A few weekends ago, we planned a dinner at Jasmine Seafood restaurant to check out their new reduced menu items priced at $7.99. However, when we arrived, the restaurant was booked for the night for a wedding reception.
So we headed over to Emerald. I visited Emerald about a month ago, which you can read about here, checking out their special menu dishes which are priced at 4 dishes for $24.99 or 7 dishes for $39.99.
On my first visit, I was a little blinded by the cheap prices. Now that I’ve visited twice, the excitement has worn off a bit. For the most part, you get what you pay for. The dishes served on the menu are not smaller portions of the higher quality of Emerald dishes I’m used to (though it’s been a long time since I’ve eaten there off their regular menu). Also, while the menu seemed extensive, there are only a few dishes I liked off the menu and we had trouble finding enough dishes we wanted to try.
Overall, the dishes are cheap and I probably will visit again because it’s cheaper than cooking yourself, but I wouldn’t visit frequently as the quality is just so-so for the reduced special menu. Here is what we ordered:
Honey walnut shrimp.
Shanghai rice cakes. We ordered this last time as well and it’s something I’d order again.
Spicy boiled beef dish. This was definitely the worst dish of the night. It was nothing like the spicy boiled beef dishes served at Sichuan places like Spicy City or Ba Ren or Spicy House. The beef was tough, there were lots of vegetables, and the sauce was watery and a little sour and not very spicy. No one liked this dish and it remained untouched for most of the night.
Seafood tofu dish. The portions of this were pretty generous.
Shredded duck with vegetables
Mapo tofu with two kinds of tofu. The sauce for this was kind of sour. I was not a fan of this dish.
Stir fried intestines in black bean sauce. There weren’t many pieces of intestines in this dish but there was a lot of asparagus
Peppered Beef short ribs
Sweet and sour pork chops
Cod fish with garlic sauce. I thought the fish had too much batter and barely any fish.
Pan fried flounder. I like this dish and always order it when I see it on the menu. The version here is pretty good.
You can view the full menu on my previous post.
Emerald Chinese Seafood Restaurant
3709 Convoy St, Ste 101
San Diego, CA 92111
For a while now I’ve been trying to figure out how to make desserts with purple sweet potatoes without having the desserts turn a dull gray or even sometimes a dark green.
I simply couldn’t figure it out. I scoured the internet for answers, read the posts and comments on the purple sweet potato cakes I saw on other food blogs, and came up with nothing.
Well this weekend I found the answer. Sort of. I believe I was using the wrong kind of purple sweet potato. In all the food blog posts I read, the purple sweet potatoes were thin and the skin had a purplish/pink hue to it. The purple sweet potatoes I knew of and buy from Ranch 99 and Zion market have a white/gray skin and are rounder and thicker.
This weekend while shopping at Nijiya, I came across japanese Okinawan purple sweet potatoes. They were thin and the skin had a dark pinkish/purple hue. They resembled the ones I saw on the posts, so I bought a few to test them out.
These are the ones I bought this weekend. Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures of the white/gray skin ones but you can view a picture here.
Sure enough, these purple potatoes maintained a pretty color when mixed into my cake batter. They did lose their vibrant purple color, but they turned a pretty pink, like the cakes I saw on other posts, rather than a dull gray.
I’m not sure what type of purple sweet potato I was using before. I tried looking it up, but I didn’t find any answers. Even more confusing, when I looked up images of okinawan sweet potatoes, I found images of the white/gray skin ones I had been using previously.
Other than the appearance, I noticed some other slight differences between the two potatoes. When you cut them open, they both are purple inside and when steamed, they become an even more vibrant purple. However, the white/gray skinned potato is starchier and sweeter compared to the skinny ones.
For this chiffon cake, I left little bits of purple sweet potato in the batter, which made the cake retain more of a sweet potato flavor. Next time I think I will completely puree the potatoes so I have just a pink cake.
This cake came out lovely. It was probably the most perfect chiffon cake I’ve made to date. Sometimes the cakes will get a little stuck and not come out easily. Or sometimes they are slightly overbaked. This one was perfect. Baked just the right amount of time and it slid out of the pan quite easily and I didn’t lose any of the cake in the pan. I used this Wilton Pan.
It was so light and soft and the perfect amount of sweetness. I only wish this cake wasn’t so tiny. I devoured about half of it myself in one sitting!
I used a recipe I found on Little House and followed it exactly, except for the fact that I didn’t completely blend the sweet potato in a food processor. Instead, after I steamed it, I just used a whisk to mash it, leaving little lumps. Usually I make some tweaks to a recipe, but this one was perfect. You can view the recipe here.
With Chinese New Year coming up this week, my family made some chinese dishes this weekend to do some early celebration.
We’ve made scallion/green onion pancakes before, but we’ve been working on trying to perfect it. The ideal pancake is very thin, but contains many layers that are crispy and doughy at the same time.
One thing we did differently this time was to knead the dough in my stand mixer, rather than kneading by hand. I think this created a more elastic dough. I didn’t take any step by step photos but you can view the ones from our first attempt.
Green Onion Pancakes (Adapted from Gaga in the Kitchen)
Makes approx 5 pancakes
1. Pour flour and water into food processor or stand mixer and knead for a few minutes. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour. If too dry, add a little more water. We kneaded our dough for about 10 minutes.
2. Take a small piece of dough (about the size of your fist) and
roll it out as thin as possible. The shape doesn’t matter.
3. Drizzle some oil and rub it in with your hands so that the entire
surface is lightly covered, but there are no pools of oil in any one
spot. We used about a 4:1 ratio of vegetable oil to sesame oil. If you don’t want sesame oil you can use just vegetable oil. I would not recommend using too much sesame oil because it has a very strong flavor. Don’t be stingy on the oil or your pancakes will be too dry. Make sure there is a nice thin layer on each one, and make sure it is spread across the whole dough.
4. Sprinkle some salt evenly across the dough. Then sprinkle on the diced green onions. It’s up to your personal preference how much you like.
5. Roll the dough into a long rope. It’s okay if oil and onions squish out the sides. Coil that rope into a circle.
6. Flatten the circle with your hand and then use rolling pin to roll out the pancake and thin it to your desired thickness. Ours we about 1/4 inch thick.
7. In a pan, heat up a bit of oil over medium/low heat. Put your pancake on heated pan and let it cook until golden brown, and then flip to crisp the
other side. Serve immediately.