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Archive for the ‘Food Media’ Category

Garlic and Sapphire, Crumble and Flake

In Books, Food, Food Media, Food Product for Home on June 11, 2014 at 10:52

Garlic and Sapphire by Ruth Reichl

This book was absolutely eye-opening and an extremely fun book to read, especially for food nuts!

It told the experiences of the author, Ruth Reichl, when she was the restaurant critic for New York Times.

I would have never guessed that multiple disguises, with different personalities would be involved in writing about restaurants!

The author wrote in details of her encounters with people around her, the services and attitudes she received as these alter egos.

All the work to make sure she had a full spectrum and clear understanding of each restaurant she was writing about — and what a contrast to the tweeting and instantaneity of today’s society!

Ruth went to each restaurant at least 5 times before she wrote a review, and made sure she was not recognized in some of those visits — inevitably the New York Times critic would be treated far superior with better table and services, bigger and fresher portions of food and larger berries on desserts.

It was fascinating to read about those encounters when she dressed up as an old lady, or someone who did not seem to be rich, or a blonde.

It gave me to jolt of a reminder that how quickly we tended to judge people in general — is it right or is it wrong?  something to ponder on.

Personally as a food blogger writing about my restaurant experiences, this was a bible.

Particularly the inclusion of the actual reviews that Ruth wrote.

They opened my eyes to how descriptive writing could be; and to experience as if I was sitting in the restaurant having that exact same meal the author was writing about.

The power of descriptive writing — something I am slowly learning — and does not come natural to me especially all my experience are in technical scientific reporting.

The book also contained recipes for times when we wanted to roll up our sleeves!

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Finally stopped by Crumble and Flake on Capitol Hill — I was speechless!

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Their pastries were really delicious!

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I tried the chocolate croissant, lavender cherry scone, double chocolate brownie, cream puff and canele that day.

Since it was difficult to park around the shop, I did a dash and run while DH waited outside in the car.

First thing I ate when I ran back to the car was the cream puff!

Couldn’t let it get soggy!

These cream puffs were amazingly yummy and they were filled-to-order.

They offered classic flavors such as vanilla, chocolate, blackberry etc. and they particular day, they had yuzu — I immediately went for that!

The cream puffs had crunchy tops with crystalline sugar, but bready and chewy inside.

The yuzu filling was this dense pastry cream which was very nice with just the right amount of sweetness and the lovely scent of sweet grapefruit.

This definitely made Beard Papa paled.

The chocolate croissant was very flaky — as the store name!

It had a generous amount of chocolate, buttery with many layers to savor on.

The scone was another buttery treasure with mild lavender and plump cherries.

I applauded the perfect amount of lavender used in the scone — it tasted just a hint of floral without the soapiness or perfumey scent when it was overused.

Sugar on top of the scone gave the crunch on the overall dryer and denser yet tasty scone.

It was lavished with cherries in it which I loved!

I just wish the scone would be bigger!

The Canele was amazing!!

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Tiny little treat, they only made them on the weekends.

It had a crunchy hard outer shell tasted like it was made with burnt sugar and the inside was moist, custardy, heavenly laced with vanilla and rum.

It was very eggy which was ultra delicious and tasted just like the custard in bread budding except quite a bit chewier in texture.

The double chocolate brownie was incredible.

It had strong dark chocolate flavor without the sweetness.

It was not chewy in texture but much softer and gentler in the mouth.

It almost boarder to be chocolate mousse instead but it had the rigidity to stand on its own and sustained the car ride home in a bag.

These awesome treats were pricey, they were $3-$4 a piece in small sizes.

What we were paying for was delectable art work.
Crumble & Flake Patisserie on Urbanspoon

 

 

 

 

 

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Ready to cook some Malay, Indian, Chinese food along with mooncake?

In Food Media, Games on May 28, 2014 at 15:25

This is a special post for game lovers!

I have a Microsoft Surface and found these amazing food games available written by Afzainizam Zahari.

