Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Pasta Puttanesca (2)

I've shared a pasta puttanesca post in the past. I mentioned in that post that there is some debate on what ingredients are supposed to be tossed into the sauce. Frankly, I think that if whores were really making this pasta, they weren't going to be fancy snobs about their ingredients. I think that whatever was in the pantry is what ended up in the sauce. And that is the philosophy I took on the particular day that I decided to document this recipe (again).

We had eggplants and mushrooms begging to be used (as they were about to go off) and I found a pathetic amount of cherry peppers sitting in the bottom of a lonely jar in the back of the fridge so I just went with it.
Ingredients [serves 4 to 6]:
1 lb. pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, sliced
6 anchovy fillets
½ teaspoon crushed pepper flakes
½ onion, diced
1 jalapeno, sliced
1 baby eggplant, diced
4 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon capers
2 tablespoons chopped pickled hot cherry peppers (or olives)
8 oz. can tomato sauce
+ parmesan shavings

Monday, December 28, 2015

What I Ate: Fig & Chorizo Pizza with Apple Honey

So for Christmas, the kitchen got a new stand mixer. I'd been debating buying one for years because they're expensive and I feel like I can definitely get by without it. However, the whisk attachment on our hand mixer keeps losing wires and Black Friday yielded great sales so I bit the bullet and threw $250 at a new Kitchenaid Artisan stand mixer.

The day we went to pick up the mixer (I did 'ship to store') we also stopped by Christmas Tree Shops to pick up a tree topper and found a pizza stone for $10. So, that weekend, we decided to christen both the mixer and the stone by making pizza.
I love our little mixer. I don't really know why we didn't bite the bullet earlier because it's been so handy. I mean, sometimes I love to knead dough, but doing it by hand takes a long time.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Happy Christmas!

Wishing everyone a safe and happy Christmas!
We're hosting a family Christmas party for the second year in a row. Last year was great and I think everyone had a good time so I hope it goes well again this year. We're doing an Asian theme for our dinner with some interpretations of our favorite Vietnamese, Thai, and Korean dishes, which should make our Korean elders happy.
Also, the kitchen has received two new major gifts this holiday: a brand new Kitchenaid stand mixer (the KSM150PS 5 quart artisan mixer in aqua sky) and an amazing new Belgian waffle maker (by Hamilton Beach purchased via Amazon) so look forward to some fun recipes in the near future.

Have a great holiday!


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

What I Ate: Gingerbread Houses

There's nothing more Christmas appropriate than gingerbread, at least in terms of dessert. The warm fragrant spices always remind me of the holidays and they go great with any hot drink, whether you're into tea, coffee, or even hot toddies.

This year, instead of regular gingerbread cookies, we decided to make gingerbread houses. I wanted to make a slightly larger house to use as a centerpiece for our Christmas party this weekend. And then, my sister and I decided to make mini houses so that we could enjoy the shape but also comfortably snack on them.
We spent a few hours making the dough, breaking for dinner, cutting out the shapes, baking the cookies, and then decorating. It was a fun and relaxing evening activity that yielded an adorable little Christmas village.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Lemongrass Pork Bánh Mì with Sriracha Cilantro Aioli

I'm so excited because it's Christmas week! I love this holiday because of the time with family, the food, and the presents. My family isn't that big on gifts but we always get each other a little something. And, we're having a family party this weekend, which will be a lot of fun. And, I'm taking off from work between Christmas and New Year's, which is a total of 11 days out of the office. I'm super excited and I hope to relax and make lots of delicious meals.

I'm also really excited about today's post. I'm not going to lie; even though I ate way too much of this banh mi the night I made it, I ate even more for lunch the next day and then I was craving it for days after it was gone. In fact, I'm still currently craving it because it came out amazingly delicious.

On the day I wanted to make this for dinner, I stopped by the grocery store to pick up some bread and the store was out of baguettes. It didn't matter because I just grabbed a soft Italian loaf instead, which worked out great because store bought baguettes tend to be a little too tough for banh mi, which typically require a softer bread with a crisp crust. We also lucked out because we had chicken liver mousse in the fridge (leftover from Thanksgiving) which made a perfect substitute for pate. And, to make this post a little bit more special and make it worth sharing even though I already shared a banh mi post, I decided to whip up a Sriracha and cilantro aioli to drizzle over the sandwich.
Ingredients [serves 4]:
marinated pork
1 lb. center cut pork chops
½ teaspoon minced lemongrass
1 teaspoon roasted red chili paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
½ teaspoon sesame oil

banh mi
soft baguette-style bread
pate or chicken liver mousse
2 baby cucumbers, sliced
2 jalapenos, sliced
1 cup cilantro leaves
pickled carrot & daikon

sriracha cilantro aioli
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons lime juice
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Sriracha
¼ to ⅓ cup canola oil
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Friday, December 18, 2015

What I Ate: Barbecue Chicken Casserole

I bought my cast iron skillet earlier this year and I have been in love with it. I've mostly been using it for salsa chicken. But recently, when we didn't have any salsa in the pantry, I grabbed a bottle of honey barbecue sauce instead and it yielded a really delicious alternative. I also tossed in some frozen corn and chopped tomatoes for a bit more sustenance. And, instead of plain rice, I made a batch of coconut peas & rice.
This made an amazing midweek dinner because it was so simple to slap together. On top of that, it was warm and comforting and a perfect wintertime meal.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Donkatsu (2)

This is one of the most popular dinners at our house because it's crazy easy but even more so because it's delicious. We love doing katsu curry but since my old donkatsu post needed revamping, I decided to document and share.

I used to serve donkatsu in individual portions, meaning everyone got their own chop, but lately I've just been cutting the pork into pieces, piling it high on a plate, and then serving it family style. It's easier to eat - you don't need a fork and knife - and it's extremely helpful if you're trying to stretch your budget because you can always pound the chops extra thin to create more surface area for the breading and ultimately make more pieces.
Ingredients [serves 2]:
2 center-cut pork chops
½ cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
oil for frying

¼ cup ketchup
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons A1
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
2 teaspoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon grated ginger
2 tablespoons grated carrot
2 tablespoons grated apple
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 scallion, chopped
+ spring mix
+ cucumber

Monday, December 14, 2015

Texas Roadhouse Rolls

I made these rolls for our Thanksgiving dinner a few weeks ago. We'd made cornbread last year and I think we had biscuits the year before so I was looking for something different. Then, I recalled the Texas Roadhouse copycat rolls we'd made a couple of years ago. I adapted the recipe from Eat Cake For Dinner and they turned out pretty great. So, even though I didn't take a v. complete photo diary (you have to forgive me because Thanksgiving is so hectic), I'm sharing them today.

