Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Cocktail

Guys, 2014 has flown by so fast. It's insane. This has been an amazing year. I recapped all of the fun things I did over on my travel blog, if you're interested. I contemplated doing a recap here of my favorite recipes but honestly, it's not as fun to recap food as it is to recap travels and crafts. Sorry, food. You're still my #1, I swear!

Anyway, since it's New Year's Eve, I thought I would be festive and share a little boozy fun that you can whip together this evening. It's barely even a cocktail recipe. It's more just a decorative suggestion that will make any cocktail look really festive. This would work for birthdays too. Actually, if you changed up the sprinkles to be thematic, then it could work for virtually any holiday. Red sprinkles for V-Day! Green sprinkles for St. Paddy's! Red, white, & blue sprinkles for the Fourth! Pastel sprinkles for Easter! I could go on, but I think you get the picture.
Ingredients [for one]:
graham cracker crumbs
rainbow sprinkles (or other sprinkles to suit the holiday)
honey
ice
dash imitation vanilla (imitation vanilla tastes like birthday cake)
4 oz. RumChata (or Bailey's or chocolate cream liquer)

*You could also just use milk if you want to make mocktails for the under-aged drinkers.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

What I Ate: Pasta

So, I'm going to Italy next year and the pasta we will eat there will be better than any of the stuff that I'm sharing today. But whatever, this stuff is delicious too.
I just wanted to share this while it's still 2014 because I really need to go on a little diet in preparation for holiday. I want to look cute and also I want to be able to eat like a fiend.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Moroccan Eggs

I'm currently enjoying a few days off of work because my company has a "use it or lose it" policy when it comes to vacation days. Last year, I had the same chunk of time off at Christmas and it was so great that I wanted to do it again and purposely saved a few days for the end of the year. It's been awesome having cuddles with George Michael, sleeping in, and relaxing. It has also been a prime time for blogging, which I love. I'm just cooking and crafting and vegging and it is amazing. This is what my life would be like if I were rich and I didn't need a real job. Dare to dream, right?

Lounging around at home also means having time to make luxe breakfasts. Lately, I've really been into eating giant breakfasts on the weekends (when I actually have the time to cook a hot meal in the morning) and today's post is a new favorite. The heartier the breakfast is, the less likely it is that I'll have to make a lunch. Not that I have anything against lunch, but a meal isn't that enjoyable if I have to peel myself away from a Law & Order: SVU marathon.

The breakfast I'm sharing today is super hearty and delicious and beautiful. It's my take on Moroccan eggs (which is also called shakshuka). I mean, it's colorful, seasoned with plenty of spices, and it's great for sharing. The recipe quantities below are for two people, but this can easily be doubled or tripled and turned into a brunch dish to share with a party of people.
Ingredients [for two]:
2 slices bacon, chopped
¼ onion, diced
¼ bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, sliced
1½ cups cherry tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 egg
crostini or pita bread
+ 1 teaspoon chopped cilantro
+ crumbled feta

Friday, December 26, 2014

Meringue Mushrooms

I'm super crazy excited to share today's post because it's so friggin' adorable. Seriously, I am so smitten. As I may have mentioned several times, we hosted a Christmas party this year. It was the first time in a while that we were having such a big family bash. When I was younger, we'd have dozens of people (I have four aunts and two uncles and so many cousins) crammed into a small house and it was awesome. Since it was an extra special occasion, I wanted to do a fun and festive dessert, instead of the usual bread pudding. Don't get me wrong, bread pudding is awesome, but you can make that any time of year. I wanted something with a wow factor that would take a little more effort. I decided to make a bûche de Noël, a.k.a. a yule log.

So, because I'm not a professional blogger, I don't have the time or the means to make intense holiday desserts way in advance to share them here, which means I'm a little late sharing today's post. I mean, you can't make this for this year's Christmas. But that doesn't mean you couldn't refer back to this recipe next year and the year after and the year after, so I thought it would still be useful to share. Plus, it's one of the cutest desserts ever so I had to document it. Oh, and you could totally make the mushrooms whenever, because they're delicious and they're gorgeous.
Ingredients:
meringue mushrooms [yields 1.5 to 2 dozen mushrooms]
2 egg whites
pinch cream of tartar
pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
2 oz. chocolate chips

roll cake (for full directions on making roll cakes, refer to my my roll cake post)
6 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon lemon zest
6 tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon baking powder
6 tablespoons cake flour
+ butter for greasing

cream filling
1 pint heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
¼ cup mascarpone
¼ teaspoon salt

ganache
4 oz. chocolate chips
½ cup heavy cream

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Happy Christmas!

To those of you who celebrate Christmas, Happy Christmas! To everyone else, enjoy this winter season and be well.

I'm spending the day with family, which is my ideal way to spend Christmas, and we'll be cooking up a feast, gorging on the feast, and enjoying each others' company.
xoxo.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Apple Cider Donuts

Happy Christmas Eve, everyone! My office normally has Christmas Eve off but because Christmas falls on a Thursday this year, they decided to give us the day after Christmas (Christmas Post?) instead. It kind of makes sense because it would be silly to come in for work Monday and Tuesday, have off two days, and then come back in to work on Friday. That being said, I'm a little nervous and I wish I had today off because we're hosting a family Christmas party at our house tomorrow and I would have loved having all of today to prep. But, I'm hopeful. We usually have early dismissals on days before holidays so I'm pretty sure I'll be heading home a few hours early this evening.

In the spirit of the holiday, I wanted to share a fun and festive recipe today. I thought apple cider donuts fit the bill because they're sweet and delicious, they're seasonal, and they're a great treat for friends, family, and for Santa. He's coming tonight so if you whip up a batch just before bed, they'll still be warm when he slides down the chimney or whatever. I don't understand how that man climbs down a chimney and manages not to make a mess. I understand that he's magic, but even Harry Potter causes puffs of smoke when he uses floo powder. Am I wrong?
Ingredients [yields 1 dozen "normal" sized donuts or 2 dozen mini donuts]:
donuts
1 cup apple cider
2 cups flour
¼ cup milk
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1½ teaspoons instant yeast
6 tablespoons butter
1 egg
pinch of salt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
oil for frying

glaze
½ cup icing sugar
pinch cinnamon
½ teaspoon apple cider

cinnamon sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
pinch cinnamon

Monday, December 22, 2014

What I Ate: Buffalo Turkey Pizza

I've got just one last Thanksgiving leftovers post to share and it's a supremely delicious one. And like I mentioned before, I know it's been weeks since Thanksgiving has ended but if you plan on roasting a giant bird for Christmas, you can use these ideas for your leftovers.

