kung pao chicken
First of all—yay for my new iPhone 4s! The picture quality on it makes me want to cry. T.T And man, I have really been having fun with Instagram on there—the caption should read ‘Pretentious Vintage Artistry’ I know, but I just can’t get enough of it. So anyhow, I’ve decided to take pictures using my iPhone instead of my old rusty point n’ shoot for food pictures. But okay, this is about the food and not the camera, so I digress.
So… I’m not the greatest at making Chinese food. Or so I thought. I realized tonight that the fault lies with my non-seasoned wok and my being too timid with oil when stir-frying things. But this turned out so well, I am hankering for a stainless steel wok now. 
The only substitution I made from the original recipe was switching peanuts for pine nuts—James & I tried a fancy-shmancy Chinese restaurant in Beverly Hills that did the same and were surprised at the amount of taste sophistication the switch made. Nommy. 

kung pao chicken

First of all—yay for my new iPhone 4s! The picture quality on it makes me want to cry. T.T And man, I have really been having fun with Instagram on there—the caption should read ‘Pretentious Vintage Artistry’ I know, but I just can’t get enough of it. So anyhow, I’ve decided to take pictures using my iPhone instead of my old rusty point n’ shoot for food pictures. But okay, this is about the food and not the camera, so I digress.

So… I’m not the greatest at making Chinese food. Or so I thought. I realized tonight that the fault lies with my non-seasoned wok and my being too timid with oil when stir-frying things. But this turned out so well, I am hankering for a stainless steel wok now. 

The only substitution I made from the original recipe was switching peanuts for pine nuts—James & I tried a fancy-shmancy Chinese restaurant in Beverly Hills that did the same and were surprised at the amount of taste sophistication the switch made. Nommy. 

pumpkin bounty.

Oh pumpkin, you are so plentiful in your harvest. 

So I bought a regular-sized pumpkin last week for pumpkin carving but bitched out at the last minute because of other circumstances… and was left with this gigantic pumpkin sitting on my counter for the last week. What to do, what to do… so today I finally stopped being a lazy ass and decided to tackle the pumpkin head-on! 

Well, sort of. I’m not strong enough (or confident enough) to swing around a giant-ass butcher’s knife to cut a pumpkin larger than my head in half… so I made James do it before he went to work. (Surgeon STRENGTH!) 

Anyhow, I scooped out the stringy pulp and seeds, washed off the seeds & boiled them in salt water before roasting them in olive oil and—voila! A nutritious snack. A bowl of salted pumpkin seeds & a hot cup of apple cider… the perfect fall night snack. 

The pumpkin halves were roasted in the oven for an hour or so, then left to cool on the counter… folks, I am going to have pumpkin EVERYTHING for a long, long time. It’s a good thing I can freeze the puree—I’m sure it won’t be long before I’m absolutely up to here in pumpkin tolerance. :] I want to say that one regular-sized pumpkin yields 5-6 cups of pumpkin puree… ha. Yeah. Pumpkin for everyoneeee

EDIT: Okay, just finished peeling the pumpkin skin off and pureeing it with a food processor… holy crap, 10 cups of puree. I’m going to be bleeding pumpkin by the end of this season…

pan-fried rib-eye & mushroom risotto 
…a.k.a. James is missing out, again. Hahaha. 
It had been a while since I’ve done risotto and I forgot how labor-intensive it is. Stir a pot and slowly add chicken stock for… oh, half an hour. Jeebus. But it’s creamy, and delicious, and totally tasty… which is more or less worth it, I suppose. Wait… *takes a bite* Okay, totally worth it. Nom nom nom.
The rib-eye was super easy and very flavorful. The secret ingredient: The Melting Pot’s Garlic & Wine seasoning! Yes, I used it as a rub. :3 I thought the flavoring would match very well with the risotto and it really did… well, does, since I keep eating it. Someone stop me, I’m so full already! Lastly, I threw the remainder of the mushrooms into the olive oil after I had pan-fried the steak and holy crap… so good! It may be another lonely night with James on night shift, but it sure as hell ain’t a hungry one. 

pan-fried rib-eye & mushroom risotto 

…a.k.a. James is missing out, again. Hahaha. 

