i got a job!

i finally got a job! i don’t know how i got this job, but i am pretty psyched. this is my desk:
my desk

i share this office with four other guys. they’re all a little older but very nice and kind of funny. but look at my desk. what’s that? a brand new macbook pro 2.2 GHz intel core 2 duo with a 15.4 inch screen! i have officially been converted. my mac is so beautiful and streamlined. technically it belongs to the company, but it is my baby while i work here.

we’re on the 18th (top) floor of the building right by ala moana (really convenient) so there are nice views in all the offices. here’s the view from our office:

view from office

it’s a really nice view of downtown honolulu. and if you look out to the left you can see some of the mountains; if you look to the right you can see the beach! :)

for the first week, i mostly read and tried to not fall asleep. that is not trivial! i have lots to learn though, so it’s been good. the only thing that kinda sucks is having to wake up at 6:30 everyday (i know that no one believes it’s possible but it’s true). :( it’s cuz i’m too cheap to just take the bus. that and i’m afraid that i’ll oversleep and miss work since everyone else goes to work early, so i go with cameron when he drives to school. so far things are good. i think once i start actually doing things, it will be pretty interesting but also pretty challenging since i don’t really know what’s going on (don’t tell them!).

pizza

pizza

tomato sauce
(from prime time emeril by emeril lagasse)

pizza sauce

3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups chopped yellow onions
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 cup thinly sliced garlic (5-6 cloves
1 cup dry red wine
4 15-oz cans tomato sauce
4 cups chicken stock (or canned low-sodium chicken broth)
1 28-oz can crushed, peeled tomato
1 15-oz can whole tomatoes
1 6-oz can tomato paste
1 tbsp emeril’s italian essence
1 tbsp sugar (optional)
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1. heat the oil in a large heavy stockpot over medium-high heat. add the onion, carrots, and celery and season with the salt and cayenne. cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft and golden, about 5 minutes. add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. add the red wine and cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.

2. add the tomato sauce, stock, crushed tomatoes, whole tomatoes, tomato paste, essence, sugar, and crushed red pepper flakes. increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. reduce the heat to medium-low. simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until reduced nearly by half, about 3 hours. season with additional salt to taste.

pizza dough
(from prime time emeril by emeril lagasse)

1 cup warm (110 F) water
1 1/4-oz envelope active dry yeast
1 tbsp plus 1 1/2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups bleached AP flour
1 tsp salt

1. pour the warm water into a large bowl. add the yeast and let stand for 3 minutes, then whisk until the yeast is dissolved. stir 1 tbsp of the oil into the yeast mixture.

2. add 1.5 cups of the flour and salt, mixing by hand until is is all incorporated and the mixture is smooth. continue adding the flour, 1/4 cup at a time, working the dough after each addition, until all the flour is incorporated but the dough is still slightly sticky. turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 3 minutes.

3. oil a large mixing bowl with the remaining olive oil. place the dough in the bowl and turn to oil all sides. cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm, draft-free place until the dough nearly doubles in size, 1 to 1.5 hours.

dough

4. remove the dough from the bowl and briefly knead, separating into two equal-size disks. place the dough on a lightly oiled baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and set in a warm, draft-free place to rest for 15 minutes. use as directed.

pizza
(adapted from prime time emeril by emeril lagasse)

1. preheat oven to 500 F. lightly grease two baking sheets.

2. one at a time, pull and gently stretch each pizza dough portion into a 6-inch round. put each piece of dough on a greased baking sheet. pat each out to a 10- to 12-inch round, about 1/8 inch thick. spread 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce on each round, leaving a 1-inch border. arrange toppings on sauce and top with a layer of the cheese.

3. bake until the dough is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly, about 20 minutes, switching the pans from top to bottom after 10 minutes

4. serve immediately.

pizza

comments: this pizza was pretty tasty. the sauce was really good on the pizza, and later we used some of it for some pasta. the dough was pretty easy to make, and turned out nice and thin. we had four different types of toppings:

1. onions, garlic, pepperoni
2. onions, pepperoni, broccoli
3. tomato, broccoli
4. spinach, garlic

i like tomatoes on the pizza. not so sure about broccoli. next time maybe we can put some real meats on the pizza, like chicken and sausages. yum!

mu shu pork

i remember eating mushu pork at a restaurant near my house when i was a kid. that was before arcadia and the surrounding areas (alhambra, san gabriel) were filled with awesome chinese food.  i guess real chinese restaurants don’t really serve mushu pork. but i still think it’s tasty!

