Thursday, July 31, 2014

Steamed Clams in White Wine

I love cooking. I looooove it. I mean, it's obvious, isn't it? I love it so much that I have a food blog. News flash: you're reading it right now. Cooking is so relaxing and fun and the best part is that it yields an amazing reward; duh, you get to eat something lovely when you're done. I always enjoy trying out really involved recipes like macarons and lasagna made with homemade pasta. I think that time consuming dishes are gratifying because I can turn on some music or throw a show up on Netflix to give me some enjoyable background noise and bustle away. And then, a few hours later, I've got a gorgeous, delicious, impressive dish to share with my fellow diners. That's why I look forward to cooking our Thanksgiving feast every year.

Food is extremely important to me so I'm all about only eating delicious things. If I'm going to be a fatty, the food I'm eating might as well be worth my while. But, it's not like I've always got loads of time to make something elaborate and fancy. I work a full time job (around 50 hours per week) so on weekends, sure, I'm totally up for trying something complicated and new. But on any given typical weekday, I'm a big fan of meals that are quick and easy to chuck together while still being satisfying and delicious and impressive looking. Today's recipe 100% fits that bill. Clams are so jazzy; they take under half an hour to whip up, and they're friggin' yummy, y'all.
Ingredients [serves 4 to 6 as an app, 2 as a main course]:
3 dozen clams
1 oz. salt pork, chopped (or substitute 1 or 2 slices of bacon)
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
½ onion, diced
½ cup white wine
juice of ½ lemon
¼ cup chicken stock (or vegetable stock if you're a pescetarian)
1 scallion, chopped
lemon slices
+ crusty bread for mopping

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Garden Update 4

My aunt and uncle maintain a really decent garden and they shared their harvest with us recently. We were given cucumbers, eggplants, and squash. If you're wondering, those peppers came from our garden.
The squash was gorgeous. We turned it into hobak jun, a.k.a. Korean-style fried zucchini.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

What I Ate: Ice Cream Sandwiches

Side note: There's still time to vote for my kitchen reveal over on the kitchn. Voting closes at noon today (eastern time). We're not quite in the top 4 so please, take a few minutes out of your day to vote! You have to register and confirm your account and it's a little bit of a bother, but if you've got a minute, I'd really appreciate it!

We keep frozen cookie dough in the freezer and there's always a carton of some sort of homemade ice cream in there too. And when we crave ice cream sandwiches? We make 'em!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Spice Rubbed Grilled Chicken

Side note: There's still time to vote for my kitchen reveal over on the kitchn. We're not quite in the top 4 so please, take a few minutes out of your day to vote! You have to register and confirm your account and it's a little bit of a bother, but if you've got a minute, I'd really appreciate it!

I had planned on making barbecue chicken but we had no ketchup. We didn't have any brown sugar either. Without those ingredients, I couldn't make barbecue sauce. We didn't even have any bottled ready-made bbq sauce either. What's a girl to do? Well, I ended up mixing a whole bunch of spices together - basically everything off the spice rack except cinnamon and curry - and ended up with a deliciously seasoned drumstick.

This is a great one for the grill but you can certainly bake the drumsticks in the oven if you're unable and/or unwilling to grill.
1½ lbs. chicken drumsticks
2 tablespoons oil (olive, canola, avocado)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon mustard powder
½ teaspoon cardamom
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon turmeric

Friday, July 25, 2014

Sweet Corn Ice Cream

I wasn't always a fan of corn. As a kid, I found corn on the cob super annoying to eat (it was too messy for me) and I didn't even know it was available frozen and off the cob because my immigrant parents only ever bought it in the husk. My sister, on the other hand, has always loved corn. And I don't remember this, but as a kid, apparently she said corn ice cream should be a thing and she says that I said, "That's gross."

Well, fast forward several years and I'm now on board the corn ice cream bandwagon. I once had corn ice cream at Cafe Boulud in West Palm Beach, FL and I know that corn ice cream is quite popular in Mexico - they love their corn over there - but I don't think it's as popular up in these here parts, i.e. the northeast. I mean, I personally have not seen it.

