Saturday, November 28, 2009

Lobster with the Sumidas

Again another blog post related to dinner with Emi's parents. Last week Emi's dad made another amazing meal. He wanted to make us some Chinese food with recipes from Martin Yan's cookbook. Lucky for us one of the dishes Steve decided to make was lobster!

Fresh lobster

Scallop soup

The "Foodies" wine Emi picked up. It was actually pretty good.

Orange chicken with fresh mango

Lobster with pork and black bean sauce

Asparagus with shiitake mushrooms and hoisin sauce

Emi will try to post a few of the recipes in the comments section if anyone is interested.

- Kyle

Friday, November 27, 2009

Winter Fruit

I love fruit; from watermelon to crenshaw melon to bing cherries, I can't wait for the summer so that I can enjoy some sweet, juicy fruit. Besides the weather, what I hate most about winters in Seattle is the fact that it is really hard to find good fruit. That is unless you enjoy unripened, hardened, bland fruit. However the past few winters I have rediscovered some great winter fruit that I think any fruit lover would also enjoy.

This time of year, Asian pears or nashi as they are known in Japan are really, really good. Basically it's a super juicy, sweet hybrid apple pear. It's between the hardness of an apple and softness of a pear, with the sweetness of the best pear you can think of. Basically it's the best of both worlds and the best time to get them is in the fall/winter.

My other favorite winter fruit is the persimmon, which is another great winter fruit that is not as common as the Asian pear. Sometimes it's described as a cinnamon persimmon or apple persimmon. The meat of the fruit is usually a bright orange. Usually the riper the sweeter the fruit is. This fruit is even sweeter than the Asian pear.

Asian pear (nashi) and persimmon (kaki)

I like to peel the skin off and then cut up the fruit before eating it. You can eat Asian pears without skinning them first., but sometimes the skin can be a little bitter.

Most people have eaten an Asian pear, but I bet not everyone has tried a persimmon. So next time you're in the mood for some fruit and are tired of grapes or apples, try something new and experiment with the persimmon and I'm sure you'll become a fan.

- Kyle

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Emi and I love steak. It's easily one of our favorite meals. However Emi has never been a big fan of eating animals so she always feels a little guilty eating meat. If she didn't love it so much she would probably be a vegetarian.

I think this picture sums up Emi's feelings on meat.

Steak is one of the most simple things to make and at the same time one of the most complicated meals to perfect. Ultimately after years and years of eating steak all over the country, we've come to the conclusion that no restaurant can make it better than you can. By making it yourself, you guarantee it's seasoned right, cooked to your liking, and affordable.

We wanted to share a few photos of some of our more extravagant steak dinners along with a review of our favorite place to eat steak in Seattle and to finish off the post we wanted to share some pictures from our Sunday dinner.

Emi won an award trip to Vegas through work, so we had our most expensive meal ever at PRIME steakhouse which was located in Caesar's Palace. Luckily it was covered by the company, but to give you an idea of how expensive it was the cheapest part of the meal was our $25 glasses of wine!

After eating this porterhouse steak at PRIME I started to realize that steakhouses are overrated. The steak was OK, but not amazing, definitely big and expensive. If you do go to a nice steakhouse make sure to get a ribeye steak, they usually are the most flavorful.

After celebrating our one year anniversary in Portland we had plans for a special meal at The Metropolitan Grill. Their porterhouse steak used to be an all-time favorite.

38 oz of gluttony, but again I ended up being disappointed. The meat was tough, gristly, and not all that well seasoned. C'mon Met, what type of 2nd hand meat are you serving me?!

Look it's bigger than her head!

Even though Emi and I are no longer fans of the fancy steakhouse, the one place that we can still recommend is Jak's. Their ribeye steak is tender, smoky, flavorful deliciousness and it's affordable. Emi also loves their steak salad, that doesn't short you on the meat. The Jak's we go to is located next to Varlamos in the UDistrict and they have another location in West Seattle.

