Game of Thrones Season 4 Finale Dinner

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Inspired by Rachel Howden’s blog and in excitement for the finale, a couple friends and I decided to cook up some items for the season 4 finale of Game of Thrones.  It is not comparable to any of Rachel’s feasts by far but there were only five of us and we were bursting at the seams afterwards.  We didn’t really stick with a particular region’s cuisine… just what we thought some food was like back then.  Not pictured were the sour beers and wine.

Cheese, fruit, and olive platter (figs are pricey!):

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Roast chicken with fixings:

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Bacon wrapped trout:

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Lord Manderly’s Pie:

This was so time consuming to make and I’m still amazed that with around 3-4 lbs. of filling, the pie is still free standing.  Parsnips weren’t in season so I substituted with rutabaga and potatoes.

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Lemon bars/cakes:

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Direwolf:

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I literally felt like I ate a Thanksgiving dinner.  I was hurting and sleepy but satisfied.  Even though I’ve read all the books thus far, I still get giddy like a chicken to see when they will kill off someone, what they choose to show in each episode, and all the great acting.  I might have to re-read some of the books before next season.  Try out some of the recipes from Inn at the Crossroads and show me how it turns out!

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Game of Thrones Season 4 Finale Dinner

(Savory) Chicken Salad Recipe

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Don’t you love it when you just cook up something that ends up tasting better than you had hoped for?  That hasn’t happened to me often but I just had to share my accidental recipe that came about as we were eating chicken for the third time this past week.

Last week, I decided to make a second attempt at the Halal Guys Chicken and Rice recipe.  It turned out good but it didn’t taste like the NY food cart to me.  We only used up half of the white sauce so I saved that in the fridge.

Two days later, I decided to make a whole roasted chicken.  I didn’t use a recipe.  I stuffed the cavity with 3-4 sprigs of rosemary, 5 garlic cloves, and some lemon juice and on the outside was a plethora of seasoning I had on hand: Lawry’s, garlic salt, cayenne, onion powder, salt, and pepper.  And I also gave the outside a rubdown of butter and more rosemary.  Baked that bird for 1.5 hours at 425 degrees Fahrenheit in a cast iron pan coated with olive oil.  I think it would’ve been better at 1.25 hours but it depends on the size of your bird.

Between Terry and I, we could only eat about 1/3 of the chicken so I decided to mix the leftover meat (with skin), the white sauce, and some extras (will include below) to create the most spectacular chicken salad ever!

The below recipe should be enough for an entire roasted chicken:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4-8 mashed up anchovies (per your taste)
  • 1-2 diced up shallots
  • 1-2 tbsp of dijon mustard (I’ve been loving the one below from Sprouts lately)

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I would add some diced celery for crunch but since we didn’t have any, I added chopped up iceberg lettuce right before putting my sandwich together.  It gave it a nice crunch without getting soggy from sitting with the chicken and sauce for too long.  This is a great alternative for those of you who do not like any sweet (grapes? cranberries?) in their chicken salad.  It’s probably too much work JUST to roast a chicken for this recipe but any chicken leftovers would be great for this.

While on the topic of savory non-green “salads,” I’d also recommend this Provencal Potato Salad which is so much more exciting than your normal, blah yellow potato salad.

(Savory) Chicken Salad Recipe

Reliving Korean Church Food

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Kongnamul bap (soybean sprout rice bowl) with muguk (Korean radish soup)

So where we live in the Bay Area, the closest really good Korean supermarket is 45 minutes away, which happens to also be where Terry gets his haircut every 4 weeks.  We don’t always get to go to the supermarket when we make his haircut trips but when we do, we stock up on a LOT of Korean food.  All the meats, side dishes, you name it.  The problem, I’ve discovered, with cooking multiple cuisines is that you really do need very different cuts of meat.  We always joke that Terry gets 1 week per quarter of Korean cooking from me but that’s not really a joke since it’s called truth.

I always try to make dishes I haven’t made before thanks to Korean food websites but this week, all the foods I made were typically what was served for lunch at Korean churches… at least in our personal experiences.  I already knew that because I went to my best friend’s Korean church for a good portion of high school.  What I didn’t know was the negative imprint it had left on Terry’s digestive system.  I could see his face trying to hide the repulsion from eating kongnamul (soybean sprouts), which is apparently hated by many people who grew up in the church.

