The end of the school year torpedoes away in a mad rush of "lasts"--piano recitals, soccer games, concerts, school functions, end-of-the year/season parties, banquets, proms. I think that unless one lives in a rocking singles community, a lot of your life's cadence is based on the academic year. It's a bittersweet time, so what's cooking this week is my personal comfort food. Busy, bittersweet times
Not Meatless MondayChicken, Stuffing and steamed green beans
. I LOVE
stuffing, and yes, this happened on a work-day. It's an injustice that stuffing happens only when it's cold or during the holidays. Here's how I did it on a Monday.
1) Buy a Costco or Safeway rotisserie chicken, green beans and a small-diameter loaf of very crusty french bread. 2/3 of a complete meal before you even unload the car.
2) If you are really in a pinch, also buy pre-sliced onions, mushrooms and celery. I chose to chop, but mainly for the therapeutic mental health benefits.
3) When you get home, chop onions, mushrooms and celery and cube up the whole loaf of bread. The small-diameter bread means more crust, less chopping, and better texture on stuffing.
4) Make stuffing and dump it into a pan. Turn the oven on and let it go until the bread gets crusty, about 20 minutes. Put the green beans into a microwave-able glass bowl, cover it with a damp paper towel. Go 2 minutes.
5) Eat, be happy and pretend it's the weekend or a holiday.
Take-out TuesdayL&L Hawaiian BBQ Yep, this was once a fish.
. This is the most consistent plate lunch when I'm not in Hawaii. Game 1 of the Sharks vs. Kings didn't go the way we wanted, but at least we ate well.Meatless WednesdaySummer Soba Salad
. A good quick full-meal salad.ThursdayChicken Divan
, with the rest of the rotisserie chicken. Another one of my comfort-foods. When I first started cooking, this was the one of the few things
I could make consistently.
Fish on FridayOkonomiyaki
with kamaboko. No char siu/chashu after last week's literal pig fest.
If dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets are still considered chicken, then kamaboko is most definitely fish.
Good luck to all those students in or approaching finals angst...and to their Very Patient, Always Even-Tempered, Supportive Parents!
Where has Feeding My Ohana been?!
I spent last week back home in good ole' Leeward O'ahu. Offline.
Although my friends gave me grief for not having a smart phone, and I did have to seek out a Starbuck's for WiFi to my iPad for directions to get together with the above-noted friends, it was very relaxing not to be online-all-the-time. Everyone should do this once in awhile.
Here is a quick summary on what we've been eating--here and at Mom's house. While we had plenty of vegetables, there was no meatless any day. We were on vacation, after all.Bay Area MondayYakisoba.
I cam home with yet another head cold, so this was
made by the husband. This is my son's favorite meal, and soon we'll have to start making three packages.
Crispy wonton and roast pork.
Great Aloha Run Day
Crispy wonton, roast pork, and pork with sweet and sour cabbage. I also introduced the family to Co-worker Kale Salad
. Mom approves. Bay Area TuesdayCarbonara Hironaka.
We've not eaten this in a really long time and it was nice to come home to this.Day at the BeachSanny's Hamburgers and Gravy
. Homemade plate lunch.Back in the Bay Area Takeout Wednesday
Yiassoo Greek Food
, Tapioca Express
and Whole Foods Chocolate Cake. P
rocured by my fabulous husband.ThursdayUnfried Baked Chicken
from People Magazine. It was very peppery and a little too salty. This is a good idea that needs some re-tooling. Stay tuned.Weird Rainy and Windy Hawaii Day
For the last two days of our vacation, it poured
. Buckets. So it was Mom's Watercress Soup
, but made with kale, and just as good. Watercress can be tricky to get in the Bay Area, so this was good advice from Mom.
Leeward Drive Inn, very retouched
Glorious Hawaii Beach DayLeeward Drive Inn
Fried Noodles. Just a satisfying lunch after a morning at the beach. Please note they don't make mandoo anymore, but the Pork Cutlet and Gravy is still fab. And remember, it has and will always be cash only.
Back to the Mainland, but definitely keeping the Hawaii vibe going as long as we can. Aloha Friday All!
Hmm. When last I posted, I deliriously anticipated a speedy return to cooking after a couple of days. My kids cycled through this cold after a few days, why not me too? Then the reality of a middle-aged body with bad sinuses made itself very apparent.
One week later and still sniffling.
I've never been a fan of starving a cold or anything else, so we did not starve last week, thanks to takeout and my truly awesome husband. I've chose spicing out a cold and so here's what we ate last week.
