Friday, April 30, 2010

The Bear Pit

With amazing vintage murals of cooking bears, saw dust on the floor, and wagon wheel chandeliers, the Bear Pit is one of the most charming restaurants I have seen in the greater Los Angeles area.  The wait staff was downright country friendly. The kid's menu was cute and included a mini rack of ribs, "The Rib Tickler," which my kids split.  The meal that Husband of Food and I shared had a to go box that was heavy to carry back to the car.  These portions were Fred Flinstone huge.   The prices were reasonable, the sodas plentiful... So why am I a wee bit disappointed?  To tell the truth, the taste of this Barbecue just didn't quite live up to the rest of the terrific experience.  The sauces had no kick and without the BBQ sauce, the meat was dry and bland.  We were given two sauces, one sweet and the other tangy.  The sweet sauce was my favorite, but could have used some tang, the tangy one was fairly gelatinous and really left me cold.  The sides were better, the baked beans yummy, the hush puppies were different from others I've had, but tasty, and the garlic bread nice.  As a whole, I had a fine meal and I certainly enjoyed the atmosphere, but for great tasting meat, I'd go down the road a bit, that road being Sepulveda, to Dr. Hogly Wogly's. 

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Crab Spring Rolls Test Kitchen


The Crab Spring Rolls are made!  A few things were learned along the way, so I am going to reprint this recipe with some modifications, added information, and pictures.

Crab Spring Rolls AFTER TEST

Spring Roll Wrappers
2 Carrots
3-4 Green Onions
Lump Crab in a Can, I used 1 6oz can, but I would have been happier with 2 6oz cans.
Soy Sauce
Peanut Oil
Napa or Asian Cabbage
Chili Paste
Honey
Entoki Mushrooms
Filling

Put a wok on the stove to heat up.
Cut the Carrots and Green Onions thin like matchsticks.
Put the carrots in the wok and then add a bit of oil (1 TBSP)
Add the Green Onions.
Stir fry until slightly softened. The vegetables should not be too soft.
Put the Cooked Vegetables into a Large Bowl.
Add the Lump Crab to the Vegetable Mix, enough to make up a large percentage of the mix, maybe 40-60% crab.


Add about 1/4 cup of Soy Sauce and stir it in.
The filling is tasty.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut the top off of the Cabbage.
Slice some Cabbage thinly to be stuffed in the wrapper with the Crab Vegetable Mix.


Wraps

Lay out a Spring Roll Wrapper like a diamond.
Put a couple of spoonfuls of Filling on the Wrapper.
Put a Spoonful of Cabbage on the Wrapper.
Notice that there is a floured edge at the top corner, that becomes useful later.


Fold the bottom corner of the diamond up to the middle of the filling.


Fold in the side corners of the wrapper.  I don't have the picture of the next step, but happily the spring roll wrapper instructions did.


Roll up that last corner.  Rolling makes a tighter fit than folding the wrapper.  Put a bit of water on your finger and brush the inside of the top corner of the wrapper, where the flour is, and fold it over so it sticks to the roll.

Brush some Peanut Oil on the outside of the Spring Roll so that it crisps up in the oven.
Make sure there is oil on the bottom of the rolls so they don't stick to the tray.
Repeat until you have a tray full of Spring Rolls ready to put in the oven.

Put the tray of Spring Rolls into your oven.
Cook about 35 minutes or until crispy and golden.

While the rolls are cooking, mix up the sauce.
Add 1 part Chili Paste to 2 parts Soy Sauce and Honey to a small bowl.
This sauce was way to spicy for my tastes with equal part ingredients.  Even this mix was a bit hot, but you only need a drizzle on the Spring Rolls.
Mix and adjust to your taste, making sure it is liquid enough to drizzle on your Spring Rolls.

Finishing

Take the Rolls out of the oven.
This was as far as I got.  If you want to get fancy, do the next step...