Before I get into the recipe, can I share a story with you? When I was in third grade, my dad bought a computer for the family. It was awesome. I used it to play 'Rodent's Revenge' and used the 'Paint' program to draw random pictures. It was great. The game-playing was rather short lived, however, because I soon had to start using the computer for school. I have a distinct memory from fourth grade when I had to write a book report. I was typing it up on the computer and I guess I hit the 'insert' key by accident at some point between finishing the essay and editing time. As I was correcting and rewriting sentences, whatever I started typing would overwrite what I had previously typed and I didn't know what to do! I was freaking out and I thought I had broken the computer.

To solve the problem, I scrolled down to the end of my document and typed a bunch of blank spaces. I CTRL+C-ed the blank spaces and went back to where I needed to add text and CTRL+V-ed the blank spaces in. Wasn't I such a creative little kid? I'm an engineer now and I think it makes sense.

Anyway, I thought I'd share that story because the day I made these pizzas, the power line along one side of our kitchen (the one that the fridge and range are connected to) freaked out and stopped working for a bit. This was a problem because we couldn't bake our pizzas. And, it had snowed the day before Thanksgiving so the backyard was blanketed in crunchy frozen water so the grill was off limits. I realized that the gas line was still working so I manually lit the stove (because the starters are apparently controlled by electricity) using a blowtorch (which is overkill but I didn't have anything else immediately on hand) and grabbed my grill pan and "grilled" the first pizza on the stove top (until the electric line went back on and then it was back to the oven). Even in my old age (jokes), my creativity still abounds.
Ingredients:
quick pizza dough [2 pies]:
2-1/2 to 3 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon honey
2-1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon olive oil

buffalo turkey pizza
1 batch pizza dough (ingredients above)
--
1 cup tomato sauce (8 oz. can is what I usually use)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
2 cups grated cheese
--
1 cup diced leftover turkey (or chicken)
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons hot sauce
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 jalapeno, sliced

+ bleu cheese
+ grated parmesan cheese

Friday, December 19, 2014

What I Ate: Turkey Salad Sandwich

Greek yogurt is my mayo substitute.
Ingredients [enough for 4 to 6 sandwiches or individual salads]:
2 cups shredded leftover turkey (or chicken)
1 cup Greek yogurt (or mayo, if you prefer)
1 celery stalk, diced
1 small shallot, diced
1/2 apple, diced
1/2 cup grapes, chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon crushed pepper flakes

+ bread
+ salad

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Boozy Candied Cranberry

Tis the season!... For sharing a Christmassy themed cocktail! As is typical of my cocktail recipes, this one is super sweet and delicious and incredibly easy to whip up. It's awesome because it's low-key, meaning everyone can assemble their own drinks so it's perfect for serving at parties. And, it's really festive and pretty! Every guest at your party will be Instagramming their libations, I promise.

So this cocktail, as the name might suggest, uses the candied cranberries I shared yesterday. It's a sparkling wine-based drink that's sweetened with the syrup from candying the cranberries and then it's decorated with the candied cranberries themselves. It's super cute. You're going to love it.
Ingredients [for one]:
1 tablespoon candied cranberry syrup
squeeze orange juice
candied cranberries (just a few to float around the drink)
4 to 6 oz. sparkling wine (moscato, champagne, prosecco, or whatever you like)
*garnish: orange wedge and candied cranberries

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Candied Cranberries

Christmas is about a week away and I'm really excited. We're hosting a family party this year and we'll be cooking up a storm. Because we're Korean, typically, when my mom or aunts hosted family parties, they would make a feast of food but it was all "main course" stuff and even if the party was supposed to start at 7, the food wouldn't be ready until 8 and my sister and I would whine about how starving we were. I don't think Korean people understand the concept of appetizers (except for the dried cuttlefish and peanuts that the adult males would eat alongside their brown liquor, a.k.a. "anju").

But, when I host a party, I like to make a few dishes for people to nosh on when they arrive. I was born in America so I am an avid supporter of the appetizer. Make-ahead dishes are always preferable, of course, and it's nice to have a variety. And I think that candied cranberries are a fun and festive snack. They're gorgeous and delicious and really easy.
Ingredients:
1 cup cranberries
1 teaspoon orange zest
¼ cup orange juice
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cinnamon stick
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup sugar - white, raw, or brown - for coating

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

What I Ate: Turkey Soup & Sandwich

It's soup season. So far, I've shared a potato leek soup and a broccoli & cheddar soup, both of which are on the denser, heavier, higher caloric content side. Today's soup is much lighter, though, the accompanying sandwich is on the naughtier side. Anyway, I've previously shared a turkey soup recipe here (which incorporated leftover roasted vegetables and kale). This one's more of a classic take and it's equally delicious.

And I know it's been weeks since Thanksgiving, but I wanted to share a leftovers meal because it was delicious and with Christmas approaching, it's likely that you'll be roasting another bird and you'll need something to do with the leftovers. I just want to give you a little inspiration. Or, you might be reading this next Thanksgiving, making plans for your future leftovers. Who knows?
Ingredients:
soup
1 tablespoon oil
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 shallot, diced
2 cups leftover turkey meat, diced
turkey bones (2 to 4, leg bones are good)
3 cups vegetable stock
3 cups water
4 sprigs thyme, stripped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup ditalini pasta

sandwich
roll
leftover turkey, sliced
grated fontina cheese
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons hot sauce
1 clove garlic
1 jalapeno, sliced

Monday, December 15, 2014

Korean Pork Belly | Bo Ssam (보쌈)

When I was a kid, my mom would devote a day or two each season for kimchi making. On these occasions, she would always make bo ssam, Korean-style boiled pork belly, to eat wrapped up with some cabbage leaves with some of the fresh, new kimchi. We never had bo ssam unless we had spent the day making kimchi.

