Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Craft Services A La AT&T

This snackage contained almonds, dried cranberries, some seeds that look like peppitas from what I can gather from seeing photos on Elise's blog and this new bean shaped orange thing that reminded me of a cornut/cornic type consistency.

More craft services from the AT&T commercial that shot at the studio. Pretty healthy eats...
This combo consisted of a salad which contained: spinach, cucumber, jicama, tomatoes, black olives and balsamic dressing. Then there was the seared mahi mahi with wild rice and asparagus and lastly, the clams pasta. Mmm...pretty good, filling and very satisfying. Thanks to the catering genius called Toucan Catering, Inc.

I hope they come back. =)

I found a taco truck west of La Cienega!

Ruben's Tacos (I think that's the name)

I have never seen taco trucks past a certain part of L.A. proper and I was quite impressed with the fact that there was one parked right on the corner of Santa Monica Blvd and Armacost. Crazy! I decided to share the taco truck experience with my friend from Melbourne who wanted to experience anything and everything L.A. Well, here's is must have experience fa sho.

We ordered a ton of carnitas, carne asada and chicken tacos.

Then there was this bad boy:
Well this was the display that made us want to order this on top of our many many tacos. This was some giant tortilla with beans, lettuce, tomato, avocado, cilantro and maybe a sliver of cheese on top. And in addition to this, we asked to have carne asada added as a side bonus.
Ours was the one to the left...hehe...sooo good! They folded it in half and it was like a quesadilla but so much better! Don't you just love taco truck foods? Happy belly.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Coachella-ella-ella Eats

Apologies for being mia for a bit. Just wanted to share that Coachella was AWESOME! RIDIC! And pretty much EPIC!

Update: those tickets were fakies. Karma's a b!tch, so person who sold me those tix, watch out playa... Fortunately, in the end, I ended up purchasing one more ticket (a real one) and Kristine and Nick snuck in stealthily.

Long story short, we pretty much slept every night at about 4a and had these eats...

The ever famous lumpias (photo not taken so re-using the old one):

And a new fave, Mi goreng instant noodles. Better than your typical ramen.
So it's not a photo of the finished product, but that's because we couldn't be bothered to take photos in the wee hours of the night before devouring our eats. To share how bomb these were, I'd like to mention that these noodles came in a box of 40 and by the end, only 4 were packets were left over. A few of us also learned that maybe eating 2 packets in one sitting does not bode well in the tummy at 4 in the A.M.

There were some healthy meals in addition to aforementioned above and the copious amounts of alcohol consumed (maybe before noon, then after and then in the early am). It was Coachella!

Thanks to Lucy's fine cooking, she made us a frittata:
Lucy was so kind as to not put cheese on one side of the frittata for the lactose intolerant one. Thanks LJ. The other part of the compartment plate, open face avocado mashed up with tomato slices seasoned with a bit of s&p. And for a breakfast dessert, tangerines and banana. Mmm...
(p.s. I am aware that I used a styrofoam plate, no eco-friendly whatsoever...I'll make it up next time)

Vampire Weekend


An appearance by Beyonce...Love her!

Muse light show! AWESOME!

My friend Rommel created a concoction of s&p, honey mustard and I think chopped onion to marinate chicken tenders he put on the grill. I cut up the chicken and put it in this lovely salad:
Pretty bright photo huh? Thanks new Sony camera! This was quite delicious. The one true healthy meal during my time in the desert.

And this is how our Coachella eats ended:
In and Out baby! Mmmm...with extra special sauce = deliciousness.

These photos don't do my weekend justice, but they're a little taste, a glimmer per se, of how epic the music festival was. Anyone down for next year?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Fakie Sweet and Sour

Maybe "fakie" is not the most appropriate word to describe my dinner tonight. It was not really a fake sweet and sour meal per se, but I didn't make it, so I'm sorta A) pawning it off as my own when my mama really made it and B) my mama actually bought a bottle of sweet and sour and just added to it. By those statements, you could assume that it was fake, but it was pretty real and tasted pretty good on top of the fried fish that it was prepared with. Don't ask me what kind of fish though, all I know is that it was not tilapia, halibut or salmon.

Here's what mama started off with:
She bought this bottle of sweet and sour sauce at the local Pilipino market a couple of blocks from home at Island Pacific. I'm sure a bottle like this comes standard at any Asian grocery store. But she didn't use this straight out of the bottle. She added some fixins to it.

