Oct 24, 2009

Dry Noodles with Sesame Sauce - 芝麻醬乾拌麵

7:30 a.m. That's the time I woke up today, on a Saturday morning,
I guess I was too hungry....it's hard to sleep in when my stomach is calling for food,
So I poured some frosted flakes cereal with some milk,
Wait until it gets soggy..., then I finished it in 3 minutes..
(I like my frosted flakes soft instead of crunchy,
And I try to finish the cereal first then enjoy the sweetened milk in the end,
Personal habit since childhood!
But am I the only one doing this?)

Couple hours passed...
Gurrrrrr........my stomach is making noises again....am I that hungry?
It was still early in the morning...around 10ish...
Making lunch around 10 seems a little bit too early for me....plus it'll take a while for the rice to be cooked...

As I opened the fridge, saw this jar of sesame sauce hiding in the corner,
Sobbing maybe, I've been ignoring that jar for a while,
Just that I rarely use sesame sauce except for hot pot meals..
Suddenly a "light bulb" popped up above my head,

Let me make something filling and easy, something that I don't need to wash too many dishes afterwards, my simplified dan dan noodles!-


1 bundle of udon noodles (or any kind of noodles per your preference)
1.5 tablespoons of sesame sauce (I used two tablespoons because I like the sauce to be thicker)
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of chicken stock
1 teaspoon of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of chili oil
2 teaspoons of black vinegar
Some toasted sesame seeds


Boil a pot of water to cook the noodles,
Meanwhile, let's prepare the sauce.

Mix together the soy sauce, chicken stock, sesame sauce, sugar, chili oil, and black vinegar,
Stir in the noodles when it's done,

I didn't drain it really well because I want some hot water in my sauce mixture,
It's about 1 tablespoon of extra hot water.

Mix the noodles with the sauce,
Add some toasted sesame seeds before serving,
Some extra chopped scallions will be good too, just that I don't have any left in my fridge.
The amount of vinegar and chili oil can be adjusted depending on your personal taste.

This time it took me 5 minutes to finish up the noodles,
Re-energized, I think it'll last me few more hours till lunch time!

Cindy's Rating: 7

Oct 20, 2009

Curry Flavored Stir Fry Veggies - 咖哩炒青蔬

How do you make stir fry vegetables?
Usually I'm pretty light on the seasonings for this dish,
Salt, pepper, sometimes with some soy sauce or ponzu sauce,
But after a while, I mean like months of the same stir fry veggies...
I finally got kind of sick of it...well...let me put it this way...I wanna try something new,
Or at least something "heavier."

So here it is, stir fry veggies with curry!-


1 pack of bean sprouts
1 pack of bunashimeji mushrooms (or other kind of mushrooms) (stemmed)
1/2 of sliced onion
1 can of chopped tomatoes or 1 large fresh tomatoes (peeled, cubed)
2 spicy curry cubes
Some toasted sesame seeds
Some dried seaweed flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
Olive oil


Drizzle some olive oil in the pan, toss in sliced onions and sprinkle some salt and pepper,
Cook till the onions turned translucent,
Add the mushrooms, bean sprouts, and some soy sauce,
Give it a quick stir, cook for about 1 minute.

Add the chopped tomatoes to the mixture,
I used canned roasted tomatoes, it's easier and gives more flavor to the dish,
But fresh tomatoes work too, just need to cook a little bit longer till it softens.

have a small pot ready, toss in the curry cubes and pour about 1/3 cup of water,
Turn to medium heat, stir it constantly so the curry won't burned.

Transfer the curry sauce to the veggie mixture, mix them well,
That's about it, your heavy flavored stir fry dish is ready.
Sprinkle some sesame seeds and seaweed flakes before serving.
This makes a perfect heavy donburi too!

Cindy's Rating: 7

Oct 16, 2009

Los Angeles Restaurant Week - Campanile (Closed)

Who ever came up with this restaurant week idea, you are a genius!

Usually it's a two week event in Los Angeles area,
But this time the event got extended to three weeks, great news people!
So basically the participating restaurants will create a three course menu for a certain set price,
Cheaper than usual of course.
Not only it helps driving the local business, it also raises the awareness regarding LA's vibrant dining culture.

