Sunday, September 29, 2013

Street Kitchen Asian Bistro - Englewood, CO

Some days it's just fun to share a meal in pictures.

Please enjoy this visual tour of the amazing flavors and colors that Street Kitchen Asian Bistro has to offer.
Their menu is color coded by region:  Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, China, Malaysia and STK original.  

I leave you to enjoy the pictures in peace.....until it comes to the Okonomiyaki.    
That requires an explanation.   
And help from the manager to pronounce it.  

Cocktails (and three of the four were on happy hour!)

Shrimp Chips

Pork Summer Rolls

Crab Rangoon
(best ginger pear sauce ever!!)
Shrimp dumplings

Story Time 

I asked a friend who lives in the area if she had been to SK and she said yes.    She told me that her fiance had ordered something with fish scales on it.   And he loved it.   She had no idea what is was called.   As I'm reading the menu, I'm trying to guess what he might have ordered.    What a fun game.   

Reading.....reading....
Still no clue.    So we just kept looking for dishes that were unique. 

We ordered the Okonomiyaki because it was a pancake.  
A Japanese pancake!  

There is no such thing as a bad pancake.     
Here it is in all of its pancake-y glory.   

The ingredient you need to know is katsuobonito (or katsuobushi) which is dried, fermented and smoked tuna.    As wikipedia describes it "upon being placed on hot food, the heat waves cause the thin and light katsuobushi to move about."  You could say dancing.   Or you could say that it looks like moving fish scales. Or it looks like it's waving at you.     No matter what it's doing, it won't do it long, because it is delicious!

Your okonomiyaki can't wait to say "hi"

The L-Bomb.    Favorite dish of the evening. 

Mochi ice cream

Green Tea ice cream
Thank you to Street Kitchen Asian Bistro for hosting us for dinner last week.   We enjoyed everything from start to finish.   I have a new appreciation for pancakes and I believe the L in L-Bomb stands for "love."    If you want your own STK dining experience, click here to see their menu or make a reservation.   

If you like to cook, check out the STK calendar for upcoming cooking classes (Malaysian in November and Japanese in December).   Cooking with wine?   Yes, please.  


Pumpkin Donut Holes


Last Tuesday the first Dunkin Donuts in Denver opened.  
Figuring that opening day might be a little too chaotic we patiently waited.

Until Friday.

We rolled in at 6am and there was a line.   But at least it was contained within the building.    By the time we enjoyed our famous DD coffee and a few donuts for good measure, the line was inching its way out the door.

The last time I waited in any kind of line for donuts was at Top Pot in Seattle earlier this year.
The next time that I wait in any kind of line for donuts, might be when Voodoo opens later this year.

If you want to have donuts without any kind of line (or deep fryer), you can bake them at home.    I was given a cake pop / donut hole maker as a gift and today was the day to bake my first fall flavored anything.


Have you given in to the fall flavor frenzy yet?

What You Need

1 box yellow cake mix
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
3 eggs
1 (15oz) can pumpkin puree (not pie mix)
1/3 cup oil
1/2 cup milk (I used skim)

Icing Options.....I used both, just for fun

Maple Cream Cheese
4 oz cream cheese (I used reduced fat - next time I'm going all in)
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
3-4 tablespoons milk
(combine in a microwave safe bowl and stir every 30 seconds until cheese melts and frosting is smooth)

Maple Glaze
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1-2 tablespoons milk
(combine together in a bowl and stir until smooth - add additional sugar or syrup for taste and consistency)

What You Do

If you want to make regular baked donuts using a donut pan, please check out Eclectic Recipes (where I found the recipe for the donut batter and maple cream cheese icing).    To make donut holes using a cake pop maker, first read the instructions for your particular maker.    I have a "Bella" cake pop maker.

Cake pop maker in action!
Use a paper towel to lightly oil the surfaces of the maker.   Spoon in one teaspoon of batter and close the lid. Bake for 5 minutes then open.   Use a small rubber spatula to roll the hot donut holes out of their "divot" (for lack of a better word).   I found that I didn't have to re-oil again after the first time and the donut holes never stuck.   Let cool on a wire baking rack and then dip the tops into either the maple cream cheese frosting or the maple glaze.     Add sprinkles if you want.  And you know you do.

This recipe made 5-6 dozen donut holes.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

It's Peanut Butter Jelly Time!

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Hopefully you know the Peanut Butter Jelly Time song.   If not, take a quick second and hop over to You Tube and get a quick 30 second hit (really, that's all you need).    And then it will be stuck in your head for the rest of the day.


When I saw this recipe pop up on Real Simple last week, I took it as a sign that I should continue postponing making anything with pumpkin.  It helped that I had all the ingredients on hand and that raspberries were 10 for $10 at the store.  However, I did bite the bullet and buy a can of pureed pumpkin. There are way too many awesome looking recipes on many of my favorite food blogs to resist forever.

