Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Seafood Pancakes (2) | Haemul Pa Jun (해물파전)

Cooking in the summer is kind of like torture. Standing over a stove or even a grill seems almost rude. So, I don't really like to make anything that requires a lot of simmering or babysitting; I want something kind of quick and easy and that's where Korean pancakes come in. I shared a seafood pancake recipe a few years ago, but I thought it was time for an update. Usually, I just redo a post to make it prettier but this time, I have an added ingredient and step that changes this pancake into something really awesome. It's not necessarily that noticeably visible, but it is definitely obvious texturally.
Ingredients [yields 2 large pancakes, serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer]:
1 small zucchini, grated
¼ onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 long hot pepper, sliced
2 scallions, sliced
½ cup mixed frozen seafood
2 eggs
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
¼ cup water
¼ teaspoon sesame oil
½ cup grated potato (frozen works great)
+ oil for frying

Monday, June 27, 2016

Young Radish Kimchi | Chongak Kimchi (총각김치)

This is an exciting post for me because it's one of my favorite types of kimchi ever. My mom would attempt to make this once a year, but if we missed the baby radish season, we were out of luck. Honestly, I'm a terrible food blogger because I think the baby radish season might be over at this point so this post is somewhat moot. But, maybe you can save it for next year?

The reason I love this kimchi is because the actual radish portion is crunchy and awesome, like diced radish kimchi, but it's got a slightly crisper texture because the radish is young and the greens portion is delicious too and offers a yummy textural contrast. Mom would always cut it up with scissors and I would always dig around for my favorite part, which was the joint between the radish and the greens; I loved getting a bite with both.

It's sort of silly to share kimchi recipes because they're basically all the same. You grab a vegetable (like cabbage, cucumbers, greens, radishes, whatever you like), brine the vegetables until they're limp, rinse them off and drain them well, then season them with lots of garlic, scallion, ginger, gochugaru, and some sort of salt - whether it's actual salt or fish sauce or salted shrimp - and then leave to pickle at room temperature before refrigerating and serving. But I guess if you're not Korean, it's worth learning all of the different traditional kinds before you delve off into a world of kimchi experimenting.
Ingredients:
5 lbs. young radish
½ cup salt
¾ cup rice flour
1 cup water
10 scallions, chopped
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
¼ cup fish sauce
¼ cup sugar
½ to ¾ cup hot pepper flakes
2 tablespoons salted shrimp

Friday, June 24, 2016

What I Ate: Mini Scotch Egg

This particular recipe was an exercise in patience and was totally not worth the effort. Basically, I'd rather make full-sized scotch eggs for the rest of my life than deal with the hell that is soft boiled quail eggs ever again.
I honestly thought quail eggs would be so adorable; it turns out, they're just a pain in the ass.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

What I Ate: Green Tea Cake

I was watching How To Cake It videos which gave me a huge craving for cake. I decided to make some green tea cakes and used my strawberries and cream roll cake recipe as a basis and just added a tablespoon of matcha powder to the cake batter and about half a teaspoon to the whipped cream. It turned out fantastic and totally satisfied my cake craving.
I ended up making a tall tea cake instead of a roll cake because 1) I thought it would be easier and cuter and 2) I wanted to eat some cake scraps.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Garden Update 1

Happy first day of summer!

The first month of our garden was only so-so. Some of the plants are thriving like our lemon tree, but some are struggling. I think it's because the weather has been so up and down; it's 50F one day and 90F the next so the plants are probably really confused.
Even so, I'm pretty happy with the progress.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Frozen Strawberry Margaritas

I watched someone else have a bad experience with tequila when I was at university and that traumatized me enough that I avoided it for years. Even now, I can't look at a tequila shot without feeling a little ill. However, I can't say no to a delicious margarita, especially when it's accompanying a Mexican meal.
Ingredients [serves 2]:
½ pint strawberries, hulled
juice of 1 orange
juice of 1½ limes
6 oz. tequila
6 oz. lime simple syrup
½ lime, cut into wedges
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
½ teaspoon lime zest

Monday, June 13, 2016

Arepas con Queso

This past weekend was one full of tragedy. It sucks that there are people in this world that are so hateful, so dissatisfied with themselves, so bored that they need to go out and make everyone else just as miserable as they are. It's horrifying and disgusting and I really don't get it. Seriously dude, go get a hobby. I hate that there is hate in the world. And yet, life has to move on. On the positive side, I am really appreciating the love, the togetherness, the bonding, the love that is radiating amongst those of us who have hearts.

