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.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Roasted Bone Marrow

While we were in Ithaca earlier this month, we ate pretty lavishly. And while we were eating lavishly, I was reminiscing with my sister about my time at Cornell, when I was so poor that I debated with myself whether I should eat my whole lunch (because I was still kind of hungry) or try to hold back so I could eat the leftovers as my dinner and save some money. It's funny thinking about it now, but when I was in school, eating on a budget was a real struggle because I'm a big fatso.

Had I known about marrow bones back then, I might've fared a little better. It's amazing how cheap they are considering that they're so delicious; the cheap to delicious ratio is zero. Plus, they are incredibly simple to whip up. It's totally something I could have easily done in between studying and partying while I was in school.
beef marrow bones
salt & pepper

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Braised Potato Side Dish | Gamja Jorim (감자 조림)

Because of my sister's recently discovered potato allergy, I haven't been making them much lately. However, on a recent trip to Trader Joe's, we found a little bag of the cutest tiny baby potatoes and I had to get them.

I decided to make a Korean-style side dish with them. I shared a version of this dish a few years ago but have since updated the recipe.
1 lb. baby potatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons hot pepper flakes
1 tablespoon soy sauce
¼ teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1 jalapeno, sliced
½ teaspoon sesame seeds

Monday, August 24, 2015

48 Hours in Ithaca: Summertime Eats

A couple of weekends ago, my family drove up to Ithaca. We hadn't been up in a couple of years and we took it as an opportunity to have a little mini break with our dog.

Ithaca is pretty rural but it's got some really delicious food.
We did a lot of al fresco dining, because NY State law does not allow dogs into dining establishments (makes sense) and we also did takeout a few times. I'm sharing three of my favorite places today but if you're looking for more dining choices, check out my Big Red List on Yelp. And for all of the fun activities we did, you can check out my travel blog.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Peach Sangria

Okay, so lately, I've been trying to eat better, drink better, and exercise a bit. This "lifestyle change" occurred because as I was doing my annual closet clean out (making donation piles), I found a dress I bought right out of college (that apparently escaped disposal the past few years) that was tiny. It was a non-stretch fabric, size 2 H&M dress; and if you know H&M, you know their sizing runs small. I couldn't believe how small I used to be. It was kind of the final straw of me thinking I can still live like a youthful, fast metabolism-ed, burger guzzling tween. At age 28, I can't get away with what I could in my college days without gaining loads of weight. So, I decided that I was going to amp up my exercise routine (by actually exercising) and I was going to start eating better.

The problem was (and is) that I loathe exercising. I mean, I love a good hike, I love a good bike, and I really enjoy swimming but none of those are all that convenient for me on a weeknight when I get home from a 10 hour workday. To entice myself into moving my body, I put on American Horror Story and do a little pilates and yoga routine through an entire episode. That's 45 minutes of working out but I'm so distracted by the plot line, I don't even care that my abs are getting sore.

As far as my diet is concerned, I've found that exercising gives me more energy and my body craves good-for-me foods so I haven't even had to consciously change anything. I always drink lots of water, I love my green smoothies, and I like to indulge in a peach for my mid-morning snack instead of my usual sugary cereal. And, I've seen really good changes in my body, even just after two weeks. For one, that flappy arm skin isn't so flappy anymore. My skinny jeans should maybe be called loose jeans, My skin is positively glowing. And best of all, I feel really good. I'm never going to be the type of girl who signs up for gym memberships and soulcycle and hot yoga, but I am going to start and advertise exercise, if only as a way to get really good skin.

But, just because I'm trying to be healthier doesn't mean that I can't occasionally treat myself with delicious foods. You aren't going to see a huge change on this blog or anything. It's just me, making small, permanent changes to my lifestyle in order to be happier.

Now that that long intro/personal story is out of the way, I want to talk to you about one of the treats I've been indulging in, even with my healthier lifestyle: sangria, specifically peach sangria. Peaches have been my favorite fruit for as long as I can remember. I love the fuzzy skins, the juicy texture, and the delicious floral flavor. I can even appreciate artificial peach flavor; peach ring gummies are so good! Well, combine this delicious fruit with wine and I am in heaven.
Ingredients [yields 4 to 6 servings]:
1 ripe peach
1 lime
1 lemon
3 tablespoons honey
bottle of white wine (I prefer something light and fruity like a Riesling or Moscato)

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Garden Update 3

August has been another great month for the garden. The cucumber plant has been going insane and I've been picking about five or six every week. We've also had lots of yummy peppers, perilla leaves, Korean chives, and fresh oregano. I already shared a bunch of dishes we made using ingredients from the garden. And even though it's almost September, I expect we'll be eating much more yummy stuff with fresh picks from the garden if this glorious weather holds up.
I'm also sharing some tidbits from my cousins' garden in Philadelphia, which you'll see when you scroll way down.

