Monday, March 29, 2010

Bringing My Favorites Home

My three favorite cuisines are Thai, Indian and Ethiopian. These are three cuisines, however, that I am not very experienced at cooking. Over spring break, one of my favorite blogs posted a recipe for green curry and it looked so easy that I just had to try it! Mmm, Thai food made at home is simply perfect.

Thai curry typically consists of coconut milk, curry paste and meat or vegetables. Green curry is one of the hotter curries, but it is also characterized by a sweetness that isn't usually found in other curries.

Green Curry with Shrimp Over Coconut Rice
Adapted from Noble Pig

Ingredients:
13.5 Ounces coconut milk
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 Cups long grain white rice (I prefer white Jasmine rice)
1 Tablespoon green curry paste (This can be found in the Asian section of the grocery store. Make sure you're getting the paste and not an already-prepared sauce...although that could work as a substitute if you want to cut out on time/ingredients.)
1 Bunch of asparagus
A few handfuls of snow peas
1 Pound frozen shrimp-peeled, deveined
Juice of 1/2 lime

Directions:
Bring 2 1/2 cups water and 2/3 cup coconut milk to a boil. Salt and add the rice. Cover and lower the heat to a simmer until the rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. This should take 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, head the remaining coconut milk over medium heat in a large skillet. Whisk in the curry paste. Stir in the asparagus and cook for 6 minutes. Add the peas and shrimp and cook until the shrimp is done, About 3-4 minutes. Stir in the like juice and season with salt and pepper. Serve over the coconut rice.




I fell in love with this dish! Not only is it very simple, it tasted just like the curry from my favorite Thai restaurants. The coconut rice was so simple but so full of flavor! I don't want to eat regular rice again. This was just too good. I've already make this once again since the first time (without the shrimp though). Substitute the shrimp with tofu or your favorite meat and switch up the vegetables to your liking. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Variations

Traditionally, risotto is an Italian rice dish, cooked slowly in broth and usually combined with a cheese. The broth and the starch from the rice combine to make a creamy liquid. This recipe is a new variation on risotto, substituting the rice with Cannellini beans. It still has that typical creamy risotto texture and creates the same flavor experience of a simple risotto.

Cannellini and Chard No-Rice-Risotto
Adapted from Green Kitchen Stories

Ingredients:
1 1/2 Cup vegetable broth
2 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Large onion (finely chopped)
2 Cloves garlic (finely chopped)
1 Chard cut into small pieces
16 Ounces cannellini beans (rinsed well)
6 Tablespoons mascarpone cheese
1/2 Lemon juiced and zest
Fresh thyme to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Bring the vegetable broth to a simmer over medium heat and then set aside.
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the onion and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the chard and 1 cup of the brother. Cook until absorbed. Add thecannellini beans and the rest of the broth. Cook and stir for a few minutes. Add the mascarpone cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest, thyme, salt and pepper.




Mmm! Delicious. It was creamy and rich and very filling. The lemon and the thyme worked together to give the dish a perfect tang. A perfect, simple weeknight meal.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

All Wrapped Up

When my Greek Professor first said that we were going to have a potluck on our last day of class, I knew I wanted to make either Dolmas (stuffed grape leaves) or Spanakopitas. When the grocery store didn't have any grape leaves, I knew I'd be making Spanakopitas--fine by me! I absolutely love these little pockets of heaven.

Spanakopitas
Adapted from The Best Traditional Recipes of Greek Cooking

Ingredients:
1 Onion, chopped
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
3 Eggs, beaten
1 Pound fresh spinach
8 Ounces chunk feta, crubled (it just tastes better when it's not pre-crumbled)
1/2 Cup cream cheese
Freshly ground pepper
Salt to taste
1 Pound thawed phyllo pastry
Olive oil

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375º
In a large skillet, heat up the olive oil and saute the onion until translucent. Add the spinach and cook until wilted.
Meanwhile, combine the eggs, cheeses, salt and pepper.
When the spinach is ready, drain and then add to the eggs and cheese mixture.
Unwrap the phyllo dough from it's box. Lay one sheet of pastry in front of you, lengthwise. Brush the dough with the olive oil and top with another piece of phyllo dough. This part is a bit tough, just because phyllo dough is so fragile. Cut the layered dough into 5 strips from top to bottom.
Place a few tablespoons of the spinach mixture at the bottom of the phyllo dough and roll it up to the top. Repeat this until the mixture is gone. This should make between 25 and 30 Spanakopitas.
Place the pockets on an oiled cookie sheet and gently brush the tops with olive oil. Bake the Spanakopitas until they are lightly browned, 30-35 minutes.





