Okara Ginger Cookies

Posted by on Jul 22, 2012 in Recipe | 2 comments

Lately, I’ve continued making soymilk but haven’t put the okara to use as I usually have. Now, the little container I use to store my fresh okara in the freezer is overflowing to the point that I’ve switched to using a simple gallon ziplock freezer bag. Well, what to do with all this okara? I can’t just throw it out! It’s practically a gold mine of fiber and protein, that’d be such a waste.

After some thought, I decided that as much as I loved my fancy tuna salad, I wanted to use the okara in a way that people can easily eat it on the go. As the wheels in my head turned, it slowly cranked out the equation of “on the go + sweet + snack = cookies!” and I had that lightbulb moment where I’m supposed to shriek “Eureka”.

While my family eats just about anything, they are rather picky with how salty, sweet, and oily their foods are. Especially my grandpa whose heart of hearts only has anko (red bean) in mind when it comes to dessert. Unfortunately, I still haven’t gotten around to making anko cookies yet (one of these days…), so instead I turned to something else that I felt relatively confident the whole family would be pleased with. Ginger!

Ginger is aromatic and healthy, plus it lends a pleasant but delightful spiciness to food. These okara ginger cookies are both mildly sweet and spicy and they are soft and chewy — my favorite kind of cookie! While ginger is awesome by itself, I decided to pack in even more flavor by adding a few more spices…white pepper included. Plus, by coating the cookie in granulated cane sugar — which has a light molasses flavor — it adds yet another texture to this soft and chewy cookie. Altogether, you get a cookie that’s soft and chewy, mildly sweet and spicy, smells great, and begins with a nice crunch.

Does something seem strange here?

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup wet okara
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 2 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 tsp ground ginger

 

~ AJ ~

Photographs taken and provided by AnnMarie Hwang

The Better Chip

Posted by on Jul 19, 2012 in Food Review | 2 comments

A few weeks ago, we received an email from The Better Chip company asking us if we’d be interested in reviewing their product. Of course, I immediately thought it was a sham. Why would anyone want our cute little blog, which is just a tiny blip among the sea of food blogs on the net, to review their stuff? After some thought, a bit of detective work, some quick emails, and a leap of faith, we received a box of samples the week after.

Holy crap, this is for reals!!!

Now I’m ecstatic. It was all I could do to prevent myself from randomly stopping strangers on the street, clutching their arm and excitedly gibbering “A chip company thinks my food blog is awesome enough to review their chips!” with a stupid grin on my face.

Anyway, with the excitement out of the way, we came to a dilemma. Upon sharing the news with my sister (and some virtual squees of glee), we decided that waiting for her to return from halfway around the world so we could taste the chips together would keep our lovely readers in the dark for far too long. And so, I’ve recruited our dad — who is as much of a foodie as us, if not more — to help me try out these tasty chips.

The Better Chip is a healthy chip, a tortilla chip to be precise, that boasts about having big flavors made from 100% real ingredients. When it comes to healthy chips and snacks, besides fresh fruits and veggies, Terra Chips and Pirate Booty pop to mind. While I love both of them, I’ve never had The Better Chip before and all three of them are completely different anyhow.

Keeping that in mind, we tried out the Sweet Onion and White Cheddar chip first. Upon opening the bag, the first thing you smell is the cheddar with a faint undertone of onion. One bite and the first thing I thought of was…honestly? Condensed french onion soup. Which isn’t a bad thing, I love french onion soup though I’ve never had it in chip form before. It was a bit saltier than I personally like, and left an oniony aftertaste. 

 

 

The Jalapeno and Sea Salt chip doesn’t kick in for a few seconds, and then you’re hit with the heat. This chip is spicy…and I do not handle spicy foods well so I let my dad have the rest of the bag. You could definitely taste the sea salt, though it wasn’t as salty as the Sweet Onion and White Cheddar.

 

Next, the Red Pepper and Salsa Fresca was not only vibrantly eye catching but definitely our favorite by far. Once you open the bag, this chip stands out from the rest with its distinct color. While the Jalapeno and Sea Salt was pretty with its flecks of green, the reddish orange hue was far more unique. (Though I may simply be biased since red is my favorite color.) The red pepper and salsa came through loud and clear, and the slightly burnt edges of the chip added more depth to the flavor. While it was salty, it was slightly sweet as well so it balanced out. 

