Tuesday, August 31, 2010

You look good, baby must taste heavenly
I’m pretty sure that you got your own recipe

Hawaii is all about the plate lunch. There is something soul-satisfying about eating salty protein with as much starch as possible - rice AND mac salad, that is - all tucked into a nice white take-out container. I definitely try to eat my share whenever I go back.

Having been on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives helped Nico's on the Pier become crazy crowded at lunch. Not that they needed the help - their food was GREAT. Ahi belly seemed to be the 'it' dish of the moment - as I saw it offered everywhere. Not what you'd expect - it's a really tender part of the fish, succelent and flaky. So that's what I tried at Nico's: Fried Ahi Belly.

It was nice and crisp, super moist and the tomatoes added the perfect amount of acidity. Being on a pier and all, the fish was brought in that very morning so you KNOW that stuff was fresh and you could taste it. The mac salad was a bit toooo mayonaizzzy for my taste, but it was still a great plate.I also went to the 'famous' Rainbow Drive In. For 45 years, this place has been serving some great classic plate lunch. They have NEVER CHARGED TAX, so that people know the exact prices. Love it. Crowded of course, it was a great lunchtime spot with a lot of daily specials and favorites.I went for the shoyu chicken plate. A hefty three pieces of chicken, rice and mac salad - it was DEELISH. Everything you could want in a plate lunch.

It inspired me to go home and make something just as salty sweet and satisfying...with pork of course. I made this in the slow cooker so I could go about my day. I threw together some ingredients (whatever I had) and popped the lid on. The SMELLS from this that filled my house...it was beyond heavenly. Now I just need to buy some styrofoam containers to recreate my own take-out food experience!

Shoyu Pork recipe, here.

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

What's the story morning glory?
You need a little time to wake up.

Shh. Do you hear that wooshing? It's the sound of my life fast forwarding. This week - it's a big week. Not only does the Kid start 1st grade but wait for it...THE BABY STARTS KINDERGARTEN. What. Hang on to your hats and glasses.

It's all happening so fast, it's sorta snuck up on me. I feel so unprepared...

I mean mentally unprepared. Prep-wise I've already got the backpacks.

I've been training them all week to get up early. Not going so well. The Baby is NOT a morning person and the Kid has had his first taste of 'summer' and there's no going back. So I have to coax them out of bed somehow...

I made cream cheese filled pancakes for the Kid and that really did the trick. What would you do for a Klondike bar? More like what would you do for cheese. Up at the crack of dawn. The Baby - not so cooperative. So I had to go another route, and that route was meat.

Just look at him - he loves that bacon so much he's practically kissing it. I guess I'll have to pave the road to school in bacon - a la Hansel & Gretel - just to get him there.

Cream Cheese filled Pancakes recipe, here.
Maple Syrup Bacon recipe, here.

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Friday, August 27, 2010

You say it's your birthday?

Today is my birthday.
It's been quite a week. I just want to eat taquitos, drink root beer and watch Cake Boss til I pass out. Maybe I'll make myself a cake. That too.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hele on

I went to Hawaii for a few days. It was sorta last minute, not very planned out - I didn't spend much time with family or friends, but what I did do? Was eat. And eat. And eat some more.

I went every place I could think of, so many new foods and new places. But I also visited some of my old faves - which thank goodness are still around. All this eating and tasting helped me come up with cool new recipes I hope to make soon. If there was a way to fit more than 3 meals in a day, I made it happen.

These are just SOME of the places I went to - I may go into detail soon, but for now - just pictures. Man, am I stuffed.

'Obama' shave ice (I guess he ordered these flavors) cherry, lime & lilikoi from Waiola Shave Ice

Root Beer mochi ice cream and Multiple Orgasm ice cream pie from Bubbies

Lemon Crunch Cake from Aiea Bowl

Root beer (see a trend?) shave ice w/mochi balls and ice cream from Ice Garden

Fried Ahi Belly plate lunch from Nicos (featured on Diners, Drive Inns and Dives)

Mochiquito! Mikawaya is L.A. based but I've never seen this! TOO CUTE.

