Monday, April 26, 2010


The other day, I got home and I wanted to make something simple but super tasty. Here's what I ended up doing.

Easy Tofu and Green Beans

1/3 brick tofu
A handful of green beans
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 1/2 Tablespoon rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon chili garlic sauce (this can be found in the Asian foods section of the grocery store)
Vegetable oil or butter

Bring a medium sized pot of water to a boil
Cut the tofu into squares and then fry in the the oil or butter (depending on what you prefer. I go back and forth on my preferance) until golden and crunchy on both sides.
Once the water has been brought to a boil, throw in the green beans and cook for about 5 minutes or until they are the crunchiness that you prefer (I like them to be more crunchy than mushy).
Mix the soy sauce, rice vinegar and the chili garlic sauce together. Adjust to your liking.
Once the tofu and the green beans are cooked, place in a bowl and pour the sauce over top. Enjoy!

This dish is easy, healthy and satisfying. What more could you ask for?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Scallop Cravings

I've been really craving scallops for weeks now, so I was really excited when I saw some at the farmer's market. The guy at the farmer's market sells freshly caught fish so I knew it would be good. I wanted something simple that wouldn't take away from the taste of the scallops. I found this recipe that originally calls for tofu as the protein, but it sounded like it could be perfectly adapted for scallops.

Scallop "Sushi Bowl"
Inspired by 101 Cookbooks

(for one serving):
1/4 Cup rice
2 Scallops
1 Tablespoon orange juice
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 Tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 avocado sliced

Cook the rice according to the directions on the package.
Mix together the orange juice, lemon juice, rice vinegar, brown sugar, and soy sauce.
Wash and dry the scallops. Season them with salt and pepper. When the rice is almost ready, Melt the butter on medium high heat. Cook the scallops 1-3 minutes on each side, depending on the size of the scallop. They will turn white instead of pinkish and when they are white all they way through, they are ready. When they are almost done, pour a few teaspoons of the dressing over the scallops. Mix the rice with as much dressing as you'd like and top with the scallops and avocado. Drizzle with a bit more dressing.

This was a perfect way to satisfy my scallop craving! The dressing was delicious really pulled together all of the flavors. A perfect, light dinner.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Market Finds

The Davis Farmer's Market was recently voted America's Favorite Farmer's Market, and for good reason! The Farmer's Market is definitely one of my favorite parts about Davis. It's a fairly large market, with fresh produce from many different local farms, along with seafood, meat, flowers, olive oil, honey, jams, tortillas, cheeses, wine, baked goods, ice cream, popsicles, prepared sandwiches, hot dogs, indian, mexican and middle eastern name it! I'm so happy that the weather is getting nicer out so that it's easier for me to get out to the farmer's market and then once I'm done shopping, I can lay out in the sun and enjoy the beautiful weather. Here are today's finds from Farmer's.

Davis Farmer's Market
Central Park at 4th and C
Saturday 8AM-1PM (Year-Round)
Wednesday 4:30-8:30PM (Spring-Summer)

Strawberries $3 per basket
The woman at this booth added another half of a basket into my paper bag, free-of-charge!

Artichokes $1 for 2 medium sized artichokes
I am so excited to try a recipe with these. I've never made artichokes on my own before.

Asparagus $3.50 for a bunch of thin asparagus
I really prefer the thin asparagus. I'm always afraid that the thicker stalks will be too stringy--yuck.

Scallops $7 (even though the tub says $7.50) for about 7 medium sized scallops
I've been craving scallops for weeks. I really hope these turn out well!

Dark Chocolate with Espresso Beans $2 for a bar
I could NOT resist these chocolate bars. Plus, the stand is run by 7 young girls and all of their profits go to children and environmental charities!

Walnut Bread $3.75 for a loaf
This is one of my favorite loaves of bread that I've found in Davis. Fat Face uses this bread for their grilled cheese.

Cheese curds $5 per tub
I LOVE cheese curds and haven't had them forever. I think they make for the perfect snack food. This place also had ricotta that I was tempted to get, but I didn't know what I wanted to make with it. I'll get it another time.

Eggs $2.50 (I think? Maybe $3.50?) for 6 large (two-yolked) eggs
I'm usually a bit low in iron so I try to eat eggs on a regular basis. Two-yolked eggs should help with that too because the yolks have a lot of iron (and cholesterol, so don't go over board!)

Kiwi $3 per pound kiwi
Mmm, I think kiwi is one of the best fruits to snack on. I usually eat it with the skin on because I like the tartness that it adds and I don't mind the "fuzz". Also, most of the nutrients are in the skin.

If you have a farmer's market close by you, go check it out! They have great finds and food tastes so much better when you get it fresh from the farm/orchard.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Happy Birthday, Caitlin!

Last week was Caitlin's Birthday! I wanted to make her a birthday cake that resembled the Hungarian Chocolate Cake that she made me for my birthday (which was delicious!) and that her family makes for all their birthdays, but all I knew about it was that it was a chocolate cake and that it had fresh coffee in it. So I went on a search for recipes and found the perfect one! A chocolate cake, made with fresh coffee (but I used espresso), raspberry filling and chocolate ganache frosting! Perfect.

