Could It Be … SEITAN!?

No one? Really?
Ok, in the last post, I meant Cake the music group, not the food. I know, I know. But they’re like one of five music groups whose name I actually know and would make a funny but played out reference to… anyone? Anyone?


Ahem – see here.

Seitan has been an interesting food for me because I’m fairly sure I’ve eaten it at some point, I’m just not sure exactly in what form or when. I’ve seen seitan chicken at the co-op, but at $4+ per pound, eeehhhh… not so much.

I read a book that gave a recipe for making seitan at home by washing the bran out of flour (basically, make a dough and keep rinsing it with water until only the gluten is left). Now, I’m down with anything involving flour, so this lengthy process seemed fine with me.
But then when I was searching around the intarwebs I noticed a lot of recipes using just gluten. Hmm. I’m fine with a cheat recipe. And I’ve got gluten (side note: The flour revolution as begun! There are a bunch of flours in my cabinet, and Albany John has slapped on his revolutionary cap and demanded these lesser used grains be consumed (although he bought at least 2 of the bags of rice flour[ahem])). I get my gluten at the co-op. It’s $2.99/lb when it’s not on sale.

Seitan is so flipping easy! I’ll stick a recipe at the end of the post. And it’s quite tasty, too! This version is pretty soft. I would liken it to the generic chicken sensation you get when you get cheap chinese food. You know, where you know you ordered some kind of americanized dish where the chicken is breaded and fried and dredged with sauce and texturally, it feels like SOMETHING besides breading, but not a whole lot else? That’s basically this. It also makes me really want to try it as sweet and sour seitan.

Ellsbells came over for dinner on Mardi Gras and made us some suppah. Ok, well I made some veggies. It’s an easy to make green – slice, rinse, put diced garlic in a pan with some oil, then toss in cabbage. Ta da. I know that some kind of Chinese cabbage doesn’t really scream “laissez les bon temps rouler”, so let’s just move on.

Look – purple! See, we’re festive! Here’s some naked whole wheat raviolis. They were quite yummy and not tough like a lot of whole wheat pastas can be.

Ellsbells then made some chili type topping/side for the pastas.

Ok, here’s where I let the good times roll. Or maybe just walk around a bit. I deep fried some squid tentacles (my favorite part of the squid) and seitan. Yummy! I changed the oil in the deep fryer and cleaned it out, and OMG – really, it’s something you should do butt naked, because everything you come in contact with has a 90% chance of becoming covered in grease.

Oh, hey! Here’s that Seitan Recipe I fiddled around with:

1.5 C vital wheat gluten
1 T paprika
1 t garlic powder
1 t marjoram
1 t cumin
½-1/4 t oregano
¼ t onion powder
1.5 C water
¼ C soy sauce

Boil in:
7 C water
2-3 pieces kombu (dried seaweed)
¼-1/3 C soy sauce
sprinkle of onion powder

Mix all dry ingredients together for dough. Add liquid and mix well. Knead around for a few minutes to develop the gluten strands. (Is actually fun and relaxing. Like adult Gak)

Let dough rest for 15 minutes.
During that time, bring water to boil. Once at a boil, add remaining ingredients to boiling liquid.
Pinch off pieces of seitan dough and plop them in water (you can also leave it whole and use it as a loaf/roast). I think you can shape it however you’d like at this stage. At the local co-op they look more like flat triangles.
Once water comes back up to a boil, reduce it to a simmer and cover.
Cook 45 minutes. Turn off heat and let seitan cool in the pot.
Also – This is totally not something to feed your gluten-free friends.

Blueberry Upside Down Cake

It has been a doozie of a past few days for me, and it is one heck of a doozie when homemade lasagna does not cut it for the tummy.

Tummy, why you so hungry?

Albany John whipped up some lasagna with ragu I made and was sitting in the freezer. We splurged and bought mozzarella. Mmmm, such a treat!

But my tummy was not to be appeased. Those never-ending hungry tummy days are so annoying to me – I’m pretty sure I’ve eaten enough (ok, it’s me… more than enough) but tummysaysnooooo.

