Thursday, February 22, 2007

Please bring Pinkberry to northern california!!!

Two years ago I tasted the most delicious frozen yogurt EVER at a place called Red Mango in Seoul. It was so good that last year when I went back to Korea, I dragged my poor mother around looking for the place so that I could eat it again, but alas, failed. Turns out this Pinkberry place is supposed to be very similar. They have many locations in the LA area and a few in New York. I am making Kevin go on a weekend trip to LA at the end of March (woo hoo, Cesar Chavez holiday!) so that I can eat delicious Pinkberry yogurt. I'm not even kidding. That's how good this stuff is.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

mmm, curry

Originally uploaded by starchmouse.
Until I was in high school, the only curry I knew about was the japanese kind. Bright yellow from turmeric, and thick with carrots, potatoes, and chunks of beef. It was such a homey and satisfying meal. It fell to the wayside after I discovered indian and thai curries, but in the last year I've been craving this concoction.

Unfortunately, I've been having a hard time finding the curry powder pouches my mom used to use when I was a kid. Now they sell these blocks of curry roux that have curry powder, vegetable oil, potato starch, and unfortunately, MSG. So I've been putting off making this curry until a recent trip to LA where I ate chicken katsu curry at Hurry Curry. Oh. My. God. The curry craving kicked into overdrive.

Luckily, the latest edition of Saveur 100 lists japanese "Waafu Curry" at number 12, complete with a recipe!! I made it two nights ago, and it was is the recipe (or at least, as much of it as I can remember, since I left the magazine at home):

3 cups chicken stock

1 tbsp oil
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, 1" cubes (I used chicken breast)

3 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, half chopped finely and half diced into 1" chunks
1 tsp ginger, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped

3 tbsp flour
2 tbsp curry powder (S&B brand, comes in a 3oz can)
2 tbsp crushed tomatoes

1 bay leaf
1 medium russet potato, 1" cubes
1 medium carrot, 1/2" rounds

1 small apple, coarsely grated
1 tsp honey
1 tablespoon soy sauce

In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a simmer.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over high heat and brown the chicken pieces on all sides, about 4 minutes. Take out the chicken and set aside on a large plate. In the same skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and saute the finely chopped onions, ginger, and garlic until the onions are clear. Scrape up the brown bits left from the chicken. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and cook until light brown, about three minutes. Add curry powder and tomatoes and combine well. Whisk in half a cup of the hot chicken stock. Remove skillet from heat.

Whisk the curry powder mixture into the remaining chicken stock in the saucepan. Add the bay leaf, diced onions, potatoes, carrots, and chicken. Bring curry to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and the sauce is thickened. Stir in the apples, honey, soy sauce, and salt to taste. Cook another five minutes for the flavors to meld. Serve over steamed white rice.

Serves 4.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

my kiwi can beat up your kiwi...

Originally uploaded by starchmouse.
Kevin bought this guy at the Alemany farmer's market on Saturday. It got cut up for a fruit salad. The salad fed four people, two of them very tall.

The very tall people were my dear friend Madora and her boyfriend Matty. I invited them over for brunch and got to try out a recipe from my Tartine cookbook. Every time I go to Tartine I order the brioche bread pudding (um, along with several other things...) because they put crack in it. Surprisingly, crack was not one of the ingredients listed in the recipe. It was delicious, although next time I will add some more brioche (I didn't want to overcrowd the pan, but perhaps I was too conservative since the pudding at Tartine seems a lot denser) and put a baking tray underneath the pan because egg custard oozed out and dripped on the oven floor, where it turned black and smoky and made my whole house smell like a strange barbeque pit. After opening every door and window in the house, the air was breathable enough for company, and Kevin took to the task of scraping off burnt black egg custard from my oven floor. Awww, what a guy!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Oops, it's been a long time...

I guess I thought that after I advanced to candidacy I'd have tons of time to fulfill all my New Year's resolutions. Work out more. Use my cookbooks more. Hm. Nope. Until a week ago I was madly trying to gather enough data for my two poster presentations for the annual Orthopaedic Research Society conference in San Diego.

I realize I have not done enough "business travel" to accurately describe the phenomenon, but my trip to San Diego is pushing me towards the "no no no! Don't get a job that requires it!" side. And there are several factors that mostly likely skew my perception:
1) Undoubtedly, business travel as a grad student is different than business travel as a jet-setting professional. We're not really encouraged or allowed to go out anywhere fancy or nice (expensive) since we're not trying to woo a client. So we looked for places that weren't too pricey, but given our location in San Diego (the Gaslamp) that was very difficult. Would I have loved to try out Aqua al Due, which I went to in Florence? Most definitely. Would our administrative analyst have a mild stroke and yell at me upon seeing the bill? Absolutely.
2) Eating out for ALL of your meals sounds attractive, but when you are in a place like San Diego for an academic conference, can actually suck. Ugh. I just wanted a salad sometimes, which I ordered, but it was usually doused in dressing or came with something fried, and was so big I couldn't finish it all. Nothing feels worse than to pay a whole bunch of money for a crappy half-salad that you can't take the leftovers back to your hotel room so you throw away. I hate throwing away food, even if it's yucky :( And there are only so many times you can eat a $3 "healthy morning muffin" and drink a $4 latte from the Starbucks kiosk because it's the only thing open at 7am. I can't believe I gave $4 for a Starbucks latte. But it was that or buy a $2.50 apple or a $3 cup of saccharine yogurt.
3) Ironically, as a food geek/science geek, I failed to do any research beforehand about what was good around where we were staying. I also agreed to go to such places as "Fred's Mexican Cafe" and "Dick's Last Resort" when other people suggested it, because I was afraid of being a food bully. Next time: do research. Put foot down.

It wasn't all horrible though. If you ever find yourself staying in the Gaslamp Quarter because you have a conference at the San Diego Convention Center, you'll do just fine if you eat all your meals at The Cheese Shop (5th st, across from the Westfield Horton shopping plaza) where they make their own granola and you can get it with fruit and yogurt. The morning I went, they said they had run out of fruit. How do you run out of fruit at 8:30am??? But, they said, we could have bananas and blueberries. Um, because that's not fruit? Another place was Sushi Deli, on Broadway between 1st and 2nd. Cheap. Large portions. If only I had known about it sooner in the trip...