Monday, March 30, 2009

2nd Stop: Cafe Madrid

It was Anna's idea to eat appetizers at various places so we could eat more. With that in mind, I remembered my trip years ago to Cafe Madrid for tapas. I liked it, but never made it back. We arranged to meet my HS friend Tish there for lunch, and I'm oh so glad we did!

We each picked out 2 small plates and then we all shared. Everything was EXCELLENT. I so want to go back here!
We had white asparagus in a vinaigrette. How can you go wrong with asparagus?

And grilled marinated chicken. Yum.

And then the Andalucian Meatballs in Almond Sauce. I expected the sauce to be more flavorful. It was good, but pretty mild flavored. The meatballs were a blend of possibly pork and beef and maybe veal? We weren't sure, but we all enjoyed them.

This was easily my favorite. I forgot to take a picture before I got mine (a little over eager maybe?) Fried goat cheese with honey and caramelized onions. OH MY GOODNESS. Amazing. Really. I'm trying to figure out the "shell" on the goat cheese. I'm wondering if they weren't dredged in flour and then egg white and then flour again and lightly fried? It was a thin crispy coating, not heavy at all. Someone mention phyllo dough, but it was too perfect for that...I think it had to be dipped in something. At any rate, this is something I will recreate.
We each ate one, and then at the end when there was one serving of everything left, Tish said she thought the last piece needed to be split in half. I eagerly said I'd take the other half. Because we hogged the cheese, we let Anna have the last serving of chorizo in wine and garlic sauce, which was also very very good and probably my 2nd favorite item. We also had some papas fritas with a flavorful grated cheese on top. This was the perfect meal for a time we wanted sustenance, but didn't want to be miserable.

Now off to figure out how to do that amazing goat cheese. . .

First stop: Penzeys Spices

I *heart* Penzeys Spices. Their spices are fresh, cheaper than the grocery store, and walking into their store is like a sensory journey. From the cinnamons (yes, there is more than one kind of cinnamon) and vanilla to the flavorful curries to the every-kitchen-needs-them staples like cumin and oregano, it is a wonderful experience. I used to order from them via the Internet, but lately have been able to time trips to Dallas with my re-stocking efforts.

Look at all of the spices!

Curry. It's perfect for a non-Indian cook like myself who doesn't know where to start when making my own curries.

I like Penzeys so much that I spent more there than any other place we went except for one. Their products are THAT good.

Tokyo Sushi

This weekend was a fantastic, food filled weekend. It started with dinner at Tokyo Sushi at 75th and N. Western in OKC. My fellow food-crazy friend Anna and my friend Christie and I all met up at a Tokyo Sushi at 75th and N. Western in Oklahoma City for what was the beginning of a food-centric 30 hours for Anna and I.

I'm fairly new to traditional Japanese food. I've had and enjoy the Hibachi style that you find in US cities, but how can you go wrong with steak, rice, and veggies cooked in front of you?
I'm wanting to try sushi more, because I think I *might* like it if I know what to order. I'm not quite ready for completely raw, but my friends say it's good, and so I'm willing to work my way *up* to that! :)
Tokyo Sushi was good. The service was pleasant. There were many Asian people there, which I think is a good thing! I got one of their Tokyo Box meals so I could sample quite a few different things. From the top left and moving clockwise, you see shrimp and eggplant tempura, pickled ginger and wasabi, teriyaki salmon, seaweed salad with pickled daikon, sweet egg omelet, seafood dumplings, and California rolls. I just realized that I *forgot* to try the seaweed salad, but everything else was excellent! The tempura was light and crispy, without feeling heavy. The salmon was moist and flaky, and the teriyaki wasn't overpowering. I didn't think I'd like the omelet, but was surprised that I did and I even plan on making some at home! It was like a light custard of sorts-mildly sweet with a soft texture and not rubbery at all (which is how I think of eggs for some reason. Ha!)

Oh my, the dessert. This was a tempura fried ice cream. Vanilla ice cream was surrounded by pound cake, battered, and fried. We shared and happily devoured ALL of it.

Fried peaches, something that reminds me of Harry Bear's in Moore. These are something everyone should try. You won't be disappointed! They were served with a cinnamon dipping sauce.
Another picture of the tempura ice cream. Can you tell we liked it?

Next up: Our Dallas road trip, one stop at a time. Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Random Pictures

I wish I could take a good picture and drive at the same time, but I can't. Instead, I get pics like this. This was a low traffic area and taken out of my sun roof. It's the west side of the state capital building. Pretty colors in the sky anyway!

The east side of the capital building, another day, while going around a curve. It almost looks haunted, like it's glowing!

The view from my chair on the 4th floor. Yes, the window is dirty but still a pretty sunrise.

