Pork Butt, Bom chicka wow wow

Pork Butt, Bom chicka wow wow

food slideshow - be careful, some pics maybe xxx rated!

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ba Ren Again?!

So, we really don't go to Ba Ren as often as we would like. We haven't gotten to the point where we know everything on the menu. So, one random night off, we decided to go there for dinner. Every once in a while we've had take out from there which is always disappointing, because the portions aren't as big as if you eat at the restaurant.

So, we made a momentus decision - we only got one plate of cold dish! Well, they were running low on some of our favorites! So we got the dried beef, the bamboo shoots and a big pile o seaweed! Seriously, I think the bamboo shoots are my favorite!

So then we were having trouble deciding what else to get. We got the cabbage - so there are two on the menu... the sauteed hot and sour one, and the pickled one... I really don't remember the exact wording. But anyway, the point is, we are not sure of the difference between the two, or if there is a difference...they seem to be the same, but I'm no sezchuan expert. Anyway, it's always delicious. And I kind of used this dish for inspiration for one of my own dishes, can't divulge it though!

Then we got the spicy pepper prawns. So, the last time we got them - the Food Pimp thought that they were head on. I honestly don't remember. We got them that one magical dinner that we went with Kirk and Caninecologne. Anyway, these were not head on, the flavor of the shrimp themselves were not great. The dish though, is crazy. It's just a bed of peppers with the fried shrimp on it. The flavors of the spice and peppers is so amazing. But, alas, I've been having "digestive" issues - IBS maybe? Well, I think that's what we call any issues in the stomach region and below, right? Anyhoo, it's so good with rice.

So then, we basically got the exact same dish again, except for with lamb ribs! OMG. You can't even imagine. These crispy little nuggets of dynamite were really tasty treats. Lamb ribs have very little meat, but you suck it all off and suck the bones. The sauce that coats the ribs is what makes it so wonderful. And then you eat it with rice. And then you have a drink of water, a glug of beer, a sip of hot tea. Well, that's what I do. I have to pretty much keep each beverage in rotation with the food. No, not because it cools the mouth - it doesn't. Just because each drink has it's place in the dinner. They just...go with the meal. Don't ask, just eat and be quiet. Maybe smile at your dining companions with a glazed look of contentment on your face.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

my bday tapas

My birthday was almost a month ago, and the Food Pimp's birthday is a month after mine! January 28 - so don't forget to wish him a happy birthday! So for my birthday, we went to Costa Brava for happy hour. Our favorite spanish restaurant here. It's like being transported to Spain!

Cabrales cheese on bread.

$8 pitcher of sangria!

bread and aioli - we forgive them the frozen sysco type pistolettes... because it's more about the stuff that comes with the bread!

Like olives!

And morcilla! (blood sausage - crispy, rich, sweet and not as minerally as some may think)

Garlicky snails.

Patatas Bravas - not much brava going on here, unfortunately...

Pulpo...so yummy and tender, yes, tender when cooked properly.

Fried anchovies! Love them.

So, at one point when I ordered the last 3-4 items, the FP was thinking it was going to be a hefty bill.... but, it was happy hour! I think our bill was $46. Totally worth it.

Costa Brava
1653 Garnet Ave
San Diego, CA 92109
11:00 AM to Midnight, Daily

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Belated Birthday

So, yesterday was my dearly departed mom's birthday. Being the first one since she passed away, I assume it won't be such a morbid thought every year, as long as ProFlowers stops sending me emails asking me if I want to send her flowers....

Anyway, I worked all damn day yesterday. I wanted to get a tattoo, but no time, or really money, but maybe later. So, I just wanted to take time to reminisce about the food my mom used to cook.

So, when she was growing up, she never learned how to cook, because the matron of the family did all the cooking. She was never the head of the household until my parents moved to Troy, New York by themselves. The first meal she cooked in their new apartment is like a legend to me. She made spaghetti with meat sauce and she burned the sauce, and my dad yelled at her.
Her spaghetti and meat sauce over the years was always too meaty, not enough sauce. I'm not sure if that was a generational thing or an ethnic thing. But it was always barely red because there was so much meat compared to sauce. One time, my sister made it, and it was very saucy. I remember my dad telling my mom she should make it like that next time, that he didn't like the way she made it. He's always been such a cassanova.

So, through the years, my mom relied on magazines, cookbooks and friends' advice. So, in the USA, she learned over the years how to cook Philippine cuisine and American food too.

I remember being young and having steak for dinner. I'm not sure what kind of cut it was, some inexpensive cut. So my mom would cook a few well done with onions, and serve it family style, as every meal was ever served. I wouldn't be able to cut the steak, and my mom would chide me as she cut it for me. She would say, what would I do if I was at a friend's house and I couldn't cut my own steak, ask someone else to cut it? Which, this was all nonsense, because we all knew I was rarely allowed to go to other friend's houses for dinner. After all, who knows what scary child molesting uncle might be over.

So, as the years progressed, she would put the dreaded MSG on those tough suckers. They were not as tough, but they had that MSG taste. Then one day, the steak was so tender and delicious. All because of a meat mallet.