One thing to note: these rolls freeze beautifully (prior to the second rise). They can also be made the day before and left to do their second rise in the fridge overnight, which is what I did and it worked out wonderfully. They bake up golden brown (once thawed to room temperature) and I can't wait to make these over and over again this winter (especially after my kitchen gets its Christmas gift, which is a stand mixer; yes, I finally caved and ordered one).
Ingredients [yields 1 dozen rolls]:
1¼ cups milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon honey
3 teaspoons dry active yeast
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups flour
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
+ 2 tablespoons melted butter

cinnamon butter
¼ cup butter
1 tablespoon honey (or golden syrup)
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Friday, December 11, 2015

George Michael Eats: Pupcakes

In celebration of George Michael's eight birthday, I decided to make him some pupcakes. GM is not a picky dog. He loves eating 80% of the scraps off of my cutting board, especially cucumber and apple (but never ever mushroom). He'll munch on pieces of lettuce, he loves carrot, and he will do anything for a potato chip. So, I knew that whatever I made for him, he'd love.

I ended up combining a few of his favorite flavors: apple, carrot, and peanut butter, and made them into adorable mini cupcakes. These little cakes are gluten-free and relatively "healthy" for dogs, since they contain mostly natural ingredients. Obviously, as with humans, treats should always be enjoyed in moderation. Plus, we gave away half to GM's friend Baxter and his cousin Coco so there's no need to worry about his winter weight gain (yet).
Ingredients [yields 1 dozen mini pupcakes]:
¼ cup applesauce
½ cup grated carrot
2 tablespoons peanut butter (natural, unsweetened)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup oats
½ cup brown rice flour
+ 1 tablespoon rainbow sprinkles

¼ cup softened cream cheese
1 tablespoon milk
+ food coloring
+ dehydrated blueberries (for decorating)

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Sticky Toffee Pudding

While we were in Grand Cayman last month, we enjoyed sticky toffee pudding two nights in a row (at two different restaurants). As a British territory, we did see a few UK-related bits and bobs here and there (including Queen E on the currency) but I think the most memorable was this amazing dessert.

I knew I was going to have to try and recreate it at home so I did a little research to make sure that I could make a super fluffy cake and a really decadent toffee good enough to rival the amazing memories we made whilst on holiday. I discovered that most sticky toffee puddings are made with dates (which I'm sure are what make this super sticky and sweet). As I always do with English cuisine, I turned to the Nigella Lawson to guide me through. I strayed from her recipe a bit to try and mimic the cakes we enjoyed on the islands (which consisted of insanely fluffy and airy cakes with the densest, richest, treacle-y toffee sauce) and came up with something pretty spectacular, and also a bit more suited to my American tastes (re: mainly, I largely increased the ingredient amounts to yield larger portions)*.
225g pitted dates (2¼ cups)
225 mL water (1 cup)
2 teaspoons baking soda
6 tablespoons softened butter
225g dark brown sugar (1¼ cups lightly packed)
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons golden syrup
3 eggs, room temperature
225g flour (1½ to 1¾ cups)

toffee sauce
75g dark brown sugar (⅜ cup lightly packed)
3 tablespoons butter
pinch salt
2 tablespoons golden syrup
75 mL heavy cream (⅓ cup)

Monday, December 7, 2015

What I Ate: Thai Food

In the summer, my food cravings are much more reasonable; I usually get spurts of really wanting watermelon, salads, and ice cream. In the winter, because I want comfort in the form of food, I tend to crave more elaborate dishes, like spicy chili or apple cider donuts. Basically, I just want foods that take a while to prepare and require a trip to the grocery store.

On this particularly chilly Saturday, I was in the mood for Thai food. So, during our weekly grocery trip, we stocked up on the necessary ingredients to whip up a yummy Thai meal.
I made Thai green curry with salmon, coconut & lemongrass soup, and drunken noodles.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Apple Butter

I shared a recipe for applesauce earlier this week and today, I'm sharing how you can turn that applesauce into apple butter. It's super easy because all you need to do is pull out the slow cooker.

I used about half the batch of applesauce I made and it made about half a pint of apple butter, which I think is plenty for consumption in our house. However, if you want to give this out as gifts, you'll need a heck of a lot of apples (or really tiny jars).

If you've never had apple butter, I highly recommend you try it. It's just like a highly concentrated applesauce that gets really rich and caramel-colored and thick enough to spread onto bread. My sister asked why they don't just call it "apple jam" because there's no butter involved. I suppose it's because apple jam already exists (probably made by adding pectin to thicken up the apples as they cook).
Ingredients [yields ½ pint]:
½ batch applesauce
cinnamon stick
orange rind with cloves
+ ¼ cup brown sugar, lightly packed (optional)
+ slow cooker

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


We had a little under a dozen apples leftover from our major apple picking trip and a few of them had gone mealy. The perfect solution for mealy apples is to make applesauce!

I can eat a plain apple without needing to sprinkle it with sugar, so when I make applesauce, which is a much more concentrated apple flavor, I don't see the need to add any sugar. However, if you prefer a sweeter applesauce, I recommend adding brown sugar, as it adds a nicer caramel flavor which nicely complements the apples.