And queue a post-dinner rummaging through cookbooks to find something to satiate the tummy. I ended up going with upside down cake. And using the frozen blueberries in our freezer. If you go with frozen fruit, it will take almost double the time to cook just about anything, it seems.

Ellsbells was over last night, and thankfully she is like family, so I didn’t have to break out the fancy-schmancy cutlery. Or extra plates. (OH HOW I HATE THEE, NEVERENDING PILE OF DISHES) So I plopped some forks onto the big plate that had the cake on it and encouraged her and Albany John to dig in. If I tried to eat blueberries with my hands, everything in my house would end up smudged with blueberry juice.

I was afraid that because I’d used frozen blueberries, this wouldn’t set up in the middle and be gooey, but thankfully it wasn’t. We dug into the hot, steaming cake and chomped away. Once we got into the cake a bit, I could see that it was a fine and dandy cake inside. After it cooled down a bit all the blueberry juice running around set a bit and didn’t make the cake itself gooey or mushy. Phew (go blueberries!).

Since I used cake flour, the crumb was very delicate and fluffy. Normally I’d like an upside down cake to have a bit more tooth, but the blueberries and soft texture went together beautifully. For pineapple, I’d go with regular AP flour.

It also couldn’t have hurt to make this a little harder to eat since it was a little too easy to eat… oh, 2/3 of the cake.

PS – I love sharing food, too. I like the aspect of digging into food with people, so long as you don’t get me sick. If you get me sick, I keeeel you. It’s boring, going out to eat with people who aren’t sharers. I am totally fine with everyone ordering their own plates, but I love trying a nibble of someone’s dish, or a sip of that. Blame it on my indecisiveness, but food is way more fun when people share.

Albany Jane’s Basic Premise for Upside Down Cake

3 T butter
2/3-1C sugar
2T Molasses
Fruit to cover pan

1 stick butter (8 T) (room temp)
¾ C sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla extract
2 T key lime juice
1.5 C cake flour
2 T buttermilk powder
½ C water

Delicious Topping Part:
Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a cast iron pan over low-medium heat, add sugar and molasses and stir until melted and just bubbly.

Take off heat, add fruit once cooled down.

Cake Batter Part:
Beat butter and sugar together until creamy, add eggs in one at a time.

Add vanilla extract, lime juice, buttermilk powder, and half of your water (1/4 C). Mix well to combine.

Add half of cake flour, mix.

Add remaining flour and water and mix lightly.

Spread over fruit-covered cast iron.

Bake @ 350 F 30 min, 45-60 min if using frozen fruit.

Take out of oven, let sit for 5 minutes, then cover pan with a plate, flip over (so pan is on top of the plate) and gently remove pan.

Pa Jun

One morning I found myself craving something carb-y, with a bit of chewy density, but the prep also needed to be fairly quick and easy. Scallion pancakes were out since the dough needs to rest, then there’s the rolling, and once you factor in the laziness, the probability of that all happening is slim to none. Pancakes were also out, since they are usually quite fluffy.
I also have come to realize we don’t use a lot of milk, so it’s pretty rare that it is in our fridge. I can’t tell if we just don’t cook with it a lot or if we avoid recipes because we’re used to not having milk. I’m sure it’s all some kind of a catch-22 that I really am not all that concerned about.

But then I remembered the dense and chewy goodness of Pa Jun / Pa Jeon – Korean Pancakes! They’re like a cross between scallion pancakes and regular pancakes. And all yummy.

The batter resembles regular flapjacks and pancakes – a pale, viscous liquid. The real fun is that pa jeon are more flexible when it comes to fillings than rolled out scallion pancakes. With scallion pancakes you’re limited to what will stay in the rolled dough and is pliable. Pa jeon batter holds the ingredients better.

Slice your added ingredients thinly so that they will cook through with the batter add them to the mix! Easy peasy!

I used red onions and carrots carrots – things that would soften, but also provide a nice opposing crunchiness to the soft, dense pancake. You can also toss in some squid or shrimp to make it a seafood pancake (a popular appetizer).