So far, he had made 5 games for the Surface and other platforms: Japan Food Adventure, Kopi Tiam, Mooncake Shop, My Donut Days and Happy Burger Days.

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Checking out Izam’s website, he had written 6 other food related games on other platforms.

They were all time-management games.

The graphics were nice and cute; the games — fun, challenging and educational!

These games actually gave rough idea of how a dish was prepared, and I found this aspects also very educational.

I had the opportunity to ask a few questions to Izam about his games, his inspirations and our common interest — food!

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Game writer – Afzainizam Zahari with his fried rice!

Izam grew up in Singapore where a great mix of people and culture existed.

According to Izam, food was a big part of life in Singapore, and it seemed to be something that everyone was familiar with; the familiarity would make an easy draw for people to sit down and play these games.

Even though Izam graduated with a biology degree, he was fascinated by electronic games since he was young and started writing games during university.

At the time, the mobile game market was controlled by large telecom corporation and in order to publish games on their network, it required a huge sum of money for upfront investment, and Izam’s game writing adventure went on hiatus for a while.

With Apple iPhone, publishing required very little money, and he started creating and publishing his first game in 2009.

Izam chose the food topic of his games based on food that he liked or food that had special significance in his life.

He drew his game inspirations from many places: films, music, people and personal experiences; for example, the creation of Mooncake shop was a cascade of inspirations.

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Customers waiting for teas and mooncakes. At this level, I was making regular and green tea mooncakes!

He first saw the mooncake box displayed in the shop, and it reminded him of a Hong Kong movie by Wong Ka Wai which he had seen that was set in the 1960s.

One thing led to another, Izam made Mooncake shop game in a nostalgic setting with graphics and music to go along with that theme.

My own personal favorite among his games were the Japanese Food Adventure and kopi Tiam.

The graphics in Japanese Food Adventure completely reminded me of my favorite anime from my childhood, Dr. Slump – Arale Chan.

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Preparing curry rice with fried shrimp while the impatient sumo wrestler showed up for soba!

Players got to serve sushi, made curry rice with fried shrimp, serving soba to grumpy Somo wrestler — it was so much fun albeit a little stressful at time as time management game tended to do.

Izam lived in Sapporo, Japan, for a while, and felt right to write the Japanese Food Adventure as an homage to time spent living and working there.

It was one of Izam’a biggest project, and he personally drew out all the characters and food items for the game.

It took a long time to complete the project but it was a special project for him and it worth every minute spent.

Izam did not want to make his games as the simple “serve-food-in-restaurant” time management game, and he wanted players to be able to “cook” the food accurately and yet with simple steps.

For my favorite game, Kopi Tiam, which also happened to be Izam’s favorite of all his games — he researched through watching You Tube videos and pouring through recipes to learn the steps to prepare the dishes.

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Little India in Kopi Tiam — serving drinks such as Milo, coffee and teas, and pratas and soup tulang

He had learnt a lot about cooking through his research but still did not think it was a good idea for him to cook them!

The game was complicated and had many more levels than his other games.

It was separated into Malay village, Little India, China Town and extra game levels on breakfast and special foods.

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China Town serving chili crabs, dim sum, Hainen chicken rice and with drinks such as sugar cane juice, grass jelly drinks and dessert of Iced Kacang

Izam enjoyed the breakfast level tremendously and to prepare soft-boiled eggs, youtiao, porridge and kaya toasts in the game.

I just loved that there was so many different kinds of food to prepare!

Of course, it also brought back great food memory from our recent SE Asia trip (Eating in Singapore, Malaysia or Indonesia).

I was only half way through my progress in Malay Village, and I was serving satay, mee rebus and mee soto, 2 types of nasi lemak along with drinks such as cendol and bandung.

I believe there was 6 more food to learn along the journey to the end of the Malay Village level.

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Malay village with satay, mee rebus (soup noodle), and proudly serving drinks including cendol, bandang coffee and teas

He is currently working on a spin-off from the Mooncake Shop game, where the bunny, Yutu, from the previous game would be the star.

