Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Fried Tofu with a Soy-Lime Dipping Sauce

Tofu is normally not on my regular shopping list but i decided to pick some up to experiment with. After playing around with a few ideas, this fried tofu recipe ended up being one of my favorites.

I coat the cubes of tofu with cornstarch which gives it a really light airy crunch. Pair that with my fresh soy-lime dipping sauce and its a great snack.

Fried Tofu with soy lime dipping sauce

Soy-lime dipping sauce:
Soy sauce
Lime juice
Rice Vinegar

1) Drain all the juice from tofu and pat dry with a paper towel.
2) Cut the tofu into one inch cubes and coat liberally with cornstarch
3) Deep Fry until golden and crisp
4) While the tofu is deep frying, combine all the ingredients to make the dipping sauce. I didn't put measurements so you can make the sauce to taste. I typically put larger quantities of soy sauce and lime juice. If you want your sauce a little sweeter, try adding some honey to the mixture.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

(Better than) Carryout Orange Chicken

(Serves 2)
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 Tb Peanut/Canola Oil ( for the wok-additional oil needed for deep frying)
  • Flour (for coating chicken)
  • 1 Orange (1/2 cup of the juice and zest from rind)
  • 1/4 cup Chicken Broth
  • 1 Tb of corn starch
  • 2 Tb Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tb Honey
  • 1 inch Ginger Root- finely chopped
  • 1 clove Garlic- finely chopped
  • 1 Scallion- chopped
  • 1 Chili Pepper- finely chopped
1) Make Sauce: Combine orange juice, chicken broth, cornstarch, soy sauceinto a measuring cup and mix well--set to de side

2) Dice chicken into bite size chunks
3) Coat in egg batter, then flour. Repeat again
4) Fry coated chicken & degrease

5) In a wok with the peanut oil, add: ginger, garlic, spring onions, hot pepper, & orange zest
6) Once flavors release, add the sauce mixture and simmer until bubbling and thickened
7) Add chicken with broccoli and coat until completely covered

Friday, September 4, 2009

Crispy Wasabi- Basil Tuna Rolls

This tuna recipe is the 'effin' best- No Drake. Plus, its super easy to make!


  • Tuna Steaks-- the real stuff, non of that canned chicken from the sea ish
  • Wasabi paste
  • Basil
  • Spring roll wrappers
  • Salt-N-Pepa
  • Oil- for deef frying

1) Season fresh tuna steak w/ salt, pepper & wasabi paste

2) Arrange the spring roll wrappers so that the corner is facing you and the seasoned tuna steak is horizontal at the bottom of the paper

3) Put some fresh basil on the tuna

4) Wrap the tuna- tightly rolling up, fold right & left corners in to the center, continue to roll to the top; seal w/ beaten egg

*see my spring roll video for tips on how to roll

5) Deep fry 'em to your preferance- I like my tuna rare/ medium-rare

Monday, August 10, 2009

Califonia Luu-uuv

So I spent the last week and a half trekking through Cali and of course you know I was on the lookout for some good (and cheap) eats. I started off the trip in SanFran & the Bay area, worked my way south and finished off in San Diego.

This was my first time in the west coast, but I will most definately be going going back back to Cali Cali... I loved it!!!! SanFran's got so many interesting neighborhoods with tons of character and of course lots of great food. Here are my favorites from each neighborhood--


Easily one of the best I've been to... it shits majorly on the Starbucks flooded "Chinatown" we have here in DC. Aside from bangin' restaurants, markets and tea shops, there's some really dope retail and gift shops. One of my highlights was this fortune cookie factory that was hidden away in a small alley:

... I gotta get my hands on one of those cookie presses. Mmmm.... hot off the press cookies!!

The Wok Shop on Grant Ave was also one of my fav's :)

Chef Jia's (just outside of Chinatown) has one of the best Chinese food spots ever... and for de cheap! All of this was $5 + it comes w/ a bowl of hot and sour soup. Forget $40 a day... let's aim for 25!

The honey chili chicken had a thick batter and was perfectly fried, then coated with a sweet and spicy chili sauce- awww, man!

SF = best farmer's markets ever. I would love to spend my lunch break like this everyday:

Fisherman's Wharf:

Boudin's Sourdough bread factory at the Wharf was awesome. They've got fun bakery demonatrations and you can peep the whole factory from outside or sourdough museum. Check out their cute little bread animals & see them make it on site

And you can't go to SF & not get a sourdough bread bowl, mmm Mmmm... just thinking about it makes me salivate- No Pavlov

Golden Gate Park:

Be sure to pack your own food... there are endless picnic spaces here. Also stop by the Japanese Tea Garden for some warm tea w/ wasabi rice crackers and cookies.

