Sunday, January 31, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Pot Roast and Pot Roast Bolognese

In an attempt to stay more on top of my blogging, I want to start a weekly post that will run every Sunday and feature my favorite recipes.

This first week, I am going to be a little crazy and post TWO! For those of you busy bees out there who don't have much time at night to cook, these are easy and feature one of my favorite kitchen fixtures, the crock pot. The beauty of crock pots/slow cookers is that they can make the simplest and cheapest ingredients taste succulent and expensive. Everyone has their own Pot Roast recipe, so this one is really no better or worse then your average pot roast; but Emeril Legasse's Pot Roast Bolognese is a must-try and a fabulous use of left overs.

One of the most expensive pot roasts I ever had was the one my mom made when I was in 8th grade. She was cooking pot roast for my dog who was 16 and unable to eat normal dog food as she was suffering from a growing tumor and old age. My mom cooked the pot roast on the stove (that is why I love slow cookers, they are practically fool proof!); she accidentally left the pot roast on the stove and came home to a smokey mess. The massive protein fire left our whole house with an absolutely terrible, nose hair curling, smell that permeated every surface of our house. Luckily, our home insurance covered the clean-up which included hand wiping down every surface, dry-cleaning all of our clothes, and replacing over $1000 worth of spices from my dad's well-stocked pantry. This is a total side story, but I thought it was pretty amusing. Moral is don't leave meat cooking unattended unless in a slow cooker!

Here are recipes. If you try them, let me know what you think!


1 (3 to 4-pound) boneless bottom round roast
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 yellow onions, peeled and quartered
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup red wine
2 cups beef stock
2 fresh thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
3 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
Freshly chopped parsley leaves, for garnish


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Season the roast on all sides with salt and pepper.
In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat the vegetable oil and sear the roast on all sides. Add the onions, garlic and tomato paste and cook until slightly colored. Add the wine, stock, thyme and bay leaves. Bring the liquid to a simmer, cover, and place in the oven.
Roast for 1 1/2 hours and then add the carrots. Continue to cook for 1 more hour. Transfer the roast to a cutting board and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes. Slice and place on a serving platter. Skim the fat off the braising liquid and serve with the roast. Garnish with parsley.


2 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces pancetta or bacon, diced
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced celery
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 sprig fresh thyme
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 pounds leftover cooked pot roast, shredded
2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes and their juices
1 cup leftover pot roast gravy or reduced beef stock
1/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound fettuccine
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan


In a large pot, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring, until browned and the fat is rendered, about 4 minutes. Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook, stirring, until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, nutmeg and thyme, and cook for 30 seconds. Add the wine, stir to deglaze the pan, and cook until the liquid is nearly all evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add the shredded meat, tomatoes and gravy and simmer, stirring occasionally, over medium high heat until the sauce is thickened and flavorful, 20 to 30 minutes. Stir in the cream and parsley, and adjust the seasoning, to taste. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the fettuccine until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain and add to the pot with the sauce, tossing to coat the pasta. Add 1/2 cup of the cheese and toss to blend.
Divide among pasta bowls and serve with the remaining cheese passed tableside.

Happy Eating,


Friday, January 29, 2010

An Early Chinese New Year Meal

I have not been very good at keeping up on my blog posts. Kyle has had me get in the routine of writing several on the weekends and have them scheduled to post for later dates. Here is a post that has been sitting in the queue for some time now....

We had another amazing Christmas/new years present from one of our very close family friends: Kenyon and Shirley: A 10-Course Chinese Meal! A group of 12 of us met at Zen Garden, in Mill Creek, and feasted on some amazing and diverse dishes from Peking duck to lettuce wraps, to my absolute favorite...lobster!

There is nothing better than Peking duck! This is not traditional BBQ Duck--you have to preorder this because it takes over a day to make. The beauty of the dish is the crisp skin. Kenyon told me that restaurants will usually make two dishes with the one duck you order. Once they cut away the crusty, crisp skin and the meat next to the skin, they will use the rest of the duck to make a second, savory dish.

Here is the second dish we got: Duck Lettuce Wraps...mmmm! Kyle and I are big duck fans. Ever since we discovered that scrumptious duck curry in San Francisco, we love trying dishes that replace traditional and boring chicken with its slightly gamey, more fatty and flavorful sister, duck.

