Wednesday, September 29, 2010


We've got internet again! Look for more regular postings! Also, don't forget to vote for us!! Vote here!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Vote for us on Foodbuzz!

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Lilikoi Kālua Pork Sliders with Pineapple BBQ Sauce

Mahalo no kou heluhelu ʻana mai i kēia puke. Okay, so technically that says "Thank you for reading this book", and this is a blog but Eric ever learned the word for "blog", and we figured that this was close enough. Last night we put together the second entry in our Foodbuzz Project Food Blog Challenge. This time around were tasked with tackling a foreign classic, something outside of our comfort zone. We were kicking around ideas on what culture we could tackle and what kind of dish we wanted to prepare and promptly hit some major problems. We were starting to get really frustrated when Eric announced that we would just cook a traditional Hawaiian breakfast. This was meant as a joke because the traditional breakfast in Hawai'i is very basic and involves fried SPAM, something Charisse is just not a fan of. While Eric's Hawaiian breakfast idea didn't fly, it did get us thinking about other Hawaiian foods. It seemed like it would be too easy for us though, since Eric went to college there but lets face it, frozen pizza and Top Ramen is no cuisine (it turns out that college food is truly universal). We kicked around different kinds of dishes that are native to the islands, and found that about half of them involve SPAM, but hit on a few possibilities, one being Kālua pork and the very mention of it set Eric salivating. This is the Luau pork, traditionally cooked by digging a big hole in the ground, having a nice fire then burying a whole pig in there for a few hours. Eric ran and got the shovel and Charisse,  the voice of reason, reminded him that burning the neighborhood down is not the best way to make friends, so we used a more practical approach, our oven.  
One of the things that gives the Kālua pork such a unique flavor is the Alaea salt. This is a large grain sea salt that is drawn from the red clay native to the islands. This clay is a huge source of various minerals and adds a real earthy tone. To sweeten the meat we wrapped it in a large banana leaf which added more flavor and helped retain the pork's moisture (the leafs actually added way more moisture than the meat had to start with, a huge plus). Banana leaf? Alaea salt? Not going to find these at Safeway, at least not one in San Jose. We ended up going to three different Asian markets trying to track everything down and that was an adventure in and of itself. The trip took us almost 3 hours, and practically drove Charisse nuts. Okay, the part that drove Charisse nuts wasn't the fact that we couldn't read any of the packaging nor was it the fact that we really stood out, but Eric's complete in-ability to focus on the task at hand. He wanted to stop and look at everything and half the time was to excited to remember what it was he was looking for. We also picked up what we needed for the Lilikoi BBQ sauce and Pineapple slaw. 
 We enjoyed the smell of roasting pig for over 3 hours, and we should have opened it in a pan because a river a juice hit the floor, something we're not used too with meat! We were pretty worried that we'd screwed up and ruined the pork, but when we pulled a piece off, we knew we had a winner. This pork is sweet and earthy, like nothing else we've ever had. The banana leaves impart just enough sweetness and the salt brings that sense of Hawai'i style earthiness, which is something you'll get if you've ever been there, if you haven't been there, its the off season now, so flights are cheap! We tossed the pork in a Lilikoi Pinapple BBQ sauce and topped it with a Pineapple coleslaw on a taro sweet roll (also at the Asian market). This was the closest we've gotten to tasting Hawai'i since we were there last, and if you've never been there, this is what your missing! 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Round 2!

Thanks everyone for your support of foodies@home's first entry in the Foodbuzz Project Food Blog Challenge, We made it to round 2! Be on the lookout for a rare weekend blog post and don't forget round two voting opens bright and early Monday Morning!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Marbled Chocolate and Peanut Butter Bundt Cake With Salted Caramel Glaze

Every time we use the bundt pan, there is a period of at least 5 minutes where the only thing heard in our kitchen is laughter and that stuttering "it's a bundt" "a butt?" "a bundt!" "a bunk?" "A BUNDT!" "Ahh, its a cake" conversation from My Big Fat Greek Wedding. You'd thank that after all this time, 8 years, that the joke would have lost its edge. Nope, we still make it and we still laugh. Its amazing what being in a good mood can do for your sense of humor, the better the mood, the easier the laughs. Why it takes two college educated grownups to figure out what any 4 year old could tell you we'll never know, but its still as true as can be. Its also true that good food can change your whole mood too. In this case, we did this cake on a day particularly in need of a better mood: bill paying day. Bill paying day is a very dangerous day around our parts as the bank accounts go from being full of newly cashed paychecks to being decidedly less full. I think everyone can attest to that being a big wet blanket on any given day. Sometimes the fates work out and we have people over for dinner on bill paying day, which often adds a big grocery bill on top of everything else. The secret to fixing bill day is something that every woman already knows and every guy (including Eric) refuses to admit is that chocolate always makes things better. (Eric says "its because eating anything raises endorphin levels as the body. Endorphins are the bodies way of rewarding any species for acts that encourage survival and reproduction". Chraisse said that was dumb, and chocolate tastes so good because its chocoalate. And that was the end of that argument). This particular chocolate was indeed in the form of a bundt cake, marbled with peanut butter and covered in a homemade, salted caramel glaze and definitely made bill paying day better.