Slice into matchsticks:
  • ginger
  • onion
  • carrots
  • red bell pepper
She sautéed the ingredients above, then added the sweet and sour bottle sauce, then added a bit of water to dilute if too sweet (which she did). Place aside.

Looks like too much fake self tanner? Jersey Shore-esque? This could happen if you over do it ladies. But for us brownies, we just get browner. =)

Here was my contribution to the dinner:
Field of greens. Mmm...Wanna know what I seasoned them with? One guess...

Garlic! LOL!

Then for plating purposes, I decided this combo would photograph best with my leftover couscous.
Greens, fried fish with the sweet and sour sauce over it and a side of couscous. Plus side, this was all I ate! No seconds or anything! Progress, I think, yes.

p.s. Going to take a break from posting since I will be Coachella bound tomorrow evening. Fingers crossed the tickets I got are not "fakies". Lesson learned for sure. Perhaps this is what happens when the finances finally come together, but just a bit too late. But there's still a glimmer of hope, so positive thinking onwards!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Jamie Oliver Salmon

For those of you who are not on board yet, Jamie Oliver is an amazing chef and an even more amazing person for campaigning a Food Revolution. He's got this show on ABC appropriately called, Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution and it's such a great inspiration for us all to take better care of ourselves by really looking at what we put inside. I'm pretty much in love with this guy because he's so passionate about cooking healthy delicious food that anyone can make and enjoy at any age.

So now that I've properly plugged my fantasy husband, I'd like to share that I was browsing his site and came upon a pretty easy salmon dish. Technically it's called "crispy barbecued side of salmon with cucumber yoghurt." Pretty long title, huh? Don't worry, the steps were easy peasy.

Here are the ingredients I used:
  • salmon with skin on
  • crushed garlic (which the recipe didn't call for, but I LOVE garlic so in it went)
  • chopped basil
  • chopped mint
  • cucumber
  • plain yogurt
  • lemon zest and juice
  • salt & pepper
  • red pepper flakes (cuz I couldn't find a red pepper, sadness)
  • olive oil
Here's my salmon with the extra added garlic on top:
Slather on that garlic yo!

Cucumber with yogurt:
Side note: Do not over yogurt this sucker. I mean, you can barely make out the cucumbers, right?
Confession: I put extra mint leaves for the photo cuz it was blinding white and was not attractivo.

Oh, I made some couscous to throw on the side. I just LOVE couscous! Literally one of the easiest things to cook. EVER! EVER!

And my beautiful plating, yet again:
I bet if I let salmon with the basil, garlic and lemon sit longer, it would be much tastier. The skin was pretty crispy and delicious by itself, so overall, a pretty delectable dinner. Next time, less yogurt and more couscous.

Anyone have a favorite way they prepare their salmon? I think it would be nice for me to branch out from continuously seasoning meats with garlic. What say you?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Babalu Before the Rain

On Sunday, it rained a ridiculous amount here in la la land. Thank goodness the rain-age kicked in later in the evening, and by later I mean, after we had our meal at Babalu Bakery and Restaurant. I was really craving black beans and plantains and Babalu was the closest go-to restaurant that had this combo to offer in their menu. Plus, my partner in crime was down to eat anything new, so we set off for Santa Monica.

They had a "Specials" menu in addition to their o.g. menu and I was almost side tracked to not order what I was craving, but in the end, the black beans and plantains won.

We ordered the calamari to start off with:
This was served with a regular cocktail sauce AND this delicious chipotle-basil aioli sauce. Mmm, this chipotle-basil sauce was delicious! I had to watch my friend enjoy its deliciousness, while I patiently waited for the server to confirm that there was in fact no dairy in the making of said sauce before diving in myself. Can't be too careful now. Man was this combo awesome! This was so good that even after all the calamari pieces had been consumed, my friend put all the deep fried batter pieces together, mixed it with the aioli and straight up ate it like that until no more fried deliciousness was to be seen on the platter. I. Was. Impressed!

Then the side of plantains came:
Ok, so this is considered part of the appetizer menu, but I treated it as part of my entrée AND my dessert.

My friend ordered from the "Specials" menu and had jerk chicken:
Isn't that pretty? So many colors! An A+ for plating fa sho! I can't recall what this dish encompassed, plus it's not on their webiste, but I can tell you it was amazingly flavorful! This chicken may have been marinated similar to the shrimp marinade because it had a hint of honey and ginger, but a bit of a kick to it. It was also paired with a cucumber slaw and steamed spinach.