I've been wanting to make these for ages. You really can't go wrong with spinach, cheese and phyllo dough. These actually weren't as hard as I thought they would be. Phyllo dough is hard to work with, but it's doable. And the finished product is just so delicious!

Monday, March 22, 2010

2 Days of Baking

When I was a kid, my family got all of our bagels from our friend's bagel shop, Bagels and More, in Beloit Wisconsin (the website is currently under construction). Mmm, they were delicious. Because of that, I've become very picky about my bagels. When I saw this recipe for homemade bagels, I was really excited and just had to try them!

Bagels
Adapted from Our Kitchen

Makes 12 bagels

Ingredients:
For the Starter:
1 Teaspoon instant dry yeast
4 Cups bread flour
2 1/2 Cups water
For the Dough:
1/2 Teaspoon instant dry yeast
3 3/4 Cups bread flour
2 3/4 Teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon malt syrup, molasses, or maple syrup
Optional Toppings:
Poppy seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, crispy garlic
Additional Ingredients:
Cornmeal for the baking tray (I used polenta)
1 Tablespoon of baking soda for the water

Directions:
Mix the ingredients for the starter. Make sure they are mixed thoroughly and then cover the bowl and set aside somewhere warm for 2 hours. The starter will rise in that time.
"Knock back" the starter by pushing the air out of it with a spoon. Mix in the ingredients for the dough, reserving 3/4 cups of the flour for kneading.
Knead the dough on a floured surface, adding four as needed. The kneading will take a fair amount of time, about 10 minutes, until smooth.
Cut the dough into 12 even pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. This works better if the dough is a bit wet so dampen our hands or the surface that you are rolling it into a ball on. Place the balls on a tray and let them rest for 20 minutes.
To shape the bales, push your thumb through the center of the ball and then place both thums in the whole and rotate the dough around your thumbs, pushing out a bit to spread the dough. Place the bagels on a try lined with well oiled wax paper. Once they are all shaped, brush the tops with oil and cover them with plastic wrap. Let them rise for 20 minutes or until one can be dropped in a cold bowl of water and will float directly to the top.
At this point, they can be boil and baked but it is much better to place them in the fridge over night to let the flavors and texture develop.
The next day, preheat the oven to 275 degrees and bring a pot of water to boil with a tablespoon of baking soda dissolved inside. Gently place about 3 bagels at a time into the boiling water. Let them boil for one minute on each side. use a slotted spoon to flip the bagels over and to fish them out. of the water. Once they are done, place them on a tray sprinkled with corn meal or polenta. Top with the toppings while the bagels are still wet. I used sesame seeds--my favorite! Repeat with all of the bagels.
Place the bagels in the oven for 10 minutes and then raise the temperature and cook until firm and browned, about 20 more minutes.







Mmm, it was so fun to have fresh-baked bagels. I was a little skeptical of the taste at first, but then I realized that I forgot the sweetener! Opps! They still tasted delicious, but I'm sure they would be much better if I hadn't made that mistake. I'm not going to lie, these are definitely time consuming, but I love having a day full of baking on a slow weekend.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Roll, Roll, Roll It Out

I've always wanted to try ravioli, so I was really excited when I found this recipe. I decided that I wanted to pair it with a simple tomato sauce that I've been dying to make for quite a while. One day, I was having an adventure at the farmer's market, and while looking for ricotta cheese, I found a vendor selling quark cheese. I tried it and while it was similar to the texture of ricotta (except with a little more moisture), but it had a much saltier and full flavor than ricotta cheese--almost like the taste of cream cheese in the form of ricotta! I was sold. I adjusted this recipe to use quark cheese instead of ricotta and I couldn't be happier. I know quark cheese is harder to find, so if you can't, ricotta would work just fine.