Last day to vote for us!

Hey everyone! Today is the last day to vote for us in the first round of the Foodbuzz challenge! Hit the link below and give us your vote!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Beer Braised Chicken Tacos

This whole "end of summer" thing is really starting to get to us. Last weekend we had Dan and Jen over for a creative tacos and a movie night that had us eating long after dark. As the movie ended we went through that whole kinda lazy it-was-great-to-have-you-over routine and checked the time to see just how late it was. We all had things we wanted to do the next morning so we looked, wondering would it be 11:30? 12:30? 1? We hadn't been keeping track, but with such a late dinner it had to have been at least 2am. Strange that all of our watches agreed that it was only 8:30. 8:30?! We couldn't believe it, the sun had been down for so long already, it seemed like it should be significantly later than it was. Seems like the Earths tilt is at it again, making for a very surreal night. In an attempt to make the best of it, Eric and Dan promptly declared video game time and launched into a focused battled of virtual hockey. Charisse and Jen declared them "silly boys" and went to the back room to talk and watch TV. Many hockey games and one long conversation later it was actually 12:30 and we all said our good-byes for real and retired to let dinner finish digesting, and what a dinner it had been. See, we're huge taco fans in general and Eric's been working on putting together his own taco seasoning for when we occasionally get caught without our trusty Costco mix. We were looking around for ideas on what to make and came across a nice braised chicken and thought this might be a winner. Now if Julia Child had been from Latin America, her famous beef bourguignon might have ended up looking like this instead. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Whole Roast Salmon With a Lemon Glaze

Last weekend we wanted to sit down and prepare a really nice meal as an entry for the upcoming blogging competition. Eric went to Lowes first thing in the morning then we both went to Costco, looking for something to cook. We got home around noon with this perfect whole wild caught Alaskan salmon, invited some friends over and put together and planned a whole day of cleaning, working on the house (new screen door) and cooking (and eating!). Seven hours later, the house was not any cleaner, the front door was taken all apart and pretty much everyone was grumpy. The night looked like it had hopped on the fast lane of the Highway to Disaster. And it was speeding.  Then the salmon came out of the oven and the smell of perfectly cooked fish seasoned with lemon and thyme turned the tide.

That night we sat down around the table with the door held closed by the cat scratcher since Eric hadn’t put the door knobs back in yet and enjoyed a family style meal that washed away the day’s frustrations bite by bite. Charisse lead us in a toast and we sat around the table laughing and talking long after the last bite had been taken. We laughed about all the problems with the door and compared Eric’s performance to the Dad in the Christmas Story movie fixing the furnace. We joked about being married, teased about growing up and the wives heckled their husbands for how much fish they left behind. We packed up the leftovers, Eric and his friends finished the door in much higher spirits while the Charisse and the girls talked and watched a movie. When the night was done, we all parted ways happier and fuller.

A little later on, after the door was put back together the two of us sat down and talked about why we were doing this blog and decided that this meal was the perfect example. For us, doing this blog is not only about sharing our experiences in the kitchen with all of you but also about growing closer together while doing it. We actually started this blog as a way for Charisse to express herself in another medium. She’s a painter and artist by trade and brings that artist’s mind to her cooking. Charisse not only has that rare ability to look at a dish and see in her head how it could be made but also the ability to look at a bunch or random things, and come up with combinations that she knows will taste good. It’s the same thing that makes her such a good artist; that ability to know what colors go together and know how to make the brush flow across the canvas just right. It’s also been known to drive Eric nuts as he’s very much left brained when it comes to things like that, mostly precise and analytical. He can tell you how things should be put together, but Charisse can tell you why. This is probably one of the reasons we work so well together, we think about things completely differently and tend to drift to different parts of the same task. As Charisse puts it; “Eric builds it, I make it pretty”. That’s how we approach the blog too, it’s not either of ours it’s both of ours, it’s something we do together, and it helps bring us closer together too.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies

There are 3 major new things Eric loves to get. New hockey sticks. New socks. New cookies. Actually thats a lie. Eric's favorite cookie is chocolate chip. Period. Used to be sugar when he was growing up, but now, chocolate chip, every time. He also favorites mint chocolate chip ice cream, pepperoni pizza and a double cheeseburger. Ask anyone who's gone out for food with him, and you'll find that he likes what he likes, and doesn't see any reason to go with something he likes less just to conform (even if that means he gets to be the butt of half the lunch time jokes). Then along came Charisse and Eric's ordering went from "I'll eat what I've always liked, because I like it" to "You'll eat whats for dinner because your too darn picky, and you'll like it because I told you too". Hello marriage.

