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Kaju Kathli, Cashew Diamonds
Apr 13th, 2011 by sovicki

Hobby’s coworker bought these back every time he visits India. One night, after dining out at a local Indian restaurant, he wanted to order it, only found out that it is not available widely here. So we went to the Indian grocery store next door, and after long explanation, they  told us they don’t have the exact thing, but they have something similar. So we got our sugar fix, however, we were told the real thing we’d have to go to Vancouver BC to get it.

Here is a recipe that I found online. I guess when I get bored one of those days, I would attempt it.

http://saffronhut.blogspot.com/2006/10/simple-sweet-kaju-kathli-cashew.html

Ingredients:

1 cup of cashews
3/4 cup (or slightly less if you prefer) of sugar
1/4 cup of water

Yields about 20 diamonds.

Method:

  1. Finely grind the cashews to a powder. A coffee grinder does a great job of this.
  2. Mix the sugar and water in a wide saucepan.
  3. Heat till small bubbles begin to appear on the surface.
  4. Stir gently and let it come to a rolling boil. No need to check for string consistency etc of the syrup.
  5. Pour in the cashew powder and stir well to avoid lumps.
  6. Keep stirring for a few minutes and you should notice the mixture getting a little thicker.
  7. Put a little drop on a chilled plate and test to see if it hardens slightly. You should be able to roll it into a loose ball.
  8. If it does, switch off the heat and move the pan away from the hot surface.
  9. Let it cool slightly and dump out the contents onto a board or a clean countertop.
  10. Knead well with your hands (much like you would knead bread dough) to make it smooth and glossy.
  11. Roll out with a rolling pin into 1/4 inch thick sheet and cut into diamond shaped pieces.
  12. Gather all the end bits and knead again and repeat the process. No wastage!!
  13. Let cool/dry and pack in tins between sheets of waxed paper.
  14. Store at room temperature for a week or in the fridge for longer.

Tips:

  1. If the mixture remains runny after it has cooled down, you can heat it up a bit more or microwave it to get it to thicken up.
  2. If you have over cooked it and the mixture becomes powdery, add a few drops of milk to knead it. This will reduce the shelf life a bit, but won’t make any difference in taste.

 

Cedar River Smokehouse
Mar 25th, 2011 by sovicki

Oh how I miss a good Texan BBQ.

This is about as close as a good Texan BBQ will get around Seattle area.

Their pork and beef ribs are so tasty. Meat is so tender, falling off the bones, BBQ sauce is just right. Not too spicy, not too tangy, just perfect! But just about everything else is great too. You really cannot go wrong with anything here.

They cater too.

Scharffen Berger Chocolate Indulgence with Chocolate Ganache and Chambord Sabayon
Jul 29th, 2010 by sovicki

The talented chefs at Ray’s kindly obliged our request and sent us this delectable recipe for Scharffen Berger Chocolate Indulgence with Chocolate Ganache and Chambord Sabayon – yum! Homemade date night dessert anyone? Preheat your oven now – you are going to love this!

Ray’s Catering, Seattle, Chocolate Indulgence Cake Sharffen Berger Chocolate Indulgence:

1 pound Scharffen Berger bittersweet chocolate (70% cacao solids), chopped
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon sugar
Fresh raspberries

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray an 8-inch round cake pan with cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper. In a double boiler, or in a stainless steel bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (do not let bottom of the bowl touch the water), heat chocolate and butter until just melted. Remove from heat. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip eggs and sugar until they reach maximum volume, about 15 minutes. Eggs will be frothy, pale in color and hold a stiff peak. Remove bowl from mixer and use a spatula to fold 1/3 of the egg mixture into the chocolate to lighten. Fold in the remaining egg mixture and stir just until combined. Do not overmix. Pour batter into prepared cake pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Place cake pan in a large roasting pan and place in the oven. Pour enough hot water into roasting pan to come one inch up the sides of the cake pan. The water bath will help the cake bake evenly. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the top has a dry, matte appearance and tiny bubbles form. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight (can also be frozen until ready to serve). To remove cake from pan, run a knife along the sides of the cake pan. Dip pan into hot water for 5 to 10 seconds. Place serving platter over the top of the cake pan and turn over. Cake should slide out. The bottom is now the top. Pour Scharffen Berger Chocolate Ganache over the cake and spread evenly with a spatula, allowing it to drizzle down the sides. Serve with Chambord Sabayon and fresh raspberries.