It will take longer than a pancake to cook – after plopping it in the pan it took several minutes, but you want the top portion to dry out a bit to make flipping easier, and to ensure the bottom has cooked and crisped up a bit.

After you’ve flipped it over to finish cooking, you can make up a dipping sauce. I just did soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and a touch of chili oil.

Ta da! The finished product! I used a pizza cutter to slice it up into bite sized pieces, but you can also do triangles.

Here’s the recipe I used. It made 2 skillet / large pan -sized pancakes.
2 eggs
2 C flour
2 C water
Veggies / fillings of choice
Salt & white pepper to taste
Make sure to slice your fillings accordingly – No need to dice, but slice bulkier items on the thinner side.
Mix everything together.

Pour into a lightly greased pan over medium heat.
Cook 3-4 minutes, until the top becomes dry along the edges, then flip and cook a further 4-5 minutes.

Miracle Fruit and Brunch

I like meeting new people, especially people that are effervescent. I got to meet lots of friendly people at a Flavor Tripping party over the weekend. A flavor tripping party is where you eat miracle fruit / berries in some form (either fresh or freeze dried) and then eat lots of acidic things. I first read about them on the New York Times, and even ordered my own little plant.
My wee plant has all of three leaves, so I haven’t really anticipated a haul of berries any time soon. I was very excited to be able to try them for the first time! And there were many others equally excited – I really like meeting other people who are into new experiences, and openly excited for it. It felt like everyone was just bubbling with anticipation. The person hosting it was also super-friendly and just an awesome host over all.

Our awesome host had ordered freeze-dried tabs of miracle berries and omg – they are awesome! They’re cheaper and last longer than fresh fruit, which only have a short life once picked. For everyone who doesn’t know, they alter how your tongue picks up flavors so everything acidic takes on a sweet taste. New flavors? Sign me up!

Everyone brought something to try out – I brought sour pickled long beans and hot preserved radishes. The radishes tasted pretty nasty. The long beans tasted just like pickled green beans, and tasted like sweet pickles after the fruit.

So how was the flavor trip? I LOVE MIRACLE FRUIT. Lemons were one of my favorite things – they really did taste like lemonade. Horseradish lost its kick and was fairly creamy. Sour dill pickles just tasted like sweet pickles. Fresh tomatoes from the grocery store tasted like they were plucked out of a warm summer garden. I also think I love crappy beer – it made bud and lime taste like… sweet nectar. Ditto with The Beast (I mean, Milwaukee’s Best). Nectar, I tell ya – and this is stuff I’ll normally try avoid being in the room with if it’s open. Apple cider vinegar also tasted like sparkling apple cider. As you can see there was more to try, but these are just what is jumping out of my ever-shrinking brain.

The effects wore off within an hour or so, but it was so fun! I can’t wait to try this again. I took a picture of what it looked like in my mouth, but really, you don’t want to see it. Albany John wouldn’t open his mouth, so sorry – no action shots. But really, just imagine a purple Altoid dissolving on someone’s tongue.

After an always awesome night at Goodship’s Valentine’s Prom at Revolution Hall in Troy, NY I got to go to an Almost Foodies brunch. Yum! I love the Almost Foodies pot lucks. Always so tasty. And a good way to help cure the hangover, or at least get a start on it.

Renee made these awesome sweet potato doughnuts with apple stuffing at the top – they were so squishy and pillowy – I loved the texture (and we got there early enough that we got first dibs on picking at the ones that wouldn’t come out of the pan. I love picking)
On the left is a wonderful egg soufle (??? I am sure it was called something else) dish (maybe it was strata?!) with sausage and broccoli. I went for seconds – so yummy!

The other two are mine – a blueberry type dish (I can’t remember what Cook’s Illustrated called it) and a vanilla cheesecake (I made that the night before so it would cool. Also a good plan since I wasn’t terribly functional in the AM, hee hee)

Bagels and lox! With nummy cream cheeses. Fresh from Brugger’s, by Life of My Mouth, which has to be one of my favorite places to get a bagel in the area.

Rice puddin’ and eggs. Total yum-fest going on. As always, an awesomely delicious time!