Of course, she developed her own pancit, lumpia, flan and bibingka. I used to love that bisquick bibingka because she would just put those slices of philly cream cheese on top of the batter and bake it so that the slices were still discernable.

Her lasagna was delicious. She didn't make her own sauce or anything, but it was good, trust me. Once, I ate about a third of the pan. We also had corn and peas too. I ate a lot of that as well. I threw up about a half hour later, because I ate so much. I went back to the kitchen later and had another wedge of lasagna.

Her breakfast specialty was corned beef hash. Libby's corned beef usually. onions and potatoes. So good. When I went to college and I met the Food Pimp (here's his gratuitous name dropping he always scans for in the blog, diminished by me pointing it out of course), he introduced me to canned corned beef hash, which is different then canned corned beef. It was disgusting, soft and fattier - if possible, and pink. So I showed him how I learned to cook corned beef hash. Between you and me, I think that was when he fell in love with me.

One of the exciting things growning up was waking up or coming home from school to see what new recipe she had made. She was always getting recipes from her patients. She did her cooking early in the morning. She would wake up at some ungodly hour, 4 or 5 depending on what she was making and cook. Sometimes, she would have to start something the night before and wake up in the middle of the night to check its progress in the oven.

One day, my sisters and I came home to find a casserole. There were probably directions with it, as my mom would often do. She didn't ever want us to be hungry waiting for her, so she always let us eat before dinner if we were "starving". So, this casserole was in the one white corningware dish with the vegetables painted on the side. It was ominous. It was greyish and looked like dog food. Eventually, we tasted it, and it was defuckinglicious. It was like shepard's pie or something. Seasoned ground beef, Campbell's cream o mushroom soup draped over top, and tater tots pushed into the soup. This may not sound appealing, but I guess the flavor of the soup seeped into the ground beef during the baking process, and it had tater tots. I still love tater tots.

So, a food blog about my mom wouldn't be complete without mentioning her easy bbq spareribs. Of course, now that I'm looking for it, I can't find a copy of the recipe. Anyway, I can't remember the origin, Betty Crocker, Women's Day, some kitschy cookbook. But over the years, my mom became known for her spareribs. Any special occasion, Christmas, Thanksgiving, a birthday, potluck, she would make them, and people began to ask for them. Why were they any different than other recipes for baked ribs with bbq sauce? Because my mom made them.

And some of my more recent memories are of when she came to California. One time she made this shrimp and napa cabbage saute, and it was nothing special, but it was just so flavorful... and comforting. And then her shrimp ukoy. Yum. With rice flour and sprouts, they were so crispy and tasty just like I remembered. Shrimp ukoy was one of my favorite treats growing up, next to lumpia. Although, after it had been fried and it got soggy later in the day,or even the next day, it never was as exciting to eat, but we did not waste food.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Asian Christmas (yes, I realize I'm posting a month late!)

So, one of my cooks got evicted from his apartment last month, so he decided to move to San Francisco. So, somehow, we ended up having Christmas dinner at a coworker's house, and kind of a going away party. She lives in Ocean Beach in an amazing house, so it was the perfect place to have dinner.

So, we decided to have Asian Christmas.

I decided to make lumpia the way my mom used to make it. Except, I couldn't find good shrimp for a reasonable price, so I skipped shrimp. I put carrot, green beans, potato and ground pork in the filling. I made the filling the day before, so then I brought the filling and wrappers to the house and we rolled the lumpia. I know that lumpia wrappers are dryer than others, but these seemed especially dry. But we used them all.

I had also brought banana, and fresh shredded coconut and brown sugar for turon. So we used 2 packs of wrappers. Obviously there were too many turon, but I figured we might as well just make them anyway.

So, as is tradition for the hostess, she got a bunch of dungeness crabs. She had cooked them the night before, so she broke them up and cracked them, set warm ramekins of drawn butter over tea candles and we dug in. Of course, I had to have vinegar also. This was before most of the other guests arrived, so we sat at the kitchen island with our various beverages crackin crab.

Knowing that we were going to be at the house several hours earlier than the others, I felt like we weren't bringing enough food. So we made a run in the morning to Von's. I decided to make kung pao tofu from my Whole Foods days, and the Food Pimp decided to make slaw. Needless to say, we didn't need this extra food, but I guess I felt I had to spend a certain amount of money to feel I had contributed properly - even though we spent half as much as we would have if we were hosting a party.

So, the FP decided to roast duck, no biggie. He had dried it with a hairdryer and did all kinds of other things to it. It turned out beautiful.

And then the rest of the food showed up. Sticky rice, and these crazy fried chicken wings and ribs that were coated in fish and chili sauce. They were so crazy good!

But the star of the show, was when they showed me their surprise... A pig head!!! OMFG! It was so crunchy and fatty.....

And then I'm a dick because I didn't take pictures of the cookies. I think I was pretty wasted by the time the cookies showed up, so I didn't document them. They were peanut butter, and I think oatmeal.....