I've been mostly enjoying this applesauce as a snack. However, it can also be used to top pork chops, as an additive to the marinade for jeyuk bokkeum (instead of freshly grated apple), or it can be used in baking as a substitute for oil. The oil substitute use is one I tend to apply to boxed cake mixes but can certainly be used for homemade batters as well. Applesauce can also be cooked down further to become apple butter. I'll be sharing that in my next post!
Ingredients [yields approximately 4 pints]:
5 lbs. apples
zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
zest of 1 orange
½ cup orange juice
1 cinnamon stick
2 cloves
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon grated ginger
+ ¼ cup brown sugar (optional)

Monday, November 30, 2015

Thanksgiving Recap 2015

We had an awesome and successful Thanksgiving this year. We made everything on our list, finished cooking on time, and everyone enjoyed the meal.
I started the prep a few days ahead of time. I brined the bird and I chopped up a huge container's worth of vegetables. The evening before, I made the dessert, cranberry sauce, and bread dough. Then, on Thanksgiving morning, we started cooking around 9AM. My sister and I made everything.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Thanksgiving Preparedness

This year, my sister and I were really gunning for a low-key Thanksgiving. So low-key, in fact, that I'm taking a wee break from blogging this week (i.e. this will be my only post this week) so that I can concentrate on all the yumminess of Thanksgiving with even fewer responsibilities than usual. The past few years have been somewhat hectic with several family members coming over and we kind of wanted to be able to lounge around in our sweatpants, shoveling turkey down our gullets with Netflix on in the background.

I think we're set to do just that and I think we just have a small handful of relatives coming over this year. The only downside of not having a huge party of people over for Thanksgiving is that we can't have as massive of a feast as we usually do since we'd never be able to even make a dent in the pile of food. So, we're being really selective with the dishes that will make up our meal.

Along with an amazing turkey (that is currently brining and will be brining for at least 96 hours), we'll be having a selection of carefully chosen side dishes. Here's what I'm currently thinking (but subject to change based on mood swings, ingredient availability, and laziness):

Friday, November 20, 2015

Korean-Style Meatballs

Earlier this year, I shared a Vietnamese-style meatball recipe. Well, today, (as made obvious by the title of the post) I'm sharing a Korean-style meatball recipe. The two recipes are pretty similar but whereas the Vietnamese meatballs were seasoned with lemongrass and fish sauce, the Korean meatballs are seasoned with soy sauce, sesame oil, and ginger, quite like a typical kalbi marinade.
Ingredients [yields 1½ to 2 dozen meatballs]:
1½ lbs. ground beef (or ground chicken or ground pork)
1 egg
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
¼ cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 scallion, chopped
¼ cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon crushed pepper flakes

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

What I Ate: Korean Food

I thought it would be fun to share a bunch of the dinners I've made over the past few weeks with my major Korean food shopping haul. Once a quarter, we hit up H-Mart and buy a massive amount of Korean food ingredients. For about three weeks after that major shopping event, we eat tons of really delicious (and slightly more complicated) Korean foods. I love it because it's all of the foods I grew up on and it makes me a bit nostalgic and also, it's the type of food that my stomach (and body in general) best tolerates.
We eat really well in our house. But, as much as I love to cook, I really only like cooking for my family because they're not allowed to complain. Also, I hate that feeling of making something and having my friends feel like they're being forced to eat it just because I put effort in and they're too shy and/or embarrassed to say they hate it. Oh the stress of first world problems!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Loaded Avocado Toast

I try not to get sucked into super trendy foods because it's annoying but as made obvious by my food blog, I've totally jumped on the green smoothie bandwagon, which led to me jumping on the chia seed bandwagon, and I'm totally into kale.

Avocado toast is one of those things that cool people love to Instagram (and subsequently eat, hopefully) and I was never that impressed. I love avocado but I didn't really see anything that novel about smashing it onto bread. However, I've always loved eating it on sandwiches and it always makes the presentation of any food a bit prettier.

So, I thought I'd make my own avocado toast spin and just make a really intense breakfast sandwich loaded with several delicious ingredients in addition to avocado.
I don't have a recipe post for this avo toast because it's pretty straightforward and I honestly think you should just personalize it with whatever you have in your fridge.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Roast Cornish Game Hen

I made this chicken for a Monday roast. I was actually off of work on this particular Monday (I made this on Columbus Day about a month ago) and decided to spend the afternoon in the kitchen whipping up a warm and comforting meal. When you transition from warm weather to cool weather, 65F feels like an icicle and it makes you bundle up and start craving soups and stews and roasts.

What I love about this particular roast is that I used cornish game hens, which are tiny little birds, that cook up insanely quick and are a breeze to "carve." I say, "carve" because you don't really carve these little guys. You just chop them down the middle and each person gets a half-bird portion. But seriously, they cook up in about an hour so you could totally even make this on a regular weeknight after work.
Ingredients [serves 4]:
2 cornish game hens

herb butter
4 tablespoons softened butter
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1 tablespoon crushed pepper flakes
1 clove garlic, minced

cavity ingredients
2 cloves garlic
12 parsley sprigs
2 baby carrots
1 rib celery, chopped
½ lemon, cut in 2
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs thyme

giblet gravy
chicken giblets
2 cups water
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
+ flavorings - in this case, I used mushroom but you could use onion, garlic, rosemary, whatever you like in your gravy.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Apple Cider Sangria

We've been brainstorming our Thanksgiving menu for about a week now. I'm all about equality and I like to give each holiday its deserved time but as soon as the holiday is over, it's onto the next one. This is a lot easier during the first three-quarters of the year, since the big holidays are more spread apart. But, from autumn into winter, we've got Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Eve to give evenly divided attention to.

So, as soon as Halloween was over and I packed away this years costumes, I was right onto Thanksgiving. The past few years, we've been serving white wine sangrias as the official T-Giving cocktail. This year, I wanted to try something a bit more autumnal and thematic so I tried my hand at an apple cider sangria. And it came out so delicious and I can't wait to make a gigantic batch in a couple weeks for the biggest feast of the year.
2 apples, chopped
1 orange, chopped
knob ginger
cinnamon stick
1 cup Calvados (French apple brandy)
3 cups apple cider
750 mL sparkling white wine (I like Moscato)

Monday, November 9, 2015

Apple Crisp Pie

So, I'd like to casually mention that I'm flying down to Grand Cayman tomorrow for a little snorkel trip and I've also started blogging about New Orleans so that you can either be excited for and/or jealous of me and you can go check out my travel photo diary.

We went apple picking last month and we spent $60 on apples. That's thirty pounds of apples. The v. first thing I did with the apples (besides eating them raw) was to make this crisp pie. I love apple crisp but it's just not enough breading for me so I decided to build it on top of a crust.