In fact, TODAY IS THE DAY.  

The day for what?

The day for my first pumpkin spice latte.   At the end of August my friend Amy and I made a pact that we'd wait until the time was right and then go together.   She only works out of our office once per week and we agreed yesterday that we'd take the leap into fall flavor today.

I also want to introduce you to a different "Jelly" who helped me out this weekend.    I've been fostering dogs on the weekend through a local organization called Freedom Service Dogs.     Jelly was my house guest this weekend - and she's currently available for adoption.    If you want this cuteness in your life, click here for more information.

Awww

And now....on to the bars!

What You Need

1/2 cup raspberry jam
1/2 cup fresh raspberries, lightly mashed (I imagine that other fruit and jam combinations would also work...just pick your fave)
1/2 cup butter/margarine, room temp
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup peanut butter (I used my favorite crunchy roasted peanut with honey from King Soopers)
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup salted roasted peanuts

What You Do

Preheat the oven to 350.  Line your 8x8 baking dish with foil and spray with cooking spray.

Combine the raspberry jam and berries in a small bowl.      Combine the dry ingredients (flour, salt, powder) in another smaller bowl.

In a larger bowl cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer.    Then add the egg and vanilla.   Finally, add the peanut butter.    Gradually add the flour mixture on low until just combined.

Press half of the peanut butter batter in the bottom of the baking dish (you might need some floury fingers for this).     Add the peanuts to the rest of the batter.

Spoon the jelly mixture over the bottom crust and spread so that it covers the whole thing.
Crumble the remaining peanut butter crust over the top of the jelly.   It's ok if it doesn't cover every inch.    

Bake until golden brown 35-40 minutes.     Resist the temptation to cut right in.   Let the bars cool for 30 minutes before cutting into squares.     Store in the fridge.

Recipe Source:  Real Simple


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Snicker S'more Bars (aka S'nores)

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Last weekend I made s'mores for the first time this summer.    There are many things to love about townhouse living (no need to own a shovel or a lawn mower, for instance), but there is no way the HOA is going to let me dig a fire pit in the front lawn.  

I visited family in Door County, Wisconsin, and there, along the Bay every house and cottage has a fire pit.   Are there better ways to unwind after a long day of relaxing than drinking wine, watching the fire, and building world-class s'mores?   Unlikely.

The wine in question
 A few years ago when I was camping with friends, we created the S'nore by using mini Snicker bars as the chocolate.     And so these are really S'nore bars....with a mix of chocolate and chopped up fun size Snickers.   {side note:  Why are the tiny ones called fun size?  In reality, the king size bars should be re-labeled...they are the ones that are truly fun!}

Ahhh s'nores
What You Need

1/2 cup butter/margarine
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1 cup flour
9 graham cracker squares, crushed  (keep a 10th square to crumble on the very top)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup chocolate chips
4 fun size Snicker bars, chopped
1 cup marshmallow fluff

What You Do

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line your 8x8 (or 9x9) pan with foil and lightly coat with spray.

Cream butter and sugar together.   Add the vanilla and the egg.   In a smaller bowl combine the flour, graham crumbs, and baking powder.   Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until combined.

Press 2/3 of the crust mixture in the bottom of the pan.      Now it's time to spread the marshmallow fluff on top.   This is tricky because fluff does not want to spread....it wants to stick to everything.   However, you will persevere.   I know it.

Sprinkle the chocolate chips and snicker bars on top of the fluff.    Use the remaining crust and crumble it on top of the chocolate chips.   If you want, crumble an additional graham square (bigger pieces are fine) to sprinkle on top to get even more of a s'more feel.

Bake for 25 minutes and allow to cool before cutting    It's a tough wait because it's all melty and delicious.   Don't worry how big you cut the bars because they aren't going to last more than 24 hours.   It felt very civilized having s'mores in our Sunday School class....no bonfire required.

Sunset over Green Bay

Recipe slightly adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction

Everyone loves a good bar.   Try one of these:

Peanut Butter Pretzel Bars
Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cup Bars
Toffee Cheesecake Bars
Salted Peanut Bars

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Slice - Snowmass Village, CO

First world problem:  I keep eating and can't keep up here on the blog!

No one is going to feel sorry for me.

When I was in Snowmass for Labor Day (check it out here and here....so far) we went to lunch at Slice.    It was a beautiful day to sit out on the patio and eat avocado.   


Yes, you heard right.  Avocado.   Fried avocado with a goat cheese dipping sauce.


And then we shared a jalapeno popper pizza.      Barely had time to snap a pic because it was amazing and I had to keep eating.   Cream cheese on a pizza was pretty new to me, but will definitely be repeated in my kitchen in some way.  


