Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Wow, I'm a Slacker!

So the lumpia post below I wrote a LONG time ago and never got around to posting it because I never uploaded the photos to go with the post. Man I am a slacker! I also stopped blogging in 2010. I am going to attempt to revive this blog (and get the lumpia photos up). Stay tuned!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

My first Wilton Cake...

With a nudge from my husband, I am finally taking one of the Wilton cake decorating classes that they offer at Joann. I'd been interested in taking one for years now but somehow never got around to it for one reason or another.

Today was the second of four classes and I'm pretty pleased with how the cake turned out :) I made a pumpkin spice cake with pumpkin pudding for filling and decorated with a jack-o-lantern to round out the pumpkin theme!

I'll write more about the Wilton classes later in case anyone is considering taking them. But now, I'm off to sleepy-town.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I'm a Winner!

Yay! I won the ice cream contest!!! Thanks to everyone who voted and to Scoopalicious! I received my FANTASTIC Eagle Brand prize pack in the mail today and I love it! Here's what I got:
- An insulated picnic basket (I've always wanted a picnic basket :) )
- An ice cream pint cozie
- Cool Zyliss ice cream scoop (I was really excited about this, I have a couple other Zyliss products and love them!)
- Regular, low-fat & non-fat Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
- Walmart gift card
- Smuckers milk chocolate and black cherry toppings (never even heard of the black cherry before, can't wait to try it!)
- An insulated ice cream container
- Popsicle molds

Thanks again! I'm excited to use some of these products to make more yummy treats!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Lumpia for Labor Day!

I decided to make some lumpia (Filipino egg rolls) this weekend which is both a fairly simple thing and not-so-easy task. The recipe is pretty simple, but actually assembling and wrapping them is pretty labor intensive. So I suppose this was an appropriate thing to make during Labor Day Weekend, haha. This was actually the first time I've ever made them by myself...any other time, I've just been my dad's assistant.

When I was little and watched my dad make them, I was given the task of separating the lumpia wrappers. Generally my dad would make them for some special occasion or party, so he would make a ridiculous amount at one time, and then freeze any excess so he wouldn't have to make them again for months. I would sit there separating hundreds of thin sheets of lumpia wrappers like a little Asian kid in a sweat shop. But it was worth it. They are pretty addictive like potato chips, I don't know a single person (Filipino or non-Filipino) who can eat just one. If you've never had one before, they are pretty different from Chinese egg rolls since the wrapper is much thinner and the inside is mostly ground pork mixed with finely chopped vegetables. I guess it is more similar to a fried spring roll. But enough description, onto the recipe!

2 lbs. ground pork

4 carrots (1 to 1.5 cups chopped)

4 stalks of celery (1 to 1.5 cups chopped)

1 small jicama (1 to 1.5 cups chopped)

1 head of garlic (couple of tablespoons minced)

1 medium onion (1 to 1.5 cups chopped)

1-2 tsp salt (to taste)

1/2-1 tsp pepper (to taste)

1-2 tbsp soy sauce (to taste)

1-2 packages of lumpia wrappers (can be found in Asian markets, my dad says to use the round ones)

flour/water mixture (to seal eggrolls)

Canola oil (or any other frying oil)

1. First, separate the lumpia wrappers (or have your child do it for you). If the wrappers are frozen, let them thaw first. To keep the wrappers from drying out, cover them with a damp kitchen towel or paper towel. Peel carefully, starting with the edges, and working towards the center so you don't rip the wrappers. Also keep the separated wrappers moist with a damp towel.

2. Next peel and finely chop all vegetables (I never even knew people peeled celery, but my dad does, to remove all the stringy stuff, so I did too.) The chopping is no joke. My dad told me to use more vegetables, but I got tired of chopping so I stopped at 4 carrots, 4 stalks of celery, etc. Feel free to add more or less depending on how much your hand hurts from all the chopping. Also, the vegetables should be chopped very fine, practically minced. (I probably did not chop them small enough for my dad's liking, but I think it turned out fine).

3. Mix vegetables, meat, salt & pepper, and soy sauce until combined well

4. Fry a small amount of the meat mixture to make sure the seasonings are right. If needed, add more salt, pepper or soy sauce. If you're happy with the seasoning, now you're ready to start rolling!