I thought this was a novel idea but I googled this just now and it turns out, I'm not the first one to make a crisp pie. Oh, the disappointment. I feel as aggressive as Ross Geller did about creating the "got milk" campaign.

Anyway, I used my usual crust and a v. basic crumb topping and it turned out delicious. It's best when it's still warm topped with a generous scoop of ice cream.
apple pie
½ batch pie dough
5 to 6 apples, peeled and sliced (I like crunchy and slightly tart apples, like Cortland, honeycrisp, pink lady)
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup brown sugar
pinch salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons potato starch

crisp topping
¾ cup flour
3 tablespoons caster sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ cup cold butter (4 tablespoons)
3 tablespoons heavy cream

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Korean Seaweed Soup | Miyuk Guk (미역국)

Autumn is birthday season in our house - Dad and sister in October, me in November, (and in the past, my mom's was in September and my grandmom's was in November). Birthday season in a Korean household means one thing: miyuk guk, a.k.a. seaweed soup. My mom said the tradition of miyuk guk was born (quite literally) because its incredibly nutrient-rich properties made it an ideal concoction for expectant mothers and brand new mothers. So, relatives would bring the soup to the new moms and therefore, it became associated with births.

Mom used to say that it was good luck to have miyuk guk on your birthday because it was like toasting to one's own health by eating this super Vitamin-filled meal.

So, last month for my pop's 60th, I made a big batch of miyuk guk. My mom used to make miyuk guk with flank steak or brisket. I'm a non-traditionalist and also a whatever's-in-the-freezer-ist so I tend to use oxtails. However, seeing as it was kind of a special occasion (a man's sixtieth birthday only comes once in a lifetime) I grabbed a package of short ribs. Short ribs are super fatty and rich, which means that even after the broth bubbles away, the meat itself is still moist and delicious. Normally, I hate soup meat because it's dry and not-so-yummy but this time, I was all about it.
Ingredients [serves 4 to 6]:
1 lb. short ribs or oxtails
8 cups water
4 cloves garlic
½ oz. dried seaweed (wakame)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
salt to taste

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Osso Buco

Like I mentioned in yesterday's risotto Milanese post, I recreated a meal we had in Milano at El Brellin a couple of weekends ago. Luckily for me, my grocery store sells beef shanks so this was an easy enough dish to assemble, especially because the rest of the ingredients are pretty easy to find. Classic osso buco is made with veal but I am not a fan of veal; it tastes great but the thought of eating baby cows depresses me.

The best part of making osso buco is that it takes just a few minutes of prep work and labor and then the rest of the time is just simmering it on the stove for a couple of hours, allowing the stove to do the work for you and letting the meat get super delicious and tender.
Ingredients [serves 4]:
osso buco
2 lbs. beef shanks
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
¼ cup flour
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, diced
1 rib celery, diced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups white wine
3 cups beef stock
2 bay leaves
6 sprigs thyme
10 sprigs parsley

¼ cup parsley leaves
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons lemon zest

Monday, November 2, 2015

Risotto Milanese

When my sister and I were in Italy earlier this year, we enjoyed tons of amazing food. I've been working on recreating some of our favorite dishes at home, like spaghetti alla vongole, and it's been fun and delicious. However, I've been saving this particular dish for cool weather, since slaving over a hot stove, continuously stirring a steaming pot is not my idea of summertime fun.

As you can tell by the title, I'm making risotto Milanese. We ate at El Brellin and had some of the best risotto and osso buco ever. Based on my memory of the flavors, I did my best to recreate the meal. The arborio rice, saffron, and parmesan I'm using in this recipe were actually bought in Milan (at Eataly) so it feels a little more authentic.

And tomorrow, I'm sharing osso buco so come back for that if you're looking for the perfect match to this risotto.
Ingredients [serves 4]:
3½ cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon saffron (loosely packed)
3 tablespoons butter
½ onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup arborio rice
½ cup white wine
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup grated parmesan

Friday, October 30, 2015

Loaded Rice Krispies Treats

Happy Halloween Eve! Now that I'm the one giving out candy, I sometimes wish I could give out homemade treats. Nowadays though, people are v. wary and suspicious of anyone giving out homemade concoctions and rightly so. There are so many weirdos out there.

So, I guess I can't give out Rice Krispies treats - I'll just have to eat them myself; what a tragedy.

I love classic Rice Krispies treats but I love these more and they're especially fitting of Halloween. Loading them up with extra stuff is so yummy, especially since the extra stuff includes salt (love sweet and salty as a combination) and crunch and candy.
Ingredients [yields 9"x9" pan]:
¼ cup butter (half a stick)
4 cups mini marshmallows
½ teaspoon sea salt
3 cups Rice Krispies cereal
3 cups Cocoa Pebbles cereal
½ cup crushed unsalted pretzels
¼ cup toffee bits
¼ cup chocolate chips
¼ cup butterscotch chips
8 to 10 caramels, cut into small pieces
+ vanilla extract (optional)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Mini Checkerboard Cake

In theme with this week's pre-Halloween fun, I'm sharing another sweet treat today.

I've recently become pretty obsessed with How to Cake It. Yo is hilarious, charming, and crazy talented. I basically binge-watched her entire novelty cake video repertoire and it made me want to make pretty cakes and it made me want to eat pretty cakes.
I used my white cake recipe (and halved it) and flavored half of the batter with a little cocoa powder and heavy cream and made a checkerboard cake.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Double Potions (Harry Potter-Themed Cocktails)

Though I own all of the hardcover versions of the Harry Potter books, I recently bought the electronic version so that I could carry them around with me on my phone all the time. That's how much I love you, Kreacher. Yes, Kreacher is my favorite character. And guess what? I was sorted into Slytherin House. That's right, and I'm a parselmouth too. I found this out recently; I've been encountering snakes everywhere. One jumped out at me while I was taking my dog on a walk at the park, then a few days later, a second one jumped out at me in the garden and then just a few days ago, I saw a freshly roadkilled one just in front of my house. Obviously I'm a descendent of Salazar Slytherin, right? I know he was a white man but maybe I'm one sixty-fourth white? It's possible.

