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Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Last night I went to Hardena/Waroeng Surabaya. I might be off the spaghettio's but Indonesian food is definitely out of my comfort zone, but I was pretty excited to try it out. I calmed my anxiety by checking out the online menu, figuring out what foods are. I have found that at least in this Indonesian place, coconut and tofu are in almost anything on the menu. I seen a few reviews saying there was a "pick 3 for $7" deal so I decided to figure out ahead of time what I wanted. I found a list of the 50 most delicious foods and randang was on it, so I knew I was giving that a shot. I also found a soup, soto ayum and a salad gado gado. I wrote them down, picked up my cousin and boyfriend and headed down.

The restaurant wasn't hard to find. It isn't flashy, a bright door but a not too noticeable sign on a side street off of Broad. The restaurant was cute, small and felt almost like I was invited to dinner at someone special's house. When we came in two girls around our age were sitting at the main large table and offered to move down and share with us. We sat, then realized we were supposed to go up school lunch style and pick things and then be seated. I pulled out my list and prepared for my turn. When the people in front of me finished the man who stood in front of the hot dishes asked, for here or to go, and I said for here. He grabbed a plate, turned to a big rice maker and started pouring on rice. My cousin whispers to me, "What is he doing?" and I whisper back "I don't know, maybe he serves one generic meal for strange american customers who show up in his restaurant, just go with it." He turns back around and faces the foods with a plate of white rice and says
"What would you like?" I ask if it is the infamous pick three I heard of. (I do not use the word infamous haha). He says yes. I say I want to start with rendang. He says rendang back to me, reassuring me that I pronounced it correctly. I see some green beans in tofu and I know that I want them more than the stuff on my list, so I ask for those. Then I say soto ayum, and he says, that comes in a bowl and is seperate from the pick 3. I say ok, and knowing that it is a soup, and the other thing on my list gado gado is a salad I assume it's not in the pick three either so I look at the dishes in front of me and since almost everyone comes with tofu I opt for a mixed vegetable. Brenda goes with the rendang also and chooses a side of squid, and Andrew had the curry chicken. We also shared a glass of Es Teler. Which was a sweet coconut milk flavored drink with floating fruit in it. We ended up having an awesome time. The women at our table were from Singapore and told us that most of this food was traditional in their country, and they recommended the Crysanthanum tea. Which I found very refreshing. They also recommended to ask for a side of chili (paste?) and to mix it in the rice. I really enjoyed it. It had a strong heat to it but a light flavor and made the meal. They helped us figure out the different  fruits in our drink with some taste testing. Lychee, and the other I can't remember. It also had shaved coconut in it and looked very tropical. Would have been great with some rum! When Brenda bit the squid ink exploded in her mouth, I am not sure if that is normal but it was hilarious to us.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Future of My Food

I am excited to say that cooking will just be one of many hobbies that come out of this new gastronome lifestyle. Next up: canning, gardening, and trying new restaurants. I am happy to say I have dinner plans for next week at S&H Kebab House and I have a list of places I want to try that will follow. It is scary and exciting to step outside of my comfort zone. The food I have been cooking is normal food, that everyone eats all of the time. I have come so far from spaghettios already, but say, garlic spinach the other night was new to me, but eating foods I have never even heard of will be a challenge. I look forward to informing you all of the experiences and I am excited and open to what I have in store for me. I can't wait to see the restaurants, experience the atmosphere and to try the foods. I am going to try and do menu research before going so I know what went into the preparation and what exactly I am eating! Wish me luck!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Forgiving myself for the time lapse

I commend the faithful blogger. It is a difficult task to commit yourself fully to writing on the same subject, day in and day out especially in the beginning when you don't know how faithful your readers are! I have been roadblocked by my own mind. Filled with the pressures of staying on topic and to follow the exact format I have taken the fun out of blogging, and left huge dents in my writing schedule. I have been cooking everyday, taking pictures of my meals, I haven't been recording as faithfully my use of ingredients and quite often don't measure by teaspoon but more by estimates. So it has been difficult getting all of my experimental meals recorded on here! I waited weeks and thought it would just all come back to me in the pictures, but I trusted my memory more than it deserved to be.
Anyway, let me give you a list of helpful things I have been doing to keep cooking fresh and keeping my life involved with my new journey.
- I read Gabrielle Hamilton's Blood Bones and Butter. Which I found very inspiring. A woman who speaks of food the way that I have come to understand and appreciate it. She took her dream of starting a restaurant with little to no experience, skipped on the middle steps, and just made it happen- but she also was raised in a home with quite a lot of food appreciation that helped her aesthetic.
- I am currently working my way through "How to be a better Foodie" and looking up everything on the internet as I go to see what it is I am reading.
- I am currently listening to the audiobook by Anthony Bourdain "Medium Raw" and I am very pleased with it. He describes in his opening paragraphs his experience with the sacred eating of ortolan bunting. I found this very fascinating especially because they eat the bird whole including bones and beak, its illegal and they hide their heads whilst they enjoy this forbidden delicacy.
-I picked up Culinaria France, Italy and Germany and am studying the origins of food in my free time, why they ate what they did, where it came from, what the premier dishes in each region are which is exceptionally interesting to me when I found the actual villages of my ancestors.
- I have been going to my weekly worship celebration at my super market, picking up new varieties of fruits and cheeses, making my way through the spices, and most excitingly writing up shopping lists based on recipes I find online and trying to change them based on my specific taste.
- I have tried a few new foods. I have attempted a few new methods of cooking, and I have been experiencing extreme lust for everything that is kitchen appliance/utensil.
- I have been graciously lent the mother of all invention- the Kitchenaid Mixer. And made my own ice cream, water ice, pies, pretzels, pop tarts.. etc. from its many attachments!
So I didn't die people. I have just been anxiously awaiting the right thing to write and I just thought I would give you an update. :)
Now, I must get back to my reading.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sausage Pizza Bread

This pizza bread is awesome! Make sure you cut it evenly, or you will have one thin crust, one thick crust! I am a thin crust kind of girl but I found the thicker the bread the better so that it can hold up a thick meat sauce and a substantial amount of cheese. 