I don't conduct my own intense sessions of cabbage kimchi making (though I should). And yet, I make bo ssam anyway. But, true to our family tradition, I only make it after I've made a batch of quick kimchi because we need julienned radish kimchi when we eat bo ssam. It's a friggin' easy dish to slap together, but it looks pretty impressive and it's delicious.
Ingredients [serves 4]:
1 lb. pork belly
2 cloves garlic
½ inch piece of fresh ginger
¼ onion
water
+ napa cabbage
+ salted baby shrimp
+ ssamjang
+ oysters
+ gochujang
+ sliced hot peppers

Friday, December 12, 2014

Bruce Bogtrotter Chocolate Cake

In third grade, my teacher, Mrs. Craig, read us two really amazing books that I'll never forget: Number the Stars by Lois Lowry and Matilda by Roald Dahl. The former is a historical fiction novel about the Nazis invading Denmark and doesn't have much to do with today's post; I just wanted to mention it because it's such a good book and it's the first book to have ever made me cry. The latter is a purely fictional novel about a young girl with awful parents who has to beg to be sent to school. Her teacher turns out to be wonderful but the school itself is run by a mean lady, the Trunchbull. It turns out Matilda has magical powers and she saves the day. Yada yada, but that's not why I bring it up.

The reason I mention this at all is because there's a scene in the book where the Trunchbull calls an impromptu assembly for the whole school. She yells for a chubby little boy, Bruce Bogtrotter, to come up to the stage because she knows that he stole a piece of cake from her. She sits him down and then forces him to eat a massive chocolate cake in front of the whole auditorium. He doesn't realize that it's a punishment until he announces that he's full and then the Trunchbull tells him he must eat the entire thing. In the end, he accomplishes the task (cheering from his classmates helps boost his morale).

Even though eating an entire chocolate cake on one's own sounds rather disgusting, I used to dream about this chocolate cake all the time. It just sounded so delicious and amazing. And because my mom was never keen on giving us much sugar, it was just one of those rebellious fantasies I had. Even though there is a Roald Dahl cookbook that I could have used, I decided to work from my own imagination. After all, this cake's been in my dreams since the third grade.
Ingredients:
cake
4 oz. 60% cacao chocolate chips (Ghiradelli brand; or semi-sweet/bittersweet chocolate)
1 tablespoon heavy cream
½ cup butter, room temperature
1½ cups caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs, room temperature
2 cups flour
¼ cup dark cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup milk
1 teaspoon instant espresso
1 cup hot water

ganache
6 oz. 60% cacao chocolate chips
¾ cup heavy cream

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Chicken Liver Mousse

A few weekends ago, baby sister and I went to Philadelphia to visit my cousin and her husband. While we were there, we visited the Mutter Museum and we ate at Tria. I mention these two specific things, as they relate to today's post. The Mutter Museum, because it's gross and you see lots of innards (mostly human) and Tria, because we ordered and ate a chicken liver mousse, which was delicious. The meal at Tria (and maybe a bit of the Mutter Museum visit) inspired me to make a chicken liver mousse at home.

Organs are not a popular cut of meat and I think they skeeve most people out, including myself. Even the word, "organ" sounds disgusting, even if you're innocently talking about the ancient piano-like instrument. And to be frank, for the most part, they're not delicious, at least not to me. For one, the texture is either mushy and chalky or chewy and tendon-y. Also, the flavor tends to be much more concentrated and gamey because organs are meant to be pumping blood or cleaning blood or filtering air or other maintenance-y stuff. And of course, the shape isn't the most appealing. However, when you take a tub full of creepy little chicken livers and whizz them up with plenty of seasoning and a little booze, you end up with a super tasty spread that looks lovely and fancy that will make everyone "ohh" and "ahh."

This is the perfect party appetizer because it's easy, it can be made ahead of time, and it's cheap. I mean, chicken livers are so friggin' cheap (probably because they gross everyone out) and a little goes a long way. And honestly, you don't have to tell anyone what this is. You can just set it out and if your guests are hungry enough, they'll go for it, fall in love, and become liver lovers.
Ingredients:
1 lb. chicken livers
1 oz. salt pork, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 shallots, finely sliced
4 sprigs thyme, stripped
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ cup cognac
2 tablespoons heavy cream
+ olive oil
+ crostini
+ cornichons
+ caramelized onions

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Green Bean Casserole

Over the Thanksgiving break, a few friends from high school organized a little reunion of sorts. It was a ten year reunion, which grosses me out because it makes me feel ancient, but age is just a number and you're as young as you feel, or something. It was hosted at a bar where we mingled with drinks and reminisced about our younger years. It was one of the weirdest experiences of my life because it was such a blast from the past but everything still kind of felt like high school and we all looked older but we all still looked the same and even though I was shy back then (and still am to a degree) people still remembered me and friends I hadn't seen in years complimented my blogging, which was really surprising. Like I said, it was weird. I think that if we'd had a five year reunion, maybe the ten year wouldn't have felt as odd. Doesn't matter, because despite all the weirdness, it was really nice. Most everyone has settled nicely into meaningful careers and the group I was with seemed quite content, which was lovely to witness.

I just wanted to share that little anecdote. I should consider myself lucky because when I hear about bullying, I really cannot relate because in our year, we had our cliques but everyone got on well. Even now, the jocks are still jocky and the pretty girls are still gorgeous and the nerds (the group I fall into) are still smart. And we all still get along.

That weekend really made me miss my youth. Anyway, let's get on with today's recipe, shall we? Even though green bean casserole wasn't something I grew up on (my parents never made this dish), I still remember the Campbell's commercials for it right around the holiday season. And the first time I ate this was when I went to dinner at a friend's house. I always loved going to my non-Korean friends' houses for meals because it meant I got to try new and cool dishes. On this particular evening, S's mom made meatloaf and green bean casserole, even though it was spring. She used all of the cans advertised in that infamous commercial and it was delicious.

