August 23, 2009

The Eritrean experience

The main traditional foods in Eritrean cuisine are tsebhis (stews) served with injera/taita (flatbread made from teff, wheat, or sorghum) and hilbet (paste made from legumes, mainly lentil, faba beans).  Eritrean and Ethopian cuisine (especially in the northern half) are very similar, given the shaed history of the two countries.  

Eritrean food habits vary regionally. In the highlands, injera is the staple diet and eaten daily among the Tigrinya. Injera is made out of teff, wheat or sorghum, and resembles a spongy, slightly sour pancake. When eating, diners generally share food from a large tray placed in the centre of a low dining table. Numerous injera are layered on this tray and topped with various spicy stews. Diners break into the section of injera in front of them, tearing off pieces and dipping them into the stews.

On this past Wednesday, my GF and I drove to Arlington, Va. and met up with a friend of ours at the Enjera Eritrean Restaurant.  Some may beg to differ, but to me, Eritrean food has the exact ingredient as Ethiopian food, down to the seasoning.  One of my friend's friends went ahead and ordered for us, with 3 meat combination (chicken, lamb, some stewed cabbage, goat cheese chunks, collard greens,a small side salad, and two grain stews of lentil and some kind of bean stew) and for my friend, a vegetarian plate.  (She "converted" to vegetarianism back in February... I'm sure that it's a lot healthier for you but, still.)

Above is a picture of the plate that I had... with all the ingredients sitting on a sheet of flatbread.

Miller Lite was the drink of choice, I never really realized how watery that beer is.

The food was pretty good tasting, and it kept me full for a while.  The GF didn't really eat hers, since she's not all that food adventurous and so we made a doggie bag of her plate.  It ended up being my brunch the next day.

August 16, 2009

Grocery stores

The best kind of grocery stores to me are not necessarily chain grocery stores like the Safeways or Giants, and not even the Whole Foods or the Harris Teeters (I don't know if they're just a Virginia thing).  Even though these stores are very convenient, and some of them even have somewhat of an appropriate ethnic foods section, my preferred kind of grocery shopping would actually be like this...

1. A farmer's market for vegetables and fruits. Back in the day, my grandma and I would always visit these open-air markets everyday or every other day to get the necessary food for the day. Refrigeration was only used for storing dairy products or meats. I think this is also very similar to the Europeans and how they shop for groceries, they never get more than what they need for the day.

2. Meat would be purchased at a local butcher's shop. That would be great except I'm really clueless as to what cuts of meats are used for what specific dishes, but I'm getting there!

3. Fishes and other types of seafood would be purchased from fish markets, think Pike's Place Market in Seattle. Unfortunately, I don't live anywhere near Seattle, but if I did, I think I'd be eating a lot more fishes!

4. A dry goods store for grains and other dry foods and spices. These stores would usually sell in some kind of a bulk volume, and eliminate the need for fancy packaging. This kind of shopping you will do maybe once or twice a month.

Don't get me wrong, you should see how my face lights up every time that I go to a good, well-lit, clean, and air-conditioned grocery store! As much as I can be a food snob, I'm not sure if I've entirely converted to the concept of ultra-healthy, no-gluten, wheat-free, and organic food. (Sorry Whole Foods, I love you but I don't believe in you!)  I think there are better ways to deprive yourself.  There is a distinct difference between eating fresher produce and produce that has been sitting in some packaging for days if not weeks on end.  Therefore, if we had the time and the resources, I'd definitely shop for groceries the Asian and European way!

August 12, 2009

Soul food

Tonight's delicious dinner was made by Ms. Tanya, a colleague of my GF. My GF and her had worked out this "DVDs for food" program, for every DVD collection that my GF loans to her, Tanya will share her excellent culinary skills with us.

Just to let you know, I'm a big fan of soul food, and the more home-made, the better! Tanya's fried chicken, collard greens, mac and cheese, and corn on the cob were ggrreeaatt! So great that I am thinking about asking her to adopt me!

Almost all of the food featured is gone, except for some mac and cheese that I'll bring for lunch, or eat for breakfast tomorrow! My boss will not be there tomorrow, extra happiness points!

August 11, 2009


Filet Mignon purchased from this traveling pre-packaged meat salesman.  He sold us a sampler of steaks and burger meats, all packed in airtight sealed bags.  It was sauteed with some olive oil and salt and pepper and then baked in the over at 375 degrees for about 14 minutes.  A croissant from the Pillsbury Doughboy.  And a stir fry of mung bean sprouts and zucchinis that we purchased from H Mart, seasoned with Jane's Crazy Mixed-Up Salt.  The meat was placed in the oven with the baking croissants for about 12 minutes, and came out in a medium-rare texture.

