23 April 2008

Crispy Black Bean Cakes

Me and Kea tag teamed this one. I did step one while he was at school and then he did the rest while I was at Pilates. It came out pretty good, although he said it soaked up a lot of oil and so it maybe didn't taste as healthy as we would've liked. We really felt like we just wanted to eat it with fruits and veggies. (Luckily we had some carrots and oranges.) We thought salsa might be good, but we didn't have any.

Along the way, I thought maybe it would be better as an appetizer. And then today, when we decided to make chili, I thought they might go well together. And I also thought they might be good with a fried egg for breakfast.

Some challenges we faced: I didn't follow the directions about food processing because ours is cheap and I was worried it wouldn't be able to handle. Kea took one look at those giant pieces of onion though and decided to blend. But then he had trouble keeping the patties together. (They would fall apart when he dipped them in the egg.) So... please follow the directions about food processing.

Labels: , , , ,

13 April 2008

Tasty Twist

Went to Tasty Twist on Friday evening with some friends. First we had dinner at Sansu, which has just about the best Japanese food available in East Lansing. But that's not important. The important thing is that when we were done eating and totally full I was like, "Hey, let's study and then get ice cream." It's been a bit warmer lately--well, it was, but then it got cold again and snowed, but that is not important either. The important thing is that everyone got really excited. So we studied for a couple of hours and then went to Tasty Twist. It was totally too cold (well, like 50 degrees or something) but whatever. We walked over from K and S's apartment. We ran, cuz it was cold.

I had a caramel sundae with nuts and whipped cream. It was a little more whipped cream than I needed, but still good. K had a sundae with pecans--costs more but they looked really good. Last time I had a Twister, like a McFlurry or Blizzard. The best thing is the price. Most stuff is under $3. J had a chocolate marshmallow sundae--that's chocolate sauce and marshmallow fluff, not chocolate-flavored marshmallow. I hear the chocolate peanut butter milkshakes are good too.

08 April 2008

New Orleans, Part III

started off sad but ended up good. we tried to go to mother's for breakfast, but ran out of time. we tried again for lunch and ran out of time again. we finally made it in the late afternoon when we didn't have anything else to rush off to.

so we waited in line--less than twenty minutes i think, although we were on a post-presentation high so i can't say for sure. with the kind of crowd they get, you get told where to go, "send the line that way" and all that. it's cafeteria style--you walk along the counter and feel like you are interrupting and slowing things down if you ask questions. but it is just cuz they're busy and trying to get people their food in an orderly fashion i think. anyway, so you order and then go to the register to pay. then you wait for them to call your name and you pick up your food. i think there's also some kind of process where you give someone your ticket and they bring your food to your table but i don't know how that all works.

anyway, i had the jambalaya, which was great. apparently jambalaya is very rice heavy compared to things like gumbo and etouffee. (see my cluelessness with new orleans cuisine?) one friend had the crawfish etouffee, which was also great. another friend had the seafood gumbo, which was a little too fishy for my taste. i believe it had oysters along with other kinds of seafood. definitely not my style. if i went back, i think i might also get a side of greens.

also headed to southern candymakers to pick up some pralines to take home. first off, the store just smells good. the employees are really cheerful. one of them taught us the correct pronuncation--praw-lines because pray-lines what you do in church. and then they gave us samples. they taste like they would be too sweet--like you wait for that sweet pain in your teeth, but it never comes. it's like magic. pralines and cream was one of my favorite ice cream flavors when i was a kid and i never even knew what a praline was. i bought some chocolate pralines and rum pralines for kea. and for me--until i realized all that cream and butter does not agree with me. they also had peanut butter pralines and coconut pralines but those didn't seem that appetizing to me.

Labels: , , , , , ,

New Orleans, Part II

We wanted a hearty breakfast and found ourselves at Orleans Cafe, attracted by the gentleman soliciting guests out front. The buffet caught our attention first but except for grits and fruit, it was the standard scrambled eggs, pancakes, and bacon. I opted for some kind of omelette with seafood and tomato sauce inside. I can't get all the New Orleans food straight. I guess it was an etouffee omelette? Anyway, seafood for breakfast: definitely a first, but I was happy. The breakfast was a little greasy but it did the job. The omelette also came with some yummy fried potatoes. One friend got Eggs Benedict and I can't remember what the others got except I think they each had some grits, which they loved.

We went to Central Grocery for muffuletas for lunch. It was awesome. I now understand the muffuleta obsession. Besides that great olive spread, there was salami and other meats and provolone. A friend and I split a half-sandwich along with some Zapp's Cajun Crawtator potato chips, which tasted like BBQ but spicier.