I thought I might try my hand at making green bean casserole too, except I changed it up a bit: no cans. This dish was a hit at last year's Thanksgiving so I made it again for this year's Thanksgiving and it's so delicious that I'm pretty sure it's going to make an appearance at every Thanksgiving that we host henceforth. It's 100% homemade. Okay, maybe not, because I didn't grow the green beans or wheat and I didn't mill the flour from the wheat I grew and I didn't go and rake salt from the ocean. But, I didn't use a can of green beans, a can of mushroom soup, and a can of french fried onions. It's (mostly) homemade.
Ingredients [serves 4 to 6]:
1 lb. haricots verts
2 tablespoons butter
4 to 6 baby bella mushrooms
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
¼ cup heavy cream
1 small onion or 1 leek, thinly sliced into rings
¼ cup potato starch
¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 egg white
+ oil for frying

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Fish Sauce Wings

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I went to see 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' with my sister. I read the books while I was in Turkey, in the spring of 2012 in anticipation that the movies were going to be released later that same year. As I am apt to do, I became obsessed, the way I did with Harry Potter, Twilight, A Song of Ice & Fire, and potentially with the Divergent series (which I have downloaded but have yet to read). What can I say? I love a good series. I dragged my sister along to the first movie and she's been my faithful companion to the second and now the third. I think she's a fan, which surprises me because we have pretty different tastes when it comes to books and media. I can tolerate reality television. She binge-watches reality television. I enjoy fear; I can't even say the word "horror" in front of M. She's a fan of cheese (i.e. rom-coms) and can watch a movie marathon of blonde protagonists chasing 'bad boys.' Me? Not so much.

We are so incredibly different, sometimes we question how we could even be related. But one thing we absolutely have in common is that we both love a good makeover montage and we absolutely love to eat. My sister always says that if not for her, my food blog would barely have any content because she's the one that eats everything I share. That's partly true. I think I'd still have a decent amount of content, but I think a lot more food would go to waste. M is the leftover champion in our house and she's kind of a scary beast when it comes to yelling at us about wasting food.

Anyway, it's awesome living together because she gets just as excited about planning the next meal as I do. On this particular evening, I was feeling a little uninspired. We had just gone grocery shopping that morning and from the protein choices we'd purchased, wings seemed like the easiest bet. I was going to make my usual Korean style wings but then I remembered the fish sauce wings that I had in Texas back in February. We'd gone to Houston to visit my cousin and her hubby and right from the airport, we went to an awesome eatery called Hay Merchant (which you can read about on my blog) where we had really delicious fish sauce wings.

I decided to take a stab at recreating them and it turned out to be a delicious experiment.
Ingredients [enough sauce for 1 dozen wings]:
½ onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Vietnamese fish sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
+chopped Thai chilies
+1 dozen fried chicken wings

Monday, December 8, 2014

Korean Steamed Egg (계란찜)

The last few weeks have been quite intense. I've been doing loads of online shopping (hello, Black Friday & Cyber Monday) and my bank account is only just starting to recover. My family has never been huge on gift giving, mostly because as kids, my parents couldn't afford extravagant gifts. So, we've always been more of a thoughtful gift family but now that I'm making money, I do like to treat my loved ones. I'm grateful for my upbringing because I think it's made me more appreciative of what I have now and it prevents me from taking things for granted.

Which is just an okay segue into today's post. This Korean steamed egg dish is the easiest, cheapest side dish but it's so loved by my family. It's crazy cheap but it's homey and delicious. I don't really have any memories of my mom making 계란찜 (gaeran jjim) from my childhood. I just remember eating it when we'd dine out at Korean restaurants. The staff didn't always bring it out; it only happened once in a while but I always got so excited and happy. It was like a treat, even though it was just glorified scrambled eggs.

So, I didn't learn this recipe from my mum. However, I'd say this is somewhat authentic. I learned this recipe from eavesdropping while at a Korean restaurant. A woman at the table next to us asked the waitress how the restaurant made gaeran jjim and I listened and then I went home and gave it a go. The result: success.
Ingredients:
2 eggs
equal volume of chicken stock (about 1/4 cup)
½ teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic, minced
+ scallions
+ hot pepper flakes (gochugaru)

Friday, December 5, 2014

Gingerbread Hot Chocolate

Today is the last day of gingerbread week! It's so sad! Except, it's Friday so I'm probably the happiest I've been all week. Anyway, I've just got a simple variation on my classic hot chocolate recipe. It's gingerbread hot chocolate, duh! I thought it was a nice and cozy way to end the week. It's supposed to rain and maybe snow tonight so I'm going to whip up another cup when I get home.

This one's seriously so super perfect for curling up with a good book. We recently redecorated our living room (we even repainted the walls and ceiling and trim!) and during this little makeover, I made the coziest little reading nook. This hot chocolate is my new favorite reading nook beverage. I've been saving the fifth book in the 'A Song of Ice and Fire' series because I didn't want it to run out of books before the sixth and seventh are finally published, but I couldn't wait any longer. Since it's a rather bloody, gruesome, intense adventure, I like to offset it with something sweet and warm, like this cutie pie of a drink.
Ingredients [for one]:
1 cup milk
small cinnamon stick
3 to 4 tablespoons gingerbread syrup
¼ cup chocolate chips (I like dark chocolate, or Ghiradelli's 60% cacao)
pinch salt
+ marshmallows
+ gingerbread cookies

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Gingerbread Cocktail: The Tipsy Gingerbread Man

As I've emphasized over and over again, I'm not the biggest drinker these days. I enjoy a beer here and there, but I think I can safely say that my partying days are far behind me. However, that doesn't mean I don't enjoy a nice cocktail at home every now and again. And one thing I love to experiment with, is making a delicious cocktail that doesn't have that nasty kick of alcohol.

Today's cocktail is just like that. It's mild, sweet, super girly, and so holiday appropriate. Might I suggest serving these at your Christmas party this year? Or you know, just make one for yourself while you curl up next to the fire with a good book. Whatever floats your boat.

