Monday, October 27, 2008

My First Time With Butternut Squash

I've been so intrigued by this vegetable... I see butternut squash every... The grocery store, at restaurants, on But what is it? What does it taste like? How do you cook that big, doofy looking thing?!

After a few days of recipe searching, google-imaging, and blog browseing (if you haven't noticed yet, it takes a lot for me to commit to a recipe hahaha!), I decided I was going to make a roasted butternut squash stuffed with something...

I actually started on the filling first. I looked around my kitchen, and BAM... Quinoa, perfect! So I cooked up some quinoa. Now, I can't just stuff it with plain old quinoa... So I chopped up some onions, scallions, and oyster mushrooms and sautéed it up in a frying pan with garlic. I added some of the quinoa. Spices... I LOVE spices, so in goes the Garam Masala, more Curry powder, salt and pepper, and finished it off with about a tablespoon of Whole Grain Dijon Mustard. The mustard definitely gave the quinoa it's FLAVA....

So then, I cut the squash in half, scooped out the seeds, placed it on a baking dish, and roasted it with salt and pepper and some garlic powder in a 350 degree oven for about 45 Minutes.

After the squash came out of the oven, I was surprised with the amount of juices it had released! I stuffed the squash with the quinoa mixture. Then I sprinkled the top with some freshly ground cinnamon and chopped pecans!

It was really really good! I can see it becoming a new obsession (the butternut squash, that is). I've seen many different recipes so maybe next time, I'll try a curry or a soup!

But nothing will ever replace my SERIOUS obsession for Kabocha Squash. I eat it every day :-)

Saturday, October 25, 2008


My second time... just as good as the first time!

Kyo-Ya is a Japanese restaurant that really takes pride in using extremely seasonal ingredients. From their vegetables to their fish which a lot of times is flown in from Japan that day, every day their daily special revolve around what they "caught" that day.

The vibe of the restaurant is so chill. Its asian-loungey fusion. Haha if that makes sense. There is a sushi bar type area and theres also tables and a Japanese style sitting room. They play jazz.

The food is just so fresh. You can taste the freshness in every bite. The flavors are unique and the chef really exaggerates the importance of each flavor in a dish.

Last night, my mom and I tried a few new dishes:

1. Uni and Scallop Shiokara

2. Poached Shirako in Ponzu with Scallions and Momiji Oroshi

3. Sashimi: Katsuo, Uni, Shima-Aji, Hirame, Engawa, Saba

4. Self-Grilled Matsutake and Yamaimo with Satoimo and Ohitashi

5. Dashimaki Tamago

6. Agedashi Anago and Tofu

7. Matsutake, Chicken, and Mitsuba Takikomi Gohan

8. Kuromame Anmitsu

My favorite was the Shirako (its cod sperm... yum!)... it was my first time having Shirako, and it reminded me of Ankimo and Foie Gras and other liver type, rich tasting foods. Apparently, it is also Matsutake season! I have had Uni at Kyo-Ya before and I loved it! This time was no different... it was sweet, rich, and creamy.

Other memorable dishes that I had last time that I would recommend are definitely the Ebi Shinjo (Shrimp Mousse Balls) and Sweet Potato Tempura.

Kyo-Ya (Menupages)
94 E 7th St (@ 1st Ave)
New York, NY 10079
Phone: 212-982-4140

Savory Oatmeal

Thank you Kath Eats Real Food for opening up my eyes to the world of savory oatmeal!

Oatmeal with roasted onions, roasted pumpkin, parmesan cheese, a fried egg, scallions, and hot sauce...


Oatmeal on Foodista

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Best Oatmeal Cookies EVER!

These are seriously the best oatmeal cookies I've ever made... they are crispy on the edges, a little bit of chew (enough to be able to bend without it crumbling), and the inside is airy and light!!!

They are called Crispy Salted White Chocolate Chip Cookies
For some reason, I always just assumed oatmeal cookies should have lots of spices like cinnamon and nutmeg and definitely raisins! This cookie goes against both oatmeal cookie requirements!

I found the recipe on Smitten Kitchen

The flavor is just incredible. Just like Smitten Kitchen said, even if you're not a white chocolate fan, you will love them in this cookies... the richness of the white chocolate goes perfectly with the salt! I L-O-V-E the sweet & salty combo!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Happy Birfday Kyuta!

Kyuta is my older brother. He is 26 years old (tomorrow). But we celebrated today!

This is Kyuta wearing his new, loud, obnoxiously awesome hoodie that I got him for his B-Day!

His birthday dinner was prepared by the best chef ever: My Mom!
Today's menu was awesome... lot's of those comforting, only-mom-can-make-it-well, kinds of dishes!

1. Chu-toro and (Blanking on the name of the certain clam) Sashimi Salad

The salad was made with daikon radish, shiso, myoga, and mitsuba. My mom and I made this awesome wasabi dressing with olive oil, vinegar, soy sauce, and salt and pepper!

2. Sweet Kabocha Squash with Chestnuts

3. My favorite: Macaroni Gratin

A little bit burnt but it was still D-E-L-I-S-H!!!

4. Shabu-Shabu Pork Slices Rolled in Cabbage

5. Another one of my favorites: Oden

6. Chestnut and Red Bean Mochi Rice


And of course, a cake from Lulu's!