It had been a while since I’ve done risotto and I forgot how labor-intensive it is. Stir a pot and slowly add chicken stock for… oh, half an hour. Jeebus. But it’s creamy, and delicious, and totally tasty… which is more or less worth it, I suppose. Wait… *takes a bite* Okay, totally worth it. Nom nom nom.

The rib-eye was super easy and very flavorful. The secret ingredient: The Melting Pot’s Garlic & Wine seasoning! Yes, I used it as a rub. :3 I thought the flavoring would match very well with the risotto and it really did… well, does, since I keep eating it. Someone stop me, I’m so full already! Lastly, I threw the remainder of the mushrooms into the olive oil after I had pan-fried the steak and holy crap… so good! It may be another lonely night with James on night shift, but it sure as hell ain’t a hungry one. 

Apple cinnamon oatmeal cookies
Remember how I mentioned that I made WAY TOO MANY apples? I’m still in the process of trying to get rid of/use all the apples, and happened to find this recipe on one of the sites I frequent… and something just clicked. I had to make these cookies. 
…except James used all of the eggs without telling me, and I only discovered this after I had started making the batter. D: So I grumbled and walked over to the 7-11 and paid $3.50 for these crazy jumbo eggs. That’s expensive for eggs!! Grrr. Between making the bolognese sauce, trying to get my laundry done amidst non-punctual and lazy college students/fellow tenants, doing my Chinese homework, and cleaning my place up I’m surprised I ended up making these at all! But they are so, so worth it. It’s like a bowl of apple cinnamon oatmeal… in your HAND. Crispy on the edges and chewy on the inside. Perfect, perfect, perfect for fall. 
For the specifics: I found the perfect time for me was 11 minutes at 350F, rest time of 5 minutes on the cookie sheet. What a sweet way to end a very productive day. :)

Apple cinnamon oatmeal cookies

Remember how I mentioned that I made WAY TOO MANY apples? I’m still in the process of trying to get rid of/use all the apples, and happened to find this recipe on one of the sites I frequent… and something just clicked. I had to make these cookies. 

…except James used all of the eggs without telling me, and I only discovered this after I had started making the batter. D: So I grumbled and walked over to the 7-11 and paid $3.50 for these crazy jumbo eggs. That’s expensive for eggs!! Grrr. Between making the bolognese sauce, trying to get my laundry done amidst non-punctual and lazy college students/fellow tenants, doing my Chinese homework, and cleaning my place up I’m surprised I ended up making these at all! But they are so, so worth it. It’s like a bowl of apple cinnamon oatmeal… in your HAND. Crispy on the edges and chewy on the inside. Perfect, perfect, perfect for fall. 

For the specifics: I found the perfect time for me was 11 minutes at 350F, rest time of 5 minutes on the cookie sheet. What a sweet way to end a very productive day. :)

Spaghetti w/Bolognese sauce & grated Parmesan 
Yum. This Bolognese sauce is uh-MAZE-ing. But it stews for a good 3 hours before it’s even ready to be tasted, so that might be a large part of why it’s crazy-good. I’m having a friend over tomorrow night for dinner and I decided to make Lasagna Bolognese—but since it takes a long time to stew I figured I’d make the meat sauce today. And I’m so glad I did, because I made a bit extra so I could have some of the sauce with spaghetti for dinner. I’ll be posting the link to the recipe after dinner tomorrow—PLEASE try making it, at least once. Just ONCE. It’s a billion million times better than American lasagna and it’s absolutely and fabulously divine. :]

Spaghetti w/Bolognese sauce & grated Parmesan 

Yum. This Bolognese sauce is uh-MAZE-ing. But it stews for a good 3 hours before it’s even ready to be tasted, so that might be a large part of why it’s crazy-good. I’m having a friend over tomorrow night for dinner and I decided to make Lasagna Bolognese—but since it takes a long time to stew I figured I’d make the meat sauce today. And I’m so glad I did, because I made a bit extra so I could have some of the sauce with spaghetti for dinner. I’ll be posting the link to the recipe after dinner tomorrow—PLEASE try making it, at least once. Just ONCE. It’s a billion million times better than American lasagna and it’s absolutely and fabulously divine. :]

Fluff Ice // shaved snow // Monterey Park, CA

Yes, I went back to Hot Pot Hot Pot again. I know, it’s only been 2 days. I’m one of those people that, if I eat at a place that is absolutely delicious, just HAVE to eat there again—hell or high water. (Unless it’s ridiculously expensive, of course.) So James and I put on our AWESOME wolf hats (in the spirit of Halloween) and headed out with friends to grub.

