OK first thing I made with the Guava paste! The guava paste on it's own is delicious, it's much denser that I thought it would be. I made a glaze with Maddie's home made jalapeño jelly, some guava paste, soy sauce, and spiced rum. I cooked the glaze over a medium heat to melt the guava paste and cook off the alcohol from the rum. I seasoned the pork loin with smoked salt and pepper and let it come to room temperature. I sprayed the loin with truffle flavored olive oil on all sides. After the pork loin was browned on all sides on top of the stove, I covered it in the glazed and put it into a 325 degree oven for 30 minutes. I took it out of the oven and let it rest for 20 minutes before slicing.
We visited Chin's Szechwan Cuisine for CNY dinner, you know for good luck for the coming year of the Chicken or Rooster. We had the requisite lucky foods, Hunan Fish Fillet, Shrimp Pan Fried Noodles, and Szechwan Garlic Eggplant. Fish for an increase in prosperity, noodles for happiness & longevity, and oranges for fullness and wealth. Although I've lived in Encinitas for over 9 years it's the first time I"ve ever eaten Chinese food there and the first time to visit Chin's which has been around since 1976. The food was old school Chinese/American/Szechwan style food. Portions were large and everything was really tasty. Props to the waitstaff that was more than friendly and attentive. Overall it was a great first experience and for Maddie maybe her first official Chinese New Year kickoff dinner, so at least this year she'll get off to a good start!
The decor of Chin's was decidedly old school and quite elegant actually. It did have one item that made us both immediately remember dinners at grandma's. I think is a first generation characteristic that will soon be lost on the millennial generation. Their generation was the generation that came over to America on ships, they remember the depression, world war II, and having to scratch out a living while raising a family in a new country. They really valued the things that they had and they were proud to show it off and keep in in pristine condition. Everyone over the age of 50 will remember going to grandma's house in the summer and sticking to the furniture. Sturdy hardwood furniture with ornate brocade cushions covered in a thick clear vinyl slip covers. Seeing them in Chin's immediately made me think of all the holiday meals we had at grandma's house. Here's a toast to grandma especially on Chinese New Year where we take time out to think about and remember our ancestors.
Happy Lunar New Year Everyone! Gung Hay Fat Choi!
CNY is all about food and family. You should eat all of the good luck symbolic Chinese foods today.
Fish for health and prosperity, noodles for long life, dumplings for good luck and prosperity, pork for prosperity, chicken and/or duck-Well pretty much all of the main Chinese food groups.
I saw this at the 99 Cent Only store and I had to buy it. Not sure what I'm going to do with it. For those of you with suggestions I'd love to hear them. In the mean time stay tuned to see what I do with it. If you find something interesting and don't know what you should do with it post it here and let's see if we can come up with something to do with it.
Last night Maddie and I visited Dumpling Inn & Shanghai Saloon. It was her first encounter with traditional Chinese dumplings. Lately hipsters around the world have been stalking Xiao Long Bao (XLB). If you're an Amazon Prime Video member watch Emeril Eats World and watch Emeril and Mario Batalli go to China to find the best Xiao Long Bao. Here in the U.S. Din Tai Fung is acknowledged as the best XLB, in fact it's outposts throughout the world are known for the best Chinese dumplings around. If you happen to be near one give it a try. For the uninitiated (Maddie) there is a ritual to eating Chinese dumplings, especially XLB.
German food is not for the faint of heart nor light of stomach. Here are the 4 main pork food groups of German cuisine. Ham, Schnitzel, Sausages, & Pork Knuckle all in mini versions on a combo plate. Along with mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, dumplings. Yes hearty food for a hearty people. If there wasn't enough protein and cholesterol in the plate there's a egg on top to add a creamy element to the pork fest. For those of you who have not tried Pork knuckle in Germany, below is the full sized version. It features a crispy outer layer with a moist meaty inner layer it's served with a brown gravy and cabbage. One knuckle can easily feed two hungry people or an Asian family of 4. I visit Germany at least once a year and no matter what happens it always seems like Pork makes it onto the plate at least once per meal.
You can' call your Italian vacation a success unless you have eaten gelato, if not every day at least every other day. This photo is courtesy of my friend Mijeong Park, who ate gelato everyday during her visit to Rome. What's the difference between gelato and ice cream you may ask? Gelato is denser it has less fat in its base and less air churned into it as it's frozen it also uses more milk than cream. American style ice cream uses more cream (at least 10% by labeling laws) and it churned faster so more air gets whipped into it as it freezes so it tends to be lighter and creamier, while gelato is denser.
Why is this important? Well quite honestly it's not! whether you prefer ice cream or gelato it doesn't matter either one will put a smile on your face and make you happy as you eat it. Is it any wonder than many happy memories have ice cream associated with them. When Mijeong told me she was visiting Paris, I told her to go to Berthillon Glace near the Cathedral Notre Dame, get a wild strawberry cone and eat it while strolling down the Seine river. I told her it would change her life. She didn't believe me until she got there and got her wild strawberry ice cream.
Believe it or not Al Pastor is a fusion food developed in central mexico. It was brought to Mexico by Lebanese immigrants in the 1920's. It's related to Shawarma, Turkis doner Kebab, and Greek gyro but al pastor is made from marinated pork not lamb based like shawarma, doner and gyros. Al pastor pork is marinated in a combination of dried chilies, spices and pinapple, it's not authentic unless it has pineapple. Al pastor "Trompo's" (vertical spits) are built with alternating cuts of marinated pork, the marinade is a complex conconction of chilies orange juice, pineapple, cumin, cloves, garlic and onion. Al pastor is one of those types of things that you go out for because cooking it is not for the faint of heart as the marinated porky goodness is frequently grilled over an open flame for up to 12 hours. Most taco shops start the trompo in the morning so it will be ready to serve for the evening dinner service. Serious Eats and Kenji Lopez-Alt has decoded al pastor for home cooks click through to their site here and you can see just what is involved with proper cooking of al pastor. Just like the quest for the ultimate baja fish taco continues, so will the search for Al Pastor. If I see al pastor on the menu I've go to try it.
Put your suggestions here as well I've got a jones for some hot al pastor tacos!
Gluten free options are frequently expensive to buy and hard to find. Our friends at the 99 Cent Only store have a number of gluten free options in the pasta and baking sections. As you can see here they selling 2 boxes for 99 cents. At 49 cents a box I might try to be gluten free
Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles in Southern California is widely known as the mecca for fried chicken and buckwheat waffles. Founded by Harlem native Herb Washington in 1975 the original Hollywood location still remains a favorite destination for the rich and famous and for the not so rich and famous. Now with seven Los Angeles area locations more people can enjoy the secret seasoned, pan fried (not deep fried) yardbird that counts President Obama and Snoop Dogg as regular customers. It's hard to describe how good Roscoe's Chicken is you have to experience it. As Fried Chicken is one of my food groups, I've tried fried chicken throughout the world but I still compare many of them to Roscoes.
Humble fried chicken has become upscale with famous chefs such as Thomas Keller, Marcus Samuelson, and David Chang making their own interpretations. Let me know of your favorite fried chicken spots and if I'm in the neighborhood I'll certainly stop in to try it. Stay tuned for more about fried chicken.
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Food Porn, Rants and Random thoughts about what we've ate and what we probably shouldn't have ate.