Thursday, December 23, 2010

Top Chef All Stars thoughts

Was Jaime always this lame? I remember her being pretty tough and cooking pretty good food? How can this be the same wallflower that is on this all star season? Is she just wilting under the pressures of failing twice? I gave her the benefit of the doubt when she cut her finger and left to go get stitches. But now this? Hiding? I totally regret stating that she is one of my favorites. Now on the other hand, last night I remembered what was so awesome about Carla. She just totally came out, did her style food, against the disapproval of her teammates and WON! I must say that judges table is so nerve racking now that some of the weak links are gone. It really was crazy to see Spike go last night! Was his dish really worse than the others??


Are they really going there with Angelo again? I mean they went as far as Gail coming out and asking if they felt he was sabotaging?? REALLY? Lame drama

That being said, I wouldn't let anyone cook my salmon! What a dumb ass!

Most overused ingredient - yuzu

Taylor Dent? He had the personality of a head of lettuce, iceberg.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Top Chef All Stars thoughts

Now that was an episode! It was truly an All-Stars week with amazing food, interesting elimination challenge and power house guests. The level of food was what I would expect from chefs of this calibre that have the experience of competitive cooking. So much better than the first two episodes! The judging was fair and I was happy to see Dale win. His dish looked so delicious! All I can remember of Dale from his previous season are his temper tantrums. I like this kinder gentler Dale. Maybe he went to anger management or discovered kava root. Maybe there just hasn't been anything that pissed him off enough yet....
Farewell Stephen and the other Dale. Oh well, have to find someone new to pick on now that Stephen is gone.


I felt embarrassed for Tom when he made the Led Zeppelin analogy.

Where does Stephen buy his clothes? Really! I want to know!

Someone tell Angelo that he is not Asian. I understand embracing a culture but come on! Now maybe if he grows his hair long and wears it in a braid...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Turkey Zucchini Pasta

One night after work feeling tired but still in the mood to cook. The first thing that came to mind was pasta as I had most of the ingredients at home already. All I needed to pick up was some ground turkey and fresh basil. 
Turkey Zucchini Pasta
  • pasta
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 med. onion - diced
  • 2 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 can of crush tomatoes
  • 1 zucchini - diced
  • dried oregano 
  • balsamic vinegar
  • brown sugar
  • chili flakes
  • grated cheese 
  • fresh basil

  1. Bring pot of water to boil for pasta 
  2. Heat a pan with oil, add the diced onion, ground turkey, brown then add minced garlic-sautee for a minute. Add crushed tomatoes with juice. Bring to a gentle simmer
  3. Add the oregano, chili flakes, sugar, a quick drizzle of balsamic vinegar and zucchini, stir.
  4. Done when zucchini are cooked
Another delicious simple pasta dish!
Isn't it always nice
 to come home to 
 a well stocked kitchen *


pass the cheese please.....

Friday, December 10, 2010

Top Chef All Stars thoughts

All I can say is wow! That Jen is a loose canon! She just lost it! Overall, a very sad ending since she was one of my favorites. She's totally bad-ass! But alas, she was (again) her own worse enemy, obviously overcompensating for her self doubt with a ridiculous and embarrassing display of bravado. She seemed like she snorted a couple of lines before judges table no? You don't want to see someone go out like that, not even for the sake of good TV. The location was cool but the episode seemed like one big quickfire. The elimination challenge was kind of lame. Making a buffet breakfast for 150 kids is not such an interesting challenge. The judges totally never mentioned anything about how kid friendly the breakfast was during judging. I don't think there are many kids out there that eat gazpacho and gnocci for breakfast. Then again, the Ngs eat dinner food for breakfast all the time. But then we are talking about Top Chef aren't we? Anyway, I'm still kinda uncomfortable from this episode.


Funniest comment - Dale re: Joe Jonas "I thought he was a pastry chef"

Most annoying chef du episode - Stephen. I liked how he thought he was doing the Italian thing with Fabio. He seems as Italian as Olive Garden. If they show that stupid clip of him opening champagne bottle with the machete again, I'll stop watching the show.

Most boring judge, ever - who thought it was a good idea to bring Katie Lee back?

