Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Oreo Truffles, a.k.a., Balls for Your Valentine

February 2, 2011 35 comments

If you Google “Oreo Truffles,” you’ll get tons of results. Most notably, Bakerella has a really awesome guide with excellent photos, and the Pioneer Woman’s Tasty Kitchen section has numerous recipes, like this one. So why litter the Interwebs with yet another recipe for Oreo Truffles? I’m glad you asked.

First, I’m providing this recipe and How-To for all the fellas out there, hence the a.k.a. in the title: Balls for Your Valentine. I don’t know too many guys who would make Oreo Truffles for their significant other; I know many guys who would gladly give their Valentine balls. And yes, most of the guys I know (including myself) have a sophomoric sense of humor. Second, Valentine’s Day is in less than 2 weeks, which shouldn’t have come as a surprise since retailers in my area have had Valentine’s Day displays since December 26. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about women (admittedly, it’s not very much) it’s that they love two things: chocolate and something homemade. Sure, they love diamonds and other things that will require monthly payments, but this is my way of helping you, cheap frugal wise Casanova: homemade chocolate food stuffs for less than $10! Finally, (and the real reason I’m writing this post) there are many great treats you can get your Valentine, but the thing that I most like to bring out this time of year is my balls. Mmmmmmm….balls….Mmmmmmm…Ok, time to tell you about my balls.

Now just to warn you, this recipe is very simple and easy to do, but it can get kind of tedious and time consuming. So do like you do for assembling furniture: assume it will only take about an hour but clear out the rest of your schedule for when it take 3 to 4 times as long as you expected just in case.

Oreo Truffles
Adapted from 2,401 other recipes on the Web

Here’s what you’ll need:

Ingredients for Balls

You’ll need a food processor, a baking sheet lined with a silpat/wax paper/plastic wrap, one package of Oreo’s, one package of regular cream cheese, and you’ll need to make a visit to your local craft store. Yes sir, this gift will require you to visit the craft store, which is my second-least favorite store to go to with my wife behind Victora’s Secret (I hate waiting around while she tries stuff on and all the women in the store look at me suspiciously like I’m a perv), but love requires sacrifice. I like going to Hobby Lobby because the prices seem a little lower and they offer coupons on their website every now and then. Buy a package of 1lb candy wafers and a candy dipping tool set, which should set you back about $5.

For this recipe, I’m making two types of balls: regular Oreo covered with milk chocolate, and Cool Mint Oreo covered with dark chocolate. In my experience, women seem to like dark chocolate better.

Throw a row or so of Oreos inside your food processor

About to get crushed

and let that bad boy go


After about 2 minutes, it should have this consistency:

Super fine

Note: That’s D1’s hand – my hand isn’t that tiny/my bowl isn’t that big.

Setting aside 3 Oreos, crush the rest. If you get bored, make cheesy shapes in the Oreos:

I Heart You

Now throw the Oreos you set aside in there and pulse for a minute or so – you want these to be coarse since they will be used as toppings.

The Three Oreos

And here it is:

Not so fine

I repeated the above steps for the Cool Mint Oreos as well.

Neon green stuffing

And you’re done with that step:

Phase 1: complete

Now for the mushing! Throw the package of cream cheese in the bowl and start rubbing it together to form the batter.


Giant Oreo ball

Now for the fun part: forming your balls! Most other sites will tell you to make uniform 1″ balls. Pffffttt – all guys know that no two balls are the same size.

"They're bigger than I expected"

You can even make fun balls, like hearts and Hershey’s Kisses. Can you find the fun balls below?

"I can't help but notice, Pop, your balls are a little misshapen"

Once you’re done, throw the baking sheet in the freezer for 20-30 minutes. Since I was making two batches, I threw this in the freezer and made the second batch. Once I was done making balls out of the second batch, the first batch was ready for dipping.

Now it’s puberty time for your balls: drop them…into chocolate. Melt the chocolate per the instructions on the package and dip the balls using the dipping tool. Microwaving the chocolate is about the closest thing to cooking you do in this recipe.

"Oooh, I like the way your balls smell"

Then place the dipped balls on your baking sheet.

"My balls are tender"

And there’s my first mistake. You have to put the crumbled bits on top immediately after transferring to the baking sheet, otherwise, they won’t stick. See?

"No one can resist my balls"

Keep repeating this for the rest of the balls.


Keep going….

