Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Red Devil Cupcakes

The next bake item on my list was Red Devil Cake. I was looking to make something similar to Red Velvet cake for my girlfriend to try and this recipe looked to fulfill the order. Not only would the cupcakes be chocolaty, but a bit more nutritious due to a super secret ingredient that few can taste. One look at the ingredient list and you might just be a little bit surprised. After munching down on a few (okay maybe several) of the final products, this recipe is definitely a winner.



The ingredients - nothing special (almost)


Batter me cococa!


I'm a sucker for these mini cupcake tins


The finished product. Not quite red.


Recipe:

Yield: Makes 2 Dozen Cupcakes or 9-inch square or round baking pan

15 ounce can of sliced beets
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Preheat ove to 350°F. Generously oil the baking ban.

Drain the beets, reserving 1/2 cup of the juice. In a blender, puree the beets with the reserved juice to make about 1 1/4 cups of puree. Set aside.

In a Large bowl, beat the eggs well. Thoroughly whisk in the sugar, oil, vanilla, salt, and beet puree until very smooth. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients a little at a time, whisking until smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes (30-40 minutes with cupcakes) until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan. Serve topped with confectioners' sugar, whipped cream, or just leave plain.


Red Devil Cake

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Asian Chef Association Chef Demonstrations

A few weeks ago I atteneded the Asian Chef Association food demonstations at San Francisco's California Culinary Academdy. Well respected Asian food chefs from notable restaurants all over the bay area gave the attendees the opportunity to sample some of their most delicious and beautiful dishes.



Asahi - That amber beer was delicious! Too bad most supermarkets only carry the super dry variety.


Spam Musubi


Lomi Lomi Salmon with Ryu sauce, chives, and Shallots prepared by Chef Heines


Grilled Octopus and Cucumber Salad with Rice Vingear dressing - This is the best octopus dish I have ever had. Perfectly grilled and exploding with flavor


Chawan-mushi (Japanese Savory Egg Custard) prepared by Chef Whitman of Sushi Ran. The egg was silky smooth and lightly flavored. A little bit of heaven sliding into my stomach.


Green Papaya and Mango Salad with Shrimp, Crispy Shallot and Spicy Vinaigrette prepared by Chef Le of Three Seasons. I'm not a huge fan of Papaya but the salad was incredibly refreshing.


Mini Slider Burger with Blue Cheese and Caramelized Onions prepared by Chef Barham of CCA


You can see an 100% beef patty with bacon, lettuce, tomato, carmalized onions and blue cheese. It was so scrumptious I went for seconds. And both of them vaporized into my mouth within seconds.


Hong Kong Style Beef Chow Fun prepared by Chef Andy Wai of Heaven's Dog

350 Rhode Island St
San Francisco, CA 94103
(888) 858-5222
http://www.acasf.com/

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Pinkberry

I'm pretty picky when it comes to frozen yogurt. For me, it boils down to three things: creaminess, tartness, and sweetness. Get the combination wrong, and it just doesn't taste right. In these three departments, Pinkberry has never failed me. While I personally prefer the original flavor, others have mentioned that mango and pomegranate come pretty darn close. When I do crave frozen yogurt, Pinkberry always takes the contest hands down.

Pinkberry @ Santana Row

An assortment of toppings and frozen yogurt flavors

Original Flavor with Mochi

I'm in the city, but I'd definitely drive down to San Jose to get my fix of Pinkberry. Most of their stores are in SoCal, but they have one in New York and San Diego as well.

Pinkberry
368 Santana Row, Suite 1020
San Jose, CA 95128
(408)557-8333
http://www.pinkberry.com/

Straits Cafe

At the end of busy season, our entire company headed out to San Jose's Santana row for dinner at Straits Cafe, a Southeast Asian fusion restaurant. While most of the dishes are aimed at a western audience, they are more derivatives of authentic Southeast Asian cuisine than exotic creations. This results in slightly distinctive yet recognizable dishes.