Scharffen Berger Chocolate Ganache

1/2 cup heavy cream
5 ounces Scharffen Berger Bittersweet Chocolate (70% cacao), finely chopped

In a saucepan, bring heavy cream to a simmer. Place chocolate in a separate bowl and pour cream over chocolate. Stir until smooth.

Chambord Sabayon

3 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons Chambord liqueur
1/2 cup heavy cream

Prepare a large bowl of ice water. In a small stainless steel bowl, whisk together egg yolks, vanilla, sugar and Chambord. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (do not let bottom of the bowl touch the water) and continue whisking until it has thickened to the consistency of pudding. Immediately place bowl in ice water and stir until cooled. In a separate bowl, whip heavy cream to stiff peaks. Whisk into cooled egg mixture.

Build Your Own Emergency Spot Removal Kit
Jul 28th, 2010 by sovicki

http://www.rainbowintl.com/services/CarpetCareTipsandTricks.cfm

Build Your Own Emergency Spot Removal Kit

Items you will need for your emergency kit are listed below. *Always be sure and follow the pretest procedures before applying any solution to a spot or stain.

ALCOHOL ­ Use neutral spirits grain alcohol or clear (uncolored) rubbing alcohol. Methanol, ethanol, and isopropanol are appropriate alcohols to use.

AMMONIA SOLUTION ­ Mix one tablespoon of clear household ammonia with one-half cup of water.

BLEACH ­ Use hydrogen peroxide or sodium perborate, present in Snowy or Clorox II. Do not use chlorine bleach.

DETERGENT SOLUTION ­ Mix one teaspoonful of a colorless, mild detergent or dishwashing liquid in a cup of lukewarm water.

DRY-CLEANING SOLVENT ­ Volatile dry spotter or a commercial spotter such as Carbona, Energine, K2R. Use in small amounts – can be harmful to sizing, backing or stuffing materials. Do not use gasoline, lighter fluid or carbon tetrachloride.

ENZYME DETERGENT ­ Mix a solution of enzyme detergent following the directions on the label. Do not soak or overwet. Allow the solution to remain on the stain for the recommended length of time before removing. (Professional cleaners may prefer to use digestors separate from detergents.)

POG ­ Paint, oil and grease remover, available in hardware stores.

VINEGAR SOLUTION ­ Mix one-third cup of white household vinegar with two-thirds cup of water. (Professional cleaners may use up to 28% acetic acid solution.)

Beer
STAIN: Colorless to light yellow, slightly stiff

CONTAINS: Hops, malts, alcohol, albumins, tannin

1. Apply detergent solution, blot.
2. Apply vinegar solution, blot frequently.
3. Rinse with water, blot until dry.

Blood
STAIN: Reddish when fresh, dries to dark brown with irregular edge

CONTAINS: Albumin, fat, fibrin, iron

1. Apply cool detergent solution, blot.
2. Apply cool ammonia solution, blot.
3. Apply enzyme detergent, blot
4. Rinse thoroughly with water, blot until dry.
5. If stain remains, apply rust remover or oxalic acid solution.
6. Bleaching with 3-5% hydrogen peroxide may be necessary.
Note: Take safety precautions when cleaning blood spills to avoid possible infection or contamination.

Butter & Margarine
STAIN: Greasy, yellowish-red, sometimes built-up

CONTAINS: Vegetable dye, corn oil, milk, salt, preservatives, vegetable fats

1. Apply dry-cleaning solvent, blot.
2. Apply detergent solution, blot until dry.
3. Apply vinegar solution, blot.
4. Rinse with water, blot until dry.

Candle Wax
STAIN: Stiff and built-up

CONTAINS: Petroleum, animal fats and oils, vegetable fats and oils, basic dyes

1. Try freezing the wax with an ice cube, then breaking and removing the frozen pieces.
2. Apply dry-cleaning solvent.
3. Apply POG, blot.
4. Apply dry-cleaning solvent, blot.

Ketchup and Tomato Sauce
STAIN: Reddish-brown, absorbed and built-up

CONTAINS: Tomatoes, salt, sugar, spices, tannin, vinegar, onion

1. Apply cool detergent solution, blot.
2. Apply ammonia solution, blot.
3. Apply enzyme detergent, blot.
4. If stain remains, bleach with 3-5% hydrogen peroxide or sodium perborate.
5. Rinse thoroughly with water, blot until dry.