 

Lastly, the Fresh Corn and Sea Salt chip was somewhat disappointing. It was basically like the Jalapeno and Sea Salt chip…except without the jalapeno. The sweetness of the corn does come through a bit strong, though eating a sweet chip was somewhat of an odd experience. On the other hand, we couldn’t taste the sea salt at all. 

 

Our conclusion? They are definitely a healthy chip, and unless they forgot to include something on their ingredients list, they are made from good things that I can both read and fully approve of.

Although we’d agree that they do have better ingredients than the majority of chips and snacks on the market nowadays, I’m not sure if I would say they are better tasting. They are tasty but they’re not…addictively tasty. Of course, this may simply be due to the lack of…oh, I don’t know, frying the chips in unspeakable stuff that makes them oh so damn good even though it’s horrible for your health and then you find yourself stuffing your face until your hand reaches the bottom of the bag and before you know it you’re in the car on the way home with the backseat stuffed full of grocery bags containing family sized bags of greasy chips of all varieties and then the spiraling guilt trip of doom engulfs you which starts you off by ripping open another bag of chips and…

Too much?

On the other hand, they are most definitely a great chip for dipping. These chips are nice and thick with a satisfying crunch, so there’s no longer the need to go through the annoying process of trying to fish your broken dipped chip out of the dip with the help of another chip (only for that one to break, which leads to an exasperated sigh before you go get the spoon to save your drowning chip). The down side of these thick tortilla chips is that there’s a slightly floury and doughy taste/texture to it. This really only stands out more when you eat the chips alone. With dip or with a sandwich, they’re terrific. 

Overall, we really enjoyed the chips and would suggest you try it out for yourselves. (Psst, RedPepperandSalsaFresca!) Then let us know what you thought! Which one is your favorite chip? Check out their website for more information.

~ AJ ~

Photographs taken and provided by AnnMarie Hwang

A Taste of Taiwan: Taiwanese Munchies

Posted by on Jul 11, 2012 in Eating like an Emperor - in Taiwan, Recipe | 2 comments

Hello everyone! Here in Taiwan, I have been faithfully sticking to this blog by eating several snacktime munchies every single day. This is extremely easy to do, as the nightlife in Taiwan is practically completely centered around the yummy food stands that come out. Instead of sitting down and eating a meal, why not enjoy food on a stick, or in a bag? I say YES. Here are some traditional/strange munchies that Taiwan has offered my tummy:

We stumbled across this traditional style sweet potato stand that bakes the sweet potatoes in a wooden crate over coals. Extremely huge and piping hot! The insides are a bright yellow and this traditional snack is filling and healthy!

I’ve had this so many times, it’s addictive. Taipei Milk King’s freshly made papaya milk is soooo good. They blend huge Taiwanese papayas with milk to produce something that actually tastes like the fruit! None of that artificial syrup stuff. Plus, its HEALTHY.

I think I may have talked about stinky tofu before, but this stinky tofu in particular is on another level. There’s this tiny stand/shop in the Gongguan area that is famous for its stinky tofu, and I know why. The tofu is not extremely stinky, more like aromatic. Plus, its steaming hot and has a thin crispy skin and juicy insides that are stuffed full of cucumbers and parsley. Yummmmm.

Taiwanese coconuts are small and round compared to the ones we see in U.S. supermarkets. Yet the insides are very sweet, and MAN do they have some refreshing brain juice.

I know I talked about takoyaki during my previous visit to Taiwan, but here’s something I’ve never tried until now. Usually, takoyaki are small delicious little fried octopus balls that come 6-8 in a container. Each one is barely a mouthful. But look at the giant takoyaki above!! One takoyaki is bigger than that guy’s fist, believe it or not. Plus, the typical takoyaki contains a snippet of octopus and maybe some onion or whatever if you’re lucky. Here, you get one ball in a soup bowl (THAT big) and inside it’s filled with dozens of octopus pieces, shrimp, broccoli, corn, potato, scallop, etc! It’s a whole nutritional meal in a fried ball! Heaven.

Here’s a picture of a pretty good piece of pig blood rice cake covered in peanut powder and parsley. Again, I’ve mentioned this delicious snack before. But guess what? This piece of yummy is probably one and a half times the length of my head! We’re talking about almost a foot of blood rice cake here…plus it’s delightfully chewy and not mushy like some can get.