Luckily, I've got my own ice cream maker and Jersey corn is in its prime right now so I just whipped a batch of my own. This is the first eggless ice cream I made, and I have to say, I didn't miss the yolks as much as I thought I would. I do think that egg-based ice creams are richer and more custardy and melt a little nicer, but the cornstarch version is quite nice. And it's great for anyone with an egg allergy.
Ingredients [yields 1.5 pints]:
2 cups + ½ cup light cream
2 ears corn
1 vanilla bean
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1½ tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Sauteed Brussels Sprout Leaves

Our garden is thriving, y'all! We've been eating super fresh pesticide-free kale, sugar snap peas, jalapenos, and cucumbers. If you've been following along, you'll know that we also planted brussels sprouts this year. So far, no sprouts, but we have plenty of leaves. The leaves are edible and quite nutritious so I decided to treat them a bit like kale and cook it with fatty pork and garlic and crushed pepper flakes. It ended up being pretty darn delicious so I'm sharing it with you guys.

If you need some specifics on the nutrition, both the sprouts and the leaves are full of Vitamins A, C, and K. They've got plenty of fiber and protein and folate, which is an active component of cell growth (so it's v. important for everyone but especially for expectant mothers or planning-to-become-expectant mothers). If you don't have your own brussels sprout plant and you're wondering where you might find these awesome greens, head over to your local farmer's market.
½ oz. salt pork, chopped (or 1 slice of bacon)
2 garlic cloves, smashed
½ teaspoon crushed pepper flakes
20 brussels sprouts leaves (alternatively, you could make this with kale, mustard greens, swiss chard, or any other dark, woody green)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Red, White, & Blueberry Popsicles

I interrupt today's regularly scheduled post to bring you a fun and exciting announcement: You guys! I submitted my kitchen makeover to the kitchn's big reveal contest and they accepted our submission! If you would like to vote - for my kitchen or for anyone else's - please hop on over! I will warn you that you have to be a registered user for the kitchn and apartment therapy's website so it's not as easy as just clicking a button. But, if you have it in your heart to vote for me, I would greatly appreciate it!

Okay, we now return you to our regularly scheduled blogging.

When we got back from blueberry (and strawberry) picking, there was a package sitting on the stoop. It was my order from which contained a popsicle mold! Whoo! I know we owned a popsicle mold at some point but I couldn't find it so I ended up ordering this star mold, which I fell in love with so it all worked out in the end. I decided to use our fresh berries to make a batch of popsicles because: why not? Since the strawberries were almost overripe - they tasted like candy because they were so sugary sweet - it turned out to be a great decision. My sister would say that it was the best decision ever because she was over the moon and Jupiter with these popsicles. Every time she ate one, she would weep and whine with joy (what a freak). So, my advice is to use super ripe berries because they make the best popsicles.

Since all popsicle molds are not created equally, and since not all berries are created equally, this post is more suggestive than instructive. I'm just sharing some guidelines - the amount of sugar you use will depend on the ripeness of your berries and your sugar preference and the amount of ingredients in total that you use will depend on the size of your molds.
coconut milk
simple syrup

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Blueberry Lemonade

You might've noticed that I'm trying out a slightly new look. New font, new banner, all photos the same width (instead of vertical photos being slightly skinnier than the width of the text body). I think everything's looking much cleaner and chicer and cooler. I tend to get bored of redundancy so I enjoy changing what I can every once in a while, just for a little refreshment.

Speaking of refreshment, let's talk lemonade! HA! What a segue. Lemonade is the drink of summer, am I right? I mean, it's the ultimate thirst quencher in this kind of heavy, humid, nasty heat. You're outside, working really hard on something like, I don't know, you're pruning, and then you go inside and grab an ice cold glass of lemonade and then you chug it like you're back in college at a keg party. In reality, I think I'd chug water first and then maybe a beer, but in the most picturesque of situations, it would be a lemonade, because that's v. Norman Rockwell, right?

Of course it's easier to buy ready-made lemonade (rhyme!) but I love making my own. I think it's fun and delicious and I like knowing that there are zero artificial flavors or dyes in my drink. I mean, lemonade is just lemons, sugar, and water so I don't really understand why bottled versions need to add a bunch of extra crap. I mean, I do - preservation and marketing - but whatever. So anyway, I decided to make blueberry lemonade this time around because we had plenty of berries from our farm adventure and why not? Blueberries and lemons are a great combination and blueberries create a gorgeous pinky purply reddish color. It's a gorgeous drink that would ideally be sipped out of a glass mug so that everyone can enjoy the color.
Ingredients [yields 4 to 6 servings]:
juice of 4 lemons (about 1 cup)
1 cup simple syrup (1 cup water + 1 cup sugar)
4 to 6 cups water
½ cup blueberry syrup (½ cup blueberries + 1 teaspoon lemon zest)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Mini Chocolate Icebox Cake

I made this super simple but decadent treat as a welcome home celebration dessert for myself when I got back from North Dakota a couple of weekends ago. Does anyone else like to treat themselves to welcome home sweets? No? Just me? Ah well, next time you're away for an extended period of time - sleepover at a friend's or gone on holiday - get yourself a little something yum when you return home. It makes home just that much more exciting and happy and fun.

