Monday, September 10, 2012

Senator Hollings Cream Cheese Biscuits

I had spotted these biscuits on Pinterest and they just called out to me. The best thing about these?  You can make them ahead of time and leave them in your freezer!  I made these for the boyfriend and we devoured them with some porkchops. 

After finally writing about these months after I made them, I totally want to make some again and keep them in my freezer.  Perfect for fall once soups and stews are in season, just pop a couple in the toaster oven and you’ve got the perfect meal!    


Senator Holling’s Cream Cheese Biscuits
adapted from Southern Biscuits

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 1/3 cup self rising flour
butter for brushing biscuit tops

1.  Pulse together cream cheese, butter and 2 cups of flour.  Mix together until the dough becomes a ball.  Turn the dough onto a piece of wax paper and divide into two rounds.  Wrap in wax paper or plastic bag and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes at least

2.  When ready to bake preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Lightly flour a smooth surface and roll each dough ball into 1/2 inch thick.  Using a biscuit cutter, start from the outter edge and work your way in.  (Resist the urge to twist the biscuit cutter).

3.  Using a spatula move the biscuits to a baking sheet, placing them 1 inch apart.  Bake the biscuits for 10-12 minutes, rotating the pan so that they brown evenly.  When the biscuits are done, lightly brush the tops of the biscuit with melted butter.  Turn the biscuits upside down on a plate to cool.  (Serve them right side up)

These are so good with a pat of butter and some jam, a slice of ham and cheese or with eggs in the morning! 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Good Eats in Savannah

Last month I went on a short Southern Adventure down to Savannah, Georgia.  I met up with my friend Chelle who was there for work in Augusta.

The first night I got there we wanted to try out the famous Mrs. Wilkes’ fried chicken, but we realized they are only open for lunch!!   It was quickly on to plan B, Sweet Potatoes Kitchen!  When we pulled up we got excited since their marquee claimed they had the Best Banana Pudding in the WORLD- according to Andrew Zimmerman!  

photo 3 

For my dinner I went with Corn Pudding, Brussel Sprouts and Peach BBQ Chicken. 


Chelle got Macadamia Nut crusted Chicken with a peach salsa, Cheesy Grits and Tomatoes and Okra.  This was totally yummy and I want to try to make the chicken soon!   


Of course we had to try the Banana Pudding…  It did not disappoint!  And Chelle wanted to try the Chocolate Pecan Pie which was pretty good too. 


The next morning we decided to walk a mile to the Farmers Market at Forsyth Park (same park they filmed Forrest Gump at).  Let me tell you, it was so hot and humid!! 



I wanted to buy all of these jams!  Ginger Lemonade, Grapefruit Lemon Lime?  Yes please! 


It seriously was so hot at 9am, I could not resist getting a Peach Ice Pop to help cool me down.  Speaking of peaches, they looked gorgeous at the farmers market!


After freshening up, we were on our way to Tybee Beach!  These beaches were so different from the ones I grew up with in Hawaii, or the ones that I see in Los Angeles. 


We hung at the beach for a bit and then decided to grab some beer and lunch.  By the way, did you know that Savannah is one of the few cities that allows you to walk around with an open bottle of alcohol?  Anyways, we decided to stop at Shrimp truck and see how the South did their Shrimp!  Gerald’s Pig and Shrimp is so similar to the shrimp trucks I would see back home in Hawaii. 



The star of the show was the jalapeno hush puppies (can you believe how many we got in one order?) and the Cajun shrimp was expertly seasoned.  They had an amazing hot sauce too, I wish I had taken a picture of it. 

In part 2 I’ll share with you the best meal we had in Savannah at The Olde Pink House and our last stop, Bojangle’s!  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Pumpkin Mochi

I made this to bring over to my friend Linly when we went over to meet her new son Liam!  This is like Butter Mochi with some pumpkin flavoring, I had been wanting to try this for ever! 


Pumpkin Mochi
from Friends Husband Ed

1 box mochiko
2 tsp baking soda
29 oz Pumpkin Puree
1 cup butter, melted
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
4 eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl combine mochiko and baking soda.