No, that is not pee pee in a cup. It’s actually sugarcane juice with no added flavors! Just pure, liquified sugarcane. I remember eating sugarcane when I was little, and we would have to rip a chunk of the sugarcane, chew it to get the juice, and then spit out the fibers. A very tedious process. Here, they squeezed the sugarcane to a pulp, resulting in fiber/wood free juice. Not too sweet, and very sugarcane-y.  I took a video of the fun process, but unfortunately the file is apparently to big to upload! So much for a 1 minute video…

 Anyways, hope you guys enjoyed this post, more will follow :) Yay Taiwan!

– Jas

                                                                                  Photographs taken by Jasmine Hwang

 

Surprise Sliders

Posted by on Jul 5, 2012 in Recipe | 3 comments

Ahh, summer. What does that word mean to you? Is it simply the hot season, or is it the time of year for sunblock and mosquito repellent? For me, it’s all of the above plus a nice cool glass to fend off the heat  before sitting back to watch my little garden grow. You don’t fully appreciate the difference between fresh produce at the grocery and truly fresh stuff straight from your backyard until you’ve tasted it for yourself. Just chopping up our herbs is a treat now, the smell alone is phenomenal.

Besides the benefit of having fresh herbs at my disposal, I’ve found that there’s the occasional little surprise that might stumble along. Just look at this adorable baby painter turtle that crawled in for a visit! The little cutie was just strolling along when my dad nearly stepped on him. No worries, its happily back in our pond and leisurely swimming and feasting as it goes.

Besides baking in the sun and running screaming from the creepy crawlies, nothing quite says summer like bar-b-que. Summer. BBQ. Summer. BBQ…the two words practically go hand in hand with each other but no bbq is complete without a deliciously juicy burger. 

While a big and yummy burger is always satisfying, there’s always the cuter and smaller alternative as well. If you’re simply entertaining for a lot of guests, or want to eat smaller portions, then sliders are the way to go. They’re much more finger-food-friendly and they actually fit perfectly on the hamburger buns sold in stores. Or am I the only person who’s bought hamburger buns only to find that the patties were too big?

These surprise sliders are easy to make and quick to cook, plus they have a ooey gooey cheesy surprise waiting in the middle!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb fatty ground pork
  • 2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1/2 bulb garlic
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1/8 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp basil
  • 1/8 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp parsley
  • 1/8 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • salt & pepper
  • your favorite cheese (optional)

Fatty pork? Fatty pork?! AJ, are you crazy? I don’t want fattening, greasy burgers! 

Don’t worry! Without any fat in your burgers, you’ll end up with a dry burger and dry burgers are far from tasty. The secret to juicy burgers is…well, fat! With just the right amount of fatty meat, you’ll have deliciously juicy burgers that’ll have people coming back for seconds. 

Making burgers is a no-brainer. Simply mix everything together and you’re done!…Okay, halfway done. 

Now for the most time consuming step in the process — shaping the patties. Since we wanted equal portions for everyone, as well as making it easier to stuff cheese in the middle, we used little saucers to help us out. Simply press the meat into the saucer (or whatever you decide to use), place your cheese of choice in the center, and then press more meat on top. 

For the cheese that we used, we chose Spanish frying cheese (Queso Para Freir). There was no particular reason why, besides the fact that we were curious as to how it tasted and wanted to experiment. What better time to experiment than during a big bbq while using your guests as guinea pigs?…Ahem, you didn’t read any of that…

Anyhow, the queso para freir tasted like a saltier mozzarella. The texture was firmer as well, which is probably how it can be fried without turning into a gooey mess. While it is most definitely delicious fried (Simply slice or dice and then toss into some hot oil, fish it out once it’s turned a golden brown — yum!), I wouldn’t recommend it for your sliders. Since the queso para freir is so firm, it didn’t melt when the sliders were grilled as we had hoped. If you want to stuff your sliders, choose a cheese that melts easily.

Now, just shape the patties in your hands. The quickest way would be to roll it into a ball and then patting it down. Of course, make sure to press it together firmly though! You wouldn’t want your sliders falling apart on the grill later on.

Once you’ve finished with your little patties of meaty perfection, just toss them on the grill and enjoy!

See what I mean about them fitting perfectly on store bought hamburger buns now?

Completely off topic but, does anyone else think these mugs are utterly adorable?