Keys to a good steak:

  • Marbled meat, the fat is the flavor and the more there is the more tender it will be
  • Never overcook your steak, rare to medium rare at the most guaranteeing it will be tender. Why pay $50 for a chewy piece of steak.
  • Season your meat and let it sit out at room temperature before cooking it. Also don't skimp on the rock salt (we prefer Hawaiian sea salt), crushed black pepper, and garlic. Emi is the master seasoner and I'm the master griller.
  • When cooking the meat, cook on high heat to sear in the flavors and juices, don't let the BBQ, grill pan or oven heat up while cooking the meat, make sure it's already hot.
  • When the meat is done let it sit for 5-10 minutes before cutting into it so the meat can absorb the juices, otherwise when you cut into it everything will spill out

Last Sunday, Emi and I had no idea what to make for dinner so we went to Central Market to look around and this is what we came up with; ribeye steak.

We cooked this steak on high heat on our All-Clad grill pan. It ended up working really well and even cooked in the layer of seasonings.

Emi made homemade croutons to go with the salad

Even though the presentation may not be as nice as a fancy steakhouse, the food is ten times more flavorful, cooked to your liking, and much more affordable. To go with our steak we boiled white asparagus seasoned with salt and pepper, sauteed sweet onions with chantrelles and garlic, and Emi made mashed sweet potatoes.

Even though we make a pretty good steak, Emi's Dad's is the best. For those of you reading, hopefully you can come enjoy one of Steve's steaks someday because they are amazing.

- Kyle

Monday, November 16, 2009

Seafood with the Sumidas

At least a couple times a month Emi and I go over to her parent's house for dinner. Emi's dad Steve is basically a gourmet chef and always has something delicious prepared for us. We're both spoiled because we know a warm, filling meal is only a phone call and a short 15 minute drive away.

Recently Emi and her Mom wanted to go check out The Bravern, which is the new fancy outdoor mall in Bellevue. While we were out shopping, Steve was preparing a fancy seafood meal for us. We also picked up dessert from Trophy Cupcakes, which is our new favorite specialty cupcake shop. They have one in UVillage as well.

We started off the feast with some fresh oysters from Mutual Fish Company, which is Steve's favorite place to go for fresh seafood. The first oysters we tried were Belon oysters, which he explained were very difficult to find outside of France, but that they grow them locally here. Since they are such a delicacy, he recommended I eat them with only a little lemon juice and pepper. The other oysters were also from the Pacific NW and Emi ate them with Steve's homemade cocktail sauce consisting of ketchup, horseradish, and fresh lemon juice.

Our first course

Oysters aren't for everyone, but these were really good. The Belon oysters aren't too fishy and can be enjoyed with only a squeeze of lemon and some pepper.

Our 2nd course - Steve's homemade spanikopita, for those unfamiliar it's a Greek pastry with philo filled with feta, spinach, grape leaves, and other Greek things I don't remember.

The rock fish that Steve prepared for dinner

Steve sauteed a variety of mushrooms including shiitake in butter and garlic and added in salt and pepper. After sauteing the mushrooms he added them on top of the fish.

After adding the mushrooms on top of the fish, he wrapped everything up in parchment paper to seal in the juices and to steam the fish while it cooked in the oven.

The main course which included the fish served on top of the parchment paper with some fingerling potatoes. Not pictured was a glass of chardonnay to complement the fish.

And now for pictures of dessert! My favorite was the Red Velvet Trophy Cupcake.

Lemon coconut

The mint chocolate cupcake was a close 2nd

The very creative burnt marshmellow s'more cupcake. This cupcake had a burnt marshmellow frosting which covered a graham cracker topping on the chocolate cupcake.

Emi and I also enjoy Cupcake Royale, but would have to say Trophy Cupcakes are better. The difference for me is that they are more gourmet and have more creative flavors. However so far my favorite cupcake is the Eggnog cupcake at Cupcake Royale.

We haven't been blogging much about our meals with Emi's parents, but will try to more because we always eat something that's delicious and new.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Halloween 2009

Sorry, I know this post isn't very timely, but better late than never. Emi and I threw a Halloween bash for about 40 of our friends on Halloween night. Everyone went all out, dressed up and had a great time. Definitely one of our best house parties. The theme was "around the world", which meant that we asked people to bring beer representing: Germany, Japan, Ireland, Mexico, and of course the US of A. Emi also bought miniature flags for everyone so after you drank a beer from a certain country you also received a corresponding flag to rock for the rest of the night.