I had some of the BEST Cambodian food here ever... easily the best I've had since being in Cambodia.

This sour beef salad was the BEST. The meat marinated in a citrus, chili's, sugar and fish sauce and served rare/ uncooked (similar to ceviche). It's later tossed with beansprouts, peppers, carrots, mint and other goodies before its served over a bed of salad.

They also have imported beer from Thailand and they make an AMAZING Lemongrass Iced Tea... (which I will be making at home from now on until the end of summer :) The service was top notch and the owner was super sweet. All adding to the wonderful experience.

Delicious + Affordable = all smiles :)


This sushi place was pretty cool. The sushi circles the table on a floating boat and you just pick what you like.

The concept was really cool, but you have to wonder how long some of the food had been sitting on those boats. Also, since the place was pretty packed it seemed as if the chefs (who were preparing the sushi in the center of the table) were sort of in a rush to get the food out and I think they skimmed on a quality a tad.

If you're in SF, definately take some time to checkout the Oakland scene. Its accessible on public trasportation (the BART) for a few bucks.

House of Chicken and Waffles in Jack London Square was one of my highlights:

Each dish is named after family members of the owner with portraits of each member painted the interiors walls. I had Paige's Palette: 2 Southern Fried Chicken Wings, 1 egg and a waffle... MMMMmmm! The waffle has a slight cinnamon taste that went perfectly with the maple syrup.

We need more joints like this in DC.

Check out pt deux of my California post where we make out way down south to San Diego

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Quite Possibly the BEST burgers in the DMV: Ray’s Hell Burger

Everyone loves Five Guy’s- and who can blame them? With real ground beef, never frozen, made to order burgers and unlimited free toppings, it’s hard to go wrong. They’re definitely a step up from your typical Mickey D’s.

Ray’s Hell Burger is sorta like Five Guys, but UPGRADED (no Beyonce).

First, they get the prime beef used for their burgers from Ray’s the Steaks, their sister restaurant and grind all the meat on site several times a day. From there, you can choose your burger style (seared with peppercorn crust, brushed with a spicy chipotle marinade, etc), doneness/ temperature, and toppings (for no extra cost). Toppings include classic such as grilled onions as well as your classics jazzed up a bit such as cognac & sherry sautéed mushrooms.

Now this place isn’t the cheapest but for a few bucks more than Five Guys, you can get some top quality ish! Your standard 10 oz burger with any of the toppings from the set list will cost you about $7 (no cheese). If you decide to add any of the specialty toppings such as seared foie gras with truffle oil or roasted bone marrow, you’ll be charged a few bucks more.

Like I mentioned earlier, cheese is an additional cost. Of course, they’ve got your typical Mozzarella, Munster, or Cheddar cheese, but if you really wanna go all out, this place offers specialty cheeses including Chimay a la Biere, Aged Danish Bleu and Imported Double Cream Brie.

If the endless choices and options make you dizzy, you can also order from a menu of burgers, all with nods to hip-hop artists, including the B.I.G. Poppa, the Fat Joe, and the Mack.

If you decide to check this place out, be prepared to make a get your hands dirty… any place that has rolls of paper towels at each table is sure to be a bit messy. The buns don’t hold the delectable, juicy patties very well and the bread tends to fall apart. Also, none of the hot, hell or heck sauce is very hot… at least not nearly as hot as I would like it to be.

Sides are great (but don’t expect any fries) and they feature a delicious draft root beer. Don’t expect to find a menu online (except here)- this place has no website… it doesn’t even have a sign outside.

If you do plan to venture out to Ray’s,
don’t forget to write down the address:

1713 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22209

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Brookland's Newest Addition: San Antonio's

I’ve been living in the Brookland neighborhood a few years now and while I love this area, my main grip has always been its lack of quality sit down restaurants. While I’ll kill some New Tong Shin (Thanks Jeremy) or Brookland Grill, sometimes the usual carryout joints just won’t do. So when I found out that a new joint was opening up at the site of the former Ellis Island Restaurant on 12th Street, I had high hopes.

I had been eyeing this place for a few months, but after reading about the owner in the Brookland Heartbeat, I had to try it. According to the article, Mr. Vargas, the owner of San Antonio’s was part owner of renowned DC restaurants Lauriol Plaza and Cactus Cantina in the 90’s and was the original owner of Banana Café on Capitol Hill, which he later sold to a friend. With successes like that, on top of the fact that this place is in my backyard I had to try it.