Anyway, to get in the Halloween spirit - which is coming up this weekend - I wanted to share five Harry Potter-related cocktails. I picked five different potions and tried to come up with appropriate ingredients for each. I didn't want this to be a boring overdone post (as I've seen a few Harry Potter-related cocktail posts out there) so I decided to spice mine up by making individual flavored vodkas for each drink.
These five cocktails take a little bit of prep time since the homemade flavored vodka needs to soak for a few days.

The directions for each flavored vodka are super easy and straightforward. Add the vodka and flavorings to an airtight bottle and leave to steep for at least 3 days in the fridge.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce

I'm in a great mood this morning because I'll be picking up H this evening in Newark and then we're going to get dinner and have a good night's sleep and then head out to New Orleans tomorrow morning! I'm also in an extra good mood because I love today's post.

Apparently this amazing sauce has been floating around the internet for over a decade and I didn't know it. It's a devilishly simple sauce (just three ingredients; four if you count the salt) and even though I was tempted to throw in garlic and herbs and crushed pepper flakes, for my first go, I showed restraint. There's something beautiful about really simple, rich recipes that allow single ingredients to shine (in this case, it's the tomato) but I'm not going to lie; I'm probably going to pollute this recipe with a little garlic and a little heat the next time I make it.

I wasn't sure what to expect because in all of the forums I read, no one described the taste in a descriptive enough manner; in general, the comments were all along the line of, "OMG SO DELICIOUS!" But, maybe this is a "people in glass houses" situation because it's possible I won't be able to describe it properly either. My best attempt is to say that the smell reminded me of cream of tomato soup and then when I went in for a taste, again, I thought hm, tomato soup. The butter adds this unctuous mouthfeel that makes the sauce incredibly velvety and "sticky." I say "sticky" because this sauce stuck to the noodles better than any other tomato sauce I have ever made. The onion added a crapload of natural sweetness that complemented the San Marzano tomatoes. In fact, it might have been a little too sweet for my taste and I think that this recipe is a great way to use up regular plum tomatoes; save the San Marzano tomatoes for regular sauces that need a boost.

Overall, this sauce was a smashing success. I slapped it together on a Thursday evening with about 2 minutes of prep work, 1 minute to smash the tomatoes in the pot, and then it sat on the hob, bubbling away and getting really good all on its own. In the meantime, I was able to prepare an appetizer, a vegetable dish, and cook the pasta. This recipe is a good one and I know it's going to get made over and over again this winter.
28 oz. can of San Marzano tomatoes (or regular plum tomatoes)
6 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, peeled and halved
salt to taste (1 to 2 teaspoons)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

What I Ate: Spicy Chili Dogs

In our house, we can never make spicy chili without making some spicy chili cheese dogs. So, along with yesterday's chili, we toasted up some bread, grilled a few hot dogs, diced up tomatoes, red onion, pickles, and avocado, grated some cheese, and made a little make-your-own chili dog feast for dinner.
A couple of weeks ago, my sister found a block of habanero cheese in the dairy section at our store and we've fallen in love. It's super spicy and perfect for us. So, honestly, I've been looking for ways to use it (beyond just nachos and tacos) and this was a perfect application.

Monday, October 19, 2015

What I Ate: Spicy Chili

Every Saturday morning, my sister and I get up and go grocery shopping. It's part of our weekly routine. On this particular morning, as we were in the protein section stocking up on chicken and beef, my sister declared that we should make chili (re: I should make chili). So, I grabbed a package of ground beef and a package of ground pork and planned on making chili that would cook long and slow with the intention of eating it the next day.

Fast forward an hour and we were scooping generous bowls for ourselves, smacking our lips obnoxiously. What can I say? We just couldn't wait.

I used my spicy chili recipe but tweaked it ever so slightly by using salt pork (instead of bacon), adding in a poblano pepper, and using half pork and half ground beef. Oh, I also omitted the crushed tomatoes and just used two cans of diced tomatoes instead. And, of course, instead of normal chili powder, I used ancho chili powder; that stuff is so good I'll never go back to regular chili powder. Maybe with all of these substitutions I should have made a whole new recipe page but to be fair, I think that every time I make chili, it's slightly different and I don't think having 309841390 recipe pages for slightly different chili recipes is all that practical.
I'm so happy that I have a serving in my lunchbox right now, otherwise, I'd be so annoyed whilst putting together this post.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Spicy Chicken Sandwich

I have basically one month before I head off to Grand Cayman and I could not be more excited. Not only am I excited about going on holiday but I cannot wait to stop my stupid portion control and exercise routine. My aim has been to get really fit so that when I'm parading around in swimwear, I don't feel like a massive whale and cause shock and horror to the other lovely families vacationing around me. It's been great in terms of health, I suppose. My skin looks brighter, I have more energy, and the boyfriend jeans that used to fit like skinny jeans now fit like actual boyfriend jeans.

But, being on my little "diet" hasn't been completely painful. I'm a staunch believer that denying oneself is a surefire way to cause a massive breakdown once your mind's willpower reserves have run out. So, instead of cutting out "bad" foods, I've just been showing some restraint when it comes to the quantity I consume.

That being said, I am 100% unwilling to eat actual bad-for-you foods like junky microwave meals and fast food. To be frank, I'm not a fan of those sorts of meals in general. However, there is a Wendy's near my house and every time I drive past it, I recall every spicy chicken sandwich I've ever eaten and feel a bit of a hunger pang and craving for it. I made a quick version last year that I shared in a 'What I Ate' style post but my sister complained that the breading wasn't quite up to snuff so I modified the method a bit and this one was a winner and a pretty damn good substitute (except with much less guilt).
4 chicken thighs
¼ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup flour
¼ cup potato starch
oil for frying
+ 4 rolls
+ special sauce
+ sliced tomatoes
+ baby kale
+ habanero cheese

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

What I Ate: Chicken Sujebi

Happy Birthday to my baby sister! And what more appropriate dish to post than a soup? Soup season is officially here and M is probably the happiest about it; whenever she was served a bowl of soup when she was younger, she'd just sip out all of the broth and leave all the solid ingredients behind.

