Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Apple and Brown Sugar Corned Beef and Cabbage

I made this last week for St. Patty's day--thought I'd share in the festivities even though I didn't go out and drink like a red-headed Irish man :P . The recipe came from the The Crock Pot Blog

It was really easy....just take all the ingredients and throw into the crock pot and 8 hours later.....come home to dinner! This isn't the traditional Irish corned beef and cabbage. It was a little on the sweet side for me. I'd cut down some of the brown sugar....or add a little malt vinegar to it.....

1 corned beef brisket
1 qt apple juice
1 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp prepared mustard
8 small potatoes
2 medium carrots, pared and cut into chunks
1 onion, peeled and cut into eights
1/2 head cabbage, cut into chunk

1. Place all ingredients in large (6 – 7 qt.) crock pot.
2. If necessary, cut the beef brisket in half.
3. Stir to mix.
4. Cover and cook 4 hours on high, or 8 hours on low.
5. Remove meat and vegetables and some of the cooking liquid.
6. Slice meat thinly across the grain.
7. Serve with the vegetables and some of the liquid. 

Any leftover corned beef makes a great lunch sandwich.
And remember.....as always....share what you are consumed by :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Bunch of Amateurs!

Friday my friend Vivienne invited me over to make Takoyaki....and I have to say....for a bunch of amateurs we did really well! The first batch were kinda misshapen and rather ugly.....but tasted great....by the time we started the 2nd batch we had a plan and by the third batch on....they were coming out beautiful.....just like the ones you get in the night markets of Taiwan and HK. For those of you who don't know what Takoyaki is..... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Takoyaki

Here is the recipe....there are a lot of ingredients for these little balls of yummy-ness.

50g Boiled Octopus
50g Cabbage (diced very small)
30g Green Onion (cut very small and thin)
250g Flour
2.5 eggs (I used 3 cuz I don't know how to do 2.5 eggs, lol)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Roasted Seaweed, crushed
Bonito flakes
Japanese Mayo
Teriyaki sauce (you can make your own: Soy sauce, mirin, sugar,1:1:1 ratio cook....)
(there were some other ingredients on the list, but we couldnt find it so we made do without it)
Takoyaki plate/maker

  1. Cut octopus into very small pieces
  2. Beat egg
  3. Add flour, baking powder and salt, mix
  4. Pour the batter into a water carafe or even a condiment squirt bottle....this will make it much easier to control and pour
  5. Heat Takoyaki plate/maker
  6. Brush with oil (make sure you give it a good brushing so the takoyaki dont stick to the pan)
  7. Fill each mold about 1/2 way with the batter
  8. Add octopus, cabbage, green onion, and picked ginger to your liking
  9. Once the batter browns on the bottom, use the stick to flip it sideways
  10. Pour extra batter into the mold
  11. Flip the cooked piece on top of the newly poured batter to get the 2 halves to "stick" together
  12. Once the bottom half forms and the 2 halves are sticking together, you want to continue to rotate the each ball until it gets brown and to ensure even cooking. 
  13. Once they are done, drizzle with terriyaki sauce and japanese mayo
  14. Add crushed seaweed and bonito flakes
  15. Enjoy!
And as always....stay consumed! 


Friday, March 18, 2011

Pittsburgh--The Steel City

I know....its been a long time since I've actually posted on here....but with the hard drive crash and other things going on in my life right now...I haven't had a chance to post....but really...I'm going to try to be better about it. So this is a long one....hope you enjoy!

Well....this is my first travel post! How exciting. This past weekend I went to Pittsburgh with 2 friends. Pittsburgh is know as the Steel City  because it is one of the major producers of steel until about the 1980s and its also known as The City of Brdiges....and there were alot of bridges. I think we were on 5 different ones just traveling between the downtown areas we stayed in for the weekend.

Fun Things to Do:

National Aviary: 
Adults: $13
There are alot of species of birds and many of them are free flying.....and you can take part in feeding sessions too....not so much fun if you are afraid of birds.....

Mattress Factory :
Adults: $10 (w/ $1 discount if you check in on Foursquare)
An art museum in an old mattress factory featuring contemporary art. I dont really know much about art...but this was a fun little place to visit. They had this one where you walked in and the first room was all mirrors and multi-colored dots on the ground and blue lights then you walked through a door and it was bright white, with mannequins and red dots. They had an exhibit where the artist cut a hole in the 4th floor and built a "tunnel" to the third floor and out the third floor window.....weird/neat stuff.

Monongahela Incline & Duquesne Incline: 
$3.50 & $4.50 roundtrip
Its a little wooden car that takes you up to the Mount Washington area. The view was voted by USA Today as one of the Top 10 Sites in the World for viewing a cityscape. The Monongahela is the oldest funicular railway still in operation. The inclines are not only a tourist attraction....they are still used by many Mt. Washington residents to get to work and entertainment in Downtown Pittsburgh.

Phipps Conservatory:
Adults: $12
All sorts of neat flowers, trees, herbs, and fruit. I think for this one its better to visit in the summer or fall. Many of the fruit trees did not have any fruit and we didnt get to see the Butterfly forest and the Outdoor Gardens :( But the things that we did get to see and explore were beautiful.

