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foodzings: January 2007

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

So so sushi lunch

Went out to lunch today, which is a rarity. I always bring something on the days that we don't get fed. Our new training queen (as my boss calls her) took us out to Spamps Restaurant. It's a strange place, with an even stranger name. Swanky and definitely geared towards the professional crowd. It labels itself as Steaks, Seafood, and Sushi. And they're right, they don't have Japanese food, they just have sushi.

I didn't really want sushi, but everyone at work had been raving about it, so I decided to give it a go. I had a spicy california dreaming combo, which came with soup, salad, and 2 rolls. Not a bad deal for only $10. It wasn't bad, but not nearly as good as others said. But I guess it's good for Conshohocken standards. Sagami it is not! The soup was ok, but a little too strong and salty. The salad was not really what you would typically get at a sushi restaurant. First off it was mesclun greens. We all know that a house salad with ginger dressing at a sushi restaurant means iceberg. Iceberg people, simple iceberg. The rolls themselves weren't bad either. But nothing to write home about. So all in all, ok.

So for dinner I got extra lazy and decided to make a frozen dinner. Not a microwave meal or fish sticks, but one of those new Bertolli frozen pasta dinners. I'd gotten a few while they were on sale (I'm always willing to try anything once, provided it's on sale!) so I gave it a go. Just threw it in a skillet onto the stove for 10 minutes and I was done. I went with the Chicken Alla Vodka & Farfalle. For the second time today, it wasn't bad. Much too salty for my liking (I'm not a fan of salt). The asparagus were surprisingly fresh tasting. The chicken was real strips of chicken breast, and also tasty. The pasta was nice and al dente. So for me, I would even say I liked it, except for the overly salty part. I think these things have the commercial where the Italian restaurant chefs/workers are sitting around at their empty restaurant. Annoying ass commercial, but they're not half bad. I have one more to try and I'm looking forward to it!

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Sometimes, she even cooks

Awhile back while randomly perusing recipes on the foodtv website, I found one that looked interesting. So yesterday, on a particularly lazy and snowy Sunday (alot of it spent watching a marathon of "Living with the Kombai Tribe"), I made it. Behold, Panko Crusted Chicken Legs.

I won't write down the recipe here. After all, you're obviously on the internet, so find it yourselves with the link. The ingredients were few and simple, but it definitely involved several steps. I had to remove the skin from the chicken legs. It didn't tell me to do so, but I'm not that into chicken skin, so i painstakingly removed them. They did not want to come off very easily. And honestly, I really don't like handling raw chicken parts very much. And then I had to marinade them for 2 hours. Everything smelled great.

After marinading, I put the panko on them and put them in the oven. It said to cook for 15 minutes on each side on 350, but after the 30 minutes, they still weren't cooked all the way through. So I upped the degrees a bit and cooked them for probably another 20 or so minutes. I even put slits in the chicken to ensure cookedness.

Once ready, I placed over rice and drizzled on the sauce. All in all, very delicious. The chicken was juicy and flavorful. But my stomach did not feel too good afterwards, which I attribute to still possibly underdone chicken. So next time, I think I will either use chicken breast and just flatten them down or use chicken thighs (since I prefer dark meat) and also pound them down more into flatter filets. Then I'll try the recipe. So it could end up similar to tonkatsu, but using chicken instead of pork and a different sauce. It was also just as tasty without the sauce. Thanks Tyler Florence!

Today was not much of a food day for me. Monday is bagel Mondays so that was breakfast. And I ran errands during lunch and did not end up eating a proper lunch. Instead, I finished off some Girl Scout cookies that my boss gave me on Friday (he just gave me a whole box) and ate January birthday cake. It's allowed because I actually had a January birthday!

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

My surprise H Mart fishing trip

It was a lazy Saturday today, so after running a few errands around the neighborhood, I decided to go to H Mart. I have a few recipes I may try so I needed to pick up some ingredients. Now I live in a metropolitan area that has a large enough Asian population. We're no Bay Area mind you, but we have plenty of representation. We have plenty of Korean representation as well. There are even a few pockets of Philadelphia and on the border of the city that could be considered pseudo-Koreatowns. Store signs are written in Korean, Korean restaurants abound, and there are a fair share of Korean food markets.

There used to be one big market in North Philadelphia and the rest were fairly smaller mom and pop shops. That's until H Mart came into the picture. Some of you may know it as Han Ah Reum. Try figuring out how to pronounce that, my non-Korean friends. H Mart just rolls much more easily off the tongue. An H Mart moved into the neighborhood of that big market and has pretty much put it out of business. It also put out the businesses of most of the smaller mom and pop shops. There's an H Mart in Upper Darby now, which lives where an old mom and pop shop used to be. While it is sad for the little guys, I can't complain when the selection is better, the food is fresher, and the prices drastically cheaper.