I've been absolutely loving my French oven (that I found at Christmas Tree Shops for $30) and it's been put to good use several times already. When the weather starts to go a bit colder, I love making Korean chicken soups. Dahk jook is a favorite but at the end of winter last year, we got really into chicken kalguksu and I think this year, I'm going to be loving sujebi.
Sujebi is great because it's so easy to make the noodles. And, I've made it even easier by rolling out the dough a big beforehand and then tearing it off in big chunks.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Korean Sprouts Side Dish {Soy Sauce} | Kongnamul Moochim (콩나물무침)

Happy Columbus Day! I have off from work today so I get to spend this amazing autumn weather hanging out with my pup at the park.

Our grocery store carries mung bean sprouts without the actual beans, which has been kind of exciting. They don't have it every week, but when they do, we usually snatch up a few bags because they make the easiest banchan.

I decided to share this recipe because it's slightly different from the moochim that I shared previously. This version uses soy sauce instead of salt and has the addition of perilla leaves. We had a surplus of perilla leaves at the end of the season and I wanted excuses to use it before our garden completely died and I loved the way this turned out.
8 oz. mung bean sprouts
1 clove garlic, minced
1 hot pepper, chopped
1 scallion, chopped
15 perilla leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon soy sauce
½ teaspoon hot pepper flakes
½ teaspoon sesame oil
¼ teaspoon sesame seeds

Friday, October 9, 2015

Pasta Pangrattato with Crispy Egg

Since getting involved with Food52's contests, I've been more active on the site, especially when it comes to exploring other members' recipes. It's been a great resource for dinner inspiration, especially when I'm in a slump.

A few weeks ago, I stumbled on a really amazing recipe. I had planned on making the usual pasta with tomato sauce and grilled sausage for dinner but as the clock crept closer and closer to the end of the workday, that meal sounded less and less appealing. So, I hopped onto Food52 and started browsing through the pasta recipes and I found Rhonda's Spaghetti with Fried Eggs & Pangritata. I was mostly intrigued because in her little introductory blurb, she mentions that she got so obsessed with the dish that her sister might have had to do an intervention. I have a pretty obsessive personality too so I could totally empathize and it made me want to try the recipe, even with the risk of obsession and interventions.

As I am prone to doing, I read through the recipe, shut my computer, and then kind of did my own thing. I like taking a general idea and running with it. It makes it much easier for me because I'm not constantly running back to my computer to see what the next step is. Plus, I tend to customize recipes anyway; in this example, I've added a few extra ingredients, I used oregano instead of rosemary because we still have it growing like crazy in the garden, and I've also upped the spice levels 400%. I also changed the name of the recipe slightly because, thanks to Duolingo (which I was using daily the first quarter of this year, prior to my trip to Italy) I know the word for breadcrumbs is "pangrattato." I know, I'm like an amazing linguist.
Ingredients [serves 4]:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons crushed pepper flakes
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon minced oregano
¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
½ teaspoon salt

1 lb. pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 chili pepper, sliced
1 tablespoon capers
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons black pepper

crispy eggs
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 eggs

1 cup cherry tomatoes
shaved parmesan

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

What I Ate: Moroccan Eggs

My sister says that she hates when I blog meals because it "takes forever" and she's "bleeping hungry" and she "is dying and needs to eat right now." But then I tell her that without the blog, I'd have much less motivation to venture out of my comfort zone (which is basically cooking burgers and soon tofu jjigae) and she wouldn't get to try so many new (and usually delicious) foods. I guess it's a Catch-22.

Usually at dinner time, it's not as big of a deal because she gets home an hour after I do so by that time, I'm almost done cooking and just snapping photos of the final product. However, on the weekends when I'm whipping up breakfast, she sits on her designated barstool whining until she has food in her mouth.

Such was the case with these Moroccan eggs (a.k.a. shakshuka). I hadn't made this dish in a while and seeing as we conveniently had all of the ingredients on hand, I got to chopping vegetables and got myself ready to hear a barrage of hunger complaints from M.
I followed the gist of my original recipe except I also added in some chopped up kielbasa (because we had it and why not?) and upped the egg count, seeing as my sister is a champion eater and I knew I needed a little more substance. We also had an avocado about to go off so I chopped up half and sprinkled it on top and it was an awesome extra that added a nice creamy textural component. One last deviation from my old post is the use of pita chips. We didn't have any bread on hand but we had a bunch of homemade flatbread pitas in the fridge (from my recent hummus obsession) so I toasted them up into chips with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. And, I actually loved the pita chips more than toasted bread because it just added to that Moroccan vibe.

Monday, October 5, 2015

What I Ate: Chicken Bibimbap

Bibimbap is a staple meal in our house. It used to be somewhat of a production to make, mostly because there are so many various ingredients that can be added in, but I think I've got a system down that is pretty efficient and works really well.

First of all, you've got to get rice going and then you've got to set up your serving dishes. I grab three (for my family) and get them ready, assembly line style. After that, you really only need one pan. That same pan gets used to cook through each element. I heat it up over medium and add in a little oil (about a tablespoon of avocado oil and a few drops of sesame oil) and then I toss in the first vegetable. After that's cooked through, I divide it amongst the serving dishes. Then, I add in a little more oil and cook the second. And that continues until I've gone through all of the (cooked) vegetables.

In between cooking the vegetables, I also work on chopping up raw veggies for the bowls. I like raw carrot, raw cucumber, and usually some sort of lettuce-y element, whether it's spinach, red leaf lettuce, or perilla leaves.

After the vegetables are done, I add a little more oil, some garlic, some ginger, and onion, if I'm feeling cheeky. Then, in goes ground meat (chicken, beef, turkey, pork, whatever your preference; tofu works too). That gets broken up and cooked halfway through. Then, I add in some soy sauce, a little brown sugar, and black pepper. The meat finishes cooking with the seasonings and then it's added to the serving dishes.

I chop up a few raw vegetables, toss in some julienned radish kimchi, and then scoop on some rice. After that, I fry up an egg to top off each bowl, whip up a little spicy sauce, and it's time to serve.

Friday, October 2, 2015

What I Ate: Farfalle Carbonara

So maybe a month or so ago, we finally ripped into our vacuum-sealed parmigiano that we smuggled in from Italy back in April. It's been amazing grating it onto various pastas and salads. It's super nutty and salty and it's got the perfect amount of cheesy pungency. It makes me miss Italy so much.

