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Archive for August, 2012

Today, we exposed the two chefs (P&P) to other cuisines. Thought we’d eat “Filipino fusion” food at Max’s of Manila (801 Dillingham Boulevard, Honolulu, Hawaii). We asked the chefs if they wanted to tag along, and surprisingly, they did.

I think some of the food was a little of a cultural shock to them although we tried to order “safe”.

Nilagang Baka

Tender beef shank and ribs in flavorful broth. Greens, potato, and peppercorn.

Ensaladang Kangkong

Kangkong  (ong choi) tossed with sesame soy vinaigrette. I liked this, the chefs thought the presentation was pretty.

Ubod Salad

Heart of palm and pineapple chunks. Again, I liked this, the chefs thought it was a little too sweet for “salad”.

Sizzling Tofu

With onion, bell pepper, and green  pepper sauce. One of The Cat’s favorites.

Spaghetti

This is not some fancy schmantzy spaghetti with gourmet sauce. The description from the menu reads: “Filipino style spaghetti with sweet tomato sauce, ground beef, slices of hot dog, and topped with cheddar cheese. I was in the mood. The dish reminded me of school cafeteria spaghetti (in a good way). 🙂

The Cat ended the meal with a dish of ube ice cream.

Ube Ice Cream

Do not adjust your computer screens, this is the natural color of ube ice cream. I think Chef’s brother, little P, was impressed with the color.

Have to give props to big P and little P for eating outside of their comfort zone. 🙂

The reason why we were in the neighborhood.

Padovani Chocolates

The Cat needed ten boxes of chocolates and Chef suggested we come on Sunday when they’re usually closed so they wouldn’t get interrupted (it’s one of the perks of personally knowing them). We also got to sample some of the “rejects” that won’t be sold because of cosmetic reasons. Hee hee.

Enjoy. Eat well.

The Mouse

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Impromptu

For lunch today, I was trying to get to the Waimanalo area to try a place that does smoked meats, but traffic was so congested, I just turned around  and started heading back home. A quick search on Yelp and I ended up here.

Sign

(1090 Keolu Drive, Kailua, Hawaii). Got there a little after noon and they’re almost sold out. Sigh.

Cobbled together whatever was left to make a lunch plate.

Okazuya Lunch

Maki sushi, shoyu hot dog, fried chicken. Not bad, pretty decent, socks stayed on. Loved the colors and the taste of the  sushi. The chicken wasn’t greasy at all, was a little dry though (no biggie).

Also picked up a bowl of chicken squash soup (saved it for The Cat).

Chicken Squash Soup

Only problem with okazuya food is everything is ala carte. Ordering can get pretty pricey very quickly.

Enjoy. Eat well.

The Mouse

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Uhm. I dunno if that was the case. But in the kitchen today sure felt like the stars were aligned. Got to clean some food out of the refrig (used up the duck, mushrooms, and romaine lettuce) and made two pretty successful dishes (in my mind anyway).

First, I wanted to make sliders. I sautéed the mushrooms with a little bit of shallots until all of the liquid evaporated. Deglazed the pan with some Shao Xing rice wine. Sliced the duck and some green onions thinly. I used sweet bread rolls from Agnes Portuguese Bake Shop (46 Hoolai Street, Kailua, Hawaii).

Roast Duck and Mushroom Sliders

A little whole seed mustard. The rolls were larger than the typical slider size but smaller than regular hamburger buns. A good size to hold the ingredients.

That was for lunch.

For dinner, more lettuce and duck. This time around cooked old rice. The Cat had brought home some leftover rice a couple of days ago and never got to finish it.

A little time warp backwards. There used to be a Chinese restaurant in town that did a lettuce fried rice that The Cat liked. Not lettuce cups but lettuce in the fried rice. That was the inspiration.

Back to the present. Old  rice, thinly sliced duck and lettuce, one egg, and green onions (salt and pepper to taste).

Duck and Lettuce Fried Rice

I’m from the wet fried rice school. Did you know there are two ways to add egg to the fried rice? One way is to scramble the egg(s) separately and add the egg(s) to the rice when it’s almost done (dry method). The second way (the way I’m  used to to) is to add the raw egg(s) to the fried rice when it’s almost done and stir vigorously to scramble the egg(s) with the fried rice (wet method).

Not to go and toot my own horn (well, kind of), but I thought  the two dishes were awesome (yes, the sock flew off, both times). Thank you Chinese kitchen god. 🙂

I even got to get in a little knife practice.

Chopped Romaine Lettuce

Not perfect, but getting there. Practice, practice, practice.

Enjoy. Eat well.

The Mouse

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Oops!

Sort of. Ever have those times when you think about a dish but it turns out slightly (or in my case, more than slightly) different? Today was one of those days, in a good way.

I wanted to make somen or soba salad for lunch today. The market was running a sale on whole wheat pasta. Why not. Kind of similar anyway. So, spaghetti salad it is. Here’s where the oops comes in. I was cutting up some mustard greens to use as greens in the salad and kind of over did it (I was having so much fun slicing and chopping). So instead of somen or sobasalad with mustard greens as accompaniment, it became mustard green salad with whole wheat spaghetti accents.

Salad

Mustard greens, whole wheat spaghetti, mushrooms, toasted black sesame seeds, toasted sesame oil, Japanese rice vinegar, Kauai sea salt, and freshly ground pepper. Turned out pretty good.

For dinner, still haven’t got the chopping bug out of my system yet. Another chopped salad (you’ve seen something similar before).

Dinner Salad

Romaine lettuce, mushrooms, dried fruit, and raspberry vinaigrette (simpler than last time).

And since I still had a lot of spaghetti left, cooked up a portion, added a can of sardines (oil and all). Instant pasta, which The Cat would call cat food. 🙂

Sardines and Pasta

Enjoy. Eat well.

The Mouse

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Still Have All My Fingers

Or maybe I should have titled this post “teaching an old dog (in this case a mouse) a new trick”. Let me explain. When I started working in Chef’s kitchen I realized I was not holding my knives correctly. But in the interest of expediency, he didn’t make me change my grip, just don’t cut myself or chop off my fingers. Now that I have some time to practice at home, I’ve been cutting up a lot of vegetables (cabbage, onions, lettuce, etc). The harder stuff, such as carrots, I’m easing into.

The “correct” grip, also known as the “pinch” grip seems counter intuitive to me (go watch YouTube). I think I’m getting the hang of it. Tonight, chopped up cabbage, sliced mushrooms, and julienned roasted duck meat and made a quick stir fry.

Cabbage, Mushroom, and Roast Duck Stir-Fry

With practice, I think I can be as quick and precise as Martin Yan, in about a century or so. 🙂

Chop, chop, slice, slice.

Enjoy. Eat well.

The Mouse

Oh by the way, someone asked what I did with the duck carcass. It’s in the freezer waiting for me to make duck broth. 🙂

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