I know that it's a weird combination for dinner, but it sure worked! The whole meal took no more than 20 some odd minutes to cook, tasted good, and a comfortably full feeling was had by all!

P.S. The GF, who is not by any means a vegetable eater, opted to have the steak and three wedges of croissant instead.

August 10, 2009

My favorites

This is the Tung I brand instant rice noodle soup in onion flavor. I've been eating this ever since I could remember! The texture of the rice noodles is just right, if you let it soak in boiling hot water for 3 minutes or less. The onion flavor packet is the size of a tea bag, filled with vegetable oil, bits of onion and very heavy in flavor. Last but not least, a packet of white pepper powder is included to give the noodle soup a extra kick in flavor. Some would say that the smell is pungent, but after 30 some odd years, I'd say that it's a favorite of mine! Yes, there is msg in this product, and by having consumed this noodle for 30 years, I didn't mean eating it every single day or even every week. As a child, it was a treat, but as an adult, it serves more as a food of reminiscence.... back to the times when I was just a worry free kid, having the best time living with my grandparents in Taiwan back in the early 70's to the early 80's.

August 9, 2009

Tonight's dinner...

A hamburger grilled on a charcoal grill, with sauteed shrimps, and a glass of ice water. (We went ahead and grilled the two remaining cheddar brats but one of them ended up as leftover.)

Shrimps sauteed in olive oil with garlic salt, pepper to taste, two big pats of butter, and some lemon juice.

Now that we've got a bigger kitchen, my GF and I will cook at home more often. It's a money saving strategy (even though we don't follow it religiously) and food always does seem to taste better when prepared at home - which is a sad commentary on the restaurants around here.


This is H Mart, a chain Korean grocery store in the Northern Virginia area. We had the pleasure of getting some of our groceries from that store earlier this afternoon. The store has not only a large selection of produce that us Asians like to eat, but it's also got a good frozen and meat section which caters to other minority groups and their eating habits.

The top picture was a snapshot of what we had purchased... you can probably make out the two bags of frozen dumplings, followed by an assortment of greens (Japanese cucumbers, squash, spinach, etc.) fruits (apples, plums, peaches, and these giant green seedless grapes) one container of Korean sweet and spicy ricecakes, and side dishes which include seaweed salad and kimchee vegetables.

While I've always enjoyed shopping at H Mart, I still have a special place in my heart for a good Chinese grocery store. Unfortunately, the one local chain Chinese grocery store's products just don't compare to that of H Mart's.

As a lover of all food, I've been eating a surprisingly little amount of fruits and vegetables.  (My grandma in heaven would agree!)  The primary reason for that is simply my laziness. Most of the vegetables which us Asians like to eat (bok choys, etc.), are best either steamed (I lack the proper material to do so) stir-fried, or braised in some yummy sauce.  I hope to be able to at least do some quick stir-frying in the evening to these beautiful vegetables!

How to make real ramen

Making Japanese Ramen

My idea of pron!

Sunday breakfast

Welcome to the inaugural post of my new blog! As a person who loves to eat food from just about all the continents, I've started this blog to chronicle my food adventures, be it an ordinary mash up of what I can find in the kitchen, or some fancy meal at any fine dining establishment! I hope you'll enjoy them as much as I do!

What was not pictured here was a cup of coffee from Meth Coffee that I had ordered online.
The pancakes were made with Pioneer Buttermilk Baking Mix. Two slices of Smithfield bacon.
One supermarket brand egg that I had fried in bacon grease (as bad for you as it sounds, it actually enhances the egg's flavor and if you don't eat it all the time, it won't kill you!)
Last but not least, one link of bratwurst (with cheddar cheese in the middle) from Johnsonville.

I will try to embed links for the products which were used in the making of a meal as often as possible, so that you can also go out and purchase them if you are so inclined.
Even though the presentation of the food items was nowhere near professional, it is the taste that counts. The Pioneer baking mix usually yields the fluffiest pancakes and biscuits, and unfortunately, it seems like you can only purchase that brand in the South.
The reason why I had added the bratwurst in the mix was that I've been on a bratwurst (cheesy ones) kick lately. These brats were purchased for an upcoming cook out in my backyard, but somehow it got delayed and someone had to eat them, right?
Hope your Sunday breakfast have been as good as mine!