Old favorite, new twist

_LKK0550
Photo by Lukas Keapproth

It’s been a while since I made Korean food, so I broke out the bulgogi and mandu (Korean dumplings) recipes from the vault this weekend. For color and use of leftover ingredients, Lukas and I tried out Spicy Stir-Fried Cabbage.

_LKK0539
Photo by Lukas Keapproth

Korean Pork & Cabbage Dumplings
Preparation Time:  1 hr | Cook Time:  6 -7 minutes per batch
Makes 45 dumplings

Ingredients
45 dumpling skins
1 lb ground pork
1/2 head cabbage (finely chopped)
3 green onions (finely chopped)
3 garlic cloves (finely diced)
1 tbsp rice wine or rice vinegar
4 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp sugar

Dipping sauce:
4 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 green onion
dash of sesame seeds

Directions
1. Filling: combine garlic, green onion, cabbage, pork, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and rice vinegar in large bowl. Set aside to marinate for 30 min-1 hr.
3. Assembly: Take a dumpling skin, place a spoonful of the filling in the middle. Wet your finger with a little water and brush the edges. Fold in half-moon shape, pinching the edges together. Crimp 4-5 times to firmly seal. Repeat this with all dumpling skins, or until you run out of the filling.
4. Cook: Cook in a steamer or over a pan of boiling water for about 6-7 minutes. Serve with dipping sauce.

_LKK0516
Photo by Lukas Keapproth

Bulgogi
Preparation Time:  1 hr 30 min – 2 hrs | Cook Time:  2-4 minutes per batch
Servings 4-5

(I’ve made the marinade based on 2.5 lbs of beef, after your first batch, you can add more of an ingredient to the already marinating beef if you feel the need to)

Ingredients
2.5 lbs beef round bottom round roast (or rump roast)

Marinade:
6 cloves garlic, diced
4 green onions, sliced
2/4 cup soy sauce
3 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp sesame oil
6 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp sesame seeds
sesame oil for cooking

_LKK0520
Photo by Lukas Keapproth

Directions
1. Put beef in freezer for 1 hr to 1 hr 30 min, depending on thickness of beef, so that it is slightly frozen.
2. Combine all marinade ingredients in large bowl. Set aside.
3. Slice beef thinly against the grain and add to marinade. Leave meat to marinate for 30 minutes to 24 hrs before cooking.
4. Bring 1 tbsp of sesame oil to medium heat in a pan. Spread several pieces of beef on the pan, turning frequently. When the beef starts to brown, and slightly char, remove beef and repeat with a new batch, adding more sesame oil as necessary.
5. Serve with rice and steamed vegetables.

Noms!

 

Spring Rolls and Fried Chicken

Spring Roll 2
Photo by Lukas Keapproth, Styling by Anna Jeon

Spring + Sunday = Spring roll assembly in the kitchen.

I’m finally grounded for the next three weeks before I take off on a back-to-back graduation/wedding frenzy between Boston, Austin and New York. I may even sneak a trip to San Francisco in the midst of it all. But for now, I’m taking the much needed “me” time in the kitchen to decompress and spend some quality time with Lukas and the cats. So far we’ve successfully made German pretzels, pizza dough, egg pasta, fried chicken and today, spring rolls with a side of spicy peanut-ginger sauce.

While I was away in Miami, Lukas found out that we had been breading our chicken piccata, chicken curry, chicken-anything-breaded incorrectly for the last few years. So yesterday, we successfully seasoned, floured, egg-washed, and panko-breaded some chicken tenders before resting them in a medium-heated pan of oil to brown. Best fried chicken I’ve ever had (whatever people say about Lucy’s here in Austin, I think it’s way too dry and overrated).

I’m not sure why we’ve never made spring rolls before: 1) they’re simple to make 2) consist of cheap ingredients 3) are way better than any spring roll I’ve ordered in a restaurant. Set them aside to chill for an hour or two, and then they’re the perfect appetizer to munch on while prepping your main meal (tonight we made Pad Kee Mao because I was craving it).