Sunday we ate one of the ribeye steaks in our freezer from the cow I bought into and golly, it was also good. We aren’t really Valentine’s Day type people, but if it helps, we ate it bloody and rare.


I forgot to tell you the final step of making a pork belly – keep it away from any nibblers. It is great to add lots of flavor with a little bit of meat to any extra dishes. I’ll be honest, I love the stuff, but even I know I probably shouldn’t wolf half of it down in one sitting.

Albany John and I found a packet of Pho mix at the Asian Food Market for all of 69 cents. Cheapo! We figured it wouldn’t be perfect, but it was certainly worth a try for 69 cents. (BTW – has anyone else noticed how they’ve raised a lot of their prices over the course of one month? I know their prices have been the same for years, but yikes, it sure is a shocker when they raise them all at once! Napa cabbage jumping to $0.69/lb from $0.49/lb is pretty big to me!)

Aaaaanyway – I decided the pho soup mix could be a good base to doctor up with whatever we had around the house.

Now, if you’ve successfully protected your siu yuk, you can chop it up and have it with your pho. Albany John (who absolutely hates my knife skills and normally refuses to be in the same room with me and a knife) ventured some brave fingers on to the cutting board while I was in the process of chopping up the pork belly. OH NO YOU DID NOT TRY AND SNEAK SOME OF THAT PRECIOUS COMMODITY! Cleaver > Fingers. Epic win for the belly!

You can put side things on a plate to sprinkle in your pho soup, like cilantro, scallions, bean sprouts, really anything chopped up well that is tasty.

One of the cool things about pho that I like is how very basic it is on its own, and how you get to add things to it, like the above basics, although traditionally I think it is noodles + beef in the broth to begin with.

I took out most of the condiments in our fridge, and was nicely surprised at how tasty this packet was. It only really ‘needed’ a bit of hoisin sauce to round out the flavors, and didn’t have a fakey/canned beef flavor.

I cooked up some basic noodles we had sitting around (wheat, not rice, mainly because I tend to overcook rice noodles) and put them into the soup base to serve up. (Can you see the bean sprouts peeking from under the noodles? I covered them quickl with the noodles so the hot broth would cook them a bit)

This packet made 10 cups of soup, which is actually a lot of soup, so we ended up eating soup for a few days afterwards. There were also some rather spicy ingredients in the bottom dregs – phew! It’ll get you sweating if you let them fall to the bottom of your bowl and then add Sriracha sauce.

We liked it well enough to buy some more. It’s a good quickie dinner or lunch and if you’re just two people you can halve it. I also think it would probably be a really good base for hot pot / shabu shabu type dishes as well.

Oh, if you can’t read it, the name is: “Instant Beef Broth for Vietnamese Noodle Soup”

How to Make Crispy Skin Pork (Siu Yuk)

Hello and welcome to your How to Make Crispy Skin Pork (aka Siew Yuk / Siu Yuk) tutorial with step-by-step pictures!
Yay! We all love pictures! I thought my last post on Crispy Skinned Pork was OK, but needed some before and action shots.
First things first: Get your seasonings out. Clockwise from the top is Sugar, White Pepper, 5 Spice Powder, and MSG.

There’s as much or more sugar than all of the other ingredients combined. But don’t worry, this was in a tiny bowl – I just took this so you could have a jumping point of how you’d like your seasonings. With this amount, the pork flavor is enhanced and the seasonings are subtle. Use a small saucer or something and just whack your 5 spice powder a few times and then go from there.

Then you grab your pork belly from out of the fridge and wash it off. Ai ya! Look at all that fat! Dry it off well with paper towels after rinsing.

Plop your belly skin-side down and score the flesh side of the pork belly. This helps the seasoning get in a bit deeper.

Slather your meat sides (all 3 of ’em) with the dry seasoning. The dry seasoning is used to keep the pork as dry as possible, so don’t use wet seasonings. If it gets on the skin it’ll just be rubbery and flabby and not develop that delicious crunchy skin we all love.

Plop the belly skin side UP (seasoning side down) and wipe off any seasoning that may have wiggled its way onto the skin. Then stick it in the fridge, uncovered for 30 minutes to 2 days.

