Thursday, September 26, 2019

Barilla Ready Pasta

This elbow pasta from Barilla comes in a blue package and is fully cooked. In the back of the blue package, it says that it serves 2. That is probably right if you serve it as a side dish. This was to be my dinner so I consumed the whole package.

You have a choice of microwaving the envelope or cooking it on the stove with olive oil which I preferred to do. I had some Alessi, Puttanesca sauce which has olives, capers, and anchovies. It only took 1/2 the jar to coat the entire pasta. The pasta came out aldente and was so delicious. A green salad with olive oil and fig vinaigrette went well with it.

I can't believe how incredibly delicious my meal was and incredibly simple. I will be buying several packages on my next trip to the supermarket. I got mine at Ralph's Market.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Boar's Head Bratwurst

If you can't head over to get some Weisswurst from the Alpine Village in Torrance, you can go to Ralph's and have the poor man's version. The Boar's Head Bratwurst is already cooked. All I do is score them so as not to curl up. I then fry them in butter and serve it with my favorite stone ground mustard. It is really quite delicious! I happened to have some leftover lentils and rice that Sandi had made and froze but felt sorry for me in her absence so she gave it for me to enjoy. All I had to do was buy some Labne which is a must for almost anything Middle Eastern. I also bought a Trail Slaw Salad in the Deli section of Ralph's Market. It's like coleslaw but chunkier cuts of red and green cabbage, celery and whole baby carrots with a sweet dressing. I liked this salad very much.

It's always nice to discover simple ways of enjoying dinner without all the hullabaloo.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

The Original Chili Cheeze Bread

This Original Chili Cheeze Bread is from Erick Schat's Bakkery (this is not a typo, this is how it is spelled). For people that haven't heard of Schat's, I'm so sorry. They are known for their Sheepherders bread but has come a long way as they ventured to a variety of wonderful kinds of bread. They use waters from the well of the Sierras which may be their secret and only use fresh ingredients. The main store is located in Bishop, California. It has been there forever! They also have another location in Mammoth.

The bread is great especially when toasted. I like to add butter and jelly/jam. Amy had hers with just cream cheese. She didn't want to add anything sweet which was fine. I loved the buttery, cheesy bread which was spicy from the chili's, so a bit of currant jelly which was sweet and a bit tart was like a bomb that exploded in my mouth with all the different flavors. That with my cup of strong coffee with whipping cream was a perfect breakfast!

We also had another loaf which my son picked up on the way home from June Lake. The Apple Pullaway. That was also very good warmed up in the microwave with a cup of water in the oven so as not to dry the bread. That was dessert.

I looked at the website of Erick Schat's Bakkery and they do ship orders. They have a minimum order of $20 which is fine because you will probably want to order for friends.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Sidecar Doughnuts in Torrance

Sidecar Doughnuts just opened up in the Rolling Hills Plaza across from Trader Joe's and in the same parking lot as the 24 Hour Fitness. I have been to the ones in Santa Monica and Orange County several times.  We got tired of it since most of them were sicky sweet. The last time I had some was 7 months ago in Santa Monica. I thought that enough time has gone by and maybe absence would make my stomach fonder. At 7:20 a.m. this morning, right after the gym, my son and I drove there to check their hours of operation. They open at 6:30 a.m.! We naturally went in and I got excited all over again seeing the beautiful doughnuts.

I ordered a few to try; the Huckleberry which is their signature doughnut, Bacon, Smoked French Toast, and my son's selection the Basil Egg Benedict which was a savory raised doughnut with a poached egg inside, ham and basil hollandaise sauce. As soon as we got home we sampled all of them. The Basil Egg Benedict was the best though looking at it didn't excite me. Once heated and sliced in the middle, things got more exciting. It turned out to be very good. The huckleberry had to be heated because most of the texture of the doughnut is cake-like. They are heavy and therefore not fluffy or light. They tend to be dry. You really have to heat them for at least 10 seconds in the microwave. The huckleberry tasted like it just came out of the oven and that's how I first experienced it and it was good. The bacon was also better heated though it was not nearly as good as Cafe Dulce. I didn't care for the French toast at all. The special for the month is Fluffernutter Huckleberry Jam with a peanut butter glaze with meringue and roasted peanuts. It looked interesting but since I am not a peanut butter fan, I passed.

I am not anxious to go back to Sidecar but I will probably check out the monthly specials since I have had good ones, FYI, we didn't like anything chocolate because we found them gummy in the past.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Amy's Sukiyaki

Amy has always promised to make Sukiyaki for us but every time we go to her house for dinner, the menu has changed. When we got to her house a few days ago, I was all aquiver when I saw the table set with a hot pot in the middle with various vegetables and meat.

