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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Blackberry Cobbler

A sugar cookie blackberry cobbler because I was too lazy to make a regular cobbler when taking new pictures for this post.

Blackberry Cobbler 1

After a dinner of Mom's Banh Xeo (Vietnamese Sizzling Crepes), I brought the blackberries I had picked earlier that day to my cousin's house to make blackberry cobbler for my nephews. They don't even like cobbler they've said, but they love mine.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Mom's Banh Xeo (Vietnamese Sizzling Crepes)

After a full day of museum hopping, it was time to head home. When I visit my parents, I make sure to save dinner for dining with them.

After all, why would I want to miss out on mom's banh xeo (Vietnamese sizzling crepes)? We like to eat our banh xeo with Mam Nem (Vietnamese Fermented Anchovy Sauce).

Another recipe I'm not willing to share.

Day 3.6 Mom's Banh Xeo (Vietnamese Sizzling Crepes) 1

No packaged mixes. My mom makes her own batter from a combination of flours and a secret ingredient that keeps them crunchy. Central-style. So no turmeric or coconut milk in the batter. Smaller too so they're crispy all throughout, not like those wok-sized Saigon banh xeo.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Museum of the Oregon Territory - Oregon City

Day 3.5 Museum of the Oregon Territory - Oregon City 1

By the time I finished touring the Stevens-Crawford Heritage House and made my way back down the hill, I literally had 15 minutes at the Museum of the Oregon Territory before it closed.

The museum wasn't that big so as long as I didn't linger, I had enough time. A Southern couple, whom I saw earlier that day at the End of Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, powered through the museum too. I heard the wife say they should split up reading opposite placards and then share information at the end. Such dedication!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Stevens-Crawford Heritage House - Oregon City

After visiting The End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, I turned around and went back up the hill to the Stevens-Crawford Heritage House.

Day 3.4 Stevens-Crawford Heritage House - Oregon City 1

When I walked through the door, the docents seemed to perk up at actually having a visitor. Aww. One of them led me through a room-by-room tour and filled me in on the house's history.

The house was completed in 1908 and was the home of Muriel "Mertie" Stevens, whose maternal grandfather, Medorem Crawford, led a wagon train along the Oregon Trail in 1842 and was a prominent pioneer politician.

Mertie was born in 1872. She was a sickly child and told not to marry because she wouldn't live for very long. Mertie died in 1968 at the age of 96. How ironically sad. :(

She willed the house to the Clackamas County Historical Society and set up a scholarship fund for Clackamas County high school students in her and her dad's name.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center - Oregon City

Day 3.3 End of Oregon Trail Interpretive Center - Oregon City 1

The End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center was built to resemble a wagon train. Long ago, there actually was a gigantic awning over the museum. Not sure why, probably budgetary reasons, but it was removed and just the metal braces have been left.

You can still tell that the museum was intended to look like a wagon train though.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Vista Point - Oregon City

Since it got too dark by the time lil' sis and I drove past the vista point overlooking Oregon City, I decided after my walk through the woods to go back and take pictures during the day time.

Day 3.2 Vista Point - Oregon City 1

The only problem was that in Oregon, trees supersede views. There's no way they would chop down mighty Douglas firs and oak trees just for a vista point off the side of the freeway.

Day 3.2 Vista Point - Oregon City 2

That's as much of the falls as I could see.

Day 3.2 Vista Point - Oregon City 3

When I was little, after a long, long drive from L.A., passing by the vista point and seeing Willamette Falls and the Oregon City Municipal Elevator was always a sign that home was only minutes away.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I Think I'll Go For a Walk Outside Now...