Later that day I met some friends for beignets at the Cafe Du Monde at the Riverwalk Marketplace. Not the "real" Cafe Du Monde unfortunately, but still good. And located in an isolated corner of this cheesy mall, right on the river. (Sidenote: This mall is owned by General Growth Properties, the same company that owns Ala Moana and Ward. Made me wonder if their thing is malls with heavy tourist elements.) As my friend Jill said, beignets are like malasadas. A new friend taught us the secret to eating them without getting powdered sugar all over: don't exhale. Unfortunately, I didn't get to try the chicory this time.

A group of decided it'd be nice to have one fancy meal. We called to make reservations for Emeril's Nola and couldn't get in until 9:30. Went ahead with it anyway. I'm generally opposed to Emeril. I hate his show. I heard the Food Network had to give him cooking classes. This restaurant, however, was awesome. It's got an elevator in the middle, which took us up to the third floor. I think we had two waiters and they were fun and friendly. They could probably tell this was a splurge for us because they asked us if we wanted bottled or ice water and told us we could have as much bread as we wanted. The bottled or ice water was nice though--you could be like, "No, it's not regular water; it's ICE water." They had three kinds of bread: jalapeno cornbread, onion bread, and french bread. Of course we went for the cornbread.

The absolute best thing was the bourbon mashed sweet potatoes that came with the buttermilk fried chicken. The potatoes must've been carmelized or something because they were the best thing ever! I'm not sure if I tried the fried chicken--I was eating off my friends' food. The sweet potato ice cream we had for dessert was also a standout. The chocolate pecan pie it came with was less impressive in my view, although others seemed to like it.

We also ordered shrimp remoulade with friend green tomatoes. The remoulade had creole mustard in it and I think that gives me heartburn, although it was very very good. I also had roast chicken gumbo and the arugula salad that were pretty basic, but still good. As always, I was trying to get some veggies in.

I should also say that the portions were huge! Rather than order an entree, I ordered an appetizer, salad, and soup because I was worried about small portions. I think I could've ordered just two and been great.

New Orleans, Part I

I went for the first time last week. I was a little apprehensive food-wise because I am not very adventurous when it comes to seafood. I mean--I guess I am in some ways. I eat sushi, but really only ahi and salmon. And I do like jellyfish. I like scallops, shrimp, crab, and lobster okay, but am not a fan of oysters or catfish. And we had crawfish (crayfish) as pets in elementary school. So I was excited about having a muffuleta, beignets, and chicory coffee, and I was trying to gear myself up for trying some of the seafood.

The first night was our program party at Crescent City Brewhouse on Decatur. There were a bunch of different fried things: crabcakes, fish (catfish?), wontons. The crabcakes kind of sucked, but I liked the fish, and the wontons were okay. A friend more familiar with catfish thought that's what the fried fish was but it didn't taste anything like the catfish I'd tried in Little Rock. I think what I really liked about the fried fish was the spicy batter though! We also had little muffuletas--the bread was a little too soft for my taste, but that olive spread makes everything good! The beers were really expensive--yeah, they were big but not $8 big. Still, I don't think drinking is about thinking logically so I had a couple mugs of the Weiss. Very good!

we had lunch at Liborio Cuban Restaurant on Magazine Street. I wanted some veggies so I don't know why I ordered the Bistec Cubano. I guess because it said it had onions. I have trouble when I read menus with knowing when the vegetable is more of a garnish or seasoning versus a main ingredient. It did come with plantains though and really, it was great. I just wished I had more vegetables. One of my friends ordered rabbit, for which I will never forgive her, but she said it was good. Another friend ordered shrimp creole and said it was as good as her mom's. The fourth ordered Ropa Vieja. I tried a bit and it was definitely better than the ropa vieja at Cafe Habana in Ann Arbor. The flavor was much more interesting. I had a yerba mate soda but wished I'd ordered the pineapple soda my friend ordered. Both were quite a bit on the sweet side (I think when I order sodas other than the standard Coke and 7-Up I expect them to be less sweet) but still good.

Thursday night we headed to a publisher's party at the aquarium. The food was awesome, if a bit salty. There was crawfish etouffee which I ate because it was the first thing I found, I was really hungry, and worried I wouldn't get anymore free food. (That's what these parties are all about. Seriously.) Anyway, it was great. I'd say crawfish is similar to shrimp--it's got that same chewiness. And it wasn't too fishy for my taste. The best thing we had at this party was grits with shrimp and mushrooms. Yum... it was too salty, but still really good!

After that we headed to Bourbon Street. OMG there are slurpee machines that dispense daiquiris. They are all over. My friends who are not into sweet drinks thought they sucked, although one person said the margarita is not too sweet. I heard the peach is not good. I just love the concept. I swore I wasn't going to drink, but I couldn't pass it up. Plus I think I wanted a cold drink more than anything else. So I picked a flavor that only had one kind of alcohol in it: the Hurricane. I figured that at the very least I didn't need to be mixing alcohol. It was great!