Keep it uncovered to dry out the skin and meat. It helps the skin crisp up in the oven when you cook it.

This is what your pork belly looks like if you’ve left it uncovered in the fridge for about a day, or 20-24 hours. The skin has retracted a bit (you can see the fat peeking in the top right above). Your fridge smells kind of like rotting piggy/funk. Cue flashbacks.

Then grab a handful of kosher salt. (I love you macro setting! (it’s a flower icon on my camera (how cute!!))) Don’t go stealing my identity with my palm prints or anything. I’m on to you, internets.

Slather the skin liberally with salt.
This was hard to do since the skin was so dry, but I gently patted it on and it stayed, for the most part. I’m not sure how it would be if you put the salt on and then let it sit in the fridge. Maybe that will be the next experiment.

After setting your oven to 450 F, set two of your oven racks as close to your heat source as possible. Plop your pork belly directly on to the top rack, and place a cookie sheet/dripping pan underneath on the 2nd rack to catch all of that fatty goodness.

Veg heads – I washed the cookie sheet. S’ok. Although pork cookies sound delicious as well. I also really like the term “veg head” you can have veg head days, your friends can be veg heads, it’s pretty flexible. I’m sure someone else came up with this, but I’m going to pretend I’m original in creating it.

Sorry, you can’t not have a post without me rambling. At any rate, after 20 minutes, go back and check on your piggy.
It’s shrunken a bit and there’s some fat on the cookie sheet. Good. We are in business. Or bidness. But not bizznazz, because the ‘nazz’ makes me think ‘nasty’, and this crispy skin pork is anything but ‘nasty’.

Grab your favorite sharp and pokey object and get ta’ pokin’!

I used a fondue fork. Poke the crap out of that thing. Seriously. I turned the oven off for a bit and pulled the two racks out so I wouldn’t burn or bake myself and poked the skin of the pork for a WHILE. If you think to yourself “Is there any skin left to poke? I think I’ve done every square centimeter.” then you’ve done a good job. Lots of poking. Lots.

I don’t think you can tell, but after poking this thing will start oozing liquid fat like a MOTHER. The skin top will be all nice and glossy with fat. Glisten, little piggie, glisten!

Place some rice wine vinegar in a little saucer bowl and brush on top of the pork belly skin. Don’t forget to turn the oven back on!
This is supposed to help crisp it up, and the vinegar flavor completely cooks off in the oven. The final product has no hint of vinegar, and neither do the drippings.

Wait. Let it cook at least 40 minutes more. Peek in on it every now and then, but for the most part, leave it alone until the edges look really dark (like above).

Rejoice! Once it reaches that state, you are done! If your pork belly is > 1 lb, you will need to cook it longer. No need to let it rest, dig right in if you want!
Lose camera somewhere in house, then give in to the siren call of the pork skin and eat half with hubby.

Find camera next morning in fireplace, wonder how the hell it ended up there of all places, and then take picture of remaining siu yuk that hubby has not eaten while you were sleeping.

See the striations? Turns out there was some meat in there after all.
You’ve got the crunchy skin on top, then the fat underneath, then thin layer of meat, thin layer of fat, a little more meat, thin layer of fat (kind of like a belt, right? haha) thick layer of meat, thin layer of fat, and spotty patches of more meat. Yummy! I love the lower layers because they’re more ‘dark’ meat than the top and even juicier.

The skin was just a bit chewier than the last one – I think it got a little too dry in my fridge, so next time I’m just letting it sit a few hours and not 24. But the fat cooked off much more, so there was a better flavor ratio than just fat oozing everywhere. Hey, I do lurve cracklins, but sometimes it’s about ratios of flavor. Delicious, porky ratios. Mmmm.

Vegan Cheeeeeessseecake

My deal with vegan food is this: I’m fine and dandy with it as long as it doesn’t start using faux ingredients to replace non-vegan ingredients. Tofutti and soy cheese, I’m looking at you. I know what cheddar should taste like, and lemme tell you, soy cheese – you pass about as much for cheddar as I do for a natural blonde. Those subsitutes are also wildly expensive, so there’s another knock against it for me.