Izam’s favorite foods were rebus, satay, Kway Tiao, soba, chicken rice and maggi goreng to name a few, but honestly far too many to list!

 

 

 

 

Fed Up with lunch and Fake Cheese

In Books, Food, Food Media, Food Product for Home on March 6, 2014 at 11:20

Doof Media

Fed Up With Lunch Book Cover

Finally got around to read Fed Up with Lunch — and what an additive book!

The book documented the journey of the author, a speech pathologist from the Chicago public school system, secretly and diligently blogging about her consumption of school lunch for a year.

She accidentally stumbled into school lunch and realized how bad the quality of foods were, and decided to take pictures of the food she consumed every day.

The book included some of the pictures of these foods, and I was at awe: mysterious formed meat, fried food, frozen desserts high in sugar (high fructose corn syrup!) and lack of fresh fruit and vegetables.

A lot of the food served in the author’s school district were frozen foods and it was difficult to find the list of ingredients for these foods.

USDA’s guideline did not help children’s cause either as the guideline allow fries to be counted as vegetables, fruit juice was counted as a fruit requirement.

She also found out that children at her school did not even have enough time to eat lunch even if they wanted to.

The author concluded that both low nutritional value of the food and lack of time to consume lunch contribute to the reduced learning ability due to lack of energy (or hyper when too much sugar was consumed).

Her blog was very successful and created tremendous amount of discussions and brought school lunch program to the limelight.

She went from anonymously blogging about school lunch to becoming an advocate for better school food for children.

She was interviewed by TV, radio shows to spread the word of her cause.

The book included how everyone could get involved, and become more educated about the food that was served in the school system.

I found this book very inspiring and it showed the potential of grass root movements.

To folks with children, this book brought awareness to the food children were consuming at school.

To educators, this book brought awareness as how nutrition might be affecting the way children learn.

To the rest, I believe this book was still relevant as it tied into health care reform and economic productivity.

If children did not have good examples on how to eat well, they would likely carry the habit throughout their lives.

Potential health issues down the line and increase amount of people dependent on drugs and health care.

The potential reduced learning ability put us behind in this competitive world, and needless to say actual drop in productivity if the children continue on with the poor eating habits as adults.

I believe this topic touched on everyone whether or not we are directly involved with children.

Doof Home

The challenge I found cooking vegan or vegetarian without dairy was mouthfeel.

Shy of making cashew cream/cheese, there really was not many substitution.

When I saw Daiya, I caved.

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A vegan cheese that claimed it would melt and stretch.

The food science training had kicked in and I was very curious about this product.

I bought their cheddar cheese and mozzarella cheese.

Ingredients was not simple, which was to be expected.

It was mainly made with starch and oils, along with pea protein etc.

Initial observation: it did look like shredded cheese.

I only used the mozzarella so far, and once opened, the aroma was a little off.

The mozzarella smelled buttery, and not in a good way; it reminded me of the microwave popcorn, but weaker.

I proceeded to used it in my baked pasta, anticipating the melty cheese that I had so much longed for.

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The above picture depicted the baked pasta being in the oven at 380F for 20mins.

Upon looking at their website, the company said that their cheese held their shape so they would not look melted but it was indeed melted.

My experience was that it did not melt enough to produce the same effect from cheese.

The buttery flavor of the mozzarella still bothered me a little as it did not seem natural.

All in all, I was disappointed with my first go.

Perhaps I would try it in different application with larger amount next time.

There was also hope with the cheddar cheese.

Verdict on the mozzarella: I would not buy it again.

The product being “unnatural” and did not mimic mozzarella enough (which was a tall order), it was a poor substitute and I would rather skip the cheese.

More Than Honey and Eastern Pearl Dim Sum

In Eating Out, Food, Food Media, Movie on February 3, 2014 at 14:06

Doof Media

I thoroughly enjoyed the documentary More Than Honey.

