Monday, August 31

Weekend Eat

Stir-fried Spicy Noodle - I am all about one-dish meal when it comes to weekend lunch at home. Carb, protien, and vegetable all in one dish. There is always so much to do, or run around for that I don't get to cook meal for my family as much as I would love to. This stir-fried noodle dish is my all time favorite to make, and I am pretty sure my son LOVE it.

I use Mama brand's Thai instant noodles that comes in a single serving package, with seasoning pouches. Tom Yum Goong (or hot and sour shrimp soup) flavor works best for me, since it is very tasty and goes so well with any kind of meat, and shrimp. For the vegetables, I had cabbage, beansprout, celery, onion -- so I used them.

Noodles were cooked in boiling water, until almost done a couple minutes, then drained and set aside. Then, I stir-fried chicken, vegetables, added noodles and the pouched seasonings, and eggs. After that, seasoning with some sugar, soy sauce, ground pepper, and more chili pepper (I like it pretty spicy!). Another quick, easy, and tasty dish!

Saturday, August 29

Chicken and Celery w/ Black Bean Sauce


Friday evening is always a busy night, since there is so much going on -- with the boys. Either having soccer training, going to soccer or football game, going to a movie, or just hanging out together, it's so nice to be kids - no worries :) Anyway, between running around, I made it to come home and cook a real quick dinner! After checking my refrigerator and pantry, I had a dish figured out. While the rice was being cooked in the cooker, about 15 minutes, I got this Chicken and Celery Stir-fry with Black Bean Sauce together.

I cut up some yellow onion, green onion, celery, then sliced a couple pieces of ginger, and chopped up some garlic. Had some bite-size chicken thigh leftover handy, so I used that up.

Once I had everything ready - including all the seasoning and sauce, I stir-fried chicken in vegetable oil with garlic and ginger until meat was cooked.

Then, I added black bean sauce, oyster sauce, a little bit of hoisin sauce, and freshly ground black pepper. Stir well, and add all vegetables - then move them around over high heat real quick. Finally, I drizzled a few drops of sesame oil, turned the heat off, and made the last stir to well-mix all ingredients. Voila!

Friday, August 28

Beggar's Banquet

Another great place to dine and wine in campus town of East Lansing, Beggar's Banquet is located just across the street from MSU campus, right off Grand River Ave. The restaurant offers elegant dining in a casual atmosphere. And I am always happy with their service every time I visit. The staffs are friendly and attentive.

Opened its doors in 1973, Beggar's has a nice selection of wines! Their Wednesday's 1/2 off bottles of wine night has been very popular -- you might want to be there early to beat the crowd.
We had 2006 Wildhurst Reserve, a sophisticated Chardonnay with rich, ripe, core fruit flavors. As described in the vineyard's portfolio, "it is soft yellow-gold in color with a nose of apple pie, lemon drops and lime. On the palate you will taste apples, tropical fruits, vanilla and smoky oak." The wine does have a nice and pleasing finish.

Pita Chips with Hummus and Spicy Feta

Bruschetta
Spinach and Dried Cherry Salad
Fresh spinach, sun-dried cherry, toasted walnuts, and crumble bleu cheese,
tossed with sweet and sour poppy seed vinaigrette

My Spinach and Dried Cherry Salad -- with Char-grilled Flank.
.....
Well, we were there on Thursday -- and it was a 1/2 off Appetizer Night. Though we tried to convince our server it was Wednesday, he didn't fall for that.. However, he recommended a nice wine that all of us ladies --Lynne, Beth, Lisa, and I, enjoyed. And then, we agreed that we should try their Baked Brie appetizer next time!
Beggar's Banquet:
218 Abbott Road
East Lansing, MI 48823
(517) 351-4540

Tuesday, August 25

Simply Delicious

What a beautiful day we had today.
I thought summer was over when we had to be at the boys' soccer tournament
in a cloudy and cool weather a couple of days ago...
Watching my boy and his friends having fun swimming
is just a simple pleasure, that brightens my day..
Got a caring e-mail from my best friend in Thailand today.
A simple little message..., simple little thing...
that makes me feel totally different,
and totally agreed.
"Never explain yourself to anyone.
Because the person who likes you doesn't need it,
and the person who dislikes you won't believe it."
Amen to that!

Tuesday, August 18

Monahan's Seafood Market

It was my second visit to Manahan's Seafood Market in Kerrytown district of Ann Arbor (of all these years living in Michigan.. where had I been?) And I just can't have enough of this place. It's the combination of their GREAT selection of FRESH fish and seafood, staffs' attentive services, friendly people, lively atmosphere, and absolutely DELICIOUS food.

A huge selection of Monahan's daily items displayed in the cases is ranging from variety of fresh fish, oysters, clams, soft shell crabs, sushi-graded fish, smoked fish, as well as appetizer items like Cajun shrimps, smoked mussels, and more. I am always such a big fan of soft shell crab, so I was very happy to see such a beautiful looking ones at the market that day!

As much as I love to eat seafood, and want to make a great dish out of those items, I don't know so much about them. So it was so helpful that the Monahan's owner and staffs are people who have passion for their job, -- and very knowledgeable about their products..!!