The biggest benefit of all (at least to me), is that I get to try some of the well known but pricey places at a more wallet friendly price!
You know, usually eating at some of the more high end restaurants can costs hundreds of dollars,
Especially for me, if I don't set a limit on myself...man....this Asian girl can out eat everybody!
And the same things goes to the bill...it can get pretty scary...
However, the worst case happens when the food is not even that great!

Eitherway, the jaw dropping bills can't really stop my urge for trying out new restaurants...
(As my wallet flattens....)
What scares me the most is paying so much $$$ and the food turns out mediocre!
Thanks to this restaurant week thing,
I get to try some nice places with affordable price,
So IF**, if the food turns out ok only...at least I won't feel so bad to my skinny wallet.

And today, for lunch, I've decided to give Campanile a try!

Resaturant interior-

I didn't take any other pictures of the place,
It's hard to hold up my bulky camera and point it toward every corner for pictures, while everyone else is trying to eat in peace,
I feel bad....because someone...not at Campanile, but someone did turn away her head to avoid my camera before...
All the sudden...I felt like a privacy intruder....
To solve this problem, I tend to sneakily take one shot then I'm done for the day,
At least I try to make it quick!

By the way, you can read more about the building of campanile on their website,
Pretty interesting, here's the direct link.

So I started out my lunch with soup du jour: roasted tomato soup-

One baguette slice was topped with melted cheese, placed in the center of the plate, garnished with finely chopped chives.
Roasting the tomatoes does make a difference, it adds more depth to the flavor,
I also really enjoyed eating the crunchy baguette edges with creamy soup, spoon licking good.

As for the entree, my friend ordered fish,
Giving a big knock on my head now...can't belive I don't remember what kind of fish it was!-

Seared perfectly, but a little bit too salty,
Maybe it should be light on the salt since the fish was served with pesto sauce,
Besides that, it was very juicy on the inside!

I chose wild mushroom risotto cakes-

Fork licking good! Probably the best risotto cakes I've ever had so far,
It was simple but delicious,
The Parmesan cheese just oozed on top of the cakes,
The coating was flavored with some herbs? (I think, according to my taste buds),
They browned the coating perfectly, it was crunchy and full of that "secret" hint that I couldn't quite figured out,
The tomato sauce was amazing too!
I don't know what kind of cooking liquor was used in the sauce, but the aroma was absolutely there!
If I have to pick on one thing about this dish...maybe not enough sauce,
I love the sauce, I wish there was more...more...MOREEEEEE!

As the savory side of my stomach was satisfied, it was time for some sweet stuff-

Bread pudding with caramel sauce and creme fraiche.
Unlike most of the bread pudding, this one really had a "pudding" part in the center,
So there was soft, silky pudding surrounded by harder, but kind of airy bread,
Heaven! I love bread pudding!

Our three course meal came up about $24 each including tax,
Not bad huh?

One guy came to our table while I was taking bread pudding pictures,
He introduced himself, saying that he is the owner of Campanile,
Asking if I was taking pictures of the dessert, then I forgot what else he said..
Ok...I was nervous...I get nervous easily...ah stupid me..
Felt like I could have talk more to the person....
Only a short moment, he shook my hand and left the restaurant.

Later on, I was browsing Campanile's website,
Came across this page,
Eh? Was the guy who shook my hand the executive chef?
Rubbing my eyes...maybe I was wrong..I don't know...Mmm...(@#($&#&$!)
Guess I'll have to go back again and figure it out myself,
I totally don't mind at all though, the food was good, definitely worth going!

Sorry my tiny little wallet..

Overall rating: 7 (for now, it has the potential of 8 if I try more dishes in the future)

624 South La Brea
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Oct 14, 2009

Blog Action Day - Climate Change - What Can We Do?

This is the time of the year again,
The day when bloggers are united in order to raise the awareness of a particular issue around the world,
Each year carries a different theme,
It can be wildlife preservation, water conservation, fighting against hunger,
And this time, we gonna talk about climate change.

No matter where you are, you can definitely feel that there's something unusual happening to the weather,
Sudden snow storms, record breaking rain, heat waves, etc.

Back to where I came from, Taiwan, a tiny little island between the Taiwan Strait and the Pacific Ocean,
This small country is experiencing typhoons with unanticipated amount of rain and stronger wind power that cause numerous damages to people's homes, small businesses, and agricultural crops.