Starve a cold? Nope.
from Pizza Pub
. Yes, we used a ValPak flyer, but it turned out pretty well. Indian pizza is more like putting the spicy Indian chicken dish of your choice (tandoori, tikka masala, paneer or butter) on a flat naan bread-like crust with onions, hot peppers and a little cheese. Not so much pizza as flatbread, with a nice differentiated crunch from both crust and veggies. Plus, it was temperature and spicy hot, just what stuffy noses needed. We will definitely try this again, and not just when we are sick.TuesdayOyako donburi
. Almost chicken soup and pure comfort.
The pork loin magic sauce
WednesdayFrom-scratch Grilled Pork Loin
. This is becoming a good go-to meal for especially hectic days. Start-to-finish in about 45 minutes, including marinating time.Thursday
Kalua pig and Kim chee fried rice
. We had leftover kalua pig, snow peas, shredded carrots and rice. Add an onion and kim chee for another meal of spicy comfort food. Friday
Sandwiches from Ike's Lair, Cupertino
. IF hockey season ever gets started, this will likely replace our beloved Togo's. Gasp, there I said it.
Why? A great value, a lot of vegetarian and vegan sandwiches, and seriously amazing Dutch crunch bread. Our favorites, #19 Home for Thanksgiving
: turkey with Havarti, cranberry sauce and sriacha; Steve Jobs
: eggplant with pesto and provolone and #6 Hot Momma Huda
: Halal chicken, Frank's Red Hot Sauce, ranch and provolone. Four sandwiches will run about $40, but you will have enough for at least two meals.
I would also like to thank the cyber-ohana
for all of your kind words and cold remedy suggestions! Hearing from you all was good medicine indeed. I am on the mend!Eat Well. Be Well.
Oh, the power of real friends and a little Facebook. Here is how I happened upon Five Star Falafel.
Iskender Kebab--Sliced lamb and beef
Our real-in-the-flesh friend posted some dreamy and drooly food pictures on Facebook for her real- and cyber-friends. Turns out her husband's friend launched Five-Star Falafel
in Santa Clara about three weeks ago.
Based on this, we tried it last Sunday. It was so good I went back there on Thursday for lunch with my Boss. He ate everything and I still have a job, so this is a very good sign.This is the Turkish version of plate lunch.
Tasty food, BIG
portions and the place is spotless. The owners are very friendly and they'll even show you the spits of meat they are using and explain the cool Turkish tea machine.
The appetizer plate, pictured below, is a hefty meal of 8 different items, plus all the pita bread you can eat. The specialty platters range from about $8-$12. You'll have plenty of leftovers unless you are REALLY hungry. They have a bakery case full of baklava and all manner of combinations of filo dough, walnuts, honey and pistachios.
Best value goes to the $5.99 for 12 pieces of falafel. A great deal, especially considering that I bought 13 bagels for $10 earlier that morning!
Five Star's location is not exactly easy, but it's well-worth seeking out. It's tucked in the corner of a nameless, faceless strip mall on El Camino Real, with a weird entry turn on one side. The food is ono and made to order, the portions make it a great value, the staff is friendly, and the place is spotless.
This place is good food and good people. All the more reason to eat there.Five Star Falafel
3099 El Camino Real (close to Calabazas Blvd.)
Santa Clara, CA 95051
10:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Credit cards accepted
Appetizer Sampler Plate
NOTE: I was not paid for this post.
Life marches on--beautifully
Apologies for the absence. The entire household was slammed by a nasty respiratory virus. The kitchen was more like a medicine cabinet. The well-planned sick menu from 2/7
did not happen past last Tuesday.
I'm on the mend, but still not quite genki
), already having gone through 2 boxes of tea, 6 lemons, a bottle of honey, at least 4 bottles of Odwalla Strawberry C Monster, grapefruits, tangerines, a package of li-hing mui, and various OTC meds for stuffy, achy, runny, congested and generally feeling-like-you-know-where.
How on earth do you feed your ohana when you're in a sick bed 15 hours a day? Be realistic. Wash your hands.
Frozen meals, takeout, and whatever you can manage
. And remembering that even 2 sick weeks out of my life is very short, and will pass. So here's how we managed.
With thanks to all who gave me your "Feed a Cold" suggestions, especially the ones for the hot toddies.Bought. Citrus products.
Grapefruits, lemons, tangerines. It's a little too convenient and just plain weird that these are in peak season at the same time as colds.Boxed salad greens.
There were a few days when salad just did not sound good, but this is one of those "You know it's good for you" foods. Made.
Minimal cooking. Maybe 10 minutes of standing up at a time.Breadmaker bread.