Kisses among the balls

If you coudn’t tell, I’ve really enjoyed captioning this post. BALLS BALLS BALLS!

Aside from the crumbles, you can also decorate the balls by drizzling some chocolate on top. These are the cool mint Oreos covered in dark chocolate drizzled with milk chocolate.

Fo' drizzle my nizzle

Now put all that into a container and refrigerate until you present your valentine with your balls.

Your balls, madam

Now be honest, is your mouth watering thinking about my balls? And who wouldn’t want to put these balls in their mouth? (Make sure you click that last link if most of the jokes/innuendo in this post didn’t make sense. It’ll be well worth your while).

Good times. Good times.


Cook, Pop, Cook: Korean Fried Chicken

December 9, 2010 64 comments

My wife and I love Target, except when we don’t. Whenever we exit a Target store in the area with a shopping cart full of stuff despite going in just to pick up a “few things,” it happens. I put D1 and D2 in the car and then put the stroller in the trunk and then *sniff* *sniff* “That smell,” I think to myself, “I know it all too well…” I continue to *sniff* and my wife begins to wonder why it’s taking me so long to get back in the car.

I close my eyes as the scent permeates my airway and then I begin to float like a cartoon as the scent whisks me away and *plop* I land in front of a yellow and red building and…

“Honey, what are you doing?!”

“Sorry hon, I just smelled Popeyes in the air.”

You see, there seems to be a Popeyes within smelling range of most Targets in the area and I find the smell of fried chicken, especially from Popeyes, intoxicating. In fact, I once asked my wife if she would be willing to don eau du bucket of chicken. She said no. “How about eau du bacon,” I asked. No again. Seriously. If my wife wants to seduce me, smelling like fried food wrapped in bacon would work far better than smelling like flowers or whatever else they make perfume smell like. But I digress.

As you can plainly see, I love fried chicken. In fact, I once dreamed of opening a restaurant called Skins n Stuff, where we’d just sell fried chicken skin and sides. And while I love me some chicken from Popeyes or the good Colonel, nothing I’ve tried compares to Korean Fried Chicken. Even the New York Times thinks so in this article.

In fact, in the DMV, Bon Chon chicken is immensely popular and customers are willing to pay $20 for a portion of chicken and wait 45 minutes, which is how long it takes to prepare an order. If you’re near a Bon Chon or a restaurant that serves Korean Fried Chicken, I highly suggest you go. Now. But if not, give this recipe a shot.

Korean Fried Chicken

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Restaurant Review: Thai Market in Silver Spring

August 18, 2010 22 comments

As if a food post on making ramen/ramyun wasn’t lazy enough, today I’m talking about food that I didn’t have any hand in preparing: I’m doing a restaurant review! If I were to review restaurants that I take my family to on a regular basis, it’d most likely be a chain with high ceilings where kids eat free because parents love it when A) their kids crying isn’t the loudest sound in the restaurant and B) they save money. Oh, and crayons and balloons–anything that will hold their attention for more than 3 minutes thereby pushing back their time till meltdown–are also a big bonus. This isn’t that kind of place. So sorry, but there are no recipes here–though I am planning on doing a post on tom yum soup soon–and if you don’t live in the DMV (DC/MD/VA) you won’t be able to dine here as it’s not a chain. But I hope it encourages to try Thai food!

My wife and I led a missions team to Chiang Rai, Thailand in 2006 and 2007 and we fell in love with the people there, not to mention the food. We visited last summer and we continue to keep in touch with the local ministry and sponsor several kids in the youth development program, but we still miss the people there, not to mention the food. Did I mention the food?

While I love me some Thai food, I really dislike the prices they charge in the DMV. $9 for pad thai?! Did you know bowls of noodles sell for less than a buck in Thailand? Granted, average income is totally different, but when I told our Thai friends how much their compatriots were charging stateside, they nearly had a heart attack.

Enter Thai Market, a tiny hole in the wall at 902 Thayer Ave, just a few blocks from downtown Silver Spring. When we walked in, it smelled like Thailand and they had pictures of the king and queen. The fact they had Milo’s and Oishi green teas in the market, which is attached to the restaurant–endeared the place to us even more. So anywho, onto the pics!

From these humble digs come untold of deliciousness.

Thai Market, Silver Spring, MD

We started with sticky rice and meat on a stick.

Sticky rice and meat on a stick ($1 each)

Seriously. How can you go wrong with meat on a stick?

