A San Francisco Celebration!

My birthday is coming up, so I thought I might tell you about my birthday last year.  For my 8th Birthday, I went to a restaurant called The Slanted Door in San Francisco.   It was a seafood restaurant that I had never been to.  We ordered several dishes, and the first one was called the Japanese Yellowtail with Crispy Shallots and Thai Basil.  It was so crispy, crunchy, and delectable! 

Another dish we had was the Chicken Consomme with Wild Gulf Shrimp, Winter Melon, and Chives.  The winter melon was not my favorite, so I did not care for that soup very much.  Then we got a half-dozen Kusshi, Beusoleil, Chelsea Gem, Malpeque, and Island Oysters on the half-shell.  They were all splendid!

After that came a dish called the Wood Oven-Roasted Manilla Clams with Thai Basil, Crispy Pork Belly, and Fresh Chiles.  The pork belly did taste crispy, and the chiles were spicy!  The clams were awesome.

Cellophane Noodles with Fresh Dungeness Crab was another dish that we got that was very tasty.  Then we received some Grass-Fed Estancia Shaking Beef.  I liked the beef, but it wasn’t my favorite.  Each of us got a bowl of brown rice and gobbled it up.  Unfortunately, we then had to leave, but my mom and I went to see the wonderful musical, “Wicked”.  It was awesome!  And the whole night started with our meal at The Slanted Door.  I absolutely loved The Slanted Door!

The Slanted Door

1 Ferry Building #3

San Francisco, California 94111


The Ultimate Ice Cream Throwdown

This holiday season, my dad came up with some pretty good ice cream sundae specials, and I named them. 

Tabs Enjoying a Delectable Dirt Cup

 I would like to share them with you, and you can try them for yourself.

Here is our first one:  Cookie Lover’s Delight.  This luscious sundae had creamy vanilla ice cream rolled in crushed Smores Goldfish cookies, with a chocolate cookie stuck in it, and a cherry on top.   It was delicious, but we are just getting started!

The second sundae was our Raspberry Swirl Crunch.  It was, again, creamy vanilla ice cream, this time with crunched-up vanilla wafers, raspberries, chocolate sauce, and fluffy whipped cream on top.  But wait!  It was missing something.  My dad added a chocolate chip cookie, dipped in melted white chocolate.  That was perfect!  Yum!!!

Who loves chocolate?   I know I do!  If you do, you are going to like this.  Our third sundae was our Chocolate Lovers Only.   It was chocolate ice cream, whipped cream, a cherry, and loads and loads of chocolate sauce.  It wasn’t the most chocolatey thing I’ve ever tasted, but I liked it.

Christmas Cookie Sandwich With Toffee

Here comes some holiday spirit!  The Christmas Cookie Sandwich With Toffee was huge!   Even I couldn’t finish it.  It was two crunchy chocolate chip cookies, with vanilla ice cream between them.  It was on a Santa-shaped plate and was covered in green and red sprinkles, with a hunk of toffee on the side.  It was so good, but I just couldn’t finish it.  Even with how full I was, I had to eat that toffee.  It was from an amazing company called Top Notch Toffee, and we bought it at our local farmer’s market.  When I took a bite of the delicious toffee, all I tasted were its wonderful main ingredients:  nuts, toffee, and chocolate.  Yum!  It was a true Christmas special (just not on Christmas).

Delectable Dirt Cups

Second to last was our Delectable Dirt Cup.  Do you like to play in the dirt?  If you do, I’m sorry, because this dirt isn’t for playtime, it is for dessert time!  This delightful dessert is crushed chocolate creme Oreo cookies, colorful gummy worms, and “Chocolate Moose Tracks” ice cream (which is chocolate ice cream, mini Reese’s peanut butter cups, and fudge).

It was absolutely delicious, and I really loved it!  I didn’t know dirt could be as luscious as that!

Daddy's Creme de la Crepe

Last, but not least, was a sundae that will blow your mind.  It is called Daddy’s Creme de la Crepes.   It is a french crepe, rolled around strawberry ice cream, with whipped cream, chocolate fudge, and a cherry on top!  It tasted unique, tempting, and sweet, all at the same time.

Now, before you leave my blog, I have something that I want to ask of you.  Could you vote on which ice cream sundae sounds the best?  I’d really appreciate it.  I will be counting the votes on February 19, 2011, and then I will post the winner!  I hope you try some of my ice cream specials at your own house!

Let’s Go Taste Some Olive Oil!

My First Visit to Oliovera

Today, my family and I discovered a new olive oil shop and would like to welcome them to the the neighborhood of Hermosa Beach.   It is called Oliovera.  “Olio” (ole-ee-oh) means “oil” in Latin, and “vera” means “true” in Latin, so they named their boutique “Oliovera” meaning “True Oil.”

Dispensers Full of Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar (Yum!)

