Sunday, September 26, 2010

Bacon-Wrapped Filet Mignon

Wrapping bacon around a good filet helps from drying out the meat. Just make sure you don't stretch the bacon too much as you're wrapping it because it'll expand while cooking and can fall apart.

Filets wrapped and seasoned
 What you need:

Filet mignon steaks
Chicken stock
Veggies (I used baby carrots, sugar snap peas, mushrooms, and onions)
2 cloves of garlic
Sour cream
Minced chives
Creole seasoning
Sea salt and pepper

I made Bacon-Wrapped Filet Mignon with Garlic Cauliflower puree and sauteed vegetables. Cauliflower puree is great because it tastes like mashed potatoes but is obviously better for you. So if you have kids or people you cook for that don't really like vegetables, it's perfect! No one has to know. 

Prepped veggies
Cut up the Cauliflower into florets and get a pot of chicken stock boiling. Get another pan hot with some olive oil to sautee the vegetables. Boil the Cauliflower for about 10 minutes with the 2 garlic cloves and then strain and toss them into the food processor. I added about 1/2 a cup of the stock to the processor with the steamed Cauliflower.

Cauliflower in chicken stock
Ready to go
After the Cauliflower is in the processor and still hot, add a small slice of butter, a spoonful of sour cream, and sea salt. (Make sure the garlic is in there)

You can put the cover on after blending and leave it until everything else is ready. I sauteed the vegetables and got a pan hot with some butter for the filets. Once the butter starts foaming, add the steaks on and sear on each side until brown.

Add Creole seasoning and sea salt
Toothpicks barely holding on
Smells great
They're going to go in the oven after each side is done. I set my oven to 425 degrees and transferred the pan into the oven for a little over 10 minutes. If you like your steak medium, I suggest about 13-15 minutes because I cooked mine medium rare. Also, don't forget to remove toothpicks before serving!

Waiting on steaks
The steaks came out perfectly. It cut how a filet is supposed to cut - like butter! It was nice and pink on the inside so I was happy.

Bacon-Wrapped Filet Mignon with Garlic Cauliflower puree and sauteed vegetables
Ready to eat
Cooked to perfection

Monday, September 20, 2010

Lobsterfest 2010 + Daikokuya

Lobsterfest 2010! I attended on Friday night so it was a little cold. It's a 3 day event, held once a year. The main attraction is fresh maine lobster, $18 for one, and $31 for 2 of those bad boys. Comes with cole slaw, bread, and cajun potatoes. 5 lobsters between 5 people didn't seem sufficient while eating, but we ate so many other things that we were glad we didn't go for round 2.

They prep the lobster for you after you pick them up, so it's easier to de-shell and eat. There's about 5 of them at a station and I think I had a mini heart attack when they yelled "CHOP CHOP!" when I'm about 2 feet away from them waiting for my lobster. I literally had to back up because they scream it like their life depends on it.

Getting ready
Maine Lobster
Fish n' Chips
The aftermath
Kernel Spuds
Parmesan cheese and creole seasoning
Hot dog time
Smells good!
Cajun bratwurst with A LOT of onions

 So we shared all of the food so we could eat a little bit of everything. The corn and hot dog were really good. Even though I could have done without so much bread on the hot dog. We ended up tearing off a lot of it because it was just way too thick.

My favorite part was the ice cream! Cool Haus was there with their ice cream truck. There were some really interesting flavors so I sampled all of them. Hands down, the Balsamic fig and mascarpone ice cream wins.

Cool Haus

Balsamic fig & mascarpone ice cream
Strawberry & candied jalapeno ice cream
Brown butter & candied bacon ice cream
Edible wrappers!
The weirdest one was the strawberry and candied jalapeno ice cream. The jalapenos weren't very "candied" and it just kind of tasted like someone was playing a joke on me and put jalapenos in my strawberry ice cream. The brown butter and candied bacon ice cream was actually pretty good, it had a butter pecan resemblance JUST up until you bite into a tiny piece of bacon and then it feels wrong. The balsamic fig and mascarpone was truly the best. Imagine cheesecake ice cream but 10x better. We decided on the mascarpone and mexican chocolate flavors. Also, the edible wrappers tastes like nothing, but still cool!

