Friday, August 6, 2010
A little while ago, POM Wonderful sent me a box of individual POM juices so I could create some summer recipes. I stuck them in the fridge and have been brainstorming ever since.
I knew I wanted to create some dessert recipes, but all the ones that popped into my head were ones that have already been done before: chocolate pomegranate cake, pomegranate sorbet, etc. The other problem I was having was that I'm not used to create desserts with a juice. I'm used to using the actual fruit, but pomegranates aren't in season right now.
I finally came up with a few recipes, which I intend to try out soon. I don't know if they are completely unique, but I'll be using my own recipes. However, before I could try them, I had to try this pomegranate gelato recipe I found.
The recipe was easy to put together. The end result was delicious. Normally I'm not a big fan of fruit flavored ice creams or gelatos. But I really enjoyed this. It was sweet, but you could still taste the pomegranate flavor. It was very soft and creamy with a consistency more like gelato than like ice cream. This is by far one of my favorite ice creams I've made.
The use of alcohol keeps the ice cream very soft. Normally, I can eat the ice cream straight out of the machine without freezing it first. But this one I needed to freeze it to firm it up a bit because it was so melty. Even after being in the freezer, while it does firm up, it stills stays very soft and creamy, more so than the other ice creams I've made.
Pomegranate Gelato (adapted from Merry Gourmet, who adapted it from Gourmet magazine)
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup milk
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 8 oz bottled pomegranate juice
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate liqueur such as PAMA
- Whisk together cream, milk, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a
3-quart heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking
occasionally, and boil while whisking for 2 minutes. Remove from heat
and whisk in remaining ingredients.
- Transfer mixture to a metal bowl and refrigerate uncovered for 1
hour, stirring occasionally. Then cover and refrigerate until very cold,
3 to 6 hours.
- Freeze mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s
instructions. Transfer gelato to an airtight container and freeze for at
least 2 hours. Prior to serving, soften gelato slightly in the
refrigerator, for about 20 minutes.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
1132 E Plaza Blvd, Ste 205
National City, CA 91950
I never heard of salt and pepper wings until reading mmm-yoso. The post that particularly caught my attention was one where Kirk and friends did a wings challenge to determine who had the best wings. A few weeks ago, Kirk alerted his readers that Royal Mandarin, one of the most famous spot for the salt and pepper wings had recently reopened. So of course, this was my opportunity to finally check out these salt and pepper wings.
When we arrived, there was quite a crowd waiting around for their party orders of wings. It reminded me a bit of King's Eggroll in the Bay Area, where there's always a crowd getting party platters of the eggrolls. Bf whispered that we should have ordered ahead of time, but I had no idea what it would be like since we'd never been.
Lucky for us, we didn't have much of a wait. We placed an order for 30 wings, which is the smallest party tray available. The plan was to eat them later in the day, but I couldn't wait. I had to dig in to one right then and there.
The wings were very crispy. I don't know why, but I was surprised that there was literally a bunch of salt and some pepper flakes sprinkled on top. I had imagined a salt and pepper powder, similar to the one used in salt and pepper dishes at chinese restaurants. At first, all the salt threw me off. I don't really like salt crystals on my food. I pick off the salt on pretzels, fries, etc. I could have done without the salt on these wings, but they were still enjoyable. The pepper flakes were barely noticeable in the taste though.
The wings seemed to be a big hit with the family. They were easily finished off later that evening when I had dinner with the siblings.
Lisa's Filipino Cuisine
1210 E Plaza Blvd, Ste 410
National City, CA 91950
While driving to Royal Mandarin, I noticed a grand opening sign for another restaurant in the plaza, Lisa's Filipino cuisine. I had no idea if it was supposed to be any good, but there was a decent sized crowd inside, so we decided to check it out.
The first thing I noticed was that the prices were a bit high compared to other places we usually go to. A 2 item combination with pancit was $6.50. However, the quantities are pretty big. We ordered our combos with pancit, and the only thing that went into the large container was pancit (they only put it in the large section of the divided 3 part container, but with nothing else in there, there was definitely more quantity than usual). The sides were then each given their own small containers.
We didn't recognize most of the items being offered. There was a lot of me pointing and asking what everything was. I opted to get the chicken adobo because I love chicken adobo. There were a couple of stews available and I wasn't sure which one to try. I avoided the one with raisins because I don't like the sweet ones. I saw one that is similar to the pork one I usually get at Manila Fastfood, so I decided not to get it because I wanted to try something else. There was one really large tray full of a stew that looked savory rather than sweet. I had no idea what kind of meat was in it, so I just pointed to it and said I wanted that one.