Anyhow with any of our house parties, we made sure to have a lot of food and since this blog is focused on the food we love and eat I wanted to share photos of what we made for the night.

The night's menu

My "adult" orange jello wedges

I got this idea from a family party the weekend before and wanted to try it out for our Halloween party. It's really easy to do and they come out looking great. Everyone really liked them. All you do is cut an orange in half, scoop out the fruit and then pour in the orange jello mix, but substitute in a cup of mandarin vodka and once it sets, cut them into wedges and serve.

The "Asian hot wings"; my friend Bob Do shared the marinade recipe with me. I usually make these at barbecues, but tried something different and baked them in the oven. They ended up being really good and I didn't have to worry about BBQ'in out in the cold and rain. Think teriyaki with a spicy kick.

Amy Dang's famous Cheesy Sausage Dip. Emi brough out the fondue set and kept the dip heated with a couple tea light candles. The sterno probably would have burnt the bottom of the dip, but the tea light candles worked perfectly. Good thinking ladies.

Emi's sweet potato fries

This looks like the miscellaneous countries station and at the moment it looks like Red Stripe and Jamaica were well represented.

Little Snow White and a Puggle Hot Dog

We didn't get pictures of everything we made, but I wanted to mention Emi's mac and cheese again. She made it for the first time on our trip out to Ocean Shores and perfected it for the Halloween party. I think Pert had 5 servings of it. All of the food came out great, we hope everyone had a good time, and hopefully we've started a fun Halloween tradition.

- Kyle

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Guest Blog

One of the most enjoyable parts of doing this blog is that we have made more of an effort (if it is possible) to enjoy and appreciate the food we eat--and the fact that we are able to eat everyday unlike so many in the world.

One of the other things we love is that our friends and family have shared many yummy recipes with us. I have always asked people to contribute and be "guest bloggers". This is my first guest blog from one of my best friends, Amy Dang. She, like me and many of my friends from college, never really cooked before especially since we had the luxury of having a cook at our sorority (special shout out to Jeremy, the best weekend chef in the world who would make us custom breakfast orders like my favorite egg mcmuffin with egg whites, cheddar cheese, peppers, onions, mushrooms and ham...hint, hint, Jeremy--you are the next guest blogger!).
She has recently moved in with her fiancé Aaron (check out the blog post on their engagement party!) and has found a new passion for cooking. I have always thought that cooking and eating dinner together has been key to Kyle and my relationship; it is a very good time to catch up on the day and make a necessity like eating something to enjoy together. Anyways, Amy has also found the secret to many good cook's success: Food Network!

Here are a couple of the new recipes she has tried and loved from her new favorite Food Network star, Giada de Laurentiis:
Lamb Ragu with Mint:
"Giada's Yummy Dish! I watched her make this on her "Everyday Italian" show and made this twice already. It's such a great hearty meal that is perfect the next day for leftovers! Aaron loves it! Hope you and Kyle enjoy it as well :)" --Amy
1 pound rigatoni pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds ground lamb
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup red wine
4 cups marinara sauce, store-bought or home made
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, torn
1/2 cup ricotta cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet warm the olive oil over high heat. Add the shallots and the garlic and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the ground lamb, salt, and pepper. Cook until the lamb has browned and the juices have evaporated. Add the wine, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan using a wooden spoon. Simmer until the wine has reduced by half. Add the marinara sauce and simmer over low heat until the flavors have blended, about 10 minutes. Add the mint and ricotta and stir until mixed. Add the pasta and stir to coat. Serve immediately.
Fusilli with Spinach and Asiago Cheese:
"another yummy pasta dish from Giada, except this one is a lot lighter. We added some chicken to this one for protein. Also, mushrooms and onions would be good too! Enjoy :)" --Amy

1 pound fusilli pasta
1/4 cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (9-ounce) bag fresh spinach, roughly chopped
8 ounces (1/2 pint) cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup (about 3 1/2-ounces) grated Asiago
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.
Meanwhile, warm olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the spinach and tomatoes and cook until the spinach wilts, about 2 more minutes. Add the cooked pasta and toss. Add the cheeses, salt, pepper, and the pasta cooking liquid and stir to combine.
Transfer the pasta to a serving plate and serve.