Chewing Gum
STAIN: Grayish or pink, rubbery, sticky, built-up

CONTAINS: Chicle flavoring, sugar

1. Harden gum with an ice cube until it is brittle enough to scrape off with dull knife or spatula.
2. Apply dry-cleaning solvent to remove remaining traces.
OR
Use a commercial chewing gum remover.

Chocolate
STAIN: Brown with irregular edge, absorbed or built up

CONTAINS: Oil, grease, cocoa, butter, coloring, sugar, milk

1. Scrape off as much as possible with spatula or dull knife.
2. Apply cool detergent solution, blot.
3. Apply ammonia solution, blot.
4. Apply vinegar solution, blot.
5. Apply enzyme detergent, blot.
6. Rinse thoroughly with water and blot until dry.

Cocktails
STAIN: Colorless or light brown, absorbed

CONTAINS: Alcohol, tannin, sugar, food colors

1. Apply detergent solution, blot.
2. Apply vinegar solution, blot.
3. Rinse with water, blot until dry.

Coffee
STAIN: Brown with irregular edge, darkening with heat and age

CONTAINS: Tannins, sugar, fatty acids, alcohol, oils, milk, cream

1. Apply detergent solution, blot. (Use enzyme detergent if cream was present.)
2. Apply vinegar solution, blot.
3. Apply enzyme detergent, blot.
4. Rinse with water, blot until dry.
* Ammonia will set stains on wool and silk but may help in removal from other fabrics.

Cough Syrup
STAIN: Usually absorbed with an irregular edge, sticky when wet, stiff when dry.

CONTAINS: Honey, sugar, syrup, menthol, alcohol, flavoring, coloring matter

1. Apply detergent solution, blot.
2. Apply ammonia solution, blot.
3. Apply vinegar solution, blot.
4. Apply enzyme detergent, blot.
5. Rinse thoroughly with water, blot until dry.

Crayons
STAIN: Built-up, sometimes shiny

CONTAINS: Wax, grease, pigment, coloring matter

1. Apply dry-cleaning solvent.
2. Apply POG, blot.
3. Apply dry-cleaning solvent, blot.
4. Apply detergent solution, blot. 5. Rinse with water, blot until dry

Egg (Raw)
STAIN: White and/or yellow, built-up, coagulates with heat

CONTAINS: Albumin, oils, fats, coloring matter

1. Blot up as much as possible, as quickly as possible.
2. Apply detergent solution, blot.
3. Apply cold ammonia solution, blot.
4. If stain remains, apply enzyme detergent and keep moist.
5. Rinse with water, blot until dry.

Food Coloring
STAIN: Absorbed, irregular edge

CONTAINS: Coloring matter, propylene glycol

1. Apply detergent solution, blotting frequently. A dried stain will probably spread when wet.
2. Repeat step 1 until color is no longer transferred to the towel.
3. Apply ammonia solution, blot.
4. Rinse thoroughly with water and blot until dry.

Fruit Juice
STAIN: Light yellow or characteristic color of fruit, absorbed and splotchy with irregular edge

CONTAINS: Tannin, acids, pulp, sugar, coloring matter

1. Apply detergent solution, blot.
2. Apply ammonia solution, blot.
3. Apply vinegar solution, blot.
4. Rinse with water, blot until dry.
5. If stain remains, apply enzyme detergent, blot.
6. Rinse with water, blot until dry.

Furniture Stain
STAIN: Brownish or reddish, absorbed, with irregular edge

CONTAINS: Petroleum distillate, coloring matter

1. Apply dry-cleaning solvent.
2. Apply POG, blot.
3. Apply dry-cleaning solvent, blot.
4. Apply detergent solution, blot.
5. Rinse with water and blot until dry.

* This stain is almost impossible to remove completely.

Glue (School)
STAIN: Stiff and shiny, usually built-up

CONTAINS: Starches, gelatins, albumins

1. Apply water, blot.
2. Apply detergent solution, blot.
3. If stain remains, heat the detergent solution slightly and repeat step 2.
4. Rinse with water, blot until dry.

Grass
STAIN: Green and/or brown smudges

CONTAINS: Tannin, acids, oils, chlorophyll

1. Apply amyl acetate, if available, to remove chlorophyll, blot.
2. Apply enzyme detergent, blot.
3. Rinse with water, blot.
4. Apply ammonia solution, blot.
5. Apply vinegar solution, blot.
6. Rinse with water, blot until dry.
* Bleaching (or professional stripping) may be necessary.

