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Sunday, January 29, 2012


makes 4 serving
recipe adapted from Food Network
prep time: 10 min

1/2 c boiling water
1tbsp espresso powder
* I used Medaglia D'Oro brand
1 pint vanilla bean gelato

• Whisk the boiling water and espresso powder in a 1 cup glass measuring cup until the powder is dissolved, or use an espresso machine to make 4 shots of espresso.
• Scoop 1/2 cup of the gelato into 4 dessert bowls/glasses.
• Pour 2 tbsp or 1 shot of espresso over each.

• To add extra flavor, try using caramel or hazelnut gelato.



Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Miki Restaurant

Long story short: If MFM didn’t get a new car, I might never have been introduced to Miki.

Which means I might not have said hello to silky, shitake-studded chawanmushi or met one of my new favorite bowls of garlic ramen. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

Does anyone else use their garage for storage (and not for parking a car?) Ok yes, I happen to be one those people. So this story begins when MFM bought a new car, and after we cleaned it out, started parking his car in the garage when he visited.

However, we soon discovered that the opening and closing of the old, antiquated garage door was causing a huge, disturbing clatter. Enter family friend Pat-strami, who generously offered to help install a new Home Depot-bought garage door opener, which saved me from plunking down almost $700 to hire someone.

So as a thank you, we took Pat-strami to dinner. He chose Miki, a tiny Japanese restaurant in the outer Richmond. I don’t know why I’ve never been here before! It’s tiny – holding 8-10 tables at most – but its compact kitchen churned out some of the tastiest, most reasonable, and authentic-tasting Japanese food that I’ve had in a long, long time.

The aforementioned garlic ramen was rich, hearty and toothsome, topped with tender pork belly and a potent punch of garlic – and was probably one of two or three bowls I’ve had in San Francisco that I’d go back for again and again.

Our appetizers of agedashi tofu, a spicy scallop roll, and seaweed salad were among the best I’ve tasted, and the karage curry delivered the deep-fried, spicy kick it's supposed to. But our table was probably most impressed with the chawanmushi, a smooth, silky dashi-flavored custard that was studded with shitake mushrooms.

Which was special, as it’s a dish you don’t see everyday. Also unique – they serve natto – a sticky, slippery dish of fermented soybeans – if that’s your cup of tea.

We ended the meal with a yummy dessert of fried mochi, red bean and green tea ice cream. It was one of the best meals I’d had in a while, and I’ll happily go back. And by the way, just in case you’re wondering – my new garage door opener, the Chamberlain Whisper Drive, is really, really awesome. I'd recommend that too.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Bittersweet Chocolate Pear Cake

makes one 9" cake
recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen
prep time: 45 min / cook time: 40-50 min

3 tbsp bread crumbs
* I used graham cracker, finely ground
1 c all-purpose flour

1 tbs baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

3 eggs, room temperature

4 oz unsalted butter (1 stick) 

3/4 c sugar

3 pears, peeled, in a small dice
*I used anjou, but would recommend a softer variety, like a bosc or any other of your favorites
3/4 c bittersweet chocolate chips/chunk

Preheat the oven to 350°F.
• B
utter a 9" springform pan and dust with breadcrumbs, set aside.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together, set aside.
Using a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the eggs on high speed until pale and very thick.
* In a professional Kitchen Aid, it takes at least five minutes.
While the eggs are whipping, brown the butter. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan (because it will foam a lot) and cook it until the butter browns and smells nutty (about 6 to 8 minutes). Remove from the flame but keep in a warm spot.
* It helps to frequently scrape the solids off the bottom of the pan in the last couple minutes to ensure even browning.
Add the sugar to the eggs and whip a few minutes more. Just as the egg-sugar mixture is starting to loose volume, turn the mixture down to stir.
Add the flour mixture and brown butter to the egg-sugar mixture. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, then 1/2 of the browned butter, 1/3 of the flour, the remaining butter, and the rest of flour. Whisk until just barely combined — no more than a minute from when the flour is first added — and then use a spatula to gently fold the batter until the ingredients are combined. It is very important not to over-whisk or fold the batter or it will lose volume. Pour into prepared pan.
Sprinkle the pear and chocolate chunks over the top.
Bake until the cake is golden brown and springs back to the touch, about 40 to 50 minutes or a tester comes out clean.



