Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Roasted Sweet Corn & Bacon Bruschetta (with Demo Video)

It is HEEEEEERRRRRREEEEE!!!!! My first cooking demo video made in collaboration with the When Creativity Knocks team was just posted on their website yesterday and I couldn't be more proud or excited. For my first time in front of the camera I decided to stay within my wheelhouse and do this awesome Summer time bruschetta that I recently began making for my girlfriends. Sweet corn is coming into season so getting some fresh on the cob makes this appetizer really pop. Great for BBQ's or wine night with the Ladies you can't go wrong with the combination of sweet, salty, & creamy flavors on this dish!


 1 Loaf Ciabatta Bread
3 Strips thick cut (preferably applewood smoked) Bacon
1 Cup (1 Cob) Fresh Sweet Corn Kernels
1 Cup Fresh Whole Milk Ricotta
6-8 Full Sized Basil Leaves Julienned
Kosher or Sea Salt to Taste


 1 Baking Sheet lined with Aluminum Foil
Cooking Tongs
Serrated Knife
Chef’s Knife
Cutting Board
Table Spoon


      Pre heat broiler

     Cut Ciabatta loaf into 10 – 12 1 in slices

    Spray or brush slices on both sides with olive oil and arrange in a single layer on the foil lined baking sheet

     Broil 4 minutes on the first side in the middle shelf of the oven

    Take the baking sheet out of the oven and with tongs flip each slice over

    Put the sheet back in the oven to broil the second side for 2 minutes

      Remove slices from the baking sheet with your tongs and let them cool on your serving plate

   Turn oven Temperature to 450 degrees F

     Slice bacon into ½ inch wide lardons (baton shaped pieces of bacon)

 Scatter on foil lined baking sheet and put in the oven for 4 minutes

While the bacon is beginning to crisp cut the kernels off the cob of corn using a downward slice with your chef’s knife as close to the core as you can (1 medium sized cob should yield 1 cup of kernels, if you are using frozen make sure they thaw and measure 1 cup)

   Remove bacon from the oven and using a spatula move the pieces around the baking sheet while incorporating the corn kernels


Put the sheet back in the oven for 3 minutes, start spreading each ciabatta piece with a rounded tablespoon of ricotta

  Move the corn and bacon around the sheet 1 more time and roast for 3 more minutes

             Once all the ciabatta pieces have ricotta sprinkle them with sea salt

           Add a layer of roasted corn & bacon mixture (just one layer, if you put too much it will mostly fall off)

                  Garnish the top of each piece with some julienned basil


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Moveable Feast Garden City

In case you haven't already noticed (or are agoraphobic and never leave your house) food trucks are all the rage these days. The love child of economic downturn and foodie culture up turn these are not your grampa's roach coaches of old. Sleek tech savvy trucks with custom wrapped paint jobs and gourmet ingredients everyone is following their favorite truck. Ever growing, this community has had to find new and creative ways to get their brands and products into a steady market place. Enter the entrepreneurs of Moveable Feast. With 3 San Jose locations the organizers of Movable Feast gather an average 7 trucks with various cuisines into 1 location on a regular day and time frame each week to sell their wares to eager customers.
Monday Dinner, 5p to 9p
MF Southside at 525 Blossom Hill Rd (at Blossom Ave) in San Jose.
Friday Dinner, 5p to 9p
MF Willow Glen at 2310 Canoas Garden Ave (at Curtner Ave) in San Jose.
Saturday Lunch, 11a to 2:30p
MF Garden City
at 350 Saratoga Ave (at Stevens Creek Blvd) in San Jose.