Day 3.1 I Think I'll Go For a Walk Outside Now 1

I think I'll go for a walk outside now
The summer sun's callin' my name
(I hear ya now)
I just can't stay inside all day
I gotta get out, get me some of those raaays
Everybody's smilin'
Sunshine day!
Everybody's laughin'
Sunshine day!
Everybody seems so happy today
It's a sunshine day

Every time I opened the folder to edit the photos for this post, the Brady Bunch's "Sunshine Day," kept replaying in my head.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Seared Tuna with Hoisin Soy Sauce Glaze

Seared Tuna with Hoisin Soy Sauce Glaze 1

After making the Seared Salmon with White Wine, Miso, and Soy Sauce Glaze, I wanted something similar but different. Since hoisin sauce actually means seafood sauce in Chinese, it seemed a natural pairing. Plus, its thick consistency meant it would remain on the fish, saving me from having to let it marinate for a while before cooking.

Easy peasy. Quick and easy. To cook and to blog. :)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Seared Salmon with White Wine, Miso, and Soy Sauce Glaze

When I made the Green Tea Soba (Japanese Buckwheat Noodles) with Almond Butter, I tried to think of something that would pair well with Japanese noodles. Remembering my Misoyaki Salmon recipe, I thought I'd do something similar but substitute with the white wine I was already using in the noodles. I also didn't want to spend days or even hours marinating my fish, so a thick paste and pan-frying seared in the flavors.

Seared Salmon with White Wine, Miso, and Soy Sauce Glaze

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Green Tea Soba (Japanese Buckwheat Noodles) with Almond Butter

Green Tea Soba Noodles with Almond Butter 1

I know Jayne Ann Krentz's stories can be a bit formulaic. They're almost always set in either Washington or Oregon. There's usually a plucky and earnest heroine. And a slightly quirky, intelligent, and controlled hero. Controlled in the sense that they sometimes do martial arts, or aren't very emotional, or are tech nerds. Not that there's anything wrong with that because I've read and enjoyed almost all of her books. Even when she writes as Amanda Quick. Well, except I just can't get into her recent books because they seem to have lost some of the romance and focused more on the paranormal mystery. I'm getting tired of the paranormal trend in romance, quite frankly.

I can't recall which book of hers featured a vegetarian martial arts tech nerd in the Pacific Northwest. Ha! Try all of them. :P But I did remember he cooked up a mean green tea soba noodle dish with peanut butter and scallions. Well, that's what I remember anyway. Since I couldn't remember which book it was in, I couldn't double-check for sure. Nonetheless, the idea of the dish stayed with me.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Hakatamon - Beaverton - Oregon

Usually when I'm home, I make it a point to save dinnertime for my parents. The only exception, of course, is other family.

Since that evening was the only time cousin T was free, lil' sis and I drove over the river and around the mountains (there's always a mountain in Portland) to the other side of town. If it takes longer than 15 minutes to get to somewhere, by PDX standards, that's "really far."

Day 2.3 HakataMon - Beaverton - Oregon 1

She took us to Hakatamon, a Japanese restaurant next to Uwajimaya. Don't let the fact that it's connected to a supermarket dissuade you. Cousin T said her husband said Hakatamon has really excellent udon.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Burgerville - Portland - Oregon

Now, while I do love In-N-Out's hidden menu, Oregon and Washingon's Burgerville has it beat by using seasonal Pacific Northwest ingredients like Walla Walla onions and Marionberries. (Marionberries are a type of blackberry that were invented in Marion County, Oregon. Walla Walla onions, obviously, come from Walla Walla, Washington. They're super-sweet and can't be grown anywhere else.)

The non-seasonal ingredients are from local sustainable business partners. The coffee is fair trade, the bread is made in town, the eggs are cage-free, the cooking oil is recycled into biofuel, and kitchen scraps are composted.

Yes, you can eat "fast food" that's tasty and still responsible.

Day 2.2 Burgerville - Portland - Oregon 1

Burgerville began in 1961 and now has 39 locations throughout Oregon and Washington.

For our first lunch back in town, lil' sis and I decided to see if there were still any Walla Walla onion rings and Marionberry shakes still available. Since Burgerville uses seasonal ingredients, once they're gone, we have to wait until next year. Luckily, we were in town during the last week both ingredients were still in stock.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Su Su Xao Tom (Vietnamese Chayote Sauteed with Shrimp)

Chayote on the vine naturally requires a chayote recipe. This one's pretty quick and easy. The natural sweetness of shrimp pairs well with the crispness and sweetness of chayote squash.

