Friday, February 27, 2015

Thai Red Curry Chicken Soup

This soup was unintentional. Let me explain: I was going to make a "traditional" chicken noodle soup but I changed my mind when I saw that coconut milk was on sale at the market. I stocked up and then decided to make a Thai-style soup. We already had some cilantro and lemongrass in the fridge so it was pretty perfect.
Ingredients [yields 8 to 10 servings]:
chicken stock
2 bone-in chicken breasts (or thighs)
10 cups water
4 cloves garlic, smashed
¼ onion

Thai red curry chicken soup
1 teaspoon oil
¼ onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon lemongrass, minced
1 teaspoon ginger, grated
6 thai chilis, chopped
handful cilantro stems
2 cups coconut milk
2 tablespoons red curry paste
1 teaspoon fish sauce
+ rice noodles (2 oz.)*
+ baby portabello (2 to 3)*
+ sprouts (small handful)*
+ cilantro leaves (4 to 6)*

*This stuff is optional, it's just super delicious garnish, and the quantities shown are per person portions.

Also, if you wanted a vegetarian/vegan version of this soup, use a vegetable stock in lieu of the chicken stock, add a pound of cubed tofu for protein, and substitute the fish sauce with tamari.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Chocolate Filled Pate A Choux Beignets

I've never been to New Orleans so I've never had a genuine yeast beignet so I feel like I can't make them and share them because I haven't experienced the real deal. However, I have been to France and I've had a French beignet so I feel more comfortable sharing those and that's what I'm doing.

And, because when I was making these my sweet tooth was being extra vocal, I decided to fill them with a few chocolate chips. They turned out crisp, light, delicious, and gooey sweet which made them perfect.

By the way, these fried clouds have a few different names, like zeppole, fried dough, frittelle, puff puffs, the list goes on.
Ingredients [yields 1.5 dozen beignets]:
½ stick butter (¼ cup)
½ cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup flour
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
+ ¼ cup mini chocolate chips
oil for frying
+ confectioners sugar

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Chicago-Style Pigs in a Blanket

I don't have anything against the midwest but I'd never want to live there. I grew up on the east coast and I think I will always want to live near an ocean and good pizza. However, one thing I'd love to see here more is the Chicago-style hot dog.

I mean, there isn't a whole lot to the dog itself; it's all about the toppings and the poppyseed bun. So, while I was making pigs in a blanket for the Super Bowl, I thought I'd serve them Chicago-style.
Ingredients [yields 24 pigs]:
24 mini franks
package crescent dough
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
+ mustard
+ diced tomato
+ diced onion
+ cornichons, but into mini spears
+ hot peppers

Monday, February 23, 2015

Jalapeno Poppers

I'm currently curled up in a pile of blankets whilst writing this post and my dog keeps shaking the bed, looking for his idea comfy spot. And, though I'm comfortable and cozy, I'm kind of sad because I'm craving these poppers. I guess that's the main negative of food blogging. I make the food, eat the food, and then days, sometimes weeks later, I blog about it and my stomach growls as I reminisce about my meals of the past.

I made these poppers for Super Bowl Sunday. We had a lot of our usual stuff (pizza, wings, nachos) but I wanted to make a few new dishes, mostly because of some strong cravings but also so I could share them here.
Ingredients [yields 3 to 4 dozen poppers]:
12 to 15 jalapenos
4 oz. cream cheese (room temperature)
¼ onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 egg
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
+ oil for frying

buffalo chicken
1 shredded chicken thigh
2 tablespoons hot sauce

bacon cheddar
2 slices crumbled bacon
¼ cup grated cheddar

Friday, February 20, 2015

S'mores Brownies

I read an article about how sugar is addicting. I totally believe it. I never had a sweet tooth growing up. My mom was really strict about regulating how much sugar and salt was incorporated into my diet. She wasn't too strict with my sister, but that was only because up until junior high, my sister didn't eat and had to be force-fed. She says that she never felt hungry and that eating was boring. WTF?

Anyway, we never really had sweets or desserts in the house growing up. Once in a while, my parents would take us to the mall to run errands and shop and before heading home, we'd go to a bulk candy shop. The shop was called Candy HQ, and they would let my sister and I buy 1/4 lb. of candy each, yeah, that's all. I would go for the gummy Coke bottles, maybe a sour punch straw or two, rock candy - basically anything that looked cool and fun. I did my best to slowly savor each piece and hope to save some to enjoy later in the week. Alas, the candy never lasted that long because as soon as my sister finished her candy (which was on the car ride home) she'd whine and cry to my parents who would tell me to share my candy. I presume they did this because it was easier to make me share and shut her up than it was to explain to her that she'd eaten her share.