The owners are two sisters who we met today, and they are very friendly.  Today, we drove there to explore their new business.  When we first walked in, I saw huge dispensers filled of all of the kinds of olive oils and vinegars they sell.  There were so many flavors!  There was Mission, Arbequina, Tuscan, Lemon, Basil, Garlic, and my very favorite, 18 Year Aged Balsamic Vinegar (which is not an olive oil at all).  We got to taste them all!  The Garlic, Basil, and definitely the Balsamic, were my favorites.  One of the sisters said her favorite was the Arbequina, but I did not like it as much as other people did.  The Garlic oil was fragrant and, well, garlicky.  The Basil oil had an earthy smell and tasted like the

My Favorite!

real earth-grown plant, basil.   Oh, and the Balsamic Vinegar?   It was delectable, delicious, and everything in between.  When we tried THAT sample, Tabitha only had a few small sips, and I had the rest.

Oliovera is trying to be environmentally friendly by selling their oils in bottles that can be refilled with more oil.   Also, for every bottle of olive oil or vinegar sold at Oliovera, they provide five meals for hungry children all around the world, through different charity organizations.  Oliovera is doing some pretty good things!

Our Final Choices

Eventually, we ended up buying the Garlic Olive Oil and the 18 Year Aged Balsamic Vinegar.  Next time, my dad wants to get the Lemon Olive Oil. 

We took home our goodies, and we dipped bread in the garlic oil and balsamic vinegar for our first course at dinner.   I loved the balsamic vinegar a lot more than the garlic oil, but I have to say, those were two good picks!

Oliovera will have their Grand Opening on Saturday, January 15, 2011, and they said there would be some good food there.  We are going to go, so we might see you there!  You can also follow them on Twitter @Oliovera.

Welcome to the neighborhood!

Oliovera – Olive Oil for All

200 Pier Avenue, #206

Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

www.oliovera.com (But their website is not working yet)

Chef Megan’s Cajun Cooking With Daddy

Shrimp Etouffee!

One night, my dad and I made shrimp etouffee.  We had so much fun!  Here is the recipe (which comes from my dad’s cookbook, The Best of New Orleans, by Brooke Dojny) and how we made it:

For the Roux:

1/4 cup vegetable oil

6 TBS flour

1 large onion, chopped

1 large green pepper, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped (or 3 tsp crushed garlic from a jar)

2 cups bottled clam juice

1 tsp dried basil

1tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (One of my favorite spices!)

1/2 tsp salt 

For the Shrimp:

6 TBS butter

8 green onions, thinly sliced (white and tender green parts)

2 lbs medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 TBS lemon juice

1 TBS Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup minced fresh parsley

1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce

3 cups hot cooked white rice

Me Chopping Celery (Carefully!)

First, before my dad came home from work, I chopped up the celery and green onions, and I seeded and chopped a large bell pepper, all with an extremely sharp knife.  (I had to make sure I was really careful, because knives are sharp and dangerous.  You have to know what you are doing before picking up a sharp knife.  If you are a kid, make sure an adult gives you permission and is watching you.)  My mom (who doesn’t like to cook that much) tailed the medium shrimp.  Soon, my dad came home and said, “Those are wonderfully cut, Meg!”  Then we started the roux.  (My daddy tells me that a roux is a base that is added to other sauces to thicken them.)

In our big red Dutch oven, we heated the vegetable oil over medium heat for one minute.  Then we added 6 tablespoons of flour to the heated oil.  We turned the burner to medium-high and stirred constantly until the roux turned brownish.  (The recipe says to continue this until the roux is a “rich mahogany color”.)  If you try to make this, which you should, watch the roux carefully to prevent burning.

Stirring the Vegetables Into the Roux

Then we added the onion, green bell pepper, celery, and garlic, and we cooked it, stirring frequently, until the vegetables began to soften.  We whisked in the clam juice, and brought it to a boil.  We then cooked it, stirring constantly, for one minute.  Time for more adding:  Dad and I stirred in the basil, thyme, cayenne, and salt, and reduced the heat to low.  We cooked the sauce with the lid on for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Stirring the Sauce

Time to prepare the shrimp!  In one of our large, heavy skillets, we melted half of the butter (3 tablespoons) over medium heat.  We added the green onions and shimp, and we cooked it for about three minutes, until the shimp turned pink.  We then stirred in the lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce.

Starting the Shrimp (Yum!)

Finally, we added the shrimp mixture to the roux and vegetables. 

Mixing the Final Creation!

 We cut the remaining tablespoons of butter into small pieces.  We lowered the heat to very low and added the butter pieces, one at a time, to the etouffee, stirring well after adding each piece.  (The recipe says that the object is to produce a creamy texture.)  Last, we stirred in the parsley and hot pepper sauce, and it was done!

We served it over rice.  The recipe said it serves six, but my family of four gobbled it all up!  It was so good, and we hope you try this recipe too, even if you can’t finish it!

A Satisfied Customer! (My Sister Tabitha Loved It!)

My favorite part of the night was finally eating my creation.  It made up for the hard work (not to mention cutting with a scary big knife).  Again, be careful with it!  This was such a fun experience that I hope you can try too.