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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Grilled Oysters

My husband tried to recreate the oysters at GW Fins. He made a concoction of liquid smoke, olive oil, butter and garlic. He spooned this over shucked oysters then added a sprinkling of Italian bread crumbs on top before grilling. I loved the liquid smoke flavor and the juice was delicious.

2013 06 23

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Ristorante Allegria

We were in Napa and had lunch at Ristorante Allegria.

It's in an old bank building in downtown Napa--1026 First Street.

Bread and olive oil infused with shallots and other herbs. This was delicious. It was slightly sweet but it had a nice flavor. 

Happy Hour Bar Menu is served Mon-Thu 5-6:15 pm and Fri-Sun from noon to 6 pm. Kobe Burger for $8.50 was one of the options. It's a grilled 1/2 lb Waygu Kobe burger with fries & Jack Cheese. I've never understood why chefs use Kobe beef in a hamburger. I think any 80% beef makes a good burger. This was juicy although the raw onions were a little much. The fries were delicious--just the right crispiness.

Spaghetti Alla Bolognese--another Happy Hour item for $5.50. This was just okay. The sauce had nice chunks of beef in it but it was a little watery. I also didn't like the shitake mushrooms in it.

2013 06 23

Friday, June 28, 2013

Grilled Mushrooms Stuffed with Bacon & Cheese

Since my husband bought bacon from Costco, we had a lot left over. I tried to put it in as many dishes as possible. My husband also bought mushrooms and a cheese from Costco that was infused with truffle oil. I tried to combine them all and came up with this Grilled Stuffed Mushroom.

Grilled Mushrooms Stuffed with Bacon & Cheese

16 mushrooms
1 slice bacon, chopped
2 slices soft cheese
Olive oil

Remove the stems and clean the mushrooms. Chop the stems. Saute the chopped bacon over medium high heat and add the mushroom stems.

Drizzle olive oil over the mushroom caps. Spoon the bacon/stem mixture into the caps and add a small cube of cheese. Grill over medium heat until cheese has melted and mushrooms are cooked.

2013 06 22

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Wednesday Night Dinner at Flavor Bistro

I thought I would change it up this week and went to Wednesday Night Dinner instead of Thursday Night Dinner at Flavor Bistro. Besides, I couldn't resist the Hazelnut Chocolate Foldovers. Wednesday Night Dinner is served family style. Huge plates are brought to the table and you serve yourself. There's more than enough food.

A white & a red wine is served. You have to guess the varietal. If you're correct, you're entered into the drawing and the winner gets a $25 gift certificate.


Chicken Parmigiana
Olive & Arugula Pasta

Grilled Marinated Eggplant
Insalata Caprese
Organic Romaine Salad with Lemon Pecorino Dressing
Warm Stone Oven Bread

Organic Melons

Hazelnut Chocolate Foldovers

2013 06 26

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Easy Way to Make Zucchini

I was tired of grilling zucchini and wanted another way to make it. This is an easy way to make it.

Sautéed Zucchini

1 Tbs olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 slices of bacon, diced
2 zucchini, sliced and cut into quarters
Salt & pepper

Heat olive oil over medium high heat and add onion. Saute for 1 minute. Add bacon and cook until crisp. Add zucchini and sauté until softened. Add salt & pepper to taste.

2013 06 22

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Spaghetti Carbonara

I have an Italian friend who makes a great spaghetti carbonara. Unfortunately, she doesn't really have a recipe so I wasn't able to make it myself. I found Tyler Florence's recipe and gave it a try. This is a great recipe--simple to make and tastes great. I modified it a little. Just wish it wasn't so full of fat.

Spaghetti Carbonara

2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
1/2 pound dry spaghetti

4 slabs bacon, sliced into small strips
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Prepare the sauce while the pasta is cooking so that the spaghetti will be hot and ready when the sauce is finished. Beat the eggs and Parmesan together in a mixing bowl, stirring well to prevent lumps.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente. 

Meanwhile, sauté the bacon until cooked. Add garlic and saute for less than 1 minute to soften.

Add the hot, drained spaghetti to the pan and toss for 2 minutes to coat the strands in the bacon fat. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the egg/cheese mixture into the pasta, whisking quickly until the eggs thicken, but do not scramble. Season the carbonara with several turns of freshly ground black pepper and taste for salt. Garnish with chopped parsley.

2013 06 19

Monday, June 24, 2013

Lee's Noodle House, Santa Rosa

Lee's Noodle House is a restaurant in Santa Rosa serving predominantly Vietnamese food. We go there when we need a quick dinner. It's located at 1010 Hopper Avenue.

Small bowl of pho--$5.95. The broth is clear and pretty tasty. It's not the best pho I've had but pretty decent.

2013 06 18

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Ina's Vinaigrette

I turn to Ina Garten when I need a good recipe. I needed a quick vinaigrette and followed Ina's recipe. Love it!

Ina's Vinaigrette

1 tsp garlic
3 Tbs vinegar
1 tsp Dijon
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

Mix all ingredients except olive oil. Drizzle olive oil slowly while whisking.

