apple pies and tart

Haven’t posted in a while, ergo, vis-a-vis, a pretty damn long post:

“Every sweet has its sour.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Apple Pie:

On most weekends I try to be filial and come home to my sisters house in Leesburg (Northern Virginia) and be with the familia and show my parents that I’m doing well in Maryland and eating well, and of the like. As it should be, I enjoy the times when I come home because I get to play with the nerdlets and eat some good o’l fashion Chinese grub. And the one thing that always puts a smile on my face, and I’m sure those with FOB parents are familiar with this too, is that my parents are always exclaiming how I’m “getting too thin” or “need to eat more” and what not. I absolutely love it, because I’m essentially a disposer when it comes to eating, which fills me up with a greater sense of joy and personal triumph than before when they say such things; but that’s just me. At any rate, every Sunday when I leave to come back to Maryland, momsters and father unit just love packing up enough food that could benefit the salvation army, just for yours truly. I mean I love food, I have several food affairs even, but sometimes there’s just too much, which is crazy for me to say because there can never be enough! So I’m always getting  these sacks of apples and just last week I got another; I barely opened the one from the previous week! So essentially with no room in the refrigerator, I had to think of a plan on how to get rid of the damn things in one fell swoop. The answer was so simple, it was easy as pie – literally (okay don’t hate me for that, that was the only chance I had to use that stupid phrase for once efficiently).

So how is it done, this pie? It really takes only a handful of simple ingredients. I won’t get too much into the details, but I basically peeled (I actually had my friend Roshan do this for me) and sliced up about 8 apples – whatever ones you like to eat, threw in about 2 and half table spoons of cinnamon, about a quarter stick of butter,  about a table spoon and a half of nutmeg, and finally enough sugar and sweets in the mix to make even a WWF wrestler blush. I will tell you that the key to keeping this filling good when baking it is to throw in some flower (about 5 table spoons) so that the juices from the apples and melted butter will thicken, otherwise you’re left with some soupy mixture on the inside.

Here’s another hint: Make your own crust. It’s easy as…alright I won’t say it again, but it really is simple. Just take about 3 cups of flour, about 3/4 stick of butter, 6 table spoons of sugar and half a teaspoon of salt. Add just only enough water so that the dry/buttery mix all begins to stick together. Then bring out the rolling pin (or a glass cup if you’re cheap like me) and roll half of your dough mix into a nice flat round and cover the bottom of the pie pan. Then throw your apple pie mix into the thing and flatten out the other half of the dough mix and place over the apple filling, poke some holes, and bake the damn thing in the oven at about 430 degrees for a good 40-50 minutes.

Mine came out pretty well I’d say. Tweaked it a bit though – adding more sugar and some cinnamon into the dough mix which results in a flavorgasmic pie crust. It came out looking a bit funky, but tasted quite well – evidence being that my room mates crushed a good half of it before I could even attempt to get a second helping (never got it – but my friends enjoyed it though).

But I was quite happy with myself as this was my first pie ever. This weekend I told my success to my family and I basically attempted to wing a second pie. It came out pretty well again, this time I only had brown sugar which was fine too. I believe they were quite impressed, probably from the sheer fact that a punk like me pull off a pie from scratch (really!). But they liked it, and that was the more important aspect of it all – the fact that I made something to eat that tasted good, was enjoyable to eat, and had put a smile on a few faces. That’s the biggest incentive I get out of cooking, and it’s like how Tony Bourdain describes it, cooking is the pleasure business.


I’ll keep this short and simple. I can’t stand it when I let someone down, for large or small dilemmas. A bit passive of me? But of course it is, and that’s one shitty vice.

Heart to Heart

Happy and successful cooking doesn’t rely only on know-how; it comes from the heart, makes great demands on the palate and needs enthusiasm and a deep love of food to bring it to life.”
~Georges Blanc

Those who know me, know that I really have no enthusiasm when it comes to studying Electrical Engineering. I mean really, whenever I step into a lab room and what not, I usually start and end my work with a grunt like some sort of ogre attempting a crossword puzzle. But those who really know me, know that when it comes to foods of all cultures and forms, I’m like some obsessive freak at the porno section of a video rental. Is that too wrong to say? Maybe, but sometimes the way I handle certain foods, you just can’t really know…

But it is really something I truly take to heart, and it’s not like some sort of fanaticism with fast food chains and certain brands. One of the things I’ve come to absolutely love eating over the years is a good cows heart. I was never really partial to eating organs before, but when I had my first heart, it was as if I had a sudden, and extremely enjoyable, slap into the face with a rib eye steak.