I ordered the shrimp lumbego:
This dish had spiced shrimp marinated in ginger and honey, sautéed and served alongside a ginger-coco sauce, cucumber slaw and pineapple-coconut rice. Next time, no substitutions. I'm just going to order an extra SIDE of black beans to go with my dish instead of cutting out the slaw. This did not win for prettiest plating. No green whatsoever, but still very delicious nonetheless. To compensate, my friend placed sliver of his spinach on that upper left hand empty portion of my plate. No photo was available because I immediately devoured it, along with an appropriate portion of pineapple-coconut rice and black beans.

To be honest, I think the chicken was the best choice out of the two dishes because it was just so tender and moist, so full of flavor. The shrimp was a bit over cooked, so it wasn't as juicy as the chicken was. Overall, excellent dishes and we left very satisfied.

Unfortunately, there no room for dessert since we still pretty much licked our plates clean, so I guess it means a future trip has to be made. =)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Check out my Un-vegan Vegan Meal

Just to preface, this was a previously made meal several nights ago. I wanted to post something new tonight, but like the curly fries incident, today, I had a Girl Scout's Samoa cookie. This was the only thing out of the ordinary for my meal today, cuz everything was leftovers from last night, so I deduced it was the cookie's fault. My stomach was not happy with me again today, and with my luck, the pains were pretty severe while I was still at work. So with my luck, I curled up into a fetal position, after consuming some pepto and after several hours, I got the strength to make miso soup with extra tofu again. I shall post those pathetic pictures later. For now, here are some good eats!

I normally have a stock of random soups in the cupboard for days when I'm too lazy to make anything while lacking the funds to go get take out. I've seen this trend with Elise as well and so I thought of her when I was at TJ's the other day.

My vegan purchase:
I was quite proud that I purchased organic, but didn't actually realize that this was vegan until it was time to pull it out of the cupboards for a trial run. I didn't really mind, but I was rather hungry that night and decided it would be best to add extra goodies.

A chicken breast was pan seared with my faves; crushed garlic, s&p, cayenne pepper and paprika. Then I cut it up into chunks and threw it in the split pea soup pot. Delicata squash and kamote chunks also made appearances and this doubled the serving size to 2!
Pretty genius, huh? This photo does not do this dish justice. It was beautiful and chunkified.

For color in my plating, I sliced up an orange bell pepper and used them as a dipping device.
Impressed? I think you should be. It wasn't so much soup at this point, but it accomplished the goal of being very satisfying. I bet you can even use this combo of eats as an appetizer for party since it's so chunky and colorful. Way to use that noggin to increase the serving size amount, right?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Black Beans Chicken Enchiladas

Today, I was very productive at work and when I was all done, I decided that a good meal would be a good reward for me. So, I went with my go-to meal, Mexican! I actually talked to a Mexican as well, my friend Nick, and he suggested something in the casserole family. Although, if you knew me, you would know that I'm not the hugest fan of casseroles. But he did give me the idea of utilizing the oven, so I deduced that enchiladas would be a good Mexican dish for the evening.

I then immediately craved black beans, so they would be my main superstar. Then, I used the Food Network to find a good black beans enchilada. I confessed to my sister and my friend Bianca, on gchat, that I had been searching for about half an hour for the perfect black beans enchilada and none sufficed. You would think that with the internet at my finger tips I'd be able to find one, but instead, I found one to mimic and alter.

Main superstar:
The supporting cast:

And yes, Elise, that totally says "Soy" on the label. Proud? I chose soy because if you read yesterday's post, then combine the fact that I'm lactose intolerant, you would do the same thing. No messing with lactaid pills tonight.

I also conjured up Ate Pammy's salsa recipe. She posted it in a comment on This is for Porter. Although, I have to confess, "Ate, I did not do your salsa justice because I didn't use ripe tomatoes and used lemon instead of lime. It was a bit sour at first, then I had to pour out half of the Magic Bullet blended goodness so I could add riper tomatoes and half an avocado as well. I also put some cayenne pepper and paprika for a more reddish color. It's not as good as how you make it."