I had a lot of fun making this recipe with my roommate, Caitlin. I'd been dying to make this sauce from our favorite food blog, Smitten Kitchen. It is so simple, you just have to try it, even if you don't have the time to make the ravioli.



I loved how hands-on this was, between rolling out the dough and filling the squares with the dough. It definitely was time consuming, but it's the perfect recipe to make over the weekend.




The result was so exciting. It was so fun to see the ravioli and know that I had made it from scratch. Caitlin and I felt very accomplished.










Four Cheese Ravioli and Tomato Sauce
Sauce adapted from Smitten Kitchen. Pasta dough adapted from Annie's Eats. Ravioli filling adapted from Annie's Eats.

Ingredients:
For the Sauce:
28 Ounces whole peeled canned tomatoes
5 Tablespoons butter
1 Medium-sized yellow onion, peeled and halved
Salt to taste
For the Pasta Dough:
4 Large eggs
1 Tablespoon water, plus more as needed
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 1/2 Cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 Teaspoon salt
For the Filling:
1/2 Cup quark cheese or ricotta
1/2 Cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 Cup shredded fontina
1/2 Cup shredded parmesan
1 Clove garlic, finely minced
1/4 Teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 Teaspoon dried basil
1/4 Teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 Teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
Start with the sauce. Place the tomatoes and and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions so that the open ends of the onion are face-down. Once it comes to a simmer, lower the heat to medium-low and keep at a simmer for at least 45 minutes or until your ravioli is ready. Stir occasionally, and work to break up to tomatoes with a wooden spoon. A pastry mixer also works well so smash up the tomatoes.
Combine the eggs, water, and olive oil. Add the flour slowly until it forms a dough. If the dough isn't coming together properly, add more water. Transfer the dough to a works surface. Knead for 2 minutes. Cover with a clean towel and let rest for 20 minutes.
While waiting, in a mixing bowl, combine the 4 cheeses, garlic and spices. Mix well.
After the dough has rested for 20 minutes, it is ready to form. I don't have a pasta sheet roller, so I had to do it the old fashioned way. If you have a pasta roller, you can follow the directions at Annie's Eats. Without a pasta sheet roller, you're in for some work. Roll the dough out as thin as you can get it (on a slightly floured surface). This will take a while, but you want it to be thin or else it will be too tough and will take over the ravioli and be unbalanced with the cheese filling. No need to go to the gym today--this will give you a work out--but the result is so worth it! Roll, roll, roll, and every once in a while, let the dough rest (and your arms) and then roll, roll, roll again. Cut the pasta into squares. Make sure they're big enough to have a good amount of filling in the middle but still enough of an edge to close the ravioli. Mine were about an inch and a half with about a tablespoon of filling in each. Once the squares are cut out, place a tablespoon of filling in the middle of a square, making sure there is an edge, free of filling. Dip your finger in water and lightly brush the edges of the dough, place another square on top and press the edges together to seal. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Boil the ravioli until al dente. This will be between 5 and 10 minutes, depending on how thin you were able to get your dough.
At this point, remove the sauce from the heat, discard the onion and add salt.
Place the pasta into individual bowls and top with sauce.


Wow. The pasta dough's texture was so smooth, the filling tasted incredible and the sauce...oh that sauce! Store-bought ravioli will never be the same. The dough had a completely different texture than store-bought. It was a lot more light, airy and tender. The four cheese filling tasted far different from any four cheese filling I've ever had. The cheeses worked perfectly together and the quark cheese gave it this wonderful tang. This sauce is hands down the best red sauce I have ever tasted. The butter makes it so smooth and the minimal amount of ingredients make it such a clean, simple taste. I had some of the leftover sauce later in the week with some angel hair and it was still just as incredible. If you don't have the time to make the ravioli, at least make this sauce! It is so easy and simply irresistible.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

In the Midst of Finals...

Two finals down, two to go. That means I get rewarded with a blog post! I figured this recipe would be appropriate during finals week because it is a great example of a very quick and easy meal that can be thrown together in the middle of a crazy week--something that really comes in handy when I have 4 huge tests in 4 days.