Lay out some Mushrooms on a plate.
Slice the rolls on a diagonal.
Put the rolls on the mushroom plate.
Drizzle Sauce on top and around the plate.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Crab Spring Rolls from watching Sam the Cooking Guy

I just watched Sam the Cooking Guy and I don't want to forget this recipe that I saw.  I Googled, but I couldn't find this exact recipe online, so I am going to try and write it out here so I don't forget how to make it. This is from memory. I do not have TIVO or a DVR today. If anyone wants to add information to this recipe, please leave a comment, especially if your name is Sam.

Crab Spring Rolls BEFORE TEST!  READ THE NEXT POST BEFORE PROCEEDING.

Spring Roll Wrappers
2 Carrots
3-4 Green Onions
Lump Crab in a Can
Soy Sauce
Peanut Oil
Napa or Asian Cabbage
Chili Paste
Honey
Entoki Mushrooms

Filling
Put a wok on the stove to heat up.
Cut the Carrots and Green Onions thin like matchsticks. 
Put the carrots in the wok and then add a bit of oil (1 TBSP?)
Add the Green Onions.
Stir fry until slightly softened.  The vegetables should not be too soft.
Put the Cooked Vegetables into a Large Bowl.
Add the Lump Crab to the Vegetable Mix, enough to make up a large percentage of the mix, maybe 40-60% crab.
Add a bit of Soy Sauce (maybe 1/4 cup?) and stir it in.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut the top off of the Cabbage.
Slice some Cabbage thinly to be stuffed in the wrapper with the Crab Vegetable Mix.

Wraps
Lay out a Spring Roll Wrapper like a diamond.
Put a couple of spoonfuls of Filling on the Wrapper.
Put a Spoonful of Cabbage on the Wrapper.
Fold the bottom corner of the diamond up to the middle of the filling.
Fold in the side corners of the wrapper.
Put a bit of water on your finger and brush the inside of the bottom corner of the wrapper and fold it up so it sticks to the roll.
Brush some Peanut Oil on the outside of the Spring Roll so that it crisps up in the oven.
Repeat until you have a tray full of Spring Rolls ready to put in the oven.

Put the tray of Spring Rolls into your oven.
Cook until crispy and golden.

While the rolls are cooking, mix up the sauce.

Add equal amounts of Chili Paste, Soy Sauce, and honey to a small bowl.
Mix and adjust to taste, making sure it is liquid enough to drizzle on your Spring Rolls.

Finishing
Take the Rolls out of the oven.
Lay out some Mushrooms on a plate.
Slice the rolls on a diagonal.
Put the rolls on the mushroom plate. 
Drizzle Sauce on top and around the plate.

Serve and Enjoy!

Pictures to come once I follow my notes.  Adjustments may be made at that time.  Please let me know if you give this one a try.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Passover Bagels and a look at a Vintage Cookbook

During the Passover, when we are bereft of bread, I find I am craving anything that is a facsimile of leavened food. Yes, I know, it seems like cheating, but Passover rolls and bagels are a time honored tradition. About day four I desperately needed something other than Matzo.


While looking for a recipe to quell my yeasty yearnings, I came across this lovely vintage cookbook, A Russian Jew cooks in Peru, by Violeta Autumn, published in 1973. Amazingly, it is Available on Amazon through 3rd party sellers. I am not sure where I got this book, Friend of Food Kelly maybe? If so, thank you, Kelly. This is a beautiful book

The recipes are lovingly illustrated and hand lettered.  Every detail is well thought out and preciously laid out on the page.


Even the dedication page is phenomenal.


Close to the end of the book, I found this recipe for Passover Bagels. 
If you click on the image a larger version of this picture will appear.
You can try this recipe for yourself. 


It is fairly quick and easy, especially when you follow these pretty directions. These bagels are pretty tasty right out of the oven.  They don't seem to last much beyond that as everyone eats them right up.  I have already made this recipe twice this Passover.

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