Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cooking School Weekend in Branson!

Do you enjoy spending time in your kitchen cooking up a storm? Are you looking forward to hosting holiday dinners but do not know what to make? Have you always wanted to attend some sort of formal culinary classes but never gotten around to it? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, boy, do I have some news for you!

Hilton Branson Convention Center Hotel in Branson, Missouri will be hosting the Hilton Branson Convention Center Hotel’s Cooking School Weekend in October! Yup, that's right. Experience the Hilton style event on the weekend of October 16th til 18th, 2009! Guests will be welcomed upon arrival to a sumptuous Wine Tasting Reception followed by a cooking demonstration with the Hotel’s very own Chef Nathan Read. You will get a chance to learn how to make everything that was served very next morning as he teaches participants how to prepare the appetizers served at the Wine Tasting. Participants will experience a lavish four-course dinner paired with appropriate wines on Saturday evening and learn how to prepare the featured meal the following morning. Here are the menu items that will be featured in the Cooking School Weekend.
Saturdays Class

Newman Farms Smoked Pork Loin
Served with Wild Mushroom Risotto and Dried Cherry Vanilla Demi Glace

Chef Read will discuss basic elements of smoking meats.
This will also include a discussion on how to pair foods with smoked meats and planning seasonal menus.

Charcuterie and Cheese Display with Assorted Accompaniments

Brimstone Cheese Fondue
Served with Grilled Potatoes, Baby Carrots, Zucchini, Apples, Pears and Baguette

Chef Read will discuss the factors involved in creating a truly fabulous and unique display for your holiday party. This will be followed by a demonstration of how to create the display, and how to prepare and present the fondue for your own dinner party.

Sundays Class

Smoked Potato and Ham Soup
berkshire ham, sweet onions, smoked russet potatoes and crispy leeks

Fall Harvest Salad
local mixed greens, apples and pears, dried apricots, candied walnuts, heartland creamery
methuselah cheese and dried cherry vinaigrette

Midwest Bison Short Ribs
cherry wood smoked short ribs, creamy cheddar jack risotto and apple bbq sauce

Berkshire Pork Porterhouse
marinated and grilled newman farms pork, heartland creamery goat cheese grits, apricot salsa

Apple Normandy
Butter Dough with Fresh Granny Smith Apples, Apple Compote and Apple Glaze
Served with Fresh Whipped Cream
This one-of-a-kind package also includes deluxe accommodations at the Hilton Branson Convention Center Hotel for two people on Friday and Saturday evening. Enjoy all this for just $398.00 plus tax for both nights! Not only will you experience the pampered luxury that only Hilton – the first name in hospitality – has to offer, but you’ll have easy access to shops, boutiques, restaurants, a river walk and other attractions when you’re not enjoying the splendors of your wine tasting and four-course meals. The Hilton Branson Convention Center Hotel is within easy driving distance of Branson’s championship golf courses, lakes, museums and 49 live entertainment theaters. With so much to offer, this exciting vacation community is perfect for everyone. Be prepared to wow your family and friends this holiday season as the menus will prepare you to be the perfect holiday host or hostess!! Remember, this package is only for Oct 16th-18th, 2009. Head over to their website and book this amazing package today!


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Lima's Taste Ceviche Bar

Our friend Mohan was visiting from D.C during the Labor Day weekend, so we decided to meet up for dinner. We met him at Newport Center Mall in Jersey City and we planned to take the PATH train to Hoboken for dinner. Like usual, we jumped on the 33rd St train, knowing that the next stop will be the Hoboken station. However, it seemed that it took longer than usual for the train to stop and when it did, we were already in the city! Then it occurred to us that it was a Friday! You see, we were so used to taking the PATH only on weekends, so we were thinking of the weekend schedule. The 33rd St train from Newport/Pavonia stops in Hoboken before going into the city only on weekends! Doh!!

The station that we got off at was the Christopher St station in the West Village. Since we were already there, we walked around to look for a decent restaurant to go to. Since Kevin and I were not familiar at all with the restaurants in the West Village area, we just had to pick one and hope that it's good. We spotted this Peruvian restaurant at the corner of the street and decided to give it a try. At the time, we didn't know that Lima's Taste Ceviche Bar is actually a well known Peruvian restaurant and has pretty high ratings in various restaurant review websites.