Monahan's owner, Mike Monahan, was out picking up some fresh ingredients to prepare dishes for customers -- at the Farmer's Market, right outside Kerrytown Market and Shops. (above picture) I was glad to get to follow him around a little bit, and listen to what he was sharing about Ann Arbor Farmer's Market. When we arrived there on that Saturday, the area had such a wonderful atmosphere. There were so much going on; besides the lunchtime crowd at the restaurants, there were also Farmer's Market and Kerrytown Market shoppers, live music performance, and plenty of happy feeling..

We had a very nice lunch!

For lunch and dinner, Monahan's offers their customers quite a few different ways to have their fish and seafood prepared. They also have variety of delicious sauces to go with their dishes. Their Seafood Chowder is quite popular. I had a taste of it, delicious..!! Others on the menu that we had;

- Great Fish and Chips with their homemade tartar sauce
- My Open-faced Soft Shell Crab Sandwiches made me a very happy person!
- Teriyaki Salmon was very flavorful.
- And Fried Calamari with tasty Peanut Sauce, that we couldn't get enough of.

I just can't wait to go back there..., to visit all the cool stores in Kerrytown Market, to buy some fresh seafood, and definitely to eat at Monahan's again.



Monahan's Seafood Market:
405 N. 5th Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 662-5118

Monday, August 17

Kerrytown Market & Shops: Ann Arbor

A chime on top of the market building is made of 17 bells.

Going to Kerrytown Market for good lunch and fun exploring

Monahan's Seafood Market
Featuring top-quality fresh seafood, smoked fish, appetizers,
as well as fresh & delicious seafood dishes prepared on the spot.

Great selection of wines at the beautiful store of Everyday Wines

Found -- A fun little shop featuring whimsical arts, vintage treasures

Customers at Kosmo Lunch Counter

Concert in the Courtyard, between the market buildings.
Featuring Gemini - family concert


Kerrytown Market & Shops:
407 N. Fifth Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 662-5008

Farmer's Market Find

Sunday, August 16

An Evening with Friends




It was a simply lovely evening..
Cooking together, and eating outside with good friends.
Just dinner, wine, and conversation.
I love summertime!

Tuesday, August 11

Poached Pears in Red Wine

Poached pear is such a classic and elegant dessert. You can poach pears in either white or red wine. they are all very delicious. However, when poached in red wine, pears take on a gorgeous crimson blush. The jewel-like tone of their color are just gorgeous!

Here, I did half recipe. But I will explain everything with what the full recipe should be;
You will need 6 pears that are ripe, but firm, and preferably stem intact. Bosc and Bartlett pears are the best varieties for poaching. However, any firm pears would come out very well.

Those pears need to be completely and nicely peeled. Leave the stem on! It makes a beautiful presentation. Some recipes suggest coring through the bottom of pears. Here, I just peeled the skin.
Put the following ingredients in a proper-sized saucepan; 1 bottle red wine (750 ml), 3/4 cup orange juice, 2/3 cup sugar, 1 cinnamon stick, and 1 star anise. Bring it to a boil and the sugar is dissolved. Add the pear, and make sure they can be completely submerged. They will float, but there should be room for them to all be covered by the poaching liquid. Cover and lower the heat to keep it simmered. Check on it from time to time, and turn pears so the liquid can evenly coat them.
After 1 1/2 - 2 hours, pears should have a nice color like this! And they should be soft, but not mushy. Turn off the heat, and let them cool. At this point, they are ready to serve, warm or cold.
The poaching liquid tastes delicious as it is, and can be used as a light sauce (as I did here). Or you can bring liquid to a boil again, and then lower the heat to keep simmering, until thickened. Then, ta-dah! -- you have a syrup to drizzle over your poached pears.

Serve your poached pears whole, halves, or slices -- as you like. I sliced the halve and fanned it out on serving plate. Mints are great garnish. Then, drizzle some poaching syrup over the pears.

Finally, serve them with your favorite: either vanilla ice cream, mascapone cheese, sabayon sauce, whipped cream, or vanilla sauce. Pears poached in red wine have deep flavor that I really enjoy. I also love the texture and the buttery flavor of them. Can you believe how simple it is to make this elegant dessert, that could go even with the fanciest dinner party?

Monday, August 10

Stir-fried Snow Peas with Shrimps

I can eat vegetable stir-fry everyday! And I can make it with an endless variety. The combination of protein (meat, tofu, or seafood), and vegetable in light sauce makes a flavorful dish.

So, I first stir-fried ground pork with garlic in oil until cooked. Then, I added snow peas and shrimps. Both only need a short cooking time so that the sweet peas are tender-crisp, and the shrimps just turn pink and firm. Then, I seasoned them with oyster sauce, light soy sauce, a bit of sugar, and ground white pepper. I taste and season the dish while cooking, and adjust the flavor to my preference.

It is a simple quick dish I usually like to cook for dinner. Just have all the ingredients ready before I start cooking. ... All I need now, is a plate of steamed rice!

It's Fishy!

Some of the fresh fish that arrive at Oriental Market every Thursday.
You will have to clean your purchased fish at home yourself, but some of them, like Tilapia, come already cleaned.


Oriental Mart:
2800 E. Grand River Ave.
East lansing, MI 48823
(517) 337-2519
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