At first, my creative juices were totally dried up because I said, "Okay, I'll just call this a gingerbread cocktail." But then, I panicked with the thought that I was being totally lame and I decided I really needed to come up with a cute name for this cocktail. Thus, "the tipsy gingerbread man" was born. I also considered writing the whole blogposht in drunky shpeech like thish but I thought that would lose its fun rather quickly. Yeah, you're welcome. I've spared you from a lot of weirdness.
Ingredients [for one]:
2 oz. Rumchata
2 oz. milk
+ whipped cream
+ chocolate syrup
+ cinnamon
+ cinnamon stick

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Gingerbread Café Au Lait

I'm in such a giddy mood lately. Not only is it the Christmas season (which is the only thing that makes the wintertime bearable) but I'm in the midst of planning a trip to Italy. I booked the flights early in November (they were deliciously cheap) and now I've got to decide what we're going to do during those nine days abroad.

With all of this natural giddiness brewing inside, I don't need any coffee to help me along. And to be frank, in general, I don't do well on caffeine. Because I don't drink any caffeinated drinks regularly (it's more of a special occasion deal, for me) I get quite dizzy and my heart beats a little too quickly when I have coffee. And that's why, I love a good café au lait. It's half coffee and half milk, which means the potency is drastically reduced. And, because it's gingerbread week, I'm sharing a gingerbread version, duh. It's barely a recipe, but it uses the gingerbread syrup that I shared yesterday. Basically, the rest of the week will be filled with cozy gingerbread syrup-flavored drinks.
Ingredients:
strong french press coffee
steamed milk
+ cinnamon (ground or stick, if you like)
+ gingerbread cookies

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Gingerbread Syrup

Coffee is a special occasion drink for me. I find that I don't really need the caffeine, I'm not a fan of the teeth un-whitening properties, and I have a hard time sipping on too-hot drinks. These qualities can be overlooked in the winter for sure though. There's nothing cozier than warming up my hands with a mug of something warm, especially if it's a deliciously flavored coffee. There's a particular coffee chain that I enjoy visiting (hint: its represented by a green and white logo with a mermaidy siren) for their flavored coffees. But, as I mentioned, since coffee isn't a necessity for me, I find it difficult to shell out $6 for a treat that isn't really even a treat.

Well, it turns out that most flavorings can be duplicated at home. And today, I'm sharing a gingerbread syrup because, as I mentioned yesterday, it is a week of gingerbread over here.
Ingredients [yields approximately ¾ cup syrup, or enough for 4 to 6 drinks]:
1 cup water
¼ cup packed brown sugar
scant ½ teaspoon cinnamon
heaped ½ teaspoon ground ginger
pinch ground cloves
½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger
small cinnamon stick
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Monday, December 1, 2014

Gingerbread Cookies

This is going to be a full week of gingerbread, people. You have been warned! 'Tis totally the season, y'all.

So, this past weekend, we celebrated Thanksgiving and while our trousers were still unbuttoned (you know, from being so full of food), we started decorating for Christmas. I love decorating for Christmas because of the fairy lights. I wish I could keep them up all year round, but I think that they'd lose their glamour a little.

Anyway, for once in my life, I planned ahead and made something for this blog to be seasonally appropriate on this blog. A few weeks ago, I got myself into a gingerbread mood and whipped up some cookies and some other treats that I will be sharing later this week. It's about to get really spicy in here. And today, it's all about gingerbread cookies, which are the quintessential Christmas cookie.
Ingredients [makes approximately 1½ dozen cookies, really depends on the size of the cookies]:
1½ cups flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
pinch ground cloves
¼ cup butter, room temperature (½ stick)
⅓ cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg, room temperature
¼ cup molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

icing
1 cup icing sugar (powdered sugar)
½ to 1 teaspoon milk
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving Recap 2014

I hope everyone had an amazing Thanksgiving. We had an extra low-key Turkey Day this year and it was awesome. We spent the morning day drinking and cooking and then we stuffed our faces. I thought I'd share the dishes we whipped up.
I'm already psyched to eat the leftovers.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Breakfast Bread Bowls

I'm not sure what you, my audience, does with my blog. I'm sure there are plenty of you who pop on to grab recipes and actually make them. Some of you are just here for the food porn. And some of you are just my friends and family who are here to help me out (thanks, guys).

No matter the reason, you're likely here because you enjoy food. However, if you're not that passionate about cooking, I think maybe you need to revisit that thought. I think learning to cook is a worthwhile way to spend your time, even if all you do is learn the basics (and I don't mean knowing how to cook ramen noodles). It's also important for every budding chef to take a step away from reading recipes and just experiment in the kitchen. Trust your instincts, rely on a little trial and error, and do your best and you might end up with something fabulous. The point is that you try.

I bring this up because 98% of the time, the recipes I share here have been slapped together and developed after a little bit of experimenting and they turn out to be delicious. Mind you, some are not so successful, but the good ones are so good. And, as you may have seen, I try lots of delicious dishes at restaurants and the first thing I do when I get home is try to recreate it. I just trust my taste buds to help me figure out what flavor components are required to make the dish perfect.

If you haven't really experimented much, then today's dish might be a great place to start. It's just an easy breakfast bread bowl and I've given you suggestions for what to fill it with, but you can totally make this your own. You don't have to follow my recipe exactly. Just throw in what you like and just roll with it. Maybe by this time next year, you'll be whipping up Thanksgiving dinner on your own, without being being a slave to a cookbook.
Ingredients [for 2]:
2 bread bowl rolls
2 eggs
2 oz. salt pork or 2 slices bacon, chopped
¼ onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 to 5 mushrooms, sliced
¼ bell pepper, sliced
jalapeno slices (add as little or as much as you like, depending on your spice level preference)
¼ cup grated cheese (I used gruyere)
2 tablespoons heavy cream
salt & pepper to taste

Monday, November 24, 2014

Pumpkin Ricotta Pancakes

You guys, it's my birthday today. I don't want to make a big deal of it because I actually despise birthdays, as they are a reminder that I am aging. Entering my "late 20s" is kind of depressing. The feeling of losing my youth is not fantastic. However, I am proud of what I have accomplished so far in my life. I managed to make it through high school unscathed. I graduated from an awesome university (I freaking love Cornell so much; I'm borderline Andy Bernard's twin sister). I have a great job. I paid off my student loans! I bought myself a car. I redesigned and renovated our kitchen. I have an awesome family and an adorable dog. My friends are superb. I've traveled to really cool places and will continue to do so. And, of course, I have my blogs. I love this food one dearly and my travel one is a winner (at least in my eyes). Every year that has passed has been a good one, so I have already assumed that the coming year will be great too. I don't know, is it time to just 'get over it?' "It" meaning the fear of getting old. Ugh, no, I can't.