The decor of the restaurant is very cosy, with exposed bricks and nice red walls. However, it was a tad bit stuffy and hot. Maybe they should have turned on the AC or fans. We started off by looking at the drinks menu. I was impressed that apart from Pisco Sour, they also had a lot of other pisco cocktails to choose from. I ordered the Grape Pisco Slush ($10), Mohan had a glass of Sangria ($8) and Kevin stucked with his favorite drink, a nice tall glass of Guinness ($6). You can never go wrong with Guinness :P

The three of us shared two appetizers. The two boys thought that the Shrimp Wrapped in Bacon ($11) looked good. So we decided to try that. Not only did it look good, it tasted good too! It came with some sort of Peruvian dipping sauce, very very nice.

Now, since it is a Ceviche Bar, of course we had to try one of the Ceviches, rite? We asked the waiter to recommend their most popular Ceviche and he told us that the Ceviche Tiradito has always been a crowd favorite. Ceviche Tiradito is fresh raw fish in lemon & lime juice with a creamy spicy rocoto pepper sauce. I guess Lima's Taste is well known as a superb Ceviche bar for a reason. The Ceviche Tiradito was just awesome!! Really fresh fish slices, mixed with the tangy taste of lemon & lime juice and a little hint of spiciness from the sauce. Amazing!

For our mains, Kevin ordered some Peruvian Grilled Ribs ($24). It wasn't like our regular BBQ roasted ribs. It was grilled dry and then covered with some special Peruvian sauce, served with lots of cilantro and onions on top and yuca below. I tried a piece, it was really good. The meat was moist and juicy and the portion was also very big. Good choice, Kevin!

I ordered the Peruvian Lamb Stew ($17). A large hearty helping of lamb stew with lots of vegetables and served with a portion of rice. It didn't taste out of this world yummy but it wasn't bad either. Let's just say that I didn't have any trouble finishing up this dish, it was good :D I also have to apologise for the quality of the photos in this post, the lighting was really low and I had to use flash. Some of the photos are over exposed and some under exposed :(

Mohan ordered the Peruvian Paella ($26). There was a generous amount of shrimp, scallops, squid, baby octopus, chicken and sausage in the pot. Mohan said that I must mention this when I do a review of this dish. Unlike the Spanish Paella, the Peruvian Paella is somewhat wetter and soggy. Not that it's not nice, just that it's different. Both are nice in their own way. I had a taste of his Paella and I just love it. Good stuff!

After dinner, the boys went ahead and ordered another round of drinks. I decided that one drink is enough for me but I wouldn't mind some dessert :D There were only four choices in the dessert menu. So, I asked the waiter what he would recommend for dessert and he said since it's the summertime, I should get the Passion Fruit Mousse ($7). It's fresh, sweet, light and really good. He was so right! The Passion Fruit Mousse IS really good! It was so good, I ended up sharing it with the boys too. Overall, we had a great time catching up with Mohan over dinner. Good food and great company. Yes, the price is a little on the higher side and the service is a little bit slow, but the great food makes up for it. It's the first time I have tried Peruvian food and I must say, I'm now hooked!

Lima's Taste Ceviche Bar
122 Christopher Street,
New York, NY 10014
Tel: (212) 242-0010

Monday, September 28, 2009

Roti Jala with Chicken Curry

Roti Jala (loosely translated as 'net bread', however I think it's more crepe like instead of bread :P) is one of my all time favorite Malay delicacy. Usually eaten with chicken curry, it's a popular dish among the Malays (and other races alike) in Malaysia during the fasting month of Ramadan. You can find Roti Jala stalls at any of the Ramadan bazaars all over Malaysia during the fasting months. Since it was Hari Raya (to celebrate the end of the fasting month) two weekends ago, I decided to make some Roti Jala!

This is the mould/cup that is used to make Roti Jala. My parents just mailed that to me last month, so the timing was just perfect! Before, when I wanted to make Roti Jala, I would have to punch out holes in a soup can and use that as a mould. It can get really messy and sometimes it doesn't really work that well :P Sooo, I'm really glad that I have the mould now!! :D

It's fairly easy to make the Roti Jala batter. To start off, pour 2 cups of coconut milk into a large mixing bowl. Then, add in about 1 cup of water.

Crack in two eggs and beat lightly.

Next, add in 1/2 a teaspoon of salt.

Then, in goes about 1/2 a teaspoon of turmeric powder.

Whisk it all together and make sure that all the ingredients are mixed together well.

Using a fine sieve, sift about 2 cups of all purpose flour into the mixture.