Thanks Amy for contributing and sharing! If anyone else would like to be a guest blogger, please contact Kyle or I and send us recipes with stories on why you love them or how they are important to you or your family!
Happy Eating,

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Delicious FALL Meal!

I am going to start a new series on wedding food. Over the last year many of my very best friends have gotten married, and I have had some absolutely fabulous meals at these weddings! From a scrumptious Tom Douglas meal at Carmen and Jamie's wedding, to a luau feast at Noelani and Shaw's, to a delicious steak and seafood spread at Ali and Cam's.

I am going to start this series by talking about Becca Fall (haha, get it? FALL meal?! Because it's fall and she is a Fall? OK, yeah, I know you got it...) and Lowell Lombardini-Parker's wedding that was on October 3rd of this year. I was lucky to be one of Becca's maids of honor and the wedding was absolutely beautiful with rich, vibrant colors and flowers that went with their harvest theme--appropriate for an October wedding.

Their wedding favors were home brewed beer made by the groom. Lowell began his brewing hobby when Becca and Lowell lived with us while their townhouse was being built in 2007. He nearly killed me when he took an empty OJ carton and filled it with bottle sanitizer (think bleach) that he used to sterilize the bottles he filled with his beer--I mistakenly thought that there was more OJ in the garage refrigerator and poured a glass of the fresh squeezed acid. I knew something was wrong when I poured out what looked like water. I took a big sniff to see what it was and nearly burned off my eyebrows and nose hairs when my nostrils were assaulted by the burning liquid. It was a small price to pay for the many nights that Kyle and I got to be quality controllers for Lowell and taste his unique and delicious brews like kiwi beer, winter ale and his many different IPAs.

Lowell made a harvest IPA and a lager; Becca made these adorable labels that highlighted their festive wedding colors.

Rather than drinking our favors at our after party (thanks again Carmen and Jamie for allowing us to use your presidential suite!), Kyle and I decided to make a warm, fall inspired meal to go with our autumn beer: butternut squash and shrimp risotto. I got this recipe from Bon Appetit; if you have never read this magazine and consider yourself a food lover--shame on you (just kidding!). Seriously though, it is worth the subscription just to look at the photos of food. They also have a whole section of recipes that are relatively quick and simple--this is one of those recipes. It is one of my all time favorite dishes and I highly recommend it!

3 ounces pancetta (Italian bacon), chopped
1 pound large uncooked deveined peeled shrimp
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 3/4 cups)
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 cup short-grain rice (such as arborio or carnaroli)
4 cups vegetable broth, heated in microwave
1 1-pound package peeled butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1/4 cup whipping cream

Sauté pancetta in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat until fat renders and pancetta is browned and almost crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer to medium bowl. Sprinkle shrimp with salt and pepper; add to saucepan. Sauté until browned and just opaque in center, about 3 minutes. Add to bowl with pancetta. Add oil to same saucepan, then onion and garlic; cook until onion is translucent, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add rice; stir 1 minute. Add hot broth; increase heat and bring to boil. Add squash and sage; reduce heat to medium and simmer until rice is tender but still firm to bite and mixture is creamy, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Stir in cream, shrimp, and pancetta. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to large shallow bowl.

And it's not even that bad for you:

Nutritional Information
One serving contains the following: Calories (kcal) 358.9%Calories from Fat 32.6Fat (g) 13.0Saturated Fat (g) 4.9Cholesterol (mg) 176.6Carbohydrates (g) 36.0Dietary Fiber (g) 3.1Total Sugars (g) 5.2Net Carbs (g) 32.9Protein (g) 24.2

Congrats Becca and Lowell!