Yeah, so I owed my lack of a sweet tooth to my mum (and sister). But lately, here and there, I get a hankering for dessert. And I don't mean dessert like the cut up fruit that Koreans like to put out after dinner. I mean dessert like gooey caramel-covered cupcakes or coconut pie. And that craving seems to be growing. I can only blame myself. I keep sharing sweets on the blog and I gobble them up (happily) and it's feeding my sugar addiction. Maybe I need to go to therapy.

Inspired by my candy-stealing sister (as well as a jar of cookie butter in the pantry), I decided to make s'mores brownies one evening when my sweet tooth was being particularly vocal. Let me just say, I totally didn't invent s'mores brownies. Someone smarter, cooler, and more accomplished did way before me and several people since then have made their contribution. This is my own take. Nothing really novel except for one crucial ingredient.
Ingredients [8" x 8" pan]:
4 oz. 60% cacao chocolate
¾ cup butter (1-1/2 sticks)
½ teaspoon espresso powder
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup flour
¾ cup cocoa powder (I like dark chocolate cocoa powder)
+ ½ cup cookie butter
+ 10 to 15 large marshmallows (or 5 jumbo or 20 to 30 mini)
+ ¼ cup mini chocolate chips
+ 2 graham crackers, crushed

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Spicy Pasta Carbonara

I know it's only February, but I am incredibly excited to plant this year's garden. We always plant a few new vegetables (last year it was brussels sprouts and snap peas) but without fail, we always plant hot peppers. They're incredibly easy to grow and we love spice in our house so they're basically a necessity.

Take today's recipe, for example. I took a perfectly delicious carbonara and polluted the recipe with jalapenos. I couldn't help it. I love carbonara but I find it just so heavy and unctuous, which can sometimes be a good thing. But it can also be a little overwhelming and prevents you from stuffing your face, which ends up being a good thing in hindsight but leaves you feeling a little dissatisfied at the dinner table. I think that adding a little heat breaks up the heaviness. Plus, I read that spicy foods up your metabolism so you can feel a little less guilty about all that pasta and cheese.

I previously shared a carbonara recipe that I still love, but I thought it was time for a little update. You can take the recipe I'm sharing today and omit the jalapeno and you'll be left with a classic carbonara and I think it's a little more luxe and delicious than my old post. No offense, past Rach, but this version's better (and prettier).
Ingredients [serves 4 to 6]:
1 lb. pasta
salt (for the pasta water)
4 oz. pancetta, diced
2 shallots, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, sliced
1 cup grated parmesan (you can also use asiago, pecorino, romano, basically, any hard Italian cheese that is nutty and salty)
3 eggs
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
+ extra cheese
+ parsley

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Roasted Baby Tomato Bruschetta

It's depressingly still winter so if I can turn on my oven, I will. It warms up the kitchen whilst I cook. So, when I planned on making some tomato bruschetta to accompany dinner one evening, I thought, why not roast the tomatoes? That meant turning on the oven and making it my heater (thank you v. much, oven for being a multi-tasker) and having a warm appetizer, the prospect of which seemed so lovely on that snowy evening.

I loved the way this turned out for several reasons. One, I didn't have to sit and chop a bunch of tomatoes and then deal with the aftermath of tomato water and seeds all over my cutting board. Two, the sweetness of the tomatoes really concentrated in the oven and made the bruschetta taste incredible. And three, no raw garlic was involved which meant that everyone went home without the type of breath that will kill dragons. It's so dignified and elegant and delicious; a real winner, if I'm allowed to say so.
Ingredients [serves 2 as a full meal or 4 as an appetizer]:
roasted tomatoes
2 pints baby tomatoes
1 shallot, sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
5 to 6 basil leaves, torn

bruschetta
baguette
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 fresh mozzarella ball

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Seared Beef & Dressed Greens

I'm maybe two months away from my trip to Italy and I haven't really accomplished much in the way of losing weight. I may have lost the kilo or two that I packed on during the holidays at the most. I was trying to shed a few extra pounds so that when I went to Eataly and gorged on delicious pastas for nine days, I could return home back at my normal weight.

