Monthly Archives: March 2010

Iron Chef Blogger Challenge Fail

The challenge this week was to make something for a blogger with food allergies that does not contain any of the following ingredients: wheat, corn, soy, nuts, sesame seed, potato, or rice.

So, that’s harder than it sounds. If I had actually planned, I probably could’ve done it. However, as I’m deciding what to make for dinner tonight probably wasn’t the best time to try to work this out. It turns out that a lot more things that one would think have wheat, corn, and soy in them.

To pass the time, here is another blog from Challenge Shallot from last week that sounds fantastic!

It’s a big week this week, Travis’s movie is premiering, and his family is going to be visiting. There probably won’t be a lot of cooking going on, as I still have to work. But, I may try to make a pie tomorrow. We’ll see how it turns out.


Iron Chef Blogger Challenge: Shallots!

The secret ingredient this week? Shallots. I like shallots a lot, although I wasn’t too enthused about the ones at Ralph’s today, and I wish I’d had time to go to the Farmer’s Market.

I’ve been trying to get some cleaning done, and therefore trying to steer away from complicated dinner. I decided to make tilapia and a pan fried shallot and asparagus dish.

The asparagus was really easy. Slice a large shallot into thin slices. Slice your asparagus up into smaller pieces as well. Cook the shallot in a tablespoon of butter for a minute over medium high, add the asparagus and cook 5 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve. It was tasty, but I always love asparagus. It’s in season right now in this great state I live in. Probably other places as well.

For the fish, I cooked it on a bed of leek tops that I saved from last weekend, with some soy sauce, worchestshire sauce, pepper, and garlic powder. The picture above is before I put it in the oven. I thought it came out a bit under-seasoned, but it was still pretty good. Travis loved it, and pronounced that he could eat fish for dinner every day.

Bay Cities Italian Deli – The Godmother

Bay Cities Italian Deli is a deli/grocery in Santa Monica. They have a lot of specialty foods, hot foods, meat and cheese, etc. They also make sandwiches. I’m sure they make many kinds of delicious sandwiches, but the one that I love the most is the Godmother.

The Godmother contains: Genoa salami, mortadella, coppacola, ham, prosciutto, and provolone cheese. You cannot make any substitutions. If you get it with The Works, this adds mayo, mustard, onions, pickles, tomatoes, lettuce, Italian dressing, and mild or hot pepper salad. (I hold the onions, peppers, and mayo.)

It is amazing, and so much more than I can/should eat in one sitting. I say should, because I came pretty close on Friday night, while Travis was at the press screening for Clash of the Titans. (The portion of the sandwich shown above is slightly less than half of the “small” sub. It comes in other sizes as well, which frightens me a bit.) Did I feel well afterwards? No. Was I completely and utterly satisfied with the deliciousness of what I had just consumed? Yes.

Bay Cities can get a bit crowded, but parking is usually pretty easy to find, and you can call your order in ahead of time and pick it up too, or so I hear.

Malibu Seafood and Patio Cafe

Last Sunday, Travis and I went to Malibu. It’s really one of our favorite things to do on the weekend. We went to Point Dume, saw a crane, some dolphins, some whales (no kidding!), and some wildflowers. Then, when we’re good and hungry, we head to Malibu Seafood.

I usually get the fried scallops, which are the best I’ve had anywhere. This time I decided to try the fried squid. It was a bit chewy but still delicious. The fries are pretty good as well. Travis gets the fish and chips (you can see those in the back). In my cup? Why, that’s RC Cola.

You order at the counter and eat at patio tables, with a gorgeous ocean view. Saw more dolphins there too. I really couldn’t have asked for a nicer Sunday.

India Jones Chow Truck

On Sunday, I pretty much stayed at home cleaning all day instead of going out to find wildflowers, which made me sad. But, I did step out at lunch because the India Jones Chow Truck was in Santa Monica, which made me very happy indeed.

It was definitely worth the trip out. Above, you can see a picture of my Frankie, which is the specialty of this particular truck. It’s a rolled up roti (Indian flatbread), with your choice of meat (lamb, beef, chicken, shrimp, or a paneer/mushroom vegetarian variety) and onion, egg, and tamarind chutney. I asked the guy at the window which was the best. He said lamb, which was totally the answer I was hoping for. And it was SO GOOD. It was really crispy on the outside, and the lamb sort melts in your mouth. Amazing street food – easy to hold, not very messy, and utterly delicious.

I can’t quite rave as highly about the other item I tried, which was a samosa spring roll. It sounds so promising – I love both samosas and spring rolls, so I really didn’t know how this could go wrong. It was just a bit too dense, the first bite felt like it was just sitting, whole, in my stomach. It was also a little spicier than I like as well. And, it was more difficult to eat, the sauce in the wee little cup spilled everywhere on my way home.

But, I will definitely track down the India Jones Chow Truck again. They also serve curries, which I’d like to try, and mango baby back ribs, which sounds pretty fantastic.

Fried Green Tomatoes

I have to admit, I skipped the Iron Chef Blogger Challenge this week. The secret ingredient was pears. I just don’t love pears, at all really. I was contemplating making fritters (using one pear, to get in the ingredient, and then making apple fritters with the rest of the batter), but I just wasn’t really feeling it.

I went to the Farmer’s Market, halfway looking for a pear, but really looking for romanesco (which I apparently missed, but may keep looking for today). What I found, were green tomatoes. They were begging to be fried.

Below are my sliced tomatoes, sprinkled with kosher salt, and sitting in a colander trying to draw out the moisture. Part of the key to frying tomatoes is to be sure they are as dry as possible – otherwise your coating will slide right off. This method (which is Paula Deen’s) didn’t work that well for me, probably because of my lack of patience (I want to fry tomatoes NOW!). So, I later switched to Alton Brown’s method of putting the tomato slices between paper towels to dry.

Dredged the tomatoes in a mix of flour (you can also use cornmeal or a combination of the two) with some black pepper, and a dash of cayenne pepper. Then fried in vegetable oil until brown on both sides.

At this point in the recipe, Alton Brown said the oil should be 350 degrees. I don’t have an oil thermometer, but apparently I need one. I don’t think my oil was hot enough, so mine didn’t really get crispy. The photo below was the best looking one of the bunch. They did taste pretty good, but I think I need more practice frying.