Soy Braised Chicken Wings

Bon Appetit, January 2020 Issue, Pg. 97

So this week’s dinner was meant to be the Soy-Braised Chicken Wings recipe I found in a Bon Appetit issue. I was missing a bunch of ingredients though, so really this a much adjusted version. The cooking instructions are pretty close, but I had to swap a bunch of ingredients and skip a step or two. No complaints though, still a fan of how this turned out!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dark soy sauce
  • 2 tsp five-spice powder
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 12 chicken wings
  • 3 Tbsp Sesame Oil
  • 4 scallions
  • 5 garlic cloves – 2 minced, 3 smashed
  • 2 Thai bird chilies
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar

Instructions

  1. Pour 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1 tbsp brown sugar, minced garlic, and 1 tsp five spice powder in mixing bowl. Add wings and toss.
  2. Chill wings in fridge for 1 – 8 hours. (I did 1.5hrs).
  3. Add oil to pan over medium-high heat.
  4. Stir in scallions, smashed garlic, chilies for a couple minutes.
  5. Add in cinnamon stick, remaining brown sugar and five spice. Give that a quick stir.
  6. Pour in remaining soy sauce and 3/4 cup water.
  7. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low.
  8. Add in chicken wings. Do not pour in marinade.
  9. Pour rice vinegar over the wings.
  10. Bring to a simmer, cover and let cook for 15 minutes.
  11. Flip chicken over, cover and let cook for another 5 minutes.
  12. Remove chicken and solids (chilies, cinnamon, and smashed garlic).
  13. Continue to cook sauce over high until thickened.
  14. Toss wings back in. Add in extra scallions if you want. Mix until thoroughly coated.
  15. Serve with a side of jasmine rice.

And Voilá! Tasty savory chicken wings! I didn’t have a metal sieve to strain out all the solids before reducing my sauce – so you’ll see all the leftover onions and garlic left things much chunkier than what you see on that Bon Appetit spread. These are so good though, even as modified as they were. They were savory and flavorful without being overly salty. With a little side of white jasmine rice, it was perfecto!

Bee’s Score: 4.5 / 5

My Score: 4 / 5

Happy Eating!

Balsamic Brown Sugar Brussel Sprouts

Does the world need another brussel sprouts recipe? Most definitely not. But is this a food blog? Yes. And did I make brussels for dinner the other night? Yes. So am I going to share out yet another brussel sprouts recipe? You betcha.

Ingredients

  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Brown Sugar
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic
  • Olive oil

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 450°.
  2. Half brussel sprouts.
  3. Mince garlic.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, toss brussel sprouts with the minced garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Just enough olive oil to coat all the brussels, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
  5. Spread brussels out in a single layer on a baking pan. Toss in the oven for 20 minutes.
  6. This next step depends on how sweet you want your brussels. You have two options. Pick one! Don’t do both.
    1. Just a touch of sweet: do a quick drizzle of balsamic over the brussels. Stir them around on the baking pan, sprinkle brown sugar over all of them.
    2. In mixing bowl, add 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar and 1/4 cup of brown sugar. Mix until you have a paste. Pour in brussels, toss until even coated. Add back into pan.
  7. Bake for another 10 minutes.

The trick to a really crispy brussel sprout is to start really dry. Frozen/defrosted brussels will get steamy and soggy before they cook. Make sure you get non-frozen brussels and dry them really well after washing. Then keep them as spread out as you can on the baking tray – flat sides down to start.

Serve as a side and voila! Crispy delicious brussel sprouts. Sometimes we top them off with a bit of parmesan or cracked red pepper if you’re feeling extra. I’ve made these twice this week already. A well roasted brussel sprout is easily in the top five best veggie dishes, right?

Happy Eating!

Brown Butter Lemon Pasta

Bon Appetit, March 2020, Issue, Pg. 77

When I think pasta, I think creamy. Creamy, cheesy, gooey carbonara. For some reason, I always forget how good a simple pasta can be. Sunday afternoon, Bee and I sat down and sifted through all my issues of Bon Appetit to pick out this week’s recipes to try. This six-ingredient pasta caught our eye because – 1) it looked easy peasy and 2) I still had way too many leftover lemons from baking a Vegan Lemon Loaf a week ago.

LINK TO RECIPE

Slicing lemons and grating parmesan

My lemons were a little two ripe and it made it hard to get them cut super thinly, but they still tasted delicious either way. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten the rinds cooked like this before, I usually toss them away like any other garnish. This pasta was so butter-y though that it did need that tangy pop of lemon.

Browning lemons and butter in the pan

The recipe called for a short-tube pasta. Unfortunately, with everyone panic-buying pasta, the closest thing I could find was some penne. No problem though, these ended up just the right amount of al dente. Bee was a big fan of the texture – firm and a little chewy.