Balsamic fig and mascarpone ice cream + mexican chocolate ice cream in edible wrappers
Edible wrapper.  Tastes like nothing.
The longest line was for the funnel cake. So, of course, we had to try some. The line went by fairly quickly and it was not disappointing! The only not so cool thing about Lobsterfest: portable bathrooms.

The funnel cake factory
Strawberry funnel cake

I also vsited Daikokuya this weekend. If you haven't ever had it, you're missing out on the best Japanese ramen you've ever had! There was a 15 minute wait, as usual. It's a tiny little place in Japantown that has the best pork broth ramen. I order the small Daikoku ramen with extra pork.

Daikoku ramen
Extra pork
Fried rice with ginger
Garlic puree - don't remember seeing this here before
327 E. 1st Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 626-1680

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Easy garlic and herb chicken pasta

At my house, we grow tomatoes amongst many other things. There were so many extra tomatoes that were not being used, so instead of making lasagna I decided to do a chicken pasta. Originally, I was going to do a basil chicken pasta but it was so dark outside I couldn't find the basil! I'm not going to lie, I get scared of the bugs I can't see so I decided that I didn't HAVE to use basil.

Home grown tomatoes

What you need:

2 chicken breasts, cubed
Angel hair pasta
About 4-5 large chopped tomatoes
Half a cup of tomato paste
5 garlic cloves, minced (I use a lot of garlic in everything)
Half of an onion, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
Creole seasoning (I make my own. Recipe here)
 Julienned green onion for garnish
Garlic powder & Cayenne pepper
Olive oil

Very simple to make and doesn't take too long. Angel hair pasta cooks fairly quickly - about 4-5 minutes, so I made the sauce first.

Heat up a saucepan and coat with olive oil. Throw in the garlic, onion, and bell pepper and cook for a few minutes. Then add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, and seasonings. Turn the heat down a little bit and simmer, letting the veggies cook.

Not shy with my garlic
Smells good!
So it can get a little crazy because you have 3 things going at once: the chicken, sauce, and pasta. Cook the chicken in a hot oiled pan with S&P, garlic powder, and some cayenne pepper. You can do the pasta at the last 5 minutes because it cooks so fast. After it's done, I just threw the pasta in the sauce with some tongs and tossed it for a few minutes. The chicken was done by then as well so I threw on the chicken and finished it off with some green onion. Time to eat!

French bread with olive oil and balsamic dipping sauce
 I still have so many tomatoes leftover. I wanted to make chili but I wanted it on a cold, overcast kind of day. This bipolar weather is playing with my emotions. Maybe bruschetta?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Carlitos cafe y cantina in Santa Barbara

I had a chance to visit Santa Barbara today with my good friend Nichole. I love it out there! Even the drive is fun because of the amazing beach view. It was a tad bit windy but still great weather! We stopped by UCSB, Summerland, and State Street. After a lot of walking, we decided to eat at Carlitos cafe y cantina at State Street. Right when we sat down we were served chips and a choice of two salsas. There is one thing that we both agreed was the best they had to offer: Black bean and corn salsa!

Black bean and corn salsa - so good!
I ordered the giant grilled prawns with garlic and cilantro. I usually like cilantro on seafood so I gave it a shot. I hate to say it but I was kind of disappointed! The prawns were a little too salty and some of the potatoes were hard. I think my favorite part of the meal was the roasted garlic. The tomato and caper tapenade wasn't bad either. I had about 1 prawn and got the rest to go. The portion that came was enough for a small starving family!

Grilled giant prawns with garlic and cilantro - With roasted red potatoes, grilled veggies, tomato and caper tapenade

A closer, sunnier view
Roasted garlic - yum!
Ginormous cheese quesadilla
No need to be concerned - I usually don't hold my fork like this.

So basically I wasn't a huge fan of what I ordered. But it's a cute little restaurant with a nice outdoor patio and some really good salsa! If I were to come back, I wouldn't order their prawns but probably try something on the more traditional side of the menu. I'd also share with someone because their portions are no joke!

Carlitos cafe y cantina
1324 State Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
(805) 962-7117