You can't!

The menu and the prices were so enticing we ended up ordering 3 dishes in addition to the sticky rice and meat on a stick. Drunken noodle:


Beef noodle soup:


And chicken with sweet basil:

Basil is delicious!

Washed down with a $1 Thai Iced Tea:


Sure the iced tea was heavy on the ice, light on the tea. But for $1 when other places charge close to $4?!?! Would you think less of me if I double-fisted Thai iced teas?

Their papaya salad looks great and my wife and I are planning on trying everything on the menu (not on one visit obviously). That was WAY too much food and we definitely had leftovers.

All of that food for a little over $20! You can see why I’m a fan. Top it off with free meters on Saturdays and Sundays in front of the restaurant, the farmer’s market on Ellsworth Drive, and the Silver Plaza fountain kids can play on, and you’ve got a fun, cheap way to spend the day with your family. And like the sign says: cash only!

What are some of your favorite family-friendly restaurants? Or a fun way to spend the day with your family? And does Thai food give you IBS or do basil burps really smell atrocious (mine do!)?


August 17, 2010 40 comments

I’m in a food kinda mood this week, mostly because I’m BBQing pulled pork this weekend. So to kick things off, I’d like to start off with that which I have a never-ending love/hate relationship with: buffets.

I really am trying to eat healthier these days, as I know my choices will affect the choices my daughters make as well. Not to mention my wife, who is trying to work off her baby weight doesn’t appreciate a buffet. But then I get an advertisement from Old Country buffet for B1G1 and since my kid eats free, I can’t possibly pass that up, can I?

If you’re anything like me, buffets are a very serious matter – often, literally a matter of life and death. No lie: I once left a buffet with meat sweats, my breaths were shallow as taking deep breaths would’ve put too much pressure on my stomach, and I was in no condition to drive. So for such a serious matter, you’re probably wondering what my credentials to be discussing this topic are.

In college, I once ate a dozen Krispy Kreme followed by a 10 piece bucket of KFC, just to balance out the sweetness. I once ate for 2 hours at a churrascaria and then ate nearly half a white chocolate raspberry truffle cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory. I can’t nearly put away food like I used to, but I have the clogged arteries as proof that I used to put fear in buffet owners.

Additionally, I’ve done quite a bit of study in the burgeoning field of buffetconomics. To date, I’ve developed three principles that apply to all buffets.

Buffetconomics Principle 1 – law of diminishing returns: each successive plate becomes increasingly vile. For the first plate, you typically think: “This is so good! I can’t believe this is only $xx.xx! I’m going to eat 5 plates!” By plate 5, you’re now thinking:  “Oh. My. God. I hate myself. I’m never going to eat again. I hate food. I’m going to throw up. Someone put me out of my misery. I’m going to have a food baby.”

Buffetconomics Principle 2 – lack of sunk costs: in economics, sunk costs are costs that are incurred that cannot be recovered so they shouldn’t affect your decisions. In buffetconomics, however, the cost of the buffet plays a major role in decision-making, so much so that the diner may no longer act rationally. For you laypeople, this is the “I’m gonna get my money’s worth!!!” principle.

Buffetconomics Principle 3 – law of supply and demand: a) if the customers demand it, the buffet people will supply less of it, such as the vultures that circle the buffet until they bring out the crab legs. b) Conversely, if the customers don’t demand it, the buffet people will never replace it, so who knows how long that dish was sitting there.

Despite the truth behind these principles, I never quite learn never to go back to a buffet. Like an alcohol lover after a particularly bad hangover, I tell myself never again. Seriously. Never again.

Wait a minute…(sorts through mail)…Oh, what do we have here? A coupon from Old Country Buffet.

Update (8.18.10): Thus far, mostly ladies have responded to this post and the consensus is 1) they are all impressed by my superior eating abilities (and I am delusional), 2) I have a problem and 3) buffets are gross and should be avoided like the plague. Except for Indian lunch buffets – those are entirely different. A little help here, gentlemen? I’m not that crazy am I?

Categories: Food Tags: , , , ,

Cook, Pop, Cook: Galbi Jjim

July 27, 2010 20 comments

As a disclaimer, I’ll say this recipe is not for the faint of heart. I normally try to cook healthy recipes for my family; this isn’t one of them. The beef isn’t lean and discarding the fat is a no no. So if you’re not a fan of braised fat or eating meat off the bone we are friends off you’re not going to like this recipe much.