This is where I fudged up a little. After adding the pasta water to the brown butter, the mix looked so thin and I worried (even though the recipe explicitly told me this would happen and to wait). Instead, I decided to add more parmesan – conveniently forgetting that the parmesan was salty. So oops, a teensy bit over-seasoned.

At the end of the day, still a solid recipe. Probably better if I had listened to directions and possibly gotten the right pasta. That being said, it was still nice to change up the pasta game with something a little zestier. Quick to whip up and so much better than an out-of-the-bottle pasta sauce.

Things I learned:

  1. There is such a thing as too much cheese – especially when it’s a salty parmesan

Bee’s Score: 3.5-4 / 5

My Score: 3 / 5

Happy Eating!

Chrissy Teigen’s Pot Pie Soup

Hi friends!

SKIP TO RECIPE

It has literally been a year since my last blog post – oops? What can I say, sometimes life gets away from you. Anyway, hope you’ve all been well and safe, especially in these hard-times. I’m not going to lie, for the first half of this shelter-in-place business, I was doing a lot of takeout and frozen pizzas. I was eating my feelings, don’t judge me. But then, my little sister moved in with me and I figured I should really be feeding her something other than fried chicken. Maybe even a vegetable or two. Coincidentally, we happened to watch Julie & Julia the first week she was here, which made me realize that for all the cookbooks and food magazines that I collect…. I haven’t used a single recipe from one.

So now, I’m on my own Julie & Julia adventure minus the Julia Childs bit and the super aggressive pace. BUT I do want to try making one or two recipes from my cookbooks each week, starting with (surprise surprise) Pot Pie Soup from Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings.

I don’t want to be one of those scroll-for-ten-years-before-you-get-to-the-recipe bloggers, so I’ll try to always post the recipe or share a link right at the top. This seems to be a pretty widely made one, so you don’t have to buy the book to try it.

Full Disclaimer – I cheated. Instead of making the pot pie crackers, I just bought a sheet of puff pastry, cut those into little squares, and popped them in the oven instead. But even without the crackers, this soup was wonderful. It tasted exactly like a pot pie, but a creamier, richer version. Huge fan.

Five-ish years ago, I went to Texas for the first time and the very first meal I had there was a pot pie. It was served in a little dish with a little pocket of crust right on top instead of as a traditional pie. This recipe reminded me so much of that. That trip wasn’t the greatest, but that pot pie sure was. This soup is just as good.

The Good

  • Great for meal prep – reheats deliciously!
  • Doesn’t take too long to whip up once you’ve got all the ingredients diced up

The Bad

  • Little sister ate all my Tums after this. All that butter = heartburn

Has anyone else tried any other recipes from Cravings? Any recommendations? If you’ve made this one, is it worth doing again with the full from-scratch crackers?

Bee’s Score: 2/5 for Heartburn, “Too Creamy”

My Score: 4/5

Happy Eating!

Happy New Year | Crab Rangoon Recipe

Happy Lunar New Year! While this holiday isn’t nearly as celebrated in the States as it is over in the East, it’s still a huge deal in Asian-American communities. For my family, it means weekend-long get-togethers and a spread of way too much food for the number of guests in attendance. I’m pretty sure my mom only invites me home for the extra help in the kitchen (Kidding, my mom would kidnap me and keep me home always, if possible). That being said, I woke up at 7am last Saturday to help her churn out some apps for the family.

If you’ve ever been to a 3-star asian seafood buffet or picked up some Panda Express for a last minute meal, you are no stranger to the Crab Rangoon. Stuffed with a creamy fake crab filling, this is no fancy appetizer. Nonetheless, it’s always a party favorite. They’ve been mine since I was little and basically begged my mom to figure out how to make them. So we’ve been churning these out for every party since I was like ten.

It’s not a complicated recipe, but hand-folding all the wontons can take some time. Luckily, if you make an assembly line of your favorite sisters (or whoever you can rope into it), wonton making becomes a good hour of family bonding.

Ingredients

  • 16oz Imitation Crab
  • 16oz Cream Cheese
  • Wonton wrappers
  • Chives / Green onions
  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil for frying
  • Egg
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

1.Mark sure wonton wrappers and “crab” are fully defrosted. Set cream cheese out for a little bit to soften or blending will be quite difficult.

2. Finely chop up your chives or green onions. Enough to fill about half a cup.

3. Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil and pop it in the microwave for about 30 seconds or until the onions soften.

4. Add onions, “crab” and 8oz of the cream cheese into a food processor.

5. Pulse until everything is roughly chopped and mixed together. If you don’t have a food processor, you can chop up the crab and onions by hand then combine in with the cheese.

6. Pour out into a mixing bowl and fold in the remaining 8oz of cream cheese.

7. Add salt and pepper to taste.

8. Alright folks it’s wrapping time! Scoop about a teaspoon of cheese mix into a wonton wrapper.

9. Crack an egg into a bowl. Dip a finger or cooking brush into the egg and brush around the edges of the wonton wrapper.

10. With two fingers each hand, pinch four sides of the wrapper in to meet in the middle. You should end up with this little X shape.

11. Pinch the middle so the sides stick together, then work your way out along the edges of the X, slowly pressing all the gaps closed.

12. Voila! One wonton down, many many more to go. Keep folding until all your wontons are ready to fry!

13. Okay, frying time! Fill your fryer with your oil of choice and get the temperature up to about 425 to 450 degrees.

14. Pop your wontons in a few at a time and take them out with a slotted spoon once they’re evenly golden-brown. It’s important that they’re sealed really well or they’ll pop open at this step. Trust me, exploding wontons are much less tasty.

15. Set them on a rack to cool, letting the excess oil drip off the bottom.

16. Enjoy!

Hope your family loves these as much as mine! They’re great for little hands and disappear in seconds. Happy Eating!

Ramen in Santa Monica, Finally!

Let’s talk for a second about how deprived Santa Monica has been when it comes to really damn good asian food. I’ve worked there on-and-off for the past five years. While there’s no shortage of green juices, if you get bit by the noodle bug, you’re shit out of luck. Better make the drive out to Sawtelle or Venice because there’s no ramen here for you my friend. 

However, in the past year, SM’s finally got its act together and opened not one, but two new ramen spots right off the main promenade. 

Silverlake Ramen

Silverlake Ramen is a chain hailing from (yup, you guessed it) Silverlake, CA! From the chain itself: 

“Silverlake embodies the free-spirit & casual vibe of Los Angeles. An unpretentious, original way of thinking. Similar to the  environment in which ramen was invented. Now, we are taking that vibe and serving up bowls of it in locations across California.”

I haven’t tried the regular ramen because I will honestly always choose the thick noodles and rich broth of a tseukemen first if it’s on the menu. That being said, the tseukemen is delicious! Tsujita is the gold-standard in my book, but Silverlake Ramen comes pretty damn close. The broth is deep with flavor and tastes amazing with the huge slab of fried pork belly it comes with. I always ask for a side order of spicy paste to mix in, too. Fair warning, you’re in for a heavy, salty AF lunch with this one. 

Ippudo Ramen

Just a five minute walk away, you’ll find Ippudo Ramen tucked into a non-descript alleyway on second street. Look for the small square sign with the squiggles, that’s your cue that ramen time is near. This Japanese chain made the big move to the States in 2008 with its New York location, shortly followed by its San Francisco one. 

Their ramen is more Hakata style. While there are slight variations (vegan, spicy, etc), they’re all more or less the same.  Expect thin noodles, a somewhat lighter broth, but no less in flavor or oil.  They do appetizers too, but honestly, skip the buns. They’re not worth the money and your tummy space is better spent on Kaedama (extra noodles).  My personal favorite is the Akamaru Modern.

Which is better? Honestly, it’s impossible to decide. They’re different styles and both hit the ramen spot perfectly! I’m so sad I don’t work right on that corner anymore. Maybe it’s better for my blood pressure anyways.

Dessert Goals | Downtown LA

Screen Shot 2018-07-12 at 10.42.11 AM.pngThe Museum of Ice Cream. Candytopia. Smorgasburg. Dessert, food festivals and art exhibits are all the rage now. Anything for the gram, right? Dessert Goals was the latest addition to these growing foodstagrammable events. It’s been going on in New York for quite some time, but 2018 was LA’s first.

As usual, it looked much better on the gram than in real life. The event was basically one large floor in a building in Downtown. Dessert vendors lined the edges and there were cute photo op sets scattered in between. In the center, there were smaller booths with treats you could get to go, a few picnic tables with boardgames and some merch. The desserts weren’t actually that exciting though. Most vendors were ones that had already been around for a while and I had already tried. Or they just weren’t offering anything that exciting. Macarons and rolled ice cream are kind of old news, folks.

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We still treat ourselves to a few sweets and had plenty of fun in all the photo sets they have scattered around the room. It was getting pretty warm in there though so we eventually headed out after about an hour to go get our savory fix elsewhere.

It was a fun novelty thing to check-out, but one time seems to be good enough for this gal.