Yeah... my brother likes skulls! The cake was so cute!

This face is priceless... and look at those fists!!!

Rhapsody In Raspberry is what its called... I believe it was a lemon cake with lemon curd and raspberry sauce...And how was it?


Kabocha on Foodista

All About Applesauce

Even after baking my delicious apple cake, I still had like a million apples left... So I made APPLESAUCE!

I like how there are still pieces of skin!

The recipe I used was from FoodBlogga... it appealed to me because of the simplicity of the ingredients. Actually, it was probably the same as many of the other recipes... but I liked her post!

Also, I substituted honey for the sugar just because I love honey, and instead of ground cinnamon, I cooked it with a cinnamon stick! It came out SO delicious! I hadn't eaten applesauce in like years, but I've been having it every morning with my oatmeal with some raisins and pecans!

Yeah... not an attractive picture but who cares when it tastes SOOOOOOO good!?

So now that I have too much applesauce, I needed to use the applesauce up... it's a never-ending, vicious cycle!!!

Applesauce on Foodista
I immediately thought of Pork Chops.

So for me and Ed's budget-friendly, Friday night dinner, I made delicious pork chops, with cheddar and applesauce!

Ed's Plate: Mashed Potatoes, 3 Pieces of Pork with Melted Cheddar Cheese, and of course Apple Sauce

My Plate: Roasted Eggplant, Zucchini, and Kabocha Squash, 1 Piece of Pork with Melted Cheddar and Roasted Onions

Why does cheddar, apples and onion taste so good together?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

More Apple Picking and Doughnuts!

Today, I was invited to my friends official Fall party get-together. Me and Ed missed out on the morning Pumpkin Pancake breakfast but we tagged along to go apple-picking at Outhouse Orchards! Of course I did not pick any apples because I still have so many apples left from last weekend!

The drive up to North Salem was quite nice. The leaves are finally turning colors. However, it was like so warm today which threw me off!

Before getting to Outhouse Orchard, I requested a quick pit stop at Salinger's Orchard. This is because I heard from a little birdie that their apple cider doughnuts are the shizzzzzzzzzz....

And how were they?

1. Piping hot!!! So fresh! The doughnut machines were pumpin' those babies out!

2. Perfect. They were so light and fluffy... the doughnuts at the Orchards of Concklin were much more dense compared to these!

After our incredible doughnut stop, we were stuck in massive traffic to get to Outhouse Orchard but we got there!

It was PACKED! I dunno if it was a special Fall Festival day but they had goats, games, and food stands!

Here are some fun pics of the crew:

Ed's almost 6 feet!

I am disgruntled by the fact that I barely reached the 5 foot mark!

Eric's shirt matches the pumpkins!

Me and my girlie Double D!

Having issues posing for the pic...

No, Steven! It's not gonna taste like Pumpkin Cheesecake!

The apple trees! I must say, the apples weren't great, the trees were very disorganized, and there were too many people! For serious apple picking, go to Orchards of Concklin!

All in all, today was a wonderful day filled with Smiles, Sugar, and Sunshine!

Salingers Orchard
230 Guinea Road
Brewster, NY 10509
Phone: 845-277-3521

Outhouse Orchards
130 Hardscrabble Road
North Salem, NY 10560
Phone: 914-277-3188

Thursday, October 9, 2008

An Abundance of Apples

What do you do with so many apples after you have a beautiful day of apple picking?!

I personally spend hours and hours on Epicurious, Allrecipes, Food Network, Chowhound, Google, etc., looking for recipes and ideas to use up all these apples!

I was in the mood for apple cake because it just felt a little too early for apple pie. So I was on a mission. I didn't want just any kinda apple cake though. I wanted an apple SPICE cake.

After several hours, over a span of 4 days, I found the winning recipe...
Old-Fashioned Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting from the King Arthur Flour website.

I would have preferred a crispier apple (such as Granny Smith) but we only were allowed to pick


Red Delicious

As I finished mixing all the ingredients, I was really nervous because the cake "batter" was really chunky and crumbly like cookie dough... really firm!

See?! But after pressing it down into the baking pan with wet fingers (as it was suggested in the directions) it had more of a cake-like texture. But then it looked like I put in too many apples!

But no worries... after it came out of the oven, it was beautiful. Perfectly puffed and a nice golden brown. Not to mention the most delicious fall spice aroma EVER!!

After the cake cooled down, I released the beast...

The apples had carmelized and the sides were sticky and super moist.

And then came the sexy Brown Sugar Frosting drizzle down the side...

I know you want some!

Well, I got some...

And my verdict? EFFING AWESOME!!! It's so incredibly moist from the apples. There's plenty of spice. The nuts add the perfect amount of crunch. The frosting, I must admit I thought it was going to be too sweet, but it really was the perfect accompaniment to the apples!

The only changes I would make for the next time... USE CRISPIER APPLES! I prefer to have some crunch in baked apple goods.

Note to self: Next time, try a Mascarpone cream based frosting... I think the tangy-ness would go really well with the spicey-sweet apples. Or for a more playful take on this cake, some kind of Peanut Butter frosting? Apples and Peanut Butter... you can't go wrong!