Friday, February 26, 2010

Taste: Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Stuffing anything and covering it with cheese is not only easy but it's always GOOD. After going to the Grand Central Market in Downtown LA, which by the way is a must for any Foodzie out there, we found ourselves some fresh, big poblano peppers perfect for stuffing. You can really let your imagination go wild with stuffing ingredients, but we stuck to what we already had in the pantry and fridge: some rice, beans, cheese and onions. Covering the poblanos with cheese and topping it with the homemade roasted red pepper sauce was awesome.

FYI, this recipe was taken from Jenny's blog, Butter My Jammy, and since she wrote it up I will give her all the credit. As for the Roasted Red Pepper Sauce, you will find the recipe for that below. Enjoy!

Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Prep Time: 10 mins.
Cook Time: 20 mins.
Serves: 3

*Excerpted from J. Ahn (

4 large poblano peppers
1/4 lb. cooked chicken, chopped (seasoned with salt & pepper, cumin and chili powder)
1 can of black beans, rinsed
1/2 an onion, diced
few cloves of garlic, minced
cilantro, chopped
Mexican blend cheese (cojita if you've got some)
extra virgin olive oil
fresh lime juice


1) heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine EVOO, beans and garlic in a pot and begin to cook down on low heat. The beans should start to cook down a bit getting soft, feel free to mash it up a bit with a fork. Add in chicken, onions and cilantro and heat through for a few more minutes. Set aside
2) To prepare the peppers for stuffing, cut a cross down the belly of the pepper. Empty out seeds with your hands and give the peppers a rinse. Keep the stems on for presentation :)
3) Stuff the peppers with a small spoon with the bean/chicken mixture. Place in a casserole dish or on a cookie sheet lined with foil and bake for about 40 minutes. During the last 5-10 minutes of baking, top peppers with cheese.

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

3 red peppers
1/2 white onion, diced
1 jalapeno
2 tbsp honey
salt and pepper
olive oil

Roast the red peppers and jalapeno until the outside is charred. Place in a plastic bag, seal and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Once cooled, peel the outside of the red peppers, cut in half and remove the seeds. Place the roasted red peppers, jalapeno, diced onion into the food processor and blend. While blending, add the honey, and olive oil to emulsify. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon the sauce over the poblanos and serve with Mexican rice. Enjoy with a glass of Spanish Rioja or, you guessed it, a glass of Guinness!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Taste: NY Strip Steak with Red Pepper Sauce and Mustard Greens

Ever since I got my food processor, I've been wanting to make sauces. This may be the only reason why I bought the food processor to begin with. Actually, no it's not. Anyways, I recently saw Bobby Flay make a red pepper sauce on one of his shows, so, I thought why not pair a spicy, red pepper sauce with a good steak as an alternative to the typical steak sauce and horseradish blend. I've also been a big advocate these days of keeping things simple when it comes to meat, so rather than doing my typical garlic crusted steak with steak seasoning, I went with liberal amounts of salt and pepper. Lastly, instead of grilling the steaks, I went with a less healthier, but certainly tastier cooking method - the good old cast iron skillet with some butter.

NY Strip Steak with Red Pepper Sauce and Mustard Greens

Prep Time: 10 mins.
Cook Time: 20 mins.
Serves: 3

3, 1/2 lb. NY Strip Steak
1/2 lb. mustard greens
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp garlic, minced
2 tbsp shallot, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Bring the steaks to room temperature. Brush the steaks with the olive oil and season generously with salt and fresh cracked pepper. Heat the cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, place the steaks on the cast iron skillet. You definitely want to hear that roaring sizzle the second you place the steaks on the skillet. Cook for 4-5 minutes until blackened and then turn over and cook for another 4-5 minutes.

For the mustard greens, wash thoroughly and trim the ends. Heat a skillet and add 2 tbsp of olive oil. Once hot, add the shallots and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the mustard greens and saute until cooked down. Season with salt and pepper.

For the last minute before the steaks are done, add the butter. While cooking, baste the steaks with the melted butter. When the steaks are done, let rest for 5 minutes.

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

3 red peppers
1/2 white onion, diced
1 jalapeno
2 tbsp honey
salt and pepper
olive oil

Roast the red peppers and jalapeno until the outside is charred. Place in a plastic bag, seal and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Once cooled, peel the outside of the red peppers, cut in half and remove the seeds. Place the roasted red peppers, jalapeno, diced onion into the food processor and blend. While blending, add the honey, and olive oil to emulsify. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon the sauce onto the plate and place the steaks on top. Enjoy with a glass of red wine or Guinness!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Taste: Homemade Cornmeal Pizzas 2 Ways: Bacon, Leeks & Goat Cheese and Roasted Tomatoes, Asparagus & Mushroom