2013 06 15

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Fish with Sweet & Sour Sauce

When we were in the south bay, we stopped at Ranch 99 and picked up a whole fish, which we had deep fried. I then added a sweet & sour sauce when we got home.

Sweet & Sour Fish

Whole fish, gutted and deep fried
2 Tbs oil
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
6 Tbs sugar
6 Tbs white vinegar
6 Tbs ketchup
6 Tbs water
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp water

Heat oil and add onion. Saute until onion is translucent and add garlic. Saute until fragrant. Mix next 4 ingredients and add to pan. Bring to a boil. Mix cornstarch with water and add to pan. Stir until thickened and pour over fish. Add cilantro leaves.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Bun Bo Hue An Nam

We hadn't been to An Nam in a long time and wondered if the bun bo hue still tasted the same. Thankfully, it did. An Nam is located at 940 Storey Road in San Jose.

Small bun bo hue for $8.50. The large was $8.99 but the small was plenty large enough for 1 person.

The broth was still flavorful and spicy and the noodles were good. What actually made the dish though were the green vegetables that were served with the soup.

2013 06 16

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Drink on a Stick

Our host & hostess served "drink on a stick." This was margarita mix that had been frozen into cubes and then tequila was poured over the skewers. This was the most creative "stick food" of the evening!

2013 06 15

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Strawberry Shortcake on a Stick

My husband chose to make the dessert. He made his mom's pound cake, cut them in cubes and skewered them with strawberries. He melted chocolate and drizzled on top--okay some of it was globbed on top. It tasted great.


Brenda's Pound Cake

1 cup butter, softened
1 2/3 cup granulated sugar
5 eggs
½ tsp vanilla
2 cup flour
pinch salt
1/8 tsp nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter with sugar. Add eggs one at a time and beat thoroughly. Add vanilla.

Sift flour, salt, nutmeg. Add to wet mixture and beat until combined.
Bake in preheated oven 50-60 minutes.

2013 06 15

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Mexican Chicken on a Stick

We had another meeting of our Supper Club in the South Bay. Theme this time was "Food on a Stick." I made Mexican Chicken on a Stick. I generally like chicken thighs but the chicken tenders were quite tender. The sauce was a nice addition but it was flavorful enough without it.

Mexican Chicken on a Stick

1 1/2 lb chicken tenders, cut in 1 inch cubes
2 Tbs oil

8 oz sour cream
7 oz salsa verde
1 pkg taco seasoning mix, divided
2 Tbs chopped cilantro

Mix chicken with oil & 2 Tbs taco seasoning mix. Marinate overnight.

Mix sour cream, salsa verde, remaining taco mix and chopped cilantro. Chill for 4 hours.

Skewer chicken on stick and grill. Serve with sour cream mixture.

2013 06 15

Monday, June 17, 2013


After lunch at Maru-Ichi, we stopped at Yoogl for dessert.

Yoogl is located at 260 Castro Street. You have the choice of having frozen yogurt or ...

Gelato.  2 scoops for $3.25. This was the banana salted caramel and vanilla toasted almond combo. They were okay. Neither were great. Worth a stop when in the neighborhood but definitely not worth a drive to get.
2013 06 15

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Maru Ichi, Mountain View

I was in the South Bay and wanted lunch. It was after 11:30 am so I was limited in terms of what was available without a wait. We decided to go to Maru Ichi in Mountain View. It's located at 368 Castro Street.

I always get the Kuro Ramen for $7.98. The black comes from browned garlic and the broth is made with chicken and pork. This was different than what I remembered in the past. The soup was not as flavorful and needed some salt.

The homemade ramen is still good though--just the right amount of bite.

Miso Ramen--My sister thought it was okay. Nothing tops Orenchi's.
2013 06 15

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Mango Salsa

I love mango salsa. It's great over grilled salmon or just with tortilla chips. This is a simple recipe.

Mango Salsa

3 mangos, peeled and cut into chunks
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 Tbs cilantro
1/2 tsp Espelette peppers (or 1/4 tsp cayenne)

Mix all ingredients together and serve chilled.

2013 06 14

Friday, June 14, 2013

Thursday Night Dinner

This week's menu featured items we hadn't had before.

Prosciutto E Melone--Prosciutto Di Parma, Organic Cavaillon Melon & Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil paired with 2011 Seghesio Family Vineyards Pinot Grigio, Sonoma County. This was one of the new dishes. This was quite nice with sweet ripe melons, salty prosciutto and olive oil.

Pasta Al Forno--Orecchiette Pasta Baked in Hunter's Style Meat Sauce with Ricotta Cheese paired with 2009 E. Guigal Cote du Rhone, Provence, France. This was also a new dish. It was on the heavy side but still quite tasty.

Agnello Alla Griglia--Grilled Marinated Lamb Loin Chop Garnished with Roasted Early Summer Organic Vegetables, Garlic-Tomato Syrup & Herb Gremolata paired with 2009 Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

Crostata Di Ciliegie--Cherry Galette Garnished with Marcarpone Vanilla Custard paired with 2010 Michael Mondavi Family Oberon Moscato, Napa Valley

2013 06 13

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Irish Soda Bread

Since I had bought buttermilk for the cornflake chicken, I had to figure out what to do with the rest of the buttermilk. I decided to make Irish Soda Bread. I love this recipe.

