Chapaguri

20160613_191309

Chapagetti + Neoguri = Chapaguri

20160613_200252

This is really a thing. Seriously!

I already love Neoguri. It’s been a favorite of mine since college. That and Shin Ramyun Black. Add egg, obviously. I’ve never had Chapagetti though, but I love jjajamyun so I would assume that I would love Chapagetti by itself as well. Chapagetti and Neoguri combined is basically spicy jjajamyun. Genius, right? And delicious, of course!

Advertisements

I eat: La Vecchia Cucina

I’ve been feeling stressed out lately, now that I have both work and school, so I took two days off two weeks ago and had myself a staycation in LA. I made sure to fill my days off with gluttony. From ice cream to chicken wings to a DineLA dinner, I did a whole lot of eating!

20140720_212024
Coffee Moo (salted butter saramel with coffee) from Mother Moo

2014-08-05_09-30-3820140721_142006
Linguine for days at Maccheroni Republic

2014-07-29 11.53.48 1
TEBASAKI!!! ♡

2014-07-29 11.55.29 1
Kimchi spam musubi

And what better way to end an extended weekend than with a DineLA dinner!

I usually have a hard time choosing restaurants for DineLA. I’ve spent hours before browsing through menus and reading reviews on Yelp, Open Table, and Urbanspoon. Yes, I do my due diligence. But this time, it was a breeze. One look at an Instagram picture of uni pasta from La Vecchia Cucina and I was sold. What can I say? I’m a sucker for uni pasta. I did check the menu though, just to cover my bases 😉

We managed to snag the window seat. TOTES romantic! And fantastic lighting for pictures! Since I looked at the menu beforehand, I already knew what I wanted…

20140722_193547
Capriccio Imperiale

Well executed. The lemon vinaigrette was light and refreshing, which provided a great starting point for the meal. Although the seafood was cooked properly, I wish the ratio of the different seafood was more balanced.

20140722_195334
Spaghetti All Ricci di Mare

Not bad, but def not the best uni pasta I’ve had. There was only one piece of uni and not enough sauce. However, the spaghetti was cooked perfectly.

2014-07-23_10-54-23
Affogato

No complaints, but honestly, I’m not sure how anyone can mess this up…

La Vecchia Cucina was my only opportunity to experience DineLA this time around and overall, I was pleased with my meal. I can’t say there were any aspects that I particularly LOVED, but I would definitely come back to try the other pastas on the menu.

Verdict: 3.5/5
La Vecchia Cucina
2654 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90405

Back in the Kitchen

Since I’m not driving to LA every weekend, I have time to cook. Like real food, guys!

I’m still cooking for the week, but it’s so much easier now cooking for one instead of two. And THANK GOD for the dishwasher! The one downside is my tiny kitchen, but hey, I’m used to having no counter space.

Here are some meals I’ve made in the past few weeks:

2014-06-24_05-05-04Chicken Marsala

2014-06-24_05-15-01Enchilada Chicken Stew

2014-06-24_05-21-34Country Style Pork Ribs

And here’s me trying to get fancy…

2014-06-24_05-28-12Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Polenta, Nectarines, Collard Greens, Balsamic Reduction

This dish was inspired by a friend from college who is actually a chef, unlike myself. She posted a picture and I thought it would be easy to recreate… well, easier than anything else she has posted. I’m sure mine didn’t taste nearly as good as hers, but good job, good effort right???

I make: Mapo Tofu

When I found this recipe in Cooking Light Magazine, I welcomed the change since the only other Asian recipe we make involving ground pork is our Ground Pork with Green Beans. Is it weird that we don’t make a lot of Asian food?? Anyway, this recipe is traditionally made with soft tofu, but my preference is medium-firm because it holds up nicely while cooking and is soft enough when eaten. Also, though I love eating spicy foods, my stomach can’t handle that much heat anymore so the recipe, as is, might be too tame for some people (you can tell by the picture below since the sauce isn’t BRIGHT RED).

Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine (April 2010)

(yields ~6 servings)
Ingredients:

Meat
1 lb ground pork
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried sweet basil
1 tsp less-sodium soy sauce

1 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tbsp minced ginger
1 (14 oz) package medium firm tofu, drained

Sauce
2 tbsp Sriracha (increase as desired)
1 1/2 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp black bean garlic sauce
2 tsp sugar
2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp less-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp chili oil (increase as desired)

White rice
Scallions for garnish

Directions:
1. Place tofu on paper towel; cover with paper towel. Top with heavy skillet and let stand 30 minutes. (One reason why medium firm tofu works better vs. soft tofu, plus I just prefer firmer tofu anyway). Cut tofu in 1 inch cubes.
2. Season meat: Combine all ingredients under “Meat” section. Let rest for 10 minutes.
3. Sauce: Combine Sriracha through sugar in one bowl. Combine chicken broth through chili oil in another bowl; whisk until smooth.
4. Heat canola oil in a large skillet (or wok) over medium heat.
5. Add garlic and ginger; stir-fry for about 2 minutes.
6. Add pork; stir-fry for 5 minutes or until almost cooked through.
7. Add Sriracha mixture; combine thoroughly and cook for 1 minute.
8. Add broth mixture; bring to a boil and cook until sauce thickens.
9. Stir in tofu.
10. Serve over white rice and garnish with green onions.

IMG_0751

No beauty shot this time – just straight out of the wok, but you get the point 🙂

Note: I changed the ratio of tofu to ground pork because Henry specifically requested less tofu.

Bon appetit!

Surprise

I didn’t think he had it in him.

IMAG0551

I asked him to be more romantic. And he went above and beyond by surprising me with a home cooked meal.

IMAG0550
Butter Poached Lobster

IMAG0552
Pan Seared Rib-Eye with Sauteed Mushrooms and Asparagus

We finished our meal with red velvet cheesecake and coffee.

Perfect Valentine’s day. ♥

IMAG0548

Who remembers this Simpsons episode?? LOL