Su Su Xao Tom (Vietnamese Chayote Sauteed with Shrimp) 1

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Mom and Dad's Garden

*Big gulp of fresh air.*

Ah! It's good to be home! Oxygen? My smog-filled lungs aren't used to that!

Day 2 Mom's and Dad's Garden 1

When my parents moved into this neighborhood, there were only five houses on our street. This whole back area used to be filled with trees. It's being developed much faster than I'd like and I rarely see deer, rabbits, or partridges as often as I used to. :(

It's still a work in progress, but do you want to see my parents' garden? This is the view straight down from "my" bedroom window. Yup, I still have a room reserved just for me. :)

Day 2 Mom's and Dad's Garden 2

Saturday, February 14, 2009

I-5 From LA to Portland

I-5 LA to Portland 1

Happy Birthday Oregon! My home state turned 150 years old this year!

Last September, lil' sis and I loaded up her car with pomegranates, dragon fruits, loofahs, freshly picked chili peppers, a couple of jars of Tuong Ot Xa (Vietnamese Lemongrass Chili Sauce), and a few chickens. My youngest aunt sent up a whole jackfruit. It was wonderfully sweet. Youngest aunt really knows how to select the right jackfruit says my momma.

Almost all of my extended family eventually moved down to Southern California and only my dad and second-youngest aunt stayed in Oregon. So when my brother and I were little (waaay before lil' sis was born), my dad used to send us down almost every summer. Sometimes it was by plane, but most of the time we drove. It's funny how years later when I see these mountains, I'm always reminded of those trips.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Not that I think anyone really needs a recipe for spaghetti and meatballs. Or maybe you do?

Someone searched repeatedly on the blog for it. I can only assume you want my version?

Very well then.

Spaghetti and Meatballs 1

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Roasted Cauliflower with Bacon and Balsamic Vinegar

No story here. I just like cauliflower.

Roasted Cauliflower with Bacon and Balsamic Vinegar 1

And bacon to go with it when roasted.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Cowgirl Chocolates

Shortly before Christmas, I had the opportunity to try a free sample of Cowgirl Chocolates from my advertiser, Foodbuzz. I signed up and then promptly forgot about it. So it was a very pleasant surprise when I got a package in the mail.

Inside the box was this.

Cowgirl Chocolates 1

And after unwrapping, I got this.

Cowgirl Chocolates 2

And inside that, was this.

Cowgirl Chocolates 3

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Pasta Carbonara

Pasta Carbonara 1

Pasta carbonara is one of lil' sis's favorite noodles.


She can't resist reaching for a bite before I've even finished taking photos.

Pasta Carbonara 2

We like this dish because it only uses a few ingredients and I almost always have them on hand. Ordinarily, it's made with spaghetti noodles, but I prefer the lighter taste of angel hair. I've even used penne and bowties and basically any pasta I have available. Same goes for bacon, prosciutto (If I really want to get fancy.), or even thinly sliced ham. Add two eggs, a couple tablespoons of Parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper to taste and we're good.

I've added some thinly sliced collard greens, spinach, parsley, or cilantro all with good results. Quick and easy.

Not that you really need a recipe for pasta carbonara, but lil' sis frequently checks the blog for directions.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Iceberg Rose

I can always count on Iceberg to bloom when other roses are dormant.

2.9 Iceberg Rose 1

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Roses from Nikki Polani

I've envied Nikki Polani's gorgeous rose garden for years. When she recently decided to get rid of some of her roses, I eagerly volunteered to take a few off her hands. I expected two, I came away with five large rose bushes.