5. Put about 1-2 tbsp of meat mixture onto lumpia wrapper a few inches from the edge closest to you. (You'll be tempted to use more, but it's important to not overfill the lumpia, otherwise the pork won't be fully cooked after frying. That and my dad will yell at you for overfilling the lumpia ;)) Spread the filling out evenly in the shape of a thin cigar, leaving about an inch and a half of wrapper on each side.

6. Fold over the edge closest to you, and wrap tightly, roll about halfway, then fold the sides to the middle, then finish rolling to the end of the wrapper.

7. Using your finger, apply a little of the flour/water mixture to the edge of the wrapper to seal the lumpia.

At this point, you can freeze any extras you don't plan on eating right away (or all of them like I did so I could fry them the next day). It literally took me hours to roll these because I ended up making somewhere around 80 lumpia. Think I used 1 and a half packages of the lumpia wrappers.

Fry in 350 degree oil until golden brown. (Since I am sometimes paranoid about undercooking them, I always cut into the first few to make sure they are cooked. I make a mental note how long they were in the fryer and try to fry the rest for the same amount of time.) Drain on paper towels, cut into halves or thirds. (Or after frozen, you can cut them before frying.)They are tasty on their own, but you can also dip them in sweet & sour sauce OR a mixture of soy sauce, vinegar, and crushed garlic OR banana ketchup (can be found in Asian stores). Keep eating until you are stuffed or run out of lumpia :)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Food-filled weekend

This past weekend was a very fun/food-filled weekend! We had some friends in town visiting so Mike and I took them to some of our favorite places here in Nashville. Three of them have been on the Food Network at one point or another but I thought I'd share them here.

12 South Taproom - great bar and grill that has some tasty sandwiches, quesadillas, etc. It's far better than most bar food you will get (you can get things like gouda mac & cheese or marinated button mushrooms as a side!), I got the blackened tilapia sandwich this time but have pretty much had every sandwich on the menu at some point. 12 South also gets a thumbs up for having a great beer selection that makes Mike very happy.

Loveless Cafe - definitely a tourist spot, but it holds a special place in my heart (or stomach, I suppose ;)) for a number of reasons. Back in 2007, we went to a taping of Throwdown with Bobby Flay where he challenged Carol Fay to a biscuit throwdown. If you ever see this episode, you can catch Mike talking about Bobby giving Carol a run for her money and see me stuffing my face with a biscuit. It was pretty awesome.

I also love Loveless for the blackberry jam, biscuits, fried chicken, bbq....this list could go on and on! I know some people have had hit or miss experiences there, but I've always had great meals there. Wait times can be long, but it's always fun to peruse the Hams & Jams giftshop or other stores nearby so it never really bothers me. This visit, I couldn't resist getting my "usual" fried chicken meal (1/4 chicken dark meat please!) with mashed potatoes, creamed corn and green beans and Mike got the daily special which was watermelon ribs. Yes folks, watermelon ribs! (Yes, they are delicious and no, they don't really taste like watermelon.) The only thing at Loveless that makes me sad is that I'm always too full to get dessert!

Rosepepper Cantina - this Mexican restaurant in East Nashville is a new addition to our restaurant repertoire but a great one! The portions are HUGE and chips and salsa are fantastic. They give you three kinds - mild, spicy, and tomatillo which is a big thumbs up in my book. We've only been here twice but there's lots more on the menu that I'm looking forward to trying.

Patterson House - this is kind of a cool swanky bar if you're in the mood for some unique cocktails. It is kind of hidden (one of those hard to find places if you didn't know what exactly to look for) and you have to be seated by a hostess. You don't even see the actual bar until the hostess pulls back the heavy theater curtain. It makes you feel like you're not in TN (which is a good thing sometimes) and I don't know anywhere else you can get a drink with bacon infused whiskey or cedar smoked cola! The cocktails are on the pricey side but it's all about the experience here. They do have some panini and other items on the menu but I've yet to try anything but the donuts (which were quite tasty btw). (When the Patterson House was featured on Best Thing I Ever Ate on Food Network, I think they showed some sort of Elvis panini. One day when I get this Elvis panini, I will report back.) Definitely a cool hang if you're in the mood for a fancy cocktail with a sphere of ice in it!