Ok, with that confession out of the way, here's the list of what I used for my fillers:
  • 1 can of black beans, drained
  • 1 chicken breast, cubed
  • 1/2 a red onion
  • a clove or two of crushed garlic
  • homemade salsa (not as good as Ate's)
  • 1/2 can of corn
  • 1/2 can of water chestnuts, quartered (inspired by the chicken enchilada Sandra makes cuz she adds these to them and cuz they were leftover from the other night)
  • a couple bunches of roughly chopped cilantro
  • paprika
  • cayenne pepper
  • cumin
  • s & p
  • extra virgin olive oil
I cooked the chicken with the garlic and onions first and threw in the powdered spices. When the chicken was nearly done, I added the black beans and my homemade salsa. Then just before turning the burner off, I added the corn, water chestnuts and the cilantro.
Sorry a bit blurry. Then toss when burner is off.
I used half of this mix to put into my tortillas since I only wanted to make a few for tonight and lunch the next day. The rest of the mix will be used as a separate meal, or maybe with other sides for another night. I was able to "roll" 5 of these blue corn tortillas and I use quotation marks because they did not stay rolled. I can say with confidence that I will not be using corn tortillas in the future. While they are tasty, there were some major cracking of the tortillas after I had placed them in dish, seam side down. No problema though, I just covered up the evidence with the soy cheese goodness.
Um, ya, I slathered on the soy cheese. I mean, even if it was real cheese and there wasn't tortilla break-age, I'd still coat this with cheese like it's my j-o-bizzle. Oh ya, so as not to have them stick on the dish, I added some of the salsa on the bottom before placing the enchiladas on top.

Side note: Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake for 15mins or until cheese has melted to your liking.
Looks good, doesn't it?! Job well done you!
Confession: This was actually the second plating of the enchilada because the first one didn't have as much color. I ended up adding chopped tomatoes and cilantro to garnish. What did I do with the first plate you ask? Um, I ate it of course! Soy cheese, you're my favorite new lover, well, second to Jamie Oliver that is.

Totally tooting my own horn here, but I want to share that my mama had some with me as a "snack" after just having dinner. And we may have left just barely enough leftovers for a lunch to pack for myself tomorrow.

Result = Happy Belly.

Operation Moderation = A big fat ZERO for the day.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Comfort in an old friend

Today, I did a bad thing.

I ate a handful of Jack in the Box seasoned curly fries. My boss had some for lunch, and since I had just finished my lunch about an hour or so beforehand, it was nearing snack time and they became the go-to snack. Bad Ethel! Curly fries are a no no. A few hours later, on my way home, the estomago was no bueno. All I wanted to do was be in a fetal position in bed and make the pain stop.

I thought, "Oh no, what am I gonna to eat for dinner now?"

Seriously, who thinks about their next meal while their stomach is in severe agonizing pain? Um, this girl. So while I was driving, I made up my mind to eat something sorta bland that evening, maybe incorporate my leftover tofu. As I got closer to home, I pulled into this Japanese market nearby to pick up miso soup mix and udon noodles. I recall a few years ago when I came back from snowboarding all black and blue with bruises and my best friend at the time made this delicious udon noodles soup with baby bok choy and chicken. The combo of the warmth of the soup and the fact that it was made just for me, felt so comforting that I decided that dish would make my stomach feel better.

I purchased a side of Pepto along with my miso and udon mixes.

White miso soup mix:
The clerk told me that the white kind was the most popular. Only $3.19 for a 3 pack.

Basically, this mix only requirement was boiling water. I decided to be more adventurous and add 1/4 block of my leftover tofu while the water was boiling, then added the miso mix.
Would you like some miso soup with your tofu? Lol. A little too much tofu you think? Me thinks not!

After I had my appetizer, I decided my stomach can handle more foods. Unfortunately, I don't think it wanted more soupy products, so I decided to alter my udon noodles concoction. Here's the mix I bought:
This mix only required boiling water as well. You throw the udon in the pot of boiling water, let boil for 2 min, then right before turning off the burner, you add the seasoning mix. Thank goodness we had baby bok choy left.
I added this into the pot after the seasoning mix, but kept it boiling for a bit longer to allow the bok choy and udon to soak up the flavor. A minute or two later, I drained the liquid and took out about half the udon noodles.
The rest of the contents, I put in a different bowl and put chunks of chicken breast pieces I took from my mama's baked chicken. Garnished with some green onions...and perfection!
It was nice that this had just a hint of the udon mix season. My stomach was pleasantly surprised. My mama even tried some and she really enjoyed it. She even made fun of me as I ate because the crunch from my baby bok choy was so loud it sounded like I was eating chips. I think that's a compliment to the fact that I don't massacre my veggies. This was totally the comfort food my stomach needed. Such a horror it went through after the curly fries consumption. Sorry stomach, I hope to avoid such fried eats in the future.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Eating Right Re-mix