The Upper Darby H Mart is where I visited today. It also happens to be the one Korean market that is patronized 50% by non-Koreans. Everyone has discovered the inexpensive and fresh produce there and the variety of international ingredients it carries. Now I've seen plenty at Asian markets, but I saw something there today that I never expected to see - a giant dead tuna staring at me in the eye. Yes, just sitting on a table. Next to it was a giant dead tuna fish head and packaged up containers of tuna. I suppose this was all to illustrate just how fresh the fish was. But seriously, if I was a little kid, I could have been seriously traumatized.

The last time I was this close to a giant tuna was on a deep-sea fishing trip off the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I myself had caught a mahi-mahi, but we'd also caught our share of yellowfin tuna. Once we got back to the marina, they cleaned up the fish and bagged it up. We drove back to our rental, made fresh tuna ceviche, and ate it up. It was one of the freshest things I'd ever eaten in my life. Talk about melt in your mouth sushi. Good times...

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Friday, January 26, 2007

Food - the company way

I used to work at a company that gave us free lunch every day. And by free I mean subsidized, so either free or nearly free, depending on how much you decided to eat. It was luxurious. Not because the food was particularly great, but because you never had to worry about packing a lunch, worrying about where to go out for lunch, or wondering if you should take your leftovers into work the next day. The caf was always there, enticing you with their salad bar, sandwich station, entree line, hot grill line, and soups. You could rely on it. Plus it saved you a ton of cash.

In the first few years they basically served typical american cafeteria fare. Towards the latter years, after they changed vendors, the food started getting a bit more interesting. Some days we had sushi or chinese. They even had indian and middle eastern! They were trying to introduce some pseudo-internationalized cuisine onto unsuspecting American suburbanite office drones. And I admired them for it.

My new company feeds us twice a week. On Wednesdays it varies from restaurant or caterer. on Fridays it's pizza from Tony A's. But a few common themes abound through our free lunches - vegetarians and dieters, you're screwed. It's not the healthiest in the world, and always meat-laden. Last summer on Fridays was my favorite day of the week because of Chef Donald. That's right, we had a chef that came in on Fridays that grilled for us. It was unbelievable what that man could do with onions and garlic, his main staple ingredients, and whatever meat they brought in that day. I wish it was summer again, because damn, Chef Donald's meals were the best.

Today was Tony A's as usual. And I always eat the same pizza - Bacon Burger. Bacon Burger pizza you say? It has everything you love - bacon, ground beef, caramelized onions, and hot peppers. How can you go wrong? After all, everything tastes better with bacon. The onions on this pizza.... Man! I don't know what kind of crack they sprinkle on it, but I could eat it straight from a bowl.

I didn't eat the pizza today though. Last Sunday I had decided to make chili. It was a particularly cold day, and on cold days, there's nothing better than pho or chili. I'd had pho on Saturday (more on that later), so I decided to make chili. I made a giant vat of it and ate the last bits of it today. Mmm, mmm, good.

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

No pressure, but it's your inaugural blog post...

I'm a live to eat girl. I eat what I want, when I want, as much as I want. I don't read nutritional information, I don't follow portion sizes, I don't stop eating just because I feel full. I've lucked out in the gene and metabolism categories, so for now, I'll continue to gorge.

I didn't always start out that way. Apparently, when I was little, I would never eat my mother's cooking. And since that was my main source of food, I didn't eat much. Everyone was worried I would stay scrawny and not ever grow. But take me out to eat or to a meal prepared by anyone other than my mother, and I ate like a sumo wrestler. Go figure.

Since I come from a Korean family, and perhaps it is an Asian thing, I grew up with most things in life revolving around food and eating. When eating breakfast, we would talk about what lunch would be. And same with lunch and what dinner would be. Every gathering was all about food. I suppose I was raised to be way too into food.

I started this blog to just jot down my constant thoughts about food. I may talk about what I ate on a particular day. Or I may review a restaurant. I may try out a new food item/product/gadget and muse upon it. If I cook something and it turns out well, I'll share a recipe. Who knows? Let's just roll with it. I'll try to post pics too, but I can't promise that this blog will be photo-heavy. I'll try my darndest. And don't poo-poo me if I occasionally go off on a non-food related topic. We all fall off the wagon sometimes.

When I had to come up with a name for this blog, I came up with foodzings. Which if I spelled it "correctly" should be foodsings, but then some confused soul may thinkI was referring to singing vegetables. My musings about food. Or better yet, my muzings about food, my foodzings. LET'S GRUB!

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