Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas

The holiday season has been a little hectic this year! Of course, without fail, I ended up doing some last minute shopping again this year and the rain definitely doesn't help when you're feverishly strategizing a plan to find a parking spot at the mall or trying to figure out what you liked at 15 years old so you can be the cool cousin. (I realize this is a run on sentence but this is how my brain felt while inside the mall - chaos!) Nonetheless, it went by pretty fast.

For Christmas, I decided to do Korean food. We were having a small dinner with some family over so I gave myself about 2 hours to prep and cook.

My favoite whisk
I decided on Galbi (short ribs), Mushroom + Baby Green Peppers in Sauce (Yangsong-i putgochu jorim), Sweet + Spicy Deep Fried Tofu (Dubu twigim jorim) and Spicy Stir-Fried Baby Octopus (Nakji Bokkeum) for the main dishes.

Some of my prep - Potatoes, Green Onion, Red + Green Bell Peppers, Mushrooms, Green Peppers, Hot pepper flakes (Gochu garu), Sesame Seeds and cut up Baby Octopus
Veggies for Spicy Octopus dish (Nakji Bokkeum)
Don't be shy with the pepper flakes
Mirin - does wonders!
Making the sauce for the Spicy Octopus dish - Soy sauce, garlic, Mirin, Rice Wine, Sugar, Sesame Oil, Gochu Garu (Korean Red Pepper Flakes), Gochu Jang (Korean Red Pepper Paste). Must always taste!
I deep fried the tofu pieces after coating with Cornstarch in a small pot of oil


My mushrooms and Baby Peppers being cooked in sauce (Soy Sauce, Garlic, Gochu Garu, Rice Wine and Sugar)



Make sure to blanch the Octopus before you stir- fry
Korean food requires a lot of tasting and tasting over again. I think it turned out pretty well but I'm always working on mastering my Korean food.

Galbi (Short Ribs)
Mushroom + Baby Green Peppers in Sauce (Yangsong-i putgochu jorim)
Sweet + Spicy Deep Fried Tofu (Dubu twigim jorim)
Spicy Stir-Fried Baby Octopus (Nakji Bokkeum)
Not pictured are the Kimchi and Dwengjahng Jiggae (Bean Paste Vegetable Stew)
After 2 hours...still eating.
Dessert - Fruit and Lemon Butter Madelines with Brown Rice Green Tea (Best tea!)
 Spending time with family, slipping in and out of a food coma and watching kids open gifts is always a fun time. I haven't blogged in awhile due to life and all its busyness but still plan to do what I wanted to do with this blog - cook up some new, yummy things and challenge myself.

On the way back from a mini vacay with the family to Palm Springs, we noticed a rainbow. I had to be cheesy and pull over to take a picture. It's fading a bit but I think it's a great omen for 2011.

Cheers to a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year filled with Good Eats! (I had to do it)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Bar & Kitchen at O Hotel + Bruschetta

I spent Friday evening with a few girlfriends for dinner at Bar & Kitchen at O Hotel in Downtown LA. It's a tiny boutique hotel in the middle of nowhere and I've heard so much about their Parmesan Truffle Tots and Bacon Wrapped Dates. The hotel is actually the Orchid Hotel, I guess they call it O Hotel to be try and be extra cool. Anyway, the decor is cute and very contemporary but it's dark and cozy at the same time.

Clipboard menus
A glimpse of the menu - found the Parmesan Truffle Tots!
The Blanchet - Vodka, Fresh Lemon & Orange juices, Basil. Two thumbs up!
The Parmesan Truffle Tots were not that good. They tasted like regular Tater Tots and even though there was a hint of Truffle, I tasted more oil than anything. Tragic! I was looking forward to it. But after trying the Bacon Wrapped Dates with Goat Cheese and Almonds, my palette was redeemed. So good! It's one of those things that I know I'm going to crave in the very near future. The sweetness of the date is just right with the smoked bacon and the goat cheese just brings it all together so nicely. Dates aren't just for old people, folks!

Bacon Wrapped Dates with Goat Cheese and Almonds
Mushroom Flatbread with Apple Wood Smoked Bacon, Onion Marmalade and  Goat Cheese
Braised Beef Short Ribs with Roasted Carrot Puree and Seasonal Root Vegetables
Baby Argula Salad with Poached Pears, Hazelnuts, Goat Cheese and Truffle Vinaigrette

Sweet Potato Gnocchi! With Roasted Grapes, Cipollini Onions, Goat Cheese and Pepita Pesto

The Kitchen Burger with White Cheddar and Apple Wood Smoked Bacon and House Made Pickles
A really bad picture of the Parmesan Truffle Tots
 Overall, the Bacon Wrapped Dates and Sweet Potato Gnocchi were the best things on the menu. I would probably only go back for the dates. It turns out that I have some dates at home, I am most definitely going to try to make it for my Christmas dinner. They're great appetizers!