~ AJ ~

Photographs taken and provided by AnnMarie Hwang

Moist Strawberry Topped Citrus Cake

Posted by on Jun 26, 2012 in Recipe | 1 comment

Hello everyone! Recently Taiwan has been raining cats and dogs like nobody’s business and our house has already accumulated three doggies! It’s preposterous. Lots of rain=no going out=eating at home. Thus, my stomach is taking a much needed break today. In the meantime, here’s a recipe for a yummy citrus cake that I whipped up during the holidays way back when. It’s too good to neglect posting about it (especially when it pretty much disappeared during dessert even after the family was full to their necks with food) so here it is!

Ingredients (for 1 cake. double the amount for 2 cakes, and you can layer them to create a two-tiered cake!)

Cake (350 degrees, 40-45 minutes)

6 tbs unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar (I used a bit less since my family never likes things too sweet!)

2 extra large eggs, room temperature

3/8 cup sour cream, room temperature

1/4 tsp grated lemon zest

1/4 tsp grated orange zest

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup all purpose flour

1/8 cup cornstarch

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

Whipping/Topping

1/2 cup (1/4 pint) heavy cream, chilled

1 1/2 tbs sugar

1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 pint fresh strawberries

Despite all the ingredients, this cake is very easy to make! Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. First start off by creaming the butter and sugar with a handy dandy electronic mixer if you have one until fluffy. If your butter is still cold, you can microwave it for 10 seconds to soften it up, this makes creaming it later extremely quick. Then add the eggs one at a time to the mixture, making sure each is incorporated fully before adding the next. Then add the sour cream, mix fully,zest, mix fully, and finally vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda together. Using a whisk helps to break up clumps! Then, add the dry mixture slowly to the wet mixture until you have your cake batter completed! Now simply pour into your cake pan and pop in oven for 40-45 minutes. While it’s baking, you can get started on the whippings.

Here’s how to make simple yet fresh and delicious whipped cream. Homemade whipped cream on a cake really makes a big difference. Simply pour the heavy cream and vanilla extract together in a large bowl. Then, take your electronic mixer and whip it like crazy until beautiful snowy peaks form. If the cake is already sweet, you might try adding less sugar and vanilla extract. Then you can fill up a decorating bag (or a plastic ziplock bag and cut a hole in the corner if you’re desperate) to decorate your cake. Chop up strawberries or use them whole, however you want to decorate your cake! When the cake is ready make sure to LET IT COOL before decorating otherwise you will end up with a hot mess. Like a girl with mascara running down her face! ^_^

Hope you guys enjoy this recipe, if you decide to try it please let me know what you think or if you have suggestions to tweak it into a more marvelous creation! Look forward to more Taiwan related posts soon ;)

– Jas

                                                            Photographs taken and provided by Jasmine Hwang

A Taste of Taiwan: Sushi Takeout!

Posted by on Jun 19, 2012 in Eating like an Emperor - in Taiwan | 3 comments

Hey everyone! I’ve officially been living in Taiwan for about a month now, which was enough time to stuff myself fat and take a couple hundreds of pictures of food. All for you guys! At first I contemplated making my first Taiwan series post an overall view of what I’ve been eating and visually drown you all in delicious pictures of food. But what’s the point of dozens of pictures without words…right? So I’m gonna break it down into categories, starting with da da da DUMMMM….Sushi Takeout!

Now pretty much everyone who knows me can verify my obsession with sushi and sashimi. Usually, I only get to gobble the babies up for special occasions when we decide to go to a restaurant or something. But recently I have been able to sate my sushi cravings whenever I want, and that is because ladies and gentlemen, there is a delicious Sushi Takeout shop in practically every subway station in Taiwan! Not only that, but everything is made fresh throughout the day (as it should be) and the prices are laughingly cheap and only get cheaper with every hour at night when items are discounted to sell out the days worth of food. Of course, you would assume that the sushi must be plain, simple, and average tasting if the prices were that low. NOT SO. Here’s proof:

At Sushi Takeout, you can either custom make your own meal by taking the various plastic container sizes they have available and filling it with individual sushi pieces which can vary in price from 5NT to 15NT (15NT being 50 cents), or you can grab one of their custom made options. These include several sushi, nigiri, and bento options. Above, I got a delicious meal of eel, salmon roe, shrimp, broccoli, and a whole bunch of rice with egg AS WELL AS a separate container not pictured full of around 10 pieces of handpicked sushi for around $6!!! All the sashimi is fresh and the sushi filled with chewy rice that’s not mushy, limp, and stuck together. Yum yum.