Spring Roll 3
Photo by Lukas Keapproth

Vietnamese Spring Rolls with Spicy Peanut Ginger Sauce
Makes: 15-30 spring rolls (depending on spring roll sheets)
Prep Time: 15 min

Ingredients
2 carrots, julienned
1/2 cucumber, julienned
3 cups bean sprouts
1/2 avocado, thinly sliced
handful basil
handful mint
handfult cilantro
2-3 sprig chives (optional)
crushed peanuts (optional)
15-30 rice paper sheets

Peanut Sauce Ingredients
3 tbsp peanut butter
5 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp vinegar
2-3 tbsp ginger, finely chopped
3-4 tbsp brown sugar
diced peanuts
water

Directions
1. Follow instructions on softening rice paper sheets. (usually you dip them in warm water, lay flat and fill with ingredients before rolling)
2. Lay rice paper sheet flat. Layer ingredients, fold bottom, then sides tightly and roll up.
3. In a bowl, mix peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, brown sugar and diced peanuts. Add water until desired consistency is reached.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken
Photo by Anna Jeon

Photo by Anna Jeon

Buttermilk Fried Chicken
Makes: 2-3 servings
Prep Time: 1-2 hrs (or you can marinate overnight) | Cook Time: 15 min

Ingredients
5-6 chicken tenders
1 cup buttermilk
3 tbsp cajun seasoning
1/2 cup flour
1 egg
2 cups panko bread crumbs
2 cups vegetable oil

Directions
1. In a medium bowl, mix buttermilk, cajun seasoning, salt and pepper. Place chicken tenders in buttermilk and let sit for 1-2 hrs or overnight.
2. When ready to bread, in a medium pot or medium cast iron pan, heat oil on medium. Be careful not to burn the oil.
3. Spread flour on plate, beat egg in a small bowl, and spread panko bread crumbs on another plate. Create an assembly line as you are going to first flour, then egg-wash and panko bread crumb each chicken tender. **Pro Tip: Use a spoon to help press breadcrumbs into egg-wash and chicken tender.
4. Once oil is heated, carefully lay chicken tenders to brown, on each side for about 5-6 minutes.
5. Serve immediately with pickles and honey-sriracha glaze.

More to come on pretzels, egg pasta and pizza dough! Noms!

When in Rome… eat gelato every day.

_MG_7384
[Chianti: Finocchiona Siena salami, Tuscan pecorino cheese, fresh salad. Montepulciano: Proscuitto, emmental cheese, mushrooms in olive oil atPanino Divino]

Italy, you’ve ruined food for me. 

It’s difficult to say what I enjoyed the most because everything that we ate and drank was consistently and without fail, delicious. Your pizza, pasta, panini, cheese, cured meats, gelato and wines all exceeded our expectations. Now I am left wanting for more. 

How do I know if the prosciutto I’m sampling is aged enough? In order to create a perfectly, rich, silky carbonara, what is the correct yolk-pecorino-pasta ratio? Where can I enjoy, in the same establishment, brick-oven pizza at all hours of the day followed by an espresso and dessert?

_MG_7379_crop
Gelato flavor profile: frutti di bosco e cioccolato.

Here are a few of my reflections from our Italian fooding experiences:

  1. It is possible to find good, authentic, inexpensive food near the tourist traps. You just have to go in prepared with recommendations from those who have gone before you. Thanks Stan for recommending Panino Divino by the Vatican.
  2. While known for wine, beer IS brewed in Italy! We found some really cool breweries in the Trastevere area. 
  3. Order the antipasta, primi, secondi and dessert. Pair with at least one bottle of wine. 
  4. Espresso at the bar: pop into a café, order, drink and get on with your day. I wish I spoke Italian so that I could have a conversation with the individuals who made and served my espresso each morning. 
  5. Aperitivo (or better known as an Apéritif) before dinner is always a good idea. Known as what will “tickle” your appetite, have some before drink cocktails, walk around and then your set for that late-ish dining experience. 
  6. Eat gelato every day. I like pairing chocolate flavors with a fruit. 

IMG_0871_edit
Cappuccino e tiramisu at Pompi.

IMG_0882_edit
Pizza prosciutto e funghi [Pizza with ham and mushrooms at Angelino ai fori]

IMG_0915_edit
Selezione di Culatta e salami di Dozza, Prosciutto di Parma, Finocchiona. Selection of Italian salami and prosciutto at Life Restaurant

IMG_0909_editAperitivos at Baccano.

IMG_0894_editThe time when we went to a super tiny restaurant where they only spoke Italian and had a daily menu in Italian. Through miming and guesses based on what we’d tried the previous two days we managed to order “I Tonnarelli all’uovo fatti in case fave guanciale e pecorino” a carbonara-like pasta with Fava beans and pork jowl and “Il filetto di tonne rosso* con contorno di palate al rosmarino, ciboria ripassata e zucchini marinate” a form of pork with potatoes, spinach and zucchini at Osterio 22Quatro. 

