cooking

corn chowder + scallops + bacon

Hello, again.

I haven’t touch this blog in nearly 4 years. I made the decision to stop blogging then due to personal reasons, but I feel like bringing it back from the dead. My camera and writing skills are non-existent right now, and to be honest, I haven’t used my dslr in years either. Ever since I got an iPhone and Instagram came out, I used those two for everything including food, personal pictures, and vacations. Having an iPhone made things and LIFE easier. But, it also made me lazy.

I cook a lot more than I used to. Just never anything different and exciting. About 2-3 years ago, I joined a gym and became addicted to a healthy lifestyle, which included clean eating. I started cooking simple and less appealing dishes that were made out of only less than five ingredients. I watched everything I ate and got really skinny. I was never overweight, but I wasn’t happy with my body. Today, I’m still concerned with eating well and exercising consistently, but I’ve learned to balance being disciplined and treating myself.

I want to improve my culinary skills, learn different techniques, and try cooking things I’ve never tried before. I want to make a seven layer rainbow cake from scratch. An authentic Sichuan dish. Bolognese sauce. Different hors d’oeuvres for parties. Paleo dishes that aren’t boring and typical. And so on.

The other day I made corn chowder with scallops and bacon using a recipe I found from Food & Wine. Cooking scallops is something I’ve always wanted to do, but I put it off for so long because 1) scallops are expensive and 2) I was scared I was going to wreck them and waste all that money I spent. I went to three grocery stores to find scallops that were a reasonable size. Whole Foods has U/15  scallops for $22.99 a pound. Fun fact: the number means how many units of scallops it would take to reach a pound. A U/10 scallop is much larger than a U/20 scallop. Typical grocery stores like Farm Fresh and Harris Teeter carry U/20 or U/30 scallops for about $13 a pound. These are tiny bay scallops and are not like the scallops that you would get at a restaurant.

I learned that prepping scallops is soooo much like making the perfect pan fried steak. Both have to be very dry before you season them with freshly grind sea salt and black peppercorns. Do NOT use table salt and pepper. So, so wrong. After your pan is super hot with olive oil and melted butter, sear each size for about a minute or a minute and a half until it’s golden brown.

See recipe here.

And here’s the final product!

strawberry & angel cake trifle

This is a dessert that I made on my own for the very first time for a friend’s bbq. My mom normally makes this every summer, so I never saw a reason to whip this dish up myself. I’m used to eating really heavy, sweet, and rich desserts, but this was a big change for me. This is a great way for me to get my serving of fresh fruits (cause I rarely eat them).

My mom doesn’t uses exact measurements while cooking, so bare with me…

  • 2 packages of vanilla pudding (each package has 6 individual cups. not the powder pudding mix!)
  • 1 13oz container of sour cream
  • 1 large container of frozen whipped cream
  • 2 pints (or packages) of fresh strawberries, stems cut and sliced
  • 1 pint (or package) of fresh blueberries
  • 1 box of angel food cake mix

Don’t forget to properly wash your fruits! Start off by preparing the angel food cake using the directions on the back of the box, or if you’d rather make it from scratch, but I can’t help you there. In a mixing bowl, thoroughly mix the pudding and sour cream together. Once your cake is finished, dice it into small squares so that it can easily absorb the cream mixture.

1st layer — whip cream

2nd layer — evenly spread angel food cake squares

3rd layer — evenly spread sliced/diced strawberries and blueberries

4th layer – top with the pudding & sour cream mixture

…and repeat!

It shouldn’t be that hard, just eyeball everything as you go and make it work according to your needs and taste buds! It will look more uniform on the outside as you get higher.

shrimp & chorizo tapas

I made this dish a few days ago. Even though it’s meant to be served as tapas, I made enough to make it as a dinner entrée for myself. The recipe is from Emeril Lagasse, which of course will be fatty and spicy! I can’t resist…

Based on reviews and what I had in my pantry, I made some changes in parentheses. I would suggest using Spanish chorizo if you can find it. I had Mexican chorizo and it wasn’t as spicy as I would like, but it’s all about preference.

Ingredients:

Directions:

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and sauté the sliced chorizo until it begins to brown around the edges, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are caramelized around the edges and softened somewhat, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add 1/4 cup of the sherry and cook for 1 minute. Add the shrimp, paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until pink and cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of sherry and 1/4 cup olive oil, lemon juice, parsley and remainder of the salt and pepper; stir to combine and remove from the heat. Serve immediately, on small plates with any accumulated cooking juices spooned over the top.

what i ate this weekend…

watched my mom make ginataan…

feasted some more…

pizza w/mozzarella & ricotta cheese, roasted garlic, and spinach

March is full of birthdays, so I celebrated all weekend at a bunch of food-filled parties. It was good for my wallet too, I didn’t dine out at all 🙂 I also made white spinach pizza with a recipe from Emeril Lagasse. If you want to make this pizza the link is here. The best part of this recipe is the roasted garlic. Roasting garlic definitely a new cooking technique that I’ve tried; the skin comes off so easily and there’s no chopping involved.

Tip:

The recipe suggests making your own dough but that takes time, preparation, and even practice. Save yourself the hassle and buy ready-made dough. I found prepackaged pizza dough at Trader Joe’s for only $0.99 and it worked great!

greek night

toga party!

baklava for dessert. moussaka for the main!

“see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”…but we’re not in order

Every month my girls and I like to throw little theme parties based on different cultures. Greek was this month’s theme, so we went all out and made a few Greek dishes and even our own little togas! To make it even more festive, the girls put on “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”. Instead of plain white togas, we opted for darker colors and we all kind of match, don’tcha think? After a while we got really cold and changed after we ate. I felt sooo bare.

I made baklava for the first time and used a popular recipe (5 stars with 800+ reviews) from AllRecipes.com. Click for more.

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