looks good & tastes even better….usually

Very simply this is about the only authentic Persian cuisine I know how to make in my own kitchen, to date. The kabob, which is known as Kabob Digi or Pan-Made Kabobs, are actually quite easy to make and cook. This part of the meal I have actually known how to make for some time now. It was a great entree to make with some rice when I used to attend Cal Poly Pomona and I missed home cooked meals. I never made the tomatoes or cucumber salad back then though.

The kabob can be made with any type of ground meat, I prefer ground beef and this time chose to purchase the fattiest beef available to test it out. Not one of the best ideas I had, I might add. Nonetheless, I am trying anything to make my kabob as tender as possible, so I thought the fat would help.

To make the kabob: combine 1 or 2 lbs of ground meat, 1 large shredded onion including juice, somagh (powdered sumac), yogurt and salt & pepper. Thoroughly combine all ingredients, I mean like dig in with your hands and get dirty kind of combine. You just want to make sure all components are incorporated well together. While you are prepping your onion, heat your pan then add just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan.

Once the pan is nice and hot, carefully place the ground meat into the pan, flattening it to about an inch or so in thickness. It should look like a giant hamburger at this point. I like to sprinkle a lot more somagh on top of the meat at this time too. Cover the pan and let it cook on medium heat for about 15-20 mins or so. If you find your pan is too hot and it almost looks like your meat is about to burn, add some water to it.

After it looks like the meat has cooked through a bit, take a flat spatula and make lengthwise cuts of the meat from one end to the other, depending on your desired width, I like to make them about an inch or so. Let the meat cook for another 5-10 mins and very carefully, maybe even using a 2nd spatula, turn each kabob over to cook some more. This can be the trickiest part of the process, but with some practice, you’ll get the hang of it or if your still in the experimenting phase like me, using the fatty meat, plus the added tenderness of the yogurt and onions proved to be a bit of a messy situation and a lot more pieces of kabob than I had originally sectioned off. Trail and error, point taken and remembered for the next batch.

Cook for another 10 mins and wala you have officially prepared some homemade, delicious kabobs. For the cucumber and yogurt salad, I like to use a combination of Greek strained and regular yogurt, Persian cucumbers, walnuts, Sadaf seasonings including yogurt dip mix and dried mint leaves, plus of course some s & p. By all means mix it up a bit by adding more or less. Sometimes along with the walnuts, raisins are added to this salad but I don’t only for the fact that the raisins become too mushy too quickly. Combine, serve and enjoy!

Oh I almost forgot about the tender tomatoes! Ok so while your kabob is cooking and before you start your prep on the yogurt salad, take 1-3 medium sized tomatoes and roughly chop into large chunks. Begin heating a small sauce pan with some oil and water, s & p and a good amount of the somagh. Take 1 onion and chop the same as the tomatoes. Place both veggies into the pan and let simmer on low to medium heat alongside while the kabob is cooking. This is great to add atop the kabobs, have on the side or even on some rice, if you just so happen to make some.

Kabob: C+
Mast-o-Khair (Persian Cucumber & Yogurt Salad): A
Tomatoe: B+

Overall, I have made better kabobs but at least this was edible enough for one day. After I flipped them over, there was plenty of juice, almost too much juice from the meat and oil so I turned up the heat a bit. I walked away for about 5 minutes then started to hear a crackling sound, my kabobs were burning 😦 I quickly turned them over again but the damage was already done, I was way too hungry to even care at this point and luckily I had made the tomatoes and used them as a moisturizer to my meal. Whatever works right! Will be tacking this dish again soon but changing my approach yet again.

 

kitchen culture

over-night marinated, oven roasted & steamed

Making big things happen. Am on a path of change: lifestyle, health, fitness, mind, body, etc…

October is the beginning of brand news. I want to eat better, feel better, look better. Time management is a huge part in the success to health and with a lil bit of trial and error, I will master my plan and get the job done, feeding my belly that is.

However, not just going to stuff my face with anything anymore. Trying to manage my junk food cravings and most importantly remember all good things remain good in moderation.

Made great use of some frozen chicken, last night, and went out and bought some fresh greens and reds to go along with my meal. I marinated the chicken in Italian dressing, soy sauce, whole grain mustard, balsamic vinegar, honey, lime juice, garlic & salt n peppa….I guess everything but the kitchen sink but it sure tasted damn good if you ask me!

I roasted some roughly chopped red potatoes with olive oil, thyme, rosemary and garlic…oh yeah I LOVE garlic!!! Other than the fact that I should have better greased my pan, my potatoes came out crunchy & crispy on the outside yet flaky & moist inside.

Adding to the variety, I blanched some asparagus & broccoli in water with a hint of lime juice and salt.