Wednesday, January 18, 2012

HRD Coffee Shop

I have a feeling this place may be my new Kenny's.

When I was in college, my friends and I frequented a cafe in West LA called Kenny's. It was always a treat to go there, and after my first bite of a "royale" - a simple, heartening scramble of Asian-marinated meat, onions and eggs served with rice and topped with salsa, I was smitten. Every biteful was meaty, eggy, spicy, and slightly sweet - a perfect balance - and comfort food at its best.

Which is why we were all heartbroken when a city-mandated redesign (you entered this homespun spot by first walking through its open kitchen) proved too expensive, causing them to shut down.

Fast forward more than a few years, to when my friend Ms. Gorgongzola, who knows a lot of great spots in the Bay Area, told me about an old school Asian-infused coffee shop located at the edge of South Park. It piqued my interest. But delivered way more than that.

I’m not exactly sure what a greasy spoon is, but HRD has a lot of that dive-y, diner-y, old school energy (in fact, Diners, Drive Ins and Dives featured this very place last year).
Starting with the name, which according to lore, derives from an old Human Resources Department that used to be housed near there.

Whether that’s true or not, there’s certainly a well-worn authenticity about this place. The grill looks like it’s satisfied millions of hungry customers, and the formica-topped counters and stools look almost Edward Hopper-esque.

But the menu is 100% in the moment – without being trendy, if that makes sense. You’ll find typical diner fare – like burgers, omelettes and fries, but the bulk of the menu offers Chinese, Korean and Japanese dishes. Only done with an American slant - like Korean tacos, Asian pork chops with fries, or a sloppy "jojo" with pork and kimchi.

I tried the spicy pork burrito, which was delicious with Korean-marinated meat, kimchi, fried rice, nori, and a spicy bean paste sauce instead of salsa. And their “Mongolian cheesesteak” was a sweet/savory combination of meat, mozzarella cheese and hoisin sauce – a hearty combination I have never quite tasted before.

Ms. Gorgongzola also advised trying the “Crunchy Roll fried rice” – a fiery dish of spicy pork, spam, and chicken fried rice topped with a fried egg – which is a plateful of Asian comfort food at its best.

And that’s the thing about comfort food – if it does its job correctly, one bite can take you back to a moment or place in time. For me, it took me back to my college days and Kenny's in West LA. To royales and coffee and the kind of good times you can only have in those days before life got serious. And that just might be one of the highest compliments I can give.

But be forewarned, just like Kenny's used to, HRD only opens for breakfast and lunch Monday-Saturday, and if you're going for lunch, you'd better get there early to avoid the long lines which snake out the door and down the block.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Maple Bacon Baked Doughnut Holes

makes 3 1/2 with a doughnut hole maker
doughnut recipe adapted from Our Chocolate Shavings
maple glaze recipe adapted from The Hungry Mouse
prep time: 45 min / cook time: 35 min

1 1/2 c powdered sugar
1/4 c maple syrup
1/4 c water
* I used milk

1 1/2 c of all-purpose flour
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 c of lightly packed brown sugar
1/4 c of white sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp nutmeg
1/3 c of cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 c of milk, room temperature
* I added an extra half cup because it looked dry
1 1/2 c of bite size chunks of apple, peeled and cored
* I grated the apple
1 egg, room temperature
1 c coarsely chopped cooked bacon

In a medium-sized bowl, mix all 3 glaze ingredients until you get the consistency you like. Set aside.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, sugars, salt and and nutmeg in a bowl.
Add the cold chopped butter. Rub the pieces of butter with the flour mixture until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Mix in the milk and fold in the apples.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg then add to the flour mixture. Stir using a spatula or spoon making sure not to over mix.
• Preheat your doughnut hole maker (refer to your box instructions), this only takes a couple minutes.
* I greased the mold with a bit of melted butter to prevent sticking.
Place a spoonful of batter into each mold of a buttered mini muffin pan.
Bake for 5-6 minutes or until the donuts are just golden. Remove from the doughnut hole maker.
Dunk in the maple glaze then place on a wire rack.
Immediately sprinkle with bacon.

If you don't have a doughnut hole maker, you can use a mini muffin pan. Preheat your oven to 350˚F and bake for 15-18 min.
• The doughnut holes get soggy the next day, so they should be eaten the day they are made.