Who doesn't love a good pizza party? I stumbled upon making homemade pizzas a healthy way by using cornmeal pizza crust quite sometime ago, but more recently, I've come to realize what makes a fantastic pizza are the toppings and sauce. You can get them at Whole Foods, but I haven't seen them elsewhere, which is a bit disappointing. Fortunately, Jenny's creative mind introduced me to a restaurant worthy pizza by adding sauteed bacon, leeks and roasted goat cheese with NO SAUCE. I know. Crazy. But let me tell you; try this recipe and you'll go sans sauce the next time you try to make a pizza. The other pizza made was a vegetarian pizza with roasted tomatoes, asparagus and mushrooms. Try this the next time it's movie night and your bound to enjoy your movie a little more and have some great sleep. :)

Cornmeal Pizzas with Bacon, Leeks and Goat Cheese

Prep Time: 15 Mins.
Cook Time: 25 mins.
Serves: 4@

4 strips thick cut bacon
1 bunch leeks, cleaned
4 tbsp goat cheese
2 tbsp fresh mozzarella cheese
1 cornmeal crust pizza
2 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Cornmeal Pizzas with Roasted Tomatoes, Asparagus and Mushrooms

Prep Time: 15 Mins.
Cook Time: 25 mins.
Serves: 2

3 Roma tomatoes
5 stalks asparagus
1/2 oz. baby Bella mushrooms, cleaned
2 tbsp fresh mozzarella cheese
1 cornmeal crust pizza
2 tbsp pizza sauce
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp fresh thyme
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. For the bacon, leek and goat cheese pizza, start by brushing the pizza crust with the olive oil. Saute the chopped bacon, and then set aside by draining on paper towels, being sure to leave the bacon fat. Saute the choppped leeks in the bacon fat, and once done, add the bacon back in. Spread the cooked bacon and leek mixture, top with the fresh mozzarella and goat cheese and crack some fresh black pepper on top.

For the roasted tomato, asparagus and mushroom pizza, start by boiling water and blanch the asparagus. After about 5 minutes, drain the asparagus and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Half the asparagus. Start sauteing the chopped mushrooms in olive oil and then add asparagus. Meanwhile, slice the Roma tomatoes. After 5 minutes of sauteing the mushrooms and asparagus, brush the cornmeal crust with the pizza sauce, add the mushroom and asparagus mixture, top with the slice Roma tomatoes, fresh thyme and mozzarella cheese.

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until the cheese is slightly browned and bubbling. Serve with a heavy red wine and start the party!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tinker: LA Gun Club

So my friend Pete's been dying to go to a shooting range for the past few months. Having grown up in the cuts of Western Pennsylvania, I shot my first gun at the age of 13, a 12-Gauge, so it's been a long time since holding a any kind of firearm. Yeah, I guess you can consider me an Asian-hick-American, but hey I take pride in my upbringing. Anyways, after a great lamb, double dip, french dip sandwich at Philippe's French Dip we decided to head to the LA Gun Club just a stone's throw away from Philippe's. By the way, this place seemingly had a ratio of 1:2 (guys to girls), at least. So the next time all you guys are trying mingle, forget the bars, coffee shops and bookstores...head to a shooting range.

Enjoy the show and, yes, laugh all you want. Say hello to the Raging Bull!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Taste: Potato and Parmesan Gnocchi with Bacon, Mushrooms and Peas

So I've always been a little intimidated when it comes to making homemade pastas and dough. I'd like to blame it on the fact that I never had a food processor, but then again, that's a really poor excuse because not all pastas and doughs require it! Through bargain hunting and a handy gift card, I was able to get a great Cuisinart 7-Cup Food Processor for about 70% off the retail price. Eager to try it out, I decided to take the leap and try to make homemade gnocchi. With the food processor, it was rather simple. Kneading the dough was fun and it's somewhat empowering, if that makes any sense. The great thing about gnocchi is that you can also freeze whatever you don't use for a later date which is great.

This meal is a really simple one and easy to make. You can certainly use the pre-made gnocchi from your local market if you don't want to invest the time; the meal will come out just as good (in half the time). Though I used bacon, you can take it to a healthier level by using turkey bacon, or even omitting the meat in all. Just be sure you add a few of your favorites spices to keep it delectable. Nonetheless, your first bite will result in a raging party in your mouth and you'll have a great gnocchi dish to make anytime for anyone - quickly.

Potato and Parmesan Gnocchi with Bacon, Mushrooms and Peas

Prep Time: 80 Mins.
Cook Time: 15 mins.
Serves: 2

2 lbs. russet potatoes
2 cups flour
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
2 cups frozen green peas, thawed
4 strips of thick cut bacon
1 cup chopped baby bella mushrooms

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Baked the potatoes for approximately 40 minutes under fork tender. Take out and let cool to where you can handle them. Once cooled, peel the potatoes and then grate the potatoes or put them through a ricer. In a food processor, add the grated potatoes and 1 egg, slightly beaten. Begin adding the flour to the mixture, pulsing to incorporate thoroughly. Continue adding the flour a little at a time until the dough can be easily handled without it sticking to your hands. Roll the dough into a ball and get your working surface ready for kneading by flouring it generously. Cut the dough into 6 little pieces and form them into balls. Next, start rolling one of the dough balls into a rope, about 1 inch in diameter. Cut the rope into 1 in pieces and then roll the cut end over with your finger, pressing down to seal the end. You'll then want to take a tines of the fork to put indentations in the gnocchi. Repeat until you make all the gnocchi.

