soup and salad

earlier in the summer (before i got my job) i made these two tasty recipes for a nice summer dinner.

southwestern corn chowder
(from rachel ray best eats in town $40 a day, courtesy Windy Ridge Cafe, Park City, UT)

southwestern corn chowder

10 roma tomatoes
olive oil
2 lb. frozen corn
1 medium red pepper
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 small yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, sliced
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups half-and-half
5 small white corn tortillas fried crispy, chopped
dash cumin
pinch chili powder
1 medium avocado, small, diced
1. preheat oven to 500 F. preheat a grill or grill pan.

2. rub the tomatoes with olive oil and place on a cookie sheet. roast for 10-12 minutes until skin blisters nad blackens. remove from oven and cool. when cool enough to handle, peel the tomatoes and set aside.

roasted tomatoes

3. lay the corn out on a cookie sheet. season with 1.5 tsp salt and .5 tsp pepper. roast until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

4. rub the red pepper with olive oil. grill until skin is black and blistered. place in a resealable plastic bag and refrigerate until cooled. peel, seed, dice, and set aside.

5. in a large saucepan over medium heat, saute the onion and garlic in butter until the onion begins to soften, about 4 minutes. add the flour and cook for 2-3 minutes. add chicken stock, roasted corn, peeled tomatoes, and half-and-half and bring to a gentle simmer. add the fried corn tortillas and simmer 2 minutes.

6. puree with an immersion blender, or carefully with a regular blender. if you use a regular blender, do not fill the blender more than halfway as hot liquids can expand and spurt out of the blender. season, to taste, with cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. strain. serve soup garnished with avocado and roasted red pepper.

comments: so this is the first recipe i’ve tried from rachel ray’s $40 a day book, and it turned out quite well. actually i saw a bunch of good recipes in this book, and they must be good because they’re all recipes from real restaurants that rachel ray ate at. anyway, this is also the first recipe where i got to use an immersion blender. those things are pretty sweet. anyhow, roasting all the veggies in the oven gave the soup a real nice flavor, and using the immersion blender gave it a nice creamy texture, but you could still taste some of the corn texture, which was good. i think the final addition of the cumin and chili powder is important because it can give the soup a nice kick. the only thing i would change is that i would roast more peppers (actually, i roasted a bunch of mini ones but it still wasn’t enough) because the smokiness and sourness go really well with the soup. also, this soup tastes really good with bread!

layered cobb salad

layered cobb salad

For dressing
3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For salad
3 skinless boneless chicken breast halves (1 1/4 lb)
2 California avocados
1 head romaine, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide slices (8 cups)
6 bacon slices, cooked until crisp, drained, and finely chopped
3 medium tomatoes (3/4 lb), seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 to 3 oz Roquefort, crumbled (1/2 to 3/4 cup)
2 bunches watercress, coarse stems discarded
2 hard-boiled large eggs, halved and forced through a coarse sieve
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives

Make dressing:
Whisk together all dressing ingredients except oil in a bowl, then add oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified.

Make salad:
Bring 5 cups water to a simmer in a 2-quart saucepan, then simmer chicken, uncovered, 6 minutes. Remove pan from heat and cover, then let stand until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and cool completely. Cut into 1/2-inch cubes.

Halve, pit, and peel avocados, then cut into 1/2-inch cubes.

Spread romaine over bottom of a 6- to 8-quart glass bowl and top with an even layer of chicken. Sprinkle bacon over chicken, then continue layering with tomatoes, cheese (to taste), avocados, watercress, eggs, and chives.

Just before serving, pour dressing over salad and toss.

Cooks’ note:
° Dressing can be made and salad assembled 1 hour ahead and chilled separately, covered.

Makes 4 to 6 main-course servings.

comments: ok, this salad is awesome. it has everything a person could dream of in a salad AND MORE. the reason i chose this recipe is because it has 43 good reviews, a four-fork rating, and 100% of people who rated the recipe would make it again. that is like amazing. even really good recipes usually have someone complaining about something. anyhow, of course all the things that go into the salad are great, but i think the extra special thing is the dressing. it works really well with the ingredients while not overpowering them and it just has a good mix of sourness (from the red wine vinegar and lemon juice) and a little bitterness from the dijon. it makes quite a bit too, which i didn’t really realize, so we ended up with a lot of leftover salad. but the second day it still tasted really really good. the lettuce was slightly soggier, but i actually liked how it had absorbed more of the dressing (but still without having it overpower everything else) and some of the flavors had melded together more. i guess after that the lettuce might have gotten too soggy, but since we ate it all by the second day, i can’t really say for sure. i think it’s unlikely that this salad will survive that long anyway. cuz it’s really good you know. btw, we used turkey bacon (whatever that is), and it was as tasty as regular bacon!

