Sunday, February 1, 2015

January Recent Eats

New post! I don't post often as it is, but now that I'm approaching finals and board exams, my posts will be even more sparse. But do not fret, I'll try to make time occasionally for this, or at least continue to take photos of food I eat/make while studying and then make a massive post when this terrible period is over :D

I turned 25! This is actually from December, but I didn't do a Recent Eats post for that month and I didn't know where else to stick this so ya...I have ze best frands ever ^^

I've been making Vietnamese iced coffee almost every day recently. I picked up this habit over winter break, and oh man this stuff is good. A filter is super cheap (<$5) at any Asian market, and it's super simple to make (here's a guide). I usually need 2-3 cups of regular coffee a day but I think it's the combination of the strong coffee and the condensed milk that gives this a kick that lasts.

Chinese scallion pancakes. My mom makes them perfectly (^ are made by her) whereas tis a failure when I try to make them :(

Before I left home at the end of winter break, I tried to get my mom to like cheese (most Asians hate cheese) and made this caprese salad. She said it wasn't bad but she didn't like it because she felt that chewing mozzarella had the same mouthfeel as chewing a chunk of fat :( I only became a cheese fan recently and her comments made me question my new cheese habit...

I've been on a rice pudding phase -- yes what a weird phase to have. This all started when I went to Bacchanal in Vegas over winter break and they had the most amazing jasmine rice pudding, so amazing that I had to try and replicate it at home. I made rice pudding nonstop for three days (exaggeration, but I did make at least 3-4 recipes worth of pudding). So far, the closest recipe I've found was to mix 1/2 gallon whole milk, a cup of sugar, 2/3 cup rice, a cinnamon stick, a dash of nutmeg, and a pinch of salt in a large pot and bake uncovered at 300F for 2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes to break the skin. This stuff is the bees knees.

Italian sausage and pepper stew. I've made this at least three times since I discovered the recipe, and it's so simple, so delicious, and so pretty. Instead of diced tomatoes, use multi-colored cherry tomatoes and it'll look like a pot of jewels.

Bourbon glazed pork chops with fried eggs. It's supposed to be a breakfast dish, but I've eaten this for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Arroz con pollo, recipe inspired by one of my favorite chefs - Jose Andreas. You can't go wrong with a simple dish like this if you use a recipe by someone like him. This was incredible.

Okonomoyaki, essentially a Japanese pancake topped with massive stuffs. I don't know how to describe this, but it's something you definitely need to try making for yourself.

Eggs in purgatory, inspired by a recipe by Mario Batelli. It's super simple, super fast, and looks super impressive to whip up in the morning. Just stir fry a small diced onion and a some minced garlic until browned, add enough pasta sauce to cover everything, crack a couple of eggs, and cover to simmer for a couple of minutes until the egg white are just cooked but are still jiggly and the yolk is runny. Add some fresh shredded herbs and some parmesan, and serve with bread.

Jamie Oliver's kicked up potato salad, except I used a recipe from a website that made a bunch of substitutions, and then I made even more substitutions (green onions instead of chives, greek yogurt instead of sour cream, lemon instead of lime). So it's essentially a bastardization of a bastardization and Jamie Oliver would be quite sad, but it's delicious.

Pho ga by Chez Khoi. I'm always so happy when he makes pho for me ^_^

Indonesian fried rice, also by Khoi using this recipe. I've never had this style of fried rice before and man I've been missing out.

Chicken and waffles, via cooking class through OUAB. This was the best homemade fried chicken I've had, better than the Thomas Keller Ad Hoc chicken recipe even. Unfortunately I didn't retain a copy of this recipe, poop :(

And I made a fancy banana pudding too, they even let me use a torch ^^

Dinner at a Omar's parent's house, the spread was incredible. I adore Mediterranean food, especially in massive quantities. That large bowl in the middle needs a banana for scale because the pictures doesn't do it justice. There were about 15 people eating dinner, and it was only half gone...

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Celebrating Khoi's Old Age

Khoi turned 25 this past week! I asked him if he preferred that I take him out or make dinner, and he chose the latter so...I figured I'd be a bit creative.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Columbus Restaurant Week 2015: The Refectory (Again)

"A refectory (also frater, frater house, fratery) is a dining room, especially in monasteries, boarding schools, and academic institutions." After decades of being a student, I've become so accustomed to dining halls that one of my favorite restaurants is a dining hall, albeit a fancy one. I've lived in Cbus for over a year now, and The Refectory is still one of my favorite restaurants in the city and where we chose to eat for Restaurant Week again this season.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Red Pearl Restaurant

In my mind, the concepts of Birmingham, Alabama and authentic Chinese food just don't go together. Yet, the city has one of my favorite Chinese restaurants -- Red Pearl. The restaurant used to be tucked away in a supermarket and occupied merely a hallway of space, and was frankly pretty ghetto, but they've expanded tremendously over the past year. My family ate here for lunch the day before I flew back to school and saw the beautiful new renovations (the restaurant is now almost the same size as the supermarket itself). 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Winter Break LA: Food Summary

I spent a week in LA, which is the boba capital of the world (and pretty much all good Asian food in general). I've missed this since it's been years since I last visited, and hence I went wild. Here's what I ate: