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Archive for February, 2014|Monthly archive page

Staple and Fancy

In Eating Out, Food on February 27, 2014 at 11:13

Doof Out

Brought my parents to Staples and Fancy Mercantile last night.

This restaurant had become one of my father’s favorite every time he came to the States to visit.

We always went for the “family style” dinner where we were treated with the element of surprise with the food we received.

The ambience was lively in the restaurant; I wonder if it was too loud for my folks.

The restaurant had increased their price for family style dinner (I seemed to recalled it being $40 not too long ago and we paid $48 per person).

We were treated with different appetizers.

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First and foremost, my favorite, fried oysters.

The oysters were big and perfectly fried in a lightly seasoned batter, allowing the freshness of the oysters to come through nicely.

They were served with this spicy dipping sauce which I always ended up skipping because I found it hid the oyster flavor.

My second favorite was the smoked fish toasts.

That night, smoked blue fish was used – firm fish texture with lovely smokiness, I enjoyed the flavors and the combinations of crispy little toast and chewier smoked fish.

The downside was that the fish were on the salty side for me.

Then, there was the escolar crudo.

I loved escolar raw because it was a fatty fish, and the fish oil flavor truly stood out.

The crudo was paired with blood oranges and a little mint; both accompany the fish really well, and I particularly enjoyed the little burst of mint.

It was decorated with olive on top as well which I did not dare to include in my bite because I knew it would overpower the rest of the flavors, needless to say the delicate raw fish flavor.

The escarole salad had a fantastic and creamy champagne vinaigrette, and paired exceptionally well with the walnuts and apples.

The cured meat was fantastic.

I did not catch the name of the meat, but it had a very crunchy texture, tender and not fatty.

It reminded me of the Chinese dish called “Fun Tai” except the meat was soy sauce based and brown.

The house made mozzarella was exceptional and the flavor combination was creative.

The mozzarella was had an awesome springy texture, fresh milk flavor and not salty at all.

On top of the cheese, anchovies and pickled fennel were added, giving it great flavors, fishiness and saltiness to balance the cheese.

It was wonderful!

We also had a sunchoke soup — warm, slight nutty with mild sunchoke flavor, it was perfect for a very cold night!

For pastas, we had a spicy gnocchi with clams and an interesting chestnut ravioli.

The spicy sauce and clams in the gnocchi was fantastic.

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The gnocchi were a little harder in texture than my liking as I generally preferred the fluffier kind.

The chestnut ravioli was excellent!

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I always associated chestnut with desserts (even though Chinese used chestnuts to cook chicken in soy sauce), and I was excited to find out how this ravioli would taste.

The ravioli had light chestnut flavor and hint of sweetness.

The filling was smooth, and paired with a sage butter and fresh sage, it was delicious and unique.

I fell in love with them!

For mains, we had pork chops and sea scallops.

The sea scallops were huge, just about 2-inch in diameter; seared perfectly with raw natural sweetness inside.

Paired with fried cauliflower and artichoke, it was a textural journey!

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The pork tenderloin was also prepared fantastically – tender, juicy and moist.

I loved the sides for the pork tenderloin, an aromatic mushroom farro and a sweet apple parsnip puree.

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My father loved meat, and that was most certainly his favorite dish of the night.

We finished off with a cheese cake with kumquat, and a sponge cake with ice cream.

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The cheesecake was smooth and nice, not too sweet, and paired really well with the kumquat.

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The sponge cake was not very spongy, but with lovely buttery flavor and also very sweet.

I believe there was some syrup on top.

The vanilla ice cream was excellent on top of the cake.

All in all, it was a satisfying meal.

I wasn’t sure if it was worth $48 per person — I guess part of it we were paying for the dining experience and the variety of food.

Staple & Fancy on Urbanspoon

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Oaxaca and B and O Espresso

In Eating Out, Food on February 24, 2014 at 07:08

 Doof Out

La Carta de Oaxaca was my favorite Mexican restaurant in Seattle.

Most of my visiting friends and relatives from Hong Kong did not like the Americanized Mexican food because they were quite greasy with large amount of cheese and sour cream.

Inevitably, every time someone new visiting from Hong Kong or Asia, I would bring them to Oaxaca to for some authentic Mexican food.

Oaxaca had changed the minds of many of my friends and relatives.

Many of them had asked for a repeat visit to Oaxaca when they visited again.

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I would have to admit even though many dishes were exceptional at Oaxaca, I had got into the rut of only ordering one item on the menu — Caldo de Pescado, a very spicy fish soup with vegetables.

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Generous chunk of tender fish (I believe they were catfish), with bones were cooked with carrots, melon-type vegetables.

My ears burnt every time I had this soup but it was so so good.

The soup came with their in-house tortilla which were soft, mildly corn flavored and tasty.

It remained as an item that DH, my sister and I refused to share with anyone.

We each had our own and totally satisfied afterwards.

Since I went with my parents, my father ordered another new version of the soup, but with beef meat balls.

The meat balls were tender, soft and flavorful, and it seemed like it had the same soup base.

Since there were 3 of us, we got to order their Mole as well.

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We ordered it with pork and the sauce was just delectable.

The sauce was sweet, delicious with complex flavors of cinnamon, chocolate, peppers and fairly sure with many other herbs and spices.

I really just wanted the sauce with the fluffy rice and could just skip the meat.

In the past, we also had the halibut tacos which were fresh and tasty, tacos with carne asada, and empanadas, and they were all superb.

Guacamole and chips were always a hit with their many different kinds of salsa and hot sauces.

The restaurant was always busy at night and DH just did not like to wait for food.

I had taken the habit to go for lunch which was easy to get seats, and took to-go fish soup for DH.

La Carta de Oaxaca on Urbanspoon

Since we were in the neighborhood, we also went to B&O Espresso for dessert.

We used to go to the old location on Capitol Hill which unfortunately had to close after more than 25 years of business due to new development in the area.

I was glad that they were able to find another location; otherwise, the chocolate drinks and desserts would be thoroughly missed.

My father and 100% believed that they had the best eclair in town.

Elcair was my Dad’s favorite dessert.

We went around town 2 years ago trying different eclairs.

What we found was that most éclair had whipped cream inside as filling.

The ones at B & O had a custardy cream in it.

The custardy cream made the éclair less soggy in texture, and introduced another eggy flavor dimension to the dessert.

It also had just right sweetness even for Chinese sweetness scale.

Coupled with the fantastic chocolate ganache on top, it was to die for.

L: elcair -- Top: espresso chocolate torte -- Bottom: Muddy River

L: elcair — Top: espresso chocolate torte — Bottom: Muddy River

My family also shared the espresso chocolate torte which was delicious with strong coffee flavor and velvety chocolate mousse; wrapped around with chocolate ganache, another piece of chocolate lover’s dessert!

Muddy river was a chocolate mousse infused with Grand Marnier and some other liquor and it was strong!

They did not skim out on the alcohol at all!

The mousse sat on top of chocolate cake, and again wrapped in the chocolate ganache.

Both the espresso chocolate torte and Muddy River was on the sweet side and paired really well with plain coffee or espresso.

B & O Espresso on Urbanspoon

La Isla

In Eating Out, Food on February 21, 2014 at 11:34

Doof Out

Brought my parents to La Isla since they never had Puerto Rican food before.

I had been to La Isla long time ago at the Ballard location, and the new one in Redmond just opened under a year ago.

Taking into account of preferences and dietary restrictions, we ended up getting empanadillas, ceviche, tripleta sandwich, a seafood soup and maduros on the side.

L: seafood soup with tostones -- M: tripleta -- R: Maduros

L: seafood soup with tostones — M: tripleta — R: Maduros

The seafood soup was a hit for my parents, surprisingly with my Dad since he was generally a “meat-kind-of guy”.

The soup had plenty of salmon and shrimps, bright lime flavor and probably cilantro as well.

Once I tasted it, I knew why my Dad loved it — it was sweet!

The soup had a nice sweet, salty and tart tastes, and quite addictive!

The tostones, green fried plantains, had firm texture, starchy with the fantastic Michael sauce.

My Dad’s favorite had to be the Tripleta.

It had lots of meat; chunky grilled ham, marinated steak and most importantly, the pernil — the long-marinated, slow-cooked pork shoulder.

With light cheese, the sandwich was delicious and serious meat load.

The bread was ok; it was a little on the soft side for me and I wish it had a little more substance to it.

The maduros were tasty!

Lovely riped fried plantains were sweet and melted in the mouth.

The super garlicky mojito sauce was a perfect companion to the maduros.

Back: ceviche -- Front: Empanadillas with rice and beans

Back: ceviche — Front: Empanadillas with rice and beans

I ordered the empanadillas with the pernil.

There were 5 kinds of fillings to choose from, ranging from meat to cheese to potatoes.

The outer layer of the empanadillas were crispy fluffy flaky dough, which was a surprise to me.

I expected more doughy and dense layer similar to the ones I had encountered in Peru and Argentina.

Perhaps this flaky dough was authentic Puerto Rican style?

I welcome any feedback from my blog readers!  I need some Puerto Rican education!

Back to the empanadillas, the pork shoulder was fantastic, and the flaky though was a delicious compliment to the pork filling.

The rice and beans on the side was extremely tasty — once again, a little sweet; even my non-vegetarian father was happy to consume it.

Lastly, the ceviche.

Nice zing from the jalapenos and habaneros, coupled with the fresh lime flavor and tartness, the ceviche was really firm in texture.

The menu said they used rock fish, which might explain the firmer texture of the fish.

Every bite was flavor explosion of all the fresh ingredients including bell peppers and red onions as well.

While I appreciated the delicious food, I noticed with my limited exposure at the restaurant, Puerto Rican food seemed to contain lots of meats and fried food.

I was not sure whether we were having the Americanized version of Puerto Rican food.

I supposed I would need to make a trip to Puerto Rico to experience the real food for myself!

La Isla on Urbanspoon

Tang Yuan

In Food, Home Creation on February 19, 2014 at 11:19

Doof In

We made Tang Yuan last week on Valentine’s Day.

Apparently, this year was a special year that the Chinese Valentine’s Day and the Feb 14th Valentine’s Day happened to be the same physical day.

It was customary to make Tang Yuan during the Chinese Valentine’s Day, and so we did.

They were super easy to make – literally just flour and water for the wrapping and fillings of choice.

However, glutinous rice flour was a must-have otherwise texture would be completely compromised.
 
 
INGREDIENTS (makes about 25 dumplings)

1 cup glutinous rice flour

2/3 cup warm water

black sesame filling*
 
 
OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS

fresh ginger

brown sugar
 
 
DIRECTIONS

Mix flour and warm water together.

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Goal is to get a moist dough.

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Dependent on humidity and ingredient, water amount may need to be adjusted.

Once the moist dough is formed, smack the dough repeatedly into the bottom of the bowl or pan for about a minute^

Divide up the black sesame paste into small cubes.

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Divide dough into smaller rounds, about 3/4 inch diameter.

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Add black sesame filling onto the center of the small dough.

Wrap the dough to cover the filling and roll them into balls.

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Bring water to boil.

Add Tang Yuan into the pot; once boiled, add a cup of cold water.

Repeat this one more time (boil and add cold water).

The Tang Yuan are ready after being boiled 3 times.

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On the side, we cooked brown sugar water with fresh sliced ginger as the optional sweet soup.

Serve Tang Yuan in soup or water and enjoy!
 
 
*I happened to have the block of black sesame paste.

Often times, there were frozen black sesame filling available in Chinese stores already in small round ball shapes.

My friend also found a toothpaste-like tube of black sesame paste at the Chinese store.

Ground peanuts and sugar also made a delicious filling if black sesame was not available nor preferred.

^This action helps to increase the chewiness of the resulting dumpling.

Soap and Soap Pump for Cooking

In Skin on February 17, 2014 at 11:34

Niks

This rare skin post is highly related to food!

Liquid hand soap and dispenser.

At home, I prefer to use bar soaps since the ingredients in making bar soaps are generally cleaner and often times better.

I used to have dry skin feeling all the time regardless of how much lotion I used.

Until one day, my friend told me that some ingredients in liquid soap and sometimes bar soap too, would strip moisture away from our body.

Chemicals such as propylene glycol would dehydrate our skin.

As a result, researching ingredients in the soap became important.

She recommended me to use these soaps that were made with natural ingredients, oil and essential oils, and the soaps would be moisturizing .

I then had the lucky opportunity to attend a soap making session with my friends.

All we used was good natural oils (shea butter, olive or coconut oil), essential oils and lye, which was sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide.

Lye was needed for saponification, the process of making soap, converting oil into soap.

Since I tried the good soap with simple and good ingredients, I had never turn back.

No more dry skin.

I bought my bar soaps from art fairs or farmers markets.

They were hand-made by folks and most of the times the ingredients were very clean (of course, always check!).

A piece of the good soap runs about $4 a piece, and on the surface it seems expensive.

However, with proper storage and usage (not letting water pound on the soap while showering, avoid having the soap sit in water, letting it dry out between uses), a piece of bar soap lasts a very long time.

I have ours simply sitting on an IKEA soap dish that has a slotted top tray which allows water to drain to the lower tray, and the dish sits away from the spraying area of the shower head.

After the conversion to bar soap, I realized I did not want to use bar soap in the kitchen because I found the thought of my raw meat/fish contaminated hands touching a bar of soap did not seem to be all that hygienic.

I was left to hunt for good healthy-ingredient liquid soap which proved to be harder than I thought, especially when price was factored in.

From my research, nearly all liquid forms of the products faired worse than its powder or solid counterparts, whether it was laundry detergent, hand soap or dish soap.

At first I used Method’s hand wash, and found that they had ingredients that was potentially cancer or allergy causing; Method also used fragrance except the fragrance-free option (fragrance free option EWG rating 3, scented ones ranging from 4-5).

Then, I switched to using Ballard Organics’ (unfortunately out of business now, they made really clean ingredients products) all-purpose concentrated liquid soap.

It was a very powerful soap.  They claimed that it could be used to wash hands (diluted), dishes and etc.

What I found was that it was so powerful that it was drying my hands as well.

I finally landed with EO hand soap, lemon and eucalyptus.

The product was scented with natural essential oils.

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It was not perfect, and had a rating of 3 from EWG, but price point was good especially buying large quantity online.

The soap did not dry my skin even after frequent hand washing from cooking and cut through cooking grease really well.

However, I just looked online and it appeared that the company had reformulated for the worse (when I bought it, it had a rating of 3, the new formulation had a rating of 4, which put them just on par with Method).

Seventh Generation was a good choice (EWG rating around 2) but it was also quite a bit more expensive.

Unfortunately, I would have to do research again when I used up this big jug of old formulation EO hand soap.

Meanwhile, I would love to share my recent love of Joseph Joseph soap dispenser called C-Pump.

My soap pump from the glass soap dispenser broke, and I was on the market for a new one.

I bought soap pump tops online to replace, but I was sent with some sub-par products which broke within 4 months.

I was hesitant to spend more money to get short-lived pumps.

So much about consuming less.

Came across this at Fred Meyer.

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It looked like such a great idea!

Particularly from a hygienic point of view, I did not even need to press the soap pump with my meat/fish contaminated hand!

I was hesitant to use it right away without more research, perhaps too good to be true?

The verdict was split at Amazon.

Some people loved it and some people had problem with the soap dispenser staying put while pumping; some users also claimed that they could not dispense soap or that it was messy.

Well, I love this!

It worked really well with the consistency of the EO hand soap.

I had no pumping or messy concerns.

There was a rubber ring at the bottom of the bottle, and it was staying put for me on my kitchen sink counter.

I had a smile on my face every time I used this soap pump.

I had it for about a month now and hope it was built well and would last for a long time!

What a fantastic soap pump for cooking!

Le Zinc French

In Eating Out, Food on February 14, 2014 at 11:20

Doof Out

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Went to try Le Zinc with our out-of-town friend.

Heard that it was opened by the same folks who owned Maximilien at Pike Place, a long-standing French restaurant in the area, I had high hopes that this place would be good!

I love the modern décor of the place.

It is another bustling and yet romantic outfit fit for Valentine’s day!

The bar was prominently featured when we walked in.

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Immediately knew that they would serve absinth as I spotted the traditional absinth fountain at the bar.

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The menu was traditional French.

In our party, we ordered escargot, pomme Frites and Foie, and Salade de pomme for appetizers.

L: Pomme Frites & Foie  -- L Top: escargot -- L bottom: salad

L: Pomme Frites & Foie — L Top: escargot — L bottom: salad

My escargot was good with lots of garlic, parsley and butter — exactly how I loved them.

We got some bread (from Grand Central Bakery) and I ate all the garlic and almost all the butter with the bread.

The salad was very fresh and crisp, the crème fraiche dressing was lovely with a slight tang and creaminess.

The fries were done crisp and seasoned well.

It came with the intriguing bone marrow mousse for dipping, but it did not taste as beefy as expected.

My friend was also hoping for a bigger piece of foie gras.

For entrees, we had steak frites, duck confit, poitrine de porc (pork belly), and also a seared trout.

L: duck -- R top: trout -- R bottom: steak

L: duck — R top: trout — R bottom: steak

DH had the trout and it was brilliantly prepared with crispy skin, moist flesh; the fillet sat on top a delicious bed of chard.

I had the duck confit and it was also prepared beautifully – crisp salty skin and meat was moist and “dry” at the same time.

The dryness came from the fat being rendered, resulting in a “lean” feeling from the duck leg.

The beans were done a little more than my liking but still very flavorful.

My friend’s steak was done perfectly even though it was the less forgiving skirt steak — nice grill marks with fabulous herbs and grilled flavored, true medium rare, moist and tender.

I did not get to try my other friend’s pork belly as I was getting way too full.

The butter and bread from the escargot had started establishing their existence.

We still went for desserts anyway.

L: tarte au chocolat -- R top: croustade aux pommes -- middle bottom: crème brulee and L bottom: pot de creme

L: tarte au chocolat — R top: croustade aux pommes — middle bottom: crème brulee and L bottom: pot de creme

We tried all that were available.

I loved my chocolate tart.

It was very smooth with strong dark chocolate; the tart was made with walnut, which was something that I normally did not care for, but this walnut was nutty, sweet and not bitter, I absolutely enjoyed it!

There was a goat’s milk whipped  cream with the tart and it was tasty and not gamey at all.

My second favorite was the apple crumble– sweet apple, tasty with a buttery oat meal streusel, it was addictive!

The crème brulee had lovely maple flavor. and on the cremier side.

Surprisingly I liked the pot de crème least because it was more cream than chocolate to me.

They had 4 ways to make mussels on the menu.

None of us were mussels fan so we did not have any.

However, I had the full intention to bring my mother there when she visits as she likes mussels.

Another menu item we were very keen on experiencing was a whole roasted foie gras.

It said it was based on availability and it would feed 8-12 people.

We were gathering interest amongst our friends and perhaps we would pull it off!

Le Zinc on Urbanspoon

Harvest Vine

In Eating Out, Food on February 12, 2014 at 11:44

Doof Out

DH brought me to Harvest Vine for our wedding anniversary.

We ate there before only on special occasions as it was fairly expensive.

Food was always fantastic and we never had a disappointment.

Harvest Vine was a Basque restaurant.

Basque country was on my list of countries to visit; we made it to Spain but did not go to Basque.

Short of going to Basque country to eat, Basque restaurant in Seattle will suffice for now.

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We had a lovely anchovies with olive that night.

The anchovies were big, fatty, tender and delicious.

Generally I prefer the green olive, but the black olive paste at the bottom was equally tasty; paired with the super spicy pickled peppers and hard boil egg, we dip the last bit of sauce with our bread.

The anchovies were followed by beet salad, super thinly sliced, and dressed simply with olive oil, salt, pepper and chive – fresh and sweet!

The warm spinach side was interesting.

It was poached with figs and sherry.

It was less alcoholy then I thought.

I never had figs and cooked spinach combination, and they worked remarkably well together!

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For bigger plates, we had the stuffed pepper with salt cod.

The cod paste was smooth, creamy, stuffed in a piquillos peppers with Basque famous viscaina sauce (tomatoes and pepperes were the sauce’s main ingredients).

This particular viscaina sauce seemed to have a high smoked component in it; I wonder if the peppers were roasted first?

Next up was the squid braised in squid ink.

The body of the squid was stuffed with the rest of the squid’s edible parts and braised.

Every bite was exploding flavors of fresh squid.

The rice provided served as an excellent vehicle to mop up all the squid ink and it was oh-so-good!

We finished our meal with Foie gras with arrop and apple sauce.

Arrop was a Spanish concentrated grape juice.

Foie gras had crispy skin and tasted superb with the sweetness of the arrop and tartness from the apple sauce.

It was excellent all around.

Throughout the meal, I had a delicious 2008 Garnacha (or Grenache) to accompany the delicious food.

We ended our meal with a flourless chocolate cake.

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While the chocolate ganache was fantastic and the flavor of the cake was excellent, the texture was surprisingly dry.

Nonetheless, it still went really well with my last drop of Garnacha!

The Harvest Vine on Urbanspoon

Shanghainese Fried Rice Cakes

In Food, Home Creation on February 10, 2014 at 11:23

Doof In

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My Shanghainese grandma made fried rice cakes often when she was still around.

It was one of my favorite Shanghainese dishes.

I was fortunate to learn the cooking know-how on this before she passed.

Contrary to Cantonese style rice cakes which were staples around Chinese New Year, Shanghainese rice cakes were to be eaten all year round.

In my grandma’s recipe, there were only 4 simple ingredients – clean and delicious.

Personally, nothing beat making this dish at home — particularly, we put less oil and large amount of vegetables in it.

When we eat out, the preparation was often only with sprinkles of vegetables and relatively greasy.

It would require some trail and error in the beginning to attempt this dish, specially in learning the strength of the cooktop; nonetheless, the reward is priceless!
INGREDIENTS

for 4 big servings

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3 pieces of chicken thighs, shredded (pork can also be used)

2 long napa cabbage (the short fatter one can be the substitute as well, but the long ones are sweeter), sliced across leaves, half an inch wide

1 bag rice cake (I prefer the sliced kind)

1 finger segment worth of ginger, julienned
MARINATE FOR CHICKEN

marinate chicken for at least 15 minutes before cooking

1 tsp cornstarch

1/2 tsp of sesame oil

1/2 tbsp. soy sauce

1/2 tsp wine
OTHER CONDIMENT TO COLLECT BEFORE COOKING

2 tbsp. oil

1/2 tbsp. cooking wine

1/2 tsp. vegeta or chicken powder

1 tsp. of light soy sauce
DIRECTIONS

Add 1 tbsp. of oil in a big wok

Once smoky, add chicken and quickly stir-fry until the outside is cooked but the inside is still raw

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Remove chicken from wok, and heat the remaining 1 tbsp. oil in a the wok

Once smoky, reduce heat to medium and add ginger

Cook ginger until just turn brown, increase to high heat

Immediately add napa cabbage and stir-fry

Then add wine and vegeta (or chicken powder) and stir-fry until the cabbage is half-cooked

Spread out the cabbage and spread out the sliced rice cake on top of the vegetables

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Cover for 3 minutes and spread the chicken including juice on top of the rice cake

Cover again and wait for 5 minutes*.

Remove lid and use a chopstick to poke through rice cake to check for doneness.  It should be easy to poke through.

Add 1 tsp. of soy sauce on top evenly and start stir-frying.

Once rice cakes, vegetables and meats are mixed well, it is ready!

*With my cooktop, it only takes 5 minutes.  If the cooktop is weaker, it will take a lot longer.  Key is to open the lid and poke the rice cake to check for doneness– but do so quickly as to save as much steam as possible for cooking in the system.

*If it starts smelling burnt, likely that napa cabbage at the bottom of the wok is burnt.  Lift as much vegetables and rice cakes as possible with the spatula from the bottom of the wok to confirm, and add a little water (1/2 tbsp. to 1 tbsp.) while lifting the food.

The Whale Wins

In Eating Out, Food on February 7, 2014 at 11:08

Doof Out

The long waited visit to the Whale Wins!

The restaurant was opened by the folks behind Walrus and Carpenter, which I believe was one of the top restaurants in the Seattle area.

While Walrus and Carpenter was famous for its oyster bar and I considered it a seafood restaurant, the Whale Wins was the land counterpart.

My GF and I had too much food there and all delicious.

L: clams with fennel -- R Top: cold potato salad -- R Bottom: Squash

L: clams with fennel — R Top: cold potato salad — R Bottom: Squash

We started off with a cold potato salad which was exceptional with lots of fresh herbs and likely some horseradish.

Then a squash dish that was to die for.

It was hard to believe how delicious one could make squash taste.

With beans, cheese and dried fruits, the squash was cooked to perfection and even the skin was tasty, soft and more than palatable, with the perfect balance of salt and sweet.

We had clams with fennel which was excellent, and the aromas of fennel was enjoyable.

Clams were fresh and if we had bread, I would likely dipped all the sauce with it.

We moved onto salted cod toast.

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The fish paste was smooth, flavored with herbs and delicious.

I loved fish toast!

Coupled with the pickled red onions, the flavors just burst in my mouth.

The toast had perfect texture, not too hard (that would hurt the palate) and not too soft.

Lastly, we had bone marrow.

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Normally I would not have ordered that on my own but it was one of my GF’s favorites.

The marrow came with the toast and the long spoon for scooping.

It literally melted in the mouth similar to melted oil/fat.

It had a strong beefy flavor with a perhaps acquired texture that was in between melted butter and yogurt with occasional gelatinous lumps.

A dish that was prepared simply and delectably with sea salt.

It was unfortunate that we did not get to try any desserts there — way too full.

I will most certainly return to the Whale Wins especially the menu changes constantly with seasonal ingredients.

Perhaps next time!

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Fish Cake Factory

In Eating Out, Food on February 5, 2014 at 11:04

Doof Out

Had been intrigued by this Thai restaurant’s name for a long while.

Since it was called Fish Cake Factory, my favorite Thai fish cakes must be good with lots of variety.

Sure enough, I saw the fish cake sampler plate on the menu and must order!

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Most of the cakes were made with fish (trout, salmon, catfish, snapper and traditional Thai fish cake) except one was made with taro, one with pork and shrimp, crab and a seafood cake.

The snapper cake was super hot and delicious, and the garlic trout cake was tender and yummy on its own right.

The taro cake was fantastically prepared with freshly pressed taro slices.

Both the catfish and salmon cakes were a little dry, but the catfish one was exceptionally flavorful, with the salmon one being tough in texture.

The crab cake was made with nice lumps of fresh crabs and the shrimp and pork cake had great flavor and texture.

The traditional Thai fish cake, Tod Mun Pla, was wonderfully laced with kefir lime flavor and awesome crunchy texture.

The seafood cake was called the California seafood cake with tuna, shrimp and scallops.

Something was chewy in the cake, but was not offensive; and it had nice herb flavor – definitely less Thai and more Western flavor.

We also ordered the trout salad and it was amazing!

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The server told us that it was his favorite dish but apparently not too many people ordered it — his thought was because of the price point.

At $14.95, it looked as if it was a very expensive salad.

In fact, it was a generous portion of the deboned whole trout fillet.

Tender and super delicious.

Flavors of lemongrass, red onions mixed with a salad largely comprised of green apple, carrot, green onions and peanuts.

It was a very hot dish for 2 stars but we loved it!

The combination of crunchy crisp texture of apples, carrots and onions worked really well with the fish.

It was most definitely a highlight of our visit.

The ingredients and the light vinegary dressing made the salad extremely light and refreshing; every bite was with a crunch.

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