2.  In a large bowl combine all other wet ingredients and add in dry ingredients.

3.  Pour mix into a greased 13x9 inch pan and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.  Allow the cake to cool for several hours and then cut and serve.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Crockpot North Carolina Style BBQ

Sometimes your love life bleeds over to your cooking.  You may have remembered all the great eats I had when I visited North Carolina last year for my friends wedding and I have been infatuated with the South ever since.  I was also lucky enough to start dating a “Southern Gentleman” from North Carolina. 


I needed a crockpot dish for a work potluck and when I saw this I knew it was a great opportunity to test run a dish I could make for my boyfriend.  I served it on King’s Hawaiian sweetbread rolls, so it was a little bit of me and a little bit of some Southern goodness as well.  It was a perfect match! This dish is so easy and while it may create a vinegar sauna in your house, its well worth it.  The pulled pork was a hit at the potluck. 


Crockpot North Carolina Style BBQ
adapted from Allrecipes

6 lb Pork Shoulder or Pork Butt
1 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2-3 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. Texas Pete’s Hot Sauce
2 tsp. cayenne
2 tsp. red chili pepper

1.  Place the pork shoulder in the crockpot and season well with salt and pepper.  Pour the vinegar around the pork.  Cover and cook on low for 12 hours. 

2.  Remove pork and shred with a fork.  Reserve 2 cups of the liquid and add in all the seasonings.  Add the pork back in and mix well.  Leave on warm till you serve. 

I would let the pork sit in its juices for at least 30 minutes.  I found that the sauce developed in taste the longer it sat.  Serve these with your favorite rolls/buns, another dash of Texas Pete’s hot sauce and some coleslaw for one of the best sandwiches! 

Another simple Southern style dessert that takes minutes to make when you get a little help from Trader Joe’s is Strawberry Shortcake.  I had seen these Shortcake Biscuits at TJ’s and had wanted to try them.  They do not disappoint!!


Just serve with some berries and a dollop of whipped cream. Perfect for summer nights!  Thanks Trader Joe’s!!


Monday, June 4, 2012

Spaghetti with Braised Kale and Sausage

I have been traveling so much lately, I have hardly had the chance to cook.  Once my travels died down, I just wanted to create something simple, hearty and fresh.  I thought this Braised Kale Spaghetti I saw was perfect! 


Spaghetti with Braised Kale and Sausage
adapted from Bon Appetite

2 lbs. Lacintano Kale (2 bunches), torn into pieces removing the stem
1/2 lb. spaghetti
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
4 garlic chicken sausage links, sliced
1 cup baby heirloom tomato, sliced
Parmesan cheese

1.  Rinse kale and drain, allowing some of the water to still cling to the leaves.

2.  Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan, add in the diced onions and cook till they become translucent.  Add in the minced garlic and sprinkle with salt and cook until the onion pieces start to turn golden brown.  Stir occasionally.

3.  Add kale and more olive oil to the pan.  Cook until kale is wilted.  Cover pot and cook on medium low until kale is super tender.  Stir occasionally and add in Tbsp.'s of water if the kale seems dry.  Cook for 5minutes, in the last five minutes add in the sliced baby tomatoes.

4.  In another pan either grill or pan fry the chicken sausage and set aside. 

5. Cook spaghetti in a medium pot and reserve 1/4 a cup of the cooking liquid before draining.

6.  Add kale mixture, sausage and noodles together in large pot/pan.  Add lemon juice and 2 Tbsp. cooking liquid and season with salt as needed.  (Add in more cooking liquid if needed).  Toss to combine and grate parmesan cheese over the top before serving.   

This pasta is nice and refreshing with the lemony light sauce and to be honest I love anything with kale in it.  It might be a little on the girly side, but the boy seemed to enjoy it too. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Short Order

Today is national Burger day!  A lot of burger places are having special burgers to celebrate all month long.  Short Order is the latest of many gourmet burger joints opening up in LA.  Located at The Grove, this place is the collaboration of Amy Pressman and Nancy Silverman.  Perfect for sunny summer days, this sits on the edge of the original Farmer’s Market.  The best thing about this place?  Is that it has an amazing bakery sorta attached to it as well!!  