Afterward we happened to be walking around this shopping area when we noticed this place and I just about died and went to heaven. Shaved snow!! I had to get some. So I ordered the “Pretty In Pink” combo, which comes with strawberry fluffed ice, strawberries and pink honey boba. Cuteeeee! And freaking delicious too. This is awful—I keep finding nomalicious places that are at least 30-40 min. drive away from where I live. D: 

Pork Chops with Dijon Sauce + spaetzle & fresh spinach
So… I used pork loin instead of pork chops because I was feeling cheap… yeah. Don’t do that. Your “pork chops” will be tough as shit regardless of how long you cover & simmer the pan. :P The sauce was absolutely delicious though—and without the white wine, too, although I believe it would have been even better with. 
I’ve been obsessed with spaetzle ever since I went to Oktoberfest at Alpine Terrace and it paired well with this entree—thank goodness. And yes, I ate the whole thing anyway, even though it was like an exercise for my jaw. I had a lot of sauce leftover as well… now I’m trying to figure out what to do with it. Round 2 of porkchops?! 

Pork Chops with Dijon Sauce + spaetzle & fresh spinach

So… I used pork loin instead of pork chops because I was feeling cheap… yeah. Don’t do that. Your “pork chops” will be tough as shit regardless of how long you cover & simmer the pan. :P The sauce was absolutely delicious though—and without the white wine, too, although I believe it would have been even better with. 

I’ve been obsessed with spaetzle ever since I went to Oktoberfest at Alpine Terrace and it paired well with this entree—thank goodness. And yes, I ate the whole thing anyway, even though it was like an exercise for my jaw. I had a lot of sauce leftover as well… now I’m trying to figure out what to do with it. Round 2 of porkchops?! 

Hot Pot Hot Pot  // Chinese-Mongolian (apparently) // Monterey Park, CA

Ah, good ol’ Atlantic Blvd. As Kean said earlier tonight (and I very loosely quote): ‘it would be boring as shit to live out here, but it’s cool to visit for the food.’ 

And damn, was this food good. We ordered WAY too much but everything we ordered was delicious—and the satay sauce was just bomb beyond belief. The medium spicy broth was super delicious and only numbing on your tongue if you drank it (ha). The meat quality was nommy, and it really hit the spot on a cooler LA night such as this one. So yeah, James missed out, big time. ;)

I also loved that they pulled a little metal cart up to your table with the things you’ve ordered and leave it there for you to use at leisure. All in all, definitely one of those “hell yeah I live in Los Angeles!” kind of nights. 

chicken & apples in dijon honey mustard sauce
The apple frangipane tart recipe called for 4 freaking lbs. of apples and I thought—‘Wow, that’s a lot for one small 9” tart, but okay, joyofbaking.com, I believe you and will slave for half an hour peeling, coring and slicing firm baking apples.’ Turns out I was right and I had a shitload of apples leftover. Didn’t want to make a pie because I’ve already made 3 pies in the last 2 weeks (lol) so… entree it is! And boy am I glad. This was my first time trying apples with chicken and it was DEEEELICIOUS. Also, dijon mustard is the shit. Threw it together with some spaetzle pan-fried with butter, salt & pepper and this was the perfect 30-minute meal! Super excited to eat leftovers for lunch tomorrow. :] 
Lastly, ugly picture is ugly because I could barely stop stuffing my face long enough to take it. Nom nom nom.