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The short 95-minute documentary was both educational and beautiful.

We could not live without bees – the little critters did their jobs for us to have vegetables and fruits.

It was quoted that Einstein said human would die about 4 years after bee extinction.

Bee colonies had been dying off in the past 15 years with unknown causes.

One piece of good news from this documentary was that perhaps there was hope for human being after all.

The movie followed the “bee business” from around the world.

It showcased traditional bee keeping in the Swiss Alps, a small and a large commercial bee keeper in the US.

I loved that the tone of the documentary was amazingly neutral and non-judgemental – viewers could draw their own conclusions and kept their own opinions on the styles of bee keeping, the bee keepers’ relationships with the bees, and their environmental impact.

Sprinkled in between the bee keepers were knowledge and current bee situations in other parts of the world.

The movie provided some possible causes for vanishing bee colonies.

They also interviewed researchers who had spent their work and time to understand bees, and how bees communicated in a colony.

One stunning fact shared in the movie was that some part of China had no bee.

In turn, people were hired to gather pollen from one area, transport and then sold pollen to another area.

The pollens were then hand-painted by humans onto the flowers that required pollination – essentially humans were doing bees’ job.

I was utterly dumb-founded — the situation was just incredibly wrong.

Aside from delivering knowledge and education, the cinematography of the documentary was stunning.

Not only that it showcased the gorgeous landscape from the Swiss Alps, American desert or even almond farms in America; there were large amount of footage dedicated to filming the bees in exceptional close-up.

With my personal bee encounter, the normal tendency was to avoid, or stood completely still hoping that the bee would not sting me.

There was no chance to admire or observe these little hard-working bees.

One could see almost every eye, hair, and tentacle of the bees, plus the tinier bee mites that caused infestation to colonies.

Viewers had a chance to observe the birth of a queen bee, a busy work day by the worker bees in the hive, and bees feeding bee babies.

These were all priceless footage, and they gave us an opportunity to respect the work of the underappreciated yet extremely important being.

I hope as human beings, we were wise enough to get ahead of the deteriorating situation – to save the bees and to save ourselves.

Doof Out

My friend told us about this new dim sum place on the eastside called Eastern Pearl in Redmond.

Since most dim sum places on the eastside were lack-luster, we were always up for checking out a new spot.

The only place on the eastside I would attempt dim sum was Top Gun; however, it also came with a high price tag especially when compare to my favorite place in the International District – Jade Garden.

The dim sum menu in Eastern Pearl was fairly small, with congees and soy milk listed as dim sum items as well.

We had shrimp dumplings, sticky rice, pork shu mai, bbq pork bun, soy skin wrap and tripe.

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The shrimp dumplings were surprisingly good, dare to say even better than Jade Garden’s.

However, the BBQ pork bun was dry on top with more bun than pork; the tripe was also dry on top.

Both the tripe and soy skin wrap were average but the price tag was extremely high.

Dim Sum were about $3.50 a plate, even more expensive than Top Gun.

With this quality of dim sum, it was not worth the money at all.

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We also got the sweet soy milk, thousand-year old egg and pork congee and the special pan-fried noodle.

The soy milk was average, and the congee was exceptionally tasty.

I would get to-go for their congee anytime – it was flavorful, smooth and creamy.

The pork was tender with generous amount of thousand-year old egg and pork in the congee.

The pan-fried noodle on the other hand was inedible.

It was super salty, and heavy on soy sauce flavor, which was not exactly authentic.

I was not impressed with their food.

Perhaps the restaurant would improve as they worked out their kinks from being newly opened.

Eastern Pearl on Urbanspoon

Lardo and Vegucated

In Eating Out, Food, Food Media, Movie, North America, Travel Food on October 16, 2013 at 16:40

Doof Out

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On the way back from Portland, we stopped by Lardo for sandwiches.

I love this place.  Food is quick and good.

One of the great sandwiches around town.

I had their pork belly, pork shoulder and pork meat ball sandwiches before, which were all excellent albeit a little gut bomb.