Have you tried any fun pizza flavors recently? 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Baked Pulled Pork Egg Rolls

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This blog goes heavy on the dessert, that's no lie.   But I do, in fact, eat dinner and I enjoy adding new things to my repertoire so that I don't fall back to the same couple of things (hello, soft shell turkey tacos, I'm talking to you).

Earlier this year, I discovered the blog Fit Bottomed Girls and their sister site Fit Bottomed Eats.    It's my attempt to balance all the blogs that I follow that have the words cookies, chocolate, wine and baker in them. And that's where I found this recipe to bake a healthier egg roll.   And then went on to adapt it based on the contents of my fridge.      

If I was going to pick a fried app at an Asian restaurant, I'd probably steer towards crab rangoon.    Real traditional with all the cream cheese (with a C) and krab (with a K), right?      

This recipe is a great way to use up veggies and protein in your fridge.    Rather than buying shredded carrots, I just sliced baby carrots into smaller pieces.   Now the cabbage?   That I bought as a slaw mix in the produce section.    My protein of choice for this inaugural roll of the egg was pulled pork.

What You Need

2 cups cabbage slaw
2 cups shredded / sliced carrots
1 cup pulled pork, cut into small pieces
2 teaspoons olive oil (I used chili oil) 
3 tablespoons soy sauce (Tabasco brand spicy soy is mighty tasty)
1 tablespoon corn starch dissolved in 1/4 cup water
1 package egg roll wrappers

(this filling recipe made about 12 rolls...I also wasn't scientifically measuring the exact amount of filling that went into each roll)

What You Do

Preheat oven to 400.    Line your baking sheet with a silicone baking mat. 

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.    Add the slaw, carrots and pork and stir fry for 5 minutes.   Add soy sauce, and cornstarch/water mixture.  Cook for 1-2 more minutes.    Now it's time to roll...


Place two heaping tablespoons of filling on the egg roll wrapper - closer to you, rather than in the exact middle. 


Fold the bottom towards the top.    Then fold in the right and left sides.   See?   It looks like an envelope.  
An envelope of awesome, that is.  Then roll the bottom of the "envelope" toward the top.

Place your egg rolls on the baking sheet seam side down and lightly spray with cooking spray to help the wrapper brown.     Bake for 10 minutes, then flip them over and bake for another 7-10 minutes until they have reached the ideal crispiness.   

I love sweet chili sauce, so that was my dip of choice for these crispy rolls.  



Have you tried to make something recently that's out of your normal routine?   How did it go?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Colorado Peach Crumb Bars


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 Colorado peach bars in the late summer sun
(Yes that's right.   Summer)

There is a rebellion going on here.

A rebellion against fall.     

The minute that Labor Day hit, all over the country, foodies of all shapes and sizes jumped on the fall flavor bandwagon.   The fact that it was 90+ degrees was no deterrent.    In the past week, the number of pumpkin and apple recipes on the food blogs I follow has sky rocketed.        

I was reminded by my sister, who has no interest in saying goodbye to summer,  the first day of autumn is still 10 days away and Halloween is 40 days past that.    Plenty of time in the year to think about sweaters and salted caramel.   Just not yet.  

I made a pact with a friend at work that we would go and get our first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season together when we felt the time was right and we were feeling fall-ish.    That hasn't happened yet. 

Here in Colorado, the farmer's markets are light with produce in May and June, but when August hits? Fruits and vegetables come out to play.     Palisade Peaches are the peaches to know.   There were still 5 left in the fridge. Do you know what else you can do with fresh peaches?   Soak them in Fireball Whiskey as a boozy treat.   But that's another tale for another time.  

If you still have peaches from your farmer's market, consider making these peach crumb bars.   You won't regret it.   Hold on to summer with both hands.   If it's a tug of war between you and old man winter, don't give up!

What You Need

For the crumb crust/topping:  

3 cups flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter/margarine
1 egg

For the peachy middle:

5 peaches, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

What You Do

Preheat the oven to 375.    Line a 9x13 baking dish with foil and coat with cooking spray.

For the crumb crust whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl.    Cut in the butter and then the egg.    Press half of the crumb crust in the bottom of the baking dish.   Put the pan and the remaining topping in the fridge while working on the peachy middle.

Put the diced peaches in a medium bowl.   Add lemon juice and mix gently (no sad bruised peaches at this party).   Combine the flour, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a smaller bowl.    Pour over the peaches and gently mix everything together.

Spoon the peach mixture over the crust.     Using your hands sprinkle the remainder of the crumb crust on top of the peaches.    Bake for 45 minutes.    Do not cut until completely cool.   