I wanted to put the cheese to a more aggressive use so I made carbonara using farfalle and it was amazing. It was delicious the first day but it also made crazy delicious leftovers.
I added some peas and scallions for color (and flavor) and I thought it was such a pretty dish.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Chocolate Pizza

Every few months when the seasons change, I always feel like I'm experiencing it for the first time. So, in the recent weeks as we were transitioning from summer into autumn, it's felt really surreal. All of a sudden, it's gotten to be pitch black outside when my alarm goes off. I'm greeted with a chill when I let the dog out to do his business in the morning. I'm craving soups and stews. These changes, for some reason, feel so foreign, as if I've never experienced them before.

But, my favorite "new" thing is that I can turn on the oven without feeling guilty about wasting the air conditioning because it's cool enough that we don't need that sucker anymore.  I've mostly been snacking on fruit and s'mores as an after dinner treat; basically only summer-themed desserts for the past two months. But, after what's felt like years of not using an oven, I finally fired it up again to make this decadent dessert of chocolate pizza.

Inspired by Max Brenner's, I took a literal pizza crust and topped it with sugary ingredients 
This isn't a full-blown recipe post because honestly, it's friggin' easy and you can customize it with whatever you like. However, you can scroll down to the bottom for my quick pizza dough recipe page.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Grilled Corn Salad

As a tribute to the end of summer, I've been really holding onto any summer produce that's still going strong. Our grocery store is still carrying some really great stone fruit, summer squash, and we've still got super fresh corn. The corn crop was extra good this year (at least what we've eaten was fantastic) so I've mostly been doing it really simple and just grilling it in the husk.

But recently, I made this grilled corn salad (from giant ears of corn that we scored at our town's farmer's market) and it was a huge hit. My sister meandered into the kitchen and asked, "What is this?" and before I could even answer, she was scooping some out onto a chip (as if it were salsa) and making yummy noises to herself.
3 to 4 ears corn
¼ red onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
½ bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
½ avocado, chopped
½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 oz. queso fresco, crumbled
1 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper

Friday, September 25, 2015

Sweet & Spicy Chicken | Kkanpoongi (깐풍기)

Late September into early October is my favorite time of year. I love the crisp fall breeze, the changing leaves, and the cozy comfort food. I'm getting geared up to make lots of soups and stews and sauces. As much as you'd think the freezer gets a workout in the summer (holding gallons upon gallons of ice cream), it takes a more strenuous hit in the cooler months because I like to make huge batches of soups, ladle them into containers, and then pop them in the freezer to eat for weeks and weeks.

And, even though I despise the shortening of the days (because it makes it that much harder to photograph my dinners for the blog) I am loving the cozy scarves and boots that I get to chuck on every morning. We've also gotten past swimsuit season (although I'm going to Grand Cayman in November so I've still got to be a little watchful) so I feel a lot less guilty about eating hearty, not-so-good-for-you fried foods and today's post falls right into that category.

This sweet and spicy (and a little bit sour) chicken is typically eaten as an appetizer or side dish with jjajangmyun. But, it also makes a delicious star of a meal too. The chicken is crispy and coated in a delicious sauce and it looks pretty impressive whilst being a cinch to whip up.
crispy chicken
1½ lbs. chicken thighs, cut into chunks
⅔ cup potato starch
1 egg
¼ cup water
oil for frying

sweet & spicy sauce
1 tablespoon oil
½ onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon minced ginger
4 Thai chilis, split
½ cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon hot pepper flakes (gochugaru)
½ cup corn syrup
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1½ tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon apple vinegar
3 scallions, chopped
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Peach Pie

Today we officially say goodbye to summer and greet autumn with a huge smile (even if the weather hasn't quite caught on yet). I don't know if it's because we've still got some relatively warm weather but the stone fruit season has not yet ended. Our grocery store still has a wall of peaches and they're actually ripe and amazing; I can smell them from two aisles away before I've even entered the produce section.

As a tribute to summer, I made a peach pie. It was my first attempt at a lattice top and I was pleased with the turnout. I think I might do a lattice top on all of my pies from now on because it's just so pretty. The pie came out rather delicious, although, my sister said she kind of felt like she was eating a candle because it had that super pungent peach flavor. I took it as a weird compliment.

There's nothing particularly special about this pie. In fact, it's my basic go-to pie recipe (except I've become a convert from using flour as a thickening agent to using potato starch now). And if I were making an apple pie, I'd essentially do the exact same thing, except obviously I would use apple instead of peach. But, it's still worth sharing because it's delicious.
Ingredients [yields one 9" deep dish pie]:
1 batch pie dough
flour for dusting
6 large peaches
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated)
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons potato starch
¼ cup packed brown sugar
1 egg white
1 tablespoon raw sugar

Monday, September 21, 2015


The first time I had a falafel was at a salad bar. I was in high school and a bunch of my friends met up for lunch one weekend. I grabbed a falafel because I thought it was a meatball. When I bit into it, I was met with disappointment, not just because it wasn't the meatball I thought it was, but because it was just a sad, soggy, flavorless, mushy mess.

Fast forward a few years and I met up with a couple of my college friends at Mamoun's in St. Mark's. A, the vegetarian of the group, insisted we all try the falafel and I fell in love. Who knew this meatball-wannabe could be so flavorful?

I have to admit that I once tried to make falafel using canned chickpeas and it was a disaster. But, having played around with dried chickpeas for my Dizengoff hummus recreation and realizing that they aren't so scary, I decided I had to have a go at making falafel too. Even though the resultant product wasn't necessarily the prettiest thing, they tasted amazing and I can't wait to make these again (and again, and again). Seriously, I might need to dedicate an entire shelf/shrine in the pantry to dried chickpeas because they're taking over my life and I love them.
Ingredients [yields 12 to 15 falafel]:
½ lb. dried chickpeas (approximately 1 cup)
1 tablespoon baking soda
3 scallions
3 cloves garlic
5 parsley stalks
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon roasted cumin
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
oil for frying
+ pita
+ tzatziki
+ diced tomato
+ diced onion
+ chopped parsley
+ pickles
+ whatever toppings you like - diced cucumbers, hot sauce, feta crumbles, avocado, etc.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Scotch Egg

A couple of weekends ago, I met up with a friend for brunch. We got together way downtown to walk around and chat and then we went to The Dead Rabbit in Fidi and enjoyed really good food. I had the scotch egg, which was sublime. Scotch eggs are the perfect breakfast/brunch food. I mean, it's an egg encased in sausage; need I say more? Whenever I eat awesome dishes, I'm compelled to try and recreate them at home. So, I whipped up my own version.