Gravy
STAIN: Brownish, absorbed and built-up

CONTAINS: Meat extracts, starch, proteins, milk, flour, seasonings

1. Apply detergent solution, blot.
2. Apply ammonia solution, blot.
3. Apply vinegar solution, blot.
4. Apply enzyme detergent, blot.
5. Rinse with water, blot until dry.

Greases
STAIN: Grayish or brownish, absorbed or built-up

CONTAINS: Oils, sometimes soils

1. Apply dry-cleaning solvent.
2. Apply POG sparingly, and blot.
3. Alternate steps 1 and 2.
4. If stain remains, apply detergent solution, blot.
5. Apply ammonia solution, blot.
6. Apply vinegar solution, blot.
7. Rinse with water, blot until dry.

* Bleaching (or professional stripping) may be necessary.

Ice Cream
STAIN: Absorbed and built-up, stiff when dry

CONTAINS: Cream, milk, egg, sugar, fruits, extracts, coloring matter

1. Apply detergent solution, blot.
2. Apply ammonia solution, blot.
3. Apply vinegar solution, blot.
4. Apply enzyme detergent, keep moist, and blot.
5. Rinse thoroughly with water, blot until dry
6. Apply dry-cleaning solvent, blot.

Ink (Ball Point)
STAIN: Can be any color, usually blue or black, absorbed

CONTAINS: Basic or soluble aniline dyes, insoluble organic solvents, oils, resins, gums, binding agents such as shellac, varnish or petroleum

1. Apply alcohol and blot, or use wet/dry vacuum.
2. Repeat as needed.
3. Apply dry-cleaning solvent, blot.
4. Apply amyl acetate, if available, or acetone (except on acetate fibers).
5. If stain remains, apply rust remover or oxalic acid solution.
6. Bleaching (or professional stripping) may be necessary.

Ink (India)
STAIN: Absorbed, usually black

CONTAINS: Pigment (carbon black) dispersed in water with a binder

1. Apply dry-cleaning solvent.
2. Apply POG sparingly, blot.
3. Apply dry-cleaning solvent, blot.
4. Apply detergent solution, blot.
5. Apply ammonia solution, blot.
6. Rinse with water, blot until dry.

Jam and Jelly
STAIN: Reddish or bluish, absorbed and built up

CONTAINS: Pulp of fruit, sugar, tannin, preservatives

1. Apply detergent solution, blot.
2. Apply vinegar solution, blot.
3. Rinse with water, blot.
4. Apply enzyme detergent, blot.
5. Rinse with water, blot until dry.

Lipstick
STAIN: Red, pink, orange, soft and greasy

CONTAINS: Pigment or dye in fats, waxes and oils

1. Scrape off excess with spatula or dull knife.
2. Apply POG, blot, making sure not to reapply stain onto fabric.
3. Apply dry-cleaning solvent, blot.
4. Apply detergent, blot.
5. Apply ammonia solution, blot.
6. Apply vinegar solution, blot.
7. Rinse with water, blot until dry.

* Try to avoid wet-cleaning on wool. Use POG and dry-cleaning solvents as long as possible.

Merthiolate & Mercurochrome
STAIN: Orange-red, absorbed

CONTAINS: Eosin dye in alcohol solution

1. Apply detergent solution, blot.
2. Apply ammonia solution, blot.
3. Apply vinegar solution, blot.
4. Rinse with water, blot until dry.

Mildew
STAIN: Grayish or brownish fungus with black spots

* May permanently damage fibers

1. Apply enzyme detergent, blot.
2. Apply ammonia solution, blot.
3. Rinse thoroughly with water, blot.
4. Apply solution of oxidizing bleach (chlorine or perborate).
5. Rinse thoroughly with water, blot until dry.

Do not use chlorine bleach on wool or silk.
Caution: Some color loss may occur from the bleach.

Milk
STAIN: Usually white, sometimes lighter in the center with heavier buildup around the edges.

CONTAINS: Fats, albumins, water

1. Apply cool detergent solution, blot.
2. Apply ammonia solution, blot.
3. Apply vinegar solution, blot.
4. Rinse with water, blot until dry.
5. Apply enzyme detergent, blot.
6. Rinse with water, blot until dry.
7. Apply dry-cleaning solvent, blot.

Mucilage (also see Glue)
STAIN: Either built-up or slightly absorbed, stiff with an irregular edge when dry.

CONTAINS: Albumins, animal proteins and gums

1. Apply hot enzyme detergent solution, blot.
2. Apply ammonia solution, blot.
3. Rinse thoroughly with water, blot until dry.