Whoa and speaking of she is! Yes, that is a chicken head staring back at you. Shirley told me this is a sign that it is fresh. I thought I saw some chickens wondering around the parking lot...hope this wasn't one of them.

Alright, I have to admit, I waited too long to write this post and have forgotten what this is. But I can guarantee it was absolutely delicious!

Lobster...(said the same way Homer Simpson says "donuts...")

Cracking that bad boy open.

Kenyon's mother, Mrs. Chan, my mom, and I with the beautiful scarves she crocheted for us! She is going to teach me how to crochet this year!

Zen Garden was a fabulous restaurant--it is beautiful and overlooks a nice garden (hence, the name) and a little pond/lake. It wasn't very busy, so everyone should check it out and give them some business! Kyle and my new crossfit gym is next door, so our plan is to go for dim sum after a hard workout. Dim sum is the Chinese equivalent to tapas for those of you unfamiliar to this fun and yummy weekend food excursion.

Happy Eating,


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Entertaining over the Holidays

Emi loves to decorate the house for the holidays whether it's Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Christmas she always has a box of things to pull out to put up around the house. It's probably a female thing. I enjoy the festive feel of the house, but appreciate even more that she enjoys putting everything up and doesn't ask me to do too much, except help take it all down.

Since we had the whole house decorated for Christmas I told Emi it would be a waste if we were the only two who could enjoy it all so we decided to throw a party. My mom's birthday is about a week before Christmas, so we thought it would be nice to have her and the family over to celebrate.

It's always nice to entertain because it gives us a reason to pull out the nice tablewear and plates that we received from the wedding.

While shopping for this meal at Central Market a woman working at the specialty deli area had us try probably six different types of prosciutto. Some were a little tougher while others had a smokier flavor to them. We didn't know there were so many varieties. She even cooked up a couple pieces for us to try because we told her we planned on adding it to Emi's main dish and also to our appetizer. We ended up settling on the one above. It was sweet and not too salty and went perfect in both dishes. The stuff wasn't cheap, but a little bit goes a long way.

Our first appetizer was figs with prosciutto. Figs are in season in the winter and make a great semi-sweet addition when paired with anything salty. Most people haven't had figs since they were kids eating Fig Newtons, but it's time to grow up and eat the real thing if you haven't already. With this appetizer, I just folded the prosciutto and stuffed it into the cut I made in the figs. If I make this again, I'll use more prosciutto.

The second appetizer was inspired by a Christmas gift Emi's parents gave to my parents a year earlier. We bought some black lungfish caviar and served it with chopped up hard boiled eggs, water crackers, and Domaine St. Michelle champagne. The salty crunchy cavier's fishiness is cancelled out by the hard boiled egg on the cracker. Wash it down with some champagne and you have an amazing refined appetizer. You don't have to be a millionaire to enjoy caviar. Caviar is expensive, near $100 a pound, but this little container was about $10 and lasted multiple meals for us.

Our first course was Emi's pear salad with goat cheese, toasted pecans, mixed greens, and the light honey mustard dressing that Emi's friend Kelsey suggested.

My green beans with butter and scallions as a side dish to Emi's main course. This was an easy Thomas Keller recipe.

Emi's friend Amy suggested she make Giada's Champagne Risotto. This dish incorporated the remaining prosciutto and champagne. Emi also added prawns to the recipe since she knew some of our guests need some additional meat or seafood with their main course. This turned out really good.

For dessert Emi again brought out her new favorite toy the ice cream maker and made some lychee ice cream for everyone. She followed a recipe online that was basically a vanilla ice cream which she added some chopped up canned lychees to it with the juice. This was a great way to end a fun and entertaining night with my family.

