Lips’ Quick Tips #6: Turn Canned Corn Into Awesome Corn


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In only about 5 minutes!

I made up a ridiculous easy way to transform canned sweet corn into something a little more sassy.

Ready? Set. Go.

Open and drain a can of yellow sweet corn. Heat a drizzle of oil in a skillet, and throw in the corn. Toss that around for a couple minutes until some of the kernels start to blacken just a bit, so it almost looks like you grilled it. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl. Add a sprinkling of salt and a good squeeze of fresh lime juice.

That’s it!

Serve it on the side with some tacos or add to a salad or whatever you like. It will seem like you’re having a summer BBQ, even if it is rainy and awful outside.

Aaaand here’s a song! With sort of an awkward music video…


Food Truck Friday: The Grilled Cheese Truck


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Cheese and bread are fine, but who wants to be that kid silently munching on a plain cheese sandwich, when you could be joyfully munching on a grilled cheese sandwich? How is it that a hot griddle can take a mundane cheese sandwich to an unimaginable level of awesomeness? Put that griddle on wheels, and add some unexpected ingredients to that cheese sandwich, and you get The Grilled Cheese Truck: a mobile gift from the heavens serving up cheesy melty wonders to the lucky citizens of LA. And I waited oh so long to be one of those lucky citizens.

Every week when I checked the food truck schedule, my heart would drop just a bit when I didn’t see The Grilled Cheese Truck listed. I get very excited to try the other trucks too, but I’ve been anticipating this truck ever since I heard that this genius creation existed. I mean, they put macaroni and cheese in one of their melts. Macaroni and cheese. Who does that?! These guys do. When the stars finally aligned for me to go this week, I could hardly handle myself. I was telling everyone about it. “Hey guys! I’m going to The Grilled Cheese Truck!” One would think I was going to Disneyland, except I’m not huge on Disneyland because large crowds make me edgy and the characters are creepy, so this was better. The truck did have a long line, but it was worth it. So worth it.

While I was tempted to get their signature macaroni and cheese sandwich, I ultimately chose the Brie Melt: double cream brie, sliced pears, honey, and fresh thyme on cranberry walnut bread. Doesn’t that sound so fancy? They were actually out of pears, so I swapped in apples, which I just assume do anyway. Oh yeah, and I got one of their dipping sauces on the side. Bacon aioli, to be exact, because…well do I really need to justify bacon?

At last, after much anticipation, I had in my possession a little foil pouch, and in that pouch contained my spoils. I took my seat in the grass under my tree, and unwrapped my melt with utmost care. Then I popped the top of my bacon aioli, and almost didn’t even wait to take a picture. But for your sake, I did.

And then, the moment of truth.

Splendid. Toasty, buttery bread dotted with cranberries and walnuts, filled with creamy brie, crisp apples, a drizzle of honey, and a sprinkling of thyme. A perfect execution of sweet, salty, creamy, and crunchy, all at the same time, which as you may know, is my ideal state of food. Let us not forget the sauce! Move over tomato soup, because I’ve found grilled cheese’s new bff. Its name is bacon. While the sandwich is a thing of beauty on its own, a dip in the bacon aioli was a perfect accessory and added yet another layer of flavor, if that is even thinkable.

So I guess you could say that it was a success. A great success. My only regret was that it was all over far too soon. But when the truck comes back to my neighborhood, I will be there, waiting with open arms.

And here’s your song. This girl has been blowing up my iPod all week. Love love love.

The World’s Greatest Chocolate Chip Banana Bread.


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I’ve done it, everyone. You can stop searching. I have the answer to your prayers right here. For months, I have been searching high and low, experimenting with different recipes, all resulting in dissatisfaction, and a void that can only be filled with The One. So many banana breads are too much like cake, or too dry, or too blah. Finally, I have it. The best chocolate chip banana bread recipe in the whole world. Perfectly moist, just heavy enough, bananalicious, and chocolate chippy. And I’m sharing it with you. Isn’t that nice of me? I’ve never baked anything in my apartment that has disappeared as quickly as this banana bread. It didn’t even last a day before it had been devoured, and I’m constantly getting requests to make a fresh loaf. It takes a little more time than some other banana bread recipes because it involves sifting, drizzling, mixing for extended periods of time, and folding, but it is soooooo worth the effort. Trust me. Are you ready for it? Get ready for your life to change…

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Food Truck Friday: Frysmith


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When I looked at the food truck schedule for this week, I initially did not plan on hitting Frysmith. I generally like to be pretty healthy, or at least keep up that facade, and I just had some major qualms about eating a big plate of loaded french fries for lunch. I had heard that Frysmith is amazing, but it felt so wrong. But when Wednesday rolled around and Frysmith was on campus, I had just been destroyed by a midterm and sought some solace. I don’t usually eat my feelings, and I’m not condoning doing so, but every once in awhile, a french fry truck rolls in when you are feeling vulnerable and sweeps you away with their fried, cheesy delights.