Tucked away in the back corners of the Ritchie Center, behind the iconic IHOP on Rockville Pike, is La Limeña, one of the best places to find Peruvian cuisine. The place is modest in size, but was surprisingly great for its quality, and quite fair and reasonable for its prices as well.


The main attraction for me at this place are of course the grilled skewered cows heart, or otherwise known as anticuchos. You get two skewers, and each one has three divine slices of heart – oh that delicious symphony of grilled ecstasy, feast your eyes:


It comes with a side of a half fried potato, which is a staple in Peru – and there are many, many kinds. The other side that comes with it, as with many other entrees, is a small onion and tomato salad tossed in vinegar and laid in a small lettuce wrap. It’s a refreshing and acidic balance to the heavy but glorious anticuchos and the starch heavy fried potato.

There are many other jewels in this establishment I would love to rave about, such as the rachi or even the cuban style steak, but the one thing that cannot be missed when coming to La Limeña, is the helado de Lúcuma. I would organize crime in order to have this stuff:


Oh, and that little cookie thing protruding from the side like some sort of flavorgasmic tumor, is whats called an alfajor, and thats only a mini version – but more on that next time.

At any rate, La Limeña is definitely a must if you’re in the mood for an incredible Peruvian meal. I hold a very special place in my heart for anticuchos now, and who knows, for those who are fearful of stepping outside of their comfort zones when it comes to eating organs, you might find a bit of a surprise. What foods do you hold dear to your heart?

Taste Spotting

A friend of mine showed me a very interesting website today, many of you may know it already. It’s called Taste Spotting and you can visit the website at this address:



Yes, it is a food blog that provides recipes, ideas, products, and a whole bunch of other things that deal with food, and of course there are many awesome pictures that show user recipes and what not. Be sure to check it out!

Okay, Thank You!

He who thanks but with the lips
Thanks but in part;
The full, the true Thanksgiving
Comes from the heart.

~J.A. Shedd

Ah yes, the blowing of Autumn leaves, the preparation of that familiar bird, the eminent crowd of night zombies muttering the words “Black Friday”, this can mean only one thing – Thanksgiving. An all too familiar American tradition based off the English settlers gratitude for a plentiful harvest and a swift deliverance through the winter. It may also be seen as the gratitude of the English settlers for the natives hospitality upon their arrival into the new world.

Though not celebrated by everyone, it is still a widely recognized holiday (when you’re in North America) that is held on what is essentially the last Thursday of November. Why this timing came to be, is best answered by doing some research concerning Abraham Lincoln, which I will not go to detail. What is important, though,  is the whole motif behind this tradition, which is simply to give thanks for what you have. I’m sure that somewhere along the lines, some people tend to forget what this holiday is all about. Kids get a long weekend break to goof off and do what they please and adults find a reason to take off work, and then there’s some sort of a feast.

Ohhh and then there’s a feast. How could anyone forget the feast? It’s only the most synonymous subject when it comes to this holiday (although I’m sure some of you were thinking Black Friday or the word deal/discount…), unless of course you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, or you just aren’t able to. At any rate, those who know Thanksgiving, know about the Thanksgiving dinner, and for those who are serious about this dinner know that this isn’t some sort of a run-of-the-mill dinner. Oh no, there is absolutely something special about this meal that sort of reminds us why we have it in the first place, and it should generally be about something you’re thankful for. Yes? No? Well it should be, to say the least.

Not everyone in the world gets to eat well, sleep well, or breathe well, and unfortunately many of us take what we have so readily available in our lives for granted. We all do, no matter how little or how big the situation, opportunity, and chance is that is practically spoon fed into our faces. I remember spending nearly 5 years in a row working a Chinese buffet (a damn good one at that)  on every single holiday. Worst yet, sometimes we’d be the only establishment open – anyone care to define chaos? I can, and it’s spelled out as ALL-U-CAN-EAT, on a holiday; dreading Christmas was as good as dreading death row. Until recently my parents had sold our family restaurant, they’ve been in this sort of business for over 3 decades, I think it was a good time to retire. This year was the first Thanksgiving in a good long while, and believe me when I say that I’m thankful for it. I am especially thankful for my loving family and my phenomenal friends, the air in my lungs, and the incredible food I eat. Often times, you’re much better off than you think you are. Whoever you are and wherever you are, there’s gotta be something worth to thank for.