mu shu pork

mu shu pork
from the essential wok cookbook

2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp finely grated ginger
2.5 tbsp light soy sauce
1.5 tbsp chinese rice wine
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
2.5 tsp corn starch
500 g (1 lb) pork loin fillet, sliced into julienne strips
20 g (3/4 oz) dried black fungus
20 g (3/4 oz) dried lily bulbs
2 tbsp chicken stock
3 eggs
2 tbsp veggie oil
1/2 tsp sesame oil
2 cups (150 g/5 oz) finely shredded wom bok (napa/chinese cabbage)
1/4 cup (40 g/1.25 oz) julienned bamboo shoots
5 spring onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
white pepper, to taste

pancakes
300 g (10 oz) plain flour
200 ml (6.5 fl oz) boiling water
1/2 teaspoon veggie oil
plain flour, for dusting

1. combine garlic, ginger, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp chinese rice wine, 1 tbsp hoisin sauce, and 1 tsp corn starch in a large non-metallic bowl. add the pork, toss well, then cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for 3 hours.

2. to make the pancake dough, sift the flour into a large bowl and make a well in the center. slowly pour in the boiling water, stirring with a wooden spoon, then add the oil. mix until a dough forms. place the dough on a lightly floured workbench and knead for 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic – be careful as the dough will be hot. transfer the dough to a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3. meanwhile, soak the black fungus and lily bulbs separately by covering with boiling water for 20 minutes. drain, remove any hard ends from the lily buds, julienne the black fungus, and cut the lily buds into 1 cm (1/2 inch) pieces.

4. combine the chicken stock and remaining soy sauce, rice wine, hoisin sauce, and corn starch in a small jug. whisk with a fork to dissolve the corn starch and form a paste.

5. lightly whisk the eggs together with a fork. heat a wok over high heat, add 1 tsp of veggie oil and .25 tsp of the sesame oil, and add the eggs. stir for about 30 seconds, or until scrambled. remove from the wok.

6. heat the same wok over high heat, add 2 tsp of the veggie oil and the remaining sesame oil and swirl to coat. stir-fry the pork in batches for 2 minutes, or until browned.

7. add the remaining oil to the wok, then add the wom bok (napa), bamboo shoots, spring onion, black fungus and lily buds and stir-fry for 3 minutes or until the wom bok begins to wilt. return the pork to the wok, add the sauce mixture and cook until it comes to the boil and begins to thicken. stir in the reserved scrambled eggs and season with white pepper. remove the wok from direct heat. keep warm.

mu shu pork

8. to make the pancakes, lightly flour a workbench, then divide the dough into four even pieces and roll each piece into a long sausage. cut each sausage into four. flatten each piece with your palm, then roll each piece out as thinly as possible to a pancake about 15 cm (6″) in diameter. the dough is quite elastic and you can roll the dough thin enough to almost see through it.

9. heat a frying pan over medium heat. dry-fry the pancakes on each side for about 30 seconds, or until some brown spots appear. stack the cooked pancakes on a plate, covered with foil to keep warm while cooking the remaining pancakes. wrap the filling in the pancakes, garnish with spring onion lengths, if desired, then serve.

comments: the filling for this was very tasty. it had all the elements i like in mushu pork, and the sauce/seasoning was just right. i just put in a little extra hoisin sauce on my pancakes and then a bunch of filling. as for the dough, we didn’t really read the directions, so when it came time to fry them, we DEEP-FRIED THEM. when you do that, your dough gets all puffed up:

mu shu pancake gone wrong

which is not to say it’s not tasty. it’s just more like fried dough than a thin wrapper. anyway, we decided to try just pan-frying (more like what the directions actually say), and they turned out nicely:

mu shu pancake

all in all, this recipe was quite tasty. the nice thing is that if you are lacking time, you can just buy the pancakes or maybe even use flour tortillas.

emeril’s chicken potpies

chicken pot pie

i got the book prime time emeril from barnes & noble for only $2! he has a lot of different recipes and some nice stories about them. the recipes range from the basics (how to make various kinds of stocks, sauces, doughs) to some more complicated stuff (like “fried crawfish salad with mirliton relish and creole remoulade”). i like that there are lots of recipes and all kinds, and his personal touches make it more interesting and funny.

emeril’s chicken potpies
(from prime time emeril by emeril lagasse)

piecrust
2 1/4 cups bleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
10 tbsp (1 1/4 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into thin slices
4-6 tbsp ice water

chicken stock
3 large carrots
3 celery ribs
2 medium yellow onions
1 3.5 lb. chicken
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns

filling
1 cup fresh or thawed frozen peas
4 tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, wiped clean, and finely sliced
2 tsp chopped garlic
2 tsp emeril’s original essence or creole seasoning
1/4 cup bleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white wine
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 large egg beaten with 1 tbsp water, for glaze

1. coarsely chop 1 carrot and 1 celery rib. peel and quarter 1 onion. put them in a large stockpot and add the chicken, 2 bay leaves, the peppercorns, and enough water to cover by 1 inch. bring to a boil over high heat. reduce the heat to medium-low. simmer until the chicken is tender, about 45 minutes, skimming off any foam that forms on the surface.

