Monday, September 04, 2017

More Instagram Posts

There are really two reasons why I have been absent from this blog for so long. The first is time. With three kids, it is worth even more than money. You have all heard that a mom barely has time to shower or go to the bathroom. (Guess what? That is so true! I am so grateful you do not have Smell-O-Vision now!) The second is content. I doubt that anyone would like to see my lunch of a half-eaten bowl of Spaghetti-Os that my youngest child rejected. And that is where Instagram comes into play. You only have to post one picture and it could be filtered to the max and is a totally false representation of your life! And that is the reason that I love it!

#BackToSchool #lunch for the big guy. #1stGrade #FirstGrade here we come! #firstdayofschool #1stdayofschool #lunchtime

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

So ... A Funny Thing Happened ...

I finally bit the bullet and joined Instagram this year. I am so technologically behind that I missed out on the usernames "passionateeater" and "passionate_eater," but I managed to snag "passionate.eater" before it evaded my grasp! Although no one except my one true fan (hi Mom!) checks this blog anymore, it feels like adultery (or blog-ltery) to post food pictures on Instagram and not on ole' food blog, so here are some (or, pretty much all) of my Instagram food pictures to date! Oh, and I am learning the art of the Instagram filter, so don't eviscerate the lackluster pictures, if you please.

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Nothing says "Sunday morning" like an enameled Dutch oven brimming with vegetables! #lunch #lunchtime

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We have never used the griddle on our retro stove, but it serves as a great place to set up a "mise-en-place" #lunch #lunchtime

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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Meals Without Kids

In keeping up with the momentum of posting arbitrary images of my meals without my kids, here are a few leftover Las Vegas pictures and a couple from a holiday party at work. As for the Vegas snaps, the beau and I indulged in an all-you-can-eat sushi dinner capped off with two orders of salmon and tuna tartare and a caterpillar roll. The sushi was only "meh," so I won't post the name of the restaurant. The next day, I nabbed a breakfast sandwich with scrambled egg and bacon en route to McCarran International Airport (nothing to write home about, really, but again, I took a picture of it, so here it is)!


Also, interspersed in these random images are snaps of my work holiday lunch celebration at One Market and my entree of pan-seared flounder with black-eyed peas, grain mustard vinaigrette, and small herb salad, as well as the dessert, a duo of crème brûlée (vanilla and cappuccino) and solid biscotti cookies.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Gordon Ramsay's Burgr in Las Vegas

Has it really been three years since my last post on here? In fact, it has been longer, but who's counting? Or who's even reading? (Shout out to my mom, my sole reader! Thanks, Ma!) And no, that is not a typo. (The "typo" I am referring to is not the misspelling of "burger," but my three-year absence from this dead blog.)

Sadly, I don't eat out as often as I would like now that my husband and I are outnumbered by our kids. In fact, this was one of the first times the beau and I sat down for a relatively nice meal sans our children, and lemme tell you, it was pretty darn glorious! (I felt obligated to post these snaps on here, since I posted them on Facebook.) Hey, a post of food pictures on my social network is worthy of a post on this thing.

At my special outing yesterday to Gordon Ramsay's Burger, I opted for the Euro burger with truffle aioli, goat cheese, arugula, and an oven-roasted tomato. The pillowy and crisply-toasted bun was a match in heaven with the peppery wisps of arugula and gamey cheese, but the truffle parmesan fries with truffle aioli were a greasy and over-fried disappointment. Love the ethereal melt-in-your-mouth flakes of parmesan, but I could hardly taste the truffle and, unfortunately, I have had fries done better at fast food establishments. But an outing is an outing, and worthy of a quick note on the good ole' food blog.

Have you tried out this wrinkly and irate chef's dining establishments? I'd love to hear if you did!

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Working Eater Series: Popcorn, Elevated


Like most people, my "go-to" snack is popcorn. If it is not smothered in butter or margarine, laden with salt, or coated in a hard candy shell, it is a healthy, ethereal, and satisfying alternative to greasy and sugary snacks. And it usually is a staple in everyone's pantry! I usually try to air-pop my popcorn with dried corn kernels and a brown bag. All you need to do is fill a small paper lunch bag with 1/2 a cup of dried corn kernels, tightly fold or crumple it shut, and microwave it on high for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on your microwave settings and when the popping sound decreases (just like the directions on the processed kind). Follow those directions, and you will have instant microwaved popcorn. For popcorn, do not resort to the artificially-flavored and carcinogenic popcorn brands of the Orville Redenbacher, Pop Secret, or Act II-persuasion.

However, plain popcorn is monotonous and buttered popcorn quickly gets tedious without something extra special to elevate it into "spectacular" territory.


For me, I love furikake, a slightly sweet and very umami/savory Japanese spice blend made of dried bonito fish flakes, seaweed, and other flavorings. If you are not familiar with furikake, think anchovies or fish sauce, but less salty and in a dried form. For a Japanese or Hawaiian-inspired popcorn snack, just add (1) slivers of nori (dried seaweed), (2) a couple of tablespoons of dried furikake seasoning, (3) several drops of dark sesame oil (very intensely flavored, so act with a judicious hand), and (4) a pinch or two of wasabi powder for the perfect flavor profile. You could also add salted peanuts too!