Monday, August 17, 2015

George Michael Eats: Homemade Dog Food

Before we get into today's post, I have a quick announcement. I submitted my coconut pie recipe to Food52 and it is a contest finalist. If you want to vote for me (or for the other finalist, whose chicken soup looks delicious) please do! Voting ends in two days so don't procrastinate!

George Michael is a moderately picky eater. He loves food and freaks out over cucumber and lettuce (he was probably a rabbit in a past life) but he hates mushrooms and gets bored of his dog food after a while.

We had him on different varieties of Purina (healthy weight, healthy fiesta) which he'd eagerly gobble up when the package was fresh but as the food got stale, he'd get more particular. Recently though, we got him some Trader Joe's dog food and he's been really into it. The downside is that the packages are small so one weekend, we ran out of food.

Because I consider GM to be my son and I love spoiling him, I decided to make him some homemade dog food. If you're squeamish, you might want to click out of this post because it's not exactly the most appetizing set of photos. However, if you too want to spoil your dog with a few homemade meals, then read on!
Ingredients [yields 4 to 6 servings for a medium-sized dog]:
2 chicken breasts
2 cups water
¼ cup orzo
¼ cup rolled oats
¼ cup cooked rice
½ cup carrots, chopped
½ apple, diced
2 tablespoons coconut oil

Friday, August 14, 2015

Fish Roe Stew | Ahl Jjigae (알찌개)

My mom was a fantastic cook. I still remember a moment when my late grandfather was sick in the hospital and my mom was like, "Gross, I don't want him eating disgusting hospital jello." Even though we'd all thrown on our shoes, ready to go visit him, she made us wait while she whipped up a batch of soon tofu jjigae and packaged it up. When we got to the hospital, my grandpa smiled with relief and gobbled it down and complimented Mom on her stellar cooking.

Mom also made great kalbi, miyuk guk, and she made the best kimchi. But, there was also a host of dishes she never made at home that we only enjoyed when we dined out; whether it was because she couldn't be bothered to make it or she preferred it made for her, I couldn't tell you. Ahl jjigae was one of those dishes. It's so good and so simple, I'm not sure why she wouldn't make it for us at home. Luckily, I'm the boss of my own kitchen these days and I love making this stew. It's definitely not for everyone (finding an egg sac in one's dish isn't v. exciting for squeamish people) but I think it's super delicious.
1 tablespoon oil (neutral oil like canola or vegetable)
1 tablespoon hot pepper flakes (gochugaru)
¼ cup chopped kimchi
2 to 3 cups stock (fish stock, vegetable stock, chicken stock, or beef stock)
2 teaspoons bean paste (dwenjang)
2 teaspoons hot pepper paste (gochujang)
¼ lb. tofu
handful rice cakes
1 seasoned pollack roe
handful bean sprouts
1 scallion, chopped

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Cold Buckwheat Noodle Soup | Mul Naengmyun (물냉면)

Even though mul naengmyun (translated: cold noodles in water) is a chilled, refreshing dish, making the broth requires heat. It's a little annoying except that making broth is crazy easy and so I endured five minutes of skimming foam next to the stovetop for the reward of a bowl full of cold noodles.

I previously shared a post on bibim naengmyun (which is in need of an update) which is also a great summertime meal too. But, mul naengmyun has the edge because it's swimming in ice cold broth which totally cools your whole body down. It's like air conditioning in food form.
Ingredients [yields 4 servings]:
1 ribeye steak (well marbled)
5 garlic cloves
10 to 12 cups water
1 tablespoon salt
1 knob ginger
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1 scallion, chopped

nengmyun fixin's
4 servings nengmyun noodles (buckwheat noodles)
pickled radish
cucumber slices
soft boiled egg
scallions, chopped
sesame seeds

pickled radish
4 oz. radish, sliced
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

What I Ate: Garden 2015

I love using the super fresh produce from our garden. For one, it's fun to "harvest" what I need as I need it and have it be super fresh and gorgeous. But mostly, I love that it's all pesticide-free and better than organic because it's home grown.
I thought I'd share some of the yummy meals I made using our garden harvests.