As I said, life has to move on. So, I'll stop attempting to be pensieve and meaningful. I'm just here to share some more food today. Food: the universal comforter.

I had planned on using the leftover carnitas and guajillo salsa as a filling for tacos. Instead, I ended up using them as a topping for arepas con queso. I got the idea after my Colombian coworker mentioned how her family back home spent Mother's Day making arepas. Of course, her mother would make the fresh corn masa from scratch. I went for premade dried stuff, but it still turned out delicious so no harm, no foul.
Ingredients [yields 8 arepas]:
3 cups masarepa
½ cup corn kernels, minced
1 cup crumbled queso fresco
1 teaspoon salt
2 to 2½ cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 cups grated mozzarella
+ butter for frying
+ toppings

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Tamales with Guajillo Chili Salsa & Carnitas

As I was suffering through my food blogging slump, my sister suggested that I make tamales. I had wanted to make tamales in the past, but was bogged down by the idea of sourcing the ingredients, namely the corn husks. Plus, I had enough ideas that it didn't seem worth the hassle. But, because I was running low on inspiration these days, I bit the bullet and found some corn husks online and masa harina para tamales at a new grocery store nearby (which is humongous and frankly too intimidating for weekly grocery shopping but certainly worth the trip for sourcing the ingredients that my local market doesn't have).

Anyway, the results were fabulous and I'm so glad I went through the effort. I'm excited to make my way through the few we have leftover. I'm also doubly glad that I have some corn husks leftover to make another batch once I've finished gobbling my way through the current one.
Ingredients [yields 2 to 3 dozen tamales]:
tamale dough
2 to 3 dozen corn husks, soaked in lukewarm water for 2 hours
2½ cups masa harina para tamales
2 cups + 1 cup chicken stock (or juices from carnitas)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 cup lard or shortening
1 tablespoon baking powder

fillings
4 poblano peppers
1 lb. carnitas (about 3 cups shredded)
1 cup guajillo chili salsa
2 cups grated cotija cheese

Monday, June 6, 2016

Carnitas & Guajillo Chili Salsa

These carnitas and this salsa are part of a bigger picture. I made these as a filling for some tamales and as a topping for arepas; both recipes are forthcoming.

While I was online shopping for corn husks for the tamales, I needed to add some items to my cart so that I could get free shipping. One of the suggested items was guajillo peppers so I just went for it, even though I had no idea what I was going to do with them. The reviews were raving and positive so I was pretty excited and I started brainstorming what I should do.

Once the package arrived, I was happy to find that the reviews were true and that the peppers weren't dried out to the point of being brittle crackers but instead were somewhat pliable and soft. I had figured that if they were brittle, I would just grind them up in the spice grinder into a chili powder. Instead, I ended up making a delicious red sauce.

And I decided pork would be a delicious protein, as carnitas are one of my favorite taco fillings and I kind of just threw some ingredients together and it ended up being incredible. I couldn't help but snack indulgently as I was shredding the meat.
Ingredients:
carnitas
3 lb. bone-in pork shoulder
½ orange
1 lime
½ onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, smashed
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

guajillo chili salsa
10 guajillo chili peppers
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 habanero, pierced
3 cups chicken stock
4 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

Thursday, June 2, 2016

What I Ate: Nutella & Berry Sandwiches

You guys, this is my thousandth post! Hooray! That's crazy to me. It's been about five years since I started this blog, which makes me feel proud and kind of old and happy that I'm just as hungry and excited about food as ever. For today's post, I have a confession to make: I'm addicted to Nutella.
Can you blame me? It's so good. But to be frank, the timing of this dessert is not great. I'm actually headed to Florida this weekend for some sun and surf and snorkeling and a tub of Nutella isn't exactly the cutest thing for the waistline.

Hey, everything in moderation, right?
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