Anything we can do to help with the situation?

Let's pause here for a second,
Don't think that your own individual effort will be significant enough to make any changes to such a big mass of problems,
Remember, we, as the resident of mother Earth, we need all of your efforts to make this place a better place to live,
So please throw away thoughts like "It doesn't really matter," "it won't make any differences anyways."
It's time to be more considerate and responsible to yourself. Yes, yourself!

Am I getting too serious here?

Hmm....well...since it's a food blog after all, let's talk about what can we do to help with the situation by becoming a more environmentally friendly grocery shopper and mater chef at home!
(Don't know why being a responsible shopper and chef can help with the climate change issue?
Here's the link from Wikipedia, look under human influences and you'll have a better idea!)

Some suggestions on grocery shopping:

1. Use reusable shopping bags
2. Try to buy local grown, organic produce
3. Select farmed fish with less impact on the environment, here's a good link for detailed info regarding fish selection
4. Don't buy over-packaged products

Some suggestions on cooking at home:

1. Close the lid while making stewed or braised dishes
2. Unplug unused cooking appliances such as ice cream machine or food processor
3. Grow your own herbs or veggies, it saves a lot of money too!
4. Make extra food, for instance, make more chicken stock at once and freeze the unused broth with ice cube trays.
This also applies to pasta sauce, curry, etc.

All the things I mentioned here are extremely easy to accomplish,
Only requires a simple change of habits,
I remember reading a research paper a while ago,
It states that after doing the same thing for 30 something times, it'll become a habit,
So please, just make yourself doing these stuff for more than 30 times,
For the sake of our mother Earth!

Do it!

Oct 12, 2009

Minipost - My Favorite P&J

Super easy, absolutely delicious - to me!


2 milk toast
Some organic creamy peanut butter
Some organic blueberry jam
1/2 ripe banana


1 cup of 2% organic milk (preferably lactose intolerance kind)


Simple spread peanut butter on one toast, blueberry jam on the other toast,
Place the sliced banana over one toast and place the other toast over,
Here it is!
My ultimate favorite almost organic P&J!-

Cindy's Rating: 9 (super good per my personal preference!)

Oct 7, 2009

Cooking with Leftovers - Frittata

Before I post the recipe here,
Does anyone know any tips for better sleep?

I'm exhausted...7 to 8 hours of bad quality sleep per day, it's driving me crazy,
Especially my dreams, I just can't stop them from invading in my brain,
These few days, I dreamt about zombies, Armageddon, snowboard at night,
I also dreamt about my friends, high school friends, and people I rarely talk to,
I even dreamt about curry rice!
Yes, guess that foodie part of me is inherent deeply in my blood that I can't even stop seeing food while my eyes are closed!



8 eggs
1/4 cup of chopped onion
1/3 cup of shredded rotisserie chicken
1 riped tomato (chopped)
3/4 cup of shredded Parmesan
1 bundle of spinach
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheits.
Brush the round baking pan with olive oil,
Cooking spray works fine, just that I don't have it in the house.

Drizzle some olive oil in the pan, toss in chopped onions and a pinch of salt,
Cook till the onions turned translucent, toss in the spinach,
Cook till fully wilted down, drain out any excess liquid, set aside and let it cool down a little bit.

Have a big bowl ready,
Mix the follow ingredients together:
Eggs, cheese, shredded chicken, chopped tomatoes, some salt, and some pepper,
You have to adjust the amount of salt used depending on how salty are the spinach and the rotisserie chicken.
Blend in the spinach we just cooked earlier,

Transfer the mixture to the baking dish.
Into the oven for about 35 minutes or so, till the top part turns slightly brown,
You can also insert a knife in the center of the mixture, if the knife comes out clean, your frittata is done!

I got rid off so many leftover ingredients by making this dish,
First is the spinach, it was on sale, 3 bundles for $0.99 (good deal huh?),
Rotisserie chicken.

Talking about chicken, some parts of the rotisserie chicken, especially the ones you get from the grocery store, can get pretty dry sometimes,
Using chopped tomatoes in the frittata helps adding that extra moisture into the chicken,
Tomatoes and dry chicken = good friends!

Now my stomach is satisfied, time to work on my sleeping quality....


Cindy's Rating: 7