I normally do not like going to restaurants and having to cook my meal since I could do that at home. This was different since it was in someone's home plus we talked her into just cooking it for us. As she placed the various vegetables in, I dunked them more into the stock. She later told me I should have kept the veggies in separate corners but it was too late. There were Chinese cabbage, spinach, bamboo shoots, carrots, onions, green onions, and mushrooms and noodles. On the side, she also made the most delicious pieces of pork with green bell peppers in a miso sauce with a bit of sugar. This went well with the white rice. And being someone that loves to grow anything edible, she had sliced some fresh radishes from her garden and with a little vinegar, sugar, and mirin, it was a delicious sidekick to her sukiyaki.

It was a healthy but delectable dinner. We were so stuffed from overeating and we truly enjoyed everything including the uninvited guest named Oliver, the dog.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Dominique's Kitchen

It's hard to believe this quaint restaurant has been around for about 7 years. It seems like just yesterday since it opened. You can always count on very good food and they know what works so they stick to dishes that we all love with occasional specials.

There's a new priest in town, Father Paul Joseph at St. Margaret Mary Church in Lomita. While discussing neighborhood restaurants, Sandi and I were informed that he has not yet been to Dominique's. We decided it was fitting to make the introduction. I couldn't wait to show him my choice of wine I brought for dinner. The name was Benedictus de Vatican Réserve Sacrée 2017 which is really a French wine, not Italian, nevertheless, it was very good wine and could not have been more appropriate.

We ordered the Truffle Fries which everyone finds addicting. Father Paul ordered the Lobster Ravioli which he apparently loved. I already made up my mind even before entering the restaurant to have the wonderful Sole which was pan-seared with a light lemon butter sauce served with sautéed spinach with garlic and onions. Sandi was also set on ordering the sole but changed her mind and opted instead for the Steak with green peppercorn sauce. I have always loved that so rather than change my order, we decided to split both.

We gave Father Paul a choice of dessert. He ordered the Dark Chocolate Mousse which I neglected to take a picture of. We wanted him to try the Baked Alaska so we ordered one to share amongst us.

Everything was delicious as ever. Both Liza and Dominique came by our table to greet and welcome us. I always feel like I'm visiting their home instead of a restaurant because they always treat us like family.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Welcome to L.A., Ann & O.J.

Invited my niece Ann whom I just met in the Philippines in May for the first time. They recently moved to Torrance so it was the perfect opportunity to have them over while my son is visiting and also invited my brother so as we get to know one another over a meal.

It finally cooled off a bit so we were able to sit in the backyard and have some hors d' oeuvres and champagne.

Dinner was simple. We started with a salad with a mango vinaigrette dressing. I made chicken cooked with artichokes in a marinara sauce served over good old red mashed potatoes with lots of butter, milk and whipping cream. I also sautéed portabello mushrooms in butter and Mirin sauce. No one complained about the food so I guess it was o.k.

I made dessert. I poked holes in little sponge cakes and poured some rosé champagne in it and topped them with extra creamy cool whip and fresh strawberries. This time, I had one complaint....from my brother Gary. It was still a bit dry and not totally soaked. But it was still edible if I may say so myself.

It was a very enjoyable get-together. My niece was very sweet like her mom and her husband O.J. was just as lovely.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Amy's 90th Surprise Birthday Party

It took a bit of planning to pull off this surprise party for Amy. The story was we were to celebrate it with just the 5 of us. Sandi picked her up and when she arrived at my house, Sujata, Cindy, Sandi and I surprised her with Hawaiian theme decorations. We told her we did a little bit more since it was her 90th. Her actual birthday was 11 days ago. She was happy and surprised. Then I had them sit out in the backyard to have some hors d' oeuvres. I had the drapes down so she would not see what was going on inside. The story was that I made this dessert which had to sit at room temperature and I didn't want her to see it. What she didn't know was her family and a couple of close friends from the gym would be arriving in half an hour.

When they arrived and we had set up the rest of the food on the dining table, I hit the gong which made a loud sound that everyone outside knew it was chow time. When she walked in, the drama began. She was overwhelmed and could not believe it. Her eyes were not visible from crying. Her expression was priceless.

Sandi made the hors d' oeuvres, Zohreh made a pasta salad, Sujata brought Samosas. Her family brought the bulk of the food. We had fried rice, noodles, kalbi ribs, lau lau (which I never had and ended up loving it), potato salad, Caesar salad, macaroni salad, jello. They also brought assorted mini bundt cakes. Everything was delicious.

What's a party without cake so yes there was cake decorated like a garden which is where Amy spends most of her time.

It was a great afternoon spent with dear friends and family. Happy 90th birthday, Mother Superior!