I can only blame myself, as I haven't really been trying v. hard to reduce my food intake (as is evidenced by this blog) or to increase my activity. I have been debating the purchase a Fitbit for months now but I haven't made the plunge because I'm not sure if it would help me or just depress me. Anyway, I've been making an effort to at least put more greens on the table. We always have some giant vegetable dish on the table for every meal but I'm trying to eat even more. It's not a difficult task because I love vegetables but in the winter, when so much of the produce aisle is out of season, it's harder to vary what's put on the table.

Enter: baby greens. There is an entire wall in our grocery store devoted to lettuces and an entire panel devoted to baby lettuces. Baby greens are just as delicious and nutritious as their adult counterparts but they're more tender and sweet and delicious and they never get old in my world. But, because I'm a huge fatty fatso, I can't just sit there and eat a pile of greens and pretend to be happy. I need a little more substance. And I think seared beef is the simplest and most elegant accompaniment.
Ingredients [serves 2]:
seared beef
8 oz. sirloin tip beef (or whatever cut you prefer)
olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon coarse pepper

dressed greens
3 cups baby greens (kale, rocket, mesclun, watercress, romaine, spinach, whatever you like)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
parmesan shavings

Friday, February 13, 2015

What I Ate: Roasted Chicken

If you live in the northeast (of America) then you'll remember that faux-mageddon we had a few weeks back. We were promised an obscene amount of snow but instead had to deal with a mundane amount. Sure, it was blustery cold and the wind was swirling the snow around but I've definitely dealt with worse.

Anyway, our office closed early so we could take our time getting home. I was nervous for the first two minutes of driving, mostly because my office is in a quieter neighborhood so the roads looked pretty bad. However, by the time I made it out onto the main roads, I could see perfectly clean, black asphalt and the rest of my drive was smooth and event-free.

For dinner, I wanted something sort of spectacular to celebrate the fact that I was home before the sun set. So, I decided to roast some bone-in chicken thighs with a mix of colorful vegetables. It was delicious and so incredibly simple. By the way, this would make a lovely (and really easy) meal idea for Valentine's Day tomorrow. I'm single so I don't have to worry about that crap but if you're in a relationship, might I suggest you skip the pricey restaurant and just crank up your oven? I'm sorry, I'm trying to push my own introvertedness onto you guys. But really, eating a delicious, home cooked meal from the comfort of one's own dining room must be so much better than overpriced meals in red heart-plastered eateries, no? And if you're still looking for more inspiration, I did a recipe roundup last year so take a gander.
I just grabbed a big sheet pan, lined it with parchment and then chucked on chicken with a bunch of onions, garlic, carrots, mushrooms, bell peppers, and herbs. Everything was generously drizzled with fragrant olive oil and seasoned with coarse salt and pepper.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Stacked Burger

Today's post makes me want to dance, like, serious hand waving, shimmy shaking, booty dropping dance-like-no-one's-watching dancing. It's probably one of my favorite things I've ever blogged because it is intense, gorgeous, and one of my favorite foods ever. It's a burger and I love burgers.

No, but seriously, I really love burgers. I know that there are a lot of girls who claim to love burgers because they want to seem cool and down-to-earth and like a guy's girl. That's not me. I'm not that cool, I'm kind of weird and not really that grounded, and I'm a huge dweeb. But, I'm a big fan of burgers. I love burgers because they have bread and beef and cheese (which are three of the best ingredients in the world) and they taste just as good cooked indoors as they do charred on a grill. I love burgers because they're greasy and bad for you and they can be topped with so many delicious ingredients. I love burgers because they can be eaten for lunch or dinner. They could probably also be eaten for breakfast too, perhaps topped with a fried egg. I love burgers because they're handheld and portable. I love burgers and I think it shows (in my waistline and) especially with this long soliloquy.

This burger that I'm sharing is crazy and it's delicious. I wasn't sure what to call it. I considered resorting to hyperbole. But then I remembered that I don't like when food blogs claim that their recipe is "the best _____ ever" or "the most delicious ____ in the world." I feel like everyone has different tastebuds so it's hard to say any recipe is the ultimate. So, I settled on the "stacked burger" because this guy is so full of toppings that it's taller than it is wide. "Stacked" is also a slangy adjective for a man with bulgy muscles or a lady with huge bazoongas and if this burger were a human, it would certainly be muscular or busty. Its list of ingredients includes some of my favorites (avocado, bacon, and Sriracha) and it makes me want to weep that such beauty exists in the world. Plus, it's totally flexible. If there are toppings that I've suggested that you aren't a fan of, just omit them. Throw on whatever you like. Just make sure the burger is taller than it is wide; that's the only requirement. It needs to be stacked.
Ingredients:
stacked burger [for 1]
1 spicy burger patty
1 brioche bun
2 to 3 tablespoons special sauce
2 slices bacon
2 slices cheddar cheese
2 slices tomato
1 slice red onion
3 to 4 pickle chips
2 slices avocado

spicy burger mix [yields 4 patties]
1½ lbs ground beef (I like an 85-15 mix)
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
¼ cup milk
¼ onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Worcestershire
2 tablespoons Sriracha
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
1 egg

special sauce
2 tablespoons horseradish sauce (or mayo if you're not a fan of horseradish)
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon Sriracha
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 cornichons, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon pepper