Fried Rice topped with Crispy Garlic and Ginger
Adapted from Humble Bean, via Mark Bittman in The New York Times, originally a Jean-Georges Vongerichten recipe

Ingredients:
1/4 cup canola oil
3 Tablespoons garlic, chopped
3 Tablespoons ginger, chopped
Salt
1/2 Yellow onion, chopped
6 Stalks green onion, chopped
4 Cups day-old cooked rice (It won't be near as good if it's not day-old! Fresh rice is just too moist to fry. Oh, and I used White Jasmine Rice.)
1 Large egg
2 Teaspoons sesame oil
4 Teaspoons soy sauce

Directions:
In a large skillet, heat up the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they are browned. With a slotted spoon or spatula, take the garlic and ginger out of the oil and place onto paper towels. Salt lightly.
Reduce the heat of the skillet to medium-low and add the onions to the leftover oil (which is now deliciously infused with garlic and ginger). Cook abut 10 minutes, until very tender. Season with salt.
Meanwhile, in a separate pan, scramble the eggs and cook until fairly dry. Mushy eggs and fried rice just don't go together.
Raise the heat to medium and add the rice, eggs and green onions. Cook until the rice is heated up. Add the soy sauce and sesame oil around the edge of the pan. Stir to combine.
Serve the rice topped with a sprinkle of crispy garlic and ginger.


This is my favorite fried rice I've tried. It was very light since the only sauce consisted of a conservative amount of soy sauce and sesame oil. The crispy garlic and ginger were delicious! I was skeptical since you're usually supposed to avoid letting garlic get brown, but the flavor was perfect paired with the rice. This was extremely simple and I was very happy with the result.

For the Love of Food

A Short Finals Study Break:

 "When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"
"What's for breakfast? said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"
"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully. "It's the same thing," he said.

Soft Boiled Eggs

Ingredients:
Eggs (they work best if they are NOT fresh)
Salt
Bread for dipping

Directions:
The eggs should be left out until they are at room temperature. (Leave them out for at least 30 minutes beforehand.)
Fill the pan with enough water to cover the eggs, plus a little more. Add a teaspoon of salt. Bring the water to a boil without the eggs.
Once the water is boiling, carefully lower the eggs into the pan using a spoon. When the water reaches boiling point again, reduce the head to the lowest setting so that it is simmering.
If you are using large eggs, cook the eggs for approximately 4 minutes for a runny yolk and 6 minutes for a medium yolk.
If you are using medium eggs, reduce these times by one minute.
Remove the eggs from the water and run them under cold running water to stop the eggs from cooking.
Place the eggs in the eggcup with the smaller end at the bottom. Crack the shell and peel away the top. Dig in with a teaspoon (adding salt if desired).





My dad and I love soft boiled eggs. He introduced them to me when I was young and they remain, to this day, one of my favorite breakfast foods. Sometimes, the simple pleasures are the best. I can't think of a better way to start off my morning.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Happy Saint Patty's Day!

I really love Saint Patrick's Day. I have so many memories of celebrating it as a kid. I remember all of these movies about leprechauns that I would watch with my family (and I faintly recall being terrified of this one movie that involved a leprechaun and a banshee).

Every Saint Patrick's Eve, my brother and I would construct leprechaun traps in our kitchen. We would prop up bowls and pots and pans with wooden spoons and spatulas, in the hopes of catching a leprechaun. We would lure the leprechaun in with a bits of food and if we caught him, he would grant us a wish, but if we didn't, leprechauns are nice so they'd always leave us chocolate coins. When I moved into my dorm last year, I was shocked to learn that my roommate, Caitlin, also followed this tradition with her family. Needless to say, the two of us still build leprechaun traps.

Every Saint Patrick's Day morning, my brother's, dad's and my milk/soy milk would turn green when it was poured "because we had Irish blood in us", while my mom's would remain white. Our eggs and toast also turned bright green.

This year, I wanted to try and make cupcakes involving classic Irish beverages--Guinness and Bailey's Irish Cream. I was so excited when I came across this recipe from one of my favorite blogs. The Guinness in the cupcakes should bake out, but the Bailey's in the Ganache and Buttercream are fresh. If want to leave out the Bailey's, I would just replace it with milk or cream in the Buttercream Frosting.

Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes with Irish Whiskey Chocolate Ganache and Bailey's Buttercream Frosting.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Makes 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:
For the Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes:
1/2 Cup Guinness
1/2 Cup unsalted butter
3/8 Cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Cup all purpose flour
1 Cup sugar
3/4 Teaspoon baking soda
3/8 Teaspoon salt
1 Large egg
1/3 Cup Greek Yogurt (yogurt or sour cream would work as well)
For the Irish Whiskey Ganache Filling:
4 Ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/3 Cup heavy cream
1 Tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/2-1 Tablespoon Irish whiskey (optional)
For the Bailey's Frosting:
2 Cups confections sugar (approximately)
1/2 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 Tablespoons Bailey's (homemade is best!)
A few drops of food coloring if desired. (I struggled with this because I don't normally like using food coloring and the color of the frosting was already a really nice cream color, but I finally gave in. Hey, it's Saint Patrick's day!)

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 cupcake cup with liners. Melt the butter at medium on the stove and add in the Guinness. Bring to a simmer. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Take off the heat and let cool, slightly.
Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a medium sized bowl. In a large bowl, blend the eggs and sour cream together with an electric mixer. Add the chocolate mixture and beat to combine. Using a spatula, fold in the flour mixture to form a batter. Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full with the matter. Bake approximately 17 minutes, until a tester can be inserted and come out clean. Cool the cupcakes on a rack.
Chop the chocolate and place it in a glass or ceramic bowl. Heat the cream to a simmer, on medium-low, and then pour over the chocolate. Let sit for one minute and then stir until smooth. Add the butter and the Irish Whiskey and stir until combined. Let the ganache cool until it thickens. This process can be sped up in the fridge.
If you have a biskmarck piping attachment, you can fill the cupcakes with the ganache with that. If not, cut out a small, 1//2 inch round whole, halfway down into the cupcake and fill it with the ganache with a piping bag and a wide tip.
Whip the butter for the frosting until fluffy. Blend in the Bailey's and food coloring and then slowly add the powdered sugar until it is thick enough. Ice the cupcakes however you please.



These are so tasty! I love the way that Guinness and chocolate go together so well. The chocolate ganache is very tasty, but if you're rushed for time, this is the part that I'd leave out. It adds something, but it's not necessary and the cupcake would still be delicious without it. The Bailey's Buttercream Frosting was outstanding! Mmm, it was so smooth and had a hint of Irish Whiskey without being too overbearing. Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Everything is Better Homemade

Saint Patrick's Day has always been a big deal in my house. My mom has no Irish blood in her, but my dad does and she's a good sport and celebrates the day with us. I wanted to make some Irish-themed cupcakes for this Saint Patrick's Day, but I figured that I should go all out and start completely from scratch. It's so easy, why not make your own Bailey's?

Homemade Baileys Irish Cream Recipe
Adapted from Cupcake Project

Ingredients:
1 Cup heavy cream
14 Ounces sweetened condensed milk
1 1/3 Cups Irish Whiskey
1 Teaspoon instant coffee
2 Tablespoons Hershey's chocolate syrup
1 Teaspoon vanilla

Directions:
Combine all of the ingredients in blender. Blend on high speed for 30 seconds. Store in a sealed container and refrigerate. Shake before using. This should keep for up to 2 months.


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Getting Braver

Confession: in my whole life, the only raw meat I have worked with has been sausage...that is, until yesterday! I've been wanting to work with meat for months but I just couldn't get up the courage to do it. Yesterday, while I was at the farmer's market, I was looking for ricotta cheese. I stopped by one of the cheese places and they didn't have ricotta, but they did have European Style Lemon Shallot Butter. The man said that it was great with any kind of meat, especially fish, so I decided that I would go for it! I went to the fish man at the market and told him that I have never handled raw meat, but that I had gotten the butter and I wanted to make my first attempt. He sold me half a pound of flounder and said to just sauté it with the butter-easy enough. The flounder had been caught the day before and looked great. Quality of the meat is very important to me and another reason why I haven't attempted cooking fish yet-the fish at my supermarket just doesn't cut it for me.

