Monday, May 30, 2016

Pomegranate Lemonade

Happy Memorial Day! And what better way to celebrate than to share a delicious, refreshing drink?

This drink was born out of extreme thirst. We had just finished a few hours of gardening in the beating sunshine and I wanted to hydrate. I chugged some water but it just didn't do it for me. I wanted something sugary and delicious. We didn't have any lemonade ready to drink so I decided to make a batch. While I was grabbing my ingredients, I saw the pomegranate arils that I had just seeded the evening before and thought that a pomegranate lemonade would totally hit the spot. And then, because we'd been sweating so hard, I thought that instead of regular water, I would use coconut water to help us hydrate and replenish our electrolytes.
Ingredients [yields 4 servings, 8 oz each]:
1 cup pomegranate seeds
2 strawberries, hulled
⅓ cup sugar
2 lemons, juiced
1 quart coconut water
orange slices for garnish

Thursday, May 26, 2016

What I Ate: Grilled Halloumi Avocado Toast

Our Trader Joe's is finally stocking halloumi. Praise the cheese gods! Halloumi is a cheese you can literally grill. It originated in Cyprus and it's made from goat's and sheep's milk and it's unripened with a high melting point. It's salty, it's soft, and it goes slightly gooey in the middle when it's warmed.
I could definitely eat halloumi plain but I think it's best enjoyed on a sandwich. This isn't a complicated recipe by any means, so I'm just making this a 'What I Ate' style post.

Ingredients [for 1]:
piece of bread, sliced in half
2 oz. halloumi
1 tablespoon pesto
½ avocado
squeeze of lemon
1 tablespoon pomegranate seeds

Monday, May 23, 2016

What I Ate: For Dinner

I thought that I would do a post in the same vein as my 'What I Ate: Korean Food' posts for non-Korean foods that I ate for dinner.
I kind of just picked out the more photogenic dinners, but all-in-all, we eat really well and present the food in a pretty way every day because food is really important to us.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Green Smoothie Supplements

Ever since I booked my flights for my summer holiday, I've been on a bit of a health kick, at least during the workweek. I've been working out pretty regularly and watching what I eat (to a reasonable degree; actually, it's more like watching how much I eat).

Whenever the weather gets warm, I get into green smoothies and this year is no different. Except, this year is different because I've been adding some extra stuff into my smoothies. I thought I would share some of my favorite supplements because they've been really great and I can actually feel and see the difference.
I make my smoothie in the morning, pack it up, and drink it at work and I get so many comments about how unappealing they look but they make me feel awesome and I think they taste great so screw the haters!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Korean Style Chicory Salad

I'm kind of in a blogging rut, I think. If you've noticed, I've really slowed down my publishing schedule (down to twice, maybe three times a week these days). I'd like to mostly blame it on the fact that I spent most of February and March studying for an exam. And then I had all sorts of other stuff (mostly work trips) and random events that kept me out of the kitchen. My sister gave me some inspiration though and I've ordered some corn husks from Amazon so I'm thinking things will pick up again soon. Plus, I'm heading to DC this afternoon for work and we have some dinners planned so I think I'll glean some ideas from that too.

Anyway, because I've been in a rut, today's recipe is kind of simple and maybe a bit boring but actually it's something we've been loving in our house. Most of the time when we do Korean barbecue (whether it's pork belly or marinated beef), I'll make a scallion salad. However, shredding the scallions is tedious and frankly, the end result is bad breath. So, I've been whipping together this awesome chicory salad and it's been a great alternative. There's still a nice pungent bite from the garlic and a bit of scallion, and the crunch of the lettuce gives a freshness and brightness that works so well with grilled meats.
Ingredients [serves 4 to 6]:
1 bunch chicory (or other frilly lettuce, like kale or frisee)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
½ teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons hot pepper flakes (gochugaru)
1 scallion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced

Monday, May 16, 2016

Garden 2016

We were a little late setting up the garden this year. I had a bunch of busy weekends and then all of a sudden it got cold and then it got rainy. So, we didn't plant our garden until the first weekend in May. But we did a really good job this year. We cleared out all of the weeds, we worked hard to till our big garden box, and we bought a fun selection of produce to plant.
I'm excited because we planted a few new things this year but we also planted a lot of our old favorites and I can't wait to start harvesting.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Spicy Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken tikka, according to my Indian friends, is not really Indian food. It's a dish that was created in the UK, probably by non-Indians who maybe enjoyed the flavors of Indian food but wanted to tone it down a bit and make it more universally palatable. I mean, that's basically what happens to every type of cuisine when it's introduced in a new place. Chefs will adapt recipes and only adopt certain flavors and target the masses with a less "frightening" version of a dish. That being said, chicken tikka is really delicious and definitely one of my favorites. My only wish - which is a wish I have quite often, if I'm honest - is that I want it to be spicier.

