Barbecue for Two

C and I decided to have a bbq together since it was Labor Day.  The only problem was, we don’t know much  about barbecuing. 😬  But that didn’t stop us!  We both hadn’t barbecued in a long time, so this was a mini adventure for us.  First, we went to the store to pick up groceries and charcoal. Oh, back up.  First, we looked up basics of charcoal barbecuing on YouTube.  Of course, the good ol’ interwebs always has the answers.  Then we walked to the stores.  I should have known that we would have too much food at the end because a.) It’s us, and b.) we decided what items to buy based on how it would look together- “Oooh!  We need some red color!  Let’s get the red bell peppers (in addition to the orange and yellow)!” We almost got blueberries because we didn’t have blue in our rainbow of barbecue items, but we figured blueberries probably wouldn’t have barbecued well. And we had them at home.

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When we got home, we prepped the barbecue grill.

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This is actually a super small grill.  These are not giant briquettes.  They are normal size. 😆

And the food.

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Bone-in ribeye

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Pork belly

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Shrimp

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Mushrooms, eggplant, red onions, bell peppers, squash, zucchini, and green onions (doesn’t it look pretty?!)

 

We decided to skewer by food type instead of the usual mixed skewer due to differing cook times.  We learned this from Alton Brown.

Then it was cooking time.

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We even grilled a couple peaches for dessert.

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These are the results!  (Three hours later!  Tiny grill!)image

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Notice the small amount of pork belly above.  😧  The rest was lost in the fire. 😭😢😰

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And for dessert, C made Bon Bons!  We were reminiscing about how we used to eat them as kids, so she decided to make some!  The left is almond flavored ice cream inside and the right is the coconut flavored ice cream.  The left was the first one she made when the ice cream and chocolate were at their optimal temperatures.  The right one… Was not.  That one is just sadness.  But it still tasted good!

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We also had the peaches with the ice cream, as well.  We drizzled the peach with a little oil and sugary grinder thingy from Trader Joes (I never have a chance to use it so I jumped at the opportunity) and grilled it till it was softened.  Then we drizzled both with a little caramel I had in the fridge.

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I would say our barbecue adventure was pretty successful!

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We’ll have leftovers for days…😬

Thanksgiving (sorta) live blog…

Ok, so I wanted to live blog, but I was doing a bunch of different things in the kitchen at once, so that didn’t really happen.  And now, as I sit here for a moment to try to take a breather and blog a bit of what I was able to capture on my iPhone, I’ve forgotten how to blog!!

Here goes… I think… and Judy said this is called batch blogging actually…

 

Yesterday, I tried to get a head start on the baking so that the kitchen would be freed up a bit today:

Roasting and peeling hazelnuts for chocolate hazelnut ice cream:

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Making vanilla bean ice cream and starting the chocolate hazelnut ice cream:

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Making red velvet macarons:

 

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Mom cooking and peeling crab for stuffed mushroom filling:

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Christine starting to prep the turkey:

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Vanilla bean ice cream churning:

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Macarons are piped and resting:

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The turks is in its temporary home for the night:

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Christine making the mirepoix for the gravy and beautiful cranberries for the cranberry sauce:

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Macarons out of the oven!

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Mint chocolate chip macs resting. They look so nice and pretty right now (though I put too much green food coloring), but they turned out horribly!:

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Then it was sleep time!

This morning, I woke up early to start again. (second try on the mint chocolate chip macs, which, spoiler alert, turned out horribly again):

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Christine working hard:

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Mom was making stuff but didn’t want her pic taken because she was in her PJs.  😐

I went to the store to get more ingredients for the chocolate mousse I was making:

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Christine still working hard:

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It is now 10:52am at this point, by the way.  😐

Then someone finally got up to prep for Thanksgiving.  Christine is peeling shrimp that will be used in mom’s stuffed mushrooms:2014-11-27 11.52.22

That’s turkey neck for the gravy that she’s cutting up, in case you’re wondering:

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Mom cutting up scallops for the stuffed mushroom filling.  (She’ll probably be mad that her picture is on here):

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Chocolate mousse cups done:

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Stuffed mushrooms ready to be cooked:

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Horrible macs v. 2.0:

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Christine giving the turks the star treatment for his special day:

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and his super-turkey cape being put on:

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In he went into the oven and after a half of an hour at 500 degrees, he started looking golden brown:

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Time to turn the turks:

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and put on his cape and give him a turkey probing… :O :

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That’s it for now!  😉

 

Thanksgiving Day Play-by-play

Happy Turkey Day everyone!

Christine here – as suggested by Judy, let’s try this “live-blogging” thing! Here’s a run down of some of the prep, cooking, and fun that’s going on in our houses today…

(Forgive the less-than-perfect photos, we’re going for quickness here!)

7:47 am- C: Woke up early and went down to the garage to flip the bird (haha). This year we were lucky to have an extra fridge (thanks Judy!) in the garage that we could use for the turkey and brine (all alone…). I like how this picture looks a bit omnious, hehehe.

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9:07am- D: Wish I had a renovated kitchen!!  My counter is under there somewhere… Not enough space!

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10:04 am- C: Made some curry chicken salad for lunch, seems funny to be cooking something that won’t be used for Thanksgiving dinner whatsoever.

curry chicken salad

10:52 am- C: Started the cranberry sauce so that it has time to cool and gel before dinner tonight. Love how festive and bright cranberries look 🙂

cranberry sauce

11:00 am- C: Snapped a shot of Diana’s guava chiffon mini cupcakes fresh out of the oven, so cute!

guava chiffon mini cupcakes

12:15ish pm- C: Finished up the turkey stock for the gravy (ugh, blurry cell-phone pic!). In case you’re wondering, yes, that is a turkey neck!