Anyway, in the spirit of celebrating and also in the spirit of falling victim to cans of pumpkin puree (that are on sale), I've got a dessert-like breakfast to share this morning. Or is it a breakfast-like dessert?
Ingredients [serves 2]:
½ cup flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup pumpkin puree
¼ cup ricotta (homemade if you got it)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs, separated
2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon brown sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup milk
butter for cooking the pancakes
+ syrup
+ powdered sugar

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Broccoli & Cheddar Soup

Sometimes, I like to share little tidbits about myself in these introductions. I think that maybe it makes me a little more relatable, hopefully more likable, and gives some personality to the "voice" that I type in on this bloggy thing. Today, I thought I would share with you my issues with anxiety. To be clear, I am not one of those people whose worlds come to a tire-squealing stop with humongous panic attacks. However, I do struggle with bouts of weird anxious oh-my-gosh-why-God-why-can't-I-just-be-human? moments.

For example, if, as I am cooking, a pot boils over and spills all over the stove, it is extremely difficult for me to just lower the heat and allow the pot to keep cooking away. I get super anxious because I, so badly, want to clean up the spill. I know that the stove is hot so I shouldn't, and sometimes I successfully convince myself that the spill can be cleaned later. Sometimes though, I can't fight it and I'll just move the pot over to a different burner, don some oven mitts, and scrub away at the spill. It's so strange to fight my natural compulsions. And horrifyingly enough, it seems to be getting worse with age. Many of you will not understand, but some of you will.

Why, oh, why am I talking about anxiety this morning? Well, when I was making this soup, I had to fight this (v. real) struggle. Chopping broccoli means that the little green balls (the leaves of the tree, if you will) go rolling all. over. the. place. It was an intense day of food blogging for me, as I wrestled with myself whilst photographing and chopping and simmering. Luckily, I managed to survive and ended up with a bowl of cheesy goodness. Cheese is the best medication.
Ingredients [serves 6 to 8]:
1 head broccoli, chopped
1 onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock for a vegetarian option)
4 cups whole milk
2 cups grated cheddar
salt & pepper, to taste

*You can certainly substitute almond milk and vegan cheese if you want a vegan version.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Bread Bowl Rolls

Baking bread at home is something I rarely do. I have several lovely bakeries nearby and my local market does a really good baguette and ciabatta and Italian loaf, I live a quite spoiled carbohydrate loving life. Despite this abundance of bread at my feet, I couldn't find a decent loaf suited for making a decent sized bread bowl. One option I had was a gigantic sourdough boule but yeah, that's like, 17 servings. My other option was to buy pathetically small baby dinner rolls, but that's like, 0.0004 servings.

Alas, what else could I do but make my own? I tinkered and experimented and came up with something in between my recipe for homemade buns and homemade baguettes. I wanted a hybrid of density; hearty like the baguette but light and fluffy like the buns. And I wanted it to be really lovely and chewy on the inside with a crunchy, crusty exterior. You know what happened? I came up with a crazy delicious recipe and after the first bite, I decided that this is the only bread recipe that I ever want to make ever again. Okay, not true, but I do want to make this again and again and not just in a bread bowl shape. I think that's when you know that a recipe is a winner; you've already decided to make it again before you've even finished the batch.
Ingredients [makes 4 bread bowl rolls]:
3 to 3½ cups bread flour (start with 3 cups, you may need more depending on the humidity)
1 teaspoon salt
1¼ cups warm water (cooler than 110F)
1 package instant yeast (approximately 2¼ teaspoons)
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon + ½ teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1 egg

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Dahk Doritang (2) (닭도리탕)

When I started this blog, I felt zero pressure. I was doing it because I'm a big food lover and because I wanted my sister to be able to recreate some of our favorite dishes while she was away at college. I didn't really have an audience, besides my sister, and it was just a fun hobby.

Fast forward 3+ years and I'm still having a good time. Once in a while, I get slightly stressed out because I feel like I don't have much inspiration. But, I remind myself that blogging is supposed to be my stress reliever and I calm myself down. Then, I get hungry and I'm inspired again. I guess that's the great thing about maintaining a food blog. I like to eat so I'll always have something to write about.

Today, I'm revamping my dahk doritang recipe. I have a super old dahk doritang (spicy stewed chicken) post. It's a good recipe but I make a slightly different variation now so I thought I'd update it. Besides, that old post is pretty ugly so I'm excited to share this prettier version. I love doing these updates. I like to see my own growth, both in recipe creativity and food photography. It's another fun aspect of blogging.
Ingredients [serves 4]:
1½ to 2 lbs. chicken (I like thighs but you can do drumsticks or breast or a mixture of meat)
3 to 4 potatoes, roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
3 to 4 cloves garlic, chopped
½ bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped (or any variety of spicy pepper you like)
3 tablespoons hot pepper paste (gochujang)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon hot pepper flakes (gochugaru)
¼ teaspoon sesame oil
1 cup water
+ scallion, chopped
+ sesame seeds

Monday, November 17, 2014

Thanksgiving Round Up

With Thanksgiving just over a week away, I thought I would share some Turkey Day-appropriate recipes today. I've got a whole slew of recipe posts labeled with the tag "Thanksgiving" but it can be challenging to sift through my poorly organized archive of recipes. After all, I have over 700 posts. So, I did a little bit of legwork for you, and I'm sharing a few of my favorites. Even if you don't make these exact recipes, perhaps they will inspire you.
So, without further ado, here are my top picks:

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Cucumber Moochim (오이무침)

