Friday, January 25, 2008

Brea Sushi class

More pictures from Friday's Sushi class. Special thanks to all of our students, we had some great rolls and a lot of people ready to learn and eat in that order. Here we have the sushi rice mixing and our students with their creations.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Tombo (Japanese for dragonfly) holds the distinction of being one of the only Okonomiyaki restaurants in Los Angeles. Okonomiyaki was born of postwar Japan, when Allied flour replaced scarce rice. It combines a thick, pancake like batter with chopped cabbege and topped by meat or seafood. The result is very tasty, unfortunately due to the time it takes to make it is rare to find a shop outside of Japan.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Lunch in Los Angeles

Olvera Street, Los Angeles California. The heart of old Los Angeles, from its days as a sleepy town in northern Mexico. During its early years, it also was home to a large population of Chinese migrants.

It was saved from destruction in the thirties and turned into sort of a romantic reimaging of the pueblo's heyday.

This is one of the many Mexican resturants at Olivera street, with an eating area open to the temperate California air, good flavour and reasonable price.

The plate here cost under a fin, combining a beef tamale and a pair of taquitos (little tacos) on a single, tasty plate.

A small group of pigeons enjoying the sidewalk.

Nicknamed the "Death Star" by city employees, the MTA building is a striking and beautiful skyscraper/megalith designed by avant-garde architecture firm Morphosis.

Later in the day, we walked back to Union station to make the last leg of our trip to Pasadena.

Union Station was built in the thirties in a strongly art deco and Spanish influenced design.

The station was packed with holiday travelers, I couldn't help but think of the place being that packed during its (and the city's) heyday.

Rice Porridge for breakfast

Rice Porridge, also known as rice congee, or Jook is a dish near and dear to nearly all Asian nations, each boasting thier own version. It is quite simple, using a higher percentage of water than normal to cook the rice, causing the grains to break up and become a thick porridge when boiled. To add taste, meat can be added when the rice is cooked, along with spices, fish sauce, vegetables and eggs which are often added just before serving.

This is Alex, a good friend and the cook for this particular breakfast favourite. He notes that ground pork is essential if you are going to add meat to the porridge, as ground beef will generate too much fat and will not match well with the Asian flavours.

While soaking the rice, you can start the ground pork marinating. Add sesame oil and salt/pepper to taste. You can use fish sauce in lieu of the salt, it will give a nice savoury taste. Then put it in the fridge until the rice is soaked.

If you have digital rice cooker, wash rice to remove starch and put into pot after draining. Add pork mixture after being marinated. Add the proper amount of water only after dry ingredients are added. Halfway through the cooking process, mix pork to break up large chunks

Break three eggs and add a dash of sesame oil, a little salt and some ground white pepper. Beat thoroughly. Take a large spoon and fold the eggs into the porridge, so that the eggs cook instantly when added slowly. When eggs are added and cooked, you are done.

If cooking over the stove, you would start with 1 part rice to 3 parts water. However much rice you put in is to look at the level and multiply that by two inches of water. You put the pork in while boiling the water for the rice to have it flavor the porridge. Watch it carefully; it will become thicker as the water at the top of the cooking porridge boils off. When the consistency is proper (you will need to have it thicker if you want to add eggs).

Sushi class December