Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Laduree & McNulty's Tea Shop

On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, I made plans to go into New York to meet some friends, have some lunch, and enjoy the city. I decided to incorporate a trip to Laduree into my schedule, which then led to my quest to find some good quality tea, more specifically, darjeeling. I wanted to recreate my experience having tea at the Orangery.

If you've never had macarons, shame on you. But if you'd like to indulge, I'd start at Laduree. It's the real deal.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving Leftovers

I love Thanksgiving leftovers as much as I love the meal itself. Our two favorite things to make with the leftover turkey are soup and salad.

1-1/2 cups leftover turkey meat, shredded
1/4 cup diced sweet onion
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup grapes, halved
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1/2 cup diced apple
1 sprig of thyme, leaves pulled off
1 pinch hot pepper flakes
1 pinch of salt
1 small container greek yogurt (anything between 6 to 8 oz is fine)

Combine ingredients and stir. Serve on your favorite sandwich bread or eat it as a side.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving in Review

Thanksgiving was a whirlwind. It was so busy and so hectic, just the two of us (my sister and I) in the kitchen that I didn't get a chance to do much documenting. Part of the reason we were so busy is because we wanted everything to be homemade. However, I'm proud to say we were incredibly organized and managed to get everything done in 3 hours, minus the minor preparatory work we did on Wednesday (like making the giblet stock and cranberry sauce, putting the turkey in brine, and making dessert).

Here's a few photos I managed to capture:

Cranberry Sauce

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Prep: Cornbread Stuffing

I like everything on Thanksgiving to be homemade so the weekend before, I make cornbread for the cornbread stuffing. On the day of, I make a fresh batch of cornbread to accompany the meal.

1 cup flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 stick butter, melted and cooled

Preheat the oven to 400F.
Combine dry ingredients and sift, combine wet ingredients and whisk, and then combine both. It's important that all of the liquids are brought to room temperature. If the butter is too hot, the eggs may scramble, or if the eggs and buttermilk are too cold, the butter will seize; either way the batter won't be smooth.

Monday, November 21, 2011

New Stuff

Recently got a new set of measuring cups and spoons ($10 at HomeGoods) and a set of cutting boards from Costco (courtesy of my papa, not sure how much they cost but they're from Costco, so you know they're thrifty).
The spoons are metal, so they'll be easy to clean. The cutting boards come in a set of four, one to be used for produce, another for hot foods, another for raw meat, and a fourth for seafood. So cute, right?

And these two things couldn't have come at a more perfect time. It's almost Thanksgiving and the kitchen is about to get really busy.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thanksgiving Prep - Centerpiece

We always host Thanksgiving and I always direct 100% of my energy on the food but this year, I was given the week off from work so I decided to put some energy into the decor.

I'm working on making a centerpiece and I spent a lot of time trying to find a project that was affordable but still pretty, something that wouldn't look overly homemade (I like when the results look professional and store-bought), and I didn't want it to scream, "THANKSGIVING!" I wanted the centerpiece to be versatile enough to perhaps be used during other holidays or just as a decorative piece all year long.

I went to Michaels and bought an 8" styrofoam ball, a packet of red tissue paper, and a 2" terracotta flower pot tray.

My original intent was to make little paper flowers out of the tissue paper but it started to have that homemade craft look to it so I just rolled pieces of tissue paper into little balls and started hot gluing them to the styrofoam. I glued the styrofoam ball to the flower pot tray for stability.
I'm not finished yet, but I think it's starting to look pretty good.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Korean-Style Chicken Wings

I have an updated Korean-Style wings post, if you're interested in prettier photos and a slightly more complicated recipe... Also, in my newer version, the wings are fried, which makes them higher in calories but also more delicious.

This recipe is rather easy; six ingredients in addition to the chicken wings and it takes less than 30 minutes.