Happy Eating,


Monday, November 9, 2009

Places that make us fat: Chicago

Chicago is one of Emi and my favorite places to visit. We love Chicago for the opportunity to visit Emi's friend from childhood Anna, the great shopping, and of course the food! I was recently in Chicago for work and wanted to share a few photos of great meals from a past trip and also from the most recent one.

Calvin, me, and Emi at Bin 36 in September of 2008. Bin 36 is an upsale wine bar similar to Purple Wine Bar in Seattle. We had a delicious cheese plate with assorted flights to start off our trip.

Fresh fruit infused vodka martinis at a neighborhood restaurant Anna took us to in Wrigleyville.

My monster steak and eggs breakfast at the official "Ohio State Alumni" bar in Chicago. Gotta love that midwest beef!

Our favorite part of the trip was enjoying the Bloody Mary bar. Each of us got a small bottle of vodka and a pint glass along with multiple options of Bloody Mary mixes, olives, cheeses, salamis, celery, and spices. This great idea we have brought to our Husky tailgates.

On my most recent trip we enjoyed an amazing meal at A MANO which an affordable, yet delicious Italian restaurant located underneath Bin 36.

The "Trio of Brucshetta" which was split up into three sections: fava bean, mint and pecorino sardo, oven dried tomatoes and basil, , and chicken liver mousse.

The baby octopus was the chef's special appetizer. I've never had anything like it before. The octopus was smoky and very tender. It tasted like the world's most tender steak.

My A MANO Lasagna Bolognese which was described as "Best in the Country" by Details magazine. Made of beef, pork & veal, and Basil Pesto.

My pizza sandwich from Potbelly Sandwich Works to end my gluttonous trip through Chicago. This beauty came with pepperoni, tomatoes, provolone, marinara sauce, mushrooms, and Italian seasoning. Everyone in the Chicago office highly recommended this place for lunch.

We hope to have the opportunity to travel out there again in the near future. Also the last two times I've been to Chicago my fat ass has consumed an authentic deep dish pizza, but I guess I never took a picture so that's why no pictures were posted.

If anyone is out there in the near future and wants to check out a few of these places let me know!

- Kyle

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sukiyaki with the Sumidas

One of the most beloved and popular recipes that many Japanese American families pass down from one generation to the next, is their families' sukiyaki recipes. You might have heard of sukiyaki from the popular song that was a #1 hit in 1963. The song actually isn't about sukiyaki, which is a delicious comfort meal--the song is about a heartbroken lover who walks down the street and refuses to look down because he is afraid that his tears will spill down his cheeks. Totally off topic, but in case you were wondering...

Anyways, fall marks the beginning of "Matsutake" mushroom hunting season. These mushrooms are another Japanese favorite, and you can find hordes of seniors going up into secret spots within the mountains to find these mushrooms that go for upwards of $100/lb in Japan. They grow naturally and abundantly in Washington because of our climate and in years past, there has been such a large crop that people were shipping garbage bags full of mushrooms to friends across the country and in Japan! Their earthy and distinct taste go well with many dishes, but Kyle and my favorite is in sukiyaki!

Matsutake mushrooms

Sukiyaki is a very healthy meal. It is cooked in a large skillet, usually on a portable gas burner that we put in the middle of the dinner table and add and take ingredients as we go along in our meal. Ingredients include tofu, clear noodles, onions, napa cabbage, bamboo shoots (I personally don't like them, but most do), celery and other yummy and fresh vegetables.

A very important part of the meal is thinly sliced lean beef--you can get this particular cut at Uwajimaya or other Asian stores. This meat has a low fat content and is also very delicate and tender.

You want to coat the bottom of your pan with a light oil like vegetable oil. Then add in the meat to give the bottom flavor. My mom likes to cut off chunks of beef fat and use that as a base for the dish in addition to the oil (this makes it a little less healthy!). Then you add in all the veggies, noodles and tofu and coat with a liberal amount of soy sauce, mirin and sugar. Everything will cook together and the veggies will lose some of their water in order to create a nice broth that the food boils in.

Serve it with some rice and you have a great meal for the cold and gloomy fall days we are in!

Happy Eating,