I gave in to the temptation with some trepidation and an exciting tingle of guilt, and got in line. I was so torn between the menu items that I almost didn’t even get anything. That’s a lie, actually. I was so torn I almost got multiple things, but my wallet dictated otherwise. I ultimately chose the Chicken Sweet Potato fries: free-range chicken in a tomatillo-tamarind sauce over sweet potato fries topped with jack cheese and cashews. As I waited anxiously for my fries, I couldn’t help but notice how exceptionally friendly the staff were. Despite how busy they were, they took time to chat with customers and provide exemplary service. I really appreciate great service.

When I got my plate, I’m pretty sure my eyes dilated, trying to take in the mound of goodness in front of me. I took a seat under a tree, figured out my plan of attack, and dug in. These are definitely fries that you need to eat with a fork. Normally opposed to such behavior, which I regard with disdain like eating pizza with a fork and knife, I realized there was simply no other way. If I used my hands, it would just not be cute.

When I took my first bite, I realized that there was not one thing in this world that I would rather be eating right at that moment. Cheese, crisp sweet potato fries, and tender, flavorful chicken swept me away in a wave of culinary comfort nirvana. After a couple more bites, I also thought about how happy I was that I didn’t have to share with anyone. How sad is that? Borderline, if not full blown, pathetic. But I do not care. They were so wonderful. All of the flavors went together so beautifully. The flavors were vibrant, yet nothing was overwhelming. We’ve been over my sweet-salty-creamy-crunchy obsession, and these fries were most obliging to that. Sweet fries, salty tomatillo-tamarind sauce, creamy cheese, and crunchy cashews made for the Cirque du Soleil of lunches–beautiful, unexpected, and unforgettable…and I’ve never even seen Cirque du Soleil. If you’re not convinced yet, I throw up my hands. Just trust me and Eat Frysmith.

This is one of my very favorite songs. Enjoy : )

Lips’ Quick Tip #5: Radish Salad


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I’ve been very much into radishes these days. They just look so pretty and red, like little crispy jewels nestled in a thicket of green leaves (which don’t taste very good…I tried eating them). I sometimes eat them just plain and raw, toss them into salads, or slice them for soup garnish. But why should the radish only get to be an accoutrement? They deserve to be the star of the show once in awhile too, right? So I gave my radishes a spotlight and made such a refreshing and simple salad with them, and it only takes a couple of minutes to throw together.

All you need are radishes, fresh parsley, olive oil, and sea salt. ‘Tis a small cast of characters, but they all play very important roles. Just slice up however many radishes you desire into discs about the width of quarters. Chop up a bit of parsley, and toss that into the radish slices with a pinch of salt and a drizzle of olive oil. Eat immediately for maximum crispness, and take in the beautiful simplicity of this salad.

Food Truck Friday: Komodo


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Not my picture

Komodo is among the plethora of food trucks serving fusion tacos, and theirs are as interesting and exotic as the Komodo dragon itself (but probably a lot more delicious, although i’ve never eaten Komodo dragon…). They mean business about their food, and though the tacos are small in size, they are big in flavor. As per most food trucks, Komodo has a sides menu, and in addition to the commonly seen takes on french fries, they also have meatballs. Tacos and meatballs? It seemed like an unlikely and random pairing, so of course I had to do it. I went with their “Deadly Combo,” and got two tacos and a side of meatballs. Fortunately, it wasn’t deadly at all, just tasty. I chose the Fish N’ Grapes taco and the the Java taco. The Fish N’ Grapes taco was deep fried Alaskan cod topped with a grape and roasted almond salad, and the Java was a taco filled with Indonesian shredded pork braised in coconut cream with a fresh tomato and cucumber salad. Their meatballs are made of pork and filled with lots of good spices and some veggies, topped with a romesco sauce.

I took nice pictures this time : )

Java Taco

Fish N' Grapes Taco

I was most excited for the Java taco, but surprisingly felt least enthusiastic about it. Sometimes simplicity is best, and I think there was just too much going on. The pork was sweet and rich from the coconut milk, but there was a pepperiness that I did not appreciate. It was a pretty good taco, but not a favorite. The fish taco was lovely, however. The fish was delicately fried and seasoned, and not greasy at all. The grape and almond salad was a very nice accouterment, and it did not overwhelm the fish. This would be an awesome summer time taco. Although Komodo is known for their tacos, their meatballs were the highlight for me. They were so flavorful, and had the right texture–not too smooth but not too course. The romesco sauce was a perfect condiment. I would definitely like to eat these again. I wish Komodo made a meatball taco, because that would be super delicious.

The final verdict? An enjoyable lunch, but not overly memorable or euphoria inducing as others have been.