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I think if we weren’t married and it was someone else presenting him with these dishes, he would literally throw them against the wall screaming “DIE kongnamul!!!”  Luckily, he was gracious to me and ate it anyway.

Reliving Korean Church Food

Crappy Potluck Food

In my mind, I am notorious for bringing either really good or really nasty items to potlucks.  For some reason, something inside me always makes me want to experiment with a new dish for potlucks.  And even if it sucks, by that time it’s usually too late to bring anything else or the pain of wasting food deters me from throwing it out.

Rewind to my sophomore year in college where a group of friends were having a potluck.  I had discovered this dish where you can throw in uncooked pasta, sauce, other typical pasta ingredients, and a little bit of water into a baking dish, bake it, and it will come out as if you made pasta the traditional way… but with 5x less work.  I made it successfully a couple times for 2-4 people but I decided to up this dish to a large scale (9×13 dish) for the potluck.  I don’t’ know what went wrong but the pasta turned out so overcooked that it started all melding together into one big, rectangular pasta chunk.  I still brought it to the potluck and I was so nervous about people making fun of me that might friend, G, took the rap for it.  Even years later, people STILL made fun of her about that potluck but I was so thankful for her friendship.

I usually get a lot of free food at work and recently got some egg roll skins.  I have never made egg rolls before but figure the filling wouldn’t be too hard since I’ve made a lot of potstickers.

Filling: check (tasty).

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Rolling egg rolls: check (tight).

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Frying: check (brown).

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Doesn’t look too bad huh?  Turns out I put too little filling which caused too many roll rotations which caused the skin to be too thick and not cook all the way.  No matter how many times I tried to re-fry them without reaching the burning point, the innermost layer just wouldn’t cook.  It was that doughy, flakey white texture that was obvious to anyone familiar with egg rolls.  Nevertheless, I brought them to a hangout with about 10 people and kept them covered while waiting for the oven to heat up to possibly.  People were so hungry that they snuck a peak and even though I gave them a quick warning, they STARTED TO EAT ALL THEM.  So much that half of them were gone.

I don’t know if I’ll ever stop this bad habit of cooking new things for potlucks.  Sometimes I’ll just make whatever I can based on what’s already in the fridge.  Some other crappy things I’ve made?

  • Lemon bars that were so tart that they made your cheeks cave in and another time when they hardened and turned lard-like
  • Potato salad with undercooked, crunchy potatoes
  • Pot roast that was dry with watery sauce
  • Sliders with OVERLY peppery meat

And some not so crappy things?

Have fun trying some of the recipes out.  I’d love to hear your disaster stories.

Crappy Potluck Food

We are back!

The last 2 weeks have been a whirlwind of flights, family time, and fun.  We finally got back a couple days ago, on Friday night, only to rest enough to attend a wedding the following day.  Jet lagged, you ask?  Not in the sense that we’re staying up in the middle of the night wishing for sleep but we are INCREDIBLY tired.  We’ve been sleeping an average of 10 hours each night in addition to having 6 days of diarrhea and counting.

I’m going to assume that most people want to see FOOD pictures.  So I will end this post with some highlights from our Singapore eats:

Cereal prawns, oyster omelette, and meat skewers (Newton Circus Food Centre) – Vendors at Newton are incredibly aggressive and can overcharge, so be ready.

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Lychee juice – Although if you are in Singapore, soursop juice is the way to go.

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Hainanese Chicken (Tien Tien in Maxwell Food Centre) – Overrated.  White meat was dry!

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Chinese New Year Salad (No Signboard Seafood Restaurant) – Each item represents something prosperous, lifelong, full of fortune, etc.  Also, the higher you mix this, the BETTER.

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See all that mixing?

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Singaporean Chili Crab & Black Pepper Crab (No Signboard Seafood Restaurant)  – You pretty much cannot come to Singapore and not eat this.  You’ll see Singaporean chili crab on every menu at the hawker centres but I’ve been told it is one of the best at No Signboard.  The outdoorsy, rugged ambiance can’t be beat at the Geylang location either.