Mud
STAIN: Grayish, brownish, or yellowish, absorbed and built-up.

CONTAINS: Soil with greases and oils, clay, iron

1. Brush or scrape off as much as possible.
2. Apply detergent solution, blot.
3. Apply ammonia solution, blot.
4. Rinse thoroughly with water, blot until dry.
5. If stain remains, apply POG and dry-cleaning solvent alternately, blot until dry.

Note: Some red clay and mud stains may be difficult to remove completely.

Nail Polish
STAIN: Usually pink or red, stiff, shiny and built-up.

CONTAINS: Red dye or pigment in a liquid cellulose acetate base, solvent, plasticizer.

1. Apply amyl acetate, if available, or nail polish remover. PRETEST FIRST. Repeat as needed, with blotting.
2. Apply dry-cleaning solvent.
3. Apply POG, blot; apply dry-cleaning solvent, blot.
4. If stain remains, apply detergent solution, blot until dry.
5. Apply ammonia solution, blot.
6. Apply vinegar solution, blot.
7. Rinse with water, blot until dry.

Oils
STAIN: Circular, elongated or cross-shaped, darkening with age

CONTAINS: Petroleum distillate or vegetable oil, polyglycerides, methyl silicate, preservatives

1. Apply dry-cleaning solvent.
2. Apply POG sparingly, blot.
3. Alternate dry-cleaning solvent and POG, blotting frequently.
4. Apply detergent solution, blot.
5. Apply ammonia solution, blot.
6. Apply vinegar solution, blot.
7. Rinse with water, blot until dry.

Paint (oil)
STAIN: Usually built-up and stiff

CONTAINS: Pigments, drying oils, resins, gums, volatile solvents

* Check label on paint for specific thinner or solvent OR

1. Apply dry-cleaning solvent.
2. Apply POG, blot; apply dry-cleaning solvent, blot.
3. Repeat step 2 until as much paint as possible is removed.
4. Weight down the stain with towels dampened with dry-cleaning solvent for several hours to loosen, blot with solvent.
5. Apply several drops of detergent solution and work into the stain, blot.
6. Apply ammonia solution, blot.
7. Alternate steps 2 and 5 until stain is removed.
8. Rinse thoroughly with warm water, blot until dry.

Paint (water)
STAIN: Absorbed or built-up, stiff when dry

CONTAINS: Water, latex, pigments, emulsifiers, preservatives

1. Apply detergent solution, blot. Repeat as needed.
2. Apply ammonia solution, blot.
3. Rinse with water, blot until dry
4. Apply POG on aged, hardened paint, blot.
5. Apply dry-cleaning solvent, blot. Repeat as needed.

Rubber Cement
STAIN: White or clear, built-up, possibly sticky or shiny

CONTAINS: Rubber (synthetic or natural), resin, solvent

1. Roll the glue off if it has hardened sufficiently.
2. Apply dry-cleaning solvent.
3. Apply POG sparingly, blot.
4. Apply dry-cleaning solvent, blot.
5. Apply detergent solution, blot.
6. Rinse with water, blot until dry.

Rust
STAIN: Reddish-brown, absorbed or built-up

CONTAINS: Oxides of Iron

1. Apply rust remover or warm oxalic acid solution.
2. Allow to stand for 10-15 minutes.
3. Repeat with hot solution.
4. Rinse thoroughly with water, blot until dry.

Shoe Polish
STAIN: Usually black or brown, absorbed or built-up

CONTAINS: Waxes, resins, solvents, dyes, shellac, alcohol, tannin

1. Apply dry-cleaning solvent.
2. Apply POG sparingly, blot.
3. Apply dry-cleaning solvent, blot.
4. Apply detergent solution, blot.
5. Apply ammonia solution, blot.
6. Rinse thoroughly with water, blot until dry.
7. If stain persists, bleaching (or professional stripping) may be necessary.
Some dark staining may still remain.

Soft Drinks
STAIN: Colorless, yellowish, reddish, or brownish, darkening with age

CONTAINS: Tannin, sugar, vegetable coloring, flavoring, fruit extracts

1. Apply cold detergent solution, blot
2. Apply ammonia solution, blot.
3. Apply vinegar solution, blot.
4. Rinse with water, blot until dry.

Soot
STAIN: Black spots or smudges

CONTAINS: Carbon, sulfur compounds, sometimes grease

1. Apply dry-cleaning solvent, blot.
2. Apply detergent solution, blot.
3. Apply ammonia solution, blot.
4. Rinse thoroughly with water, blot until dry.