Hello Kitty shaped mochi!! From the Sanrio Cafe - loved it.
See more of my visit to the Sanrio Cafe, here.

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Don't hate, cause my game's much, tighter than yours

It's been quite a week. People stealing my cupcake photos, stealing my recipes, what's next - someone's going to steal my Grandma? (Good luck to you on that one.) I don't know - I put things up here for a reason, to share, but I expect a link back, a mention or something. Just plain stealing doesn't sit well with me.

I guess I need to move on. I guess I need to let go. But when people do these things it makes me want to shut down these blogs for good. I am losing it mentally. I need to see a doctor...

Not that doctor.

I guess when life gives you lemons...eh, take them back to the store and get root beer instead.

Root Beer Chicken recipe, here.

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

I'll be back soon.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Lately there have been several incidents of people taking my content and photos and calling them their own. For that and many other reasons, I have decided to take a short hiatus from blogging - hopefully I will be back next week. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Drop it like it's hot

The Lemon Fairy. I thought she only visited once a year but she snuck onto my doorstep disguised as the TOMATO Fairy.

These are luscious little presents of happy goodness. You think Farmer's market tomatoes are good? They can't hold a candle to ones grown in your own back yard. These are sweet, delicious - the most flavorful tomatoes you will ever eat.

There were so many options of what I could do with them, but since I was in cupcake hell (i.e. baking and baking and baking) I knew I wouldn't have time to think about dinner. So I rummaged through my pantry and pulled out a bunch of ingredients. That is how this amazingly tasty dinner all came together inside of my crock pot.

Warm and flavorful, it really hit the spot after a long day of baking. The Veggie Fairy is smart. She knows I can't resist what is left on my doorstep and she knows I REFUSE to waste. sigh. I hope she turns into a Donut Fairy. I'm tired of baking.

Stewed Chicken and Tomatoes in the crock pot recipe, here.

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Sunday, August 15, 2010

I'm the greatest, something like Ali in his prime

When I was flipping through my VERY OLD Hawaii cookbooks I found something called "Ono Chili." In Hawaii they use the word 'ono' to describe something just over the top YUM. I was hard pressed to believe that it was that good - good enough that they could just flat out call it that? Come on.

I took a look at the ingredients and it sounded...ok. Not great. Then I looked closer and realized there were NO MEASUREMENTS. What. Now I really had to make it just so I could figure out for myself 1) was this chili really 'onolicious' and 2) how the heck could I cobble it together??

So I went to work and changed and added a few things and wrote down actual measurements for the ingredients and lo and behold it was...ONOLICIOUS. Beyond onolicious it was soon to become my go to chili because it just had so much great flavor, I couldn't wait to make it again!

So now if I ever happen to develop a recipe that I feel should proclaim itself to be beyond amazing, I'm just going to go ahead and add that to the title like they did. Look out for WORLD'S GREATEST PIECE OF PIE and I'D KILL A MAN FOR THIS MEATLOAF...coming soon to my new cookbook.

Onolicious Chili recipe, here.

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Friday, August 13, 2010

double trouble

I don't think I have ever seen...

chikara mochi

...mochi as beautiful as this.

(apple shaped mochi, grape mochi, coffee mochi, cherry shaped mochi.)

That is truly an art. As a mochi connisseur, I am 100% a Sakuraya devotee, but lately, I've been going just ONE BLOCK DOWN to Chikara mochi, too. All these years of mochi eating, and I never even knew it was there!

But I don't have to choose. I WON'T CHOOSE. I pledge the mochi allegiance. Now when I am in the neighborhood I go to...both. Be still my mochi-lovin' heart.

Chikara Mochi
16108 S Western Ave
Gardena, CA 90247

Sakuraya
16134 S Western Ave
Gardena, CA 90247

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

You say yes, I say no, you say stop and I say go, go, go

The comments I receive most often are "I love how clean your designs are." What can I say, I don't like fuss, I like simplicity. I think a lot can be conveyed with very little and it's also a lot harder than it looks to do things 'clean' - like. You can't hide mistakes.