I made enough sauce to cover a dozen wings using:
1/4 cup finely dinced onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup apple juice
1 tablespoon hot pepper paste (see one of my older posts for details or check wikipedia)
2 tablespoons of sugar or corn syrup (corn syrup helps thicken the sauce faster)
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1 dozen wings
Get the onions and garlic sauteing in a sauce pan with the sesame oil. You can use any other oil if you like but the sesame adds a nice flavor and a little goes a long way.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Rainbow Pasta

I don't really know what to call this dish, but it's pretty colorful so terming it with the description of "rainbow" might fit the bill.

2 tomatoes
3 slices of pancetta
1/2 yellow pepper
1/4 sweet onion
1 zucchini
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon butter
6 oz. wide egg noodles (or whatever pasta you prefer)
3/4 cup chicken stock
pinch of curry
2 pinches of paprika
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

I started with the tomatoes. I got a pot of water boiling on the stove (big enough for the tomatoes and to later use for the pasta). I scored the bottom of the tomatoes with an 'X' to make peeling the skin easier.
I dropped them into the boiling water for 1 minute. Since they're buoyant, I babysat them and flipped them over every once in a while with a spoon to make sure they were getting blanched evenly.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Pot Roast

This recipe was adapted from Alton Brown's pot roast recipe; I eliminated ingredients I didn't like and substituted a few ingredients with what I had available at home.

2 lb chuck pot roast
2 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, crushed with a knife (that's usually what I do to get rid of the skins)
1/3 cup raisins
1/2 14.5oz can of diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup baby yukon gold potatoes
2 big mushrooms, sliced in half

Get a skillet on the stove and get the heat on medium-high and get the pan really hot and preheat the oven to 200F. Meanwhile, sprinkle the meat with the salt and cumin and rub it all over.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Chocolate Cake

I don't have much of a sweet tooth so I'm not really a dessert person. However, I love to bake and I do have a weakness for cake (without frosting).

Here's a chocolate cake recipe adjusted a bit to adapt to the ingredients I had available at home.

1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter
1/2 of a 15 oz. bag of 60% cacao Ghirardelli chocolate chips (I love this super bitter chocolate)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
8oz container of Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
1-2/3 cups of flour
3 tablespoons of dutch cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Melt the chocolate chips and butter together. You could use a double boiler but I used the microwave because it's easier. But I kept monitoring it carefully and opened up the microwave every so often to stir and make sure nothing burned. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

(Korean-Style) Zucchini Pancakes

I have an updated recipe (with prettier photos and easier-to-follow directions) if you're interested.

This is one of the easiest recipes ever.

Start with half a zucchini, grated.

Cut up a sweet onion (1/4 of an onion) so the pieces are similar to the grated zucchini.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

닭도리탕 (Dahk Doritang) - Korean-Style Chicken in Spicy Sauce

Ingredients:
1 package chicken thighs (about 5 thighs)
1/2 sweet onion
1/2 small bag of baby yukon gold potatoes
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Korean hot pepper, roughly chopped,
1/3 cup Korean hot pepper paste
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup tomato sauce (canned)
2 cups water

This is the first thing I grabbed when I started prepping for this meal, because it involves raw chicken.
I usually try and prep my chicken in the simplest way, contaminating as few surfaces as possible. I used a package of boneless chicken thighs for this recipe. I like thighs because I prefer dark meat, since it has more flavor and it's harder to dry out because it's naturally more fatty and moist. If you prefer the bone, that's fine, but the bones are just cumbersome to me. Anyway, remember to wipe down all surfaces that the chicken has touched or any surface that was near the chicken to make sure you're killing all of the salmonella and bacteria. Chicken contamination is rather scary.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Cena Mexicana, la Segunda Parte

I could've probably made an entire meal out of just the rice & beans but I decided to be fancy and supplement the side dish with a main dish, skirt steak with chimichurri, and a second side dish, an avocado and corn salad. So here's my second installment of my Mexican dinner.

The easiest thing to make ahead of time is the chimichurri sauce. I made it in my mini food processor; it took less than 5 minutes.
2/3 cups (loosely packed) cilantro
2 - 3 tablespoons olive oil (enough to make a smooth sauce)
1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
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