Most tragic ending - Jennifer Carroll. Just say no, girl

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Top Chef All Stars thoughts

The premier episode did not disappoint and in fact I am super excited about this all star season! Excellent choice to have Anthony Bourdain as a rotating judge. He's just awesome.
The bar is set pretty high in the kitchen and all the food looked pretty amazing. With a few exceptions of course. It's always sad to see Fabio on the bottom for a pasta dish. I mean, how embarrassing! I was never impressed and still don't know why Marcel is always in the mix. In fact, I had the opportunity to taste his food at Test Kitchen recently. To my surprise, he was the guest chef of the night and I was disappointed. His food is too contrived and is just not very good. The stuff he put out tonight was much of the same. Stephen is just so annoying, annoying personality, annoying wardrobe, annoying food. His body is so weird too. On that note, life must get better for all chefs that appear on Top Chef because they all gain so much weight! Well, all the women look the same but all the guys, not so good. For some reason, I do not remember Richard at all. I totally watched his season but he is a stranger to me. Who is he? Well, they sent home the right person. Ciao Elia. She was kind of annoying too, clearly not ready for the level of competition. For the most part it was fun seeing all the contestants and remembering particulars about each. I'm sure I'm wasn't the only one waiting for Dale to wig out and slam a sheet pan over someones head. Well, its going to be a fun season and you'll hear from me again! Did I mention that Bourdain is a judge????

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Pan Fried Strip Steak Dinner

NY Strip Steak pan fried medium rare please!
I will never forget my first juicy steak that was made by my lovely grandmother. Perfectly charred and tasty every time, seasoned with only salt and pepper, filling up the air with the most delicious aroma. She only ever used her favorite well seasoned cast iron skillet ( god knows how long she had it ). 
I wonder which of us sister owns it now hmmmm? they should be so lucky,

Here sharing a quick and easy steak dinner.

2 Strip Steak
Remove from fridge and let it sit in room temperature for about 10-15 mins.
After that, season well with salt and pepper 

Roast Onion and Tomatoes
While the steak is coming to room temperature. Heat oven to 375.
Slice tomatoes and onion, season with salt, pepper, oregano and a drizzle of olive oil.
Pop in the oven and let it roast for 30 mins- I like to check on them at 20 mins

Add the steak to a heated pan with oil.
They were a little less then a inch thick so i fried them for 3 mins on each side.

Pan fried strip steak medium rare 
 with rice,  roasted tomatoes & onions
and sugar snaps.
I love having steak with rice, 
as you cut into the steak with the rice soaking up the tasty juice, soo good.
Very juicy and tender with sweetness of the veggies.
Who is having steak tonight?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pho' Grand Vietnamese Weekend Lunch

277 Grand Street
New York, NY 10002
(212) 965-5366

When having Vietnamese food, I always like to order a
No#2 Pho Beef Noodle Soup -
with fresh eye of round, brisket, navel, tendon, etc..
with a squeeze of lemon and handful of fresh basil...
to the very last drop pf pho' ...slurp!

and sometimes -
Beef stew with toast bun
chunks of beef shank, gelatinous tendon that melts in your mouth
and carrots swimming in this rich broth.
so savory

First time trying -
Deep Fried Crab Wanton
first bite was delicious then the richness of the cream was overpowering
so just one bite was fine for me

We like to come here whenever we can. Nice quick service and place seems clean.
Are you hungry yet?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Breakfast - Simple Tomato Onion Scramble

Egg-Onion-Cherry Tomatoes-Cilantro
scramble the eggs and chop the rest of the ingredients
For smooth & moist scramble eggs I like to 
add small cold cubes of butter to the mixture, 
this way it cooks with the egg and not brown it. 

Add oil to a heated pan then tomatoes and onion to follow

When the tomatoes / onions are cooked down - add the egg mixture
Lighty scramble on medium low heat until desired doneness
 a light sprinkle of your favorite cheese and cilantro and serve!
**How do you like your scramble eggs? **
I know this is a very easy recipe.
I tend to get out of hand with snapping photos so why not share :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Shanghai Lunch - Shanghai Garden Restaurant

Looking for delicious Shanghai cuisine?
This little hole in the wall down in Chinatown is where we like to go sometimes. It is a very small space with booths and connecting tables. It might be a little wait but it's worth it.
The service is good,very nice and attentive.
14A Elizabeth Street
New York, NY 10013
Chinatown 212-964-5640

Chilled Combination Dish :
marinated jelly fish - crunchy and fresh on the palette
boneless pig's trotter - taste like pastrami with gelatinous texture
drunken chicken - a nice pungent wine flavor with a fresh finish....what more can I say?
* this dish can be fun and tasty if you're on the adventurous side and
it's a perfect starter*

Another one of my favorite Shanghai dishes :
Stir Fried Rice Cakes with Shredded Pork, Preserved Vegetables and Bamboo shoots
The nice and chewy rice cakes with the crunchy texture from the bamboo shoots blends nicely with pickled and sweet vegetables. Sounds nice right?