Straits Cafe @ Santana Row

Tuna Tower - Ahi tossed with seasame oil, scallions, ginger, and kaffir lime leaf - A wonderfully simple dish to get the appetite going

Roti Prata - Grilled Indian bread served with curry dipping sauce

Straits Ribs - Bali style honey glazed barbecued pork ribs - the meat was well cooked and came off the bone easily

Banana Blossom Salad - Grilled chicken tossed with Asian pears and fresh herbs served in a Vietnamese vinaigrette - refreshing but more bitter than I'd like

Basil Chicken - Curried chicken with bamboo shoots, bell peppers, onions, Shiitakes, and Thai Basil

Seafood Green Curry - fresh prawns, fish, clams, and mussels served in a savory green curry

Shrimp Pad Thai - Tossed noodles with prawns, eggs, and peanuts

Lemongrass Beef - marinated and grilled skirt steak served with lemongrass sauce, garlic fries, and baby bok choy - Well cooked without being too heavily seasoned.

Banana Fritters w/ caramel sauce

Straits Restaurant
333 Santana Row
San Jose, CA 95128
(408) 246-6320
http://www.straitsrestaurants.com/

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Bocanova

Thanks to my wonderful girlfriend, the folks at Foodbuzz, and the staff at Bocanova, I was able to take a foray into Pan American cuisine at Bocanova's soft opening during Oakland's Eat Real Food festival. For an in depth look at our meal (and more pictures), take a gander over at Taste Tests.


An inside look at Bocanova's dining area



Wildflower - I admit it, I'm a sucker for these delicious fruity drinks



Stuffed whole pig with chiltomate salsa - Absolutely delicious and loaded with flavor


Chocolate Bread Pudding - It tasted like a creamy melts-in-your-mouth piece of heaven

Bocanova
Jack London Square
55 Webster Street
Oakland, CA 94607
510-444-1233
http://www.bocanova.com

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Eat Real Festival

What's better than a food festival? A food festival focused on sustainable, local, and organic food that supports local farmers and the communities they feed, that's what. Oakland's Eat Real Food festival is the combination of food vendors, local farmers, and restaurants coming together to give the public of taste of what delicious sustainable food can be like. You get to experience being connected to the food you eat, from the farmers who grow the food to the vendors who source the food from those farmers and create the delicious food items we all love.

I had the chance to spend a few hours at Jack London Square to get a taste of variety of foods available.


Eat Real Festival 2009



Kara's Cupcakes! - Sweet Cupcakes that Melt on your mouth




Seafood Paella - Seafood and Meat/Veggie Mixture


Commemorative Beer Mason Mug



Korean Taco Truck - Korean BBQ - They were definitely a hit. The line for the tacos lined all the way around the block



Korean Rib Eye Taco



Korean Spicy Pork Taco - These babies had quite the kick. Bottle of water required.



Pork Pupusa




For those of you who ask why real food? What's the big deal? Eating real food is more than just about getting away from our processed meals. It's about providing farmers a real chance to earn a living. It's about knowing where your food comes from and the interdependent relationships you have with those who grow the food. It's about enjoying and making delicious food that doesn't require a huge carbon footprint, pounds of antibiotics, genetic modification, and pesticides to grow and raise. It's about reconnecting ourselves back to the food chain that we depend on to maintain our health and derive enjoyment from. Keeping it real and keeping it simple. That's what eating real food is all about.

Eat Real Festival 2009
Jack London Square
Oakland, CA
http://eatrealfest.com/

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Pot de Pho

I came here with a friend on a weeknight to chat and grab a bite. Until then, I never understood why you would pay more than a few bucks for a bowl of pho. A few firsts were established that night. The creation of Chef Khai Duong of Ana Mandara, Pot de Pho strives to use all natural and/or organic ingredients resulting in some pretty fresh tasting food.


Pho Bo Tai - Beef Pho, Rare Kobe Beef Steak - This is not your normal bowl of Pho. It's house made MSG-free broth simmered for hours with delicious choice pieces of Kobe beef on top of fresh house made noodles.



Goi Cuon - Fresh Spring Roll with Shrimp and Pork - The spring rolls were light and well packed. However, the peanut sauce was the best part. Thick and flavorful, it was the perfect complement to the pork and shrimp.



Cucumber Sake Mojito - Sake, fresh mint, cucumber, lime juice, and soda. Wonderfully light and refreshing, this mojito is the best I've ever had.

Pot de Pho provides a unique Pho eating experience and does so with some of the best tasting and freshest ingredients available. Eating here is more than just receiving a big bowl of pho and noodles. Each ingredient is well thought out, from the pho to the vegetables to the meat, creating a wonderful bowl of pho that is deserving of praise.

Pot de Pho
3300 Geary Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 668-0826
http://www.potdepho.com/