I've been purchasing Eating Right single serve frozen meals sporadically in the past couple of years, mostly when they're on sale for only $2 a box. And to be honest, they're quite good. The only problem is, there's never enough of it to really satisfy my hunger. Sure they're good for snacks because they're only 280 calories, or maybe even a stretch at 350. But to be honest, while this is supposed to suggest how much one person should serve themselves, it's just not enough and I'm left feeling unsatisfied.

This time I had a plan. Take this box chicken teriyaki meal:
Place contents of box into a wok, then add a whole sliced up bell pepper (orange to be exact), additional already cooked chicken breast (maybe it was half a chicken breast, I can't be sure), "stir fry", and lookie here:

Serving size doubled in the flashiest of flashes! Result, a very satisfied customer.

Skip to tonight and I wanted to re-create this dish with tofu instead of chicken to help exercise the self control, a.ka. operation moderation. Mix a light soy sauce with brown sugar, taste to your liking. Then cube tofu and let marinate in the soy mixture.

Prep the veggies:

Bell peppers, water chestnuts, onion and green onions.

Toss the tofu in the wok with some crush garlic and grated ginger:
Throw in some crushed red pepper flakes for a bit of spice, then add the onions and stir fry until they become kinda clear. Mix in the rest of the veggies, plus some last minute baby bok choy:
Taste and add salt/pepper if necessary. This wasn't too shabby, but in the future, I may need to add that chicken and rice for added texture variety in my mouth. But, not bad for a veggie meal.

Such pretty colors, right? Do I think this counted as a single serving size according to Eating Right? Um, let's just say that this may have fed a small village in the PI if you threw some rice up in there. The plus side, I didn't finish it all, so I have leftover eats for lunch. =)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

A peek at our Easter eats

The handa (food spread or food menu) for today's Easter Eats included, but were not limited to, sinigang hipon and pancit bihon. I'd like to preface that the seasonings to flavor these dishes is not the o.g. way of doing things, and instead an "instant" powder was used.

Sinigang hipon - others may cook it differently, but the key ingredient is this Tamarind Soup Mix:

Sabaw = soup, Sampalok = tamarind. Next time, I'm gonna do the actual labor process of using real sampalok.

We used the shrimp with head and shell still intact and boiled this in a pot of water. After the shrimp turned a bit pink, remove shrimp:

Then with the water in the pot still boiling, add gabi (a form of taro, a root plant), tomato, onion and jalapeño.

Throw in the boiling pot:

Add tamarind mix for the sour flavor and some fish sauce for saltiness. Let simmer until gabi is soft, like the consistency of potato before mashing. Then add the shrimp back.

When you're ready to serve it, throw in some veggies like eggplant:

And some kangkong, or water spinach:

Side note, put the veggies in the pot after you've turned the burner off so as not to have dilapidated or brown vegetables.

See how green vegetables can still be in this dish? Served with steamed white rice.

Next, the pancit bihon was prepared. And like the sinigang, instant seasoning care of Mama Sita was used:
A stock was prepared by boiling pork and chicken (bone in) in a pot of boiling water. While this was going on, we cut up onion, cabbage and carrots into matchsticks for the recado (this is all the ingredients that's not noodles). We used sotanghon noodles (vermicelli glass noodles) for this dish because they didn't break apart when tossed with all the ingredients.
Shrimp was pan seared in one of mama's giant woks and then remove from oil. Then add the onions, cut up pork and chicken, toss. Then add the cabbage and carrots.
Remember the stock that had the chicken and pork? Add the pancit bihon mix and let boil. Use this as the liquid to soften the noodles.
Then add the vermicelli noodles and stir to evenly cook all the noodles.

Two sandoks (ladle) are better than one.
After much stirring, and when the vermicelli noodles are soft, plate and serve.

If you have kalamansi (a type of citrus, like a non-oblong shaped kumkwat), serve on the side. Or else you can just use some lemon. Eaten during merienda (snack time).

As an extra added 411, we also had some lumpia, daeng bangus, pata in lutong toyo, boiled peanuts and mama's ginatan just in cases. What'd you have for your Easter Feast?