Martin's Bar-b-que Joint - this bbq restaurant in Nolensville was featured on Diners, Drive-In, and Dives with Guy Fieri. I'm a big fan of the ribs and brisket tacos here but it wouldn't take much arm twisting to get me to eat anything else on the menu. Portions could be a little bigger for my money but it's still a great non-chain bbq place in town and even better since it's only about 10 mintues from my house :)

If you ever find yourself in Nashville, definitely check some of these out! (Or if you come visit me, don't be surprised if this is exactly where I take you :) )

Friday, August 27, 2010


Please vote for my Coffeehouse Ice Cream HERE! You can vote until Tuesday (8/31) so go do it now! If you vote for me I will be forever grateful and might even make you something yummy to eat if you come to my house :) Thanks!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ice Cream Contest!

Welcome to Charlene Eats! This is my very first post...I figured it was about time I started a blog, just in time to enter the ice cream contest over at Scoopalicious. Back in May I entered another contest hosted by the gals over at Scoopalicious with a Mojito Ice Cream Cupcake...it was fun to create something yummy along with having the chance to win some cool (pun intended) prizes :) I didn't win but the great thing about entering food contests like that is that you always get to eat your entry, haha!

The current contest I'm entering is all about making ice cream with Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk so here's how I came up with my ice cream entry...

This summer has been pretty brutal and as a result my husband and I have become a little addicted to some things to make the heat a little more bearable. The hubby is seriously addicted to iced coffee, and most recently Starbucks Via Iced Coffee. He's not usually the instant-coffee-type but he tried Via and was pleasantly surprised and instantly hooked! I'm not a coffee drinker myself, so when we would go to Starbucks to purchase said Via, I'd find myself ordering those addicting Java Chip Frappucinos. So that's how my ice cream creation was born - basically a combo of my husband's love for the iced coffee and my love for the chocolate-y chip coffee goodness. So now that you know the inspiration, I give you my Coffeehouse Ice Cream :)

  • 1 packet instant iced coffee (I used Starbucks Via Ice Coffee - lightly sweetened)
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 1 (14 oz) can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1/3 (heaping) cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 6-8 chocolate chip biscotti
  • Magic Shell for drizzling
*Note - The packet of instant iced coffee I used makes 16 oz., so if you use a different brand just use the same amount you'd need for 2 cups of coffee. Also since mine was "lightly sweetened" you might want to add some sugar to taste.

Directions for ice cream:
1. Combine cream, coffee, and condensed milk in the bowl of an electric mixer
2. Mix on high for a few minutes, until light and fluffy
3. Stir in chocolate chips

To assemble ice cream loaf:
1. Line a 9x5 inch loaf pan with foil (make sure foil folds over sides of pan)
2. Spoon a thin layer of the ice cream on bottom of pan
3. Place biscotti on top of ice cream layer
4. Pour the remaining ice cream into pan
5. Freeze overnight or until firm

The next day, I turned the pan out onto a plate and removed the foil. Then I just sliced the loaf, trying to get one biscotti per ice cream slice and then drizzled with Magic Shell for the finishing touch!

I've always made ice cream in my ice cream maker, but using this method was super easy which was pretty awesome. (I also didn't have to worry about freezing the bowl for my ice cream maker ahead of time.) I think I'd for sure do this ice cream again, it was so simple and there was virtually no measuring which is perfect for doing a quick and easy ice cream. One packet of coffee, one can of sweetened condensed milk, one pint of cream, some chocolate chips and bam you're done! (Had I used some store-bought biscotti instead of homemade, I'd have finished making this ice cream in no time!)

For me the amount of sweetness with this ice cream was perfect. At first I wondered if it would be overly sweet with the condensed milk PLUS the sweetened ice coffee packet, but it was just right :) I think the only thing I might do differently for next time would be to cut the biscotti into smaller bite-sized pieces and mix them throughout the loaf instead of keeping them whole.

All in all, I'd say the Coffeehouse Ice Cream was a success!