Tar & Asphalt
STAIN: Black, shiny, built-up or absorbed, distinctive odor

CONTAINS: Coal tar or petroleum, sulfur compounds, moncaptans

1. Scrape off as much as possible with spatula or dull knife.
2. Apply dry-cleaning solvent.
3. Apply POG sparingly, blot; apply dry-cleaning solvent, blot.
4. Apply detergent solution, blot.
5. Rinse with water, blot until dry.

Toothpaste
STAIN: Whitish, greenish, or bluish (other colors possible), absorbed and built-up

CONTAINS: Soap, bleaching compound, flavoring, fluoride compound, coloring

1. Apply detergent solution, blot.
2. Apply vinegar solution, blot.
3. Apply ammonia solution, blot.
4. Rinse thoroughly with water, blot until dry.

Urine
STAIN: Yellowish or brownish, darkening with age; absorbed

CONTAINS: Urea, uric acid, ammonia, organic acids, pigments, cholesterol, albumins, proteases

1. Blot up as much as possible if still wet.
2. Apply detergent solution, blot.
3. Apply ammonia solution, blot.
4. Apply vinegar solution, blot.
5. Rinse thoroughly with water, blot until dry.
6. If stain remains, apply rust remover or oxalic acid solution.
7. Bleaching with 3-5% hydrogen peroxide or sodium perborate might be necessary.

* Urine stains may cause permanent dye removal from fibers, and may damage wool silk or nylon.

Vomit
STAIN: Various colors, absorbed and built-up

CONTAINS: Food, mucus, albumins, acids

1. Blot up as much as possible.
2. Apply enzyme detergent, keep moist, blot.
3. Apply ammonia solution, blot.
4. Apply vinegar solution, blot.
5. Rinse thoroughly with water, blot until dry.

Wine
STAIN: Reddish, purplish or yellowish, absorbed

CONTAINS: Alcohol, sugar, tannin, coloring matter

1. Blot up as much as possible. Repeat as needed.
2. Apply cool detergent solution, blot.
3. Apply vinegar solution, blot.
4. Apply ammonia solution, blot.
5. If necessary, bleach with 3-5% hydrogen peroxide or sodium perborate.
6. Rinse thoroughly with water, blot until dry.

Xinh’s Oyster Sauté in Asian Sauce
Jul 20th, 2010 by sovicki

RECIPE: Xinh’s Oyster Sauté in Asian Sauce

(Provided by Xinh Dwelley, Chef, Xinh’s Clam and Oyster House, 221 W. Railroad Ave., Shelton, Washington)

1 quart fresh shucked oysters, any size
2 T. butter or vegetable oil
1 T. minced garlic
1/2 chopped onion
1 T. Hoisin sauce
1 T. oyster sauce
1 T. cooking sherry
Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
2 stalks thinly sliced celery
1 C. sliced red & green peppers
1 T. sesame seed oil
1 T. soy sauce (optional)
1 tsp. lemon grass
3 chopped green onion
1 T. chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
Black pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, boil one quart of salted water. Add oysters, stir gently for 2-3 minutes. Remove oysters from pan, wash and rinse, set aside. In a large sauté pan, heat oil or butter, add garlic, onion and lemon grass and sauté approximately one minute. Add oysters and simmer 2-3 minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer, stirring gently until heated through. Add cilantro and green onions and stir well. Serve over steamed rice.

Iyara Thai Cuisine
Jun 15th, 2010 by sovicki

This one is way overdue. I’ve been eying this place for months if not years. I’ve always driven by this place, but never made it inside. Beginning this year, I was thinking of celebrating a friends birthday here, only to find out the owner had a family emergency and went back to Thailand, and the restaurant was closed for a month. Then somehow we just didn’t have Thai for several months. Finally, one evening, after coming back from Chicago, we made it here.

It was very  homey. The witness, might have also been the owner, was very nice and attentive. Deco is very pleasant. The painting on the wall was what I imagine our living room would have for a while, but later I decided on something else, that’s a whole another story. According to their menu, they are now serving

new menu items under our new concept called “Street Foods of Thailand”.
Why “Street Foods of Thailand”? As many tourists visit Thailand and see verities of foods are offering and cooking on the street footpath all around Bangkok but afraid to eat due to uncertain of hygienic issue.
Then we came up why don’t we bring some those kinds of items that very popular from street food vendors plus put back the original ingredients as much as they are available in U.S. and make them to meet and exceed the Health Department’s requirements. This way our customers can experience the “Street Foods of Thailand” without flying to Thailand and still be able to enjoy the foods at the U.S. standard and quality.

