A Twenty-Something Girl in Downtown Oakland

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Not a twenty-something girl anymore (Almost!)

Ok, I'm still twenty-something, but not for much longer. Celebrated my birthday the other night at Soizic Bistro near Jack London Square. It's so non-descript from the outside, I always forget about it, but it's really nice inside. I had the sea scallop special and a glass of (I forget the name) a white wine that is made especially for Soizic, and P had the ribeye and a Manhatten. Everything was incredibly tasty. My scallops were cooked perfectly, and the polenta it was served with was nice a creamy. The ribeye was incredibly good, almost wish I ordered it instead. Nicely seared on the outside, and nicely rare on the inside. Of course, we shared the pecan tart served with white pepper ice cream. Yes, white pepper ice cream. It's ice cream that tastes like white pepper. It works amazingly well with the sweetness of the pecan tart. I will have to go back there and try out their chocolate torte soon -- our server raved about it.

Grandma's Bread Pudding Recipe

I just got Grandma's Bread Pudding Recipe -- I'll have to try it soon.

3 cups 2% milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 slices of bread broken up (apparently 1.5 slices is correct -- I double checked)
nutmeg & cinnamon

Put in small 8x8 cassarole and sprinkle with nutmeg and cinnamon. Set in a pan of wawter and bake for 35 min or until a knife through the center comes out clean.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Who knew pancakes could be so good?

Ok, so I grew up on Bisquick. Then recently, I read the ingredients. All kinds of partially hydrogenated crap. So I tried the Alton Brown recipe... that was better. Then I had my MIL's pancakes. Wow... those were good. Here's the recipe, so I don't lose it.

2c buttermilk
2c flour
2tsp baking powder
1tsp baking sold
2tbl oil
2 eggs
1tsp salt
1tbl sugar

mix the dry stuff in a bowl and then add the wet stuff. it's supposed to make 18-20 pancakes... Maybe the people I haven't found a gift for yet are gonna get pancake mix this year :)

Friday, December 09, 2005

What on earth were they thinking????

So over the last week or two, I noticed that there was this garbage-like stench in the hallway of my floor. (I live in a condo.) I went around sniffing some of the doors, but I couldn't figure out where it was coming from. So I finally complained to the management company, and they went out investigating. Turns out the people in the corner had a bucket of fermenting cabbage outside of their door!!! I mean, if it's too stinky and smelly for your house, what makes you think it's ok to make kimchee in the hallway??? Maybe I should walk by and help them "dump their garbage".

Monday, December 05, 2005

My first pie crust

I had some left over fresh cranberry sauce from Trader Joe's and hated to see it go to waste. Some posts over on Chowhound gave me the idea of using it in a pie filling. So last night I attempted to make a cranberry apple pie with an all butter pie crust (using our new Kitchen Aid Mixer, of course).

Here's my Cranberry Apple Pie recipe and the results
rest of the tub of cranberry sauce (about 4/5 of it)
about 5 or so apples peeled and thinly sliced
(I used three different kinds including fujis and a couple of others from the apple guy at the farmer's market)
about a tablespoon of brown sugar since the cranberry sauce had sugar in it already
about two tablespoons of flour to thicken the filling

Crust (2 of them):
2 sticks of cold butter (I grated them to make it mix easier)
2.5 cups of flour
some ice water spooned in a tablespoon at a time
.5 teaspoon of salt

First I mixed together the flour, salt, and butter in the Kitchen Aid mixer on 1 and 2. When they looked "mixed enough" I started to add water a spoonful at a time until the dough pulled away from the sides and basically formed a clump around the beater.
Then I split the dough into two balls and wrapped them in plastic wrap and stuck them in the fridge.
Meanwhile, I started heating the cranberry sauce on medium and then stirred in the apples, sugar to taste, and flour to thicken. When the apples started to soften, I turned it off.
Since you are supposed to bake fruit pies right away so the crust won't get soggy, we waited until we got to my mother's to roll out the dough and assemble the pie.
So we rolled out the dough, put in the filling, cut some holes in the top to let off the steam, and crimped the sides of the crust with a fork.
(Ok, here's where we made the mistake) I didn't listen carefully to the baking instructions as they were being read to me. We did about 40 min on 350 then about 15 or 20 on 425 until the pie was bubbly and brown. But what I think you are supposed to do is to is bake it on 425 for a half hour then turn it down to 350 for like 15 more minutes.

The result:
Everyone liked the filling, but I think we needed to add a tad of (powdered) sugar to the crust next time. We used white whole wheat flour because that's all we had around the house, but I think regular white flour would taste better. Other than that, I think it was a success.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Potato Salad Ichi Style

Just got back from dinner at Ichiro, our new favorite neighborhood restaurant. Tonight Ichi gave us a little potato salad... I'm going to have to try to make it. Inka (sp?) said it's easy to make.

Boil some potatoes and carrots, then mash them.
Add some noodles, thinly sliced yellow onion, salt, pepper, and hardboiled egg and mix together.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Where do I get a moist chocolate brownie around here??

Ok, so I've been craving a warm, moist, chocolatey brownie. I miss working in downtown San Francisco where there were like four Specialties stores within a four block radius from my office. Where can I get a good brownie here in Downtown Oakland? It's a Grind is a nice place to hang out at, but their pastries are frozen, and Starbucks is... well Starbucks. The Brioche Bakery at the Old Oakland Farmer's Market has a chocolate muffin (and chocolate chip cookies, and oatmeal cookies, and...) that is TO DIE for, but they haven't been there in a few weeks :(

Friday, October 21, 2005

the best AND easiest crock pot pork roast recipe EVER!

Ok, so I'm learning to cook. Not the super gourmet, super fussy, or super fancy type. More like a 30-minute meals, one pot meals, "see how few dishes I can use" kind of cook. That's why a crock pot is so great. Just throw a bunch of stuff in there in the morning, and by the time I get home at night, I have a warm and tasty meal all ready to go. Anyway, I made this for the first time the other day.

Here's my recipe for crock pot pork roast.
1 pork butt roast
liquid smoke
I used a 3-ish pound piece of pork for this and then sprinkled it with kosher salt. Then I covered it with liquid smoke, about a tablespoon or two with it. I don't like things too salty so I went light with both, but you can adjust it to taste. Then I put it in my crock pot, cranked it up to high, and five hours later, it was done.

This was good -- very tender and juicy and pulled apart with a fork with ease. I have eaten it all week with barbeque sauce for sandwiches and in tortillas for tacos. Yum!

The Oakland Ballet is back!

After moving to Downtown Oakland last spring, I was disappointed to see all the "Save the Oakland Ballet" signs plastered all over the neighborhood. Now, I'm not a season ticket holder, nor had I even been to the ballet in years. In fact, the last time I remember going was to take my then little cousin to see the Nutcracker. (I can't believe she's going to be 14!) However, it's sad to see another major performing arts group die. But today, the Oakland Ballet is anything but deceased. I got tickets to the opening weekend of their 40th anniversary over the weekend. Wow! My idea of what ballet is has totally changed. There were no tutus here. While the more traditional stuff like Les Biches and Billy the Kid were performed, I really enjoyed their tribute to Ella Fitzgerald was really, really good. And that singer Ledisi, (who went to Skyline High here in Oakland,) and sang Ella's songs can sing! I'm going to have to check out her CDs. Anyway, glad the Oakland Ballet is alive and kicking again.