January 21, 2014

Buffalo Wild Wings, Chipotle and Panera Bread

The 3  restaurant chains to watch in 2014.

These 3 restaurants are the leaders when it comes to casual restaurant chains.
Buffalo Wild Wings was started by 2 guys over 30 years ago.
They have been consistently growing and currently have 959 locations in 49 states.
Buffalo Wild Wings is planning to serve Pepsi rather than Coca Cola to help
spice up their menu (Doritos).

Chipotle Mexican Grill started in 1993 and currently has  1539 locations globally.
They recently started selling tofu along with their other proteins.
Chipotle also has made a pizza partnership where the pizzas are made to order
and baked in 2 minutes.

Panera Bread started their journey back in 1981 with the original being Au Bon Pain Co.
In 1993, Au Bon Pain purchased the St. Louis Bread Company and renovated them
into Panera Bread. There are currently about 1500 Panera Bread locations  in 40 states.

Enjoy all 3 chains Let's Cultivate Food

January 20, 2014

French Toast Rolls

I've always been found of wraps... especially lettuce wraps.
I also love rolls. I even have a whole board dedicated to wraps and rolls on Pinterest.

I also love taking everyday foods and changing them up a little
just to make it different. I unfortunately don't get to eat brunch too often
BUT lucky for me- french toast can be eaten any time of the day.
I think most breakfast foods can be devoured at any time of the day...
or is it simply the thought that it's breakfast food and eating it at a different time
of day makes it more special?  Hmm, I wonder.

I was grabbing lunch at Chilis Restaurant for lunch the other day and I remember
this mom saying to her 2  young sons that this lunch was special but their dinner
was going to be even more special simply because they went out for lunch.
She told them that they were going to have 3 different types of cereal for dinner.
I'm not sure if this was a save money tactic or a just being clever tactic.
Either way... a cereal buffet could be fun!

To make french toast rolls:
Simply take some sliced bread and cut the crust off on all 4 sides.
Add some cream cheese or Nutella and add your choice of fruit.
(berries or banana are most divine)

Roll them up almost like sushi and then dip them in some egg
like the way you would for regular french toast.
(having the egg on a plate vs a bowl for these rolls will be a little easier)

Fry them in a pan (again just like the way you normally would regular french toast)
Once the rolls have cooked and browned-- while still warm roll them in
a sugar and cinnamon mixture, again on a plate will be easiest!

quite divine and delish,   Let's Cultivate Food

January 18, 2014

Mochi rice cake with pork belly

Duk is the Korean word for rice cake.
When we typically think of cake... we think of a sweet dessert type of cake.
Rice cake is certainly not sweet simply because it's just rolled rice often made
into long cylinders cut into smaller pieces.

It is sort of similar to tofu in the way that it will take on the flavor of the sauce
but not like a sponge like texture like tofu.

I decided to take some pork belly which is basically bacon- pre-curing or smoking.
It is often sold in long strips or slabs that you can cut yourself.

An easy way of slicing the pork belly is to place it in the freezer for a minute or 2
-which will make it a little firmer so it;s easier to slice.
Pork belly is also a cut of meat used when you eat Korean BBQ.

Oh and this is what the Duk (rice cake) looks like, well- a common form of it.
It stores in the freezer really well also.

The sauce is soy sauce, water, sesame oil, sugar, black pepper & red pepper paste.

The pork belly has unbelievable taste and flavor on its own so if you saute the pork
first it helps give the rice cake flavor as well.  This is a popular street food in Korea
that is done in many different ways. This is just one simple way.

Zestfully Let's Cultivate Food

January 15, 2014

Overheard a conversation the other night...

I was at a Chinese restaurant a few nights ago and
over heard this conversation at the table right next to us.
The restaurant was slightly busy but the girls next to us were
quite loud in their conversation...

The conversation went something like this:

Older Sister: (in a very snotty tone) "I don't eat Asian food."

Younger Sister: "What are you talking about?  You don't eat Asian Food.?"

Older Sister: (again in a snotty tone) I don't do Asian food.
I have NEVER eaten any Asian Food. I DON'T DO ASIAN FOOD!"

I was pretty mortified (since I am Korean-- that's Asian by the way)
of the tone especially since the server was standing right there ready
and waiting to take their order.

As the server patiently stood there to take their order
the older sister had her arms crossed at this point
and was pretty much huffing and puffing in a way.

The young sister at this point said, "That's enough,  just look at
the menu and order something."
Older Sister: (not having even opened the menu yet) yells again,
in this rude and snotty tone- "whatever, I know I won't find a
single thing I like."  she finally opens the menu and
screeches out   "Oh! General Tso's. I LOVE General Tso's chicken.
 I'll order that and I'm not sharing any with you!"

Younger sister: "How can you say something like that?
You love Chinese food. I know for a fact  that you've eaten Chinese food."