I had been eager to check out the Garden City Location which is just blocks from my apartment for sometime now. It seemed inevitable that I would either forget (only to be reminded on my way elsewhere mid day) or I would remember on a rainy Saturday that they weren't set up. The stars finally aligned this last Saturday and while pondering my post for this week I realized I had nothing to do till 2 pm and $20 to burn! The weather was perfect and so off I went.
I arrived at about 12 pm. A moderate crowd had begun to gather but it was still early enough that I only found myself waiting in one some what substantial line. There were 7 trucks present-
Arabian Bites , KojaKitchen , Louisiana Territory , Dough , The Chairman , Treatbot , & CurryUpNow

After a quick walk around my first inclination was to get in one of the longer lines. It's an interesting psychology that goes into choosing your food truck. Long line assumes a high demand product. While no line.... makes you question the goods. This was definitely affecting Arabian Bites & Louisiana Territory who throughout the day, though people made purchases, never seemed to garner a line. After looking over their menu's my first inclination as to why wasn't lack of quality or uniqueness, but price point. Arabian nights was serving large plates of great looking food- for $8- $10 a pop. Were you getting your money's worth? Absolutely. BUT people come to these events with the intention of trying lots of things. In my experience keep your portions moderate and your price point around $5 and you will have a lot more luck.

I chose to start with the KoJa Kitchen truck and ordered their Korean Beef. In my opinion the most impressive truck on the lot that day. Their paint wrap on the truck was beautiful, their windows accessible, and most impressive they had two flat screens built in to the side where you ordered- one with the full menu displayed, the other with a slide show of well shot pictures of their food. While this would maybe be considered an excessive business cost by other truck owners but I see the value in being able to easily change your menu offerings and the professional look. Now on to their food! Served between two rice patties I went with their Korean Beef offering (knowing I would be having pork at another truck later). Holy moly! This meat was so flavorful and tender! I loved how portable the sticky rice patties made this dish, I chose to eat it with a fork and because of the way it was presented I could do that easily standing without a plate. The greens were nice and fresh and the sauce sweet and spicy. This was an incredibly impressive start to my day. I loved everything about this dish from presentation to function to flavor. Since I wanted to fit in as much as I could I actually ate a lot of it while standing in my next like at The Chairman truck.

The Chairman truck does Chinese buns- your choice steamed or baked in 4 varieties: Spicy Chicken, Pork Belly, Coca-Cola Braised Pork, or Crispy Miso Cured Tofu. Price point here is perfect. Average $3.25 or $3.75 for steamed buns and $6 or $6.75 for baked (the pork were the more expensive). As I overheard people ordering the popular choice was to get one of each and steamed seemed overwhelmingly more popular. I can't say i have ever had a baked bun but I know I loved steamed ones. Since I was trying to keep to my $20 I went with 1 steamed Pork Belly bun with Pickled Daikon.
Yummy! The bun was sweet tender and a little chewy (as it should be) the pork was sooo tender and juicy with nice little crispy bits on the edges and the crisp cool crunch of the pickled daikon just sent the whole thing over the top.It was the perfect size for a hearty snack and with everything else I was eating I was glad it wasn't too big but big enough that I really got to enjoy it. This is one of the better known Bay area food trucks so if you see them out and about make sure to stop by!

I was starting to get full but I wanted to hit one more savory spot before I headed for dessert.
Curry Up now didn't have much of a line but I had heard about them previously so I decided I would check them out. Their menu offered a variety selections: a "deconstructed Samosa" , Burritos with fillings like tikki massala, kathi rolls, & their "sexy fries" (waffle cut fries slathered in curry). Thinking it would be an appetizer size I went with their deconstructed samosa with my choice of Paneer (an Indian cheese that is firm and nonmelty one of the main Indian proteins). Turns out it was a very full little container and very filling! Since I had already eaten at two other places I had a few bites to enjoy the flavors then saved the rest for my mom. All the sauces were delicious and it was definitely spicy! I liked the way the paneer stood up under the burden of all the other elements. The base of crispy fried pastry that would normally surround the whole thing on the other hand mostly got soggy and wasn't really distinguishable under the other elements. In terms of their truck while the wrap was pretty the actual service front was pretty plain and the windows felt extra high.

