Welcome to my food blog! I am your average home cook and I want to share my love of food with the world. I'll divulge my recipes as often as possible. Feel free to comment or to email me at nodessertpodcast@gmail.com! Don' forget to come by often for new posts... I love having you visit me!

August 30, 2011

Picture View - Tuna Kobachi

Bonus Recipe! Tuna Kobachi

One of my favorite things to order at Fuji Sushi (my favorite sushi restaurant) is the appetizer Tuna Kobachi.  It comes in three sizes, and you can get a "deluxe" version, in which they add avocado and a fish roe.  The deluxe versions are $1.50 to $2  more than the regular version.  I am so in love with this dish, but it's super expensive to eat it out.  Especially in this bad economy.  So as with everything I love, I learned to make an almost identical, but much cheaper, version at home. 

Tuna Kobachi

2 (4 ounce) Ahi tuna steaks (I use a brand called Treasures From The Sea - they sell it at Sam's Club for $12.50 for 32 ounces - a GREAT price)
1tbs sesame oil
1 to 2 tsps of shichimi togarashi (a Japanese spice blend that you can buy at your local Asian market)
1 green onion, thinly sliced into small rounds
soy sauce for dipping
wasabi paste - easy to make your own, instructions in recipe
*** For deluxe version add a tsp tobiko (orange flying fish roe) and half of an avocado, thinly sliced

Defrost your tuna steaks if using Treasures From The Sea according to package instructions.  If you're using fresh tuna, you're ready to rock. 
Cube your tuna steaks in to small chunks.  Place in a bowl.  Toss gently with sesame oil and shichimi.  Sprinkle with green onion.  If you are making the deluxe version, sprinkle on tobiko and then gently top with avocado slices fanned out. 
This dish is even yummier if you dip it in soy sauce and wasabi.  To make your own wasabi paste, buy a small bottle of wasabi powder.  You can find this in your Asian foods aisle, we have a brand called Hokan in our area.  You mix the powder with small amounts of water until it forms the paste you see in sushi restaurants.  I believe it's equal parts powder to water.  Let it sit for a few minutes, then mix it in with your soy sauce.  Delicious... Enjoy!

Picture View - Crab Rangoon

Crab Rangoon - Home Cooked Recipe 10

I clearly have an obsession with my fryer lately.  And Asian food.  So here's another recipe that incorporates both.  Hopefully next week I'll have a recipe for a different cuisine that doesn't involve the fryer!

Crab Rangoon

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
12 eggroll wrappers
1 cup imitation crabmeat, finely chopped
2 green onions, finely chopped
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp soy sauce
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 egg, beaten
Frying oil

In a bowl mix the cream cheese, crab meat, onion, garlic, and soy sauce.  Season with salt and pepper.  Lay out a wrapper so it forms a diamond shape.  Place a tablespoon of filling just below the center line.  Brush all the corners lightly with the beaten egg.  Fold the wrapper in half to make a triangle shape, and seal tightly.  Fry wontons at 375 degrees for 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown.  You can serve these with a sweet and sour sauce for dipping.  Enjoy!

August 25, 2011

Picture View - Cheesesteak Eggrolls

Cheesesteak Eggrolls - Home Cooked Recipe 9

When I think of great sandwiches, I think of the cheesesteak.  I have been to Philly and sampled both Pat's & Geno's.  I've tried several places in Orlando and Tampa, and even NYC.  I make them at home occasionally.  So when I came across a recipe for a mix between cheesesteaks and eggrolls, you know I was headed for the kitchen!  With a crispy fried eggroll shell, and a cheesy beefy filling, these eggrolls are great for a snack, or even for a party!

Cheesesteak Eggrolls
1 tbs oil
1 onion, chopped
1 small package of Steak-Ums (or Steak-Um like product)
14 oz package of eggroll wrappers
8 slices of provolone (the original recipe I used only called for 4 slices of cheese and for us that wasn't enough.  It also called for American cheese, and I find you can use whatever your favorite sliced cheese is)
Oil for deep frying
Heat oil over medium in a skillet.  Add onion and cook for about 5 minutes.  Break your Steak-Ums in to pieces and add in pan with onions.  Cook until meat is browned.  Remove from heat and let cool.
Cut your cheese slices in half.  Lay your eggroll wrappers on a flat surface.  Place half a slice of cheese on each.  Place a spoonful of filling on cheese.  Top with remaining half slices of cheese.  Roll up eggrolls (the packages give you directions, and I demonstrate in the picture view).  You can use an eggwash or water to seal the edges. 
I have a deep fryer, and if you do also, preheat your fryer to 375 degrees.  If you do not have a fryer, heat and inch of oil in a pan to 375 degrees.  Fry the rolls in oil til all sides are browned, approximately 5 minutes.  Remember, the meat is already cooked!  Serve with ketchup.  Enjoy!!!