This wonderful place also sells the typical convenience store wonderfulness of breads, drinks and snacks, but I will talk about convenience stores in another post! For now, just ogle and awe at the greatness of Sushi Takeout. I know I do! Even without the nightly discounts, buying during the day is also a great lunch or snack for cheap. If it wasn’t so filling and if Taiwan didn’t offer so many other delectable foods to devour, I would just stuff myself with sushi…but thank goodness that isn’t the case. Hope you enjoyed this toast and make sure to try out the easy convenient sushi if any of you visit Taiwan! Btw, did anyone notice I typed toast and not post? Yes, I love food…ok that was corny. Anyways, thanks for reading ^_^

 

– Jas

                                                                          Photographs taken by Jasmine Hwang

Lemongrass Cocktail

Posted by on Jun 18, 2012 in Recipe | 3 comments

A beautiful sunset at our beach

The hot summer months are upon us, and what better way to escape from the heat than relaxing with a nice refreshing glass of liquor in the evenings? Ah, but straight liquor or a bottle of beer just don’t cut it sometimes and cocktails are the only other answer!

Great for entertaining parties, or simply when you feel like indulging yourself, cocktails are fun, elegant, and usually able to satisfy any sweet tooth. It’s also very easy to experiment and fiddle with the recipe to your tastes.

Lemongrass cocktails are super simple to make and it’s a sweet concoction despite all the lime juice. Unlike some cocktails that are extremely complicated and difficult to make due to its sheer variety of nearly-impossible-to-find-ingredients, such as a few spotlighted in the New York Times, limes can be found in any local supermarket…and hey, so can lemongrass! Fancy that.

While mixing drinks with a cocktail shaker is great for showing off, it’s not required. Simply substitute with a small glass or pitcher.

Ingredients:

For one glass – 

  • 2 1/2 oz coconut rum
  • 1 1/2 oz lemongrass syrup
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • perscuitto (optional)
  • sugar (optional)

For lemongrass syrup –

  • 2 stalks fresh lemongrass, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar

For the lemongrass syrup, place the lemongrass, water, and sugar into a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer while partially covered for 15 minutes. Strain the mixture and cool. (This can last for a week in the fridge.)

For the garnish, preheat the oven to 350°F. Roll the strips of perscuitto from a corner in order to get a longer stick. Bake for about 15 – 20 minutes until crisp. Other garnish ideas: a very thin slice of lime, or a spear of fresh lemongrass frond. Perscuitto is quite salty, and thus helps to offset the sweetness of the lemongrass cocktail. It’s also always a nice treat to have edible garnish.

For the cocktail, run a wedge of lime around the rim of the glass and dip into a plate of sugar to frost. Set the glass aside (or let it chill in the fridge). Fill a cocktail shaker or small pitcher with ice, then add the rum, lemongrass syrup, and lime juice. Cover and shake or stir vigorously until combined and chilled. Strain into your cocktail glass, garnish and enjoy!

~ AJ ~


Photographs taken and provided by AnnMarie Hwang

 

Fancy Tuna Salad

Posted by on Jun 10, 2012 in Recipe | 2 comments

A few posts ago, you may remember me raving about my latest new toy and kitchen gadget — the awesome soymilk machine, SoyaPower Plus. If you remember that, then I’m sure you’ve been waiting for the promised okara recipes. (Did I mention that the SoyaPower Plus makes more than just soymilk? Rice milk is also a big favorite.)

Here’s a super simple recipe for lovers of tuna salad (like me ^^) with a heaping cupful of okara to boot!

Similar to my Mayo-less Tuna Salad, this is the full monty with spoonfuls of mayonnaise and so much more. It’s so good that some people may be convinced it’s bad for you…but no one will ever be able to tell me that tuna salad is bad for me because it’s simply too delicious!

This is great for a party or just enjoying it for a light meal. While the additional okara is totally optional, it gives the tuna salad a thicker and creamier consistency. Plus, no one would ever know you’d added any unless you told them.

Ingredients:

  • 1 5 oz can tuna
  • 1 12.5 oz can chicken/turkey
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 carrots
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 cup toasted crushed walnuts
  • 1/4 ~ 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 ~ 1 cup wet okara (optional)

This recipe is easy to alter to your own tastes, don’t hesitate to do so! Let us know when you think you’ve come up with a winner so we can try it out for ourselves.