I opted for a vegetarian sandwich which I never had at Lardo.

They had about 3-4 vegetarian sandwiches there which was a lot more than many other places had to offer.

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It was a chanterelle mushrooms sandwich with sunny side up egg, arugula and normally with cheese, which I got without.

The sandwich was delicious and the egg was well prepared with the runny egg yolk.

There was not as much flavors bursting in my mouth as their meat sandwiches.

Nonetheless a decent vegetarian option.

I shared the dirty fries with my friend, which consisted of parmesan, fresh sage, marinated hot peppers and most important pork scraps.

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It was such an indulgent.

The pork belly pieces were fried golden and crisp.

And it paired so well with the hot marinated peppers.

Lardo on Urbanspoon

Doof Media

Vegucated was a fun movie!

The vegan producer recruited 3 people for her 6-week “going vegan experiment”.

The producer started off with basic medical measurements at a doctor’s office for these folks: weight, blood pressure, cholesterol levels.

She then introduced the 3 subjects to an array of vegan foods in the grocery store and ways to cook vegan.

Throughout the movie, they visited vegan conference, went to farms to see how animals were treated, obtained knowledge on how animals were slaughter.

The movie also candidly recorded the struggle of some of the subjects in going vegan: it was difficult to eat with their family; options were limited when they travelled outside of US.

Towards the end of the movie, the 3 folks got the final medical measurements.

As expected, they all lost weight, reduced their blood pressure and cholesterol.

Sample of three was hardly statistically sound; however, I love the fact that the film was able to focus in-depth of the 3 people who were embarking on a life changing journey – it was their experiences, their interactions with their families and friends.

The producer had followed up after 6 weeks as well to investigate whether the eating habits had stuck with the subjects.

One person really embraced it with their family, others were vegetarian and flexible.

My own experience of trying to eat less animal products have not been easy.

I see it as a win already that I am eating about a total of small palm size amount of meats or eggs (mostly in the form of seafood) everyday, and keeping up with my liquid dairy consumption to only twice a week (in the form of milk or ice cream).

I have been consistently having this limited animal product food consumption for about a month.

Strangely enough, the thought of consuming meat is not as compelling anymore.

Maybe the new habit will stick this time!

Almond Ice Cream and Hamburger

In Books, Food, Food Media, Food Product for Home on September 23, 2013 at 15:44

Doof Home

We found “Almond Dream” almond ice cream at local PCC.

It was delicious!

Technically it was a cheat during detox because the second ingredient on the list was organic cane sugar.

We decided to turn a blind eye.

I liked the fact that it was made with real almond.

I had a bunch of gums in the ingredient list, but it would be unavoidable given that there was no egg and no dairy.

We chose vanilla bean, as the other flavor offered was chocolate, which we could not have.

Color of the ice cream stood out different from conventional vanilla ice cream as it was beige with brown specks.

Vanilla bean flavor was natural, fragrant and pleasant.

It had a hint of almond nut flavor throughout that was roasty and tasty.

In fact, the roastiness of the almond conjured the illusion of consuming chocolate!

Aftertaste was predominantly almond, very nice.

Texture was decent.  It was dense, solid and creamy.

The ice crystals were a little bigger than good conventional ice cream.

Certainly not too distracting from the enjoyment of this fantastic vegan dessert!

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Doof Media

Hamburger: A Global History by Andrew F. Smith

In 1920s, a hamburger cost 5 cents.

It was refreshing to learn that White Castle was the very first burger chain in the US!

Aside from stating the then and now of the many burger chains such as McDonald’s Burger King, Jack in the Box, Wendy’s, Carl’s Jr. etc., this book also talked about the history of hamburger itself.

The evolution of the chopped meat into potable sandwiches.

Apparently Salisbury steak was the early version of grilled beef patties, and the name became popular during World War II to replace the less than patriotic name “Hamburg steak”.

Hamburg steak was brought to the US by German immigrants as early as mid 1800s.