Double Chocolate Layer Cake with Raspberry Filling
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

For Cake:
3 Ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate
1 1/2 Cups hot brewed coffee or espresso
3 Cups sugar
2 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 Cups unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Teaspoons baking soda
3/4 Teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 Teaspoons salt
3 Large eggs
3/4 Cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 Cups well-shaken buttermilk
3/4 Teaspoon vanilla
For Ganache Frosting:
1 pound fine-quality semisweet chocolate
1 Cup heavy cream
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 Stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
For Raspberry Filling:
10-ounce bag frozen raspberries, thawed
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoons cornstarch
For an added touch to the filling:
Fresh raspberries

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and grease 2 10x2 inch round pans. Line the bottoms with rounds of wax paper and grease the paper.
Finely chop the chocolate and combine with the hot coffee or espresso. Let the mixture stand. Stir occasionally until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
In a large bowl. Mix together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another large bowl, beat the eggs with an electric mixer until they are thickened slightly (about 3-5 minutes). Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla and melted chocolate mixture to the eggs, beating until combined. Add the sugar mixture and beat until combined.
Divide the batter between the pans and bake about 1 hour, until a tester can be inserted in the center and come out clean.
Cool the layers completely on a rack. Since I was making this in secret so that Caitlin didn't know, I did not have enough time to let them cool completely and this made frosting very you can see from the picture, it does not come out too pretty if you don't let the cake cool. You've been warned! If the layers come out a funny shape at all, you can shape them with a knife.
While the cake is baking, make the frosting and the raspberry filling. To make the frosting, finely chop the chocolate. In a saucepan, bring the cream, sugar and corn syrup to a boil over medium low heat. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chocolate, whisking until the chocolate is melted. Cut the butter into pieces and add to the frosting, still whisking till smooth.
Let the frosting cool in the fridge, stirring occasionally. This will take a while but the cake layers and the frosting should be cool around the same time. If you want to speed up the process, place it in the freezer.
To make the raspberry filling, place the raspberries in a saucepan on medium heat to thaw them. Once they're thawed, mash them with a wooden spoon. Add the sugar and cornstarch and stir until it boils and thickens. Let it cool completely.
To assemble the cake, place the bottom layer on the serving place. Frost the top of the layer with the ganache. Then, spread on a layer of the raspberry filling. Top with the fresh raspberries. Place the second layer on top. Frost the sides and the top and garnish with extra raspberry filling, if desired.

I really wish I had time to make this prettier for Caitlin's birthday, but at least it still tasted good! Hopefully, yours turns out prettier than mine. Remember to let the cakes cool completely! You'll thank me. Otherwise, the frosting will melt and be completely unworkable as you're trying to frost.
I absolutely loved this cake. Caitlin says she's picky about cakes but she claims she loved this one (maybe she's just being nice). If you're looking for a delicious chocolate cake, this is the one to make!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Grilling Out

A few weeks ago, I attempted red meat for the first time, with the help of my dad. It was a lot harder to bring myself to handle than fish was. We chose a nice Tri Tip Steak. Tri Tip steak is a cut that comes from a Tri Tip Roast and is a great cut for grilling. It is less expensive than some other steak cuts but is still very flavorful, has great marbling and is very tender, when cooked correctly. The marinade I used was meant for a quick marinade--perfect for a busy day.

Quick Marinated Tri Tip Steak
Adapted from Noble Pig

1/2 Pound-1 Pound Tri Tip Steaks
1/4 Cup grainy mustard (I used Dijon that was not grainy)
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 Teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 Tablespoon hoisin
1 Teaspoon minced garlic
1 Teaspoon minced peeled ginger
1/4 Teaspoon ground black pepper
Salt to taste

Whisk together the mustard, lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, hoisin, garlic, ginger, pepper and salt.

Coat all sides if the steaks with the marinade. Cover and chill for 1 hour or longer.

The grilling technique will depend on the size of the steak, the type of the grill and how well done you would like it. We cooked ours away from the flame for about 8 minutes on each side...I'd say? But it's really variable. Ours turned out a little more well done that I had hoped for but they still turned out delicious. The meat was very tender and the marinade was delicious. I love ginger and garlic in any thing and the hoisin, lime and mustard worked wonderfully together. This would be great sliced and placed over a salad.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Tea Time

My roommate, Caitlin, and I have been wanting to try the new tea room in Davis--Tea List--so we finally did, last week. It was a beautiful day so we spent our lunch hour sitting outside on Tea List's patio, sipping tea and enjoying a good meal.

(I apologize for the low quality of the photos. There was a lot of shade from the leaves of the trees on the patio that made the lighting very splotchy and as a result, the pictures didn't turn out to well.)

Tea List
222 D Street #3
Davis, CA 95616

Apricot Peach Black Tea Cup $3.25 Pot $5
Caitlin and I were in the mood for a black tea, but also for something that would be refreshing and have a touch of something fruity. This was perfect. The tea was served to us with an hour glass so we would know when to stop steeping the tea leaves.