It's not fun to share a recipe unless there's some kind of a twist to it, right? Well, there's no huge, innovative twist here but I made my own sausage mix. If you want to play with the seasonings on your own, then feel free. I went for a spicy, slightly smoky mix of seasonings. I basically grabbed every container out of the spice drawer that caught my eye and the results were so good.
Ingredients [yields 4 scotch eggs]:
4 + 1 eggs
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 lb. ground pork
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper (freshly ground)
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground mustard
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg (freshly grated)
½ teaspoon dried rosemary
¼ cup flour
½ cup breadcrumbs
oil for frying
+ mustard
+ cornichons

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

What I Ate: Fruit Smoothie

Right around this time of the year, I go into a major denial about summer's end. Even though I'm no longer a student that has to mourn the end of summer because of the upcoming school year, I think that feeling is sort of just embedded in my brain. After all, I was in school from age 4 through age 21.

So, right about now is when I start clinging to summery things to make me feel happier. For instance, after work, I change out of my office garb right into a particularly summery, tropical-looking playsuit which puts me in a great mood. I've also planned a trip to the beach for next weekend because it's no longer high season which means that dogs are allowed. And of course, I've been gorging on pineapple and coconut because they make me feel like I'm sitting in sunshine on holiday.

Pineapple and coconut are amazing additives to a cocktail, but for the sake of health and my attempt to be healthy and get really fit for my upcoming trip to Grand Cayman, I blended it all up into a delicious smoothie.
And of course, a flamingo stirrer is always a nice touch.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Black Beans & Rice

As much as I enjoy rice and beans, sometimes I'm too lazy to drag out two pots and make two separate components. Lately, I've been dumping the can of beans right into the rice and have been loving the end product. So, I thought I'd share this super easy dish that serves as a delicious accompaniment to almost anything that comes off the grill.
Ingredients [serves 4 to 6]:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 oz. salt pork, diced
½ onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup medium grain rice
15.5 oz. can beans (drained, not rinsed) - black beans or red beans; both are great
1½ cups chicken stock

*If you wanted to make this vegetarian, you could omit the salt pork and use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Dizengoff Hummus at Home

In July, I went to Philly for the weekend to hang out with H and my cousin and her husband. It was a crazy hot weekend filled with super delicious food. One of the standouts for me was a trip to Dizengoff. The hummus is unreal and definitely the best hummus I've ever had and I knew I had to try and recreate it at home. Even though Philly's only a short drive away, it's hardly close enough to satisfy the unruly hummus cravings stirring in my tummy on a whim.

After a bit of googling, I found a recipe on Stovetop Story referring to Dizengoff's hummus. Julie took a class with Elaine Gardner (the chef at Dizengoff) and learned how to make the infamous hummus. I made a few small changes to the recipe. I decided to use dried chickpeas instead of canned because I thought they'd make a creamier hummus. Plus, canned chickpeas tend to have a slightly acidic taste that I wanted to avoid. I also added a good glug of olive oil, which I think added a bit of unctuousness and body. All-in-all, the final product was a definite winner. It's definitely more time consuming than my canned chickpea version of hummus but certainly worth the while.

I also took a shot at making a stewed cumin chicken and a spicy harif to go with the meal. I know that Dizengoff makes different hummus toppings daily, but the chicken was what we ordered and I really enjoyed it. The homemade harif wasn't quite as spot on but it was still a deliciously smoky condiment so definitely worth sharing. And lucky for me, I'm enjoying a bowl of this for lunch as I write so it's a little bit like inception. Plus, it means I'm not drooling with envy over my previous meal the way I usually am.

There are several components to this post but if you're impatient, you can scroll all the way down to the bottom for the individual recipe pages.
1 cup dried chickpeas
1 tablespoon baking soda
5 cloves garlic, unpeeled
¼ cup tahini
juice of ½ lemon (2 to 3 tablespoons)
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup olive oil
+ olive oil
+ paprika
+ chopped parsley

1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon + ¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons + 1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 dried chipotle chile or 2 dried ancho chile peppers
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon golden syrup

cumin chicken
2 chicken thighs
½ onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, smashed
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
1 cup chicken stock

the fixin's
4 flatbread pitas
cucumber and red onion salad

Friday, September 4, 2015

Korean Sweet Potato Noodles | Japchae (잡채)

Baby sister used to scream that she hated japchae but guess what? She's decided that she likes mine. It all comes down to the fact that I do not use rehydrated dried shiitake mushrooms in my recipe. To be honest, I don't much care for the taste of dried shiitakes but I can get past the funky flavor to embrace my love of noodles. However, I think it tastes much better without them.
2 teaspoons oil
½ onion, sliced
½ carrot, julienned
1 serrano pepper, sliced
6 oz. oyster mushrooms
handful baby kale
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Korean Pickles

This summer has flown by, hasn't it? It feels like just yesterday I was begging for sunshine strong enough to make me sweat and now I'm begging for fall foliage and cool breezes. One of the best things this sweaty summer has yielded is an incredible crop of cucumbers in our garden.

My sister will tell you that cucumbers are meant to be pickled so that's what I've been doing with them. For one of the batches, I made Korean-style pickles like my mom used to make. They're great because they're delicious with a sandwich but also pair well with a Korean meal of rice and banchan.
4 to 5 lbs. cucumbers
2 to 3 hot peppers
½ cup salt
¼ cup apple vinegar
4 cloves garlic, smashed
6 cups water

pickle side dish
1 Korean pickle
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 scallion, chopped

Monday, August 31, 2015

What I Ate: Coconut Pie

So a couple of weeks ago, my coconut pie recipe was voted the best recipe with coconut on Food52. It was super exciting, considering I only joined the site a couple of months ago and have been submitting to the contests just for fun. It was the third contest I entered and it was super exciting to be made a finalist, let alone win.
In celebration of winning, I decided to make a pie to share with family and friends at home and then a second pie to share with my coworkers. In the process, I set up my camera and made a video.
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