Hello Kitty designs are a big influence for me because they do so much with such simple lines and colors, and the designs are timeless.

I wanted to make make some easy fondant toppers using plain white fondant - so I busted out my Tippy and Cathy cookie cutters. Yes, those are the bear and bunny's names. What? Yes, I know entirely too much info about the life of Hello Kitty and Sanrio.

In fact, if I had a crystal ball - I'd tell you that there was Hello Kitty shaped mochi in my future. That is the best future anyone would ask for.

Anyway - plain white fondant and a simple cookie cutter was so easy compared to last week's over the top Superhero cupcakes. It was kind of nice to not hand carve intricate details for once. The results were subtle but very cute!

Hello Kitty - Tippy & Cathy Cupcakes how-to, here.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Face off

Took a walk to the local taqueria to buy fresh tortillas...turned around to this.

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

You grew sun blind you thought me unkind, to remind you how winter kills

I am not complaining, I PROMISE. But this cool summer weather is throwing me for a loop. I am used to sweating and being angry and shaking my fist at the sun in August. But it's a mild, lovely - dare I say a perfect summer. I know I've just cursed myself.

This cold weather (60s and 70s) means I haven't been in the mood for many summer foods. I feel like I'm forcing myself to get into the spirit. So I made a little mini indoor cookout with MINI burgers of course.

Not wanting to do just plain burgers, I kicked these up a bit with the help of Sweet Chili Sauce. I had a huge azz bottle leftover from the last time I made lumpia - and what do you know, it went GREAT inside the burgers.

As summer comes to an end it makes me a little sad that these kids are growing up. That was until the Baby snuck up on me in the middle of the night with a baseball bat and Dracula fangs. Yeah. I'm ready for school to start.

Sweet Chili Sauce Burgers recipe, here.


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Sunday, August 08, 2010

I gotta be crazy! I'm on a pilgrimage to see a moose.
Praise Marty Moose!

Let's say you are on vacation and need to bring something back for someone. OR, let's say you are going back to Hawaii and you've been unemployed for a year and a half and totally broke but need to bring gifts for family. Er...hypothetically...

Bringing gifts back for people is called omiyage - and believe me it can add up. But I have a few tricks you see. And here's a twofer for you - this post can also be filed under "Disneyland tips." See, I'm here to help.

You don't even need to pay the $5000 entry fee to get into the park - oh no, you can buy this stuff right OUTSIDE in Downtown Disney AND the parking is free! Right in the center of Downtown Disney is Marceline's Confectionery. The smell of the candy is intoxicating and you can watch them make wonderful creations right in the front window.

While there are typical high priced resort sweets, here are pictures of some of the more affordable items that also pack really well in a suitcase:

Goofy's candies
There are plenty of bagged candies but look closely: the GOOFY ones are just $2.95. Other ones are almost DOUBLE that, so stick with Goofy! Gummies, lollipops and sours, these all pack well and have long shelf lives.

Minnie's Bake Shop cookies
Think totally cute Oreos. I'm a sucker for any cookie with a character on it, and these sturdy boxes hold a bunch of cookies for just $3.95 and the single servings are just $1.45! And I'm totally not ashamed to just give people the small box. They also have Gluten Free and Sugar Free cookies should you need that sort of thing.
Mickey's Chocolatears
There are other chocolates availiable but are they pricey - stick with these bagged loose candies (which are really tasty) are just $4.95. They also pack a lot easier into a suitcase.
Goofy's gummies
Let's say your two kids are running around playing 'lightsaber', driving you nuts while you are trying to make the decision of which candy to pack into your carry on bag. Again....hypothetically speaking. ANYWAY, this 4 pack of gummies is only $3.95 and for $1 a piece I'd say that was worth your sanity.

These are just a few things that I take back as souvenirs. They don't break the bank and are terribly cute. The trick is to not eat them all yourself before you get on the plane.