Chicken Salad Sandwich with Walnuts and Grapes $6.95
I'm very picky about chicken salad but I really liked this one. It was very light and refreshing while still being very flavorful. I usually prefer chicken salad without grapes but they really worked well with the spices in this one.

Side Salad 
That came with the sandwich and had mango, strawberries and a house, balsamic dressing. Simple and delicious.

I am embarrassed to say, but Caitlin and I cannot figure out what our dessert was! At the time, I had a hard time understanding what our waitress said was in the cake, but I can't remember anything about it now except that it was delicious--very moist and the perfect end to the meal. So if you go to Tea List and you see something that looks like this, go for it!

I really enjoyed Tea List and Caitlin and I are planning on going back sometime soon for tea service. Keep an eye out for that post!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Food Weekend Post #2

After the delicious meal in my last post, we stopped by a cupcake place around the corner--Love At First Bite.

Love At First Bite
1510 Walnut Street, Suite G
Berkeley, CA 94709

Mmm, I've never had a strawberry cupcake before and it was so good! I prefer my cupcakes to be a bit more cakey--dense and moist--and this was a tad too light, airy and dry for my taste but it was still well made and had a delicious favor. The chunks of real strawberry in the frosting really added something.

This flavor was SO good! Again, it was a little too fluffy and dry for me, but the flavors were outstanding. The cake was so lemony and not too sickeningly sweet while the pistachio balanced the lemon perfectly. I could eat these every day.

Though the cake wasn't the texture that I prefer, I really enjoyed the cupcakes from this shop. It was a really quaint little place and you could see the employees in the kitchen, frosting the cupcakes, while the delicious smell of cake and buttercream wafted out front. A perfect end to a day full of food.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Food Weekend Post #1

Last weekend, mom came into town on Friday for a visit and to take me home for easter. It was a weekend full of delicious food! After I got out of class on Friday, I took her to Fat Face (of course) and had a delicious meal made up of 3 different sandwiches, a bowl of soup and a salted carmel custard for dessert. Then we stopped next door at Let Them Eat Cake to get a few cupcakes--they had a new one, tiramisu, and it was so tasty! That night, we went out with my roommate, Caitlin, to Katmandu--my favorite place in davis for Indian/Himalayan food. The next morning, we woke up early to go on our next food adventure at the Davis Farmer's Market! We bought plenty of delicious food for our Easter meal and then we settled down to a breakfast sandwich and beignets from Fat Face (yes, they are at the Farmer's Market too!) delicious! I love being able to show my mom around all of my favorite food places when she visits.

Mom eating her dessert at Fat Face.

Then, we set out for Berkeley to have lunch with my brother (and convince him to go back to Fresno with us). We continued our incredible food weekend there by stopping by The Cheese Board Pizza Collective for lunch. The Cheese Board Pizza Collective was born from the original Cheese Board Collective which began as a small bread and cheese shop and was (and is) an employee owned business. They eventually started making pizza a few days a week and it became so popular that along with a new, larger space, they were able to make their pizza sales a full time thing. The 6 members of The Cheese Board Collective searched for new members to form The Cheese Board Pizza Collective and thus it was born. They only serve one type of pizza a day and you can find out the Pizza of the Day by stopping by their website.

The Cheese Board Pizza Collective 
1512 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley, CA

As we waited in the massive line outside the pizzeria, the walls/doors were opened up so we could see the inside of the shop and hear the musicians playing. After ordering our pizza, we took it across the street to the meridian--a tad weird, I know, but this is what you do at The Cheese Board. Despite numerous signs around the restaurant and on the grassy meridian telling people not to, it seems to have become quite the tradition to take your pizza and picnic on the meridian. By the time we left, the whole meridian was completely covered by people eating their delicious pizza. What a tradition!

Tomato with gruyere cheese, onions and fresh herbs

I'm not a huge pizza fan...actually in might be a better description to say that I'm an extremely picky pizza eater. But this pizza was delicious! I'm surprised I was able to stop at 2 pieces and not devour the whole thing in one sitting. The ingredients were simple, but they worked so well together. (Once, my mom went and the pizza had lemon olive oil, caramelized onions, figs and blue cheese! Oh my.) Normally, I really don't like fresh tomatoes on pizza, but somehow they made it work here--I think it was the thinness of the slices of tomato. I can't think of a better lunch than sitting in the grass with the sun shining down and eating a slice of Cheese Board Pizza.

After having our fill of pizza, we ventured over to the cheese and bread part of The Cheese Board Collective to buy a few cheeses for appetizers on Easter. I've never seen so much cheese in one place! The cheese wrapped around the store and you had to take a card and wait to be called by one of the employees. Once you were called, the employees were so nice and would help you decide what you wanted by giving plenty of generous samples.

The Cheese Board Collective
1504 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley

We ended up buying a triple cream that completely melted and tasted almost like butter and a brie that was much stronger and went perfectly with a nutty bread that we bought from the Davis Farmer's Market that morning. Ever since, I've been wanting a really good cheese, but Safeway's collection just doesn't cut it. I see a trip to the Davis Coop in my near future.