I would highly recommend trying this place during their Happy Hour (3-7pm, Mon-Sat). Specials include $3 margaritas, domestic beer and wine, $3.50 mojitos, and ½ priced apps. Their frozen Mango Margarita is delicious and you can't beat the HUMONGOUS nachos for 3 bucks!

The full menu features traditional Latin and Tex-Mex fares as well as American classics for about $12- $17 per meal. I had the Ropa Vieja (a traditional Cuban dish of shredded steak in a tomato based sauce) which was served with rice, black beans and fried plantains, while the mister had chicken fajitas. Both were amazing- cooked perfectly and seasoned just right. The service was meh- not bad, but not exceptional.

After all that food and some drinks, I definitely had to undo my button and struggled a bit to get home. This is a great neighborhood spot. I would definitely recommend it & can’t wait to share it with my friends and fam.

San Antonio Bar & Grill
3908 12th St NE
Washington, DC 20017

Monday, April 13, 2009

Shrimp Spring Rolls

The measurements for this recipe are estimates so feel free to play around with it. If you want to make this a vegetarian dish, simply omit the shrimp. Makes 12-15 rolls.

· 3 oz Vermicelli Noodles
· 2 Tb Oil (Vegetable, Peanut or Canola)
· 1/3 lb Shrimp- peeled &deveined
· 2 inch Ginger Root- finely chopped
· 3 cloves Garlic- finely chopped
· 2 Scallions- chopped
· 2 Carrots- shredded
· 2 Bean Sprouts
· 5 oz Spinach
· Small bunch Cilantro
· Spring Roll Wrappers
· 2 Tb Soy Sauce
· 1 Egg
· Oil, for frying

Preparing Ingredients:
Soak the vermicelli noodles according to the directions on the package and once complete, cut them into smaller pieces. Finely chop the ginger, slice the scallions, shred the carrots and coarsely chop the spinach, cilantro and shrimp. I recommend having all of the ingredients ready before you heat up your wok because everything will cook very quickly.

Cooking the Mixture:
In a hot wok, add oil, ginger, garlic, and scallions. Let this cook until the flavors release. Next, add carrots, bean sprouts, spinach, cilantro, soy sauce and noodles. Mix this together well so that your get an even bite of all the in the filling. Let this cook for a few minutes and once its finished, set the mixture aside and let it cool. Beat the egg in a small bowl and set aside.

Wrapping the Spring Rolls:
Peel the wrappers apart and cover with a damp towel to keep them from drying. Lay one of the shells in front of you with one corner towards you (like the shape of a diamond) and the other corners facing your right, left, and up.

Once the mixture is cooled, add a spoonful of the filling to the bottom-center of the spring roll wrapper. (If the mixture is not cooled properly, it could burn through your wrapper). Roll the mixture in the wrapper tightly but be careful not to rip the wrapper. Once halfway up, fold each of the two sides to the center and continue rolling up. When you get about one inch from the top of the wrapper, rub a bit of the egg wash on the wrapper to seal the spring roll.

Cookin’ It up:
Heat your frying device (deep fryer, wok with a few inches of oil, etc). Once all of the spring rolls are assembled and your oil is hot, slowly place the spring rolls in the oil and cook until golden brown. Degrease the spring rolls by placing them on paper towel. Serve plain or with a dipping sauce. I like to use a sweet chili sauce.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Bacon Wrapped Shrimp in a Spicy Papaya Salad

I was experimenting in the kitchen the other day and came up with winner- Bacon Wrapped Shrimp in a Spicy Papaya Salad. The sweetness of the papaya is balanced out by the spicy chili peppers and the savory bacon wrapped shrimp ties everything together. This dish offers a variety of flavors as well as textures. Hope you enjoy!

(Serves 2, or 1 if you're like me)
· ½ lb Medium Shrimp (about 14-20 pieces)
· 7-10 Strips of Bacon (half as many as you have shrimp)
· 1 Ripe Papaya
· 1 Serrano Pepper
· 1 ½ Limes
· 2 Carrots
· 4 oz of Baby Spinach
· 1 tsp Cumin
· Salt-n-Pepa for seasoning
· Toothpicks

Papaya Salsa:
Peel and seed the papaya & dice it into small cubes. Very very thinly dice the Serrano peppers into small pieces and add to the papaya. Add lime juice and zest, cumin & Salt-n-Pepa to the papaya mixture.