Italian noms!

Laissez les bon temps rouler! : New Orleans

_LKK6234

Let it be known that the 15-20 minute wait for the the beignets and black coffee at Café du Monde are worth it. The hot, chewy, fried dough piled high with powered sugar is one of the sweetest culinary experiences in the French Quarter.

New Orleans is playful in personality, lively in vibrant jazz and big brass band notes, magical in its architectural feats, and delicious with its melting pot of French-African-Spanish-American cuisine. You can find Gulf oysters on the half shell on every block, variations on the traditional Po’Boy, seafood laden gumbo and jambalaya, and just about everything complimented with red beans and rice.

Image-1 (1)Clockwise starting top left: Baked oysters three ways (A half dozen fresh shucked oysters topped with crab and saffron, spinach and herbsaint and cornbread andouille) at Crescent City Brewhouse; Jerk Shrimp Roll/Pineapple Tartar Sauce/Chips at Compère Lapin; Supreme Jambalaya (embellished with shrimp, crawfish, & tasso. Reviewed by Offbeat Magazine’s Ian McNulty as the best Jambalaya in New Orleans.) at Coop’s Place; Beer flights at NOLA Brewing. 

With so many options and cuisines to choose from, we built up our appetites by exploring the city mainly on foot–one day we walked 11.4 miles–and discovered some dining gems off the beaten path. New Years Day, for example, proved to be impossible when trying to book or find a place for a late lunch. Through several failed attempts, we found ourselves at Compère Lapin, a mid-priced restaurant-bar in The Old No. 77 Hotel, where we enjoyed some Caribbean-Euro interpretations of local New Orleans fare. Another time, after wandering around the Garden District, we were drawn into Atchafalaya‘s fragrant brunch offerings, only to return the following evening for a sophisticated Southern meal.

Top three from our wanderings:
(1) Avenue Pub has an amazing 30+ taps, international casks, and excellent pub food. We went there twice!
(2) Coop’s Place jambalaya IS supreme. Fried chicken is also a great main. The line moves pretty fast, but avoid it on weekends and go on weekdays.
(3) Courtyard Brewing has a variety of pale ales, sours and local breweries. Food truck and free grilled oysters!

Thanks to the thoughtful recommendations of co-workers, friends, and siblings of friends, our recent trip left our stomaches full and eager for more.

Beef Stew in Red Wine Sauce

With cold weather descending over Austin and the rest of the country, it’s the perfect time to cozy up with a bowl of savory, fragrant, filling soup. Hours after cooking this beef stew our apartment still smells of garlic, red wine and thyme. Similar to beef bourguignon, this recipe involves braising the beef in bacon fat, except there is no stock or water. Just wine. Choose a wine that’s not sweet but a dry red. Preferably cheap since you’ll be using the whole bottle.

Pro tips for Beef Stew in Red Wine Sauce:

  • Beef: We used top sirloin that was 2-inches thick, cut into large cubes. This helps maintain moisture and tenderness when cooking.
  • Stew: At the end, we thickened the stew by slowly whisking in a combination of flour and water. The mixture was made by shaking 2-3 oz of cold water and 6tbsp of flour together. Keep slowly adding until desired consistency is achieved.
  • Parsnips: For additional sweetness, we added parsnips to initially soak with the beef and wine.

2015 Year in Review

layout 1_2015

2015 was the year of breakfast, lunch and dinner tacos. Lukas and I filled corn and flour tortillas with varying combinations of scrambled eggs, sweet potatoes, flank steak, shredded chicken, cilantro-rice, sautéed onions, shallots, mushrooms and sweet peppers, topped with garlicky aioli, creamy homemade guacamole, salsa, and garnished with cilantro from our balcony and splashes of fresh lime juice.