Deep Fried Jumbo Shrimp with Mayo and caramelize walnuts.
They were huge, crunchy to bouncy with each bite.
Succulent shrimp we have here, so good..

 Wonton with hot chili and garlic sauce 
This was okay....they were too big for my liking and the sauce seem sweet then tangy
but might work for you

Who would like to join us next time?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Crabby Jerry's Seafood Lunch

Nice weekend trip with the family out at Greenport Long Island NY.
Here we are enjoying lunch at Crabby Jerry's

Started with a good old Bloody Mary

Steamed Lobster

(could have this everyday,soooo buttery good)

Mixed green salad with a Stone crab claw

Weather was beautiful, the company was perfect. It was a very nice weekend indeed.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Turkey & Lentil Stew

This dish started as an idea for turkey chili, and then I remembered that I always end up picking out the beans halfway through the bowl. So then I decided to use lentils instead and it came out great. Can't really call it chili anymore without the beans so we'll just say stew (for the purists out there). Anyway the result was so delicious that our two year old asked for seconds! It is really healthy and very easy to make. To cut prep and cooking time down, I recommend using cooked lentils for those of you that have access to Trader Joe's. They sell these amazing cooked beluga lentils in a vacuum sealed plastic bag. If you don't have a Trader Joe's just use regular lentils and adjust the cooking time to accommodate. Or just use beans and you can call it chili! We serve it with rice and lots of hot sauce! I like Tapatio or Tabasco. Those of you that don't have to worry about feeding a toddler should add paprika and chili powder while cooking the stew! As with most stews, there is a lot of room to play around and add ingredients that you like. Some interesting variations might include okra or mushrooms. Of course the quality of ingredients changes the dish a lot. I love San Marzano brand tomatoes. I also like to add a couple of tablespoon balsamic vinegar at the end to give it some depth of flavor.

2 lbs ground turkey
1 package of cooked lentils (about 3 cups, more if you like)
1 can whole peeled plum tomatoes (hand crushed or food mill)
2 medium carrots diced
1 bell pepper diced
1 can plain tomato sauce
1 quart container chicken stock
1 medium onion diced
4 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon onion powder
salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar to taste

  • brown turkey, set aside
  • saute garlic and onion until caramelized
  • add carrots and peppers, not all at once to keep heat of pan
  • return turkey and get it back to a good sizzle
  • add spices
  • add tomato and tomato sauce, bring to boil
  • add stock to consistency desired, keep extra broth in case stew thickens too much
  • simmer on low heat for 40 mins (or when the carrots are very soft)
  • add cooked lentils and simmer for another 10 mins
  • enjoy!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Baked Tilapia Fish with Sake

Now doesn't this look just yummy !
This is a very simple delicious dish made by Annie aka anniebananee.


Tilapia Filets
Soy sauce
Chili Sesame oil
salt and pepper
1. Line baking sheet with foil - lay out the filets with some garlic,ginger,scallion - seasoned with salt and pepper - a nice hearty drizzle of Sake.
2. Cover fish with foil and bake until done.
3. Heat oil in pan , when hot add in the rest of the ginger,garlic and scallions. Let it slightly brown and infuse the oil then pour over the fish. You can season the fish with soy sauce/chili sesame oil for extra flavor.

Dinner is Ready!

The Sake Baked Tilapia was served with
Baby Bok Choy , Stir fry String Beans, and Annie's perfect Steamed Egg.
Thank you Annie!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

VacatioNg-Roast Pork anyone?

We roasted a 10 lbs pork shoulder during our vacation. It turned out amazing... We finished every bit of it. You have to crisp up the skin at the end. Forget about watching your cholesterol. You and your guests will be fighting over the yummy, crispy skin. I guarantee it! I'm not sure if you remember my "I heart pork" post, that is where I got my inspiration. The recipe I use is a typical latin one (pernil). You have to try it!

First you pick the meat. Don't you just love him... He's so happy.

Clean and make slits all over the pork to insert the garlic and marinade.