2. remove the chicken from the pot and transfer to a platter. strain the stock into a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. boil until the stock is reduced to 3 cups. let cool.

chicken stock

3. when the chicken is cool enough to handle,

chicken

remove the skin, cut the meat from the bones, and cut into 1-inch pieces. set the meat aside and discard the skin and bones.
chicken meat

4. to make the pie crust, combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. add the butter and cut it in with a pastry blender (or rub the mixture between your fingers) until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. using a fork, stir in the water, 1 tbsp at a time, just until the mixture is moist enough to hold together when gathered up. shape into a smooth ball, being careful not to overwork the dough, then press into a disk. wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

5. meanwhile, chop the remaining carrots, celery, and onion. bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. blanch the carrots and the peas in the boiling water until just tender, 2-3 minutes. drain and set aside.

pot pie veggies

6. preheat the oven to 400 F

7. melt the butter in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. add the onions and celery, and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes. add the mushrooms, garlic, and essence. cook until the mushrooms are soft and give off their liquid, about 5 minutes. sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir. cook until the mixture thickens, about 2 minutes. stir in the wine, cream, and reserved stock. add the chicken, carrots, peas, and parsley. season with the salt and pepper, and stir well.

pot pie filling
8. transfer the chicken mixture to a casserole dish or a large overproof skillet, or divide it among either individual 2-cup baking dishes. pot pie filling in dish
9. roll out the dough on a floured surface until 1/8 inch thick. cut into a round or other appropriate shape a little larger than the dish or dishes. cover the chicken mixutre with the dough, and press the dough against the sides of the dish(es) to seal. brush the top of the pastry with the egg glaze and cut several slits in it.pre-oven pot pie

10. bake until the crust is golden brown and the filling is hot and bubbly, about 15 minutes. serve hot.

happy pot pie

comments: this turned out to be quite tasty, and in particular, everyone liked it because it was not too creamy or heavy. i thought it wasn’t creamy enough, but i tend to like really rich foods. anyway, the recipe was pretty straightforward, but it did take a long time because you have to boil the chicken for a while and then cook down all that stock (the chicken was tasty though). i think it got tastier the second day.

this was my first time making a pie crust type thing, so that was kind of fun. it was really easy, and tasted quite good. mmm… butter. i would have liked to make individual potpies because then you get more of the outer crunchier crust, but we didn’t have small dishes. overall, it was a good dish, but to save a few hours, next time i might just buy a rotisserie chicken and reduce some chicken stock.

some food

check it out:

chicken katsu moco

chicken katsu moco!  this is from L&G drive-in (these plate lunch people really need to think of better names for their restaurants).  it’s at a food court in pearl city that has a bunch of tasty looking and affordable places.  we will definitely return there.

it was quite delicious.  but, i think it would be even better if it were a zippy’s chili chicken katsu moco.  it was good though.  they gave three gigantic pieces of chicken that were cut up.  even i could not eat it all.  this place does serve chili hamburger steak though so maybe i could convince them to make me a chili chicken katsu moco.

ALSO, i heard that natto (fermented soy beans) helps get rid of/prevent clots in your blood.  so maybe if i eat my chili mocos with natto, that will be better.  i think natto is growing on me though.  it is quite tasty with rice and furikake.

L&G Drive-In
1000 Kamehameha Hwy
Pearl City, HI 96782

another place cameron and i tried recently is daiichi noodles cafe.  they have really cheap combos!  this one only cost $7.25:

daiichi ramen combo

it includes a bowl of ramen (which has some pork), chicken katsu, and curry rice.  they also have other choices like gyoza and other kinds of katsu.  i had a big bowl of ramen:

daiichi ramen

it was quite good.  they give a ton of vegetables (good) and the broth is very drinkable.  even at the end, i didn’t feel all salted out like i often do at other ramen places.  the only thing is that i only got one piece of pork so i kind of wished there was some more meat here.  luckily i ate some of cameron’s chicken katsu so that was good.

i’ve found that these huge bowls of ramen have one problem: i get tired of eating them.  i think a GREAT idea would be to serve 2-3 bowls of ramen with different broths and toppings.  wouldn’t that be cool?  halfway through my bowl, i started drinking some of cameron’s miso broth for a change.  i think my multi-bowl ramen idea is pretty good.  if i knew how to make ramen and yummy broths, i would start an awesome ramen shop.  and eat lots of ramen.

Daiichi Noodles Cafe
Aiea Shopping Plaza 99-080 Kauhale Road
Honolulu (Hawaii)
(808) 486-7432