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12:51am- D: Christine is oiling down the bird and giving it a massage.  Guess it runs in the family!

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12:54am- D:  Stopped for a lunch break.  It’s nice having lil sis around.  🙂

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12:58am- D: Aromatics getting stuffed into the bird.

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1:06pm- D: Caped crusader?  Breast plate of armor?  Burn guard?  Maybe all of the above?  🙂

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1:07 pm- D: Note to selves: 25.68lbs is the capacity of this oven.

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1:41pm- D: Bird is already browning… gotta put the cape on!!

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Whew, you may now call him Superturkey.2013-11-28 13.42.21

Wings and Things

This is what I get for not officially following our blog (although I thought I was!).

For about a month now, I’ve been expecting notifications for your posts and when I never got any, I figured everyone was super busy! Then yesterday on a whim I decided to check in and saw there were all these posts that I hadn’t read!

Silly me.

Anyway, it was fun catching up on all that you guys have been up to :). As for me…recently I’ve been trying to cook more and have been trying some new recipes. I’ve been on a bit of a chicken wing craze and one of the things that I’ve really been wanting to try is Korean fried chicken (a la Bon Chon), but still haven’t gotten around to it. I was talking to my coworker about my fried chicken wing research and he shared a recipe that he had been wanting to try for a while by Andrew Zimmern. While they weren’t fried, they sounded pretty good and easy since they were a “one-pot” dish. I ended up making them that very night, go figure!

Andrew Zimmern’s One-pot Sticky Chicken Wings

Here’s how they turned out!Image

That glazed look gets me every time!

The recipe was super easy, but unfortunately I think they ended up looking a little better than they tasted. Not that they were bad (I made a big batch and ate them all!), but they weren’t quite as good as I was hoping. If I ever make them again, here’s what I would do differently:

  1. Use less soy sauce, or use low-sodium soy sauce. The wings were really flavorful, but a bit too salty to me (probably due to the type of soy sauce I was using).
  2. Don’t over reduce the sauce (this probably contributed to the saltiness too). While cooking, the sauce didn’t look like it was thickening much as it was reducing, so I continued to cook off more and more liquid and was ultimately left with very little sauce. Note to self: taste the sauce as it reduces!

Along with the wings, I cooked some roasted vegetables using a new method. Usually when I roast vegetables, I cut squash and some root vegetables in big chunks and cook them spaced out on a roasting pan. This time, I used a recipe that I found for “The Best Roasted Vegetables Ever” (how could I not try them?), which required cutting all the vegetables into small cubes and mixing them all together in a baking dish.

The Wednesday Chef’s Best Roasted Vegetables Ever

Here’s what they looked like before going in the oven – so colorful and healthful too! I followed the recipe pretty closely, except I added 1 sweet potato in lieu of a regular potato.

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I forgot to take an after shot, but they still looked pretty nice and colorful after roasting. They tasted good too! It was definitely different because the vegetable flavors mixed more and when eating them, you’re likely to eat several types of veggies with each bite. I think I’ll still roast vegetables the typical way when I’m looking for something quick, but this way would be fun to change things up every now and then!

That’s all for the kitchen chronicles for now 😀

Many (many many) Tastes Part II

taste of north park 2013_recap

After a full day of running (okay, walking leisurely) around North Park, we successfully visited 26 out of 46 places (57%, isn’t that an F?! 😦 ). This is what my card ended up looking like, not too bad I suppose.

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Last year we managed 32/51 places, but that was also because I was slightly maniacal and went a little Monica on my friends, haha. This year we decided to take it a little easier, plus we started 30 minutes late (despite my “almost ready??” morning prodding). Much to our indignation, there were four places that we went to that ran out of food/drinks!! The worst of them was the Smoking Goat, which also ran out of food last year! This year we made it a priority to visit Smoking Goat since we felt we were due given last year’s miss. When we finally approached the restaurant and I saw the all-too-familiar “Sold Out” sign on their door I seriously considered leaving them a friendly note of my own on their note! Two strikes for Smoking Goat!! >[.

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Overall it was super fun though, just like last year. It was a beautiful day in San Diego and it was really great being able to walk around, eat, drink, and talk with the various store folks. It’s events like this that really make me like this city!

By far the most interesting dish was from Casa de Luz, a vegan restaurant that’s has a pretty cool space in North Park. (Random internet photo below.) It was the strange looking green thing in the lower left of the picture above. I forgot what they called it, but I thought of it as collard green sushi! It was vegetables with some vegetable sauce, wrapped in more vegetable. Not bad though! (Only 2 of the 5 of us dared to try it :P.)

taste of north park 2013_casa de luz

As usual in SD, there were tons of dogs walking/hanging around and I saw this super cute golden doodle at one of the stops!

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I think doodles look like stuffed animals more than any other dog type. Look at those paws! So cute! I did the whole try-and-look-busy-on-cell-phone-while-secretly-taking-pictures-of-your-cute-dog deal, but all of that was ruined when one of my friends walked up and I told her about the doggie and she responded loudly, “Yeah, we saw you taking pictures of it.” -_____-“. So much for inconspicuousness.

Altogether it was a great day, I think you all would’ve liked the event!

Many Tastes Part I

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Today my friends and I are embarking on a marathon food adventure! 50 restaurants, bars, and craft breweries are participating in this year’s Taste of North Park. Each stop offers a tasting portion of food or drink, so it’s a great way of trying out new restaurants that you might otherwise not visit. We have 5 hours to get through it all.

Challenge accepted.