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Drinks and Appetizers w/ Friends

Are you doing home cooking, store-bought, or don't mind a mix of both? Here are a few things I remember from fun get-togethers with friends, although we don't really get fancy.

Home-cooked:
- Bacon-wrapped jalapenos stuffed with cream cheese. The cream cheese sounds weird, but the whole thing tastes amazing. If I were to do this again I might try a different cheese, or less of it, because the bacon and jalapenos together are already sexy.
- Bacon-wrapped asparagus (can you tell I like bacon around stuff?). Just cut large asparagus pieces into about 2-inch sections and wrap with bacon, bake/broil. You can skewer them too for presentation.
- Samosas with cilantro relish, save time on the dough by using store-bought stuff like Pillsbury's croissants or spring roll wrappers (crunchier)
- Rosemary biscuits

Store-bought:
- Hummus with raw veggies, for the dieters. They probably sell this in platters.
- Salami/cheese platter
- Trader Joe's quiches...the ones filled with spinach, cheese, mushrooms, etc. I think these always go quickly.

Mar 18, 2009
nakedzombieforce in Home Cooking

Best cashew chicken in the Valley?

Hi everyone, I'm looking to pick up some take-out Thai for a luncheon. Anyone have suggestions for the place with the tastiest cashew chicken in the Valley? Preferably non-Northridge/Chatsworth area. I'm making a drive south on the 405 past Van Nuys and then west on the 101 past Calabasas, so anything in that region works for me.

Thanks in advance!

Aug 23, 2008
nakedzombieforce in Los Angeles Area

Funky Edamame

You should probably freeze the leftovers if you are not going to be eating them within...maybe a few hours? I get the frozen edamame and when they defrost they come out fine, but these are still in their pods. The problem may be that you're buying them already shelled, in which case they can "go bad" and start to get funky much quicker than buying ones that are still in the pods. The frozen ones are always good, though.

Aug 06, 2008
nakedzombieforce in Home Cooking

Newbie question about rolled sushi

You know I did a 15-page "research" paper on sushi (yeah, that's what we're up to in college these days) and true sushi, back in the days in Japan before World War II, was actually three times its current size, at least in the case of nigiri. (Rolls weren't actually around back then.) In any case, if true sushi was three times its current size, then it must have been eaten in several bites!

Also another interesting tidbit is that Americans are responsible for the smaller sushi because post-World War II American occupational forces (under Douglas MacArthur) decreed that rice be rationed, and therefore one cup of rice had to make ten pieces of sushi.

Probably more than you'll ever need to know, but...technically, small sushi is our fault =)

Jun 27, 2008
nakedzombieforce in Not About Food

Does cooking calm down hot peppers?

Good point. I always have a giant glass of milk ready for spicy meals.

Jun 27, 2008
nakedzombieforce in Home Cooking

Please check out this dinner menu...

That sounds tasty. If you don't mind me asking, what does CSA stand for?

Also I don't know that everyone is a huge fan of beans. To me they always seemed like a kind of love or hate food, as most of the people I know are disgusted by them. Maybe you can ask your friend and his mom if they have any aversion to favas?

Jun 27, 2008
nakedzombieforce in Home Cooking

what to do w/ pineapple juice?

There's this amazing pineapple float at Disneyland (sometimes the line waiting for it is as long as ride lines). They just pour pineapple juice in a cup and top it with a pile of pineapple ice cream (plus a mini-umbrella and cherry).Great for parties if you are throwing one.

Jun 27, 2008
nakedzombieforce in Home Cooking

Brownie w/ Strawberries on top?

Ooh, that does sound tasty. I'm pretty sure you would have to put the strawberry (or fruit of choice) on top much later in cooking. Probably not even with half the baking time, since that might turn your strawberries to mush. I think brownies usually go in for about thirty minutes. I might try doing the strawberries for no longer than ten at the end? You can also test half the brownies with strawberries put in at different times (science experiment!).