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Brioche

I have a little debate with myself every few weeks about whether or not I should invest in a stand mixer. It usually happens when I get ready to make bread. Kneading can be rather annoying and difficult to do by hand so a mixer would be great to have. However, kneading is probably the only exercise I ever get so it's really a matter of health.

Honestly, most breads aren't too much of a bother to make by hand. The only recipe I find a little bothersome is brioche and that's because it involves incorporating butter into a soft dough. Well, I've come up with a technique to make it much easier and now it seems like that stand mixer is really unnecessary. I guess I saved myself $300 and also saved myself my only workout, right?
Ingredients [yields 8 small brioche or 8 brioche buns]:
3 to 3½ cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup warm water
¼ cup warm milk
1 teaspoon honey
2¼ teaspoons dry active yeast (one package)
2 + 1 egg
4 tablespoons room temperature butter

Monday, February 9, 2015

What I Ate: Angel Food Cake with Berries & Cream

A fat-free dessert is so appropriate for healthy-eating-New-Years-Resolution-guilt. Angel food cake, anyone? But let's not mistake "no fat" for "no calories." This thing is still full of sugar and not-so-good stuff. It's just a little less guilt-inducing but still gorgeous and enjoyable, nonetheless.
And, I had a go at ruining the fat-free gimmick. Fat free is so boring. I had to fatten it up with some whipped cream and up the calorie count even more with some macerated berries. Hey, strawberries are packed with Vitamin C, which is totally awesome for this time of year so that's a plus.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Blueberry Crumb Bars

A few Saturdays ago, it snowed a good four or five inches. GM was supposed to get groomed but the salon was closed due to the inclement weather. With our plans down the drain, my sister and I got bundled up and went to shovel the driveway. The snow was perfect snowball snow. It was heavy and packable, which made for a terrible shoveling experience. We were tired and burnt out after five minutes of pushing the snow around. GM, on the other hand, had the time of his life, running around, pushing his face into the snow, and rolling around like a maniac.

After all of that, we couldn't muster the will to go back out to get our weekly groceries. We rationalized postponing the trip because we had enough in the fridge and pantry to get by for the day. It's always those moments that makes me incredibly grateful for our well-stocked kitchen.

Today, I'm sharing a blueberry crumb bar that was made with pantry ingredients. We always have flour and sugar in the pantry and we had a giant bag of frozen blueberries in the freezer.
Ingredients:
2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1 teaspoon orange zest
juice & pulp of 1 orange
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2½ cups flour
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick cold butter (½ cup)
¼ to ½ cup milk

Thursday, February 5, 2015

What I Ate: Veggie Pizza

I'm headed to Italy in about two months' time and I have a feeling that the pizza I make at home will be put to shame. Before that happens though, I will thoroughly enjoy my homemade pizza. Though I live in an area known for its (American) pizza - hello, New York Metro area - I tend to enjoy the homemade stuff a little more. I skimp on the cheese (because I prefer it that way) and go overboard with the toppings.
My new favorite pizza dough only takes ten minutes to make and it doesn't need to rise. And that means that I won't become a hangry mess waiting for pizza to magically appear in my hands.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Korean-Style Zucchini Pancakes (2) | Hobak Jun (호박전)

So when I linked to zucchini pancakes in my seafood jeongol post, I realized that the post was crazy old and really ugly. Since that post (which was written in 2011), I've updated my recipe and I thought it was high-time I share the update because it results in a yummier, crisper pancake and don't we all deserve that?
Ingredients [yields 3 or 4 large pancakes]:
pancakes
1 medium zucchini
½ onion
1 egg
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup flour
+ oil for frying

dipping sauce
1 scallion, chopped
2 thai chilis, sliced (use more or fewer depending on your spice preference)
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon sesame seeds
¼ teaspoon hot pepper flakes (gochugaru)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
½ teaspoon rice wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon sesame oil