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Deer Murtabak (Zam Zam) – This joint was on Arab Street which everyone should check out when visiting Singapore.  Lots of small shops and shisha.

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Teppanyaki Grilled Chicken Burger, Double McSpicy, and Curly Fries (Mcdonald’s) – Nothing beats Asia McDonald’s.  Ever heard of the double Big Mac?

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A terrific first trip!  I’m sure there were tons of goodies I missed out on but that will have to wait until next time.  To access my small list of Singapore Eats on Yelp, get on over here.

We are back!

Ohn-No Khao Swè – Burmese Coconut Chicken Noodle Soup

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This is the second time in my life that I have made this dish and it turned out pretty good.  Mama would be proud.

First time was SUPER traumatic.  This had to be back in 2008 sometime.  My dad was out of town so my mom planned a dinner party for some of her friends from church.  She was unable to cook at that time so she enlisted me to do the job.  It was pretty difficult because she was trying to dictate to me how to cook it but she was barely able to talk at the time.  I was pretty frustrated the entire time also because I didn’t want to do it to begin with.   Towards the end of the soup making process, that awfully familiar BURNT smell started to fill the house.  Everyone knows that by the time you smell that wretchedness, it is already too late.  If anything, do NOT try to scrape the bottom.  QUICKLY pour the rest of the broth into another pot and you might be able to save it.  Sadly, it was too late for ours.

It turned out to be a very fond memory for me because even though I was angry with my mom and  started to cry like a big baby, she was so gracious.  She smiled and said it was okay. We ended up ordering Thai for everyone instead and she was so happy just to have people over.  I miss her a lot.

This dish is pretty labor intensive but it is totally worth it.  The broth is hearty with chicken stock and coconut milk… true Burmese comfort food.

I used a mix of my mom’s recipe and the one from Naomi Duguid’s “Burma: Rivers of Flavor,” which is pretty legit.

Ohn-No Khao Swè – Burmese Coconut Chicken Noodle Soup

Portland: Hipster Fare

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Pok Pok – boar collar, coconut chicken noodle soup, fish sauce chicken wings
Salt & Straw - mint, meringue & sea urchin
Salt & Straw – mint, meringue & sea urchin
Mother's Bar & Bistro - blueberry pancakes, spanish frittata
Mother’s Bar & Bistro – blueberry pancakes, spanish frittata
Pambiche - Rabo Endendido (oxtail)
Pambiche – Rabo Endendido (oxtail)
Nong’s Khao Man Gai – Thai style chicken, liver, and rice
Blue Star Donuts - creme brulee, almond ganache, blueberry bourbon basil
Blue Star Donuts – creme brulee, salted almond ganache, blueberry bourbon basil
Grassa - Strozzapreti (white anchovy, smoked olives, capers, chilis, oven dried tomatoes)
Grassa – Strozzapreti (white anchovy, smoked olives, capers, chilis, oven dried tomatoes)
Grassa - meatballs
Grassa – meatballs
Deschutes Brewery - beer flight & pretzel
Deschutes Brewery – beer flight & pretzel
Kenny & Zuke's Deli - P.L.T.
Kenny & Zuke’s Deli – P.L.T.
Stumptown Coffee - mocha
Stumptown Coffee – mocha

Need a list of food and activities in Portland? Here you go! 

Portland: Hipster Fare

Loving this gelato and ice cream as of late.

Talenti Gelato’ Sicilian Pistachio – I know pistachios have a hint of greenness but it can’t possibly produce that much of a green color can it?  I like that the ingredient list is very short on this product.  The gelato itself is very creamy but made with supposedly 30% less fat than ice cream.  Score.  The pistachio bits are the perfect miniature size, like packaged crushed nuts you get, with the right softness to not put your teeth to too much work.

Three Twins’ Mint Confetti – I told Terry that for every pint of ice cream you buy, they send one to Africa.  Just kidding.  For every pint you buy, they contribute to the conservation of 6 square feet of land.  Aside from the good cause, the ice cream is DELICIOUS.  Tastes a couple notches below Andes mint in terms of intensity and the chocolate “confetti” melts right onto your tongue.  “Confetti” is the perfect description as the chocolate consists of specks rather than chips or those nasty rectangular shapes the cheapo brands used to make them in.

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Loving this gelato and ice cream as of late.