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Bon Shabu | Koreatown

Eating out can be really difficult when you’re trying to lose weight. Shabu shabu or hotpot, however, is probably one of the tastiest ways to treat yourself in a healthier way. If you haven’t done shabu before, it’s a pretty easy concept. You get a pot of broth on a stove top as well as an assortment of raw meats, veggies or noodles to cook in it. Imagine fondue but clean and soupier. Typically, you can mix and match sauces on the side to add extra flavor. My personal favorites are a garlicky ponzu and goma, a deliciously creamy goma sauce.

Unfortunately, there’s not a ton of shabu places on my side of town. A quick 30 minute drive out to K-town though means plenty to choose from. My sister was in town visiting her boyfriend so they swooped up and we headed out to Bon Shabu!

They do a split pot, so we got half Organic Beef Bone Broth and half Spicy Original. The spicy one had a kick to start, while the beef bone was really light in flavor. We dropped in a bunch of crab to start though and by the end of the night, with all the meat dipped in, it was a slightly sweet, deep flavor. Yum!

It’s AYCE so we tried pretty much all of the meats minus the chicken and basa fish. Most of the cuts were really lean. If you want tender, fattier cuts, go with the pork collar, pork belly, or the chuck top blade. On top of that, there’s a shrimp, mussels, crab, crawfish, fish balls, squid, ramen, udon and an assortment of vegetables – all available salad bar style.

One of my favorite parts was that they offered a bunch of Korean appetizers on the side. My favorites were the tangy fried chicken and the tteokboki!

Shabu’s one of my favorite all-time meals and I can’t wait to go back again! Or maybe I’ll venture out to somewhere new. Where are your go-to spots?

Royal Capital Seafood | Westminster

Royal Capital Seafood has been around for ages. Like so many other older asian restaurants in Orange County, they fly pretty under the radar on social media. Plus, their names, decor and styles of food are all so similar, it can be hard to stand-out. They’re not the cleanest of places. The service is pretty much guaranteed to be mediocre at best and some of the dishes will really just be subpar Chinese food. But! There’s always a hidden gem on the menu with places like these.

The first time I went to Royal Capital Seafood, I was ten years old and it was my great-aunt’s 80th birthday celebration. I remember nothing else from that day, but I remember the Lobster Noodles They were life-changing.

Fast-forward fifteen years and they are still life-changing. The stir-fried lobster is prepared in typical chinese fashion – savory, crispy goodness on the outside, sweet, juicy, tender lobster meat on the inside. Surround that in a bed of chewy, gummy egg noodles and you’ve got yourself a plate of heaven.

I wish I could have had this whole plate to myself. It was New Year’s Eve though so I figured I should probably share with my family.

Our other go-to dish is the House Special Fish. Dipped in batter, then fried in a buttery-garlic sauce, this flaky white fish is equal parts melt in your mouth and satisfying crunch. Eat this first and fast though. The sauce seeps through and the texture turns soggy if you try to take it to-go.

My family usually orders a couple other dishes as well because we roll out with at least five people at a time. But trust, if you’re going to get something, get those two. As with all Chinese special restaurants, you’ll get a soup to start and a sweet soup to finish. Both of which I’m always happy to gulp down.

Happy Eating! xo.

Met Her At A Bar | Miracle Mile

I was lucky enough to have a couple weeks off this holiday season – a rarity in the 9-5 office adult world. It was kind of surprise time-off so I didn’t have time to make any big plans. Instead I spent lots of time with family and peppered in one-on-one friend dates in between. Friend dates should be a more frequent and celebrated thing. I absolutely love them. Anyways, this particular day a friend and I opted for a morning hike through the Hollywood Hills followed by brunch. We were originally trying to go to République, but even on a Tuesday morning, that seemed to be impossible.

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Way too hungry to wait an hour or more, we went a couple blocks down to Met Her At A Bar. Honestly, I was so hungry I wanted literally everything. Figured I would settle for something a little savory, a little sweet and ordered the You Wake Me Up Happy.  As you can see above, that’s a classic waffle with maple syrup and berries and all the proteins on the side. Proteins weren’t mind-blowing, but that waffle was perfectly crispy on the edges and fluffy in the middle. I ate every bit of this.

My friend ordered the Bello Bello Wafflebello Sandwich, a portbello waffle sandwich with tomatoes, arugula and a side of syrup. I didn’t get to try hers because quite frankly, I had enough on my plate. She also ordered a Hibiscus Cooler, but didn’t seem too impressed with it.

It’s a tight space with communal seating and an order-at-the-counter style. I wouldn’t necessarily go out of my way to get there, but if you’re in the area, it’s a pretty great brunch option! There’s plenty of sandwiches and heavier lunch options as well.

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I felt obliged to provide some photo evidence to prove we somewhat earned our brunching that day, ha. The weather was perfect for this short hike up to Wisdom Tree and the Hollywood sign. Here’s to many more friend adventures!

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