Friday, June 26, 2009

Homemade Oreos

So I enjoy looking at and reading different blogs. One type of blogs I enjoy reading and following are food blogs. I saw a post about these homemade oreos that I really wanted to try. Ryan's dad LOVES oreos and I have been wanting to make them for a while now. Father's day was coming up so I thought this would be the perfect time to give them a shot! I got the recipe off of the Smitten Kitchen blog. I wasn't sure how similar it would be to a real oreo but I have to say.... it is really really close!!!! I made the cookies about twice as big/thick as they should have been so it was more like an oreo cakester but still... I'm impressed! haha. They look better on her website so if you want the recipe and instructions head on over to the Smitten Kitchen. Ryan and I gave them a try after I finished making them and they were actually really good. If we had a glass of milk with them it would have been perfect. Might even be better than the real oreo! I just hope they were just as good 2 days later on Father's day when we gave them to Ryan's dad...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

100% Taquito

Kimmy felt up for Mexican food one night, so Kimmy, Jonathan, and I went to try 100% Taquito off of 59. I had heard that it was good and we wanted to try a new place. I tried the Tacos al pastor (pork tacos with pineapple), and the sopes de tinga (beef brisket, black beans, fresco cheese on a fluffy corn tortilla, and Kimmy tried a torta (sandwich made with french bread and fajita beef), which I've been interested in at other places but never got around to trying. I think Jonathan ordered chicken tacos.

The food was ok, nothing too special, but it was nice to try some new Mexican items like the sopes and torta, and the prices were nice and cheap. Overall, we decided it wasn't too bad, but we'd just rather go to another place for mexican food, even Taco C or something would be just as satisfying. Be on the lookout for a post about El Rey Taqueria coming up after the next time I make a visit there, because that's a place with tacos worth revisiting.

I decided on this rating because if you happened to be in the area and needed a cheap quick lunch or something it wouldn't be bad, but I would say it's not good enough to make a trip.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Hey Cupcake - Austin, TX

Ryan and I have been traveling to Austin a lot this month. If we're not in Austin, then our Austin friends are down here so we're getting to spend a lot of good time together. My best friend Kim and I both love desserts- almost all desserts! So, she took Ryan and me out to Hey Cupcake! out on Congress. That area is cute with lots of shops and we sat outside at one of their tables while a man was playing his guitar near by. Ryan got the 24 carrot cupcake, I got the standard- a vanilla cupcake with pink icing, and Kim got the double dose-chocolate with chocolate. She also got a standard and red velvet to bring home. I had a bite of Ryan's and liked the carrot one. I tend to like more dense cakes/cupcakes and the standard cupcake just falls apart in your mouth and melts. Kim loves it and I can understand why she would or why a lot of others would- It's just my preference. It was also verrry sweet! The cupcakes were big and for a good price (only $2.50 compared to $3.50 at Crave in Houston). The atmosphere was fun and I wouldn't mind going back. I would probably try something different though or the carrot cake one.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bacon wrapped scallops and mushroom risotto

I haven't made a nice dinner in a while, so the other night I decided to make my version of the best plate of food Kimmy and I ever ate at Patrenella's a while back. Their scallops weren't wrapped in bacon, and their risotto didn't have mushrooms, but my versions were and did. It didn't quite live up to that one, but I wasn't trying to copy it, and it ended up being a pretty good dinner.

The key to the bacon wrapped scallops was precooking the bacon a little bit, that way you don't end up with chewy fatty bacon or overcooked scallops. Precooked the bacon in a pan for a couple minutes, let it cool some while I started the risotto, and then wrapped the scallops with the bacon, secured with a toothpick, and threw them in a hot pan for a couple minutes on each side. Had to keep them warm in the oven along with my asparagus for a little bit while my risotto finished, but they didn't get overcooked and were still good. The bacon was a little too much actually (blasphemy, I know) but that's because I used some peppered bacon. I think I've decided scallops are good enough on their own and the bacon can be saved for something else that needs it more.

The risotto was an experiment, it was my first time ever attempting it. I watched a few videos and looked at a few recipes online and settled on a mixture of methods from those. Earlier in the afternoon, I had tossed my dried porcini mushrooms in some hot water to dehydrate, and sauteed some shiitake mushrooms to add to the risotto later. Started by warming chicken stock on one burner and heated up some butter and olive oil on another. Tossed in onion and garlic and sweated them for a bit, then added the arborio rice to get some flavor and the beginnings of translucence on it. The first round of liquid was a cup of white wine and a little bit of the mushroom water, which had a lot of flavor. Stirred and stirred until that was soaked up, then added chicken stock to cover, let it get absorbed in and stirred to get those starches off to create the risotto's creaminess, then repeated a couple thousand times. Looking back, I think I had the temperature too hot, because I think the liquid was evaporating too fast instead of getting absorbed by the rice, so I spent way longer than I thought on the risotto. Somewhere along the way, I tossed in the chopped up mushrooms, and then at the end finished it with a bunch of grated parmesan.