But I found a vegan book (Vegan Cooking for Everyone by Leah Leneman) with some decent looking recipes, so I decided to give the cheesecake recipe a whirl, with my own tweaking, of course.
I can’t not tweak a recipe. Especially one that I seems kind of bland. The basic cheesecake recipe given in the book didn’t have a whole lot of flavor, and a whole lot of tofu. Tofu can taste pretty overwhelmingly beany, and personally, I need a LOT of extra flavor to get past tofu’s initial flavor. So I chucked in some blueberries to the filling and shredded coconut to the crust.

Modified Like Crazy Vegan Cheesecake Recipe:
1 C whole wheat flour (I used a mix of graham an irish red whole wheat)
2 T raw cane sugar (think Sugar in the Raw)
pinch salt
nutmeg to taste (I like a lot, the recipe called for a pinch of cinnamon)
1/4 C vegan margarine (I used butter flavored crisco)
1/3 C coconut flakes
1 T water

Mix all together, and work in the margarine. Add water last, mix to combine. Pat in a pie pan and bake 10 min at 350F.

1 1/4 C/10 oz firm tofu (I used the fresh stuff)
2 T veggie oil (I used a mix of half olive oil and walnut oil)
4 T raw cane sugar
Juice and rind of 1 lemon
1.5 T double strength vanilla extract
1/3 C almond meal (the recipe called for ground, but this is what I had on hand)
2/3 C frozen blueberries

Put tofu, oil, sugar, lemon and vanilla extract in a blender (hello Magic Bullet!) and blend until completely smooth. Stir in nuts, then stir in blueberries.
Spoon evenly into crust and bake 30 minutes at 350F.

Ok, confession time. I am not a huge fan of this recipe. It has lots of potential. The texture is great – smooth and creamy, and no cracking. But the taste. Ugh. It is still very, very, VERY heavily flavored with, you guessed it, tofu. The bites with blueberry were best, so I advise slathering the holy crap out of it with blueberry syrup or maple syrup. Or both. Ok, definitely both.

I think the lemon needs to be at least doubled. The lemon and vanilla flavors were completely lost, and the almond meal (maybe I should try the actual nuts ground a bit rougher) didn’t have any flavor at all. The lemon is a must for tanginess. Otherwise you’re left with what I’ve got, which is a total FAIL on the cheescake scale of things. Tofu pie, sure, but certainly nowhere near close to cheescake in terms of flavor. I’m thinking there would be a decent chance of this being a good highly flavored cheesecake, like perhaps key lime, or coconut. Next time I think I’ll try assaulting it with coconut extract, or lots of key lime juice.

I really loved the crust for this recipe – it was crumbly when I put it in the pan, but it was oh-so crisp and crunchy. A great texture and pretty good taste, except the Crisco left a bit of a greasy film all over your mouth. I am definitely going to use this again, only with butter instead of Crisco.

Or … you could just slather the cheesecake, syrups and all, with whipped cream. Heh heh. It completely negates all the healthful properties of this dessert (I have no many calories it has, but I am going with “significantly less” than real cheesecake since there’s no cream cheese in it. Delicious, delicious cream cheese), but the whipped cream at least gives a bit of a hint that you could convince yourself you’re eating cheesecake and helps cover the beany tofu taste.

Overall, I’ll try it again, just with a TON of other flavorings and extracts.

Farewell Dinner for Alex & Cati at CCK

Celinabean is all about the awesome. She surreptitiously arranged a going away dinner for Alex and Cati last week. It was nice to do that for them, and also to say good bye in person, as opposed to leaving “NOOOO!!!111!! You guyz, like, totally can’t!! It will be sux0rz without yooo!” in a comment.
But in all seriousness, Alex and Cati are very awesome people to get to meet and it was sad to see them go.
Celina arranged the whole dinner with Chef Peter at CCK (basically, the re-homed Ocean Palace) for a stellar price of $20 per person, ALL INCLUSIVE. We all gathered around the table, scootchy-scootchy like and got cozy (“Hi Celina!” “Hi Steve!” (I was sitting next to both of ’em, not shouting all over the table)).
Guess what the first dish that came out was? That’s right! Peking duck!!!!! I had some reservations about how good this was, but yo – it was freaking good. Crisp skin, moist meat, and not too fatty.