This really reminded me of Thai Tom which closed couple times due to its health violations. Some of my friends joked that the reason Thai Tom tastes great, is all because of the “special ingredient” which is not on the menu. It apparently is reopened again. Back to what I was saying.

We ordered pad kee mao and iyara fried rice. It is possibly the best pad kee mao I’ve ever had. Especially compare to the 干炒牛河 (Beef chow fun) that we had at Ocean City in Chinatown the night before. It was well prepared, seasoned, very flavorful. Iyara fried rice in comparison is a bit too mild. We think it might just get over powered by the pad kee mao. Don’t get me wrong, it is still good, but I think it might a bit unfair to judge just how good it is until I give it another try.

For dessert, we had the house special sauce with the Chinese donut, and the coconut iceam. The Chinese donut was interesting, but not sure if I’d try that again. I might just go for the simple coconut ice cream next time.

All in all, for $9 an entree this is such a steal!

Gaslamp Bar & Grill
Jun 10th, 2010 by sovicki

This is the definition of a hidden gem. Friendly service, good atmosphere, and great food.

Burgers are very juicy, and they are giant! Definitely bigger than normal size, and only $9. Their Sunday special $3.99 for a cheese burger makes it better pricing than McDonald’s. Definitely recommend!

Gaslamp Bar & Grill
(425) 392-4547
Issaquah
1315 NW Mall St
Issaquah, WA 98027

Tsukushinbo
Jun 10th, 2010 by sovicki

We tried this place over the memorial day weekend. Ever since I saw that Yelp newsletter about the Japanese sushi places around Seattle that Wednesday before, I cannot stop but thinking about sashimi. That evening I stopped by H-Mart on the way home to pick up some Salmon. Sadly Salmon is only thing they’ve got. I was hoping for Uwajimaya’s selection, but needless to say I was disappointed, and my craving was not satisfied.

By the time weekend rolls around, my craving is getting out of control. Sadly the little place that I really like in Issaquah has closed down. I wonder if I recommended too many people to go there or too little? They are just like Musashi’s in Wallingford, only without the line, and better ambiance. All in all it was my favorite little hidden gem. Cry….

So we first stopped off at Musashi’s around 8pm, and there was still a line outside of the door wrapped around the corner. Alright, I was dying for some good sashimi, so urbanspoon on Iphone came to the rescue. I remember reading good review about this place, Tsukushinbo, on yelp. The reviews say they are best kept secret, cozy, family run, and authentic, best deal, etc… and one reviewer even say that this is their default dinner place, and his wife had to fight with him every other time to go somewhere else… Well, the reviews weren’t entirely wrong, it was cozy, it was family run, and authentic? maybe. Best deal? definitely NOT!!!

We got there around 8:30pm, and had to fight with a older Japanese ladies group for the door since  we already lost the parking spot to them… then waited at the door for about 5 minutes before anyone care to let us know that they’ll be cleaning the tables soon, so that we can sit down. Already dying for food, we sat down at the bar. Another 10 minutes went by before the only waitress came and took our order. She seem very strange. She had to stand on the right side of us, and far away, but then she cannot hear what I was saying, so I have to repeat couple times. Geez, I don’t have cooties… Another half an hour went by before our dinner arrived. Chirashi was exactly 9 skinny piece of shashimi, yes, I counted, it was exactly 9 piece, the skinniest that I’ve ever seen, think of Nigiri, yes, that’s the thickness… This is probably only 1/3 of the size of the Chirashi at Musashi’s… Oh, how I remember I couldn’t even finish the fish at Musashi’s…and the bento box, could you find another piece of cod that’s possibly smaller? They are the size of half of my palm. Maneki’s $6.99 black cod was much much MUCH bigger, and that’s three pieces, people. The food is alright, nothing exceptional.

$50 later, my stomach is as empty as my wallet. I’d definitely take my wallet and stomach else where for some decent service, and a fuller meal. What were those people yelping about?

Daman's Bar & Grill
May 20th, 2010 by sovicki

Last night, we’ve got some crazy Seattle weather, aka, strong wind, rain, thunderstorm. The drive home especially around the Everett-Bothell area convergent zone on 405 took me forever. It is not until Kirkland, I can finally drive the normal highway speed. But I guess that’s just the price that we had to pay for the beautiful weather the past weekend, and again today. 😀

We found this little tavern last night, it is probably the closest tavern around Microsoft. I’ve been passing by this place the past several years, and just never thought of it.

