July 6 Menu

Many apologies for the delay. We had a packed Independence Day weekend, so I didn't quite find time to post.

This week, it's chicken, chicken, chicken. I believe I had mentioned that I had a good friend who loves chicken. So, in his honor, we're going to try having chicken this whole week. Of course, we'll have to ease into it. Also, my friend's favorite is fried chicken, but without a deep fryer, I'll have to resort to a chicken bake, sorry. But I assure you, it's good.

Monday - Chicken Katsu
Tuesday - Chicken Caesar Salad
Wednesday - Sam Gae Tang (Korean style chicken soup)
Thursday - Oven Fried Chicken
Friday - Pizza!
  • Oh, how I crave for pizza from Pepe's in New Haven. I'm kicking myself for not having stopped by during my 10th reunion a month ago. Darn!
Shopping List for me:
  • Vegetables, Fruits, Herbs - salad mix, fresh vegetables & fruits, potatoes
  • Meat, Poultry, Fish - chicken breasts (1 lb), pre-chopped chicken
  • Dairy, Juice - buttermilk
  • Grains, Pasta - macaroni
  • Breads - french baguette
  • Condiments - Casesar dressing, dijon mustard
Shopping List Addtl:
  • Meat, Poultry, Fish - chicken tenderloins, cornish hens (or whole chicken)
  • Dairy, Juice - shredded cheeses for macaroni
  • Grains, Pasta - sweet rice
  • Other, Specialty Grocery - ginseng root, chestnuts, red dates (or korean stores have a pre-packaged sam gae tang ingredients pack)
Notes of the week:
1. It was great to have our friends over for the culminating menu of oven fried chicken. I also stirred up some bonchon style chicken sauce of ginger-garlic-soy-honey which came out better than expected. What didn't come out was my feeble attempt at a double fry method to mimic the bonchon. Already against me was that my chicken was skinless, so it kind of defeated the double fry purpose. Second, I didn't watch the temperature too well on the second fry - oops!
2. Salad for dinner really leaves one craving for more.
3. A week of chicken was less torturous than I thought it would be.

June 29 Menu

Last minute plans have us going away this weekend preceding the menu, so I've been forced to resort to a website a friend referred to me some time ago and which I linked to last week. This was going to be a chicken themed week for a good friend of ours that is known to be more than an aficionado of the fine feathered friend - fried, baked, steamed, broiled, etc. But I guess we'll do that next week and that'll be good since they're on vacation themselves and it wouldn't be the same if they didn't come over. So without much ado, this week we'll do pasta!


I'm not a big fan of pasta dishes (especially as stand alone dinner dishes in themselves which my Italian friends would never "sit" for), but it defintely brings simplicity and taste together in every meal. Also, as I experienced when doing a japanese theme week many moons ago, being focused on a particular cuisine makes the most efficient use of resources. And most importantly, our daughter very much enjoyed the fettucine alfredo like we've never witnessed before.

Like rice for asian cuisine, let's make sure there's a simple salad at every meal (or antipasta if you're really up to it).

Monday - Penne, Salmon, Arugula, Chives

Tuesday - Ravioli with Roasted Zucchini

Wednesday - Hot Italian Sausage and Pasta

Thursday - Last Minute Lasagna

Friday - Definitely bon chon chicken.

  • Although, my wife is finding more reasons to ban fried foods from the menu. This may be my last bon chon in a good while.
  • So long, bon chon. It is so oxymoronic, I can't let it go, can I?

Shopping List for me:

  • Pasta - penne, fettucine, fresh ravioli
  • Meat, Poultry, Seafood - salmon, hot italian sausage
  • Vegetables, Fruits, Herbs - arugula, chives, spinach, basil, mixed-greens, red onion, yellow cherry tomatoes, zucchini, flat leaf parsley, lemon, fresh seasonal fruit
  • Dairy, Juice, Eggs - Shredded mozarella, eggs,
  • Grains, Breads - pine nuts
  • Frozen Foods - cheese ravioli

Shopping List Addtl:

  • Dairy, Juice, Eggs - grated parmesan
  • Vegetables, Fruits, Herbs - garlic
  • Frozen Foods - chopped spinach
Notes of the week:
1. Be gentle when mixing ingredients in a fish dish.
2. For the lasagna dish, we tried a frozen soy filled wheat ravioli which should give me tons of health food cred. The fact that I ate it and really didn't think twice about it is probably due to the amount of real mozarella cheese I used and the somewhat over powering amount of canned pasta sauce.
3. It is very difficult for us to have pasta dishes straight for one week. There are tons of leftovers which I'm afraid will be tossed.