Irish Soda Bread

5 cups flour
1 ¾ tsp baking soda
2/3 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
1 ½ Tbs caraway seeds
1 cup raisins
2 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray cookie sheet with vegetable oil.

Sift together all dry ingredients.  Add caraway seeds and raisins.  Add buttermilk and stir just until dough is evenly moistened.  Knead about 8 times to form a soft but slightly sticky dough.  Halve dough and form into 2 balls.  Pat out each ball into a domed 6-inch round on baking sheet.  Cut a ½-in deep “X” on top of each loaf with a sharp knife.  Brush with butter, if desired.

Bake in middle of oven until golden brown and bottoms sound hollow when tapped, 30-35 minutes.

2013 04 20

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Another Cornflake Chicken Recipe

Our Supper Club had another meeting--this time featuring picnic foods. I decided to try another version of cornflake chicken--I found this recipe on Epicurious and modified it a little. This was very crispy but still lacked enough flavor. I'm still in search of the perfect cornflake chicken recipe.

Buttermilk Cornflake Chicken

2 cups buttermilk
16 chicken legs
4 cups cornflakes
1 Tbs smoked paprika
2 ½ tsp garlic salt
1 tsp black pepper
½ cup grated Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire rack on top. Spray the wire rack.

Soak the chicken in the buttermilk for 30 minutes. Place the cornflakes in food processor and add paprika, salt, pepper and Parmesan. Pulse until medium crumble.
Shake excess buttermilk from chicken. Roll the chicken in the crumbs. Place the coated chicken pieces on the wire rack.

Bake the chicken until the crust is golden brown and the meat is no longer pink at the bone, about 1 hour.
2013 04 21


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Chocolate Pudding Cake

This is one of my favorite chocolate cake recipes and it is so easy to make. It is moist and the chocolate chips add an extra dimension of flavor.

Chocolate Pudding Cake

1 pkg chocolate cake mix
1 pkg small instant chocolate pudding mix
2 eggs
1 3/4 cup milk
12-oz pkg chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place all ingredients except chocolate chips in bowl. Mix at low speed until blended. Fold in chocolate chips. 

Butter and flour (can also substitute cocoa) bundt pan. Pour batter in pan and tap out bubbles.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes.

2013 04 20

Monday, June 10, 2013

Vegetable & Ground Beef Soup

It was a really warm weekend but the temperature cooled by 30 degrees on Monday. On cool days, I like to make a hearty soup and my version of vegetable and ground beef soup fit the bill. The original recipe was a minestrone but I wanted it to be more substantial so I added ground beef.

Vegetable and Ground Beef Soup

1 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
4 stalks celery
2 zucchini, sliced
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
14-oz can diced tomatoes
1 can green beans, drained
1 cup salsa
10 cups broth
4 Bay leaves
1 cup ditalini pasta
Salt & pepper

Heat olive oil then sauté onion until limp. Add ground beef and brown. Drain oil. Add remaining ingredients except pasta. Bring to boil then simmer for 30 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Add pasta directly to pot and cook until pasta is cooked through. Season with salt & pepper.

2013 06 03

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Hang Ah, Santa Rosa

We had a craving for dim sum and went to Hang Ah. It's located at 2130 Armory Road, right off Highway 101. It's in a converted A&W Restaurant.

The lunch special (served 7 days a week) includes hot & sour soup.

Black Mushroom Beef--$7.50. I like this dish and haven't ventured to try something else. The beef is very tender and delicious.
Pan Fried Turnip Cake--$3.75. It had just the right amount of crispiness on the outside. It's delicious with a hot mustard-soy sauce dip.

Steamed Minced Shrimp--$3.75. I really liked the flavor of the shrimp. It had just a hint of cilantro.

Chow Fun--$6.75. The chow fun was well fried but this needed beef.
2013 06 02

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Albion River Inn

We hadn't been to Albion River Inn in nearly a year. It's located at 3790 N. Highway 1 in Albion.

They used to have a $25 2-course chef's dinner served with a glass of white or red wine. Earlier this month, they changed it to a $32.50 3-course dinner. Wine is no longer included so it's not as good a deal.

First course--beet, walnut & Feta cheese salad. This was flavorful and the beets were delicious.

Main course--Grilled Beef Short Ribs. Tender beef, lightly grilled and braised in the oven, glazed with a chipotle-orange barbecue sauce, served with garlic mashed Yukon Gold potatoes, grilled corn on the cob & sautéed green beans. The sauce was flavorful and the ribs were tender but they were greasy. The frozen corn and the overcooked beans did not add to the dish.
There was a choice of Chocolate Mousse or House-Made Sorbet for dessert.

Pan-Roasted Alaskan Halibut served Golden with a local Shiitake & Trumpet Royale Mushroom & Madeira Wine Cream Sauce with Toasted Orzo Pasta-Wild Rice Blend & Prosciutto Ham & Smoked Salmon Stuffed Mushrooms--$29.50.  The halibut was well cooked and the sauce was delicious without being overpowering. The mushrooms were unique and tasty.
2013 05 31