Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Good Eats in Hawaii

Hawaii is devastatingly gorgeous. As much as I sound like such a newbie, it was my first time there last week and I was literally sad when I left! I instantly fell in love with the beaches, city, food, people and atmosphere. I'm sure many people that have been can say the same.  Some of my faves in Hawaii were Guava pancakes, Loco Moco, Foie Gras sushi and of course, Poke! I ate like a king and was seriously exposed to some amazing eats.

I won't post everything but I want to share a few pictures that bring a smile to my face. Stayed on the island of Oahu and thanks to the patience of the boyfriend, I was able to go into full blown tourist mode, complete with camera in hand.


The Moana Surfrider is truly a unique hotel. A plantation inspired building complete with statuesque white pillars made me literally want to move into the hotel. (I wish) There were also some beautiful floral plants that I couldn't help snapping pictures of. Some of the colors are truly amazing!


Got a chance to try the infamous Leonard's Bakery and took a drive to North Shore to check out Giovannis and the ever consistently beautiful waters.

Did some serious spoiling of my palate and indulged in the best foie I've ever had, some authentic Hawaiian cuisine and soaked in the sun. I'm already thinking of when I can go back, because this is definitely only the beginning of milking one truly awesome vacation spot! It doesn't help that I saw a beautiful sea turtle only a few feet away while I was swimming in the ocean. I miss it already...

Alright fine, off to the gym I go and back to reality. Aloha!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Skinny Artichoke

This post isn't much of a recipe but I love artichokes. They're packed with antioxidants and high in fiber and best of all...so delicious! Usually, artichoke is eaten with mayo based sauces that are high in fat and aren't very good for you. (Although tasty) A great alternative is a simple olive oil based dipping sauce that I've found to be really good and much healthier. 

I like to steam my artichoke so I can eat the heart and part of the stem as well. Steam in shallow boiling water for 15 minutes or until the stem is tender and a fork goes right through it. While it's boiling, make the dipping sauce and you've got one delicious appetizer or healthy and satisfying meal!

Skinny Artichoke Dip

5 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
5 Tbsp Lemon Juice
Minced garlic (About 2)
Sea Salt + Pepper (To desired taste)
Chopped Oregano (You can also used dried) About two pinches

Easy and surprisingly very good.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Seared Scallop Salad

This recipe is easy, healthy and quite tasty! I got some really good looking scallops from a seafood market in Costa Mesa and this dish only takes about 10 minutes to make. Appetizer or entree? Your call.

Seared Scallop Salad

Sea Scallops (Patted dry with paper towels)
Half bunch of Asparagus
Half bunch of Scallions
1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
1 Shallot
Small handful of Thyme (Leaves only)
Olive Oil
Sea Salt + Pepper

Boil your asparagus and scallions for about 2 minutes to soften. Drain and set aside. Oil a hot pan and stir fry the veggies for a few minutes, just until a little soft. Set aside in microwave or oven to keep warm.

Season your scallops with Sea Salt and Pepper and get a hot pan ready with Olive Oil. Sear the scallops on each side for about 2 minutes or until you get a nice, golden brown color. After cooking desired amount of scallops, set aside to keep warm and make your balsamic reduction.

Clean out your pan and drizzle some olive oil on medium heat. Throw in your chopped Shallot and thyme and saute until the shallot starts to brown, about 3 minutes. Pour in your balsamic vinegar and lower the heat slightly. Scrape the little pieces of shallot and thyme from the bottom of the pan and cook for about 3 minutes or until the liquid starts to thicken slightly. Your sauce is done! Arrange your veggies and scallops on a plate and drizzle the balsamic sauce over the scallops.

Simple foods done well are my favorite. Enjoy!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Beef Wellington

I've never made Beef Wellington before but decided to try on my fancy pants and give it a whirl. It's an English dish that's supposed to be more on the difficult side so I gave it a sincere attempt. The only thing I would change after making it is the mushroom duxelle, I would probably put in less than I did. I watched a few videos on the process and read a few recipes. I gave it a shot with what ingredients I thought would work best and kept it simple.

Beef Wellington

1 Filet of Beef
1 sheet Puff Pastry
Egg Wash (Egg Yolks)
Mushrooms (Any Kind, about a bowl)
Parma Ham ( I used Serrano because the butcher ran out of Parma)
Sea Salt + Pepper
Plastic Wrap

Season your filet and sear on all sides on a hot oiled pan for a few minutes. This is just to seal in the flavor and juices. Brush the filet with mustard. Set aside and clean your mushrooms. Cut them in halves and toss them into the food processor and season with salt + pepper. Pulse about 10 or so times or until it becomes grainy but not mush. In a non-oiled pan, fry the mushrooms until all the water is evaporated from them. At the very end before you take mushrooms off the pan, throw in a small handful of thyme.

Lay out a long sheet of plastic wrap. Horizontally overlap slices of your Parma or Serrano ham. In the middle, lay out the mushroom duxelle that you just made and press down into a thin layer. Then place your filet of beef right over the duxelle and use the plastic wrap to tightly wrap everything into a nice log shape and place in refrigerator for about 20 minutes.

After cooling in the refrigerator, lay out your puff pastry and place the "log" in the middle. Brush the egg wash on all corners so that the puff pastry won't open during baking. After wrapping, brush the whole thing with egg wash. Cut some designs into it (I just did one slit down the middle and small slashes alongside each edge) and  place into oven for about 25 minutes for rare to medium rare and 30-35 minutes for medium. When it's done baking, make sure to let it rest for about 10 minutes.

The wrapping process is important. Go here for a quick video tutorial from Beef Wellington expert himself, Gordon Ramsay, for some visual aide.

Also, I found a new great butcher in Orange County! The Meat House in Brea has some great selections and most importantly of all, quality. They're super nice and accommodating so if you're in the North OC area and looking for top quality meats and cheeses, check them out.

The Meat House

415 S Associated Rd.
Brea, CA 92821
(714) 529-6328