Stir in the flour into the mixture gradually until a thin crepe like batter is achieved. At this point, you can add in some more water if the batter is too thick. If the batter is too thick, it will not be able to flow out smoothly from the mould later on.

Now it's time to make some Roti Jala! On medium heat, spray on some non stick cooking oil onto a pan. Pour in a ladle of batter into the mould and in a circular motion, form a net like pattern in the pan. Check out the video I made to demonstrate how it's done.
Remember to use a small flat bottom bowl to place the mould into once you are done. This should prevent the rest of the batter from flowing out from the mould. Of course some might flow out, so just pour it back into the mixing big deal :D

Allow it to cook for a bit (it doesn't take long at all). Once it's done. fold it to half and then quarter it. Lift it to a plate and repeat the steps again until you are out of batter. Remember to grease your pan ever so often and if the batter begins to thicken, just add in some water so that it remains in a thin crepe batter like consistency.

Here it is. A large plate of Roti Jala with some Chicken Curry. You can get the recipe for the Chicken Curry here. It's so yummy, I can eat this everyday for the rest of my life and not get bored of it!! Mmmm mmm mmmmmm :D

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Marlboro's Roadhouse Nights @ SoHo, NYC

This is a very backdated post. Please bear with us. We are trying our best to catch up on all of the that stuff we did a couple of weeks back (since we were on blogging solely on the Marlboro Ranch series and nothing else back then :P). Kevin received an invite from Marlboro sometime last month to their NYC Roadhouse Nights. He called them up to RSVP and was told that his name will be added to the guest list and that he is allowed to bring one guest. For those of you who are not familiar with Marlboro's Roadhouse Nights, it's actually a party sponsored by Marlboro in various locations across America. The NYC Roadhouse Nights was held at the Canal Room in SoHo on Sept 12, 2009. Marlboro would randomly select names off their mailing list and send out invites to the lucky few. I guess Kevin was one of the 'lucky few'! :P

We were pretty excited when we found out that it will be held in the Canal Room. Apart from it being a really popular club with many of the A list celebs (Mariah Carey, Lindsay Lohan, Missy Elliot, Jessica Alba, Wilmer Valderam, Ashton and Demi...just to name a few), it is also one of the the most exclusive venue for live music showcases in NYC. With the most cutting edge, top of the line, sound and lighting systems, the Canal Room is the place to be on a Saturday night!

The friendly Marlboro crew at the check in counter. This is where they checked us in, gave us our voucher stubs and gave a run down of the program for the night. The guest (that's me!) also had a chance to fill up some forms and as a token of appreciation for signing up with Marlboro, I got a free gift! I will show you guys a picture of the gift later on in this post.

This are all the coupons/vouchers that we got. A door gift voucher for the winner as well as the guest, an entry form for the drawing of two $100 Omaha Steak vouchers that will be held later on in the night and alcoholic drinks vouchers (limited to two each). Sodas are free flow all night long and if you want more alcoholic drinks but have used up all your vouchers, there is also a cash bar available.

There are basically three seating areas that you can go to. The main area is in front of the stage, on the dance floor. Marlboro has setup small round high tables and bar stools for you to sit and enjoy your food while listening to the live band.

Since it's a Marlboro event, you can expect the bulk of the crowd to be smokers. However, there is a no smoking in restaurants/clubs/bars ruling in NY. So, they have set up tables outside for people to step out for a smoke or just chill while people watching.

We headed upstairs to the VIP section of the club. On normal days, this section would be blocked off and only special people like celebs or VIPs on the guest list would be allowed to head up here. Since Marlboro booked the whole club for this event, it was a free for all and anybody could come up here to chill. It was really cool, with nice leather U shape couches, plasma TV screens, awesome lightings as well as a great view of the whole club from the top.

Apart from free drinks, we also had free food all night long. I must say that the food was totally delicious! There were pizzas, burgers, pulled pork sandwiches, chicken and steak kebabs, BBQ ribs, wings, all kinds of sides as well as some kick ass corn muffins. There were also cookies, brownies, apple crumble and ice cream for dessert.

Here is a close up of some of the food we had that night. I later went back down to the buffet line to get some wings and WOW! They were just awesomeeee! One of the best BBQ wings I have ever tasted!

They had a few DJs spinning some music while we were eating and in between sets. Good stuff!

There was also a live band that played a good mix of some mellow country and blues. I can't really remember the name of the band, but they were pretty good.