I'm not really sharing anything wonderfully novel or creative because icebox cakes have been around forever and it's the best this-is-homemade-but-I'm-cheating recipe ever. It's not even really a recipe. It's just an assembly. But, it's delicious and awesome for summertime because it requires zero interaction with stovetop and/or oven and it's supposed to be served cold. It's like revenge. However, I'm still sharing this recipe assembly because it's fun! I posted a photo of this to my Facebook and my friend J was like, "I have never heard of this cake until today," so maybe this will be new to some of you, in which case, yay! Plus, the cool thing about my version though is that it's in miniature so it's super cute.
Ingredients [yields one mini 6-inch icebox cake; triple the recipe for a normal 9-inch cake]:
9 oz. package of chocolate wafers
1 pint whipping cream
1½ tablespoons powdered sugar
pinch salt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
+ crushed wafers, sprinkles, chocolate shavings, and/or any other decoration you like

Friday, July 18, 2014

Chicken & Greens Sandwich

Oh Friday, you are here at last. I was waiting for you! This weekend is going to be a busy one in the kitchen. I'm hoping the non-humid, slightly breezy weather we've been enjoying the past two days sticks around for another two. I've got to make some cute desserts (which I'm sure will eventually be shared here) for a little shindig I'm helping host next week. I'm excited though. I get excited about spending time in the kitchen.

Anyway, let's talk about today's recipe. It's a delicious and healthy-ish sandwich that was born out of a we-need-to-use-this-before-it-goes-off type of desperation. As you may or may not know, I was in and out of North Dakota from the end of April to the beginning of July. This meant that baby sister had to do the grocery shopping on her own and didn't always eat everything she purchased. So, one of the weekends that I had come home, she told me there was a bunch of broccoli rabe in the fridge that needed to be used and she said it would probably be delicious on a chicken sandwich, so guess what? I planned on making that sandwich. However, it turns out that it wasn't broccoli rabe, it was broccolini. The little weirdo doesn't always know what's what.

That minor detail didn't change our plans. We made chicken sandwiches and topped them with broccolini. Of course, since it's summertime, the chicken was slapped onto a hot grill and to add some color to the sam, I threw on some red onion. This was a delicious, satisfying, and pretty nutritious lunch and it's one you might want to make for yourself this weekend.
Ingredients [serves 2]:
2 chicken thighs or breasts
2 rolls
bundle of greens - broccolini, broccoli rabe, kale, mustard greens, something dark and hardy is ideal
2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
½ teaspoon crushed pepper flakes
½ cup grated cheese - gruyere, provolone, swiss, havarti, a white melting cheese is perfect
½ red onion, sliced
olive oil
salt & pepper

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Acorn Jelly | Dotori Mook (도토리묵)

I love 묵 ('mook'). It's like a jiggly jelly-ish mush with a similar consistency to Jell-o except it's savory. It's an acquired texture, I think. If you haven't had it before, you might expect it to be sweet, like Jell-o, and it might throw you off. But it's delicious, so if you're feeling adventurous, you should try it!

I know of three types of mook: mungbean, buckwheat, or acorn starch. It's super easy to prepare and it makes for an easy and summery side dish.
¼ cup acorn starch (or mungbean starch or buckwheat starch)
1½ cups water
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon soy sauce
½ teaspoon vinegar (rice wine or apple cider are preferable)
¼ teaspoon sesame oil
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon sesame seeds
4 perilla leaves, chopped into ribbons
handful of chives, chopped (or 1 scallion)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 hot pepper, sliced

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What I Ate: Grilled Peaches & Cream

Stone fruit season is upon us, y'all and of course, stone fruit season coincides with grilling season so what's a chick to do? Grill that stone fruit! This is a super easy dessert that looks beautiful and tastes delicious. It's a great brunch brunch option too. And here, I show you the peaches that I made but you could certainly use any other great grilling fruit, like all stone fruit (plums, apricots, nectarines), strawberries, pineapples, basically any hardy fruit that can withstand the heat.
olive oil
brown sugar
whipped cream

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Blueberry Picking

Because I was in North Dakota through the first week of July, we missed out on strawberry picking this year. So, we went blueberry picking instead. This was over the weekend of the Fourth. Blueberry season had just started and we picked a beautiful day to go. It was beautifully sunny and warm with a cool breeze to evaporate the sweat off our necks.
We started the morning with some buttermilk pancakes with sprinkles. Funfetti pancakes!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Coconut Pie (2)

Edit: This recipe was submitted to Food52's "Your Best Recipe with Coconut" contest and it won!! So you know it's really good!