A jillion years ago, I shared an easy Korean cucumber side dish. I thought it was time for an update. I make this dish all the time because it's so quick but also because my family loves it. It's delicious. Because I make it all the time, I don't follow an exact recipe and I kind of throw things into a bowl. It's just one of those dishes that you taste and go, which are the best, I think. Plus, you can customize it to suit your needs.
Ingredients:
6 baby english cucumbers or kirby cucumbers
1 tablespoon salt
⅛ onion, thinly sliced
2 scallions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon hot pepper paste (gochujang)
½ teaspoon rice wine vinegar
½ teaspoon honey
¼ teaspoon sesame oil
+ sesame seeds

*Optionally, you can throw in some sliced spicy peppers or grated carrot. Mix it up!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

How To: Make Korean-Style Vegetables

We're really into vegetables in our house. When we were growing up, my mom made it a point to make sure we were eating some sort of greenery with every meal. So now, if we don't have something fresh and crunchy on the table, we feel like we're missing something and in all honesty, we feel a little gross.

In most cases, we just throw together a simple salad and call it a day. But, when we're dining on Korean food, salad isn't exactly the most appealing choice. That's why I'll make Korean-style vegetables. This "technique" is so simple and it's the easiest way to make any vegetable taste like a Korean banchan (side dish).
Ingredients:
½ teaspoon sesame oil
½ teaspoon sesame seeds
½ teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 scallions, chopped
2 cups vegetables - suggestions: broccolini, broccoli, green beans, mung bean sprouts, carrots, cucumbers, mushrooms, spinach, the possibilities are endless!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Korean Chicken Porridge (2) | Dahk Jook (닭죽)

I'm done with Providenciales posts and back to regular recipe posts today. As fun as it was to re-live that lovely tropical holiday, I'm almost relieved that I'm done because it was getting depressing. It's getting painfully cold here so it's been difficult looking at 'previous me' in a tropical setting. I was getting jealous... of my past-self... is that weird? Anyway, I think it's good that I'm sharing something cozy today considering the weather has been quite blustery lately.

Two years ago, I shared a quick and easy dahk jook (chicken porridge). It's a great shortcut made with chicken thighs and hey, when dinner has to be on the table in an hour, it's the best fix. But, one day, earlier this year, I decided to make dahk jook with cornish hens just for kicks and it turned out to be frickin' delicious so I haven't made the thigh version since.

It's not necessarily more difficult to make but it is a little more time consuming since cornish hens, though they are small, are definitely larger than thighs and therefore take longer to cook. However, it's worth the time. Plus, you can just make the stock ahead of time and do the assembly on the day you want ot eat it. Problem solved! And on a chilly f-ing day like today, this totally hits the spot.
Ingredients:
soup
2 cornish hens
8 to 10 cups of water (or more depending on the size of the chickens and the pot)
6 to 8 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons salt

porridge
3 cups sticky rice (dry measure)
2 scallions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 to 6 Thai chilies, chopped
¼ onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
2 teaspoons salt (or more to taste)
1 teaspoon black pepper

Monday, November 10, 2014

Providenciales Part 7: Da Conch Shack

This is my last Providenciales post, for this trip at least. I'm sure I'll have more reviews after my next trip. Yes, I plan on going again.
If you ever talk to anyone who's been to Turks & Caicos, I'm 99% sure that they will mention Da Conch Shack. I mean, I went there on my first trip, I went there again this time around, and I'm pretty sure I'll go there again when I head back to TCI. I told you! I plan on going again.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Providenciales Part 6: Magnolia's

If you're looking for a dinner with a view but you're not into being right on the sand, then Magnolia's is where you need to go.
It's located in Turtle Cove and you've got to climb a big hill to get there.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Providenciales Part 5: The Patty Place

Dinners in Turks & Caicos are an elaborate process at fancy, expensive restaurants. But lunch? Lunch is when you can eat like the locals do at tiny little eateries.

I had my heart set on going to The Patty Place at The Petite Place just past the Ports of Call in Grace Bay. However, upon arriving there, we found out that they were closed and the staff was on vacation until the day after we were leaving. Luckily for us, the downtown location was still open and running.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Providenciales Part 4: Giggles Ice Cream

You can't hang out on an 80+ degree beach without craving a cold dessert.
Because we were visiting during the off season, several eateries had closed up shop. I mean, can you blame them? Everyone needs a vacation here and there.

So, we headed to the front desk of our hotel to ask if they knew if there was an ice cream place that was open. They directed us to Giggles in the Ports of Call.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Providenciales Part 3: Coco Bistro

When we were in Providenciales the first time, we fell in love with the restaurant, Coco Bistro. It was charming, had a great reputation, and the food was spot on delicious. So, for this trip, I might've gone a bit overboard because I booked two dinners. My sister wanted to be there for her birthday (Tuesday evening) and then I figured we should eat there again on Friday evening to close out our trip with a delicious bang.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Providenciales Part 2: Hotel Cooking

The first time I ever stayed in a "condo-style" hotel was when I went to Maui in 2012. Each unit was furnished by its owner and though you were at the mercy of that owner's preferences, it was pretty awesome. We actually lucked out and got a place with a fully stocked kitchen. I'm talking toaster, blender, Foreman grill, even a rice cooker. Last year when we went to Belize, we stayed in similar accommodations and again, we enjoyed every second of it.

Having your own kitchen on vacation isn't everyone's cup of tea because it's likely that if you're on holiday, you won't be keen to cook your own meals. However, if you're like me and you're a frugal traveler, it's a nice way to save money. So, when it came time to plan this year's trip to Providenciales, we booked a room with a kitchen at The Sands.
The kitchen was pretty spacious with a full-size fridge, electric range, microwave, and lots of counter space for prep work. We stocked it with plenty of groceries from Graceway Gourmet - enough to make ourselves breakfast all week, lunch for a few days, and three or four dinners at home (away from home).

