June 27, 2012

Eat a Flip Flop

Summer time calls for summer LOOKIN things right?
We all enjoy a great BBQ but how about eating a flip flop?
Eww, not the gross ones your sweaty feet were on but 
change it up a little and make a flip flop sandwich.

One of my favorites is the threesome of tomato, basil and mozzarella.
I started with the three and a piece of bell pepper as well.

This is my messy kitchen counter with a pot of basil.
(The basil's home is on the balcony but I figured basil pot could make a guest appearance)

Take some bread, don't judge, any kind of bread will be great!

and trim the edges so it's sort of  in the shape of an oval.

Add your sandwich meat, veggies etc...

Take your bell peppers and after cutting strips, use a toothpick to insert into
your sandwich to represent a flipplin flop... I mean flip flop.

The extra bread pieces you cut off, can be dried and pulsed to make bread crumbs
or you can just simply snack on them. (don't throw them away though!!)

June 25, 2012

Hip City Veg

HipCityVeg is located on 127 S. 18th Street in Philly.

Green Lemonade.................. and Groothie  (Green Smoothie).
The green smoothie was made of blended apple and kale. 
It was quite tasty and might be added to my summer smoothie rotation!

The classic vegetable burger had lettuce, tomato, onion, ketchup and Dijon mustard.
The burger itself was good but the bun was a little dry which made the whole burger 
a little on the dry side. It was a very good veggie burger! Yum!

The Fajita Wrap consisted of  "blackened chicken", sauteed onions and peppers,
pico de gallo, avocado and a chipotle creme almost like a mayo. 
The blackened "chicken" is NOT actually chicken, it's made from soy and grains.
You will be fooled because not only does it taste like chicken but it TOTALLY looks
like chicken breast as well. SERIOUSLY.
There was so much stuff jammed into that fajita that the flavors were extremely tasty.
In your bite, you taste a spiciness from the chipotle creme, 
a creaminess from the avocados, a sweet bite from  the sauteed peppers and onions, 
topped off with a toasty grilled texture and taste of the  blackened chicken. 
It was a great fajita, burrito, wrap---     whatever you want to call it.  
On HipCityVeg's menu it is called the  "Fajita Wrap".

If you work in the city or are roaming the city of brotherly love one day...
you should check out HipCityVeg. They have very limited seating and there is a line
most of the day so be prepared for that!  Their hours are 10am-10pm every day.
What's also cool is that all of their packaging is compostable. 
Their food is all plant based foods that are locally grown and give that extra 
great flavor from the freshness.
You feel healthy eating the food because IT IS healthy! 
Nicole Marquis's HipCityVeg is definitely worth checking out if you are in 
the Rittenhouse area of Philly!  It truly is healthy, fast food. 

You really feel that you get a value because it is really healthy which in the 
long run will be good to our bodies and the service is great also.
They don't have a bathroom that you can use so it's disappointing to know
after walking through the city- that you can't wash your hands before you eat.
They do have a huge container of hand sanitizer right next to the register
but it's a little hard to get to with other people ordering at the counter.

I didn't get a chance to try the sweet potato fries but they come with cilantro 
black bean dip which sounds pretty interesting and good!  It has cilantro in it...
It must be good!   Yes, I enjoy a cilantro leaf or two or an entire bunch.
I'll have to try the sweet potato fries on my next visit!

June 16, 2012

Black and White Cupcakes

Have you ever seen the black and white cookies?
Better yet, have you ever eaten black and white cookies?

They are often found in bakeries in New York and Northern Jersey.
Sometimes the cookie is also known as a half and half cookie or even half moons.
They are a lemony shortbread cookie with half and half vanilla and chocolate icing.
Hence half & half or black and white cookie.

I decided I wanted to make a black an white cupcake.
I usually have a reason or occasion to make something
especially when it is something baked...
but I made these cupcakes for no special reason.

Sounds like I have nothing to do huh...
I've got so much to do I don't know if I'm coming or going actually
BUT... this is how I de-stress----- being in the kitchen.

This is the way I made them but you can just use vanilla cake and
chocolate cake. Here are the pictures below. It's pretty self-explanatory.


June 11, 2012

Cucumber Carrot thing...

So, sometimes you need that little extra side dish to go with the main entree
without it being something heavy in carbs or a regular salad.

You can whip this cucumber carrot thing together in a matter of minutes.
It's kind of a slaw, kind of a salad but basically one the easiest side dishes
you can make from scratch and pretty healthy as well.

Take a carrot and a cucumber
(one of each for the picture below-enough for 2-3 people)
and cut it, slice it, dice it, make cool shapes,
whatever and however you want the pieces to look.