Older sister: "I've never heard of Asian Cuisine. I thought it was
some weird crap. They should put on their menu that they
have Chinese food also not just Asian cuisine.

Younger sister: "You do know that China is a part of Asia right!?!-
What's wrong with you?!?!"

Older sister: "No, I didn't know that. I thought China was an island.

Overhearing conversations like this really makes me annoyed but also
it makes me wonder are these people real? I'm certainly not an expert
in geography and all but.... that's pretty much all I can say... but... really? HUH?

was slightly mortified,  Let's Cultivate Food

January 13, 2014

Avocado Caprese Toast

I love the combination of fresh mozzarella cheese, ripe tomatoes and basil.
Also known as an Insalata Caprese  or a appetizer salad
that is in the style of Capri.  (an island off of Italy)

A heartier way to have a caprese salad in the form of brunch
or lunch is on toast.

Take some of your favorite crusty bread and cut it into slices.  
If you can-  toast or warm the bread so it's a little softer and simply warm.

Mix your combo of ripe tomatoes fresh mozzarella cheese and basil 
cut in chiffonade  (long strips)  in a bowl and add a sprinkle of salt 
and drizzle a little olive oil. (about 2 TBSP)

While the caprese contents are marinating in your bowl--
take your ripe avocado and mash it up with a fork or a potato masher.

The only thing you have to actually cook is an egg. 
A poached or egg cooked over easy is best so that 
the egg yolk drizzles onto your toast.

To dress your slice of bread-
take your butter knife and smother your bread with the mashed avocado-
then add the egg on top of the avocado and top with the caprese salad.

In Home Cooking Classes Valentine's Class Birthday

Zestfully Let's Cultivate Food

January 10, 2014

Caprese Burger

What would happen if you took a burger and added
some fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil INSIDE the burger?

A stuffed caprese burger or a stuffed margherita burger.  YUM!

Make the beef patties on the thin side... add some fresh mozzarella cheese, 
tomatoes and basil (cut in chiffonade or whole) then, add another thin beef patty
on top and press together so that the burger is stuffed.

If you want to step up the healthy portion of the burger... 
I recommend adding some spinach rather than lettuce and 
you can also add some sauteed slices of zucchini 
and more tomato or sun dried tomato!
AND of course some bacon... oh wait I said healthy part... oops!

In Home Cooking Classes Philadelphia
Zestfully Let's Cultivate Food

January 9, 2014

Artichoke Spinach Dip

I  you!

Get it? I artichoke you. I 'oughta' choke you!
ok, ok I'll leave the comedy up to the comedians.

I just wanted to share a very easy and healthy recipe for a 
non bake Spinach artichoke dip.

You can use bread, carrots, celery, pretzels, crackers
or bagel chips (my favorite) to dip into this delicious dip.

The recipe is  ~~~>
~ 1 single size of Greek yogurt (plain or vanilla- preferably plain)
~ 1 clove of garlic minced very small
~ 1 small jar of artichoke hearts (please drain them first)
~ a small bag/box of frozen spinach (thawed first- I prefer to chop them small also)
~ sprinkle  (about 1/4 - 1/2  teaspoon of each)
    onion powder
    garlic powder
    pepper flakes (cayenne)
    salt, black pepper
    lemon juice

In Home Cooking Classes Birthday Valentines Day

Zestfully Let's Cultivate Food

January 8, 2014

Belkin Crock Pot WeMo Slow Cooker

Ahhhh, technology.
It always seems to amaze me... the things people and companies come up with.

I'm not the biggest fan of a crock pot simply because I think I just
don 't have the patience for it.  I know most slow cooker users
will say that it's so easy because you throw-- often meat and veggies into the pot-
add some seasonings and step away for many hours.
It's the many hours that bothers me. I'm a busy body so I need to be doing something.
I do enjoy using a slow cooker from time to time especially when it comes to a
Holiday meal and you want the beef or whatever type of meat for that matter
to be tender and soft.

I read the other day that there is now a Crock Pot that you can use with your WIFI!
WHAT!?!!!  crazy!     It's similar to the way that you can control your TV or DVR settings
from an app from your smart phone.  You control the settings from your smart device.

It's made by Belkin and Crock Pot. The official name is the
"Belkin Crock Pot WeMo Smart Slow Cooker. "

WeMo is a line of products made from Belkin International where you can
control devices by being simply connected to the internet along with
having sensors. I've read that because these devices are controlled through IP networks
they can be disturbed through other users...  not too worry though because
I highly doubt someone will hack into your slow cooker...

Belkin is also has a Mr. Coffee smart coffee maker and a Holmes smart humidifier
in the works as well.   The slow cooker will be $99 when it comes out in the Spring.
In Home Cooking Classes Philadelphia

Zestfully Let's Cultivate Food