Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sweet & Spicy Potato Side Dish

This dish is inspired by a potato side dish that's often served at Korean restaurants. It's not exactly the same and to me, it's not better or worse; it's just different but still delicious.

1 medium potato, cubed
1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes (gochugaru)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons honey
½ teaspoon sesame oil
Start by boiling the potatoes until they're just barely tender. You don't want them to be so soft and delicate that they crumble.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Chinese-Style Crispy Scallion Pancakes

Last year, I did a post on Korean-style scallion pancakes which are delicious and have their place for sure, but aren't quite the same thing as Chinese-style scallion pancakes. The scallion pancakes you get when you go out for Chinese are crispy, almost flaky, and I want to use the word "greasier" but give it a positive connotation - maybe the better way to describe it is to say it almost tastes like it was deep fried? Anyway, Chinese-style scallion pancakes are fun to make - probably a great activity to involve children in (with supervision).

Ingredients [makes 2 large pancakes]
1 cup flour
½ cup boiling water
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sesame oil
½ cup chopped scallion greens (save the whites for something else)

+ soy sauce and rice wine vinegar for a dipping sauce
Start by combining salt and flour in a food processor. Set the food processor to mix on a low speed and slowly drizzle in the hot water until a ball of dough forms. You might need a little more or a little less water depending on the humidity of the day. If your food processor doesn't have a feed (the lid is solid and you can't pour things in while it's running) then add the water little by little, pulsing in between, until the dough forms. If you don't have a food processor at all, you can definitely mix the dough in a bowl with a fork. Just be careful, since the dough will be hot.

Friday, March 22, 2013

What I Ate: Fish Tacos

I thought I'd start doing some "what I ate" posts for meals I've already created recipe posts for but looked too good not to photograph and share. I'll try and make these posts more photo-centered with fewer words (but no promises).
{getting ready}

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


I feel like it's presumptuous of me to assume that there are people in the world who read my blog on a regular basis. But, sometimes I like to be optimistic and I'm inclined to think that yes, there are people who find my blog enjoyable and read it somewhat regularly (be it daily or at least once a week). That being said, those regular readers may have noticed that I've started to slack a bit in the amount of posting I'm doing. I had a pretty good run of posting every weekday for more than a year (I had 257 posts in 2012!) but lately, I've been skipping days here and there and at first I felt like a slacker, but I've had a bit of a revelation.
I blog because I find it enjoyable. But these days, I'm so busy with my full-time job and creating content for my travel blog and I recently started a lifestyle blog with my favorite friend and I don't want this blog, or any of my blogs, to end up feeling like something I have to do. So lately, I've just been snapping photos here and there as I make dinner and manipulating the few photos that are usable into posts. Hopefully, as the warm weather arrives, I'll be in a refreshed mood with lots of new and interesting content. I did buy some paper straws in the autumn that I'm excited to use for spring cocktails and lemonade, so you guys will have that to look forward to.

And if you're wondering why I stuck in this giant photo of my dog laughing, it's because it makes me smile and I'm hoping it'll make you smile too.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Cilantro Burgers

Like I promised yesterday, I'm sharing a burger recipe. This burger goes amazingly well with yesterday's cajun fries but it's great by itself too. As usual, I'm incorporating potato buns into my burger meat because I don't know how to NOT use them. They just make the burger taste so much better.

This post is actually kind of bleh because I didn't take many photos of the process because I wasn't really planning on turning this into a full blow blog post, but the burgers came out so yummy, I decided to share.

Ingredients [makes 4 burgers]:
½ lb ground beef (I used 90-10)
1 + 4 potato buns (or the bread of your choice)
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 egg
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon butter

Start by mixing the ground beef with one potato bun (ripped up into little pieces), garlic, cilantro, egg, dijon mustard, black pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and crushed red pepper flakes. Use your hands to gently incorporate the ingredients but don't squeeze the meat and don't overmix, unless you enjoy tough burgers. The dijon mustard will help suppress any gamey smell/flavor in the ground beef and the Worcestershire sauce will add salt without actually adding salt. I find that adding salt to the beef makes the burger really tight and tough and not juicy. (I apologize for the grainy quality of the next two photos - they look as terrible as a flip phone camera! - I was messing with the aperture on my camera and 'lo and behold, these monstrosities are what I discovered when I later uploaded the photos to my computer).
Form the meat mixture into patties.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Cajun Fries

Freshman year of college, I was introduced to Louie's Lunch Truck, which was parked right outside of my dorm. I didn't go there v. often, but when I did, I'd get cajun fries. I thought they were just so amazing and I still get cravings for them. Every once in a while, I treat myself to fries (usually at Five Guys, since they have cajun fries) but I can't help but feel a little gross and guilty afterwards. I've made fries at home but it's messy and annoying and I never know what to do with the leftover fry oil. That's why I "invented" a way to bake fries in the oven that come out with a fried texture - meaning crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.