So, when I whipped this up at home, I decided to throw in some hot peppers and extra cayenne pepper so that we'd all be breathing fire after the meal. I made this recipe using my favorite Indian spices and aimed for flavors similar to the way my favorite Indian place makes their chicken tikka. Basically, that's how I develop any of my recipes (besides the ones that were passed to me by my family or ones that I grew up with). I just play a detective cook and throw in a little of this and a little of that until I end up with something I like.
Ingredients [serves 4]:
2 lbs. chicken thighs
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon grated ginger
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons + 1 tablespoon garam masala
1 cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 jalapeno, sliced
15 oz. can whole tomatoes
½ cup heavy cream
¼ cup chopped cilantro

*If you're not into spice as much a I am, leave out the extra cayenne pepper and jalapeno for a mild version.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Chana Masala & Cucumber Raita

"God bless the chickpea." That, my friends, is a quote from George Clooney, when he was playing a doctor (which I'm sure was a nod to E.R.) and Rachel's date on Friends. Ah, the 90s; I miss you.

Anyway, today's recipe is all about the glorious chickpea. I had my heart set on making Indian food for dinner so on my weekly shopping trip, I bought chicken and yogurt and heavy cream and tinned tomatoes (for chicken tikka, obviously) and I stopped by the spices aisle, just to see what was new. I stumbled upon some cumin seeds - for some reason, my store's been out of stock every time I've checked in the past - so I immediately popped them in my cart.

They smelled so amazing, I wanted to do more with them than just making chicken tikka so I rummaged through the fridge and pantry and realized that I had a bunch of leftover roasted chickpeas (from my kofte kebab dinner) so I chucked a bunch of stuff together to try and recreate the chana masala that I so love at my favorite Indian buffet. And, because I'm me and I love spice, I made the chana masala lovely and full of heat. To offset that heat, I decided a cool cucumber raita was the answer. I basically riffed off of my tzatziki recipe but instead of garlic, I added my two favorite Indian flavors: garam masala and cilantro. The result was a gloriously delicious dish. The best part? I savored the leftovers for several days afterwards and loved every bite.
Ingredients [serves 4]:
chana masala
1 tablespoon butter
¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon crushed pepper flakes
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ cup diced onion
4 Thai chilis, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated ginger
15 oz. can whole tomatoes
15 oz. can chickpeas, drained
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

cucumber raita
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 baby cucumber
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Friday, May 6, 2016

Cacio e Pepe

I'm currently watching The Shawshank Redemption on Netflix while I put together this blog post. My crush on Tim Robbins has been reignited. This movie makes me really happy because it's so good and ultimately, Andy and Red end up free in Mexico (if you think that's a spoiler, it's because you haven't seen the movie and sorry, that makes you a loser) and I hope to also someday come into a great sum of money (hopefully without enduring a stint in prison) only to end up living on the beach, hanging out all day with my best friend.

Anyway, I'll move onto today's recipe. It's an awesomely simple pasta dish and it's one that I've unknowingly been making since I was allowed to use the kitchen on my own (which was probably around age 12). As a kid, I would just boil some noodles, toss them in butter, sprinkle in parmesan (from a green can), and shake on some crushed red pepper flakes. So, not exactly as sophisticated as cacio e pepe, but a pretty decent teenage version, right? My parents made pasta for dinner all the time, but it was always with a red sauce and though I do like a good red sauce, I also love naked noodles. Since no one else really enjoyed the naked noodles, I would just make this snack for myself.

These days, I make whatever I want all the time and I thought I would share the upgrade version of my naked noodle dish from my pre-teen years.
Ingredients [serves 4]:
1 lb. pasta
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups grated asiago (or parmesan or pecorino)
2 teaspoons black pepper, freshly ground

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

What I Ate: Korean Food (3)

Whenever I do these Korean food roundups, I get so hungry. Korean food is my default cuisine (hello, it's what I grew up on) so it's the one type of food I can always eat, no matter what my mood is.
This roundup is a little less elaborate than the past two, mostly because I was just a bad blogger and didn't pick up the camera quite as much as I should have.
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