The cast-iron skillet was our best kitchen purchase. Lukas has mastered the art of a “perfect sear” and cooks just about everything from slowly simmered pizza sauce to lamb meatballs to bacon-braised brussels sprouts. We invested in pots, soil, seeds of all kinds and successfully nurtured basil, thai basil, mint, cilantro, rosemary and serrano peppers on our porch. Cooking with the New York Times continues to be our source of some of our favorite recipes: Pad Kee Mao, Coconut Chicken Curry with Cashews and Vietnamese Steak with Cucumber-Radish Salad.

layout 2_2015.JPG

Through both personal and business travel, I’ve been introduced to new local fare and re-acquainted with familiar comforts. Thanks to the urging and ordering by Wenying and Mindy, I tried both lengua (beef tongue) and uni (sea urchin) for the first time in San Francisco, and more recently in New Orleans, fried alligator bites and alligator-andouille sausage. On my food “bucket list”: (1) ate the “finger-licking good” brisket, ribs, and smoked turkey from Franklin Barbecue (2) finally indulged in a bowl of Ippudo NY‘s Akamaru Modern Ramen: an interpretation of the original brine-y tonkotsu broth, topped with a special miso paste, garlic oil and egg (3) drank a Guinness at THE Temple Bar in Dublin, IR (4) discovered that the hype Uchi receives is “the real deal”; call outs for the “Hotate” Spicy Scallop & Avocado, “sear it yourself” diver scallop, and hama chili yellowtail (5) lounged through the five-course Sunday Brunch at The Prudential Center’s Top of the Hub which included assorted pastries, Greek yogurt parfait, shrimp & grits, eggs Benedict, and caramel flan  (6) stood in line (it moves quickly) at Café du Monde, one of NOLA’s “must eats” for fluffy, heavily powdered sugar French-style beignets and café au lait.

I’ll admit that I fell behind on documenting the majority of my dining experiences, so here are some highlights and favorites from this past year. 

layout 3_2015.JPG

AUSTIN—Dense, savory, and small enough to consume in two to three bites, the sopecitos are a great appetizer at Fonda San Miguel.—Feeling achey or under the weather? Treat yourself to the bouillabaisse at Perla’s feat. a briney-red broth, abundant with large pieces of seafood. Finish off with the Mascapone Panna Cotta.—Handmade pasta (gnocchi or the spaghetti al carbonara) from Vespaio on SoCo is exquisite.—The pork cheek buns at Odd Duck are one of the more creative appetizers of 2015—I’m not super into ordering salads, but the Salade Niçoise at Arro is very well dressed. Also great charcuterie board.—Garbo’s Lobster Rolls are my “home away from home,” basically anything on their menu will satisfy your craving for New England Seafood. Their food truck is regularly out and about downtown and in North Loop.–Consumed everything deep fried, from oreos, to Cuban rolls, and corn dogs at the Texas State Fair.

SAN FRANCISCO—From a non-donut person, to a donut person: the donuts at Bob’s Donut & Pastry Shop are worth the wait.—Find Peruvian yucca fries, ceviche, rotisserie chicken and lengua at Limon Rotisserie. Be sure to finish off with their chocolate bandido AND panna cotta mango.—While I can’t recall the specific dishes we ate, my SF-Facebook-family introduced me to the bold and unique flavors of Burmese cuisine at Burma Love.—The tap list at Gestalt is fantastic, remember cash only.—Try out the Prosciutto Pie or Funghi from Pizza Delfina.—Bao buns, crab cakes and Blue Bottle iced coffee at the Ferry Building. Have them all.—Papaya salad at Thai Cottage, again, not a salad person, but this is one that is a great introduction to green curry and pad thai.—Cool down with creamiest ice cream at Smitten. Salted caramel is my favorite. 

NEW YORKDeviled eggs at Root & Bone.—All of the chopping boards, pastas, meat entrees at Crispin’s.—Fancy up for the Eloise Afternoon tea at the Plaza Hotel.— Big Eye Tuna Tarts at Bondst feat. Creamy Ponzu, White Truffle Oil, Micro Shiso, aka the most amazing umami experience.—Late night grub from Artichoke Pizza.—Really amazing ambiance and overall dining experience at TAO.

layout 4_2015

MYKONOS |VOLOS, GREECE—When I go back to Mykonos, the first thing I plan to order are the seafood puffs and calamari pesto from Salparo.—Gyros and Greek salad. Orders of one, two, three, four please. Anywhere, all the time.—White truffle risotto with mussels from this place I can only recall from the repeated steps we took to and from our hotel.–“Ena espresso metrio, se para kalo,” (an iced espresso, medium sugar, please.)

Thanks to my family, friends, and co-workers for being great company and indulging in all the noms! Here’s to new and exciting noms in 2016!

 

Norsk Juleribbe [Norwegian Holiday Pork Belly]

pork belly_2

Pork belly is “king” on Christmas Eve for most Norwegians. While I did not grow up with this tradition, more than 50 percent of Norwegian households serve this cut of meat over the winter holidays.