For a N'Awlins-inspired popcorn, dissolve a teaspoon or so of creole seasoning and a few dashes of Tabasco with a melted tablespoon of butter and quickly toss the mixture in with the popcorn and feast away!

For a South American-inspired popcorn, I usually just add salt, chile powder, and the juice of 1/2 a lime. This combo works with corn on the cob too, and it is divine!

I have also heard of additions of dried oregano, cumin, and parmesan cheese, but I have yet to try those flavor combos. Do you have any "spectacular" popcorn ideas to share? I would love to hear your suggestions!

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Shaking In My Boots At Shake Shack


When I posted about the "In-N-Out and Five Guys taste-off" that we organized eons ago, many commenters remarked that there was "one burger chain to rule them all," and that I gravely failed to mention this burger joint. This place? New York City's Shake Shack. Therefore, when my beau and I visited the East Coast recently, we had to visit the burger joint I have heard as this "second-coming of In-N-Out," but way better.


Well, you know how I feel about In-N-Out. And you know how I feel about Five Guys. In seconds, you are going to find how how I feel about Shake Shack. (I will have to tell you about my favorite burger place in all the world, Umami Burger, real soon!)

Upon entering, my immediate impression was that Shake Shack felt trendier and more appealing to the hipster crowd. We decided to "go big" and order the Shake Stack, which is a classic cheeseburger with an additional veggie patty inserted inside the sandwich, as well. Shake Shack's veggie patty is not your standard salty hockey puck of tasteless and ground-up grains and beans, rather, it is a sliced portobello mushroom stuffed with cheese, breaded, and deep-fried. As you would imagine, the divine mushroom nugget contains a volcanic eruption of oozy, gooey, and stringy melted cheese and meaty mushroom flesh with each bite and is perfectly matched with its best friend, a crunchy, crumbly, and golden-brown breading.


Unfortunately, upon biting into the mammoth burger, it degenerated into a unphotogenic and gloppy mess, so you will only see pre-bite pictures. (Sorry for the blurry pictures, but my free hand can barely wrap around that monster!) As you can see, the Shake Stack typifies what is great about America: truth, justice, and deep-fried cheese.

As for the crinkle-cut fries, they were good, which means they were leaps and bounds better than In-N-Out. The ultimate verdict and my burger-licious impressions? I loved the juicy, greasy, savoryness of each burger and thought although it felt unhealthier, it was a tasty burger just a little more flavorful than In-N-Out. (It might have been the quality of the meat or the meat-to-fat ratio of the ground beef, the fresh house-made pickles, or the luxuriously soft and tissue-like lettuce.) It was definitely better than the squashed and foil-steamed mess that is known as a Five Guys burger. However, in my book, In-N-Out still wins for the easy accessibility (to California residents), the cheap prices, and the reliable quality. Shake Shack is definitely worth repeat visits though!


Have you tried these burger joints? Let me know your thoughts!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Tex-Mex Seven Layer Dip



Without a doubt, my favorite party food is seven layer dip. With one deft swoop of a wide-brimmed tortilla chip, you can shovel a delectable and flavor-packed bite of seven unique tastes and textures into your open mouth. Also, since there is guacamole and salsa inside, you save on repeated trips to the party table!


Every family has their own version of seven layer dip, so you will definitely see many variations. I have had seven layer dips with both black beans and refried beans, with ground beef or turkey, and with plain chopped tomatoes instead of a piquant salsa. Some people use cilantro instead of scallions as their seventh layer. Others use lettuce, canned green chiles, or Mexican corn as one of the seven ingredients. In addition, you can use whatever proportions of the ingredients that you'd like, as long as no one ingredient eclipses the others.


Although there is room for creativity, it is generally accepted that there are six necessary ingredients that must be included in a seven layer dip. These are: (1) beans, (2) cheese, (3) sour cream, (4) tomatoes, (5) avocado, and (6) olives. (The seventh ingredient can be almost anything you would like. Well, maybe not pasta or chocolate, but you get my drift.)


This is my family's recipe.

Seven Layer Dip (Salsa de Siete Capas)
1 16oz can of refried beans
1 4.25oz can of pre-sliced black olives
1 cup of pico de gallo salsa (or 1/4 cup of jarred salsa with 1 large tomato, chopped)
1 cup of sharp cheddar cheese, finely shredded
1 cup of sour cream (or nonfat Greek yogurt)
1 tbsp of cumin (or taco seasoning)
2 scallion sprigs, chopped and with the root end removed
2 large avocados, peeled, pitted, and roughly smashed
4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
tabasco, to taste
1 large bag of corn tortilla chips


Layer a wide transparent bowl with the ingredients, starting with the refried beans (with the cumin and tabasco mixed inside). Follow the bean layer with a layer of sour cream, shredded cheese, smashed avocados and garlic, pico de gallo salsa, black olives, and finally, the chopped scallions. Use the back of a wide spoon or spatula to help you spread the creamy ingredients. Serve the dip with corn tortilla chips and voraciously enjoy the dip in front of the television and with friends.