Ingredients [serves 4]:
4 potatoes (I prefer yukon gold for this process)
1 tablespoon cajun seasoning or cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

First, start by peeling and cutting the potatoes into fries. Then rinse them off in the sink and then place them in a big bowl to soak in cold water. Leave them alone for 10 minutes or so and then rinse them again and place in a new bowl of cold water to soak for another 10 minutes. This will help draw out a lot of the starch so that when the potatoes bake in the oven, they end up crispy, not limp. Once the potatoes are done soaking, drain them and pat them dry with a kitchen towel or paper towel, whatever floats your boat. Then, toss them with some olive oil, making sure each and every piece gets coated nicely, but isn't dripping.
Place the potatoes on a foil-lined baking pan (for easy clean up) and spread them out evenly. Use two or more pans to make sure the potatoes aren't overcrowded. You want them to be spread in a single layer with a bit of space between each piece. The air space between them will allow the hot air of the oven to travel around each fry to get it crisp and delicious. You might see that I also tossed a few garlic cloves with my fries; this is totally optional but the result is super delicious, if you'd like to do the same.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Stir-Fried Anchovy and Fish Cake

So it seems like lately, I've been revisiting a lot of previous posts. It's easy for me to want to redo entries because of the poor photo quality and format of my older ones but I don't force myself to redo posts, it just happens organically. Today's post isn't necessarily a repost exactly; it's more of a modification on a previous recipe for myulchee, an anchovy side dish. This one incorporates fish cakes, which I've done a recipe post on as well. I've made it a few times in the past couple of months because it's easy but it's delicious and somewhat unique enough that I decided I wanted to share it on my blog.

1 cup dried anchovies
1 cup sliced fish cake (odeng 오뎅, I used the sheet kind but the spherical kind would also work)
2 long hot peppers, sliced thinly
½ onion, sliced
3 cloves roughly chopped garlic
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon hot pepper paste
1 tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
Start by heating a large skillet with the canola oil and sesame oil.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Vegetarian Japchae (잡채)

I have an updated japchae post, if you're interested.

Last year, I did a post on japchae but I wasn't as awesome at blogging as I am now (that is an example of hyperbole and sarcasm) so I'm re-doing it and this time, I made it vegetarian. Japchae, if you didn't know, is a noodle dish - usually consumed as a side dish with rice (which sounds weird... noodles AND rice? but that's how Koreans are). The noodles are made from sweet potato starch and they're translucent and chewy and quite different from Italian pasta or even Chinese rice noodles. The noodles are boiled and then stir fried with vegetables and usually beef and seasoned with soy sauce. It's a pretty universally-liked dish because the flavors are friendly and almost any vegetable can be used.

handful of sweet potato starch noodles (about 1" in diameter)
½ cup julienned carrots
1 package of sliced shiitake mushrooms
½ onion, sliced
1 long hot pepper, sliced
2 cloves minced garlic
1 cup bean sprouts
1 cup baby spinach
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
Start by heating a big skillet with the sesame oil and vegetable oil. Add in the all of vegetables and mushrooms, except the spinach and sprouts, and let them saute until just barely softened.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Baked Salmon with a Soy Glaze

Honestly, I'm not the biggest fan of salmon, unless it's in a spicy salmon sushi roll. I mean, it's okay but I feel like it's kind of cliche and overrated. I guess I have to admit that it can be quite delicious and the color is so lovely, it makes for a great presentation which is why so many people serve it at dinner parties. Recently, while I was at the market, some really fresh looking salmon caught my eye and yes, I was drawn in by the lovely color so, I'm sharing a soy glazed salmon recipe. Like so many of my recipes, it's one that was born out of laziness and was limited to what was available in my fridge and pantry.