Flounder with Lemon Shallot Butter and Fresh Thyme

Ingredients:
A few Tablespoons European Lemon Shallot Butter
Fresh Thyme
1/2 Pound flounder
Freshly ground pepper and salt

Directions:
Melt the butter in a skillet on medium-high. If you don't have any herbed butter, regular butter will do just fine. European butter is very high in fat content (80-90% instead of 30% in the butter we're used to), which gives it a much different flavor. Because of this, you don't need to use as much of the European butter as you would use normal butter. Add the fresh thyme, pepper and salt.
Meanwhile, wash the flounder in cold water, then dry it and season the fillets on each side with salt and pepper.
Place the fillets in the skillet and cook from 1-4 minutes, depending on how thick the fillet is. Flip the fillets and cook on the other side from 1-4 minutes. When they are cooked completely, the should flake easily and be opaque in the middle.


I still can't believe cooked with raw fish! And it wasn't near as bad of an experience as I thought it would be! The fillets didn't event feel that gross when I was working with them. They almost felt cool. I'm so excited that I can finally use fish. This dish was really satisfying. The butter was so smooth and worked perfectly, paired with such a delicately flavored fish. I see a lot more seafood dishes in my near future.

Way Better than Store Bought

Everyone in my apartment is pretty obsessed with making quesadillas. It's a staple snack in our house. So when I saw a recipe for flour tortillas, I knew I had to try it. When I saw how simple the ingredients and the process in this recipe were, I was even more convinced. I love that I can make a bunch of these at the beginning of a week and then have them available for snacks the rest of the week.

Flour Tortillas
Adapted from Om Nom Nomnivore

Ingredients:
2 1/4 Cups all purpose flour
2 Teaspoons baking powder
1 Teaspoon salt
2 Teaspoon vegetable oil
3/4 Cup hot milk

Directions:
Heat up the milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir often to be sure not to scold the milk.
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the vegetable oil and slowly add the hot milk until it forms a ball of dough. Add more milk or flour if needed.
Mix this for a few minutes and then place on a floured surface and knead a couple times.
Divide the dough into 12 balls and roll each ball out into approximately 6" circles. Make sure that they are rolled very thin. The first batch I made, I didn't roll out quite enough and they came out like a mix between Indian Naan and tortillas (they still tasted delicious but they weren't quite tortillas).
Meanwhile, heat up a skillet to medium-hot. Don't add any oil or butter-keep the skillet dry.
One at a time, place a tortillas on the skillet. This part is so fun to watch because the dough starts to form little bubbles all over. Leave the tortilla for 30 seconds and then flip it over and let it cook for another 30 seconds. Repeat until they're all done.


I am never getting store bought tortillas again! These taste so much better and they're so easy to make. They really only take a few minutes. Pair them with some mozzarella cheese and you have a wonderfully simple and tasty snack.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Out of the Kitchen for a Day

As you have probably noticed, I don't often write posts about the restaurants that I eat at. This is a big area in the foodie blog world, but I tend to stay out of it for several reasons. First off, I am working with a simple point and shoot camera, and while it's great and I've really been getting the hang of using it, it's difficult to take good food pictures with my camera in dimly lit restaurants. Another reason is because I tend to want to just devour my food when I'm eating out, instead of pausing for a second to take some pictures of it. Third, I just love cooking so much that I spend most of my food budget on ingredients to make my own creations instead of eating out!

Yesterday though, when my roommate, Caitlin and I decided that we wanted to go to Fat Face, a restaurant I've been dying to go to, I knew I had to take my camera so that I could let you all know about what was bound to be an amazing meal! Jaymes Luu started out her business serving the much-talked-about popsicles at the Davis Farmer's Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays. She rotates her flavors depending on what is in season and what ingredients are available to her. Often, her ingredients also come from the farmer's market. I love this concept! Buy locally from the Farmer's Market to make your own creation and then sell it right back at farmer's in it's new, delicious form. Her business name has jumped from Pink Rhino to Aisu Pop to Fat Face. Yes, the popsicles are good...no, they're really great-as I said to Caitlin, I don't think I will ever enjoy another popsicle unless it is one of Jaymes' creations-but her newer addition of sandwiches and soups is pure genius. I don't think I could imagine a better lunch in Davis than half a sandwich, a cup of soup and and a popsicle for dessert from Fat Face.