I really liked these pancakes/rolls. Fluffy and light, and the hoisin was also good. The waitress made these pancakes for us, so we didn’t have to. Phew! I’m used to just eating the whole duck – the pancakes were fuuu-uun! (And tastier than I’ve had in NYC)

And then came… SALT AND PEPPER SQUID! Can you guys tell how excited I was to be a part of this farewell dinner planned by Celina? Everyone really loved this – buttery, soft and lightly breaded. These are one of the things I must order when I go.

And blogger love! Celina ordered this one because she knew I’d flip my shit. Consider it completely flipped. The beef and noodles were so smoky. The rice noodles soft, chewy, unctuous all at the same time. Crisp, crunchy bean sprouts, mmmm.
Whole fish. Flounder, I think. It was soft and buttery and oh so tender. I love steamed fish. It is so good.

Stuffed eggplants! This is another must-order on the dim sum list. Soft, japanese eggplants filled with shrimp. Fried. And covered in black bean sauce. This might be the trifecta of perfect ingredients for me.

Baby bok choy and mushrooms. Meaty, but not too meaty mushrooms (I think shiitake) and tender but still crunchy quarters of bok choy.

They called this a dried mustard green dish, but I couldn’t really taste any mustard greens. Maybe they’re really subtle when they’re dried? There was pork belly underneath the brown stuff (I’m guessing the dried mustard greens) and the green stuff is fresh spinach. Also a good dish. I loved the spinach. The belly was so soft, too!

Thousand year old egg and either fungus greens or pea shoot tips. This time the thousand year old eggs were really soft and creamy. Not too bad. The veggie portion was just cooked enough to make it not taste raw, but still maintained a crisp texture. Yum.

I think at this point, Alex’s eyes glazed over and he mentioned something about “No more” when our waitress said more dishes were still coming out.

OH NO YOU DID NOT JUST BRING OUT LOBSTER!! Oh yes they did! It was so perfect – tender and cooked juuuuust enough, it was bursting with briny goodness. And not too salty either. When Albany John makes Cantonese-style lobster at home like this, it always ends up super salty. But this… oh, this just hits the spot.

And then there was fried tofu! Soft, wonderfully textured tofu with fresh peas and … oh, it was so good.

Oranges were brought out after this dish, signaling ‘Fin’ to everyone. Oh, it was a great spread, to be sure.

And then Chef Peter himself came out with a special surprise dessert – sesame balls! Freshly made! It was so incredibly good having them fresh.

I ate two – they were filled with a peanutty paste in the center, too. And goodness, I cannot resist anything with toasty sesame seeds in it.

Eventually we said our good byes. I like the little gathers we local food bloggers have, but it is sad to see one of our own go (but not stop blogging – hint hint :D). Best of luck to Alex and Cati – I can’t wait to see what new and exciting adventures they have in their new digs.

Yogurt, so yumgurt

No, no, no, no, no!

Why did the Co-Op have to have a sale on Liberté yogurt now? Now, when I am in the midst of a super tiny food budget for the month?!?!?!

Argh, well for those of you who aren’t clutching your coin sacks and fending off the moths, do get one of the delicious Mediterranéan yogurts that are on sale for a steal of $0.89 each. They’re $1.09 or more at most other places.
It has absolutely no tanginess at all, and is like eating a cup of cream. Their fruit flavors are spot on and mouth watering. It’s a bit high in fat and calories for yogurt, but you will have a hard time you are eating yogurt. Picture a cup of ice cream, without the melting. Picture dense creaminess, complemented with pure fruity flavors. And now imagine them with slightly less calories and being so full of happiness and yum that you couldn’t fathom eating another cuppie.

Damnit, I might have to go wrestle a hobo over bottles to recycle – they are that freaking good. Only 18 cans to find!