Saturday, May 15, 2010

Best Homemade Sandwich

I'm pretty hard on myself when it comes to my own cooking. I think I compare too much to how food tastes in restaurants, and thats probably an unfair comparison since I ain't no formerly trained chef and I haven't spent years training and focusing on to merry wonderful ingredients with wonderful tastes. Anyways, for this entry I'm going to toot my own horn like no other. This is probably one of my more solid creations. NO recipes, nothing. Just straight from my good ole noggin. BEHOLD! I shall call it "Honey Mustard Maple Turkey Sandwich." Boring name, but really quite a party in your mouth =).

Here are the ingredients. I highly discourage substitutions, for it is these very ingredients that make the sandwich a solid eat. So most of these things you will get from Trader Joes.

-Par Baked Panini Rustic Rolls
-Columbus Maple Turkey Breast
-Deli Thin Sliced Jarlsberg cheese
-Honey Dijon Mustard
-Romaine lettuce leaves
-Sauteed crimini mushrooms with caramelized onions

The key ingredient is the honey dijon mustard and the sauteed mushrooms with caramelized onions. A high onion to mushroom ratio works well, so that you can really get tastiness of the the caramelized onions into the sandwich. I'll admit its not truly caramelized since I don't have the patience to sit there and cook the onions over low heat for forever. I just get some nice color into the onions. Below is a higher mushroom to onion ratio then I would like, but still comes out tasty. Season with some salt and pepper and let the mushrooms and onions do the rest of the talking.

Panini roll cut in half, lightly toasted with melted Jarlsberg cheese
Generous squeeze of honey dijon mustard
2-2.5 slices of maple turkey
Sauteed onions/mushrooms
Tomatoes and then chopped lettuce

Served with a side of pasta salad!

I'll have to admit that the sandwich gets very messy. Half the stuff falls out and I've never been able to or motivated to figure out a different assembly order to prevent this. Melting the cheese into the mushrooms would work but require too much effort. Maybe I just overfill the darn things. In any case, you do get something delicious that will surely get all over the place. Dumpling Man gives his seal of approval for this one!

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Vietnamese Cucumber & Carrot Salad (Gio Dua Leo Ca Rot)

5 medium cucumbers
1 large carrot
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
3/4 lemon juice
1/2 shallot
1/2 lb pork loin (any lean cut)
10 medium shrimp (peeled, deveined)

1.  Prepare cucumbers by slicing off ends and halving

2.  Using a potato peeler, at the edge of the cucumber, shred into fine thin slices.  Do not use a cheese grater as it will result in mushy vegetables.

3.  Repeat the same with the carrot and mix with shredded cucumbers
4.  Add 1 tsp salt and toss thoroughly
5.  Allow salad to sit for 5 minutes and then squeeze out excess water from vegetables
6.  Add sugar and lemon juice and mix well
7.  Boil small pot of water and cook pork until well done.  Cool and slice into small pieces.
8.  Boil small pot of water and cook shrimp until well done.  Cool and slice into halves.
9.  In small sauce pan, heat up some oil and stir fry shallots until golden, then add shrimp and pork.  Season to taste.

10.  After cooled, add meat/shrimp to salad and toss well.

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Friday, May 7, 2010


so after a long hiatus, i have returned! i can't say i'll be back in full force, since foodblogging is almost like a fulltime job and i already have a full time job! i'll do my best =)

what's new in my life? a new camera! the canon s90. yes, i know you are allllllll sooooooo jealous. i'm still trying to learn how to use it. with this first attempt, i don't think i did the best job since the pics are still grainy for some reason. but no worries, i am determined to get the most out of this camera.

Dumpling Man gave me this camera on my birthday as a belated christmas present. a gift is a gift, even if it comes late, right? So we went to Grace to celebrate. I heard so many good things about this place from my friends who went during Dine LA week. I was really looking forward to the famous donuts.

The ambiance: A
The place was clean, modern, but not stuffy. It reminded me of Providence but more open and lit. The place was pretty empty for our 7:15 reservations. We eyed a young Asian couple at the upper right and guessed if they were real foodies or not. At the end, we decided they were just cuz they were Asian. I've been told lately that a lot of yelpers and food bloggers tend to be Asian. Anyone care to refute this??

Right now, they have this "7 Year Itch Menu." 3 courses for $47, 5 for $57, and 7 for $97. I made the typical piggly wiggly move and went for the 5 course tasting menu. Maybe if I didn't have to go to work the next day and round on 20 patients by myself I would opted for the 7 course menu or even a wine pairing. Anyways, I started off with the Dungeness Crab Salad with english peas, mint, and meyer lemon vinagrette.

It was certainly refreshing, but I couldn't help but feel like the crab tasted "water logged." Not mushy, just like too much water, not enough crabbiness. Still good overall.

The next appetizer was Tuna with a Spanish Touch served with olive oil, smoked paprika, lemon, crispy castelvetrano olive. I actually wasn't a fun of the "Spanish Touch" with the very strong olive oil and crispy olive. Olives aren't my favorite thing. The tuna also tasted sorta tasteless. I liked the crab dish better.

The first entree was the Bacon Wrapped Saddle of Rabbit served with anson mills polenta, asparagus, and thyme infused game stock. I probably liked this dish the least, probably because I wasn't really sure what I was eating. I was expecting rabbit but it tasted more like sausage and bacon. The polenta was creamy and delcious of course.

The Braised Short Rib and New Zealand Langostine served with parsnips, cremini mushrooms, and veal jus. This langostine would NEVER fly on Top Chef. It was totally mushy and texture less. I dunno if that means it was overcooked or just not good to start with. The short rib was nicely prepared and delicious as are most short ribs. Tender, saucey, juicey. I was liking up the sauce and the mushrooms. This dish could have used a nice glass of red wine to accompany it. Alas, no wine for this birthday girl.

Dumpling Man opted for only 3 courses. Here is his second course, Grilled Tenderloin of Wild Boar served with yukon gold potato spaetzle, brussel sprouts, and violet mustard sauce. His dish was very interesting because neither of us had boar before and it was actually quite tastey and not too gamey. Dumpling Man had never had spaetzle before and very much enjoyed it. I also like the sauce.

And for the finale! DONUTS!!! Salted Caramel Donuts with bourbon caramel pecan ice cream.

Too bad I didn't get any pictures =( I had just totally forgotten about taking pics and when I saw the delicious donuts I just dug right in. They tasted quite light and chewy in a good way. They didn't taste that much like donuts, so I really think its shape is what makes it a donut. The ice cream was truly rich and flavorful with pecans. Overall this dish was definitely a winner and topped off a good dinner.

Grace Restaurant

7360 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Neighborhoods: Mid-City West, West Hollywood
(323) 934-4400

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