I like to use a can of chicken or turkey instead of only tuna, just to add a little special something. This is actually something my uncle introduced to me and I’ve stuck to it ever since because it’s so good. Both friends and family have had that little ‘wow’ moment when they took their first bite, trying to figure out what makes something as simple as tuna salad so delicious. The taste of the canned chicken is actually pretty mild and practically unnoticeable, the tuna definitely wins over. If anything, it simply adds more texture and while people may notice that there’s something different — in a good way, of course — they may never guess why until you tell them.

If you’re using okara, the health benefits are great (walnuts and avocados are also packing tons of nutrition) but I wouldn’t suggest using more than a cup for the portion that this recipe makes. While okara is virtually tasteless, it is mealy on its own. Mixed into the tuna salad, it simply makes the whole thing creamier. But too much, and you’ll have an unpleasant grainy sensation. Also, while this recipe is using wet okara, remember that wet okara doesn’t mean it’s still sopping wet with soymilk! Make sure that you’ve squeezed as much liquid as possible out of your okara before using it.

 

 

Hope you enjoyed this quick and simple dish. Look forward to more okara recipes in the future!

~ AJ ~

Photographs taken and provided by AnnMarie Hwang

Almond Bark Cookies: Asian Style

Posted by on Jun 1, 2012 in Recipe | 4 comments

Hey all! Now that I’m officially done with my first year of college, here’s to 3 months of summer and food! Although I rarely put up recipes, here’s a simple one. I think in most western sweet shops almond bark is usually considered to be flat layers of chocolate with chunks of almonds. Not so in Asian bakeries. Here, almond bark is considered to be thin, flaky cookies made up of sliced almonds, giving them an extremely satisfying sweet nutty crunch. I guess they can be considered thin cookies in fact. The last time I made these babies for Christmas, they were gone before dinner even started. By the time I cleaned myself up from baking and went back to the kitchen the plate was empty! So make sure you save yourselves a few pieces before serving to guests -wink wink-. Anyway, these are extremely easy to make, so here’s a simple recipe that is quick and yummy to eat for teatime with friends and family:

Ingredients- Unfortunately, the recipe is in grams not cups so if you guys have a scale it would be extremely helpful!!

2 egg whites (~50g)

sugar (50g)

vegetable oil (20g)

flour (15g which is around 1 tbsp) I would recommend using Dijin flour which is a type of flour used in most Asian baking, however I’ve tried baking this with All purpose flour and they came out delicious too. Just chewier and less crunchy)

thinly sliced almonds (70g)

Directions

You guys won’t believe how easy it is to make these. Simply put all the ingredients except the almonds in a bowl and double boil it over a pot of boiling water. After putting the ingredients in a bowl and mixing them over the pot of water, take the bowl off the heat and mix in the almonds. Then just set your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and spread the mixture out on a tray. It helps to keep it as flat as possible using the flat of a fork. The thinner you spread it, the crunchier they will be! You can make these extremely quickly if you just spread it out in one flat sheet, or you can take your time and make individual cookies. I like to do cookies because if you do one flat piece, breaking it up later doesn’t look quite as pretty, and frankly the middle pieces will lose their crunch! After you’re done making your creation look beautiful, pop the tray(s) in the oven for 10 minutes more or less depending on how your oven is. Take them out, let them cool, and enjoy with pizazz! But please, try and restrain yourself from stuffing them in all at once ^______^

Hope you guys enjoy this simple and quick recipe! If you decide to try it, let me know how you like it! On another note, FYI I’m currently in Taiwan!!!! So look forward for more Eating like an Emperor in Taiwan posts where I will talk about all the awesomely delicious yummies I am gorging on. Look forward to it!

 

-Jas :)

Photographs taken by Jasmine Hwang

Fishing Frenzy & Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

Posted by on May 23, 2012 in Fishing Frenzy, New York Eats | 0 comments

The moon winking good morning

A few weeks ago, near the end of my rather uneventful spring break, for some odd reason that I can’t fully understand myself, I decided to tag along on a long 7-hour drive upstate with my dad and his friend (along with his two sons). For what? Why, all so I could wake up at the ungodly hour of 4:30 am to go out on the docks of Lake Ontario and sit in a rocking boat to aimlessly fish for trout for the next six hours of course!

Yes, I think I’d lost a few screws over break as well.

Having rented a boat from Crazy Yankee SportFishing the entire ordeal was rather taxing. Considering how they laid out the lines for us and let us know when a fish was biting, we were left with the toughest job of reeling them in…and then the difficult task of picking up slippery fish and tossing them into the cooler. Phew. That’s a lot of work! 