Chicken: A
Potatoes: A-
Veggies: B+

Overall I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed this homemade meal after a long hard day of work. Prepping for the future can never come too early. And I’m one gal who like variety & options, this option is getting a big thumbs up but as for the prep time, I give it a big thumbs down. I know it takes time to be healthy but I’m looking on the bright side and FINALLY starting to write and publish this food blog!!

Chew on this or chew on that
Try it once
Anything to make you come back!

patio scene

sangria rocks!

On a trend of checking out some new hot spots, I searched on Yelp and stumbled upon this eatery known as Rock & Brews. A quaint open-aired restaurant, or beer & rock garden as they refer to it, was packed to the brim filled with memorabilia from the rockin ages and tv’s to watch your latest sports craze. On this particular night, I was meeting up with an old friend to catch up on life.

I was on schedule and with the day I had endured, I got a table as quick as I could and ordered a drink right away. My friend was slightly off schedule but that didn’t stop me from immediately indulging myself with the La Bamba Red Sangria. There were two choices of this sweet wine and I told the waitress to surprise me. I’m glad she chose the red over the Goin’ To Acapulco White Sangria because she had mentioned the later to be sweeter than the red. As I am normally a lover of all things sweet, I like a nice balance of flavor in my alcoholic beverages and not one aspect to overpower another.

Wish there had been actual pieces of fruit rather than just a few maraschino cherries and a lemon topper. The Sangria was simple and to the point. Nothing amazing to really relish about but it sure kept me going for the time being and was a great cooler and palette cleanser when chowing down on the Garlic Cheese Fries. The fries could have been a bit more cheesier and more garlickly (two awesome combinations which one can never have enough of in my opinion, bread too, bread cheese & garlic mmmmm ok I’ll save that for another post) but were crisp on the outside and flaky on the inside, as they should be.

Sangria: B-
Garlic Cheese Fries: B+
Service: A

Overall, I’m glad I made it out of my element to try someplace new. Not saying I would go back and order the same things, but I would it give it another shot or two just for the ambiance factor. The place remained packed the whole night with parties of friends, families, dates and all things in between. Despite the torrid heat of the night, I along with everyone else seemed to be enjoying a beautiful night out in So Cal.

http://rockandbrews.com/

meat & noodle soup, pho style

Chicken noodle, pho, udon, ramen, shabu shabu all have one thing in common: for the love of broth!! Ok so I have always been a noodle lover, however until most recently, I had never gone to avid lengths just to have a bowl of soup for lunch.

Not just ANY bowl of soup, but one filled with more items than you’d normally get in any one plate.

So coming back for seconds in less than 2 weeks & was equally pleased with both flavor combo & choices. This time around I opted for a multi-meated “small” bowl of pho. Small as in not your average size unless the new “small” is feeding a family of 4….ok 2 very hungry people. Quick, cheap and tasty, not much more I could ask for.

Pho: A
Drinks: B-
Thai Spring Rolls: A- (needed better dipping sauce)

With my new found love for pho, my overall experience meet my expectations and I will be on the hunt for some pho fantastic meal deals in my surrounding neighborhood.

http://www.yelp.com/biz/pho-factory-irvine

The perfect sweet & salty snack

It was a great day overall. First day at a new job. Went out & celebrated a birthday. A lil of everything is ok every once in awhile.

So my food feast begins at Saint Rock with a few drinks & a flatlined flatbread of bacon & pear. Eccentric array of food, drinks and a good night.

Flatbread: A-
Drinks: B+, Strawberry Friends, The Boss
Entertainment: A+, Singer & Trivia

Overall had a great time and will be coming back soon to see some live acts & try more drinks of course.

Cheers!!

http://saintrocke.com/index.cfm

the most important meal of the day might as well be the tastiest

Consistently busy, mouth watering appetizingly delicious menu choices and always a friendly place with an even friendlier face. The Original Pancake House on PCH in Redondo Beach is by far one of my favorite breakfast go-to spots. Since I’ve been here so many times, I know what I like and only usually switch it up between a few things, but the two main breakfast bonanzas I order most often are either Eggs Michael or the Chicken Dinner Crepe.

This time happened to be a crepe kinda morning plus along side, 4 of the most delicate, well cooked little flat pockets of heaven were the potato pancakes. Well done accompanied with a nice slather of sour cream and ketchup.

My chicken crepe was as flavorful as a breakfast should be dripping with mushroom gravy, chunks of chicken and veggies, plus the crepe itself a savory spot of satisfaction. Lick your plate kinda good.

I also sampled on some chocolate chip pancakes which were equally delicious and each bite a mouthful of chocolate chip happiness.

Chicken Crepe w Potato Pancakes: A+
Fresh Squeezed OJ/Coffe: A
Service: A+

As usual, overall very satisfied with my meal and everything accompanying it. Will never stop craving or coming to my ultimate and favorite breakfast hangout.

http://www.originalpancakehouse.com/