2.8 Roses from Nikki Polani 1

Lucky me! She even gave me the pot the miniature rose was in. I stopped off at IKEA on the way home to buy pots for the other rose bushes. My gardening has been pretty minimal since I moved almost two years ago. It took me a while to dig up my roses and other flowers, but they're finally all potted now. I gave all of the roses a deep pruning.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Nectarine Blossoms

The actual nectarine fruit isn't anything to blog about, but the blossoms are so very gorgeous. When the Lunar New Year comes in January, like it did this year, I always feel out of sorts. The holiday should coincide with the weather -- when plum and nectarine trees are in bloom.

2.7 Nectarine Blossoms 1

Friday, February 06, 2009

Mexican Mole Coloradito

Before the Chicken Enchiladas with Nutella Mole Poblano that I made for World Nutella Day, I was actually experimenting with mole sauces in general.

Mexican Mole Coloradito 1

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Chicken Enchiladas with Nutella Mole Poblano

Chicken Enchiladas with Nutella Mole Poblano 1

It's World Nutella Day!

I wracked my brain trying to come up with something clever for this year's recipe. Did I want to do something sweet? Perhaps something savory? How best to showcase my love for the Italian chocolate-hazelnut spread?

At a loss, I resigned myself to sitting this year out. So I busied myself making my basic lemon, salt and pepper baked chicken. Then as I stripped the leftover chicken from the bones, I figured I'd save some of the shredded chicken for enchiladas. Instead of ordinary enchiladas, how 'bout I try my hand at making Mexican mole?


And instead of mole with Mexican chocolate, I could use Nutella!

I decided to make mole poblano since that's the version I've eaten the most. According to Wikipedia, mole poblano comes from the Mexican state of Puebla and is made with chili peppers, ground nuts, spices, chocolate, salt, onions, and garlic. A little Googling turned up David Lebovitz's Chocolate Mole Recipe, which was comprised of ingredients I already had in my pantry. A little tweaking here and there, and surprisingly, except for being a little sweeter than some moles I've eaten, the smooth hazelnut-chocolate taste of Nutella blended in quite nicely with the almonds, chili peppers, and spices in the sauce.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Bon Marche Bistro/B Village Cuisine (Dim Sum) - Monterey Park (Closed)

I had written before about Bon Marche Bistro/B Village Cuisine's regular menu, but there was also a short dim sum menu. So yes, these days, you can get dim sum in so many different ways -- without pushcarts, through a take-out window, and in non-dim sum restaurants.

Bon Marche Bistro B Village Cuisine - Monterey Park 2

Most of the dim sum dishes cost between $2.90 to $4.90. They are part of the regular menu, but I wanted to keep the dim sum items on a separate post.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Dim Sum Express - Monterey Park

Dim Sum Express - Monterey Park 1

Back in fall 2007, when lil' sis abandoned me, without someone around that I had to feed or a readily available dining companion, I got lazy. Sometimes it seemed like too much effort to go out to eat or to cook for one.

Was this how bachelors felt?

Even something as simple as dim sum would require making plans with someone. Sometimes, a girl just wants a dumpling or two. Long before I realized that several of the big dim sum restaurants had take-out dim sum available for cheap, my family used to go to Dim Sum Express in Monterey Park.

A decade ago, Dim Sum Express was a cheap, cheap option for a quick snack. My cousins and I would sometimes go and just order the cheapest item - 4 potstickers for $1. This was obviously before I discovered dumpling restaurants too. Sure they rather resembled the frozen kind I can buy at the grocery stores, but they were freshly pan-fried and cheap.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Full House Seafood Restaurant (Dim Sum) - Arcadia

Back in March 2008, lil' sis, her best friend, her other friend, and I, ate at Full House Seafood Restaurant in Arcadia. They eat here pretty regularly. I was just tagging along.

Full House Seafood Restaurant (Dim Sum) - Arcadia 1

Pushcart-style dim sum.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Lunasia Chinese Cuisine (Dim Sum) - Alhambra

I was dismayed when I saw Triumphal Palace Chinese Cuisine close down. But after a few weeks, the sign for Lunasia Chinese Cuisine went up. Same as it ever was, or better?

Lunasia Chinese Cuisine (Dim Sum) - Alhambra 1