I'm glad the Red Bud is the official state tree. I'm also glad I have a small one in the back yard. I'm not so glad that my other Red Bud died.

Frittata Matata (hey, it rhymes!)

When I don't want to put much effort into dinner, and I have veggies that need to be used, I make a frittata. Tonight's frittata was made up of red bell pepper slices, pickled garlic, rosemary, avocado, goat cheese, just a tiny bit of Parmesan, and S&P of course. Oh, and a sprinkling of cayenne pepper.
Frittatas are easier than omelets because you don't have to worry about the filling falling out or flipping them. They are easier than a quiche because they don't have a crust. At least I think that's the difference--quiches have crusts. Say that fast 10x! Anyhow, I usually cook my veggies (but not avocado) a little to tenderize them and to release any water they are holding (think mushrooms). I beat 2 eggs, 1 egg white, and about 1/4 cup milk together. When veggies are tender, I pour the eggs over and let it sit for about 5 minutes, until the egg is starting to set. During this step, I add the avocado and cheese, It'll sink a little, but I like it closer to the top for the browning that comes next. I then put the frittata in a hot oven on broil for just a few minutes to finisih cooking the top. Cook until the egg is set. Easy, isn't it? Here' s a picture of mine. I am so not good at this food photorgraphy thing, I like pictures! By the way, this is 2-3 servings for me.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Goat Cheese & Black Pepper Gougères

I was perusing some food blogs today, and came across this one. I've made a version of gougères before, and they have always been a favorite to whip up, scoop out, and freeze so I would always have some ready to pop in the oven. I love goat cheese, and sometimes I want something a little "carb-y" to eat with salads. This seemed like the perfect thing. I don't have any fresh herbs mature enough, and nothing that I had dried was calling to me, so I used lots of fresh cracked pepper. I also browned the butter before adding the milk and flour. They came together very quickly. While a few cooked (the rest already setting in the freezer), I was able to assemble my salad for dinner.
Here are the results

See how pretty and puffy they are? So tender, and the goat cheese was just subtle enough. OK, the the website I linked from has many more picture, and hers are a lot better. I was too anxious to sit down and eat already!

Might this be a "deconstructed salad"? I just put all of the extras around the side of the plate as I chopped them, then added the already dressed salad in the middle. I had avocado, clementine slices, cucumbers, dried cranberries, pistachios, and carrots. Fresh pepper is on top, and it was dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Costa Azul

Yes, I have been pathetically slow at getting new posts up. I will try to do better, as I have some fun stuff coming up that I can blog about!

My last road trip took me to Tulsa. I met up with 3 friends--interestingly from 3 phases of my life (Tiffany from college and Applebee's, where we worked together, Becky who I met shortly after moving to Norman and who was my roommate for a year, and Anna, the newest friend and fellow foodie nerd.)

A coworker had told me about Costa Azul. She said they have the best tacos. Well, I love my tacos. I am not a huge Tex-Mex fan these days. I like it, but it's just not my favorite. Now tacos--they are akin to the street food you get in Mexico, and if they are the "real" thing, they are among my favorites. I much prefer Mex-Mex to Tex-Mex. We all found the place easily enough. It's located on 31st near Garnett, just off of 169. We were the only Caucasian people in the place-just as my coworker had told me. That bodes well, doesn't it? Anna and I both ordered the tacos--a huge bargain at $1.50 each. We both got carne asada, carnitas, and tacos al pastor. I think my favorite was....well, I don't know. They were all AMAZING. Carne asada is beef, flavorful, cut up in small pieces. I don't know how they seasoned it, but it was delish. Carnitas is fried pork. Not deep fried. Something similar to stir-fried? It was slightly crispy yet still tender, and again very flavorful. Tacos al pastor was made with roast pork. Juicy, tender, and again full of flavor. All tacos were served in homemade soft corn tortillas and sprinkled with white onions and cilantro. Simply. Delicious. Cheap. I could have eaten 6 easily, but 3 was just right. I was full without being miserable. I'll definitely go back to Costa Azul when I am in Tulsa!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The Korean House

The Korean House is off of SE 29th in between Sunnylane and Sooner in Midwest City. Look at all of this good food! I love the condiments--you get so many!
We had Japchae--noodles and beef with some vegetables, tonkatsu--breaded pork cutlets fried (but they weren't greasy at all) served with shredded cabbage and a yummy dipping sauce, and bulgogi, that is the plate of meat! It is very flavorful and tender. The condiments are all you can eat. We had kimchi, some pickles, these little crepe like pancakes, daikon radish with carrots, potatoes, bean sprouts with rice vinegar, and some seaweed like dish. It was all GREAT! I can't wait to go back. Thanks to Avie for introducing me to this wonderful place!

Next up: Costa Azul in Tulsa