'm in the mood for ultra spicy meals!

Here's my fried pork chop noodles 排骨麵-

I've been having their fried pork chop noodles since I was little,
Weird huh? Why am I going for the pork chop noodles if they're famous for beef noodles,
Maybe cause I like to enjoy Yun Kan's chili paste with clear soup noodles,
The chili taste even more spicy this way!

Cindy's Rating: 7

By the way, I'm leaving for Chicago soon,
My friend said there's this foie gras hot dogs place over there,
Will definitely write about it here!

Yun Kan Beef Noodles 永康牛肉麵 (original location)
Number. 17, Alley. 31, Section. 2, Kin San South Road, Taipei
(02) 2351-1051