August 23, 2011

Additional Pictures from The Crooked Spoon

Mac and Cheese
People waiting for their meals
Lines are forming

On our way to the truck

August 18, 2011

Food Truck Adventures 1 - The Crooked Spoon

The Crooked Spoon
Food trucks started popping up at locations fairly close to our house.  After I did all my research and started following them on Twitter, I discovered one of the trucks, The Crooked Spoon, would be at the corner of University Blvd and Metric on Fri 8/12/11 for lunch.  So off I went to eat at my 1st Orlando food truck!
The Crooked Spoon menu contained a couple of burgers, a ham sandwich, turkey sandwich, chicken quesadilla, macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese, and on special was an Italian beef sandwich.  
Crooked Spoon Burger
Their motto is "traditional fare with a twist".  I think that's a fairly accurate description of the food this truck offers.  All the item seem like fairly standard items from their titles, but once you read the descriptions, you see where the "twist" comes in.
For instance, the quesadillas started out as chicken, cheddar and monterey jack cheeses, but then took a turn by including pineapple BBQ sauce and mango salsa.  The turkey sandwich had a description that reminded me of Thanksgiving dinner because it had a sage aioli and a cranberry chutney.
My companion ordered the Crooked Spoon Burger.  It was an Angus beef burger with chipotle aioli, onion marmalade, swiss cheese, tomato, spring mix lettuces, and was on a brioche bun.
Italian Beef
Homemade potato chips and Italian Beef
The burger was juicy, and the accoutrements complimented the Angus beef.  As with my sandwich, the burger was served with homemade potato chips, which we'll get to in a moment.
For my meal, I chose to go with the special, the Italian Beef.  It was not at all what I expected.  I am used to your Chicago Italian Beef, dripping in au jus.  However, while The Crooked Spoons Italian Beef was not what I had pictured, it was FANTASTIC. 
This sandwich had a tangy but creamy sundried tomato aioli, deliciously smoked mozzarella, thinly sliced beef that had been pepperoncini braised, and had giardinera.  Instead of a traditional hoagie roll, this sandwich was on a levain bread.  Levain is a starter that is used instead of yeast to make bread.  It gives it a delicious, almost sourdough taste. 
In my opinion, the Italian Beef was well balanced.  You had the rich meat, which was braised until incredibly tender and sliced thin.  The nice vinegar bite from the crunchy giardinera cut the richness of the beef, and the smoky, melted mozzarella lent a different flavor profile.  By adding the sundried tomato aioli, the sandwich had an element of creaminess, which was offset by the tang from the sundried tomatoes.  I cannot wait to have this sandwich again!
But lets talk about their homemade potato chips.  I don't know too many people or restaurants that can make what I consider a good potato chip.  The Crooked Spoon?  They do it right!  First of all, they don't tell you that your sandwich comes with potato chips on the menu, so it's a pleasant surprise.  Secondly, these chips are fried correctly.  They have some body to them, but they contain the right amount of crunch.  Which for me is ESSENTIAL in potato chips.  A lot of people/restaurants cannot get that crispy crunch correct.  These chips had a good salt ration, and I'm also excited to eat the chips again on my next visit to this truck.
Now lets talk Mac and Cheese!
The Crooked Spoons Mac and Cheese had not one, not three, but SIX cheeses in it's blend.  I'm not exactly sure what all 6 were, but I believe there was some mozzarella due to the delightful strings that stretched from the box to the fork going to my mouth.  The cheese blend had a pungency to it, and my companion suggested there might be a blue cheese involved. 
This macaroni and cheese dish was not just noodles and cheese.  It also contained bacon (who doesn't love bacon?!?), basil, and roasted red and yellow peppers, and was topped with a light breadcrumb.  And the macaroni was not your traditional elbow macaroni, but instead a rotini.  And I have to say, I do love rotini. 
I would say this was a good Mac and Cheese.  On that token though, I am a macaroni and cheese purist.  I did not need the peppers or basil.  I love most of all a good macaroni and cheese where cheese and macaroni are basically the two main star ingredients.  Breadcrumb toppings are good as long as they are baked and are the perfect crunchy, golden brown.  The Crooked Spoons Mac and Cheese is great for people who like gourmet macaroni and cheeses.  But if you're more traditional, this will not fit the bill.  All of this being said, I would eat this dish again, it just would not be my first choice.
Overall, The Crooked Spoon was a good choice for my first Orlando food truck experience.  The food was fresh, hot, and tasty.  There were a couple of people in line, and we did have to wait a little bit, but it was not an unpleasant wait.  I like that this truck puts it's own spin on what we think of as classic sandwiches and burgers.  I loved their potato chips!
So I urge you to get on out there and try your local food trucks.  Whether you're from Orlando or somewhere else, the food truck revolution is upon us.  I am so glad to be starting my food truck adventures and cannot wait to share more of them with you.
***On 9/1 Steve from the Crooked Spoon appeared on Orlando's local Fox 35 News.  In his interview he said that the Mac N Cheese had Fontina, Asiago, Parmesan, Swiss, Provolone, and Gorgonzola.  Glad we now know the cheeses! Turns out, my companion was right about there being a blue cheese (the Gorgonzola) and I was wrong about the mozzarella (must have been the provolone that gave all those melty strings!).