Friday, October 31, 2014

Pumpkin & Chocolate Babka

I haven't jumped on the pumpkin spice bandwagon at all the past couple of years. I'm sort of jumping on this year. I mean, I'm not going to overload you with pumpkin recipes. In fact, I'm only sharing this one. But, I think it's super appropriate for today - Happy Halloween by the way - as it's orange and black and sweet and festive. It's a pumpkin and chocolate babka. I associate babka with Jewish delis. It's basically a swirled bread made with a brioche-ish dough. It's delicious.

I'm wearing bear ears to work today because we're not really expected/allowed to dress up in my office but I still wanted to chuck on a little something.
Ingredients [2 regular loaves or 4 mini loaves]:
dough
½ cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
2 teaspoons dry instant yeast
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
3 cups flour
6 tablespoons butter

chocolate ganache
⅔ cup dark chocolate (60% cacao)
3 tablespoons pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon butter
½ cup milk
1 tablespoon loose chai tea
3 tablespoons cocoa powder

syrup
¼ cup honey
¼ cup water

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Providenciales Part 1: Hemingway's

A few weeks ago, I went to Turks & Caicos for the second time for a little start-of-autumn getaway. Last time I was there, our hotel didn't have an attached restaurant and our room only had a kitchenette. However, this time around, we stayed at The Sands which has an attached restaurant, Hemingway's, and our room had a full kitchen. So, we dined a little differently this trip. We ate hot breakfasts and lunches and the occasional dinner in our room and we had planned on dining out just a handful of times. But, every place we went to was delicious and worth sharing, so I'm going to be doing little recaps and reviews of our meals. That was my warning to you that the next week and a half of posts is going to be all TCI related.
First up is Hemingway's. Last time we were on the island, we went to Hemingway's out of desperation. Our other dinner plans fell through so we just drove over and tried to get seats without reservations. During this recent trip, we were actually staying at the Sands so we decided that for our first meal, we'd make it really easy on ourselves and have an easy dinner at an eatery within walking distance of our room.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Roasted Baba Ganoush

It's leaf-raking season around here. I mean, it has been for a while. As annoying as that task is, it's kind of awesome to come back inside, cheeks pink from the cold, and reward myself with a delicious snack. If the snack requires firing up an oven to warm up a chilly house, then thats even better.

So, what better snack than chips and something to dip them in? But let's skip the cliche stuff and go for something a little different. How about some baba ganoush? Usually, I cook it in a pan on the stove but this time around, I opted for something a little different. I decided to roast the vegetables and then five them a rough chop and a quick stir and tada! Perfect for topping pita chips.
Ingredients:
3 baby eggplants
3 tomatoes
½ sweet onion
4 cloves garlic
1 red bell pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
+ pita

Monday, October 27, 2014

Beef Bitterballen

So just over a month ago, I went to Toronto for a super quick weekend trip with my friend, H. While we were there, we ate a ton of amazing food. For our last meal in Canada, we ended up at The Ossington, where they serve Dutch snack food on Sundays (Borrel!). We basically ordered the entire menu, minus one or two items, and it was delicious. H was particularly smitten because she's basically only been back in the States for a few months now, having moved back from, you guessed it, Holland.

Because I was missing H and our Toronto trip and the food, I decided to relive it a little by making my own bitterballen at home. I don't think my recipe is particularly authentic. However, I have to tell you, I corresponded with a friend of a friend's grandmother, who is half Dutch, to find out how to make bitterballen from scratch. Oma, as she asked me to call her (a word which means 'nana' in Dutch) told me that these days, bitterballen are almost always storebought. Dutchies just go to the grocery store and buy them in the frozen food aisle, and then just heat them at home. But, she said that as a kid, she watched her mother make them from scratch. Basically, she would cook beef for hours until it was tender and shreddable. Then, she'd make a really thick gravy and stir in the beef. The beefy gravy mixture would be cooled, formed into balls, breaded, and fried.

Oma didn't have any measurements for me to work with, but having the concept down, I just did a bit of experimenting and came up with the recipe you'll see below. If I can be dorky and pat myself on the back, I've got to say that they came out pretty frickin' good and close to what I tasted on my trip to Amsterdam a few years ago.
Ingredients [yields 2 dozen small bitterballen or 1 dozen krokets]:
shredded beef
1 lb. stew beef
2 cups beef stock
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper

gravy
¼ cup butter
1 teaspoon minced garlic
¼ onion, grated
½ cup flour

breading
½ cup flour
1 egg
¾ cups breadcrumbs (unseasoned)

+ whole grain mustard

*By the way, you could make this with chicken (use chicken chunks and chicken stock). You could also make a vegetarian version by using mushrooms and vegetable stock.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Katsu Curry

In college, we'd frequent a little eatery called 'Eat Dessert First' (or EDF for short). They served ice cream, a variety of cakes and cookies, but they also had savory Japanese fare as well. One of my favorite meals was the katsu curry. Katsu is basically breaded and fried protein. There's chicken katsu, don katsu (pork), salmon katsu, even tofu katsu for the vegetarians. And of course, curry is Japanese curry (which was referred to as 'kah-reh' in our Korean household). Japanese curry is a thick sauce made with plenty of vegetables, a roux as a thickening agent, and you guessed it, curry powder.

In my house growing up, my mom always bought ready-made curry roux. So, that's how I do it. Good enough for mama; good enough for me. It's easy enough to make yourself, if you don't have access to it. I referenced a quick one in my old curry rice post but do a little google search and you'll find dozens of others.
Ingredients [serves 2]:
curry
1 small potato, diced
½ small onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small carrot, diced
4 to 6 mushrooms, chopped
3 cups chicken stock
2 cubes curry roux
spicy pepper (optional)
2 teaspoons oil (canola, vegetable, olive)

don katsu
2 thick cut pork chops
½ cup flour
1 egg
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
+ oil for frying

+ sticky white rice
+ hard boiled egg

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What I Ate: Bleu Burgers & Sweet Potato Fries

I dream about burgers almost daily. They're one of my favorite foods.
This time around, I went for a plain-jane burger (just ground beef seasoned simply with salt and pepper) topped with a bleu cheese sauce (just bleu cheese crumbled into sour cream), sauteed onions and mushrooms, and bacon on a buttered round roll. Oh, and just for some added flair, I made some oven baked sweet potato fries.
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