The Food of Pittsburgh:
Breakfast: DeLuca's Tavern
Food was good. If you like diner food (and I definately do....this place is yummy). I had the corned beef hash. Eric got the eggs w/ bacon and Steve got the Eggs Benedict
Rating: Good
Cost: Cheap--tea and breakfast was < $10
Insider Tip: Go early or late...especially on the weekends the line can get to over an hour. 

Lunch: Primanti Bros.
We decided to go here since like everyone I talked to mentioned this place. The sandwich might have been big....but it was delicious! Basically you get a sandwich stuffed with meat (they did have some vegetarian options), french fries, and house made coleslaw. I got the Pastrami. The meat was well flavored, the fries were good, but not as crunchy as I normally like them--although I guess for stuffing into a sandwich...you dont want them too crunchy....The coleslaw was really good too...not too mayonnaise-y, crunchy cabbage, good flavor.
Rating: Good
Cost: Cheap--$6.95 for the sandwich! 
Insider Tip: Sit at the bar for faster service! 

Dinner: Legume Bistro
Farm-to-table restaurant run by a husband and wife pair, named one of Pittsburgh's Top 25 restaurants for 2010....and boy was it well deserved. We started with the Pork and Duck Rillete..it was good but not the best I'd ever had. The accompanying pickled string beans were yummy. Eric being his weird self....decided he wanted dessert first. He got the Apple Caramel Cinnamon Rice Pudding. I would never had prob ordered this even though I loooove rice pudding, I don't like caramel and I'm allergic to apples.....but dear god this was the BEST rice pudding I have ever had! I dont even know how to describe it...I have no idea why it was soooo good...but yum-o! I'm pretty sure the world stopped for about 10 seconds after I had the first bite! Thank goodness for Eric and his weird-ness! LOLs

We all got the Bibb lettuce, bacon, and roasted beet salad. It was good. Nothing earth shattering or time stopping...but the lettuce was fresh, the eggs were delicious (I am definately starting to see the difference between fresh eggs and the regular old ones we get at the supermarket), bacon was super crunchy, beets were sweet. For the entree I got the Chicken Cooked Under a Skillet w/ Garlic and Roasted Potatoes (I'm serious....thats what it was called :P). This is the restaurant's signature dish and this was DELICIOUS! Skin was a little crispy, well flavored. Simple but soooo good. I think this is the BEST chicken I have ever had. 
For dessert I got the Chocolate Torte. It was good--not as good as the one at Carmine's but still very good. 

The stars of the night were definitely the rice pudding and the chicken.....I've been thinking about them randomly all week and almost wanting to cry cuz Pittsburgh is 4.5 hours away :( The service was really good also....attentive and friendly :) 
Rating: Excellent
Cost: Average (actually, might be below average for this type of restaurant): EntrĂ©es were $12-$25 
Insider Tip: Reserve early....no electronic reservation system so you send them an email and they call you back the next day to let you know if they have availability. Menu posted each day by 5PM. BYOB.

Breakfast/Snack: Pittsburgh Public Market
We were going to go to Deluca's again but this time, the line was out the door so we decided to explore the market. I didnt take many pics...but lets see...there was Duck Proscuitto, Beef Patty, Cheese, Artisan Olive Oils and Balsamic Vinegars, Maple cookies, pizzelle,  Pierogies made by a little Polish lady
Rating: Good
Cost: Cheap--$6.95 for the sandwich! 
Insider Tip: Sit at the bar for faster service! 

Lunch: BRGR
We probably didn't really need lunch after eating our way thru the market (lols) but the salted caramel milkshake was calling my name.....I heard these girls talking about it the day before when we were waiting in line to see the exhibit that was completely in the dark at the mattress factory....and plus apparently...Im IN LOVE with salted caramels (even though I dont like caramel by itself at all!). So I got the Kobe burger and the salted caramel milksake w/ bourbon (even though she did try to tempt me with a "special" house made bloody mary). 

I was kind of disappointed...the salted caramel milkshake tasted mostly like a vanilla milkshake w/ bourbon...no hint of salted caramel at all??? The burger which should have been super juicy and delicious was   too done (even though I'd asked for medium) and kind of dry....all in all a disappointment...and I'm glad I didnt splurge for the $25 Foie Gras Kobe burger. This probably was not the worst burger I have ever had...but it was still kind of disappointing. 

Eric and Steve both said they thought their burgers were really good.....
Rating: Thumbs Down
Cost: Average--Burgers were mostly $8-$12....which is average for gourmet burgers but I was unimpressed.  
Insider Tip: The fries were good....and the homemade condiments were good too. 

One for the Road: Milkshake Factory
55+ flavors of homemade ice cream from a almost 100 year old ice cream parlor ...need i say more? 

  • Toasted Almond Fudge Java Milkshake w/ Toffee for me
  • Strawberry for Eric
  • Moosetracks + something??? else for Steve. 
Rating: Yummy
Cost: Cheap--$5 
Insider Tip: The ice cream girl was super friendly....ask her for suggestions and different combos from the ones that are listed. 

Well....I know this was a long post! But hope you enjoy the pics and as always stay consumed!