Korean BBQ is pretty popular in most Metropolitan areas, so most people are familiar with galbi – Korean beef short ribs. Served bone-in or cut into cubes, the beef is usually grilled over high heat and results in juicy meat and chewy tendons. Not as many people are familiar with galbi jjim – braised Korean short ribs (jjim is a method of cooking where meat is steamed or boiled). This is because most restaurants don’t serve galbi jjim. In fact, it’s usually a dish reserved for special occasions like weddings. The braising results in meat that is fall-off-the-bone tender and the tendon becomes like butter. So crash a Korean wedding if you’d like to try it. Or just follow my recipe. After all, what occasion is more special than a family dinner? Don’t you love your family enough to make this for them?

Galbi Jjim

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Grill, Pop, Grill: Jalapeño Lime Chicken

July 16, 2010 20 comments

First of all, does jalapeño make anyone else think of The Office and Lemoñade?

Today, I’d like to share one of my favorite recipes for summer: Jalapeño Lime Chicken. The marinade is light and uses a lot of cilantro, which is my favorite herb in the summertime. The aroma, the bright green color, the pho. Yum! Served with pineapple salsa and rice, the chicken is an excellent meal to share with family and friends. Give it a try this weekend.

Jalapeño Lime Chicken

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Grill, Pop, Grill: Steak Part 2

June 16, 2010 11 comments

Here’s part one in case you missed it. With Father’s Day coming up this Sunday, I figured it’d be good to post on steaks to 1) whet your appetite and 2) convince you not to spend $$$ at a steakhouse. On a recent visit to Sam’s Club, I noticed that strip steaks are now $7.98/lb – a whopping $2.10 more/lb than just 3 months ago. Looks like it’s going to be all ribeyes this summer.

The price/lb remains $6.98 at Sam’s.

3 or 4 for the price of 1

That’s right. $23–or what you’d pay for one ribeye at a steakhouse– for 3 good-sized steaks and 1 smaller steak. Sam’s typically puts 3 in a pack while Costco usually puts 6.

Remember what I said about ribeyes being well-marbled?

Marbled goodness

I do not recommend freezing steaks – just don’t. Buy as much as you’re going to eat, remove the meat pads/bovine hygiene products from underneath the steaks, and season the steaks with olive oil and coarse ground (or freshly ground if you have it) black pepper, which you can see in the background. I season the steaks in the original packaging because that’s one less dish I have to do. If you’re buying the steaks ahead of time, I’ve found up to 2 days in the fridge is ok, but I’d recommend buying them either the day of or the night before.

As long as you’re going to cook the steaks within 2 or 3 hours, you don’t have to refrigerate them. If you bought the steaks beforehand, get them out and season them at least an hour before grilling. Rub in some black pepper, then coat the steaks on all sides with olive oil, and let them rest until they are ready for salting (no more than 30 minutes before grilling).

Black pepper + Olive Oil

I like taking closeups of meat.

Hello, Mr. DeMille

I find most people’s apprehension about cooking steaks lies with over or undercooking the meat. Here are some tips:

  1. Make sure the coals have completely ashed over. With a fatty cut like a ribeye, flareups are inevitable, but waiting until the coals are ready makes a huge difference. Also, you may want to use a glove if you want to save your knuckle hairs.
  2. Don’t overload the grill – if there’s a huge flareup and there’s still plenty of time to go before a rotation or flipping, you’re going to want to move the steak to an empty spot on the grill. Yes, you will affect the grill marks, but as long as you get nice marks on one side, that’s all that matters. Have you ever seen someone flip their steak over?
  3. To check for doneness, touch your meat. No seriously, touch it. Don’t focus on how long you’ve been cooking for – depending on weather and grill/fire conditions, your cooking time will vary from any recipes or instructions you may find. Testing with your fingers works every time.
  4. I undercook my steaks a bit to compensate for carry over cooking, e.g., if someone wants a medium-rare, I’ll cook it just a little bit past rare.

And here they are.


Since I was having several guests over, I cooked the steaks to different degrees of doneness. Here’s a medium.

Some like it medium...

And here’s a rare. Look at that delicious marbling and the juices on the plate.

I like it rare

If you really love your dad, head to a local butcher shop and get some aged cuts. As long as you touch your meat regularly during grilling, you won’t ruin it.

Happy grilling!