Also I think a lot of recipes with strawberries in pastries will have them coated in honey before anything else is done with them. This might seem overly sweet but if your strawberries don't match the intense sweetness of the brownies they might taste a little sour on top (unless you like them that way).

Jun 27, 2008
nakedzombieforce in Home Cooking

Ready-made dough for baking samosas?

Oh, this is a really good idea too (that I didn't think of at all!). I think I'll go with this because I know how the refrigerated crescent rolls taste (they are really delicious) and it saves me the guesswork out of using another type of dough.

Thanks!!

Jun 27, 2008
nakedzombieforce in Home Cooking

Ready-made dough for baking samosas?

Thanks! Saves me a farther trip to an ethnic grocer.

Jun 27, 2008
nakedzombieforce in Home Cooking

Ready-made dough for baking samosas?

Ooh, this sounds good (not so much the filling, but the pastry). Do you know if I can get them at common grocers, like Vons/Ralphs?

Jun 26, 2008
nakedzombieforce in Home Cooking

Ready-made dough for baking samosas?

I'm thinking of making samosas this weekend but I don't want to deal with sprays of hot flying oil, hence the baking. I'm also horrible with homemade baked goods (plus we're out of flour).

What are the best ready-made doughs and sheets (phyllo, puff, spring roll, etc.) you've had experience with for making samosas or similar foods? How did the texture come out, and how hot/long did you bake them?

Thanks!

Jun 26, 2008
nakedzombieforce in Home Cooking

Getting frozen dumplings/gyoza/mandoo crispy?

Haha, I was just wondering if I could do it from frozen because I don't have a lot of time to cook (if I had a free day I could probably experiment), and whether that was the problem. As long as they are not drippy-wet like when I made them before, I wouldn't mind inferior dumplings made from frozen. But thanks for your input!!

Jun 03, 2008
nakedzombieforce in Home Cooking

Getting frozen dumplings/gyoza/mandoo crispy?

Thanks! Are yours frozen when you brown them, or do you thaw them first?

Jun 03, 2008
nakedzombieforce in Home Cooking

Getting frozen dumplings/gyoza/mandoo crispy?

Hi everyone,

I just bought a few bags of mandoo (Korean dumplings, like gyoza with a slightly different filling). I followed the pan-frying instructions, which said to first brown them in oil, then pour water "all around" them (I probably covered about 2/3 of the way up the dumplings), cover the pan, and let them cook in the water until it evaporates. According to the bag, the water stage should only take one minute, but I waited about five, hoping they would get crispy or at least somewhat firm. They came out mushy and soggy and just fell apart. Should I have cooked them longer after the water evaporated? Should I use less water? How can I get them nice and crispy next time?

Thanks!

Oh yeah, and they were completely frozen when I threw them into the pan.

Jun 02, 2008
nakedzombieforce in Home Cooking

Head-on shrimp?

Well next time you get head-on shrimp and want to try something different, you can just deep-fry them (coated in rice flour and salt, or you can try other frying variations) with the head and shells on and everything. You can actually eat the whole thing...nice and crispy. I've never sucked out the heads but it's probably tasty. Less work peeling shells too!

May 14, 2008
nakedzombieforce in Home Cooking

Is most truffle oil pure or mixed?

It really depends on what truffle oil you're buying, but in many cases, there aren't even truffles in it, just synthetic "truffle flavored" compounds. Here is a nice resource =)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truffle_oil

Same thing with some vanilla flavorings and balsamic vinegars, they are just flavored liquids.

May 04, 2008
nakedzombieforce in General Topics

What to do with left over yolks?

If you're looking into non-dessert suggestions, I think egg yolks are amazing thickeners for Japanese noodle soups (soba, ramen, udon). Even if you are just making instant noodles, put the yolk in last into the hot soup, let it cook to your degree of liking (it just takes a few seconds to get solid), then swish it around the broth. Nutritious and tasty!

May 04, 2008
nakedzombieforce in Home Cooking

What's your favorite vegetarian sandwich?