Wednesday, January 11, 2012

2011 Recap

I’ve been remiss. With posting, that is. Not that it’s a good excuse, but it got really busy at my job and before I knew it, the end of the year was here. So it’s nice to be back! And in the spirit of the New Year, here’s a list of my top 5 Samiwich & Addiecakes moments from 2011.

5. Cultivating a plot in my neighborhood community garden. Who knew that kale, beets and strawberries would grow in one of the city’s windiest, foggiest patches? Granted not in our plot specifically (we’re working on this), but it’s been a fun, inspiring experiment overall.

4. Not that I’m bitter, but last year’s entry into my cousin’s annual Cookie Contest yielded a piddly 4 votes. But thanks to Addiecakes' brilliant recipe, this year I took 2nd place! Her Chocolate Almond Crack (which I changed to “Snap Cracker Pop cookies” since I didn’t think it was nice to say “crack” around the holidays) is just that – uber-addicting and habit-forming. Plus, it couldn't be any easier - it begins with saltine crackers and literally takes 10 minutes.

3. Dear Poutine: You complete me. Love, Samiwich

2. If I had a superpower it would be time travel, and if I could travel back in time and relive one meal this year, it might just be the delightfully decadent dinner at Restaurant Gary Danko. Foie gras, roast lobster, pork belly, chocolate soufflĂ© and the city’s best cheese course - with 5-star service and ambiance, to boot.

1. If there’s such a thing as a Bucket List for foodies, the annual Rib Fest in Sparks, NV should be on it. 5 days of barbecued meats, 24 competitive teams, half a million visitors, and countless puns about meat, butts and racks. Need I say more? Hands down, this was my favorite foodie moment from 2011.

Thanks for another year of reading, liking and following us. Happy New Year!


Sunday, January 08, 2012

German Apple Crumb Cake

serves 16
recipe adapted from Quick German Recipes
prep time: 30 min / cook time: 40-45 min

1/2 c unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
2 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp lemon peel, grated
1/2 c milk, room temperature
2-3 apples, peeled and thinly sliced
* I used cortland apples
Optional: cinnamon

1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
3/4 c sugar
3/4 c unsalted butter, cold

• Preheat oven to
• Grease a 13x9" baking pan. Set aside.
• In a medium bowl, beat butter and sugar.
• Add eggs and beat.
• Blend flour, baking powder and lemon peel together.
• Add flour mixture alternately with milk into butter mixture and mix well.
• Spread batter into greased pan.
• Arrange apple slices on top of batter in slightly overlapping rows.
* Optional: dusted cinnamon over apple slices.

• In a small bowl, combine flour and sugar.
• Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles large crumbs.
Sprinkle over apples.
• Bake for 40-45 minutes.

• The lemon peel can be substituted with 1 tsp of almond extract.



Sunday, January 01, 2012

Apple Strudel

makes 2 logs
recipe adapted from Beyond Kimchee
prep time: 30 min / cook time: 40-45 min

1 package of puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed to room temperature
2 c baking apples (about 2-3), cubed
* I used Cortland Apples, it's all I had on hand
1/2 c raisins
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 tbsp white sugar, divided
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 c chopped or ground nuts, walnut or almond
* I used pecans
2 tbsp light brown sugar
2 tbsp bread crumbs
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp water

• Preheat oven to
• Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
• Peel, core and chop apples into 1/2" cubes.
• Place apples, raisins, cinnamon, 2 tbsp white sugar and flour in a bowl. Set aside for 20 minutes so they can release their juices.
• In another bowl, combine nuts, 2 tbsp white sugar, light brown sugar and bread crumbs. Set aside.
• Roll out one sheet of puff pastry into about 10" x 12".
• Sprinkle 1/2 of the nut mixture onto the pastry covering halfway and place 1/2 of the apple mixture on top. Lift up the front** of the pastry and cover the apple and start rolling all the way. Finish the second sheet the with the same method. Pinch the ends of the logs and tuck under.
• Transfer the logs onto the prepared baking sheet seam side down.
• In a small bowl, beat the egg and water together. Brush the tops of the logs with the egg wash.
• Make a few slits on top for the steam to escape.
• Bake for 40-45 minutes until the crust gets golden brown. Let logs cool slightly.
Optioinal: Dust with powdered sugar and serve with ice cream.

• I had trouble rolling the dough since it got pretty thin when I rolled it out. Please see the photos from Beyond Kimchee.


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