Fat Face
425 L St.-Suite C
Davis, CA
Lunch served Wednesday-Friday 11AM-3PM
Breakfast and Popsicles served Saturday at the Davis Farmer's Market













I immediately fell in love with the location upon stepping foot inside the door. If there was one word that combined the words "quaint", "urban", "minimalist", "homey" and "cozy", I think that could almost sufficiently describe the atmosphere at Fat Face. The kitchen was completely open to the public so that we could see everything that was going on back there. I didn't get a good picture of the seating area because I didn't want to creep on the other patrons, but it was adorable! There were drawings and paintings on the walls of popcicles and pigs which eally added to the homey atmosphere. There was one big table that looked just like a dining room table and had several different groups of people sharing it. To the side of that, there were two, two-person seating areas, where two chairs were situated around a couple milk cartons stacked on each other for a table. Okay, I loved this. Again, I need all of the above words to combine into a single adjective in order to accurately describe the feeling that I have about the fact that I ate at a milk carton table. I took one of the two-person "tables" while waiting for Caitlin to arrive. As I was sitting there, I noticed something kept happening that made me love Fat Face even more-all without even taking a bite of any of Jaymes' food. About half of the people that came into Fat Face, Jaymes and the other employee knew by name. One woman was waiting for take-out and she must have been a regular because the employee asked her her name so that she could remember next time the woman stopped by. I loved this! What a nice, personal touch.

Roasted Winter Squash Soup $4
I've actually been wanting to make a winter squash soup lately, so I was really excited to see it on the menu. Caitlin and I split an order (so what you see in this cup is half of an order of the soup). It was so tasty! The perfect winter soup. It was earthy and almost tasted as though there were some sort of greens in it (though the color makes me think there wasn't). One order of this soup would make for the perfect lunch, but I'm not sure I could step inside Fat Face and not order a sandwich. 

Beer Poached Figs, Caramelized Onion, Arugula, Goat Cheese $7 full/$4 half
Okay. This is GOOD. I love figs any way, but figs AND goat cheese? Heaven! Caitlin and I ordered a half of this sandwich and then split that half in half, but if my stomach would have allowed it, I would have eaten about 3 of these without getting tired of it, one bit.


Cold Smoked Salmon, Herbed Cream Cheese, Beets, Onion, Lettuce, Caper Berries $8 full/$5 half
Wow. Jaymes asked Caitlin and I if we had a favorite out of the two sandwiches after we were done. I hesitated before answering because I wasn't sure. At the time, I said "no" because they were both so different that I had a hard time deciding. But upon further consideration, this one takes the cake! The Smoked Salmon was the perfect consistency and the smokey flavor didn't overpower the salmon flavor at all. Likewise, the beets weren't overpowering like I feel that they sometimes can be. Instead, they were the perfect accent to all the other flavors. I'm guessing that the Herbed Cream Cheese had lemon zest in it because I definitely tasted something of the sort. Overall, this was nice and light, but ever so satisfying with the smokiness of the salmon. This was simply an incredible sandwich.


2 halves of 2 half sandwiches and a half cup of soup


Thai Tea and Sweet Potato Popsicle $2.50
The grand finale. What Jaymes is known for! And oh, was it tasty! I really couldn't resist this flavor and I'm very glad that this was the first popsicle I tried from Fat Face. It was far from a disappointment. If you've never had Thai Iced Tea, I'm not sure I can describe it, but I can tell you to get yourself over to a Thai restaurant ASAP to have some (or to Fat Face to have the popsicle) . This popsicle tasted so much like Thai Iced Tea, but the sweet potato cut the sweetness a bit so that it wasn't overbearingly sweet. I am serious when I say that ordinary popsicles will never be the same! It's ALL about Jaymes' popsicles from here on out.

If I had known this morning when I woke up that I would be having such an amazing lunch, I would have jumped out of bed and gotten ready in 5 minutes flat, and I would've been out the door before Caitlin knew what was going on. Splitting the two half sandwiches and an order of soup was perfect and allowed us to have dessert and still not feel overly full. It was an amazing lunch and I highly recommend that anyone from Davis to stop by as soon as you get the chance!