It took almost 20 years before Hamburg steak became a sandwich to fulfill the need of easily consumable food for the industrialized America.

I love the cut-throat story in the book about the original McDonald’s brothers who started McDonald’s in CA in 1930s only to be pushed out by Kroc, who eventually owned the McDonald’s franchise as we know of today.

The last part of the book talked about the different flavors of burgers around the world.

The adaptation of burgers to different cultures such as chicken and vegetarian burgers in India, minced lamb and lentil burger in Pakistan.

Competitions from high-end restaurants to serve burgers that cost anywhere between $30 to $5000, with truffle, kobe beef, foie gras and champagne.

These were just some of the tidbits from this well-researched book.  Check it out!

Mandarin Buffet and Tea

In Books, Eating Out, Food, Food Media on September 13, 2013 at 12:33

Doof Out

My last hurrah before starting detox last week was going to Mandarin Buffet and Grill.

It was the Chinese me realizing that I could not have soy sauce for many weeks.

I did not give much thoughts to All-you-can-eat Chinese Food Buffet before.

Since Mandarin Buffet has opened its door, I have been back quite a few times.

The visits usually coincided with my Americanized Chinese Food cravings.

Lunch for about $10, the food is decent.

The restaurant charges a higher price for dinner, but they incorporate seafood dishes at night.

What I love is that they have a large variety of food.

An appetizer bar usually with some salads: lettuce greens, cold tofu, seaweed salad etc.

Sushi bar with lots of rolls (too many of them have cream cheese).

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Mongolian grill type bar with self-serve meats, vegetables, noodles and sauces where the cook will make the dish for you behind the grill.

Hot entrée with meat and vegetables, soups (usually 4 kinds), rice, noodles, a few steamed dim sum and usually a few American food such as fries, pizza, garlic toasts.

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For desserts: self-serve soft serve machine, strawberries or marshmallow for chocolate dip, cakes and fruits.

It is safe to say that most everyone can find something to eat there (as long as they are not on my detox diet).

They are doing brisk business, so most food at the Buffet bar stays hot and dishes turn over quickly.

My specific mission there:  satisfy craving for hot and sour soup (vegetarian).

Then, I went for salt and pepper chicken wings (they did not have that for my last hurrah.  A little disappointed.  However, they made salt and pepper tofu which I also love).

Then, I picked out broccoli from either the orange chicken or General Tso’s chicken and from the broccoli beef.

Filled up the rest of my plates with dishes like eggplants, fried rice noodles, stir fried Bok Choy and little bit of other hot dishes if they looked good!

Mandarin Buffet & Grill on Urbanspoon

Doof Media

Tea: A global history by Helen Saberi

So much to learn from this book!

The book is broken down by regions in the world.

Chapters devoted to China, where tea was originated.

Followed by other Asian countries that had tea steeped deeply in their culture such as Japan, Taiwan, Korea.

It talked about how tea traveled through Silk Road and Tea Road to the Mediterranean, Russia, Middle East.

Importation of tea into Europe, America and India.  The history of tea crop in Sri Lanka.

Teas were prepared differently in different parts of the world.

For example, most striking to me was that tea was prepared with milk, butter and salt in Tibet with a churn.

I did not know that the words “tea” and “pekoe” were phonetically Chinese!

In both Cantonese and Mandarin, the word for tea is “Cha”, which is closer to “Chai”.  I have always thought that “tea” was an English invention.

Turned out the word was based on Fujian dialect “teh”, and it was a word that I grew up with!

The book also contained information on tea tree types; the processing technique for tea leaves yielding the different types of teas such as oolong, white tea or scented tea such as Jasmine.

At the end, the book contained several tea recipes.  From the preparation of Moroccan tea (tea with mint) to tea jelly, green tea ice cream and Chinese tea eggs.

I am going to make the tea loaf (tea, orange, cinnamon and raisin) after detox!

