Saturday, May 30, 2009

Thai Supermarket: Silom Market at Thai Town's Thailand Plaza

This morning I ventured out to Silom market in Hollywood's Thai town. Thai town is a small, nohing like Chinatown or Koreatown, but it does hold a little microcosm of Thai culture and food that is worth exploring.

Silom market is part of Thailand Plaza, a building with a restaurant and stores. Parking in the complex is free with a receipt from one of the merchants. Getting there right when it opened at 9:00 am, I successfully avoided the traffic!

Silom had all of the things I needed to make an authentic Panang curry. This market is about 4 or 5x the size of Simpang Asia over on the west side. I was able to get fresh galanga, kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass, Thai chiles, and other ingredients. I also picked up some tasty little pastries right outside the back door. A nice guy was loading them hot and fresh off of his truck. I just loved the big pieces of fried banana he was selling. Pastries pictured below.

My experience here was actually one that reminds me of why I love food so much. Food isn't just about eating, it's a door into the lives of the cultures and people who cook, share, and consume it. I say this because as I walked out the front door I saw a beautiful procession of Buddhist monks, all dressed in their bright orange robes. They were lined up and walking past the many Thai people who were putting food in the monks' baskets. This is a tradition that takes place in Thailand and I had only seen it on TV. I did some more research on it and learned that this is the daily alms round that provides Buddhist monks with their food and is part of the monk's philosophy which promotes dependence on well-wishers. They only eat between dawn and noon. I was lucky to have arrived at 9:00 am when this was happening! I hope I explained all of that correctly. I felt like I shouldn't just stand there and stare at them.. although I wanted to because it was quite beautiful. It was a very quiet and solemn ceremony and the people greeted eachother with praying hands. I was the only whitey there and felt a little bit like a tourist all of a sudden. So, I slowly walked back into the store and then went home.

Silom Supermarket
5321 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Open 9-9 every day

First Annual Yelp Restaurant Week

That's right. Restaurants are offering prix fixe menus this week in honor of Yelp! Check it:

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Quest for the Best: Cornbread Recipe

As some of you know, I recently finished a 6-month culinary program. This has really sparked my desire to work on my cooking skills and stop messing around. So, I think part of that is to really find the best recipes I can and learn to execute them as well as I can. I figure I'll start with things that are the basic foundations of cooking, as well as things I just love to eat. Since cornbread and corn muffins are pretty much in my top ten of favorite foods, I am working on finding a great recipe I can use. I have alluded to my love for corn muffins in a previous post. I love a really moist, sweet corn bread. I found and tried this recipe for buttermilk cornbread from (photo above). It was really good, and pretty much what I was looking for. I've already gobbled down 1/3 of the pan with some orange maple compound butter.

BUT, I am not satisfied. A recent trip to Austin Texas opened my eyes to the Southern cornbread. This is the cornbread that's less sweet, more "bready" if you will, and is delicious when sopping up BBQ sauce and eating with ribs. So now, while I love my sweet cakey New England corn bread, I am on a quest for the best Texas cornbread. Got a good recipe?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Awesome Tuna Tartare Salad

I just polished off this great salad that i brought into work using the tuna tartares from the previous post. I didn't want to have just tuna on rice because it would be a lot of fat, carbs, and cals. So, I took some arugula, dressed it with a little bit of rice wine vinegar and sesame oil. Then I added a small portion of Japanese rice and some of each kind of tuna tartares. I then chopped up a whole tomato and added that in and put a little more of the vinegar on those. Then I topped the whole thing with edamame, sesame seeds, and scallions. Yummy!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Tuna Tartare Two Ways

I love tuna tartare. If I see it on a restaurant menu I pretty much have to order it, even if it's in an Italian restaurant (true story). Tuna tartare is pretty much just raw tuna cut up really small and blended with a dressing and maybe some other finely chopped ingredients. It's usually served with some kind of fried chip to dip with. Just like many other delicious treats I order in a restaurant, I often never think to try to recreate these dishes at home. If my cooking classes have taught me anything, it's that I can make well-known but intimidating things like quiches, souffles and pretty much anything I want at home. It's not rocket surgery!

So, when I found myself with two 6 oz ahi tuna steaks I thought I'd try something new. For the first tartare I basically made Japanese spicy tuna like you would find in a maki roll or on brown rice as a spicy tuna bowl. For the second, I threw together a sauce using a few ideas from some different recipes and working with what I had in the house. You can pretty much do whatever you want if you mix some kind of fat, an acid, and maybe some sweetness and a little extra flavoring, herb, or spice. Asian flavors work really well for this. Ready?

Spicy Tuna Roll Tartare
  • 6 oz raw ahi tuna, cut into 1/8 inch cubes

  • 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise (I use my homemade mayo, it's fabulous)

  • 2 teaspoons Siracha hot sauce

  • Scallions for garnish

  1. Mix the mayo and hot sauce together well.

  2. Mix the sauce with the tuna. Sprinkle with scallions and enjoy!

Tuna Tartare 2

  • 6 oz raw ahi tuna, cut into 1/8 inch cubes

  • 2 teaspoons lime juice

  • 1.5 teaspoons sesame oil

  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce

  • .5 teaspoon mirin

  • Little bit of grated fresh ginger to taste

  • Toasted sesame seeds for garnish

  1. Mix together everything but the tuna.

  2. Combine the sauce with the tuna. Garnish with sesame seeds and enjoy!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Salmon Buttermilk Chowder

This came out awesome! This is a hot yet refreshing and light soup. At the same time, it's hearty enough for a main meal. Hard to believe it is all of these things but it's true. Plus, it is super healthy. You're getting the benefit of omega 3's from all the salmon, the onions are a great detoxer and naturally stimulate the body to create healthy antioxidents, the turnips are a great source of vitamins, and you're getting low-fat dairy which is good for the bones. I adapted this recipe from one in the South Beach Cook Book.

Salmon Buttermilk Chowder
  • 2 turnips, peeled and cut into small cubes

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 1 rib celery, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon dill weed

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 2 cups vegetable broth

  • 1 6 oz can pink salmon

  • Approx 5 oz cooked salmon fillet, skin removed and flaked into 1 inch pieces

  • 1 cup buttermilk

  • 8 oz fat free plain yogurt

  • 1 Tablespoon butter

  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • fresh lime juice to taste

  • fresh lime slices for garnish (optional)

  1. In a large sauce pan, combine the turnips, onion, celery, dill, bay leaf, and broth. Bring to a boil over high heat.

  2. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 12 minutes or until the veggies are tender.

  3. In the mean time, mix together in a bowl the buttermilk, yogurt, and hot sauce.

  4. Reserve 1/4 cup of the freshly flaked salmon for garnish. Reduce the heat to low, stir in both the canned and the rest of the fresh salmon, the buttermilk mixture, and the butter. Cook on low-medium or until heated through.

  5. Taste and season with salt, pepper, and lime juice to taste.

  6. Serve garnished with the extra salmon slices and fresh lime slices.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Well, last night was the last night of my culinary class. There is actually one more next week but I will miss it because I'll be out of town for a conference. I was so nervous to take my last test. Luckily, the first dish was one that I practiced the night before so I was psyched about that. For the main course, the teacher actually went out of her way to tell me that it was the best in the class!!! I couldn't believe that because I was totally guessing when preparing that dish. I am so happy to have taken this course and I can't wait to continue my cooking journey with all of my new skills, friends, and appreciation for amazing food!