For those who wants to try their hand at some blackjack, there were two tables set up at the back. Of course it's just for fun and no real money was exchanged. You can just walk over and you will be given some chips to play.

Both the winner and the guest were given a gift each at the end of the night. The bigger box is for the winner and the smaller for the guest.

This is what's inside the big box. Three types of BBQ sauce, one Marlboro Country Cookbook (we have four copies of this at home - two from the ranch, one they sent Kevin for his birthday and now this :P) and a red bandanna. The guest box has exactly the same thing, minus the cookbook.

Here is a photo of the free gift that the guest got after filling in the forms. One Zippo lighter (also have four of this at home, two from the ranch, one from some Marlboro giveaway last year and this!) and one coupon for a free pack of Marlboro when you buy one.

We had a great time partying the night away at Malrboro's Roadhouse in NYC! We would like to thank Marlboro for all the good food, drinks and awesome gifts that we got that night. As usual, you guys rock!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Oven Bag Roast Turkey Legs

There was a sale going on for fresh turkey legs at our local grocery store a while ago and we decided to pick some up. I think it was only $4 for 6 large and juicy turkey legs. Pretty good deal, huh? We used 3 to make some crockpot turkey noodle soup and decided to roast up the remaining 3 later on in the week. I've always like those turkey legs that you can get at carnivals, so this is my version of that.
I started off my marinating the turkey legs with Chef Paul Prudhomme's Magic Poultry Seasoning Blends. You can pretty much marinate it with any type of poultry seasoning. I allowed it to sit in the refrigerator and left it to marinade overnight.

I figured that the best way to roast juicy turkey legs is to use an oven bag. Before we do anything, we need to dust the oven bag with some flour. Then, place the bag in a deep baking dish.

Next, chop up some carrots, onions and potatoes into bite size pieces.

Place the carrots, onions and potatoes into the oven bag.

Then, place the turkey legs on top of the vegetables.

Pour about half a cup of water into the bag.

Seal the oven bag up. Remember to poke a few holes at the top to allow the steam to escape while cooking. We don't want an explosion in the oven, do we? :P

Place it in a 350F oven for about an hour.

While waiting for the turkey legs to cook, we can prepare the gravy for the legs. Start off by sauteing some sliced mushrooms in butter.

This is the part where I cheated. Instead of making the gravy from scratch, I just added a bottle of Heinz Turkey Gravy into the pan. Stir that with the mushrooms and allow it to go to a boil. Once it starts bubbling, turn down the heat and it is done!

Check out our turkey legs after about an hour in the oven. Nice, juicy and moist - with the meat just falling of the bone. Perfect!

I served the turkey leg with some of the vegetables as well as some Herb Rice. You can just serve the legs as it is (like the photo on top) or you can pour the mushroom gravy over it. Either way, it's just as yummy!! So, the next time there is a sale in your local grocery store on fresh turkey legs, try this recipe. It rocks!

Charter High Speed Sweepstakes

It's here again!! Charter is running one of their ever popular sweepstakes once again. Remember when Charter was giving away a laptop every day for two months? That was really cool but guess what? This time, they are back bigger and better than ever. They have now switched to giving away a new Camaro! Yeah, you heard me right, A Camaro! And it's not just any Camaro, it's the hard to get 2010 Camaro 2SS (in case you are wondering, yes...sales tax is included in the prize)!! At Charter, they love fast and this new 426 hp Camaro is one of the fastest and hardest cars to get in North America. Yes, you heard right, they are giving it away totally free! Charter services have always brought your home to life, now they are bringing your garage to life!


This Camaro Sweepstakes contest runs from September 15 through November 26 at noon. In addition to the awesome Camaro that you can stand a chance to win, you can get a $100 gift card when you buy 3 Charter services, $50 gift card for 2 services, and $25 gift card when you buy 1 Charter service. How cool is that? Gift Cards are from major retailers in clothing, home and accessories, restaurants and departmental stores! Among some of the participating retailers are Gap, Kohls, Macys, Foot Locker, Banana Republic, Best Buy, Olive Garden, TGI Fridays, Applebees and lots more!

Charter continues to outpace the industry in creative and newsworthy contests from giving away an HDTV every day to Xbox 360s. Remember? They even gave away a Hybrid Car last year! You can keep up with the latest updates from Charter on Facebook and also follow Charter on Twitter. So, what are you waiting for? Visit to register and to view the complete rules, specifications on the Camaro and more today!!