(Also - if you are still reading this - you'll notice the Mickey influence on today's recipe post...)
Bacon+Buttermilk Waffles recipe, here.

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Thursday, August 05, 2010

Look! Up in the sky!

Wow - the Comic Bug event was a HUGE success! I got to see so many friends and meet lots of new people. Thanks to everyone who came out and hopefully the Bug got a lot of new customers too!

The cupcakes were the star of the show - the most popular being...

...Phoenix! Everyone loved that cupcake! I didn't want to go with a typical Wonder Woman for a female Superhero so Phoenix was it - and I think the fanboys;/fangirls appreciated it. Sadly, Green Lantern didn't do so hot. Not one of them went. Poor, poor Green Lantern.

O.G. showed up - the minute she walked in the door she was recognized, I guess because she looks just like the pictures I've drawn of her all these years - or...what the hell is a 90 year old woman doing in a comic book shop? Hilarious. People were so excited to meet her and she couldn't figure out why...!

It was a great event and I'd love to do it again! But not too soon, I need to recover from hand carving all those Superhero cupcakes...

Superhero cupcakes how-to, here.

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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Like buttah

Tonight (Wednesday) is my event at the Comic Bug! I'm very excited and I've been making cupcakes like crazy: Red Velvet cupcakes and Ovaltine cupcakes to be exact. (sneak peek, here.)

It will also be the debut of my series "Superheroes and Sweets" - which is based on whatever pairing THE BABY comes up with, so you know it's going to be...good.

Having the Baby at home with me all day has proven to be helpful to both of us. I feed and cloth him and he acts as my Creative Director, feeling totally free to tell me exactly what works and what doesn't. Think of a 36 inch tyrant telling you that you've picked the wrong Pantone color.

ANYWAY. For the Superheroes and Sweets series we've been on the same page most of the time, save for his insistence that Phoenix eats butter. What. Suddenly she's the Paula Deen of the Marvel Universe.

While it would be funny to draw, it also grosses me out. So we're working on that one. But the first two: Batman + Cupcake and Wolverine + Donuts are finished! Also regarding this series, I got a really nice write up on Geek Gloss!

If you are in the L.A. area, stop by and say hi!

August 4 5pm-8pm
The Comic Bug
1807-1/2 Manhattan Beach Blvd.
Manhattan Beach, CA
(facebook invite, here.)

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Sunday, August 01, 2010

We've be on the run, driving in the sun, looking out for number one

This weekend the Food Librarian and I trekked allll the way down behind the Orange Curtain so that I could compete in the amateur division of Cupcake Camp O.C. There were tons of great cupcakes on display - mine was in the category "Childhood Inspired." There were so many great entries, it was a tough competition!

Arriving early we got to scope out the joint, all the professional bakers were there with great setups, including my friend Meringue Bakeshop who - WON the Professional division for 'Most O.C.' inspired with her Orange Crush cupcake. It was delicious - a well deserved win!

There were some really unique entries, smores cupcakes, ice cream sundae cupcakes, and wouldn't you know it - a 'chicken and waffle' cupcake with REAL chicken inside! Since I was entering the 'Childhood Inspired' category I made an Ovaltine cupcake with cream cheese frosting for my 'sleeping babies' to lie on.

When the event started it quickly turned to chaos. People were grabbing cupcakes left and right - you were allowed three Professional ones and I think 3 amateur ones, tho it seemed more like a free for all.

When it was my turn I put my first box of 12 out, turned around and literally turned back around to see all of them were gone! People were going nuts! I put out 48 total and they were all gone in SECONDS. Craziness!

While I didn't win my division - I still made the TOP THREE! yay! It was so neat to see so many people who love baking and eating cupcakes. Even though I only ate three cupcakes (as opposed to 30 at the last cupcake event) I still fell into a deep sugar coma - or maybe I was just claustrophobic as over 800+ people were in attendance. Whew!

It was a great event and I look forward to the next challenge!

'Childhood Inspired' Cupcake recipe, here.

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