chicken & apples in dijon honey mustard sauce

The apple frangipane tart recipe called for 4 freaking lbs. of apples and I thought—‘Wow, that’s a lot for one small 9” tart, but okay, joyofbaking.com, I believe you and will slave for half an hour peeling, coring and slicing firm baking apples.’ Turns out I was right and I had a shitload of apples leftover. Didn’t want to make a pie because I’ve already made 3 pies in the last 2 weeks (lol) so… entree it is! And boy am I glad. This was my first time trying apples with chicken and it was DEEEELICIOUS. Also, dijon mustard is the shit. Threw it together with some spaetzle pan-fried with butter, salt & pepper and this was the perfect 30-minute meal! Super excited to eat leftovers for lunch tomorrow. :] 

Lastly, ugly picture is ugly because I could barely stop stuffing my face long enough to take it. Nom nom nom.

apple frangipane tart

I was too lazy to make sure all of the apples were cut consistently hence the uneven rows… eh. It was delicious and mostly pretty, and that’s all that matters. And it really was delicious—unpretentiously so. I love the combination of home-made frangipane and crisp fall apples! And tarts are so light—although technically I suppose this is a galette because it is free-form… but who’s really checking? :P

why am i so bad at updating shit?

The million-dollar question.

Honestly, I went through a bit of a lull and stopped making food that was noteworthy for… probably about a month or so? And it was because I fell back into my habit of coming home after work and being zombie-fied in front of my laptop for x amount of hours (non-specified due to embarrassing amount). I tried to make a resolution about it that worked for… one day. That was also embarrassing. It’s frustrating as hell for me to be so unproductive, but it truly comes in spurts. 

So I decided—instead of trying to do a 180 and change myself completely in terms of how lazy I am after work I’ll just give myself one thing that to do each day that is productive. Hopefully that will help me eventually achieve: cooking daily, working out daily, and studying Chinese consistently. 

I know this is totally off-topic from this blog, but I want to try and commit myself to providing this as a resource for both me and others that enjoy cooking/baking. So I suppose that’s another thing I will eventually add to my small-step to-do list. :]

comfort food.

Bacon w/ egg & garlic fried rice topped with ketchup. HELLL YEAHHHHH

I was talking with my friends Kenny & Stephen about comfort food last Wednesday—what do you consider your go-to comfort food, regardless of what is happening in your life? I know that when I have a crappy day or when I want to start my day off in a completely comfy way I make this for myself. It’s probably the worst thing ever for me but it’s soooo delicious :] At least, to me. That’s the best part about comfort food—it doesn’t matter if no one else likes it or it’s completely shitty for your health. It makes you happy, and that’s all that matters. 

Do you have a comfort food? Once you think of it, you’ll crave it, I promise. I made this not even 2 days after talking about it with the guys. ;]

'lette macarons // french sweets // Little Tokyo, LA

So delicate. So nom-a-licious. $10 for the box—which is really not that bad, considering how much effort it takes to make just one. The flavors we picked were earl grey, sweet almond wedding, carribean chocolate, columbian coffee, lychee & coconut (the sweet almond wedding is on top in one of the pictures—totally ate the whole thing right after the picture xD)

Playing catch-up

I’ve been trying new things almost continually since my last post on here, but I’ve been increasingly lazy busy since I started my job. Can you believe the nerve of a full-time job? I mean, really! But yeah, I’m getting around to updating. I need to start using this “post date” shit so I can have at least one entry a day when I feel like doing entries—since my moods in which I exert effort inspiration can be fleeting at times. 

Musha // Japanese izakaya // Santa Monica, CA

This restaurant is a good example of fusion izakaya done well, and it’s probably because it was done by Japanese people. They take staples of izakaya and turn them on their heads with Western flair, into awesome dishes of deliciousness. Mmmm. My favorite (and everyone else’s favorite, I think) dish that we had was the aburi saba—they bring out a whole mackerel prepared sashimi-style and soaked with a vinegar marinade, then use a flamethrower to sear the top at the table! And the fact that it’s located on 5th & Wilshire, 2 blocks from the Promenade and < 10 minute walk from the beach = perfection. I included the picture of Kenny & James because James is making another one of his stupid faces from his ‘stupid face’ collection. :P