The girl serving us then said to BF, "it's kambing, are you sure you want it?" BF made a face. He turned to me, it's goat, do you still want it? I gave him an incredulous look. I nodded my head excitedly. What luck! I had been wanting to try goat ever since Kirk told me it was available at Manila Fastfood, but on my last trip there, they had already run out. Here was a large serving tray recently made, full of goat.
While the girl got our two items ready, I noticed a bunch of people getting the bbq chicken or the bbq squid. We decided to try the squid. However, the girl then recommended this cooked squid dish, one I had been considering previously. She said it was really good and perhaps we should have that instead. She even gave us a sample. I liked it. It was basically grilled squid but mixed some other flavors and some onions and peppers. It had a lemony, sour taste to it. So we decided to get that instead.
I was tempted to get some desserts, like the ube rice dessert, but the package was really big and I'm the only one that really eats it.
I was pretty happy with the quantity of food we got, so even though the prices were slightly higher, I thought the quantity made up for it.
Another nice thing about this spot is that they had so much food still being made late in the day. Whenever I go to Manila Fastfood, we have to rush to get there early, or else they are usually out of everything around 4pm.
I wish I liked the taste as much as I liked everything else about this place. The pancit wasn't great. It was missing the flavors that make it taste like pancit. I don't really know how to explain this more since I've never made pancit myself.
The chicken adobo was alright, but I prefer the one at Manila Fastfood.
I did like the goat, but there wasn't much of it. It was mainly giant bones. This is my second time eating goat. The first time was at Ashoka the Great Indian buffet. I really enjoyed my first time, but i thought maybe it was a fluke. it was a lot more mild than I thought goat would taste. However, I liked this goat as well, so i guess I do enjoy eating goat. It is similar to lamb, but it is a bit gamier.
Here's the squid I mentioned earlier:
We were also given a free soup. We had goat, chicken and pork to choose from. I really wanted to try the goat, but since BF doesn't eat goat, we got the chicken after the girl recommended it. To my surprise, it was chicken with bitter melon. Lots of bitter melon. There were big chunks of bitter melon with seeds and all. BF wouldn't touch it. I like bitter melon, so I didn't mind. I was surprised that this was the recommended soup though.
Of course a trip to National City is not complete without a visit to Niederfrank's Ice Cream.
Niederfrank's Ice Cream
726 A Ave
National City, CA 91950
One of my favorite ice creams here is their blueberry one. I still had some at home though because last time I got a prepackaged quart of it. This time I stopped myself from buying more pints, and instead just got a cone of the Thai Tea ice cream, which I really enjoy too. It's a deep, dark orange and there are little bits of tea leaves in the ice cream.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
I love the taste of hazelnut, so I'm always interested in trying new hazelnut recipes. I found the recipe for chocolate hazelnut sandies on Daydreamer Desserts. These cookies looked so cute with the little nuts on top that I had to try them out.
The recipe is simple to put together if you have a food processor. You simply pour everything into the processor and it does all the work for you. I love how one minute I had a bunch of loose ingredients, and the next minute I had balls of dough.
The cookies taste like nutella, but not as sweet. So if you are looking for a not-so-sweet treat, these are a great occasion for that.
Chocolate Hazelnut Sandies (adapted from Daydreamer Desserts)
1 1/2 cups ground hazelnuts
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup hazelnuts (optional garnish)
1. Process ground hazelnuts, confectioners sugar,
light brown sugar, and cocoa powder in a food processor for about 20 seconds.
2. Add flour and salt, pulse for an additional 5 seconds to combine. Scrape down sides if necessary.
3. Add the butter pieces over the dry ingredients and pulse until dough resembles damp sand for about 18 seconds.
4. While machine is running add the egg yolk and process until the dough comes together and forms a ball, approximately 20 seconds.
5. Cut two sheets of parchment paper. Divide dough in
half, form two 4-inch thick logs and wrap each with a sheet, and place
in refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours.
6. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat's.
7. Unwrap dough logs, with a sharp knife slice 1/4 inch
thick cookies. Place cookies on baking sheets spaced about 3/4 inches
apart. Press an unsalted roasted hazelnut in the center of each cookie if
8. Bake for about 17 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Allow
cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for 3 minutes then transfer to a
wire rack until they have cooled completely.