We look forward to the next time we have another occasion to entertain at our house. It's always nice to decorate the place, but even more fun to try out some new recipes for our family and friends.
- Kyle

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Ramen is one of the most popular Japanese junk foods around. And I'm not talking about Top Ramen, which got me through many college nights. Kyle and I became addicted to this when we studied abroad at Waseda University in Tokyo during the summer of our Junior year of college. There was an amazing little shop that was about 3/4 of a mile down the road from our dorm. It would seem reasonable to walk there, but it was about 90+ degrees and 100% humidity, so we would take an air conditioned bus to the restaurant, and then would feast. Pretty pathetic and that is why we came home so "well nourished" when most would lose weight in this active and relatively healthy land. The restaurant is called Ippudo, and is a chain that is found around Japan. They recently opened a location in New York, so if you are ever in the area, check it out and bring us back leftovers.

We've searched all over Seattle for a decent ramen shop, but there really isn't any. My dad says there is a new place in the International District that is good, but I haven't been yet.

My friend Greyson sent me a funny link to a You Tube video called Cooking with Dog, that shows how to make real Japanese Ramen. It was pretty labor intensive, but the end result was pretty close to the real deal. We enjoyed this with my parents a couple of weeks ago.

Check out the You Tube video at: It's hilarious!

Happy Eating,

Monday, January 25, 2010

Recreating Serious Pie

I've been so inspired by Serious Pie, that I also attempted to recreate his Egg and Bacon Pizza, in addition to the Brussels sprouts. Kyle got me a pizza stone from Crate and Barrel for Christmas and it has really helped to improve my pizzas. The crust turns out much crisper and more evenly cooked then when I used to stick it on my tin pizza pans.

To make this pizza, I started by rolling out some pizza dough I picked up at Central Market. I rolled it out with flour and kosher salt, to try to emulate the salty crisp dough I experienced at Serious Pie.

I then heated up the oven and topped the dough with olive oil, sliced garlic, and some thick slices of bacon I had fried up. I let the crust get golden brown and the bacon to crisp up more in the hot oven. After about 8 minutes, I cracked four fresh eggs on the four corners of the pizza and stuck it back in the oven for about 10 minutes, until the egg whites set. I sprinkled arugula over the pizza and grated fresh parmesan over the top.

The next day, we had a couple of pieces left over, so I reheated the pizza under my broiler. I sprinkled olive oil over the top of the pizza so it would add a little more flavor and help it get more crisp when reheated. I also sprinkled a little bit of sea salt to help it get more flavor.

My bacon, egg, and arugula pizza. Not as good as Tom's, but still pretty tasty!

A close up of the egg, which cooked up perfectly!

I made one other pizza, that was topped with grilled eggplant, sweet Italian chicken sausage, mozzarella cheese and garlic.

If you have additional ideas for how to make this pizza even better, let me know!

Happy Eating,

Sunday, January 24, 2010

3 days of gluttony in San Francisco - Day 3

Our last day in San Francisco was spent leisurely strolling around some famous foodie areas: the Mission district and the Ferry Building. The mission district of San Francisco is an up and coming neighborhood in the city--it truly has a lot of character and some of its eateries are rated top in the nation including our selection for breakfast/lunch, Delfina Pizzeria.

Delfina Pizzeria was named by GQ as one of the top Top 10 Pizza places in the country. We got to the restaurant at 12:08, 8 minutes after the shop opened, and had to snag a table outside (while it started to drizzle). Otherwise, the wait would have been a good hour to get an inside table.

In my attempt to try to find a challenger to Tom Douglas' pizza, I got this pie that was the special of the day (plus, it had eggs on it so I didn't feel as guilty about eating pizza for breakfast). The pie was topped with their signature tomato sauce, shaved Parmesan, and 2 fried eggs. Although it was delicious, sadly, it did not live up to my favorite at Serious Pie.

Kyle's pizza was salsiccia: house made fennel sausage, tomato, bell peppers, onions and mozzarella. I liked this one the best, it had the most flavor.

Calvin got the clam pie, which had cherry tomatoes, oregano, pecorino and hot peppers along with a handful of clams. Our goal for the weekend was to try some new things, and this fit the bill. It was definitely different and worth the try, although for those cheese pizza lovers, I don't know if it would be the best choice. The flavor was heavy on the clams, and had a sea-like aftertaste.

My cheeks look chubbier--great, better hit the gym double time!

After Delfina, we went around the corner to Tartine, a wonderful little pastry shop that Oprah apparently gave a shout out to and it instantly became a hit. Now, you can't go by without standing in a line out the door.

