Monday, January 30, 2017

Fig Tart

My mom restricted our diets a bit growing up. She didn't really let us eat much sugar or salt and she never really indulged is with processed foods. That doesn't mean she never let us have dessert. The thing is, to mom, dessert meant cutting up some fruit; it's a Korean thing. But I think that's why I'm always drawn to desserts made with fruit. It makes the dessert seem more appropriate, I guess. Maybe it's a nostalgia thing.

My favorite dessert is fruit tart. I love pie crust, so that's a checkmark right there. I love custard so that's a second checkmark. And I love fruit; triple winner.

I just want to get a little bit off topic, but also vehemently on topic for a second; I'm pleased with the timing of this post. Fig trees symbolize peace and plenty. With the way things are playing out in America's politics right now, we really need peace. We have plenty and we should be sharing. I read a quote recently, "Equal rights for others does not mean less rights for you. It's not pie." (or tart, ha!) and it made me smile but it also made me sad that there are people who don't realize this. I'm disheartened, but I'm doing what I personally can with prayer and good thoughts, donating to the ACLU, and standing strong with my fellow Americans who believe in what's right.
Ingredients [serves 8 to 12]:
1 batch pie dough

2 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, scraped
3 egg yolks
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons apricot jam
6 to 8 figs, sliced
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons honey

Monday, January 23, 2017

Pulled Pork

Even though barbecue is really summery, I think pulled pork is better to make in the winter. It involves a lot of simmering and stove time, which is not something I relish in the heat.

I made this pulled pork over the winter break between the holidays because I wanted to make something easy (it's a one pot wonder) and hearty. I served it with cilantro rice, rainbow chard, and spicy black beans for a weird, but delicious, southern comfort/Mexican mashup kind of meal.
Ingredients [serves 4 to 6]:
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 lb. pork shoulder
½ onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup tomato sauce
1 tablespoon mustard
2 tablespoons Worcestershire
¼ cup ketchup
¼ cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
12 oz. bottle cola

Monday, January 16, 2017

Pork Soup Dumplings (Xiao Long Bao)

I'm aggressively excited to share this post because it's a fun one. I finally got the motivation to make some soup dumplings. I even bought a new bamboo steamer for the occasion; yes, that is how enthusiastic I was about this whole thing.

If you've never enjoyed xiao long bao, please, get yourself to a dim sum place as soon as possible and partake. They're just little Hershey kiss-shaped dumplings with a soupy filling. There's literally soup inside the dumpling and it's amazing. Whenever my friends and I go out for soup dumplings, we'd make an effort not to spill the soup. Whoever spills the soup is deemed the loser. You too can play this game; it's not copyrighted.

This is definitely a more time-consuming recipe and it's not something I really plan on doing again. I mean, maybe I would for a super special occasion, but it's a long process and honestly, I would rather pay someone else to make them, cook them, and serve them to me. However, I am glad I tried and they did turn out really delicious so if you're into labor intensive cooking projects, then you should make them all the time!
1 lb. pork tail
2 pork neck bones
¼ lb. Chinese ham
4 scallions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2" piece ginger, chopped
1 teaspoon white peppercorns
4 cups water

½ lb. ground pork
1 teaspoon grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon honey
¼ teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine

2¼ cups flour
1 cup hot water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

3 tablespoons black vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
¼ teaspoon minced ginger
1 scallion, sliced

bamboo steamer
parchment paper or cabbage leaves

Monday, January 9, 2017

Pho Rare Beef

In 2012, I posted an entry with a list of dishes I wanted to try to make as a New Years' resolution type thing. I ended up only making a few things from the list each year but I finally managed to finish it up, five years later (which just means I need a new list now and according to my track record, it's something I'll accomplish by 2022).

The second to last dish I tackled on that list is phở, which, if you didn't know, is a Vietnamese noodle soup, and it's what I'm sharing today. (By the way, the last dish I tacked on the list is something I'll be sharing next week so stay tuned because it's a really good one!)

I'm really excited to share this post because I think the dish turned out really delicious. I developed this recipe by combining my personal preference with a bit of research and working with ingredients that were readily available to me. I did have to take a special trip to the Asian market for the yellow rock sugar, but everything else I found in my local grocery store, which makes this a relatively accessible dish to make at home. However, simmering a pot of hot beef stock on the stove that's been enhanced with fish sauce will make your house smell not-so-great so that could be one great reason to go out for pho; you've been warned.
Ingredients [yields 6 to 8 servings]:
2 lbs. beef shank
1 lb. oxtails
1 lb. beef marrow bones
4 quarts + 8 quarts water
1 large onion, quartered
6" piece ginger, split in half
3 whole star anise
½ teaspoon coriander seeds
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
2 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
1 oz. yellow rock sugar
2 teaspoons salt
¼ cup fish sauce

rice noodles
beef eye of round, sliced
sliced onion
chopped scallions
chopped cilantro
lime wedges
jalapeno slices
culantro leaves
Thai basil leaves

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Coconut Mushroom Curry

Remember the Indian feast I shared yesterday? Well, one of the dishes I made was a coconut mushroom curry. I sort of just made it up as I went and it ended up being pretty delicious. And considering that 90% of the Indian dishes I have in my repertoire are tomato based, I figured I needed to expand a bit. This ended up being pretty delicious and really flavorful in contrast to how easy it was to whip up.
Ingredients [serves 2]:
1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Thai chili peppers, sliced
¼ onion, diced
4 oz. mushrooms, sliced
½ cup coconut milk
½ teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper

Monday, January 2, 2017

Spiced Tomato Dal

I've been adjusting my diet to eat less meat. I'm not a vegetarian by any means; I still enjoy meat. But, the morality and the environmental impact are concerning to me so I want to do my part to reduce my contribution.

I think one of the biggest complaints about eating vegetarian is that the food can be quite bland. The solution is Indian food. It's heavily spiced and super delicious so I don't think anyone could justify calling it bland. One of my favorite vegetarian dishes is lentils. They're super easy and unlike other dried bean dishes, you don't need to soak them beforehand which means that if a craving strikes, you can whip this dal together in thirty minutes.
Ingredients [serves 2]:
1 tablespoon butter (or ghee)
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon grated ginger
¼ onion, diced
2 Thai chilis, sliced
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup lentils
¼ cup canned tomatoes
½ cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon butter (or ghee)
¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon mustard seeds
¼ teaspoon crushed pepper flakes
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