I shared a coconut pie recipe here two years ago that was inspired by my trip to Turks & Caicos (I'm headed there again in October). Well, I've tweaked the recipe slightly. I decided I didn't want a recipe that only uses up three quarters of a can of sweetened cream of coconut. What am I supposed to do with that quarter can? Make one piña colada? Anyway, this recipe isn't too different from the first one I shared but I'm just redoing the post anyway since the last one was done with my crappy iPhone camera. And this one's just as yummy as that first one so don't you fret.
1½ cups whole milk
15 oz. can of sweetened cream of coconut
4 egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 sleeve of graham crackers (8 crackers)
¼ cup pecans
4 tablespoons melted butter

1 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
½ cup coconut flakes

Friday, July 11, 2014

Iced Mocha

We're in the thick of summer now and these days, it's stick-to-the-couch, is-the-a/c-even-on?, permanent-sweat-mustache, don't-forget-deodorant hot. When I wake up, I can't even be bothered to think about breakfast. All I want, I'm sorry, all I need is to find a way to cool down. That's where this iced mocha comes in. It's a make ahead kind of deal which makes the actual drink easy to slap together - it's just ice and milk except the ice is flavored and it's delicious - which is amazing when you're feeling like a lazy bum.

I've said it before, "I'm not a big coffee drinker." I enjoy the flavor but I do not like the teeth staining effects and I don't like caffeine addictions. But, when it's wintertime, I like to warm up with a hot cuppa and when it's summertime, I like to cool down with a cold cuppa. Coffee's just a great temperature regulator, huh?
Ingredients [yields 4 to 6 servings]:
1 cup strong coffee (strength should be adjusted to your preference)
½ oz. 90% cacao chocolate (or preferred chocolate)
sugar to taste
pinch salt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
+ milk

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Garden Update 3

More green goodness in our garden! Peas are sprouting all over the place, we've got cucumbers, and the cayenne peppers are growing too.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

What I Ate: Frisée Salad

This salad was inspired by my trip to France and my dinner at Café des Federations. It was one of the yummiest salads I've ever eaten. My other favorite salad is the Yama special salad but that's not even the same genre so I don't know why I even brought it up. Anyway, this salad had texture, flavor, spice, and it was friggin' delicious so I knew I had to make it for myself at home.

I decided to make this a 'What I Ate' post because I'm not writing out the instructions (because it's straightforward but also because I'm lazy) but if you need them, there's a recipe page at the bottom so don't fret.
Ingredients [serves 2 as a hearty entree or 4 as a starter/side dish]:
1 head frisée
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
2 oz. salt pork or bacon (basically a 4" piece of salt pork or 2 thick slices of bacon)
ciabatta roll
+ olive oil
1 egg

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

What I Ate: Burgers & Kebabs

Over the weekend, in the spirit of Independence Day, we did quite a bit of grilling. We made really simple burgers - just ground beef patties that were simply seasoned with salt and pepper after they were grilled - and a fresh salad and vegetable kebabs.
This is the easiest preparation of a burger but it's one of the most delicious. As much as I love to jazz up my burgers, sometimes you just need to go back to the basics.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Pickled Baby Perilla Leaves | Ggaeneep (깻잎)

We have perilla leaves in our garden. Wait, let me clarify, we have a lot of perilla leaves in our garden. At the end of the gardening season, these guys dry out, make seeds, and then the following year, we have fifty times as many perilla plants as the year before. It's a vicious cycle and even when we do our best to weed them out, they still pop up all over the place. My sister actually weeded recently so the garden's looking less haggard but we've still got plenty of perilla, don't you worry.