Then it was off to the Ferry Building to shop for some ingredients for dinner. I had promised to cook up a storm in Calvin's nice kitchen, and we were looking for inspiration at this food building that has been featured many times in my most trusted food resources, the Food Network and Bon Apetite.

There was an adorable mushroom shop called Far West Fungi that had every mushroom you could imagine, and more. I felt like I was in Alice in Wonderland.

Kyle's new love, truffles. We bought some truffle salt that you will see later in the post.
The shop had mushroom logs you could buy so that you can grow your own mushrooms at home.

A cool butcher shop that had fresh meat from local farms.

An Olive Oil Shop with oils and vinegars made from Napa Valley olives and wines.

I stopped at Cowgirl Creamery and one of the friendly workers helped me select a rich and smooth triple cream as well as a nutty aged cheddar that we snacked on for an appetizer later in the evening.

Then we headed next door to pick up a loaf of bread to eat with the cheese. The bread was crusty on the outside, and nice and chewy on the inside with a slightly sweet flavor; it went beautifully with our cheese!

We needed a break at this point and I headed to a gelato shop for a fun refresher, lemonade with strawberry gelato. I might have to make these Lemonade Floats for a party this summer!

After the Ferry Building, we shopped around Union Square for a bit, then I decided that San Francisco is filled with too much good food to waste a meal on my same old-same old home cooked food; so we trekked over to one of our favorite Thai restaurants, Osha for some takeout to feast on at Calvin's place. This is Kyle with a Lychee Iced Tea that we sipped on while we waited all of 6 minutes for our food to be prepared. I think I will also add this to my summer party menu! It seems simple, just iced tea with some canned lychees, yum!

Here's the truffle salt we've been raving about. A little sprinkle on a dish can even make McDonald's fries taste like a million bucks.

For a pot-luck or party, we all decided we're going to go to McDonald's on the way, get a couple large fries, and sprinkle them with some truffle salt for a fancy twist on a cheap fave. For garnish, we are going to sprinkle with parsley and some blue cheese.

Calvin opened up a bottle of 1999 Burrell School Cab Franc that went so well with our cheese and bread!

Osha Pad Thai

Chicken and green beans

Drumroll please....our #1 most beloved duck curry that we have never been able to find a replacement for.

We also cracked open one of the bottles of wine we got at V. Satui the day before. The sweet and crisp wine went perfect with our spicy meal.

For dessert, we shared two lovely tarts from Tartine, a coconut cream and a lemon tart. It was so light and delicious. A perfect end to a perfect weekend!

Well, that is it for our three days of gluttony. We woke up early the next day to make our 7AM flight home and by 9:30AM, we were back to cold and rainy Seattle where we picked up the dogs from Grandma and Grandpa Suzuki's house, and headed straight to the gym for a tough work out. I am now suffering the effects of too much food, too little sleep and hydration with a head cold that seems to get worse every day. I just warmed up some chicken noodle soup that Kyle made a couple of months ago and I have had stored in the freezer. Check out that post for a great recipe!
Happy Eating,

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

3 Days of Gluttony in San Francisco - Day 2

Well kids, it's been a long time since I last posted anything and I have only my lazy self to blame! I have about 10 blog posts and 1000 photos in the queue that are waiting for me to just add a little commentary and post. But I am going to continue where Kyle left off and talk about our amazing San Fran trip--DAY 2!

Day 2 started off slow as we rolled out of bed early and got our much needed coffee before setting off on the one hour drive to Napa Valley. For those of you who have not been to wine country before, it is a must-do trip for any wine or food lover (very original and novel tip, I know). In our many trips to SF to visit Calvin, we have made the trek to Napa on several occasions and have tasted and toured a variety of wineries.

One winery has remained untouched for us and it is the winery that makes my favorite Chardonnay: Cakebread. My first manager loved this wine and when budget allowed, we would treat ourselves to this delicious, crisp and buttery wine. Cakebread does their tours and tastings by appointment only, so we planned ahead this time, got an appointment and went on the "Current Release" tour that included tastings of 5 of their current wines including my favorite, the Chardonnay. Some angelic woman handed Calvin an online coupon for $10 off a tour that was good for up to 4 people, so the tour was on the house, which made the wine even sweeter and more satisfying:)! It also paid for Calvin's bottle he picked up at the end of the tour!