And what about my Thanksgiving dinner? Well feast your eyes on this:


So save some room for a little consideration, I’m sure you’re thankful for something.

Well, It’s a start

“A good eater must be a good man; for a good eater must have a good digestion, and a good digestion depends upon a good conscience.” 
– Benjamin Disraeli

“A good meal ought to begin with hunger.”
– French Proverb

What makes a person happy?  Well, good food and good drink with a few laughs and stories told with friends and family is good enough for me. But before we all lose ourselves to buffets, fast food chains, and the argument of quality vs quantity, I think it would be interesting to know where the heck the meat and vegetables in your food came from. So let’s revisit.

Oh how I love food. There are many reasons why good food is important to an individual. It provides sustenance for which the body needs, like fuel for a burning fire. But it is so much more than just edible materials bought at the store or found in the wild. The way I see it, food is the heart of a culture and language, and whether you are familiar with a certain part of the world or not, there must exist some inkling of curiosity about the secret life and history of the stuff sitting on your plate. For me, it is such that the oceanic taste of bouillabaisse invokes a sense of French language and culture, or that the deliciously pungent Injera of Ethiopia reminds me of more food and drink like coffee.

This is important to me, because as an individual that does not get to travel a lot (let alone not ever stepping into my country of origin, or out of the US for that matter…), I miss out on the great things and places that exist on this planet. And to make up for my lack of cultural infusion, I have sort of made it a quest or adventure for myself to try as many different types of food/cuisine possible, and really understand where they are coming from and the relationship they have to the rest of the world. You’ll find right away that I’m no gastronomist or professional of some sort in the culinary field, I just seriously love some good food. I know there are a ton of you out there like me who know just good eats, and then there are those who know how to make those good eats. In any case I hope to at least entertain the idea of exploring the world through food and cuisine by blogging about what I eat and drink while providing insight from my prospective. And of course there will be plenty of pictures and videos along the way.

So let’s start this escapade, and see what’s on my plate.


Girl with a Pearl Earring

Just a moment ago I had finished watching the film “Girl with a Pearl Earring” which is also based on the novel of the same title by Tracy Chevalier. The film and novel are also both based around the origin of the painting by the dutch painter Johannes Vermeer (aka, Jan Vermeer), also with the same title. The film essentially focuses on a servant named Griet who is hired by the Vermeer family who later catches the attention and admiration of master Johannes Vermeer. Of course such a lovely story is never perfect without a jealous wife, financial crisis, and a slight twist of scandal.

Scarlett Johansson plays the role of Griet, and in my opinion it seems like a very easy role, as she barely had any lines to speak and in entire duration of the movie she looked like she was scared, frightened, unsure, and out of breath. The movie in its entirety was not bad and it even shows, though fictionally (maybe), the origins of Vermeers other paintings such as Woman with a Water Jug.

For those, like myself, who have seen paintings or have heard music but do not know what you are looking at or listening to, I have researched some other paintings by Vermeer. I’m quite confident that many recognize these paintings but never knew who painted them before, so to start with is the Girl with a Pearl Earring (Het Meisje met de Parel):


Another mentioned earlier is the Woman with a Water Jug:


This one is entitled The Allegory of Painting:


This last one is the Milkmaid:


What must be recognized of Vermeer is the use of light. Notice how in each painting there is always a light source coming from the left which gives the painting more depth and color, all without photoshop too! In my opinion, Scarlett doesn’t look that much like the women in these paintings, as their facial structures are more round whereas Scarlett is slender and long, but that is not to say she isn’t beautiful, nor the girl with the pearl earring.

I’m no master of painting and art or an accomplished critic, but I love history, and even if the novel and film don’t really tell the true story behind these paintings, I think it’s still interesting as piece of historical fiction – kind of like the Da Vinci Code, maybe? At any rate, the movie was still quite good, the novel probably better, and of course the paintings are epic, if you’re into this sort of thing I guess.