emeril’s mardi gras jambalaya


mardi gras jambalaya
(from prime time emeril by emeril lagasse)

one 5-lb. duck, trimmed of fat and cut into 8 pieces
3 tbsp emeril’s original essence or creole seasoning
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 lb. andouille or other spicy sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices
2 cups chopped yellow onions
1/2 cup chopped green peppers
1/2 cup chopped red bell peppers
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 tsp salt, or more to taste
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 cups, peeled, seeed, and chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp chopped garlic
3 bay leaves
2 cups long grain rice
2 tsp minced fresh thyme
2 quarts chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
1 lb. medium shrimp
1 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

1. season the duck pieces with 2 tbsp essence.

2. heat the vegetable oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. add the duck, skin side down, and sear for 5 minutes. turn and sear on the second side for 3 minutes. remove from the pot and drain on paper towels.


3. add the sausage to the fat in the pot and cook, stirring, until browned, about 5 minutes. add the onions, bell peppers, celery, salt, cayenne, and black pepper and cook, stirring often, until the the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. add the tomatoes, garlic, and bay leaves and cook, stirring, until the tomatoes give off some of their juices, about 2 minutes. add the rice and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.


4. add the thyme, stock, and duck. bring to a boil. reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender, about 30 minutes.


5. season the shrimp with the remaining 1 tbsp essence. add the shrimp to the pot and cook until they turn pink, about 5 minutes. remove the pot from the heat and let sit, covered, for 15 minutes.


6. add the green onions and parsley to the jambalaya and stir gently. remove and discard the bay leaves. adjust the salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste. serve directly from the pot (or, if desired, transfer the jambalaya to a small ice chest to transport to an outing).

comments: this was truly tasty. it may be the tastiest meal we’ve made since coming to hawaii. it had so much tasty stuff in it, and they all worked well together. every bite you got some juicy shrimp, a strip of chicken, lots of rice, and a bunch of vegetables joined by the tasty seasoning and broth. basically we followed the recipe, except we used a whole chicken instead of a duck, because we couldn’t find any at the grocery stores here. it worked very well with chicken too though. emeril’s seasoning was actually really impressive. i really liked the spiciness and kick that it added. when i was searing the chicken, the kitchen smelled great.

the only thing i would recommend is to eat this all the day you make it. if it sits overnight, the rice absorbs any extra moisture and gets kind of mushy. it’s okay, but not as good as when it’s fresh. invite some friends over since this is meant to serve 6 (i think it probably could have served 8 though).

sad days and happy days

first, i recently had a really sad day in terms of food. so in the spring when i visited hawaii, i fell deeply in love with holotta ice cream on the fifth day. i refrained from eating it when i returned here in the summer, because my experience with it had been so special. you can’t just go around eating it willy nilly! i decided that getting my first job would be a worthy event for such great ice cream. when that day finally came, cameron and i went (with great anticipation) to celebrate with some of the life-changing banana ice cream, but alas, IT WAS NOT THERE!!! i was really crushed. still, i hoped that they had just run out for the day. i asked the girl at the counter and she told me that holotta ice cream NO LONGER MAKES BANANA ICE CREAM. i tried the pistachio:

holotta ice cream

the result: holotta ice cream is dead to me.

next, this other food experience was in the middle. pretty good, not amazing. i got this bento from mitsuba.


it was really cheap (4.50 i think) and had a lot of food, but i just don’t like food as much when there aren’t any vegetables. i enjoy meat much more when i get veggies too. anyway, i had the shoyu chicken, which was actually really tasty (moist and flavorful), and the other things included were a bright pink hotdog, some beef, chow fun, and rice. it was a lot of food so i had to save some to snack on the next day. apparently they have lots of different and yummy things at mitsuba, but you have to go early or they sell out. they are quite cheap too.

mitsuba delicatessen
1218 n. school st.
telephone: (808) 841-3864

finally, another awesome meal at jimbo:

jimbo udon
i had a big bowl of udon, and the special thing it had was fried mochi, which had a really cool gluey texture. it stays kind of melted since the broth is really hot. this bowl had a different broth than the one i had last time. i think it was some kind of fish broth. really good though.

jimbo combo

their combos are amazing. cameron had the udon with tonkatsu donburi. the donburi was heavenly. the egg is the perfect combination of runny and fluffy. it seems like the yolk part was cooked completely, but some of the whites were still a little runny. the tonkatsu went really well with the eggs as did the sauce. i was really jealous. i am definitely getting one of the combos next time.

1926 s. king st.
tel: 808-947-2211

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!).



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.


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.

(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.


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!