ShortO1My friend and I decided to try one of their burgers (they’re known for their high quality beef) and I had wanted to try the pretzel pups.  We also got an order of Short Order Spuds with Truffle Salt.  These are basically like rough cut potatoes tossed in yummy truffle salt.  

ShortO2For our burger we went with Nancy’s Backyard Burger.  It starts with dry aged beef, applewood bacon, avocado, tomatoes, onions and lettuce.  The meat was so delicious, I want to go back and try the Patty Melt!  I wasn’t a huge fan of the lettuce they used (maybe too much?) I think I prefer shredded lettuce or no lettuce on my burgers.  The big leaf is always so hard to eat and ends up slipping out and sliding down your face.  No bueno when eating it on a date!  

ShortO3The Pretzel Pups weren’t what I had imagined.  For some reason in my head I had imagined mini sausages encased in pretzel dough!  But they were actually just smaller sausages and pretzel buns.  I am a sucker for a pretzel but with sauerkraut so I enjoyed it, but my friend thought that these were just so so.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Shrimp and Grits

I have been wanting to try Shrimp and Grits for about a year now.  Sometime last year I saw it popping up on a lot of food blogs and thought it looked so simple and delicious.  I called my friend Charlotte who lives in North Carolina to see if she had a good recipe for me to use.  She didn’t, but she told me that Hominy Grill had the BEST Shrimp and Grits that she ever had! 


Shrimp and Grits
adapted from Hominy Grill
(serves 2-3)

1 lb. shrimp (approximately 15 shrimp)
1 Tbsp. flour
3-4 bacon slices
1/2 Lemon, juiced
1/2 box of mushrooms, sliced
1 Tbsp garlic, minced
Green onions, sliced

Cheesey Corn Grits
Grits (Prepare as directed on package)
Cheddar Cheese

1.  Peel and devein shrimp.  Toss in flour until lightly coated.

2.  Prepare grits as directed on the package.  Add in 1 cup of fresh corn kernels and 1/2-3/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese. 

3.  Cook bacon until crisp, set aside on a paper towel and allow to drain.  Chop into pieces once cool.  Reserve some of the bacon fat.

4.  Cook the mushrooms in some of the bacon fat.  Add in shrimp and sautee until the shrimp are pink.  Add in garlic, lemon juice, Tabasco and season with salt.  

5.  Serve immediately over the Cheesey Corn Grits and garnish with bacon.   

This dish did not disappoint!  The grits were a little rich for my taste, I might go with a little less butter and cheese next time (I used skim milk to make it).  This is a nice comfort food dish that is easy to make!  Perfect for the summer too!


Friday, May 11, 2012

More Vegas Eats!

This most recent trip to Vegas I was there for almost an entire week.  We were lucky enough to stay at the Mandalay.  While we were there I went to an event at the Shark Tank.



My boss and I also made a quick getaway to downtown Las Vegas to the Freemont area.  I took her to the casinos that every Hawaii person knows, the California and the Plaza!!  As we stepped into the Cal, we were literally transformed back to Hawaii.  Everywhere we looked we saw local looking couples!  I took her upstairs to Aloha Specialties, which had all my local favorites!  It was a tough choice, but I opted for the Korean Chicken plate with a side of haupia and my boss got the Teri Beef Bowl. 


We had enjoyed our dinner at Hubert Keller’s Fluer so much, that we decided to try his other place at the Mandalay; the Burger Bar.  I had planned on getting the sliders- which had three different types of burgers!  (Traditional Cheeseburger, a buffalo burger with caramelized onions and an angus burger with  bacon).  My boss did order this though and they looked so cute!  At the last minute I changed my mind and went with the Hubert Keller Burger, which was a buffalo burger on a ciabatta bun with caramelized onions, blue cheese, spinach and a red wine reduction sauce. 


Look how cute the sliders are!


I got my burger with zucchini fries with a basil aioli dipping sauce.  We also all go to try the mozzarella sticks and the onion rings as well. 

In my earlier trip to Vegas we also had the chance to eat at Mario Battali’s Otto Enoteca Pizzeria.  The meal was simple, delicious and excellently pre-pared!!  We started by sharing one of Mario’s famous pizzas and an Octopus Salad.  Both were amazing!!