Bar & Kitchen @ O Hotel
 819 S. Flower Street
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213) 623-9904 
 
Bruschetta is one of my favorite things to eat that is so simple to make. You can't go wrong with the combination of Tomatoes, Garlic, Basil and Balsamic Vinegar - on toasted bread!

Tomatoes, Garlic, Basil, Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil marinating smells so good

What you need for Bruschetta:

5-6 Chopped Tomatoes
2 Cloves minced garlic
3-4 Basil Leaves, chopped
1/3 cup Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup Olive Oil

A loaf of French bread/baguette
Olive Oil to brush onto the bread
Shredded Mozzarella cheese for topping

Turn your oven to Broil and brush your slices of french bread or baguette with Olive Oil. Stick the bread, on a baking pan in the oven for about 1-2 minutes. On broil, the bread will toast really fast so watch them if you can. Take the bread out and place your Bruschetta mixture on top and some Mozzarella Cheese. Stick them back in the oven for about 5 minutes or until the cheese is slightly browned.

Back into the oven
Bruschetta baby!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Marcus Samuelsson at the Buick Regal Discovery Tour

Such a fun event! It was held at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills and even though initially I thought it was one of those fake invitation only events, it actually was invitation only! I was excited. Not to mention pretty impressed by whoever is head of marketing at Buick.

It started at 5pm and began with registration. A quick survey and then there was a lounge area provided with coffee, tea and desserts while people started arriving.

Snacks, pastries and refreshments
Mini brownies, chocolate chip cookie and green tea sugar cookie

Mini jars of honey for tea - so cute!
We were all split into 3 groups and had modules #1-3 to attend. 1st was the information hour with Roadfood.com's Michael Stern followed by a Buick Regal test drive. There were about 25 Buick Regals all parked outside of the hotel, each with a test drive guide standing by the door. It was raining so we were provided with nice big Buick umbrellas, so they were prepared. I love it when things are so well organized!

A whole lot of Buick Regals with test driver guides ( Found out during the drive that they all work for Buick marketing)
I'm a fan of new car smell
2nd was the mixology session with Michael Green where we made a Ginger Green Tea Sour Mocktail. (We were served one with alcohol later on)

User friendly
Done and easy. Cheers!
Really easy to make: 6 ounces green tea brewed full strength, 1 ounce fresh lime juice, 1 ounce ginger simple syrup and a lime wedge. For the ginger simple syrup it's simply 1/2 cup finely sliced fresh ginger, 1 cup water to 1 cup sugar. You boil it for 15 minutes, refrigerate, then sift out the ginger so even though it takes about a day to make, you can use it in a lot of different drinks and make more than just the ginger flavor!

Module 3 was with Chef Jose Andres of The Bazaar at the SLS Hotel. He demonstrated a watermelon tomato salad with micro green basil. (Everything mini is cute)

Watermelon tomato salad with micro green basil and a vinaigrette
The sweetest part was when they made spherical olives. Using gastronomy, pureed olive juice is strategically placed into calcium and alginate. After a minute or two, they form a invisible shell, creating an olive with a liquid inside! Served after a quick dip in some olive oil. It was really, really good, not to mention cool.

Yum
Afterwards, cocktails were served and we grabbed seats for the main event, Marcus Samuelsson. He's the youngest chef to ever receive two three-star ratings from The New York Times, owns 2 award winning restaurants (soon to be 3),  has many well known books published, and is the Top Chef Masters Season 2 winner amongst many accolades. If you watch a lot of food related television like I do, you know exactly who he is. I was so happy to meet him!

The Ginger Green Tea Sour now with alcohol since we were done with the test drives
My beautiful mama and I (Kinda dark but this hotel has nice decor)
Chef Marcus Samuelsson at SLS Hotel
Love the ginger candy touch
There he is!






 He made Shrimp and Red Grits which was really tasty! I've never been a fan of grits but this kind of changed my mind. The flavors were so good together, and the shrimp with the sauce had a nice deep, spicy kick. (Paprika and chili powder) The shrimp also had parsley and cilantro in it, which was great together.

Shrimp & Red Grits
He talked about his career, upbringing, and favorite foods. Favorite food in L.A.? Tacos from local trucks! Love it.

At the end of the session, there was a surprise. We were all getting a copy of his new book, New American Table. So freaking awesome! I felt like one of those middle aged women in the Oprah audience that look like their heads are going to explode over a free cashmere sweater. I got it signed and took a picture with him, too. I was one happy camper!

I've already got a few recipes I MUST try
Yes!!
A celebrity to any foodie!