Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A happy belated Valentine's Day.

My boyfriend luurrves me. Why?

This could be one reason:

Valentine's Day fell on a Thursday this year, so we waited until the weekend to celebrate. I decided to show my love for him by slow-cooking the shiz out of some beef. This smoky beef stew with blue cheese and chives had enough tender, fall-apart meaty goodness to ensure our future together. Hehe, kidding. Maybe.

For me, this recipe is one of those where you can't argue with any of the ingredients. To quote Sunset Magazine, "bacon, smoked paprika, and chipotle chile powder give this stew layers of smoky flavor." Red wine gives it depth (I used a Shiraz Cabernet), onions add sweetness... and who doesn't like buttery potatoes and carrots? To top it all off, tangy blue cheese slowly melts into the stew to complete a flavor masterpiece.

This recipe doesn't mess around.

Cornbread muffins were a perfectly sweet accompaniment to the salty smokiness of it all. It's teetering on the edge of my dish and contemplating a skinny dipping.


By the way, Trader Joe's Cornbread Mix (complete with real corn kernels!) is awesome. Of course, I added even more corn and then sprinkled the tops of my muffins with sugar. I couldn't help it. I love corn and sugar.

Oh, and I didn't forget about dessert: peanut butter and chocolate fondue, with apples, bananas, pretzels and strawberries.

Yes, I garnished it with sprinkles shaped like lips. And what.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Avocado makes a better dessert.





I'm sure this has an official Indonesian name (maybe just es alpokat?), but I call it avocado soup. Mother whips up this delicious coffee-flavored avocado dessert for me using just fresh scoops of avocado, ABC brand Mocca Syrup, crushed ice and a touch of water.

Actually, she makes it for herself, and then I steal it.

Guac is great and all, but the buttery avocado just.. belongs in dessert.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Lent --> Best meal I've had at Wahoo's yet.

I take Lent as an opportunity (/excuse) to slightly curb my bad (but oh so good) eating habits for 40 days (when I don't slip) out of the year. My body's health shrieks, "THANK GOD," while my taste buds and love for all-things-food quip, "Dammit, is it this time of year again, already?"

But tasty foodventures can result from avoiding poultry and red meat on Fridays (and Ash Wednesday). One of the most obvious: more samplings of seafood. My dearest seafood. How I love thee.

Coming into Wahoo's Fish Taco today, I was expecting to order a standard blackened fish bowl, with rice and beans, pico de gallo -- you know, the usual Lenty food.

But hunger told me I had to get enchiladas. One fish enchilada and one shrimp enchilada, both swimming in "spicy green sauce," to be exact. And hunger get what hunger want. (Yes, I had to say it. And no, hunger didn't want a hot dog.)

By the way, for those of you who've never been to Wahoo's, the green sauce is a f-amazing creamy cilantro-lime dressing that's not really as hot as it claims, but it does have a little kick to it. I like to pour it on everything. And with enchiladas, melted cheddar floats on top for a bonus? HELLS YES.

As I mulled over the so-so black beans versus the so-so white beans, the cashier, in all his terrific genius, suggested all rice. Oh my gah! That's exactly what I wanted. DOUBLE hells yes.

All this resulted in what I believe to be my Wahoo's "recipe." Took me long enough (I found my Chipotle recipe on the third try). I wish I'd taken a photo; I didn't know this meal was going to be such a historic event.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, besides the whole "no-meat" rule on Fridays, I've given up soft drinks, chips and snacky things, and non-homemade confections.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Me, too, Cream Pan! Me, too!

Waiting for even more rave reviews before visiting the little Cream Pan turned Japonaise Bakery & Café in Tustin? What's wrong with you?!

If for some crazy reason, you need a little more persuading (you crazy!), here are a couple afterthoughts from yet another humble blogger. Please do try..

The best lemon poppyseed bread ever:

So very zesty and ... poppy. Heh. Poppyseeds make me giggle. And this is loaded with them, so you can imagine that I was very happy as I was devouring it.

And the walnut bread, neither altogether sweet nor savory. Just.. nutty. And yummy. Here, it's toasted and slathered with Trader Joe's Pumpkin Butter, which practically melts into the warm nooks and crannies:

Go already. (Or come with me!)

* * *
Japonaise Bakery & Café
600 El Camino Real
Tustin 92780

Monday, February 4, 2008

Heavenly heifer: Divine Bovine beef jerky.

I just spent more than $30 on beef jerky.

Why, might you ask?

Because it's divine. In fact, it's Divine Bovine. She's graced me with her tender, sweet, succulent jerky goodness.

That photo still might not be convincing enough. Okay, imagine eating popular, name-brand beef jerky you buy at the grocery store. Tastes alright, but tough, dry, over-salted, and shoe-leathery may come to mind. If that's beef jerky hell, Divine Bovine welcomes you to beef jerky heaven.

The Original is savory and a little smoky, with just the right level of saltiness; Honey Teriyaki is its sweet companion.

But my very favorite, the one I fell in love with in a car dealership gift shop*, is Wild Honey Teriyaki. For a brief moment on your taste buds, it poses as its sweet angel sister, the normal Honey Teriyaki. All of a sudden, your tongue envelops in flames.

It's a heavenly heifer that will give you one hell of a mouth burn. But as your ears redden slightly and tiny sweat beads start to form on your temples, you will reach for more.

Mmm-hmm. Holy Cow is right.

*A little anecdote: I actually happened upon Divine Bovine while waiting for a routine car check-up at Longo Toyota. Bored and feeling snacky, I browsed the gift shop for something to munch on.

"Ooh, what's this? I loves me some beef jerky."

So I paid $6.99 for a 4 ounce bag at the cashier. And it was so good, I had to buy it again the next time I was back at Longo Toyota for another service.

And then since I didn't have to return for another 4,000+ miles, I turned to the Internet to get my jerky fix. I ordered one of each flavor, pulled out my credit card, and placed my order. And I got a confirmation e-mail..

.. from Anthony Longo.

COINCIDENCE?!? HA! I think not. I mean, how common of a name is "Longo"? And I was wondering why it wasn't cheaper to buy the jerky online. Don't gift shops -- especially in car dealerships -- hike up the prices? But this jerky pretty much costs the same online as it does in the gift shop. IT ALL MAKES SENSE.

Actually, I have no real idea if Anthony Longo is or is related to Mr. Longo of Longo Toyota. But thank you Mr. Longo(s). Thank you for the beef jerky.

* * *
Longo Toyota
3534 N. Peck Road
El Monte 91731

UPDATE 2/5/08, 11:09 PM:
So uh... apparently.. this jerky is available at your local Stater Bros. ... for only $5.99..?? Dude, I could have gotten an extra bag with what I paid!

I've got a sheepish smile on my face right now. Heh..