It was a good experiment, and I think it turned out pretty nice, but it was a very rich meal and I made way too much risotto. The next risotto I make will be better, I'll probably do something different than mushrooms and watch the temp a little better next time, but I'm glad I've got that in my toolbox now.

Cafe Annie

Last Friday was my birthday, so Kimmy took me to lunch at Cafe Annie before we headed out to Austin. It's a nice place in the Galleria area where apparently a lot of old rich ladies like to lunch together. The food is a little bit southwestern influenced, I guess, but not like BobbyFlayBlueCornAnchoChile southwestern, thank goodness. The service was great, I think the kitchen may have been running a little slow because they brought out a complimentary crab salad amuse bouche (what's a food blog that doesn't have an amuse bouche mentioned, now we're for real). It was a crab salad served on a thick homeade tortilla chip with avocado and hot sauce.

I like (maybe love) wedge salads, and their iceberg salad was a nice version, the bleu cheese dressing was nice and tart, the tomatoes were juicy, and the bacon was thick. Kimmy's "small" caesar salad looked good too, but I didn't try it, I enjoyed my salad too much.

Kimmy ordered a grilled skirt steak with creamy avocado salsa and a little potato and cheese enchilada. The steak was really nicely cooked, and the "salsa" was really interesting, like a really creamy guacamole, no chunks, with something else in it to add some depth that I'm sure is pretty simple but I couldn't quite pick out, maybe just a lot of cilantro or parsley or something blended in. It's not something I would think to top a steak with, but that's why I don't have a restaurant, because it was really good. The red enchilada sauce was really good, and that's again not something I'd think to put with a steak like that, but it worked nicely as a side.

I had the grilled quail, which was topped with a green chile and pumpkin seed sauce, thick and nutty like a green chile romesco sauce. The quail was smoky from the wood fired grill and I really liked it. It came with pan fried white beans, which I was excited about trying when I looked at them on the menu, but they were a little too crunchy - not sure if that's what they were going for or if they undercooked them before pan frying, but I ate them all anyway, good flavor.

Sorry for the dark pictures, camera phone isn't perfect and I don't like flash pictures.

Traun Kieu

Kimmy's dad had been to this place twice already in one week with his friends that had come down from Kansas, but he decided to take us again. They have a nice deal with lots of family style seafood for pretty cheap.

I especially liked the sauce on their steamed fish, and the clay pot fish was good too, but really sweet. I also like the vegetable we ate there and have eaten many times before, rau muong, or water spinach, which apparently is classified by the USDA as a weed (thanks Wikipedia).

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


So after posting on here about the trendy sushi places and how I would rather go to cheap hole in the walls with good sushi, my cousin, John, told me that I should try Hokkido in Bellaire (not West U/Bellaire- Chinatown Bellaire). So on Friday, I asked my other cousin, Christie, to take me to Harwin and around those shops. There are tons of dresses down there and other little goodies. Didn't find anything that I liked and would want to buy but we were starving and headed to Hokkido for lunch. Christie said she loves that chicken and I ordered some tempura sushi (she doesn't enjoy raw sushi). I was trying to pay but she tricked me, told me that you pay after your meal but she lied!!! I'll get you back Christie! Anyways- it is a cute place, small, order your food at the counter, they bring it out to you, miso soup and tea is included in whatever you order. I do like this place and would come back the next time I'm in the area (every other weekend or so). This place is also in the same shopping center as the Dim Sum King- another great recommendation by my cousin John for good cheap food! That will have to be another post though because I was too busy eating there, I forgot to take pictures!

Busy Saturday

So last Saturday was the day to have parties! I ate so much munching away at things while chatting throughout the day. I had Leigh Anne's Tea Party Bridal Shower, Jonathan's graduation from South Texas, and Michelle's surprise birthday party.

1) Leigh Anne= very cute tea party! I love asparagus wrapped in prosciutto! Good finger foods and then Tres leche cake.

2) Jonathan= had fajitas from pappasitos, tamales, queso, and another cake- vanilla with chocolate marbled in.

3) Michelle= more good finger food (I tried sticking with the veggie tray by this point because I was already stuffed but couldn't help but munch when everyone around you is). good meatballs, pico, etc. The "lazy" daisy oatmeal cake was really good!

Overall- busy day going from one house to the next and eating all day long. Fun times with food and friends as cheesy as that sounds.