The barrels of fun waiting to be cracked open...

The four wines we tasted included their Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, and the Merlot

The beautiful high ceilings...

Outside the lovely winery
After warming ourselves up with some delicious wine, we headed over to Taylor's for some burgers, shakes, and fries. This is a popular stop for Napa-goers and a great way to prep your stomach for a long day of wine tastings!

My mint chocolate shake and Kyle's rootbeer float. Yummy!

Kyle and I split the Wisconsin Sourdough burger that has grilled mushrooms, bacon, cheddar cheese, mayo and BBQ sauce on grilled sourdough. The sourdough blended perfectly with the mushrooms, making it more of a sandwich then a typical burger. I would like to toot my own horn here and say that I took this magnificent photo...

One of my new favorite guilty pleasures--sweet potato fries. Side note: I love to make them at home with a healthier recipe where I bake them in a 375 degree oven and sprinkle with kosher salt.

While we were eating, the Napa Valley Wine Train went by. I think this is the same train that the TOP CHEF final three cooked in this season--I think we will try to get reservations for the next trip!
Our next stop was to V. Sattui winery. We have been here once before but had to go back so we could re-stock our wine rack with their wines which can only be purchased at the winery. This is a genius marketing strategy because it makes you feel like you are drinking rare and exotic wine...
The winery also has a well-stocked and yummy deli that sells gourmet deli sandwiches, local and imported cheeses, meats, and more. People will buy lunch and wine and sit out at the winery's picnic benches and enjoy a nice Napa afternoon.

The wine tastings are a great deal: $5 for the regular tasting which includes a choice of 5 of their most well known wines or $10 for a choice of 6 of their "premium" wines.

After V. Sattui, we headed to a fun Olive Oil store and then to the Napa Outlets for
some shopping. We had to work up an appetite for our dinner...

Our second stop in the Dine Around San Francisco tour we did...E Tutto Qua which according to the owner, means "It's All Here!"

As soon as we entered into the restaurant, we were greeted by an older, big, Italian man with tattoos on his neck and a gruff demeanor--I think he is the "boss". I felt as though we were entering into his home, so we were sure to be extra friendly so they would take us into the family and give us the best food and service! And boy did we get a lot of food and great service! We waited at the bar while they prepared our table and got a bottle of Sangiovese wine (the wine we discovered we love at Press Club). The bartender was from Rome, and told us about his hometown.
As part of the deal, we ordered three appetizers as our first course. The portions were so large, it could have been our whole meal!

My chef's special selection of hot and cold appetizers included caprese, prosciutto, toast with tuna and white beans, a mini calzone, bruschetta, deep fried risotto ball, and fried fresh made mozzarella cheese...again, a meal in itself!

Kyle's Carpaccio di Polpo: chilled slices of octopus with olives, capers, onions, and lemon dressing. Unlike some octopus dishes, it was very tender and tasty.

Calvin's fritto misto: shrimp, calamari, and zucchini lightly battered and friend

This is my second course and my favorite of the night, Paccheri Golosi: Large tube pasta with prosciutto, porcini mushrooms and white truffle oil in a cream sauce. The large tube pasta was perfectly tender and was such a great pasta for the rich sauce! The owner claims he was the first to bring this type of pasta noodles to San Francisco from his hometown and it is now one of the most popular types in both restaurants and stores around the town.

Kyle's Spaghetti Neri: Squid ink pasta with mixed seafood in a garlic, white wine sauce. I know it sounds like a weird dish, but it was fabulous. The noodles, while looking slightly scary, tasted very much like normal pasta but were more plump and tasted similar to Japanese potato noodles...

Calvin's Scaloppine di Vitello al Tartufo: Veal scaloppine in a black truffle sauce. We were on a truffle kick this weekend--you'll see this ingredient resurface in our day 3 post!
And finally....the desserts!

Panna Cotta with fresh strawberry and chocolate hazelnut sauce

I feel as though I just gained 10 pounds from writing this! After a long weekend of eating, we have been hitting our new crossfit gym non-stop to try to counteract our gluttony. Stay tuned for Day 3....
Happy Eating,