If using store bought Gnocchi, start here!

Start to bring a pot of salted water to a boil. When the pot comes to a boil, add the gnocchi. You will know when the gnocchi is done because they will float to the top (this applies to store bought gnocchi.) In the meantime, heat a skillet on medium-high. Cut the bacon into small strips and start browning the bacon. Set aside on a plate, leaving the bacon fat. Using the same pan, saute the mushrooms and adding the bacon back once the mushrooms have cooked. By this point the gnocchi should be done, so simply drain and add the gnocchi right into the bacon and mushrooms, even adding some of the water used to boil the gnocchi. Doing this will help create a thick, tasty sauce. Once the gnocchi has slightly browned, add the peas at the end, give it a quick toss and serve immediately. I took some of the leftover Parmesan and gave it a few shavings on top because freshly grated cheese always makes everything taste better.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Taste: Classic Cheeseburger with Fried Egg

I got this really awesome coffee table book for Christmas called My Last Supper: 50 Great Chefs and Their Final Meals. As a foodie and one that appreciates great coffee table books, it was such a perfect and very thoughtful gift (thanks BMJ!). The book asks 50 of the some of the world's most renowned chefs 5 questions, such as what their last meal would be if there was no tomorrow and who would cook it. The latter part of the book contains a single recipe from each chef, one that they'd make for the last time, which I find myself reading through a few times a week because it's just so damn entertaining and inspiring.

One of my favorite chefs is Wylie Dufresne of wd~50 in New York City. In the book, he talks about keeping a burger simple, yet classic, by adding a fried egg. I've always wanted to try this and on a rainy, Friday evening with a 12 pack of Guinness in the fridge, I whipped out the cast iron skillet and recreated it. I'm a bit of a health nut, but moving forward, when I have a burger, there's certainly going to be cheese and a fried egg on top. Oh, and a glass of Guinness or two.

Classic Cheeseburger with Fried Egg on Brioche Bun

Prep Time: 5 Mins.
Cook Time: 8-10 mins.
Serves: 3

1 lb. ground chuck (85/15)
3 eggs
3 slices American cheese
salt and pepper
3 Brioche buns

Start by forming 3 burgers, loosely. Handling the meat as little as possible will keep the burgers tender. Season generously on both sides with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.

Heat the cast iron skillet on med-high. Once the skillet is hot, place the burgers in the skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes. Flip, place a slice of American cheese on top of each and cook for another 3-4 minutes for medium to medium-rare.

In the meantime, start frying the eggs, sunny-side up. Once the burgers are done, place on slightly toasted Brioche buns and top with the fried egg.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Listen: Two Door Cinema Club Preview

I've been listening to a promo album these days by the group Two Door Cinema Club. I first heard them on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic and ever since, I've been hooked. I was able to cop the promo album yesterday, and it's been on rotation in my car and at the office since. The album is due out in March sometime, I believe, and when it's released, I highly recommend it. Fortunately, people in Los Angeles drive 35 mph tops on the freeways when it rains, so I had the joy of hearing a few extra tracks in the car to start my day. What's up Mr. Weekend!

This is the Life by Two Door Cinema Club

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Taste: Come get your Greens on!

Sometimes, you have to put your manliness aside and get your greens on - and I mean as a meal. It's the cool thing to do, especially when you're eating alone and no one can witness you losing some of that hair on your chest (well, I'm Asian so I don't have much hair on my chest to begin with...). Since I feel like I've been eating some really good food the past week or two (and "really good food" to me usually means lots of meat or fried food), I felt like my body needed a good dose of vitamins. This is a quick meal that you can make anytime when you're lazy, on a health kick, or just want to eat like a high-class rabbit.

Spinach Salad with Roasted Pecans, Dried Cranberries and Goat Cheese

Prep Time: 15 Mins.
Serves: 1 to 2

1/2 bag of baby spinach
1/4 cup raw pecans
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 tbsp goat cheese
4 tbsp oil olive
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Start by roasting the pecans in the oven at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. While roasting the pecans, prepare the balsamic vinaigrette by combining the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. An easy way to make a vinaigrette rather than whisking is by putting the ingredients in a little jar, put the cap on and give it a shake. Season the dressing with salt and pepper.

Once the pecans are done, let them cool for 5 minutes. Pour the dressing into a large bowl and put in the spinach, cranberries and pecans. Toss to combine and coat with the dressing. Serve in a large bowl, top with crumbles of goat cheese and some fresh cracked pepper.