Monday, August 10, 2015

No Churn Ice Cream

I love my ice cream maker. It's one of my favorite kitchen appliances. But, admittedly, the process of making a custard and churning ice cream and cleaning out the frozen bowl is taxing. That's where no churn ice cream comes in. I borrowed this recipe from Nigella Lawson, my favorite English chef (sorry, Jamie Oliver). I tried to make it a few weeks ago but we didn't have any cream in the fridge and I ended up making a frozen cheesecake instead.

But, the week that we ran out of the cheesecake, I made sure to add double cream to my grocery list.
Ingredients [yields 3 pints]:
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
1 pint heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
+ flavorings
+ mix-ins

Friday, August 7, 2015

Summer Berry Jelly Donuts

Fresh donuts are one of my favorite desserts. And by fresh, I mean still steaming hot from the oil, careful-you-might-burn-yourself fresh.

It's not easy to justify the act of making donuts in the summer. I mean, standing over a pan of hot oil isn't exactly my favorite way to tan. But, when you make a fresh jam with a quintessential sign of summer (re: berries) then I think you can easily justify a summer donut.
Ingredients [yields 2 dozen donuts]:
½ cup milk
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2¼ teaspoons dry active yeast
6 tablespoons melted butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup bread flour
oil for frying
+ powdered sugar

summer berry jelly
1 cup mixed berries
¼ cup water
juice of ½ lemon
½ cup sugar

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Korean Eggplant Side Dish | Gaji Namul (가지나물)

Eggplant namul reminds me of my childhood, but it doesn't conjure up great memories. I used to seriously hate this stuff. I think it's because my mom steamed the eggplants and it gave them such a mushy texture and I am really picky when it comes to the texture of my food. If someone gives me the most delicious mango in the world but it's stringy, I cannot eat it. I have a hard time eating okra because it's too gooey. If an apple is anything less than perfectly crunchy, I have to pass.

I've since updated my mom's recipe for eggplant namul because I love the flavors of the side dish. But instead of steaming the eggplant, I roast it, which gives it incredible flavor and most importantly, gives it a bearable texture. And the best part is, if it's too hot out to turn on the oven, you can pop the sheet pan right onto the grill.
roasted eggplant
3 to 4 baby eggplants
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil

2 cloves garlic, minced
2 scallions, chopped
3 tablespoons hot pepper flakes (gochugaru)
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
½ teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Frozen Strawberry Cheesecake

I am a recent Nigella Lawson fan. I'm sure I would've known about her much earlier if I were a Brit but alas, as I am a patriot, I only found out about her when I was flipping through the television one day. Apparently, the Cooking Channel started airing her show quite a while ago, but I only found it earlier this year.

Nigella is lovely and cool and I absolutely envy the way she speaks about food. Maybe my anglophilia makes me biased but she just has this beautiful vocabulary when it comes to describing her dishes. She doesn't overdo it with cliched and flowery adjectives but instead, gives a concise punchline that leaves me feeling like I know exactly how her dishes will taste.

Today, I'm sharing a frozen cheesecake inspired by Nigella. I recently watched an episode where she made a no-churn coffee ice cream using sweetened condensed milk. Seeing as we had a can in the pantry, I thought I'd give it a go. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately, considering the end product was quite delicious), the carton of cream was almost empty. Then, an unused block of cream cheese caught my eye and I thought I'd try my hand at a frozen cheesecake. The results: a perfect summer dessert that my sister and I gobbled up over the course of a sweltering week in July.
Ingredients [yields 8" cake]:
8 graham crackers, crushed (1.5 to 2 cups)
3 tablespoons butter, melted
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon salt
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
½ pint strawberries
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Korean Cold Cucumber Soup | Oi Nenguk (오이 냉국)

We've had several unbearable days this summer where it's so boiling hot, it's hard to breathe. I've been really into this cold cucumber soup because it's refreshing, spicy, and you don't need the stove.
Ingredients [serves 4 to 6]:
1 lb. baby cucumbers
¼ oz. dried seaweed
1 clove garlic, minced
2 scallions, chopped
¼ red onion, sliced
½ teaspoon grated ginger
1 Thai chili, chopped
1½ teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
½ teaspoon sesame oil
1½ teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 to 1½ cups water
salt to taste
+ ice

Monday, August 3, 2015

36 Hours in Philly: Summertime Eats

A couple of weekends ago, I met up with H in Philadelphia. We stayed with my cousin and her husband and we ate a ton of delicious food and did a lot of fun stuff. You can scroll down for the food or click over to my travel blog for the fun stuff. The food in Philly really impressed me. I ate so many amazing dishes that I am determined to recreate at home.
It was a sweltering hot weekend but we thanked the universe that it didn't rain. We just made the most of it and ate al fresco whenever we could.
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