Eat your peach bars with your tan and flip flops while relishing the tail end of summer.    Don't jump into the pumpkin spice madness until you're ready.

Recipe slightly adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
                                                             

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Cookie Butter Chocolate Chunk Blondies

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I've often mentioned my love of Trader Joe's.   Friends send care packages of wasabi almonds and sea salt butterscotch balls across state lines.   Just this weekend six bottles of 2 Buck Chuck made an appearance.   Construction is in full force for the store opening here in Denver...though I've heard rumors that it may not open until early 2014. 

Cookie butter, whether it's Biscoff spread or TJ's Speculoos, has been front and center in a lot of recipes and food blogs this year.   Rightly so.   It has the characteristics of peanut butter, so every delicious recipe that has PB can be cookie buttered in short order.  Bam!  New recipe.  And if you have peanut allergies, cookie butter (or almond butter or cashew butter) opens the door to desserts that were previously on your "thou shalt not eat this" list.  

I have to say that these blondies have stayed soft for over a week in their airtight container.   They were road snacks for last weekends road trip to the Jazz Aspen Snowmass music festival and there are a couple of squares lingering in my kitchen.    But not for long, since they go perfectly with my morning coffee. 

What You Need

1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter/margarine, melted
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup cookie butter (TJ's crunchy for me)
1 cup chocolate chunks (got mine in bulk at Sprouts)

What You Do
  
Preheat the oven to 350.    Line a 9x9 pan with foil and spray with cooking spray or use a silicone baking dish (my preference).      Combine the dry ingredients (flour, powder, soda and salt) into a small bowl.

Cream the butter and sugar together.  Whisk in the eggs, vanilla and cookie butter.    Fold in all the dry ingredients and then the chocolate chips/chunks.     The batter will be very thick.

Spread into the baking pan and bake for 25 minutes.     Allow bars to cool then cut.    Store in an airtight container until all gone!


Recipe adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction


What about you?   Are you on the cookie butter bandwagon?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Parallel Seventeen - Denver

My quest to eat my way through Denver never ends.   

Hooray!   

Last week, my sister and I had the chance to sample our way through the menu at Parallel Seventeen, a Vietnamese restaurant on 17th Avenue.     17th Avenue is a great place to eat in general.  So many restaurants and bars - most with outdoor patios that are open most of the year (let's hear it for the oft-touted 300+ days of sunshine!).   

P17 has a great happy hour - all night on Monday (when we were there), and 3-6pm the rest of the week.   Any happy hour that includes caramel corn and cotton candy is very happy indeed.    

Grab your fork or chopsticks and enjoy!
     
Happy Hour MUST start with cocktails.
Left:  Luce del Sole  Right: Cucumber Basil Martini
A quick tribute to amazing calamari.    I don't usually order calamari.   Why?   It's usually bland fried tentacles with a random dipping sauce.   This ginger and coconut calamari was in a league of its own.   Bring on the apple, jalapeno and sweet chili sauce.   Colors and Flavor - oh my!

Calamari of Joy
And then we just kept eating....

Happy Hour Steamed Pork Bun with Kimchee
I had to google Togarashi so that I knew exactly what was making the caramel corn so addictive.   It's chili pepper.   Chili caramel corn.   No wonder!

We also tried the white asparagus flat bread and a tuna taco.

And then things got bizarre.

There are three things on the menu that were featured on Bizarre Foods America .   Naturally we had to try a few.    Check out the picture on the far right below.   Two bizarre foods together in one moment:   Jellyfish Salad and the Sake Cavititni.    

Popcorn,  Flatbread,  Tuna Taco,  Jellyfish Salad
I must confess:  I have more than one sweet tooth.  
It's more like sweet teeth.   A perfect reason to have some Vietnamese coffee and the dessert sampler.

I've only got one thing to say.
Lemongrass cotton candy as big as my head.  



Our server told us that the cinnamon cotton candy was delicious.   Next time I go, I'll have to try it.   And since cotton candy is on happy hour, you might as well have more than one.  As for me, it will always be the lemongrass.    What good is willpower anyway?

Cotton Candy (!)
Banana Spring Rolls, Creme Brulee, Beignets 

 And there you have it.    We didn't even make it to the entree section of the menu because we were so consumed by small plates, jellyfish and cotton candy.    

To plan a Vietnamese dinner adventure for yourself at P17, check out their menu here.

A big thank you to the team at Parallel Seventeen for hosting us for dinner and letting us try all the amazing things pictured above.    My new found love of calamari and lemongrass cotton candy is all your doing! 

Photo credits:  Thank you to my sister Heather who helped document this dinner in pictures.  They say that people "eat with their eyes" and there is definitely truth to that....just looking at these photos makes me want to go out to P17 again.   



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