Mmm we went with the pancetta and goat cheese pizza to share!  So good, I want to try the eggplant pizza next time I go back. 


This salad was so good!  Simple fresh and expertly prepared.  It had octopus, potato and celery with a light and fresh vinaigrette. 


For my main I had a linguine with shrimp sauce that was super yummy.  The thing I love about Mario Battali’s restaurants is that things are cooked expertly and simply so the ingredients are able to shine through expertly.  The pasta was a perfect al dente and the portion was just right. 

That wraps up my Vegas eats!  We had stopped by at Bouchon for some pastries and also had a diner at Sushi Samba (which I didn’t take pictures of).  Both were so good… PS- Nothing beats a Bouchon croissant on the plane ride back to Los Angeles. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Eating in Sin City!

I’ve been so busy lately, I haven’t had a chance to post about some of the great eats I had on my two trips to Vegas this year.  Here is a quick recap of some of the amazing places that I visited!

Most recently I stayed at the Mandalay Bay, and we got to try many pf the great restaurants there!  On the top of my list was Hubert Keller’s place Fleur.  You may be familiar with Hubert Keller from Top Chef, every time I have seen his episodes I have wanted to try his cooking so badly.  I convinced my co-workers to eat there and it was a great meal! 


On the menu, a $5,000 burger!!


I didn’t try that, but I did try the Ahi Tuna Tacos and the French Onion Truffle Shooters.  I had done my research before hand and both items came highly recommended on yelp.  I was a little surprised at how small the tacos were, but they were super good! 


We also sampled one of the flat breads and the hummus and baba ganoush.  The flatbread was terrific! My coworkers split the Prime Tomahawk Ribeye with the roasted asparagus and the truffled potatoes (which were amazing and melted in your mouth!).  The meat was cooked to perfection and seasoned just right.    


I finished off my meal with the almond panna cotta that was topped with a honey tuile. 


Next on our list was Michael Mina’s Stripsteak, which was named Esquire Magazine’s Best Steakhouse in America!  The steaks here are poached in butter and then wood smoked to perfection.  The meal starts off with duck fat fries and a variety of dipping sauces.  That night it was old bay seasoning, ketchup and a truffle aioli. 


For my meal I decided to go with the Filet Mignon and all of the guys went with the American Kobe Rib Cap. 


Our table got a bunch of sides to share, Truffled Mac and Cheese, Brussel Sprouts, Artichoke Hearts with Goat Cheese and Chipotle Potatoes!!  We washed this down with a nice Silver Oak Cabernet as well!  My favorite sides were the truffled mac and cheese and the chipotle potatoes. 



For dessert I tried the dunkin donuts which came with a Jasmine Fudge, Chocolate and Salted Caramel dipping sauces.  YUM! 


There was a lot to eat so this is just part 1 of the Vegas eats!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Lunch at Sotto

A while ago my friend LT and I went to lunch at Sotto when it was DineLA.  It was by far one of the best DineLA’s that we have ever been too.  I can’t wait to go back for dinner one night, someone just told me that Los Angeles Magazine also named it as one of the years top 10 best new restaurants

We started our lunch off with some amazing cocktails!  I don’t know about you, but I take it as a good sign when drinks are served with clear, perfectly cubed ice cubes.  A bartender once told me that to make them appear perfectly clear, you need to use hot water to make the ice cubes. 


We tried the Grappa Don’t Preach and Dem Apples.  I am currently in love with Bourbon drinks, Dem Apples was so good!


We started off our meal with an amazing cauliflower almond soup, which I am still thinking about months later and some savory grilled pork meatballs. 


So good, the almond essence added such a nice complex dimension to the soup.  I need to learn how to recreate this!


For our main we had Casarecce, a perfect pasta with a lamb ragu.  This pasta was seriously cooked perfectly.  It was the perfect al dente and had so much flavor. 


The other main we had was highly recommended on yelp.  It was the crispy pork belly porcetto sandwich, this was so decadent, I can’t imagine eating the entire dish, but it was perfect to share.   


The desserts were solid, but nothing special in my opinion.  We went with the panna cotta and the chocolate hazelnut torte. 



Overall a great meal!  I really want to go back and try another pasta and their pizzas.  I highly recommend this place if you are in the LA area!