August 16, 2011

Food Truck Love

Recently I have become OBSESSED with food trucks.  I don't know exactly where the fascination began, but I am plowing full steam ahead in to this new culinary adventure.  I watch The Great Food Truck Race on the Food Network.  I also love a show called Street Eats on the Cooking Channel because it features tons of food trucks in all different areas.
Last week I began researching the Orlando food truck scene.  Turns out, it is WAY bigger than I had even imagined.  There are events they call Food Pods where food trucks meet up once a week at a specified location.  These "pods" aren't actual fairs or anything that's sponsored, just several food trucks in one location.  There are also Food Truck Bazaars.  These events take place once or twice a month, are advertised on Facebook, Twitter, the radio, and a local website called thedailycity.com.
I began following many of the local Orlando food trucks on Twitter.  I wanted to investigate where they were located, if they were attending these food truck events, how long they've been around, what their menus were, etc.  Then I looked to see if they had pages on Facebook, and if they did, clicked "like".  I searched for web pages that the food trucks had created.  While many of them have Twitter and/or Facebook, not as many had actual web pages. 
Then last Friday, 8/12/11, I decided it was time to try my first Orlando food truck.  It did not disappoint.  So what I have decided to do is use this blog, my food blog, to talk about my Food Truck Adventures.  I'll talk about individual trucks I eat at, the Food Truck Bazaars I attend, any food pods I have a chance to go to, and more.  My next post will in fact be about my first Orlando food truck.  So make sure you check back for that post!  And I of course will still post my recipes, with pictures, because my passion encompasses EVERYTHING food related.

August 15, 2011

Picture View - Asian Style Beef with Rice

Asian Beef & Rice Ingredients
Thinly sliced beef
Rice with butter on top

Beef marinating

Sirloin in the wok
Finished beef

Asian Stlye Beef with Rice - Home Cooked Recipe 8

I absolutely adore Asian food.  Ok, I adore all types of cuisines, but I'm really interested in learning more Asian recipes.  I had some boneless top round sirloin.  Usually I'll make a beef and broccoli dish that's fabulous and tastes extremely similar to Chinese restaurants, but I wanted to try something different.  I came up with my own little marinade for the beef that was outstanding!  The recipe is below.

Asian Style Beef with Rice
Marinade -
3 tbs soy sauce
4 tbs unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tbs fish sauce
1 tbs sesame oil
salt & pepper
1 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp onion powder
dash of cayenne
1 lb boneless sirloin, thinly sliced
Rice -
1 cup white rice
2 1/4 cups water
2 tbs butter
Sesame seeds

Mix together your soy sauce, vinegar, oil, fish sauce, garlic, onion, and cayenne.  Add salt and pepper, going light on the salt because the soy sauce has plenty.  Add sliced beef and refrigerate for 20 - 40 minutes.
Bring your water to a boil.  Stir in rice, reduce heat to low, and let cook for 25 minutes.
When rice has cooked for 20 minutes, heat up your wok (or large saute pan) on high.  Add butter to rice and let melt.  When wok is hot, add half your beef to the pan.  Cook for 1 minute, flip pieces over, and cook 2 more minutes.  Remove to a plate and cook other half of beef exactly the same way. 
Stir rice and scoop on to plates.  Top with beef, then a sprinkle of sesame seeds.  Enjoy!
Asian Beef with Rice

Picture View - Parmesan Tilapia

Tilapia filets and prepared parmesan mixture
Filets on prepared baking pan

Parmesan topping on fish before it's final broil

Parmesan tilapia is ready

Parmesan Tilapia - Home Cooked Recipe 7

I had never eaten tilapia but it was on sale at our local Sam's Club.  We bought a package of 6 HUGE filets for only $13.  We easily could have fed 12 people!  We were browsing for tilapia recipes and found this great recipe for a creamy, cheesy tilapia that I doctored up to fit our tastes.  Below is the recipe!

Parmesan Tilapia
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 tbs mayonnaise
  • 2 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 2 pounds tilapia fillets
Preheat the broiler on the oven.  Line a baking pan with aluminum foil.   In a bowl, mix together everything but the tilapia.  Arrange your tilapia filets on the lined pan.  Place lemon slices on tilapia filets.  Broil for 3 minutes.  Remove lemon slices, set aside, turn your filets over, and place lemon slices over the filets again.  Broil another 3 minutes.  Remove lemon slices and cover tilapia filets with parmesan mixture.  Broil another 3 minutes and remove from oven.  Place onto plates and serve.  Enjoy!
Finished Parmesan Tilapia

Picture View - Tacos

Shrimp tacos with spicy chipotle coleslaw, tartar sauce, and fresh salsa

Shrimp taco fixings

shredded chicken for chicken tacos

deep frying corn tortillas
draining corn tortillas

chicken tacos before toppings