Chocolate Covered Cherries and Pizza

In Books, Food, Food Media, Food Product for Home on September 5, 2013 at 10:09

Doof Home

Chukar cherries are my long time love!  First encounter — ages ago at Pike Place Market.

They are pricy but really delicious.  Both fruits and cherries are of high quality.

On our way back from the wine country, we stopped by Prosser, WA – the location of Chukar’s head quarter.

I was hoping they would have plant tour but it was only retail store.

They were very generous with sampling.  We got to try multiple chocolate covered fruits and nuts, some sauces and chutney/sauces as well.

Normally I purchase my Chukar’s at REI, where you can buy bulk from a self-serve kiosk and they charge by the oz.

My favorite is Black Forest Cherries.  The lovely melt-in-your-mouth dark chocolate was covered with bitter cocoa powder; inside a very moist chewy Bing cherry with slight amaretto flavor.  It tasted like a Black Forest Cake except the textural difference.

SInce I was at a retail store, I decided to buy other flavors that REI did not offer.

I got the Tangerine Cherry which was citrus flavored chocolate with cherry, and the organic chocolate covered rainier cherries.

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I felt that there was too much citrus flavor on the Tangerine cherries and it over powered the cherries.

The Rainier cherries had subtle flavors to start with.

It was a waste to coat them with chocolate as the yummy dark chocolate unfortunately overpowered the Rainier cherries.

I never tasted their pecan before (even though it was available at REI, there was no free sample) until the shop keeper gave us a sample of the cocoa pecan and also the honey pecans.

WOW!  The pecans were crunchy with very nice roasted flavors.

They were also coated with some praline for extra caramelized sweetness and crunchiness!  The honey version tasted similar to Almond Roca except it was pecan.

I could not resist the deep dark chocolate and went for the cocoa pecans.  It still had the praline layer so they were definitely crunchy!

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Doof Media

Pizza: A Global History by Carol Helstosky

This book was part of the Edible Series.

I did not know that historically, pizza was for poor Italians in Naples.

Pizza was also sold by how much people could afford.  More money, bigger pieces.

Short history aside, the book spent quite a bit of time talking about the standardization of pizza in the US and around the globe.

Domination of Pizza Hut and Dominos; how these companies started and what they stand for today.

How Italians had attempted to define pizza, and how flavors of pizza were adaptable to different cultures and each country had their own twist.

I loved that a few recipes of pizza were given at the back of the book (even a recipe of pizza dough with lard!).

I enjoyed the mention of many different “pizza” around the world: Korean pizza cone; and the author included Okonomiyaki as a kind of Japanese pizza (I personally disagree with this inclusion as the origins of the two were vastly different)

However, I found myself skimming a part of the book when the author repeatedly wrote that pizza was for poor people, and it had grown beyond that and was consumed by the masses in many different ways.

Another quick read.  I was not learning as much from this book as the “Lemon” book.  Hopefully the “Tea” and “Hamburger” books will be better!

Forks Over Knives and Teas

In Food, Food Media, Food Product for Home, Movie on August 23, 2013 at 15:16

Doof Media

I enjoyed the movie “Forks over Knives“.  At times the facts were just plain scary.  The movie was a very sound reporting of 2 scientists’ (a surgeon and a nutritional scientist) research on the correlations of food and onset of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.  The movie advocated a total plant-based diet, free of animal meats, eggs, milk and other dairy products.

I loved that the movie was fact-based; presented audience with both animal and human trial results.  It showed graphs and numbers from research that was done by the 2 scientists.  The most impressive was a massive China study that was done by the nutritional scientist, Dr. Campbell.  He collaborated with Chinese scientist to study the relationships between the occurrence of different chronic diseases and the specific diets of the regions.

Weaved into the movie was real life stories from patients of Dr. Esselstyn, the surgeon of the movie.  Dr. Esselstyn treated his patients, who had failed multiple by-passes and were critically ill, with plant-based diets.  Many of his patients did remarkably well, survived near death prognosis and were independent of drugs.