After all that spice- I was ready for some Ice cream for dessert!
Pumping out fun music and serving up yummy Ice cream Treatbot totally hit the spot. Their servings are generous and flavors delish. I wussed out and just got the waffle bowl but next time I plan to try one of their cookie sandwiches! They serve out of a much smaller airstream (which is really all they need since they aren't actually cooking more just assembling).

This is a great event for groups of friends or families. The more people you have the more foods you can try! Just circle up some of the buckets provided for tables and chairs and get to eating!!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Mid Week Salmon Dinner

I can't believe it's already May. I remember just thinking back in February about how excited I was for March to start because I had a lot of fun things planned. Then my birthday passed in early April like a quick puff of smoke and now all of a sudden it's May. Next weekend I'll be heading to Vegas for the Uncork'd Food & Wine festival and I can barely contain my excitement. In the meantime baseball season is in full swing and I need to start planning out my series on the great restaurants in the near by radius of the ballpark to hit pre or post game. Oh and I a joined a gym and still have 26 Bikram classes I need to use up (hahahahahahaha) Tonight however? I just need dinner. Like real dinner. Not my dinner 3 nights ago that consisted of half a left over tomato, an apple with almond butter, some cinnamon sugar pita chips (that I basically had to hide after a handful to keep myself from eating the whole bag) and some random cheese and crackers. Because apparently I am 27 going on 3 years old. No Tonight I need to cook like a real person after my work out not just scavenge my cupboards.

I love salmon. I think it was one of the first seafood's of my youth that I found acceptable. And while living in my first apartment in college I became really well acquainted with the Costco frozen Salmon bag that was a steal at $15. At the time feeling very culinary I would slice lemon and garlic and layer them on a salt and pepper seasoned fillet of salmon on a piece of foil, drizzle the whole thing with olive oil and fold the the foil into a packet, popping it into the oven for a moist flavorful fool proof meal. Now that I've started to progress a little more in my flavor layering I've started to prepare my salmon with an Asian inspired blend of soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, brown sugar, garlic, & crushed red pepper flakes. The foil packet? Remains the same. In keeping with genre we'll do some baby bok choy in with the salmon to round out this easy and healthy mid week pick me up meal!

(This is a serving for 1 person, you can multiply if you are making it for more)

- 4 oz Salmon Fillet
- 1 large or two small heads of bok choy
- 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 1 Tblspn Toasted Sesame oil
- 1 Tblspn + 1 tspn Brown Sugar
- 1 Tblspn finely grated Ginger
- 2 large Garlic Cloves minced
- pinch of Crushed Red Pepper flakes (if you don't like spicy you can leave this out)

Pre heat oven to 400 degrees F

In a shallow bowl that can hold your salmon fillet whisk together all the ingredients for the marinade. Place your fish skin side up in the bowl and let marinate 15 - 20 minutes. (you do not need to buy skin on).

On a baking sheet lay out a piece of foil 16 inches long. Place the fish (now skin side down) in the middle of the foil and arrange the bokchoy (sliced in half if small, 1/4's if large) around it. pull all 4 sides up slightly so that you can pour the remaining marinade over the fish and bok choy without it spilling out.

Carefully bring the two long sides of the foil sheet to meet in the middle and fold them down so it is closed but not tight on the fish & bokchoy inside. Next take the two ends and roll them up so that the packet is enclosed.

Put the baking sheet with foil packet in the 400 degree oven and set your timer for 15 minutes.

That's all it takes! Your fish should be cooked through and your bok choy tender and flavorful. If you want to get even more out of your marinade, drain the liquid from the packet into a small saucepan, add the extra teaspoon of brown sugar and over high heat reduced the liquid by half (boiling with continuous whisking for 5 minutes or so). Pour the now syrupy sauce over your fish and voila!

This marinade packs an amazing flavor punch for both the salmon and the bok choy. Cooking them together in the packet couldn't be simpler and since you just throw the foil away the clean up is minimal. All in all this meal takes just over 30 minutes to prepare (including marinating time).

Even though I may not always take the time to make myself a real meal on week nights after work recipes like this remind me it doesn't always have to be difficult for it to be tasty!