Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Cucina Urbana revisit

Cucina Urbana
505 Laurel St,
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 239-2222

After a wonderful dinner at Cucina Urbana about a month ago, BF and I couldn’t wait to go back. Luckily, we were able to squeeze in a visit before Christmas.

BF and I decided to try some different dishes than last time. We started off with the daily board special, which consists of three appetizers that change daily. On this occasion, there was a bruschetta, a smoked salmon and fried sweet breads.

My favorite was the bruschetta. Usually the bruschetta I eat is made with oilive oil and tomoatoes. This one was really different, but it was really good.

We also ordered some truffle oil fries. I had seen this on the menu and thought a side order of fries for $7 was a little pricey. However, I changed my mind once they arrived because we had a huge serving of fries. The fries were thin, crisp and drenched in truffle oil. Delicious. We couldn’t stop eating this and ate every last fry.

For my main course, I chose the mushroom corzetti. This was my first experience with corzetti. When my entree arrived I was surprised by how soupy it looked. Tucked underneath all the sauce were some large rounds of pasta. The pasta tasted homemade and chewy. I could have done with less sauce, but overall I liked my dish.

BF ordered the guanciale and farm egg pizza. The egg yolk was served raw on top of the pizza. The brie in the pizza made it a little on the salty side, but what made it worse was the guanciale. Guanciale is an unsmoked italian bacon. This was our first experience with guanciale and we couldn’t believe how salty it was. Each chunk was crusted with salt. Also a lot of chunks were just chunks of pure fat. We didn’t like the pizza too much because of how salty it was.

The service was friendly and efficient and we got our food fairly quickly even though the restaurant was full. While one of the entrees was a miss, we’ll be back again to try some more dishes.
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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Silkie Chicken Tea Eggs

Have you ever heard of silkie chickens? You can look at this article to see what they look like. Silkie chickens have very puffy feathers and get their name because their feathers feel like silk.

However, this is not all that makes these chicken unique. While the feathers are white, the skin and the bones of the chicken are actually black. These chickens are eaten in chinese cuisine, and are supposed to have a lot of health benefits.

My aunt has a lot of farmland where she raises silkie chickens, geese, and has many fruit trees. It’s been a while since I visited her place, so I don’t have any recent pictures of her chickens.

However, she made these tea eggs using the silkie chicken eggs. Tea leaf eggs are a common chinese dish. Hard boiled eggs are stewed in tea leaves, some salt, soy sauce, and some chinese spices. The eggs are stewed with the shell on, but first the shell is cracked in many places. As a result, when you peel off the shell of a cooked tea leaf egg, it has a beautiful pattern on the egg white exterior.

I love tea leaf eggs. These eggs didn’t taste differently, but they were very tiny. About half the size of a regular chicken egg. You can view my mom’s tea leaf egg recipe here.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Matcha mochi cake

Over Thanksgiving, I had baked some pumpkin mochi cake for BF’s parents. BF’s mom really liked it and so for Christmas, I decided to bake her some green tea mochi cake.

I thought of using my Nordic Ware Daisy Cake Pan, so that the tops of the cake pieces would have a pretty flower pattern. For some reason, the crust stuck to the pan and so the flower pattern was ruined. While I’m a nordic ware pan fanatic, this pan has been hit and miss for me. I made sure to properly oil and flour the pan but the mochi cake didn’t come out of the pan easily. I’ve had moderate success with this pan. Sometimes the baked goods slide off, sometimes they stick.

Luckily the cakes still came out alright, though not as pretty as I wanted. They still tasted good.


  • 16 oz Mochiko rice flour (or can substitute for any brand of glutinous rice flour)
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons matcha green tea powder


1. Cream the butter with sugar.  It helps to melt the butter a little first.

2. Mix in the evaporated milk to the butter/sugar mixture.

3. Mix eggs into the mixture.

4. Mix in the rice flour, baking powder and vanilla.

5. Mix in the matcha green tea powder.

6. Pour mixture into a 9 x 13 pan.

7. Bake for approximately 1 hour at 350 degrees.

8. Let cake completely cool, allowing the mochi to set, before cutting and serving.