Tip: Cutting, peeling & dicing papaya

Use a regular vegetable peeler to peel the skin of the papaya. Cut the entire thing in half and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Slice the papaya lengthwise into long strips and then widthwise to create dices.
The Serrano peppers should be diced very small (you don’t want to bite into a big chunk of one of those)

Bacon Wrapped Shrimp:
Peel and devein the shrimp & season them with ½ the cumin & Salt-n-Pepa.
Cut the bacon strips in half and cook them partway in a skillet. Drain the excess fat from the pan and degrease the bacon on paper towels. Take the bacon and wrap each strip around the shrimp, securing the whole thing with a toothpick.

(Since the bacon takes longer to cook than the shrimp, the idea here is to cook the bacon partway before wrapping it. This way, when the bacon cooks with the shrimp later, both the bacon and shrimp finish cooking at the same time and the shrimp doesn’t overcook).

Once all the shrimps are wrapped, place them back in the skillet and cover with a lid. Turn the shrimp midway through the cooking and turn off the heat once finished cooking.

Assembling the Salad:
Shred the carrots and toss in a bowl with the clean spinach. Mix in the papaya salsa & top with the bacon wrapped shrimp (be sure to remove the toothpicks before serving). This salad can be served either plain or with a vinaigrette dressing.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

ipoh: An Asian/ Sushi Joint in Wooldey Park

I was in the Woodley Park neighborhood this weekend and had the opportunity to try iPoh, an Asian and sushi joint. Let me start off by saying that the service was exceptional!

Aside from your typical sushi dishes, the menu features rice dishes, noodle dishes and other entrees.

We tried the Buah Mango which features shrimp or chicken sautéed with shredded mango and bell peppers in a spicy mango sauce. The shrimps were a good size and the mixture that they served everything in was very tasty. The mango used in the dish wasn’t quite ripe (giving it a bit sourness that you would typically find in a green mango), but still somewhat ripe (giving it the sweetness that you would normally find in a well ripened mango). I it was a wonderful balance of sweet and sour mixed with the spiciness from the sauce. The dish was beautifully served directly in the mango skin which was used to make the dish.

The Sunshine Roll (sushi) which is roll made with fresh mango, mint, and cucumber then topped with salmon was wonderful. Nick even liked it (and I didn’t even have to get him drunk). We also tried a couple of sushi classics including a tuna avocado maki roll, and a vegetable tempura maki roll which were both prepared nicely and comparable to your typical sushi joint.

Overall, I would recommend this place. It’s a great spot for a casual meal, prices are moderate ($9- $13 a meal during dinner), and the service was phenomenal.

Other minor details: This place has a free delivery service from which you can place your orders online at their website (http://www.ipohusa.com/) and it doesn’t serve any alcohol.
This quaint space is great for a casual dinner. As you can see, the sushi bar only seats 6 people.
Located on Connecticut Ave, directly across the Woodley Park/ Adams Morgan Metro

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Simple Veggie Flatbread Pizza

· Pizza Dough (see flatbread pizza recipe below or use store bought dough)
· 3 Tbs Olive Oil
· 2 handfuls of Spinach
· ¼ Tomato
· ¼ Red Onion
· 4 Mushrooms
· ¼ Bell Pepper
· 4 oz Italian Blend Cheese
· 8 leaves of fresh Basil
· Italian Seasoning- for seasoning
· Crushed Red Peppers- for seasoning
· Ground Black Pepper- for seasoning

Grease a pizza pan with butter (I used a 12” air-bake pan). Stretch the dough to the edges of the pan and cover it with a towel. Let it rise for about 30 minutes or until it doubles in size.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. While the dough is rising, prepare the topping for the pizza by slicing the tomato, onion, mushrooms and bell pepper into whatever size you prefer.

Once the dough has risen, make depressions in the dough with your fingers and form a crust. Brush the top of the pizza dough with 3 Tb of olive oil.

Now it’s time to form the pizza!!! Place the spinach, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, and bell peppers directly on the flatbread. Season the pizza with Italian seasoning, crushed red peppers, and black pepper. Add the shredded cheese on top and season the entire pizza again. Put the pizza in the oven and bake on 400 degrees for 13 minutes or until the bread is cooked.

Once the entire pizza is finished, top it off with fresh basil (either in thin slices or whole) & serve.