-One 8-10 pound bone-in pork picnic shoulder with skin
-1 head of minced garlic
-1 cup of cilantro( finely chopped)
-1 cup of onion ( small diced)
-1 tbsp of salt for every pound
- 2 tsp of ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp of vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp of white vinegar
- 2 tbsp of adobo seasoning

Combine the garlic , cilantro and onion in a medium size bowl. Stir in the salt, adobo, pepper, oil and vinegar. Rub garlic paste all over the pork. Make sure to get some of the paste into the incisions so the flavoring can penetrate the meat. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.

Allow the meat to sit at room temperature for 30 mins before cooking. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Slow roast the pork for 6 hours, uncovered, skin side up (this is if you have all the time in the world). You can also roast it at a higher temperature for a shorter cooking time ( 400 degrees for an hours and then at 350 degrees for 2-3 hours) I'm sorry, you're committed at this point. When that is done, set your oven to broil to crisp up the skin. Make sure you get all of the skin. Be very careful. It is extremely hot. Use oven mitts! You'll thank me after :)

This is the perfect roast.

We served it with rice, beans and tortilla wraps that night.
Wish you all were there. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

VacatioNg - Lunch at Joe's Crab Shack

The Ngs LOVE seafood and any chance to eat it together! We loved Joe's Crab Shack, it was exactly what we wanted!
From Dungeness Crabs to Snow and King Crab Legs, Lobsters, Shrimps,Clams...
In baskets, buckets and steampots!!

Basket of Fried Oysters

Samuel Adams Steam Pot :
Sweet Snow Crab, 1 LB of Clams, Lobster Claws, Sausage, Corn on a cob and Potatoes all steamed in S.A. Lager

Bucket of Garlicky Mussels

Joe's Classic Steam Pot :
Dungeness Crab, Snow Crab, Shrimp, Smoked Sausage, Corn on a cob and Potatoes

Looks a bit messy but that's where the fun comes in :)
lemon, butter and yes a couple of bibs please!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

VacatioNg cont...

Everytime we get together I am always requested to make my corn casserole. I have been making this dish for holidays, birthdays, and gatherings for many years now.
Every night on this trip along with helping each other with cooking, one of the sisters were in charge of making a dish and I could not wait until it was my turn! I made this on the same night Emily made her Ox Tail Stew and it went together very well. This is a super simple recipe and everyone finishes it everytime! As many times as I've made it, I still go for seconds and sometimes thirds :o)

Cindy's Corn Casserole
1 14oz can whole kernel corn
1 14oz can cream style corn
1 8 0z sour cream
1/2 stick of butter, melted
1 small package of Jiffy corn bread mix
1 egg beaten
1 jalapeno minced (use more if you like it extra spicy)

Mix all ingredients together in a 2 qt casserole pot or baking dish and bake at 375 degress for about an hour or until the top browns and the middle is dry when you stick a toothpick or chopstick in.

A side corn dish that is sweet and spicy at the same time? It's always a winner! I hope this dish will be a great part of your dinners too!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

VacatioNg- Braised Ox Tail

I'm still experiencing withdrawals from 7 days of fun and food with my family. I miss waking up everyday at 7 (that's really 4AM since we're west coast time!) just so I don't miss a minute of hanging out time with everyone! We all met in Orlando in the most lovely vacation rental house. It was a week of relaxation, tennis, swimming and EATING! We started the trip with a fun dinner at the Black Angus steak house! Then the next day we went straight to the Asian market with a pit stop at the Vietnamese restaurant next door of course. We stocked the fridge and pantry full of food and snacks and I mean FULL! Then the cooking began! I'm going to let my sisters talk more about the food but I would like to highlight my pride and joy for the week, braised oxtails!
We saved this dish for later in the week as you will see from the other Ngs that there were many nights of succulent roasted meats! We served it with rice, roasted zucchini and Cindy's delicious corn casserole.

Em's Ox Tail Stew
1 oxtail cut into pieces
1 can of whole plum tomatoes (hand crushed with juices)
1 carrot diced
1 onion diced
5 cloves garlic crushed
thyme - 1 teaspoon dried or 4 sprigs fresh
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon Goya sofrito (if not available, totally ok to leave out)

  • brown oxtail in 9 qt dutch oven or other large pot
  • remove oxtail and saute onion, garlic until caramelized
  • add sofrito if using
  • add tomatoes and bring to boil
  • add bay leaf, thyme
  • return oxtails and bring to boil
  • add water to almost cover, bring to boil
  • simmer for an hour and half to 2 hours until oxtails are tender

Vietnamese for Lunch

Three Treasure Rice - 3 style pork with soft fried egg

Grilled Pork with Vermicelli Dry / with Soup Bowl