Bad sarcasm aside, despite waking up far too early, it was pretty fun. Reeling in the fish was actually a bit difficult at first, especially when it was a big catch (though after looking at the pictures featured on the Crazy Yankee website, the fish we caught seem tiny in comparison). Without the excitement of hooking another unlucky trout, the lull of the boat practically put us to sleep. 

At least we all left feeling the victory of having caught a fish (even if we only did half the job). In fact, my dad managed to catch exactly one brown trout before getting seasick for the next five and a half hours. Bravo, daddy!

I got bragging rights for bringing in the only lake trout of the bunch we nabbed, though catch of the day for fattest brown trout went to the younger son of my dad’s friend. Totally not jealous.

Afterwards, the Captains were kind enough to filet our fish for us right on deck before heading back to the docks. I found myself cringing inwardly as they threw everything save for the filets overboard. Seeing all of those fish heads and innards floating away…sinking back into the lake to feed the other fishies as the circle of life continues…What a waste! Yes, I am greedy, but that was already a known fact. Wasn’t it? Looking at it from a logical perspective though, we wouldn’t have been able to haul all 16 fish back if the majority hadn’t been filleted. 

Now that I’ve finished regaling you with our fishing adventure and you’re bored out of your mind (C’mon already, where’s the food?!) on to the bbq! 

Before our utterly exciting fishing adventure, we stopped by what is supposed to be the place to go for bbq at Rochester — Dinosaur Bar-B-Que — the night before. The place was beyond crowded when we arrived, and the wait time was around 3 hours. Convinced that this was the best place in town to eat, thanks to the raving reviews found on the internet and Yelp!, we decided to wait it out.

Seated in front of the take out corner, it never occurred to us that maybe…just maybe, we should order food to go instead of waiting. Well, not until we’d already waited nearly 2 hours anyway. Then we got smart, and around $10 later (their bottled cherry soda is delicious, sadly I forgot to take a photo of it and can’t recall the brand) we stopped staring longingly at the take out counter and actually lined up to order instead.

Proud of us, aren’t you?

Back at the hotel, we dug in ravenously and were quickly disillusioned to all the hype about Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. Out of all our choices, I think I can safely (and smugly) say that my Pork & Brisket Plate [$13.95] was the most delicious. Tender and full of flavor, you could tell with just a bite that the pulled pork had been slow cooked for hours for it to fall apart with just a poke from my fork. The brisket was tough competition for the pulled pork, but it still fell short by just a fraction. While just as tender and scrumptious, it couldn’t compare to the way the pulled pork nearly melted in your mouth.

With Simmered Turkey Neck Collard Greens and A.K. Chili as the two sides I chose, the chili definitely won the contest between them. While nothing spectacular, the simmered turkey neck collard greens was sour and not much to my personal liking and I could just barely find any hints of turkey…I mean, I know it’s just the neck, but still! On a side note, the little hunk of corn bread they included? I’ve never been a fan of corn bread — until I rediscovered how delicious it (and coleslaw) could be at our local diner — but dinosaurs obviously can’t make corn bread as well as they can pulled pork because it was not yummy in the least. 

My dad had gone with the reasonable but safe decision of a half rack of bbq pork ribs [$15.50], only to be disappointed to find that it was rather dry and overcooked. So much for succulent glazed ribs. 

As for his sides of Cajun Corn and Mac & Cheese, they weren’t all that bad but they weren’t extraordinary either. All I can say is that I expected more from the cajun corn due to its reviews, and while it most definitely had a kick to it, that was about it.

On the side, we also ordered five pieces of Original Fried Green Tomatoes [$7.95]. This was another item that received good reviews and…it was interesting! Fried to a golden crisp, it had a nice crunch to it and the tomato kept its color inside. Sprinkled with Pecorino Romano, the cayenne buttermilk ranch dressing added a nice creamy addition. But I found it tasty even without the dip.

Hope you guys enjoyed this rambling post. We’ll definitely have more Fishing Frenzy stories to share, as well as the tasty dishes we transform them into. The beach and pond in our backyard are calling, insisting that we fish out their occupants and cook them into something delicious. So look forward to it!

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que
99 Court Street
Rochester, NY 14604
(585) 325-7090 

~ AJ ~

Photographs taken and provided by AnnMarie Hwang