It is sorta a hidden gem, since it really is somewhat hidden. It is on the side of the what used to be Jeem, now, the Mandarin Buffet, building. At 6pm, the parking in front is full, good sign. We parked in the back, and walked around the place to get to the front door, only to realize that later there is a little latch door on the balcony.

When we entered, the place is about 80% full already, with what seems like mostly Microsoft employees, and some grandpa, grandma. Three full-sized pool tables were unoccupied, and pretty much stayed that way the whole night. There is a giant flat screen TV playing the western NBA final round 2. Speaking of the grandma, she was there reading a book, and was already on her second round of beer when I noticed her. Pretty interesting to see at a tavern. 😀

We went in seated ourselves, not sure if we suppose to wait. There seem to be only one waitress, not especially warm, and fuzzy type of personality, but that’s alright.

We noticed that from 4-6pm there is happy hour, which is 50cents off beer, well drinks, etc. Not that great of a deal. I order a glass of Cab, and the glass is probably the smallest that I have seen in American, reminded me of the stand up bar that we went to in Venice. Don’t get me wrong, they fill the small glass pretty well. Half a glass down, I was already tipsy. Priced at $5.25 a glass, it is alright.

Then the burger came. My BBQ Charbroiled Chicken from their favorite section of the menu is pretty good, only the fries were a little soggy. The regular berger is a little too dry in my opinion. But hey, it is only $8.

All in all, it is a good place to hang out and watch the game, food is not bad, and not pricey. Not gourmet by any means, but not bad.

Homemade Coconut Ice Cream
May 19th, 2010 by sovicki

One of our favorite thing to do after a good hearty Thai meal is to order their coconut ice cream with mango sticky rice. However, a good coconut ice cream is not always easy to find. We really liked the one from a small restaurant called Noodle Land around Redmond Town Center. We liked it so much, a friend asked the owner for their supplier’s phone number. I was willing to order more than I can ever eat from their wholesale supplier, sadly, when I called, the supplier no longer carry it. I went there couple times afterward, and it is not bad, just not the same. Not the rich, creamy, with shred coconut pieces inside.

Being in the Northwest, especially around Seattle area, we are spoiled with the amount of authentic Thai restaurant selection. Even though, I still haven’t able to find the lovely coconut ice cream that I once had.

This homemade coconut ice cream recipe comes fairly close, I’ve made a little modification when I made it the first time over the weekend. I think I’ll maybe try with some fresh baby coconut next time.

Homemade Coconut Ice Cream
Tools: cookie sheet, sauce pan, strainer, ice cream maker

Ingredients:

1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup half-and-half
1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spread the coconut on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Place in the hot oven for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the coconut turns a light brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

NOTE: be very careful, my coconut turned dark brown the first time after 4 minutes in the oven, and burned 2nd time after 2 minutes, the 3rd time, I turned the temperature down to 250, and kept it in the oven for about 3 minutes with frequent checks. Not sure if it is my oven, so just make sure you keep an eye on it.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat the sugar into the eggs with a hand held mixer until thickened and pale yellow. Beat in the cornstarch and salt. Set aside.

Combine the half-and-half with the coconut milk in a heavy medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from the heat and slowly beat the hot liquid into the eggs and sugar. Briefly rinse your saucepan and rub dry with paper towel or cloth. Pour the eggs, sugar, etc mixture back into the saucepan and place over low heat. Stir constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon until the custard thickens slightly. Be careful not to let the mixture boil or the eggs will scramble. (I used double boiler for this, and it might not be necessary. I figure it’s good to be safe than sorry.) Remove from the heat and pour the hot custard through a strainer into a large, clean bowl. Allow the custard to cool slightly, about five minutes, then stir in the toasted coconut, heavy cream and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate until cold (about 5 hours) or overnight. (This step is very important.)

Stir the chilled custard, then freeze in 1 or 2 batches in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When finished, the ice cream will be soft but ready to eat. For firmer ice cream, transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze for at least 3 hours. (We froze ours overnight and had perfect, scoopable ice cream the next evening.)

This delicious recipe is from: The Ultimate Ice Cream Book: Over 500 Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, Drinks, And More by Bruce Weinstein. The ice cream was made with a Cuisinart ICE-20 1-1/2-Quart Automatic Ice Cream, Frozen Yogurt, and Sorbet Maker.