Pozole (Spanish for “I have an addiction to soup”)


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Just kidding, not it’s not. I don’t know what pozole means, but I know it’s delicious. Sort of a cross between a soup and a stew, this Mexican comfort is traditionally made with some type of meat, often pork, and hominy, a type of corn. If you’ve never had hominy, it is similar to corn but bigger and starchier. It reminds me of the masa on tamales. This soup is super simple but really hearty and wonderful. You can customize the toppings like a bowl of froyo…but not. I went with sliced radishes, cilantro, avocado, and a squeeze of lime on mine. You can also add shredded cabbage and crunched up tortilla chips, as well as hot sauce if you want to spice things up. To make the soup, you won’t need much more than a can of hominy, a pork shoulder, and a couple jalapenos, which makes this a very economical meal. If you don’t see the right size pork shoulder in the meat section (you’ll need one that is about 1.5 lbs) then bat your eyelashes at the butcher and he’ll cut one for you. It worked for me anyway…

P.S. Fact of the day: Meats, vegetables, and herbs retain more nutrients when cooked into a soup than in other cooking methods.


Food Truck Friday: The Hungry Nomad


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For weeks, I had been wandering through a desert wasteland, delirious with exhaustion and hunger. My feet were tired, and my stomach was growling. Loudly. What I wouldn’t give for some sustenance! Particularly a pocket filled with beef and spices served with a side of baked chips coated with a special blend of Mediterranean herbs and seasoning with a yogurt dip.

Alas! In the distance I spied an inviting figure with an intoxicating aroma luring me toward it. I could hardly believe my eyes. It had to be a mirage. Could it be? A truck in the desert serving Armenian specialties? I mustered up what little strength I still had and followed the food truck. Behold! The Hungry Nomad Truck! Offerings of culinary splendor overwhelmed my senses, and I prepared to bask in the glory of a Beorek (beef pocket) with Za’atar chips. I was so hungry, I could hardly stand to wait to dig into my feast until I could take a few photos. So I didn’t. None of these are mine, sorry.

When I finally ate, it was as though I had discovered my Armenian spirit guide. I realized that my journey through the desert was so that I could discover this truck. The beef pocket looked beautiful–golden crust, drizzled with yogurt sauce, and it was cut in half, giving just a little sneak peek of the treasure it contained. Tender, lean ground beef, spiced to perfection, was instantly soul warming.


(I used to have a picture of the pocket here, but some technical difficulties occurred.)

The crust was just a tad on the dry side, but it was still wonderful, and the dryness could easily be amended with an extra side of sauce. While the pocket provided the venue, it was the chips that brought the party. If this was the only food I ever ate again, I think I would be okay with that. Chips made of pita or lavash or some similar thin bread are baked and topped with this magical green mixture of wild Mediterranean thyme, sesame seeds, and a bit of olive oil. Alone they are wonderful, but dipped in their special yogurt dip, they are of another world. After finishing my beef pocket, I savored every last chip, and every last drop of dip.

At last, I felt satisfied and sustained enough to finish the last leg of my journey to get home. Eternal gratitude to the Hungry Nomad for feeding me, a hungry nomad (at the reasonable price of under $7, I might add).

I realize this song is not Armenian, but I think it goes nicely with the mood of the food and the story, and I quite enjoy it.

Drunken Kale


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First, I would just like to take this time to shout from the rooftops, “I LOVE KALE!” I really, really do. I don’t know what it is about this particular cruciferous green, but I love it. I ate an entire bunch of it for dinner the other night, and it was glorious. Also, kale is extremely healthy. There’s like, a thousand kinds of vitamins in it, antioxidants, fiber, omega-3’s, and detoxification aids. New Year’s Resolutioners, this here seems to be your superhero food.

What’s better than kale? Kale cooked in wine. Oh yeah, I went there. I concocted this little recipe and I could not be any more excited about how it turned out. Kale, caramelized onions, and sun-dried tomatoes have one glass too many and start a little dance party in your mouth. Grab a bottle, and get this party started!

Drunken Kale

Red(Bull) Velvet Cupcakes Give You Wings!


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What I am about to say might be shocking, appalling, or offensive to some audiences, but stay with me please. I made cupcakes. No, that wasn’t the offensive part. Here it comes…I made cupcakes…with Redbull. *Cue booing and wretching*

Guess what? They were, contrary to my predictions, delicious. I am officially a Redbull-iever. You’re probably wondering why I made cupcakes that I thought would suck. There’s a simple explanation, really. My good friend Evan, who recently got into this awesome Redbull graduate program thing, just had a birthday. All of my good friends get cakes for their birthdays. When I asked him what his preferred flavor was, he said Redbull, jokingly I assume. But I took that as a personal challenge and set out to make Redbull cupcakes. Believe it or not, recipes for such a thing already exist. There are actually people in this world who have deliberately concocted cake recipes made with Redbull. And after these, I may never make cupcakes without it again.  I decided to make them into a play on red velvet cupcakes by dying the batter red and topping it with a cream cheese frosting. I think the cream cheese was a nice complement to the sweetness of the cupcake. The Redbull does something magical to the texture of the cupcake. They turn out moist, slightly sticky, with the perfect density, and they don’t actually taste like Redbull at all. The odd flavor of Redbull only translates into a sweet slightly fruity flavor when mixed into the cupcake batter. Redbull gives you cupcakes wings!

Become a Bulliever, and make some Red(Bull) Velvet Cupcakes!