Ingredients [serves 2]:
2 @ 6 oz. salmon fillets
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro (use parsley or omit if cilantro isn't up your alley)
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Start by mixing everything but the salmon in a bowl. It should be rather chunky and there shouldn't be too much liquid.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Yukgaejang 2 (육개장)

So I've already done a post on yukgaejang but I made it again recently and used my nice camera to document the process so I'm doing another post. The recipe I ended up using was slightly different because as I've mentioned before, when I cook, I'm not v. precise. I just throw in what I think will taste good and improvise a lot. By the way, I said this in my last post, but I didn't add in any gosari because I hate it - but obviously, if you like it, you can add it in.

Ingredients [serves 4]:
1 lb. beef brisket or flank steak
6 to 8 cups water
4 cloves garlic
4 to 6 scallions
1 cup sprouts
1 tablespoon hot pepper flakes (gochugaru)
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon canola oil
½ teaspoon sesame oil
½ onion, sliced
1 egg
salt to taste
handful of glass noodles

To make the stock, follow the same general concept as I used in my jangjorim recipe. First, soak the meat in water (to draw out the myoglobin so the broth will be clear) for 30 minutes or until the meat looks light pink. Then, add the meat, water, and garlic cloves to a large pot and bring to a boil. Allow to simmer for an hour or until the meat is tender. Once the meat is done, remove it from the stock. Skim or strain the stock to get rid of any floating foam and/or fat. Shred the meat.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Kimchi Bokkeum Kimbap

Hello! Today I'm sharing a really yummy snack (or lunch or dinner). It's a great way to use up leftover rice and it's really kid-friendly. By the way, I'm still trying to figure out my new camera - that's why some of the photos look really weird and grainy. I was experimenting and the experiment went a little sour. Whoops!

Ingredients [serves 2]:
2 cups cooked short grain rice (a.k.a. sushi rice, a.k.a. sticky rice)
1 cup chopped cabbage kimchi
1 tablespoon hot pepper paste
½ teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon + 1 tablespoon butter
3 to 4 pieces of nori
1 egg
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
Start by making the kimchi bokkeum bap. Heat a skillet with 1 tablespoon of butter and a little sesame oil and then add in the chopped kimchi. Saute the kimchi for a few minutes and then mix in the hot pepper paste. Once the hot pepper paste "melts" into the kimchi, add in the rice and stir to coat everything evenly.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Lunch at Bergdorf Goodman's

On Sunday, I met up with my favorite friend, D, in the city to shop and eat and enjoy each other's company. We had planned on getting high tea at Bergdorf's but once we got there, we realized we were too hungry to only eat finger sandwiches so we ended up getting lunch. Plus, it was hard not to ask for a lunch menu when so many people around us were having these amazing looking dishes.

Here's a shot of the restaurant (and the dirty table beside us). The restaurant is located on the 7th floor and the giant windows not only let in lots of lovely natural light (which is great for food photography) but they also overlook Central Park.
Here's just a shot of the lovely tea cup, which we didn't end up using, as we abandoned our high tea plans, but I took a photo anyway. I love the gold detailing.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Jangjorim (장조림) Beef in Soy Sauce

Today, I'm sharing a side dish that reminds me of being a kid: jangjorim (jahng-jo-reem 장조림). It's a salty beef side dish (banchan) that stays in the fridge for days, even weeks, and when my mom didn't have the energy to make a big meal with a fancy protein, she'd just spoon out some jangjorim.

½ lb. flank steak
4 cups water
2 to 3 bulbs of garlic
2 jalapeno peppers
2 to 4 long hot peppers (depending on how spicy you like your food)
⅓ cup soy sauce
¼ cup brown sugar
2 eggs
Start by cutting up the meat. I had a 1.5 lb slab of flank steak so I just cut off a third of it and then cut it into 1" wide strips (against the grain). Soak the meat in cold water for 30 to 45 minutes until the meat is no longer red and instead is a light pink.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Easy Tofu

Happy Friday! So sometimes I am super lazy - so lazy that I don't want to make anything amazing for dinner and so lazy that I don't properly document the process. Today, I'm sharing a simple tofu dish which I always make when I'm in one of these crazy lazy moods.

12 oz. package of soft or firm tofu (not silken)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
¼ teaspoon sesame oil
½ teaspoon sesame seeds
½ teaspoon rice wine vinegar
3 to 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
½ long hot pepper, chopped

Start by boiling some water and then placing a block of tofu in the water. Let it boil for 15 to 20 minutes to allow it to get steaming hot all the way through.
Meanwhile, mix together the rest of the ingredients (soy sauce, sesame oil, sesame seeds, rice wine vinegar, garlic, and hot pepper) to create a sauce.
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