Eric couldn't be happier to have Charisse pushing him out of his "normal" zone, which in retrospect was rarely normal, and most often just plain weird. Except for Salami wrapped around cream cheese. An excellent, easy to prepare appetizer introduced to him by his sister Elaine. Devilishly simple, really good tasting as long as you like both salami and cream cheese. But this is not what Charisse used to pick up his spirits after his team got knocked out of the playoffs early. Oh no, Charisse put together one of the best comfort desserts ever made. Ever. This dessert combines Chocolate Chip Cookies with Brownies and Chocolate Ganache. It is literally the end of any diet known to man (or woman). Imagine, biting into the moistest chocolate chip cookie, feeling the chocolate chips melt on contact while the cookie dissolves into pure goodness between bites. This is washing down a brownie, fresh out of that pan that puts an edge on every piece, the flavor pushing through   with every crunching chomp. You better have a glass of milk nearby to wash down the chocolate ganache that coats the roof of your mouth with pure molten chocolate. Can you tell we're missing these already?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Brown Sugar Pancakes with Grape Syrup

Everyone I've ever known has weeds growing on the side of their house. Even the people who decorate their side yards with concrete have weeds there. There's something about the side of a house that makes it really under valued, and under appreciated. It's not the front of the house so it doesn't warrant the careful maintenance and attention to detail as the front yard. Its also usually not big enough for entertaining so it doesn't get all the fun add-ons that the backyard gets (who's ever been to a pool party or BBQ in someone's side yard)? Nope, me neither. The side yard has the unfortunate and unloved task of being regulated to a storage facility, or at best a glorified hallway. If it gets any grass at all, it was probably put there to make it easier to get the lawn mower from the back to the front or party guests from the front to the back. And right there, against the house are probably some weeds. You know the kind, the ones too close for the lawnmower to get, big enough to be a major eye sore but going totally unnoticed to anyone but you because everyone else is focused on getting to the punchbowl next to the BBQ on the other side of the pool. Now most of you know the weeds we're talking about. The rest of you probably just ran outside to go look. We'll wait.

Any time now.

Okay great your back! So yes, we found one of these weeds the first summer we were in our house. The thing had become a bit of a monster, sprouting up like a vine with nice big leaves after a particularly wet spring. We were assessing all the weird things that had grown up all around our house while we hunkered down inside, staying dry and warm. So while hacking through the jungle of weeds and strange plants we came across this fellow and Eric went to get his patented, fool proof way of digging up big roots (his axe). While he was rummaging in the garage, Charisse was on the phone with her mom because the plant seemed to look decidedly un-weed like. By the time Eric got back, Charisse was giddy and sitting there petting the weed. "Thats no weed" she said, "thats a grape vine"! Thats right, we have a grapevine growing on the side yard. Who knew? Well last year the grapes didn't make it (see related topic: things the dog ate) but this year, the dog was a bit older and we were a lot more attentive (and the grapes grew up higher) and we ended up with 10 lbs of grapes. In case you are wondering, thats a lot of grapes. After all the projects (and snacking) we ended up with a small pile last weekend around breakfast time, and decided to throw an impromptu morning in. Charisse pulled out a recipe she's been itching to try and grabbed her new cookbook (all about jams, jellies, syrups and other stuff like that) and put together Eric's new favorite pancake a brown sugar pancake with grape syrup. Less than an hour later we set our plates down over a new purple stain that we're sure will come out someday and dug in.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sole Meuniere

They took everything, including the kitchen sink. What a fun metaphor the whole "kitchen sink" thing is, and for the second time this year, us foodies are without a kitchen. Or at least without a kitchen sink, because we're getting new counter tops! This has been something we've been looking forward to for a while, dating all the way back to... oh say the day we moved in. Up till last Tuesday we've had the original, pale yellow with pale rustic orange vintage 1950 tile and grout counters. These counters had a great 62 year run, but lets face it, times have changed and those tiles have been here long past their expiration date. Charisse and her mom (the decorating queens of the family) have been out scouring supply stores for months, trying to find the right tiles, the best granite and the perfect design. They figured it all out last weekend and just like that we had some guys in the house, ripping the tile backsplash from the walls, prying up the tile counters and hauling away you guessed it, the kitchen sink. In its place we've been left with plywood, and a half disassembled faucet. What parts are disassembled? Who knows, but when Eric went to fill up a glass of water, the water hit the ceiling. Somethings missing. Through all of this, we of course have been stretching the few dishes we haven't posted yet as far as possible while surviving on take-out and pizza. Go us. On the other hand, theres always the Sole. Sole Meuniere that is!

Sole Meuniere is a special dish for us for two reasons, 1. It was Julia Child's first dish in Paris, something that she's described as her first culinary revelation. Obviously it was the first of many, but to all the other foodies out there, America's graduation from "Standard" cooking and all the culinary delights and innovations that have sprung up since the 50's started right there with that plate. 2. It was also the first dish Charisse had when we went to Paris on our honeymoon (which two years ago was wrapping up right about .... now). So when we decided to make this as the main course of our anniversary meal it carried a lot of weight, no bones about it. Get it? No bones? Its a fillet. Now we all know why Eric isn't allowed to do the humor portion of this blog. In all seriousness, this is such a simple, easy dish, fish coated in flower and pan fried in butter, but the depth of flavor brought out from the fish is amazing. Try it out and let the Sole melt in your mouth.