This year's abundant crop of perilla plants is still working on getting nice and big. But a little while ago when I was in the mood for some pickled perilla, the plants were still wee little babies and the leaves were really tiny. So what did I do? I picked a bunch of the baby-sized leaves and pickled them anyway. The result? A deliciously tender version of one of my favorite childhood Korean side dishes.
50 to 60 baby perilla leaves (you won't find these in the store so you'll have to have your own plants or you can use 30 to 40 normal grown-up sized perilla leaves instead)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon water
½ teaspoon vinegar
¼ teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes (gochugaru; this quantity can be adjusted to your spice preference)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 hot pepper, finely diced
4 to 5 chives or 1 scallion, chopped

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Fourth!

To those of you celebrating today and/or this weekend, be safe and happy, please!
Hope you guys are getting on that grill and popping a beer and/or a cocktail/mocktail or two. I've finally returned from North Dakota (hooray) so I'm celebrating with full gusto and a huge smile on my face!


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Vegetable Kebabs

Tomorrow's the Fourth, y'all, and I've got one more outdoorsy, celebratory, colorful, healthy, and yummy dish you can whip up for the occasion. It's veggie kebabs! I know you might be thinking, it's kabobs. Well, I shared this little anecdote in my first ever kebab post but I'll share it again. There's a show I love called Flight of the Conchords which is about a New Zealand duo trying to make it big in music in New York City. In the v. first episode, Gemaine (who also voices a minion) and Bret (who also plays an elf in LOTR) go to a party thrown by their friend Dave. Gemaine is attracted to this girl, Sally, and to woo her, he takes her out for a kebab and walks on the outside of her and pays for half of their taxi ride.

So, that's why I call it a kebab. Because Gemaine and Bret say so.
This is such a simple recipe and it's more of a suggested preparation than a step-by-step set of directions (which is why you won't find a recipe page down at the bottom). I think that if you're making a party, that it would be kind of fun to leave out a big tray of all different vegetables alongside a stack of skewers and allow people to make their own. The grill master (whether that's you or someone else) can (wo)man the grill and plop on people's 'babs and yell out when they're done. A word to the wise, if you're using metal skewers, there's no real skewer prep work necessary, except making sure they're clean. But, if you're using bamboo or wooden skewers, they should be soaked in water for a few hours so they won't burn up on the grill.

Ingredient suggestions:
bell peppers
squash - zucchini or yellow squash
red onion (it's prettier than regular ol' yellow)
brussels sprouts
new potatoes (parboil these since they'll have a long cooking time)
sweet potatoes (parboil these as well)
grape tomatoes

You'll also need:
skewers (I got my metal ones from Target, 3 of them came in a pack for $1)
olive oil
salt & pepper

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Korean Spicy Noodles & Vegetables | Jaengban Guksu (쟁반 국수)

There's a pretty pathetic, unhelpful post for jaengban guksu on my blog from two and a half years ago. So, it's time for an update. This is another dish that would be nice to serve at your barbecue on Friday for the Fourth or to bring to a picnic. It's a cold noodle dish that doesn't necessarily have to be refrigerated and it's full of vegetables so you feel good eating it. Well, I feel good eating it.
Ingredients [serves 2 as a main dish, serves 4 to 6 as a side dish]:
salad ingredients
2 bundles of soba noodles
3 cups greens of your choice (I like microgreens; baby spinach, spring mix, baby arugula)
chopped vegetables of your choice - carrots, cucumbers, onion, zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms, etc.
chopped apple or pear
*proportions of vegetables will depend on your preference; if you like a lot of veggies, add a lot!

1½ tablespoons hot pepper paste (gochujang; use more or less depending on your spice preference)
1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes (gochugaru)
1 tablespoon vinegar (rice wine or apple cider are my preferred but I used pomegranate vinegar here)
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon minced garlic
¼ apple or pear, grated (approximately 1/4 cup)
1 teaspoon grated ginger

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Korean Style Skirt Steak

With the 4th right around the corner, I thought I'd share some barbecue and picnic related dishes in the next couple of days. Today, I'm sharing a super delicious Korean-style skirt steak. Skirt steak is one of the yummiest cuts of meat, in my opinion. It's got great flavor, great texture, and it's v. versatile. It's perfect for tossing on the grill because it just needs a really good sear and that's it. And because it's pre-cut before it's served, it's great for serving to a crowd. You can really stretch your dollar with this one.
2 lbs. skirt steak
¼ cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons oil (canola, vegetable, corn, olive, avocado)
½ teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
2 scallions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2" piece of ginger, scored and pierced
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