Thursday, December 10, 2009
1600 S De Anza Blvd
San Jose, CA
A few months ago I went to Chin's in San Diego to try their Da Ru Mian. You can read my post about it here. In my post, I confessed that I didn't know what Da Ru Mian was supposed to taste like. Well, this comment caused a bit of an uproar in my family. Apparently my dad read the post and then told my mom about it. She couldn't believe I said I didn't know what Da Ru Mian tastes like. Apparently, she used to make it a lot for me when I was little. Unfortunately, I don't remember. I'm not sure why my mom always expects me to remember every single detail about my childhood. I personally think I remember quite a bit of what I ate as a kid, but I don't remember everything.
Anyway, my mom said that next time I came home she would make me Da Ra Mian. On this past visit home though we had so many other things we needed to eat, so she didn't get a chance to. But on the day before I left, my dad suggested we go to Foodtopia for lunch. My parents had been there recently and Da Ru Mian is on the menu, though they hadn't tried it out.
Foodtopia is located in this food court. Here's a shot of the food court:
It's a small husband and wife run restaurant. One of the specials they have is that you can order 3 dishes for $18.95. You get to choose one dish from each of three columns. They are known for their spicy dishes and also for their noodle soups. They recommended several spicy dishes to us, but none of us were in the mood for spicy so early in the day.
We ordered a bowl of Da Ru Mian and also 3 dishes for the $18.95.
Here is the Da Ru Mian
The bowl was huge and heaping with beef, carrots, shitaki mushrooms, bean spouts, napa cabbage, etc. It tasted much better than the one I had at Chin's. It was hearty and perfect for a cold day. My mom said that it still wasn't exactly authentic. She explained that Da Ru Mian is supposed to be a noodle soup with a lot of ingredients, the soup is usually starchy and you drop an egg in at the end.
For the 3 item deal, the first two columns you have a lot of meat, fish and tofu dishes to choose from. The third column is a vegetable dish, and the offerings are pretty slim. It's basically very simple cooked vegetables. We chose the napa cabbage with little dried shrimp. This is something my mom makes all the time at home.
We also ordered a tofu and fish dish.
This was pretty tasty. All the dishes definitely had a home-style feel to them.
Finally, we ordered a beancurd stuffed ground pork dish. The beancurd is wrapped to look like eggrolls and stuffed with ground pork.
One of the things I was impressed about with this place is that instead of regular white rice, they served purple rice.
The food was decent as were the prices. It's a nice place to visit if you are looking for home-style food and don't feel like cooking.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
A few weeks ago I was contacted by a representative from Oh Nuts. He wanted to give me some of their products to let me bake with. He let me choose from their whole line of dried fruits and nuts. I loved being able to have my pick of their stuff. They offer quite a selection. I especially like how they have unsalted nuts and ground nuts which are great for baking.
I also noted that the prices are pretty reasonable and if there is anything that I ever want to bake with that isn't so readily available at my local supermarket, I will probably use Oh Nuts. Right around the time I was contacted, I had been thinking about making something with hazelnuts. So after much browsing, I requested a bag of their unsalted hazelnuts and also the ground hazelnuts.
My order was promptly put through and my nuts arrived a few days later. I was given full size, one pound bags of both products, along with a small bag of smoked almonds. I ate the almonds before I could take a picture, but they were delicious!
Since then I've been looking forward to making some hazelnut baked goods. I found so many recipes, that I didn't know where to start! Hazelnut shortbread, hazelnut sugar cookies, hazelnut snowballs, hazelnut cake? I found this recipe for Hazelnut biscuits from salted lemons. The cookies looked so dainty and pretty. The ingredient list looked simple and seemed to allow you to really enjoy the hazelnut flavor rather than have it get lost in chocolate or coffee or something else (though I love the blend of those ingredients too).
I did have some reservations about the recipe. I'm not a baking expert, but I couldn't imagine how the ingredients listed could possibly turn into the picture on the site. The recipe is translated, and I think something got lost in the translation. Egg whites, sugar, lemon and ground hazelnuts are what the recipe called for. I imagined something that would look a bit like meringues or macaroons. I don't know how it could turn into the uniformly brown colored and crackled cookies pictured on the site. So I wasn't surprised when my cookies came out nothing like the picture. They pretty much looked like the ugly things I pictured they would look like. But they tasted great. Like chewy hazelnut macaroons.
If anyone can figure out how to make the beautiful cookies from the salted lemon's site, please let me know! Meanwhile, I'll be using this recipe from now on to make hazelnut macaroons.
4 egg whites
1ts. lemon juice
1 ½ cup powdered sugar
2 cups finely ground hazelnuts
the egg whites to stiff mass, during the beating slowly add powdered
sugar and lemon juice.
2. When it forms thick peaks, carefully add the
ground hazelnuts and mix with a spatula. Heat the oven to about 100 º
C. Place a large spoonful of batter onto the tray. T(he macaroons don't really spread, so shape as best as you can and to desired size. I tried to make mine flat and circular.)
3. Cookies are left to be dried in the oven for a long time
–like meringues – until golden in color and non-sticky on the surface. Remove from oven, separate from paper and arrange to cool on a wire
rack. (No time was given. Because they cook at such a low temperature, they don't really overcook. I left mine in the over for about 40 minutes.)
The cookies aren't very photogenic, but they are very yummy. If you like chewy foods and you like hazelnuts, then you should try these out.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
For a while now I've been wanting to try making a steamed cake. There are many chinese steamed cake desserts, and I really like most of them. I'm not sure where to find the paper to steam cakes in though. I know what it looks like, but I just can't seem to find it anywhere.
I found a recipe for matcha steamed cake from My Kitchen. Since I couldn't find the proper paper, I used coffee filters. I think the cakes came out relatively well for my first attempt. I steamed them in a rice cooker. The color was slightly darker green than I wanted. Perhaps I'll add less matcha powder next time. The cakes tasted pretty good though. Soft, sticky, and slightly sweet.
I'm going to try to make them again when I have the right paper. Also, I will try to be more exact with my measurements next time. I had to do a lot of conversion to US measuring cups. But I recently bought a small scale, so now I can be more exact in my measurements and not have to do conversions.
Recipe from My Kitchen
Ingredients (makes 4):
125g cake flour
90g castor sugar
1 tbsp matcha (next time i'll probably do 1/2 tbsp since my cakes come out a dark greenish brown)
1 tsp baking powder
15ml cold water
- Preheat steamer.
Sift together flour and matcha, then mix well with sugar in a mixing bowl.
Gradually add in 125 ml water and whisk until sugar is dissolved.
Once the steamer is preheated, dissolve baking powder with 15ml water in a small cup.
Stir baking powder solution into batter and mix well.
Transfer batter into small bowls or moulds lined with paper cases.
Steam on high for 20 minutes. Do not open the steamer during steaming process, to prevent water mark on the surfaces.