This sounds really good, I recently started getting into the fake meat selection at Trader Joe's =)

May 04, 2008
nakedzombieforce in Home Cooking

What's your favorite vegetarian sandwich?

Sounds like it might be a "shmear," or cream cheese flavored with roasted garlic. But just smearing roasted garlic around sounds tasty too.

May 04, 2008
nakedzombieforce in Home Cooking

What's your favorite vegetarian sandwich?

That sounds unbelievably delicious. Normally I don't like sandwiches because I immediately think of yucky dry bread but this sounds amazing. Unfortunately I never have all those things in my kitchen at once...

May 04, 2008
nakedzombieforce in Home Cooking

Help me plan my menu -- starter ideas, please

If chicken with 40 cloves is your main dish, you could start off with something lighter. Soup is a great idea but can be too heavy or salty. How about tapas, like the ones abud (first post) suggested, and a few other varieties? You could do something easy with lots of crostini types, like sun-dried tomato and olive oil, melted parmesan and basil, or olive tapenade.

Also this is more of a side dish but you can just put out some roasted vegetables, like asparagus, colored peppers, baby potatoes, and baby carrots, sprinkled with coarse sea salt and served with a side of tapenade and/or aioli. Roast with a little olive oil and it'll be quick and tasty!

May 01, 2008
nakedzombieforce in Home Cooking

Help, I need a simple, quick recipe for salmon to impress the in-laws!

If your in-laws are fans of garlic, my mom makes this great garlic-pepper salmon fillet really quick in the toaster oven (I guess it's easier for her to control and monitor than in the larger oven, but if you are feeding seven, then go with the oven). Since you are serving it with Asian/Korean sides it would probably go quite well, and you can adjust the garlic to your liking.

I'm not sure of the exact proportions, but all you have to do is top some salmon fillets (we don't use any more than an inch thick, it may get tough and chewy) with a little olive oil, minced garlic, lots and lots of pepper, and chopped cilantro leaves. Squirt with a little lime juice and dash with soy sauce. You can throw in red pepper for extra spiciness too. My family loves garlic so this is a good one for us!

Edit: our toaster oven doesn't have exact temperature settings, only a gradient. So if you are baking it in the oven, I would look up other baked salmon recipes, see how hot they turn it up, and keep monitoring it so that it doesn't get dry and tough. Good luck!

May 01, 2008
nakedzombieforce in Home Cooking

white chocolate questions

I wish I could help more, but my two cents on this subject are that there are different varieties of white chocolate and some are probably far superior for molding and/or baking. A lot of white chocolates out there are simply sugar and a lot of hydrogenated oils that could quickly turn solid once they drop below melting temperature, which depending on how much hydrogenated oil is in there, can happen very quickly...so you may have to whisk more frequently than when melting regular chocolate, and you may have to add something with a lower melting point to emulsify it, like butter.

May 01, 2008
nakedzombieforce in Home Cooking

Best cheap Food in LA.

There is a mega-tasty hole-in-the-wall shawarma kitchen on Van Nuys and Ventura, in Sherman Oaks. I think it's called Pita Kitchen, next to the newsstand. You can get a pita or wrap for around 5-6 bucks (the wrap is pretty overwhelming for me, and I normally eat a lot), or a plate with a couple of side dishes for 7-8, which is really awesome. I've had the beef/lamb shawarma as well as the falafel (which once or twice has come slightly burned, but otherwise has been insanely delicious). The shawarma is really flavorful and tender and the falafel are crispy and well-seasoned. Wrapped with chopped cucumbers (and tomatoes? in yogurt I think) and hummus. Mmmm...this place is so tasty and satisfying. Parking is nasty though, the only lot is down the street (behind Aahs!) down the alley, and there are never any street parking spots. But I see businessmen on lunch break pull up in their BMWs and just leave their cars idling and blocking the alley, so... I guess that's an option too.

http://thepitakitchen.com/ there's a menu!

May 01, 2008
nakedzombieforce in Los Angeles Area