The most empowering part of the movie was in their findings.  At least for chronic heart diseases, the damages caused by meat diet in our bodies were reversible.

I have always believe in everything in moderation, eat healthy but still allow myself to indulge at times.  DH and I used to have one night of vegan a week.  With our house remodeling that practice was pushed to the side.  This movie definitely encouraged me to bring the practice back.  The movie ended up with a saying, “eat to live and not live to eat”.  I definitely fall in the later category.  Perhaps one step at a time, and one day will power may win!

Doof Home

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Continuing my quest to try different herbal teas available in grocery stores.  Came across the Good Earth Cool Mint tea.  I first had this during camping.  When I opened my thermos, really strong aromas other than mint oozed out.  A definite mismatch on product expectations!  That was when I realized there was more to the “Cool Mint”.  Sure enough, I capped the thermos again to keep the aroma in the head space and opened to smell surprisingly chocolate, almost bubble gum-like aromas (yes, the original pink bubble gum!), hazelnut with spearmint.

When I drank the tea, the flavor was mostly mint with a hint of bubble gum fruity.  The tea left a strong cooling sensation in the mouth which was very pleasant, with minty bubble gum flavor.  When I got home and read the box, the ingredients were peppermint, spearmint, chicory root (the likely chocolatey aroma), green rooibos, nutmeg, elderberries, peppermint oil (strong cooling sensation) and other natural flavors.

The tea was a surprise and tasted good.  I probably would not buy it again in the future as I would like to avoid added flavoring in my food and drink.

The Honeybush tea from Numi was simple and delicious.  I first had honeybush tea when I was working at the coffee giant.  I remembered it being a delicious tea but had not had any since then.

The aroma was honey, slight vanilla, a hint of pur-eh tea and a hint of rooibos tea.  There was slight sweetness naturally from the tea when I drank it and the flavor reminded me of diluted pur-eh with slight honey note and little smokiness.  This tea would become a member of my herbal tea rotation!

Cakes and Lemon

In Books, Food, Food Media, Food Product for Home on August 14, 2013 at 15:52

Doof Out

My friend (thanks FT!) introduced me to a small Japanese bakery called Fumie’s Gold in Bellevue.  I believe I had the best cake ever in Seattle area!

They were serving up at least 8 kinds of cakes on Sunday when we were there.  The shop keeper told me that they offered different flavors every day.  We had green tea tiramisu, chocolate gateau, strawberry shortcake and banana cake.  I was in HEAVEN!

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First and foremost, the sweetness was just right.  The cakes were truly at Asian sweet level.  My favorite was the strawberry shortcake.  fresh strawberries with very fluffy eggy cake.  The whipped cream was fresh with great airy texture and lightly sweetened.  The chocolate gateau was rich, very chocolatey but not heavy.  It was made with good quality bittersweet chocolate.  I was worried it would be too sweet with the large amount of powder sugar on it, but it was needed to balance the bitter chocolate.

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I went again yesterday.  There were the regular tiramisu, lemon cheesecake, fruit tart and strawberry chocolate shortcake.  The tiramisu were excellent.  They were super creamy and rich.  Both cocoa/coffee powder in the regular and matcha in the green tea version were unsweetened and strong.  It made the cup very flavorful,  The fruit tart’s crust was crumbly when the fork went through and the custard was.

I found myself prefer Fumie’s Gold over Hiroki on the Seattle side.  I am awaiting the next time to check in and explore new flavors they offer!

Fumie's Gold on Urbanspoon

Doof Media

Lemon: A global history by Toby Sonneman

What a wonderful little dense book!  This book is part of the edible series from Reaktion Books.  It contains all kinds of random facts, history, story, even recipes and cooking tips on lemon.  I love that there are many pictures of historical values — old lemonade advertising from the 50s, lables from lemon crates in the early 1900 and pictures from lemon sorting plants in 1900s to name a few.  The book talks about origins of lemon, how the plant spread and its usage over time.   It was a lovely short, educational read, and I intend to read all the other food items in the series as well!