June 22 Menu

I'm not feeling inspired these days. So, this week it'll be so-so, and I do feel bad, especially since I left everyone scratching their heads for two weeks. Perhaps, we'll take a trip down to my childhood home, downtown Los Angeles, this week. Friends, if you have some time, let me know what foods you remember from your adolescent days, and I'll incorporate it into a menu so that we can all share in the memory. Please, friends, inspire me!!!

Monday - Gyudon (Beef Bowl), Miso Soup, Steamed Vegetables
  • As an adolescent in LA, I used to frequent this japanese fast food restaurant called Yoshinoya and their "big mac" was the beef bowl. Then I took my daughter to a nearby sushiya a week ago and set a small plate of this in front of her and she transformed before my eyes and started gorging on it. I took the rest home and she did it again at dinner. Whoa, the power of japanese food.
  • http://japaneserecipe.blogspot.com/2006/05/beef-bowl.html
  • Be sure not to get expensive beef, you really need the cheap stuff here to make it taste authentic. Geez, I hope wholefoods has it, but knowing them, it may be beneath them.
  • Also, if you want to make your own dashi, then go here http://japanesefood.about.com/od/soup/a/aboutdashisoup.htm and replace the water and the hondashi ingredients called for in the recipe with this dashi. Also, it may be obvious, but use the leftover dashi base for the miso soup.
  • Top with red pickled ginger.
  • For vegetables, whatever is in season.
Tuesday - Soft Tacos and Steamed Corn
  • I lived near the corner of Union Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard, and you couldn't walk more than two blocks before running into a taco truck. Back in those days, you would get two for $2.
  • http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/carne_asada/
  • After the tacos, I would make my way to the corn woman. She sold steamed corn smothered with butter, mayo, paprika, parmesan cheese, and a bit of lime juice, if I remember correctly. If you don't believe me, see this:
  • http://www.mccormick.com/Recipes/Vegetables/Mexican-Style-Corn-on-the-Cob.aspx
  • Always have avocado and sour cream handy.
  • Oh, and chop and prep vegetables for tomorrow's dish.
Wednesday - Noodles in Black Bean Sauce
  • If you have a critical mass of koreans, then you will have a chinese korean restuarant that serves noodles in black bean sauce. I've had this recipe on here before, so now we can use up the leftover black bean paste.
  • In fact, for the longest time, I didn't realize that our neighborhood chinese restaurant was not really chinese food. It's like how some people think shopping mall chinese food is chinese.
  • And, I would usually order a plate of kung pao shrimp, but without a deep fryer, I'll save that recipe for a later time.
  • http://www.maangchi.com/recipes/jjajangmyun
  • I will warn everyone to prep a day ahead with chopping vegetables. It can get tedious. Oh, and this dish is usually served in a bowl, not a plate.
Thursday - Fettucine Alfredo with Broccolini
  • If you couldn't tell already, I didn't have the most worldy upbringing. It was basically either fast food, street food, or korean. I never had authentic italian food at a restaurant, nonetheless, until I was about 7 or 8. For my older sister's graduation, my sister suggested an Italian restaurant on Melrose Street. I can still remember the white trellis gateway we went through and the first taste of chocolate mousse. Even to this day, I try not to eat chocolatte mousse unless it is a very special occasion. Weird, I know, but what's even more weird is how many special occasions there are in an average week.
  • I can't seem to remember the exact dish I had that day, simply because I probably had no idea of what I was eating. In fact, the reason why I remember the mousse so fondly is because the actual dinner was pretty much uninteresting to me at that time. So instead, here's a link to fettucine alfredo, probably one of the first recipes I learned. My older sister taught me this recipe so that I would never go hungry if I lived by myself. She's such a forward thinker - but as life would have it, I have never lived alone in my entire life. I have always had roommates of one kind or another.
  • http://www.recipezaar.com/Better-Than-Olive-Garden-Alfredo-Sauce-141983
Friday - Leftovers
  • And if there aren't any, then Pizza!
Shopping List for me:

  • Vegetables, Fruits, Herbs - shitake mushrooms (or get dried ones), seaonal vegetables, cilantro, limes, asian radish, cucumber, broccolini
  • Meats, Fish, Poultry - thinly sliced beef, flank steak 2 lb, pork belly 1/2 lb
  • Dairy, Eggs, Juice - orange juice, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, heavy cream
  • Condiments - fresh tomato salsa
  • Specialty - kombu (dried kelp), red pickled ginger, corn tortillas, udon type noodles for jiajiang myun
Shopping List Addtl:
  • Vegetables, Fruits, Herbs - zucchini, sweet potato
  • Specialty - black bean paste
Notes of the week:
1. When making dashi, try not to forget to sieve out the bonito flakes - duh?
2. Nobody has the right sliced beef for the beef bowl - but we still enjoyed it. And note, the proportions in the recipe are really not that accurate.
3. Pita does make an acceptable substitution for the corn tortillas, but it definitely interferes with trying to get those memories to come rolling back. Great carnitas recipe, by the way.
4. Something about the black bean noodle dish just didn't come out right. I'll have to compare with other recipes out there, but my wife thinks it lacks sugar. I can't believe it sugar.
5. My daughter devoured the alfredo. Was it the 1/2 cup of butter? The additional heavy cream? The loads of mozarella cheese? And if not all that, the parmesan cheese?

June 15 Menu

It is great to be back and scouring for delicious meals again. Boy, the past two weeks were tough - just being away from my wife and daughter was a hardship. I just hope I pass and don't have to start all over again. It is bad enough that there are three parts to the exam. At any rate, my wife is off to Abu Dhabi once again and she has requested that I be more focused on Sydney's food since she hasn't been too happy about my prior meals ("who feeds babies black bean soup? chili?"). So here are some toddler recipes that I hope Sydney loves.

Monday - Rotisserie Chicken and Rice
  • If you give her a drumstick, my daughter could spend hours gnawing on it.
  • So, this isn't really a menu as it is more of a pick-up take-out kind of thing.
  • Prepare some rice with peas the night before in a rice cooker then pick up a rotisserie from whole foods on the way back from daycare.
  • If you bought fresh fish on Sunday and want to use it up ASAP, move the Thursday miso cod recipe to Monday and move this recipe out to Thursday. That'll give you a chance of making a second mid-week grocery list as well since you have to pick up the rotisserie - and, if you have left over fish, you can use it for tomorrow's Yang Chow Fried Rice.
Tuesday - Yang Chow Fried Rice
Wednesday - Cold Soba Nooldes
  • My daughter's always had a thing for noodles, so this should be right up her alley.
  • http://weelicious.com/tag/asian-recipes/ and prep the sauce the night before.
  • I believe my wife made this once, as an impromptu thing, when we found out how much our daughter loved soba noodles. I guess mothers do have this magical way of just mixing things up to make dinner.
Thursday - Miso Cod and Miso Soup
  • Every time we go to a sushi restaurant, our daughter wants soup.
  • Again, prep the rice (add peas for fun).
  • http://weelicious.com/tag/japanese-recipes/
  • Note, move this recipe to Monday if you bought fresh fish on Sunday.
Friday - Pizza!
  • Or bon chon chicken? Geez, it's hard to decide these days.
Grocery List for me:
  • Vegetables, Fruits, Herbs - red bell pepper, shitake mushrooms, carrots, seasonal fruits
  • Meat, Poultry, Seafood - shrimp (medium), cod (1 1/2 lbs), tofu
  • Dairy, Cheese - american slice for daughter, mozzarella sticks
  • Frozen - peas, edamame
  • Premade - rotisserie chicken
  • Condiments - agave (or maple syrup)
  • Other - dryer sheets, ice cream
Grocery List Addtl:
  • Vegetables, Herbs - ginger
  • Bread, grains, baking - rice
  • Specialty - red miso paste, bonito flakes, kelp
Notes of the Week:
1. It was a good idea to move the miso cod to Monday and use the leftovers for Yang Chow Fried Rice. Both dishes were thoroughly enjoyed by my daughter. Also, go easy on the rice wine for the miso cod. Finally, the miso cod recipe isn't anything near nobu fare, but it was still good. Is it the recipe or the chef?
2. Nix the cold soba noodle recipe from my memory bank. I should have been skeptical when the recipe called for peanut or almond butter.
3. Yang Chow Fried rice is really a great recipe, go easy on the ginger. And I also haven't figured out a good way to cut the chinese sausage so that my daughter can really eat it. She's 15 months old and all her teeth haven't set in yet.