Last year my dad received the recipe from a close family friend, and with a resounding success we cooked it again this year. The ingredients and preparations are simple, yet the end result is an crispy-fried, bacon-y, finger-licking-good pork-rind piece of deliciousness. Bring something new to the table this year, you’ll definitely impress friends and family with this one!

pork belly collage_1

Harald’s Juleribbe Recipe

Prep Time: 2 days | Cook Time: 3 hrs

Ingredients
2 lb Pork Belly
(Portion suggestions from my dad: Either can do pre-sliced (4 strips) or whole slab) Figure 1/4 lb per portion?
2 cups water
Salt & Pepper

Directions

Preparation
Keeping the fat side down, season pork belly with salt & pepper and let it sit in fridge for 2 days

Cook Method 1
4a) Keeping fat side down put pork belly in roasting pan
– Heat 2 cups of water in microwave and pour over pan
– Cook in 395*F oven for 45 minutes
5a) Remove from oven. Turn pork belly fat side up and place onto rack, over the same pan, leave water remaining in pan.

Cook Method 2
4b) Turn pork fat side up into roasting pan.
5b) Heat 2 cups of water in microwave and pour over pan, cover pan with foil.
– Cook in 395*F oven for 40 minutes

Final cooking
6) Bake for 2 hours at 395*F.
7) Finish with low broil 5-10 minutes to crisp
– Keep close watch on pork belly so it doesn’t burn

Serve with aquavit (Norway’s potato-based spirit), white bratwurst, potatoes, and red cabbage.

Noms!

Saucy Sundays: Homemade Pizza

Pizza Sauce

Been experimenting with some topping combinations as I’ve been on a homemade-pizza kick lately. So far the secret to pizza that keeps me coming back for more is the sauce: homemade, fragrant and filled with flavors that complement various toppings. Some successes thus far include Hawaiian [pineapple, ham, bacon, mini peppers, farmer’s cheese], Margherita [ Buffalo Mozzarella, fresh basil, Campari tomatoes], and BBQ Chicken [chicken, BBQ sauce, jalapenos, red pepper, cheddar]. If you’re in need of some comfort food this holiday season, put together this sauce for pizza or pasta!
Homemade Pizza Sauce

Prep Time: 15 min | Cook Time: 1-2 hrs
Makes 3 cups

Ingredients
5-6 roma tomatoes, diced
1 medium onion, diced
4-5 mushrooms, sliced
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4-5 leaves basil
2 tbsp tomato paste
2-3 strips thick cut bacon (optional)
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp dried basil
Salt & pepper

Directions
(optional) In large sauce pan, or cast iron pan, cook bacon until desired finish and set aside for topping. Keep bacon grease in pan and add garlic until browned.

1. In a large sauce pan, or cast iron pan, heat 2 tbsp butter over medium heat and add garlic until browned.
2. Add onions and cook until browned. Add butter as needed. Add mushrooms, cook until soft. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, dried basil, say & pepper. Simmer for 1-2 hrs.
3. Add fresh basil in last 10 minutes.
4. Generously spread sauce on pizza crust, or mix with pasta.

Noms!

Pad Kee Mao | Social Media Inspo

Pad Kee Mao

Cooking with the New York Times is my new food inspiration source. Its website is easy to navigate, the ingredients required align with my budget, and, so far, every meal, dessert, drink and marinade has turned out phenomenally.

I sometimes read Bon Appétit thinking to myself, “I can totally make this.” But then I remember that I don’t own the majority of the kitchen appliances needed nor the willingness to hunt down that one extra-special-super-expensive-ingredient-that-makes-the-dish. @TastingTable has some more relatable dishes and I enjoy their Instagram and Facebook videos featuring both famous and non-so-famous chefs and restauranteurs.

In Austin, I follow @bestfoodaustin for local BBQ, Tex-Mex, and up-and-coming recommendations. Currently looking forward to trying the recommendations on @infatuation’s current San Francisco Brunch Guide. Those of you in Chicago, and not following @chicagofoodauthority, go do it. Now.

The NYTimes Pad Kee Mao dish, is a great take on your traditional Thai and it comes with a punch of heat. If you’re worried heat intensity, leave out the Thai chilis or opt for another chili like a serrano or jalapeño. Recommend serving with mango to cut the intensity and pair with an IPA.

Noms! EEEEEATS.