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Garlic Knots

My favorite memory I have of eating garlic knots was way back when I was in grammar school. I was sitting in Sunday school and it was time for offering. If you're not a church goer, basically, offering is when a collection basket is passed around and the congregants put money in it and it goes to the church. Anyway, my friend, E, whispered to me, "Hey, don't put your offering in the basket." I asked, "Why?" She responded, "Let's go to the pizza place after service and get garlic knots." Just two weeks earlier, I had learned what garlic knots were. Some of the older kids in youth group had bought a big bag of them and were passing them around. One of the pre-teens was feeling kind of generous so he offered some of us younger kids a taste. The one bite of knot that I shared with E was delicious. So, I withheld my crisp $1 bill that my parents had given me earlier that morning and passed the offering basket along to the next kid.

I'm not going to lie and say that I felt terribly guilty. I was six or seven and honestly, the idea of eating non-Korean food was really exciting to me. Our church would serve snacks after service but it was always rice cakes (sticky Korean rice cakes, a.k.a. dduk; not Quaker ones). I was ready for a change. So, after Sunday School was dismissed, a group of second grade girls (including myself), ran across the street (after checking both ways, of course) into the pizza shop, clutching our meant-for-offering dollar bills. We each ordered a baggie of garlic knots, which conveniently cost $1 each, and shoveled them into our greedy and hungry mouths. They were greasy and covered in bits of garlic and green stuff (which I later learned was parsley) and they were so delicious. They were especially delicious because they were hot out of the oven, unlike the shared knot we'd enjoyed a few weeks earlier.

God doesn't hold grudges (he's known for being v. forgiving) so I think we can both look back on that story and laugh. Can't say the same for my parents though. I shared that story with them when I was graduating high school - just as a 'hey, now I'm old enough that we can be friends so I want to share all the hilarious antics I got into as a kid that you don't know about' kind of anecdote. I thought they'd laugh but I think they were worried that little incident had bought me a ticket straight to hell. I thought that was harsh.

Anyway, now that I'm older, I don't have to be all sneaky and hoard my allowance to buy garlic knots. I just go to my favorite pizzeria (there are so many good ones in my neck of the woods; hello New York Metropolitan area) and buy them with my own hard-earned cash. Or, I pop into the market, pick up a few ingredients, and I make them myself. Either experience is satisfying.
Ingredients [makes 12 knots]:
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
+ parmesan cheese
+ tomato sauce (for dipping)

Monday, February 2, 2015

Seafood Jeongol (해물전골)

Oh, hello, February. It's still winter and that sucks but February is when I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. At the same time, it's the month where I start to cherish winter. This is the season for cozy soups and melty cheese sandwiches and hot chocolates. I can't eat that kind of stuff when warm weather hits because 1) it's totally weather inappropriate and 2) I lose my cravings for that delicious stuff. Instead, I start to want fresh and bright salads and in-season fruits and green smoothies. Ugh, gross, right?

So, I'd like to shovel as much cozy food into my mouth whilst I still can. Today I have a really good Korean stewy soup for you. Actually, it's an amped up stew. Jjigae is what you'd call a stew. Jeongol is like jjigae but extra intense. Jjigae is known for one main ingredient, like silken tofu (soon tofu jjigae) or kimchi (kimchi jjiage) or crab (gae jjigae). Jeongol is known for it's plethora of ingredients and today I'm sharing a seafood one. It has fish and mussels and kimchi and noodles and watercress and tofu and so much deliciousness.

I previously shared a pretty pathetic jungol post where I v. lazily explained the steps. I'm here to remedy that laziness with a full on recipe post. Because everyone out there deserves to have proper jeongol.
Ingredients [serves 4]:
2 tablespoons hot pepper flakes (gochugaru)
2 tablespoons oil
½ cup chopped kimchi
4 cups beef stock
2 tablespoons hot pepper paste (gochujang)
1 tablespoon bean paste (dwenjang)
3 cloves garlic, smashed
½ onion, chopped
1 hot pepper, sliced
4 oz. cubed tofu
8 oz. fish fillet (use something white, flaky, and tender like tilapia, red snapper, flounder, bass; I used Chilean sea bass)
8 oz. assorted shellfish (clams, shrimp, scallops, oyster, prawns, crab; I used mussels; octopus or squid would also be delicious, though they don't qualify as shellfish)
½ cup rice cakes
1 package udon noodles
handful watercress
2 scallions, chopped
4 oz. enoki mushrooms
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