Also, instead of serving the dip in a large bowl, you can use a plate, individual custard ramekins (if they are transparent glass or plastic), or lowball liquor glasses. If serving individual portions in ramekins or liquor glasses, garnish each portion with a white or blue corn tortilla chip. This way of serving seven layer dip will result in less mess (in the dip itself), but will require the washing of many more dishes! Either way, I hope you enjoy this dip, I know I do!


Sunday, May 06, 2012

Lookie What I Found: A New Felt Food Set At IKEA!


It comes with a faux plastic tray, pre-sliced fish, two spears of broccoli, lemon wedges, and halved tomatoes!

Okay, I admit, I am way too happy over these toys. But I do like these fabric food sets far more than the hollow play food sets (where each food item is basically just a hard plastic shell).

Sadly, the most unfortunate part about this post and my purchase is, is that my son doesn't even play with the other Duktig play food sets that I previously purchased for him. But, if you have child who loves to play in his or her pretend kitchen and help mommy make a scrumdiddlyuptious meal (or are like me), then the complete Duktig felt food set is made for you!

And yes, in case you are wondering, this new set is already collecting dust and cobwebs in my son's toy bin. (He is like his daddy and loves his toy cars.) Well, at least I am getting some mental satisfaction out of those toys!

The Absolute Best Way To Store Green Onions

My friend recently sent me a link on "the absolute best way to store green onions." Instead of putting bagged scallions in the crisper bin or vegetable drawer of a frigid and dark refrigerator, store them near a sunny window in a transparent glass of water (and change the water once it gets cloudy). To test this method of storage, I left some scallions in the fridge (on the right) and stuck the rest in a glass mason jar filled with tap water (on the left). The results were impressive.



It looks like an overgrown jungle in there! There was at least an inch of growth on the scallions that were partially submerged in water. Also, as you can visibly notice, the onions from the fridge were flaccid and droopy (and yellowed, but I cut those parts off). According to the link, the scallions will grow indefinitely (you are supposed to only use the verdant tops by snipping off what you need, and not the white portions), but I haven't tested this yet. And I have to admit, I'm a little suspicious about how the scallions would continue to grow without the nutrients from soil, but I'll let you know how this experiment goes!

Update: A fellow food blogger informed me (in the comments below) that after three (3) to four (4) weeks, the roots will begin to rot. But she gave her seal of approval to this method for short-term scallion storage! I should note that when I changed the water, I made sure to thoroughly rinse and scrub away the oniony slime on the bottom of the scallions. I also peeled back the visibly brown and wilted layers at the bottom that had been soaking in the water. It is a little gross, but I believe it helps the green onions keep their "shelf-life" longer. I also noticed the green parts of the scallions bent pretty easily (they do not seem very fibrous).

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Granville Island in Vancouver, British Columbia


One of my favorite pre-baby trips last year, was my "couples only" trip to Vancouver, British Columbia. My husband and I loved Canada. We loved the crisp Canadian air, which was punctuated with the perfumed fragrance of tulips and hyacinth. We loved the sweeping and majestic views of the ocean from the Stanley Park. We loved learning about the history and the art (including the intricate and towering totem poles) of the native peoples. Another one of our favorites? Granville Island. If you are visiting Vancouver, one thing you "must do" is head off to the Granville Island Public Market, which is chockful of boisterous vendors who sell a vivid array of seasonal produce.


The "goods" available at Granville Island Public Market, however, are not limited to fresh fruits and vegetables, but you can purchase things such as antique baubles from a public market jeweler, or mountainous pot pies with craggy and buttery pie crusts from a local baker.


And since it's Vancouver, you know they are going to sell seafood at the market! On the recommendation of our Canadian-phile friend, my beau and I purchased a few sticks of maple syrup salmon (an amusing combo of two quintessential Canadian ingredients). The salmon was a little tough and cloying for my taste, but the freshness of salmon itself was stellar--the quality of salmon in Canada is unparalleled.


Another place you must visit on a stop at Granville Island, is Sandbar, a restaurant on the island where my husband and I enjoyed a early pre-dinner meal after a small lunch. Since we were planning on attending a wedding that evening, we only ordered a few beers and a 1/2 order of their mussels in a coconut curry sauce (a great option for someone who wants the "taste" and not the cost of a full meal). (If you are budget-conscious, I would also check out their happy hour specials.)


The uncutous, fleshy, and rotund mussels burst in our mouths like delicate seafood balloons, releasing creamy and mouthwatering innards. The milky curry sauce was perfectly sweetened and seasoned, not too ethereal, not too heavy, and had the perfect balance of subtle coconut aroma.


I'll let the pictures speak for themselves, but Vancouver and Granville Island are definitely worth a visit!
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