Throw it into a bowl, add drizzle of rice vinegar (about 2 TBSP)
and grate in half an apple.

When it comes to flavors, you often want something tart/bitter/sour
to be paired with something sweet to counter balance each other.
In this case, the grated apple works really well with the rice vinegar.
Granted, you can add some sugar instead but let's be healthier and
grate in an apple- you can grate a pear instead if you'd like also.

That's all there is to it.

It always tastes better when you use fresh and whole ingredients and as you can see,
you can actually see the grated apple pieces as you eat your simple slaw as a side dish.

June 9, 2012

Triple Spicy Fried Beef..........yum

While I was dining out, I came across a dish I enjoy quite a bit.  I've been back
to the restaurant to order that same dish among other dishes BUT!

I've also made something close to it while still keeping it my own and original at home.
Now, if you enjoy beef, spicy beef, beef jerky, extra spicy dry beef...
you will almost positively love this dish!

First, heat some oil in a pan or turn your home deep fryer on.

Start with some beef, I usually go with the beef that is already cut into strips-
(it's usually marked for stir-fry, typically a type of chuck)
I usually take the strips and cut them in half to make them even more into
thin strips like the picture below.
By the time you've rinsed and cut your beef the oil should be ready.
I recommend washing/rinsing everything you eat and with that-
please make sure you pat the beef with a paper towel so that you don't splash oil on
yourself when the beef hits the oil. If there is water on the beef, it will cause a mean war.
I mean, MEAN WAR!

You are going to fry the beef 3 times. LITERALLY.
So, once your oil is ready, drop the raw beef in.
(If you have a wooden spoon or chopstick- you can stick the handle part in and
if the oil bubbles/fizzles or has any movement... it is ready)

The picture above is after frying it the first time.
The bottom picture is after it has been fried the 2nd time.

After you deep fry the beef 3 times, if your beef is a lot browner-
you are on the right track.
If your beef is very dry looking and tasting- you are even more on track!
Make sure you have some paper towels to drain the oil from the deep frying.
I usually enjoy salty things so I add a sprinkle of salt right after it comes out
of the hot oil as it is sitting on the paper towel.

As far as the marinating or adding flavor to the beef,
I add a drizzle of soy sauce  (maybe 1 TBSP)
and about 1/2 a TBSP on crushed pepper powder
(the Korean pepper powder works best)
Simply just toss the beef around in the mixing bowl so the soy sauce
and hot pepper powder gets evenly distributed among all the beef pieces.

I recommend using celery or green string beans for the vegetable in this dish.
You could use broccoli but I recommend using celery or
string beans because of 2 reasons.
1.  String beans are already long shaped and celery can be cut easily into
long match sticks to be a similar shape as the beef.
2. Both of these 2 veggies are on the sweeter side and a veggie like broccoli is more
on the bitter of the green veggies (that's typically why it's used in sweeter stir-fry dishes)

Being that my Triple Spicy Fried Beef is a spicy dish, the sweeter green veggie
will complement it better.

As far as the sauce, I usually don't add hot peppers to a sauce/dish.
I will usually just add the Korean pepper paste or hot pepper powder flakes
(associated in making Kimchi) BUT! I saw these peppers at the store and they
were labeled "Vietnamese hot peppers"  To be honest, I bought them because they
were cute.  Sometimes, the cute factor can over power things right...? ......right?

I mean, I even took the time to lay them out all cute on my cutting board and everything.

NOW, if you dare to use hot peppers in the dish...
I do highly recommend letting all tasters know the peppers are a cute factor and not
necessarily meant to be eaten.  (Or stick with all red/orange ones- 
so they can't get confused with a green bean- with the sauce it gets similar looking)

If you do end up with a hot pepper and the inside of your mouth feels like that there
is a Cali wild fire blazing... I recommend drinking some milk or anything that has 
dairy, yogurt, cheese etc...  It will calm the wild fire down. 

The sauce is equal parts of... (start with 3 TBSP)
3 TBSP  soy sauce
3 TBSP  Hoisin sauce
3 TBSP A-1 steak sauce
1 TBSP of rice vinegar  (white vinegar is ok)
honey  (about 1 TBSP  or 1 good squeeze of the bear)
pepper powder (start with 1 TBSP- add to desired spiciness)
sprinkle of sesame seeds (roasted/toasted only)

This is a sauce so it will change depending on how many people you are feeding/serving.
(This amount fed 3 people. )

You definitely want to enjoy this spicy dry beef dish with rice, white, brown, wild red,
or mix it up... whatever floats your boat or basically makes your stomach and eyes smile!

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