For Meat Sauce: 
3 tomatoes chopped 

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 onion

tablespoon of basil
tablespoon of red pepper flakes
tablespoon of parsley
tablespoon of oregano
tablespoon of peppercorn
tablespoon of salt
2 tablespoons of chopped garlic
table spoon of garlic powder
1 can of crushed tomatoes

To prepare Meat Sauce:
Set pan to medium heat, add oil.
chop onion and fry until translucent.
add fresh chopped tomatoes
add one can of crushed tomatoes
add all spices, stir.
bring to boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer.
For Bread:
Italian Bread
2 tablespoons of margarine
3 tablespoons of chopped garlic
Your choice of cheese. (I bought a pack of mixed shredded Italian cheeses, a bag of shredded mozzarella and and mixed the two together. )
Cut bread evenly.
butter bread with even butter and garlic.
Place on baking sheet open.
Add meat sauce.
Top with cheeses. 
For Sausage:
Buy Hot Italian Sausage.

Put a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a pan on medium heat.
Add hot sausage. Cover
Cook until bottom is golden brown and flip over.
Continue to cook until middle is no longer pink.
slice sausage and put on top of pizza.
place in the oven on 350 until cheese is melted and bread begins to get crunchy! Enjoy! 

Chili Pork Chops and Cheesy Potato Wedges

This was great! The potato wedges are addictive! I have made them a few times since. I doubled the recipe for extra sauce and people used it to dip the potato wedges. 

  • For the Meat:

  • 1/2 cup chopped onion

    tablespoons olive oil

    2 -3 tablespoons of chopped garlic

    tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

    1/2 cup water

    3/4 cup ketchup

    teaspoon chili powder

    5 -6 pork chops 

    salt and pepper

    1 Cook onions in oil until lightly brown.

    2 Add garlic, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, water, ketchup and salt and pepper.

    3 Cover and simmer the sauce for 10 minutes.

    4 Arrange pork chops in crock pot, pour sauce over the chops.

    5 Cover and cook on LOW HEAT for 6-7 hours.

  • For the Wedges: 

    large potatoes

    1/4 cup cooking oil

    tablespoon parmesan cheese

    teaspoon salt

    tablespoon paprika

    1/2 teaspoon pepper

    1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

    1/2 cup of fresh mozzarella
    1 Wash potatoes, cut into wedges.

    2 Place potatoes skin down in a baking dish. 
    3 Mix the ingredients together (except mozzarella) brush onto potatoes
    4. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes
    5 Add Mozzarella. cook for 15 more minutes.

  • Japanese Chicken

     Hello everyone! I have been gone a while but I have been taking pictures and writing down what I have been eating so I will update shortly! This chicken was amazing. It tasted very much like something I had at Hibachi's. The rice was just Knorr Rice.  I got the recipe on and tweaked it a tiny bit. 
  • chicken drumsticks, skin on

  • cup water

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar

  • 2 tablespoons of chili powder

  • 2 tablespoons Chopped Garlic

  • 1 tablespoon Red Pepper flakes

  • 1 Serrano pepper

  • 1.Place all the ingredients in a saucepan over a high heat.

  • 2 Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 20 minutes.

  • 3 Remove any scum that rises to the surface.

  • 4 Increase the heat, turning the drumsticks frequently in the liquid, and cook until the liquid has reduced to a sticky glaze.

  • 5 Arrange the chicken on a serving platter, remove the chili from the liquid, and spoon the glaze over.

  • Sunday, July 3, 2011

    Chicken Quesadillas

    2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
    2 tablespoons of chipolte salsa
    1 packet of taco powder
    Taco cheese
    A bunch of fresh cilantro
    1/2 onion
    1 can of fresh chiles
    1 can of diced tomatoes
    chili powder
    garlic salt
    sea salt
    sour cream
    extra virgin olive oil

    Pour a little extra virgin olive oil into a pan, slice up the onion, let it simmer until onions are translucent. Take one of the chicken breasts and slice it so that you have two very thin chicken breasts. Do the same with the other. Then dice those peices so that you can spread a thin even amount of chicken across the inside of each quesadilla. Add the tomatoes and chiles into the pan with the onions. simmer for 15 minutes.
    Add chicken. add a 1/4 cup of water. stir.
    Sprinkle on generous amounts of chili powder, garlic salt, sea salt, and peppercorn. stirring it in. Then add taco powder. cut up fresh cilantro and add to the pan.
    If you have a George Foreman Grille follow the next few steps, if not you can do everything the same just in a separate pan.
    Use a brush to rub butter on one side of a tortilla. On the opposite side put a table spoon of chipolte salsa and spread it all over the tortilla. Get a spoon that strains (has holes in it) and grab a spoonful of the chicken mixture from the stove and place on HALF of the tortilla, leaving the other half free. on top of the mixture add a generous amount of taco cheese. Then fold the tortilla in half and put in the George Foreman grille for a few minutes until cheese is melted. Then transfer to pan. (If you do not have a George Foreman Grille, just do all of it in the pan). flip in pan and leave uncovered. Wait until quesadilla is crispy or to your liking and serve with a garnish of fresh cilantro and a side of sour cream for dipping!