Here’s how I made the Flatbread Pizza Dough:

· ¾ cup of water
· 2 Tb of olive of vegetable oil
· 2 cup bread flour
· 1 Tb sugar
· 1 tsp salt
· 1 ½ tsp bread machine or dry active yeast
· 3 Tb of olive

Place all of the ingredients into your bread machine (except the 3 Tb of olive oil) according to the directions on your machine. Most machines will have the wet ingredients first, dry ingredients on top and yeast last (so that it’s not touching the water).

Select the Dough/ Manual Cycle and start.

Remove the dough from the pan (lightly flour your hands to keep the dough from sticking to you). Cover and let it rest for 10 mins (your bread machine may already factor this rest time at the end of your dough cycle).

Monday, March 30, 2009

Amaretto Chocolate Fondue

This is a super-simple chocolate fondue recipe is great for a nice, quiet at home date (and did I mention how inexpensive it is?).

If you don’t have a fondue pot, don’t fret, you can serve this straight outta the pan. If you don’t get down with the amaretto feel free to replace it with any liqueur you like (try: Grand Marnier or Kahlua, mmmmm).

1 lb semi-sweet chocolate, chopped or morsels
¾ cup heavy whipping cream
¼ cup of amaretto liqueur
Handful of sliced almonds

Dippers: Bananas, Strawberries, Pound Cake (feel free to use whatever other dippers you prefer. Apples, brownies, pineapple or marshmallows also work well).

In a small sauce pan, bring whipping cream to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate until smooth. Stir in amaretto and serve in fondue pot on low (if applicable). Top with sliced almonds and serve with chopped bananas, strawberries & pound cake on the side.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Adele’s Chicken Sandwich

It’s been a while since I’ve been back to the University of Maryland and it’s been even longer since I’ve known anyone with extra dining hall points that I could mooch off of. In order to appease my yearning for an old college favorite, I decided to re-create the infamous Adele’s chicken sandwich at home.

(Makes 4 sandwiches)

4 Kaiser Rolls (sandwich buns)
2 chicken breast- boneless, skinless
6 slices of bacon
1 apple
4 oz Brie cheese
3 Tb Poultry or Grill seasoning

Carefully butterfly each chicken breast into 2 pieces. Flatten each piece by pounding it out *pause.* Season both sides with poultry (or grill) seasoning and Salt-n-Pepa.

Cut the bacon strips in half, cook in a hot skillet (or however you prefer) and set aside.

Cook the chicken breast in a hot skillet (or grill pan if you have one) over medium heat until cooked and brown on both sides.

While the chicken is cooking, thinly slice the apple (½”- ¼” pieces) and slice the brie cheese into thin pieces small enough to stack on your sandwich.

Assemble your sandwich by placing the chicken breast (and whatever condiments you like) on the roll. Stack the sliced apples, brie cheese and bacon on top and heat in a toaster/oven until the cheese is melted (be careful not to burn your bread though).

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

If Loving You is Wrong, I Don't Wanna Be Right

I love food. I mean I really love food. Like really really. From heart attack having-fried goodness to raw greens and “rabbit” food, I don’t discriminate- I love it all. I’ll eat any cuisine, prepared any way, from any kitchen, any time of the day (well almost).

I think my appreciation for good food came from my lack of quality food as a child. Now don’t get me wrong, my mother can really throw down in the kitchen (or parking lot, or beer store, or wherever she can get a fire going and a pot) but having to work so much, she didn’t have much time to cook for us and the few meals she did cook were traditional Cambodian dishes (MMMmmm MMMmmm and MMMmmm!!!), leaving my siblings and I to fend for ourselves on a next to nothing budget.

Growing up, my meals primarily consisted of either:
· Soy sauce with rice and a fried egg (occasionally we would change it up with a hard-boiled egg and if we were lucky, we had some Chinese Sausage *pause*);
· Raman noodles (or the Thai/ Cambodian equivalent… Mii Mama... ahhh);
· Bread dipped in sugar; or
· Whatever my parents brought home from their jobs at 7-11

When I moved away to college, my life changed:
1) I had access to a card allowing me eat anything of my choosing from a cafeteria style eatery (shout outs to the South Campus Dining Hall)
2) I discovered cable TV (and subsequently The Food Network), and
3) I met my nick (who happens to be a darn good cook!).

From that moment on, I never looked back. I started experimenting in the kitchen more, whenever I ate out at restaurants I would try to decipher the different flavors and recreate the meals at home and I cooked for friends and family often.

Fast-forward a few years later, and here I am- 24 years-old, living in a cramped DC apartment, daydreaming about my next meal.