I ran out of bread and was in no condition to go to the store. Bread is water, butter, flour, salt, sugar and yeast into the bread machine. Then go take a nap.Teddy Bear Chicken Soup
--Chicken soup has been sometimes dubbed "Grandma's Penicillin." Perhaps not my Japanese grandma, but there is something comforting about a hot bowl of soup when breathing through the nose is an impossibility. Made awhile ago, and frozen for just such days as these.Miso soup with tofu
. This is "My Mom's Pencillin." As a child, I had this whenever I was sick. So much so that for awhile, I didn't like tofu because I associated with being sick. Boil about 8 cups of water. Add about 1/4 cup miso and a few teaspoons of dashi. Cut up a block tofu, dump it in and you're done. Mom said it has everything that's good for you and no fat or oil so it's easy to digest.Simple Spaghetti
. Extra heavy on the garlic and red peppers and boiling water for pasta is good for your sinuses.Takeout.
Takeout is a fabulous option when you are sick, as long as you choose carefully. Light soups or stews or anything that's not too heavy or greasy. A little spicy is good when I'm congested.Pho
. Pronounced "Fuh," this is the generic name for all kinds of Vietnamese noodle dishes. Like miso soup, this is light warm broth. I had it with noodles, won ton, lime, bok choy, bean sprouts and jalapeno. Plus a drizzling of sriracha to help clear out my sinuses. Light, spicy and nutritious.Tandoori chicken.
Husband brought a big pan of this the night before he went down for the count. Spit-roasted spicy chicken with lime, roasted tomatoes and basmati rice. After all that soup, it's good to use your teeth.
Even when you fell icky, you can still Eat Well
. Soon enough we will all Be Well
. Stay healthy everyone!
Sunset at Waikoloa. This is what Paradise looks like.
No, I've not given up on vegetables. However, after returning from a lovely, battery-recharging trip home to Hawaii (see left), the garden is in full-production mode, thanks to a lot of TLC from my in-laws. Going the full week with homegrown veggies.
My brain is still on Hawaiian time, so this week's menu is a mish-mash of a couple of things we had on vacation and a few things that take advantage of the garden being in full yield.
Monday: Mauna Lani Leftover Chicken Pasta Salad
, with our lettuce
. My brilliant and and very resourceful vacation-buddy made this using all
the leftovers from our last day in Kona.Tuesday
: Take out! Curry House 30% off day
(Wednesday too)Wednesday: Chicken Adobo
with the adobo-sauced garden bok choy
and jasmine rice. This is the exact same meal I made two years ago when we got back. Bok choy
is running amok.
Thursday: Bottle+ BBQ Chicken (adding a little Li-Hing powder), grilled zukes and eggplants (still from the garden) and some garlic naan bread from Trader Joe's.
Friday: BBC(tm) pizza. Bacon, Bok Choy (tomato, mozzarella) Variation on a BLT. Taking a Boboli pizza whole wheat pizza crust, our tomatoes, the rest of our bok choy, bacon, and mozzarella. Could be good. Or a disaster. Stay tuned.
Enjoying the last bits of summer!
Eat Well. Be Well.
One of the great things about living in the San Francisco Bay Area is that Asian-based food trends/fads sweep in, multiply, and then self-select down with the best few sticking around.
A few years back, Hawaii-food places popped up like spring clover. L&L and Hukilau are the last (and best) standing. And the previously-blogged about eyeball (boba/pearl) tea places
transplanted from Taiwan are definitely going through a culling phase.
The latest fad to hit our sleepy Silicon Valley suburbs is Korean Fried Chicken (KFC) and sweet potato fries
. I've been to to Bon Chon
twice now for some spicy soy garlic "double-fried" but not greasy chicken wings, drumettes and drumsticks.
I'm not sure how absolutely healthy this chicken is, but for fried chicken, it is remarkably non-greasy, light and full of flavor
. And the spicy soy garlic definitely had some great kick to it.
It is also much less "bread-ey" and much less salty/oily than the Colonel's American KFC. Much more flavor on the chicken than on your fingers and much less oil overall.
Ordering chicken is a little confusing until you figure out their system. Chicken orders are in 3 sizes (S/M/L). Then, for each size, there is a Wings, Drums, Mixed or White Meat option. The server at my local Bon Chon was happy to help me through the menu, and service overall is very nice.
The sides (kim chee coleslaw, biscuits and coleslaw) are simply not their focus. The exception is the creamy sweet potato fries, which is a nice balance to the spicy chicken. These are best eaten quickly while still hot.
Bon Chon has a corporate website
that is simultaneously outdated and under construction. Best to go to my local Bon Chon website (www.bonchonbayarea.com)
which is still pretty stark, but does post its hours and a pdf menu.There are Bon Chons scattered across California, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Virginia, plus South Korea, the Philippines, Dubai, Singapore Thailand and Malaysia. Definitely go for the chicken and sweet potato fries
, but make a complete meal out of it by making your own rice and salad at home. This is what we did the second time, making it both a good monetary value and a another vetted takeout option.Eat well. Be well.