September 27, 2011
I love making pizza because it is so easy and such a good staple. I liked how this recipe* used unexpected ingredients like potato, as well as broccoli rabe. When I was in college there was a restaurant called “Christian’s Pizza” which also used unexpected ingredients, and their pizza was always delicious. This recipe took just a few minutes to make, and it came out really nicely. I made some changes, which I’ll outline below.
You’ll need some manchego cheese (which I found out was made from sheep’s milk!), pepperoni, potatoes and a shallot. The recipe also called for broccoli rabe, I used kale instead (easier to find), and instead of using store bought pizza dough, I substituted a piece of garlic asagio bread. It smelled delicious and I couldn’t resist buying it in the store. I wasn’t sure it was going to work, but it did.
First of all, you’re going to take your potatoes and thinly slice them. The recipe calls for two yukon gold potatoes, since mine were miniature I used 4. Also, take your shallot, cut off the ends and thinly slice it as well.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees (I reduced the temperature because my base, the bread, was already cooked). Mix the potatoes and shallots in a bowl with some salt, pepper, and olive oil (2 tsp).
I sliced my bread down the center, then brushed a tiny bit of olive oil the flat sides and and spread the shallot/potato mixture on top of both pieces. Cook in the oven for 5 minutes, or until potato slices are soft.
After five minutes, I took the pizza out and spread kale (destemmed and chopped up ) on both slices and also topped with some pepperoni. This can be tricky as kale is kind of fluffy (which is probably why they recommended using broccoli rabe in the first place). I recommend using chopsticks – this way you can place the pepperoni where you need to without burning your fingers on the pan.
Bake for another 5 minutes, and then top with the grated manchego cheese. Bake for another 3 minutes, or until cheese is melted to desired cheesiness.
Not gonna lie, it turned out REALLY well. It was delicious. I devoured this within minutes.
September 26, 2011
I was searching for a quick and easy chicken recipe I could make on busy nights. I saw this recipe for Grilled Chicken with Basil Dressing*. The use of fennel seeds in the recipe intrigued me, plus it was a no fuss recipe that didn’t require a lot of pots and pans. Easy clean up!
You’ll need some fennel seeds, lemons, chicken thighs and breasts, salt and pepper, olive oil, basil, and a garlic clove.
Whisk together the oil, lemon juice, fennel seeds, salt and pepper. Pour into a heavy duty plastic bag, and add all of the chicken pieces.
Massage the oil mixture into the skin. Marinate for 30 min. While the chicken is marinating, blend the lemon zest, basil, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Now the recipe calls for grilling the chicken, but since my grill pan is out of commission for the moment and I don’t have a grill, I decided to cook the chicken by pan frying it in my dutch oven (about 7 minutes for each side, or until each side is brown), and then cooking it the rest of the way through in the oven at 350 degrees for about 25 min.
Remove the chicken from the oven and top with the pesto dressing.
This chicken was good! I also added it to salads and well as made chicken salad sandwiches with the chicken meat.
September 25, 2011
One of my greatest pleasures in life is getting the Food Network magazine in the mail, and reading it from cover to cover that night. I found this recipe* for Gnocchi with Squash and Kale, and knew I had to try it out. It was simple, easy, and pretty darn good.
You’ll need some butter, butternut squash (which I got precut from Trader Joe’s – SCORE), garlic cloves, fresh sage, pepper flakes, chicken broth, potato gnocchi, kale, salt, and parmesan or pecorino cheese.
Thinly slice 3 cloves of garlic, and chop 1 tablespoon of fresh sage.
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add the butternut squash and cook for a few minutes. Then add the garlic, sage, red pepper flakes, and salt. Cook until garlic is soft.
Preheat the broiler. Add the chicken broth to the pot, then add the kale until it wilts slightly, and then add the gnocchi. Cover to cook the gnocchi through.
Stir in 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese and butter. Sprinkle the top with 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese and place the whole pot in the broiler until the mixture is bubbly and hot.
I recently decided to make my own chalkboard when I couldn’t find a chalkboard in stores to my liking.
I used chalkboard paint, some blocks of wood, sandpaper, a paint roller and a paint tray.
I bought a piece of sheet rock from the hardware store and had one of the employees help me cut it into two different pieces with a razor. When I got home, I sanded the sides down so they were more even. Then I applied 2 coats of chalkboard paint to each piece of sheet rock.
This was the larger piece of painted sheet rock. I eventually mounted it horizontally on the wall.
I used the smaller chalkboard as my “Special of the Day” board where I write down all of my cooking inspiration. I also mounted two shelves side by side on top to create a place for my cookbooks. Yay for happy kitchens!
September 19, 2011
The other night I went to Chinatown to watch a friend perform in the Harvest Moon Festival. In addition to the kung fu demonstration, there was also various cultural performances. And…there were also a lot of food trucks! I definitely went a little wild. o.o
My friend and I first attacked the Ahn-Joo food truck. This food truck is the brain child of Debbie Lee, a finalist on The Next Food Network Star. The food truck serves Korean pub food, and it did not disappoint!
We got Korean porkbelly with garlic fried rice…
Korean BBQ chicken and rice cakes wrapped in bacon! This is something I am definitely going to try to make!
And for dessert, two kinds of crepes, smores and banana nutella. They were warm and gooey and delicious This was actually from the same Crepe truck, Crepe N’ Around*, that I had eaten at an outdoor food festival a few weeks ago.
Happy Harvest Moon!
September 16, 2011
Life takes you on unexpected journeys. The day began with a beautiful hike that led to a waterfall and ended with some Honey Vanilla Pound Cake. This recipe* was incredibly easy to follow, and the end result was a moist cake with a hint of lemon and a delectable, almost crunchy crust.
You’ll need some lemons (for a bit of lemon zest), sugar, vanilla extract, flour, eggs, honey, salt, baking powder, and butter at room temperature.
Begin by flouring and greasing a loaf pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cream 2 sticks of butter and 1 and 1/4 cups of sugar. The recipe calls for an electric mixer, but since I don’t have one, I just used my arm and a tough women spoon.
Crack four large eggs into a measuring cup. Add 2 tsp. of vanilla extract, 1 tsp of lemon zest, and 2 tablespoons of honey. Add this into the previous mixture slowly, egg yolk by egg yolk, stirring in between making sure each yolk is incorporated before adding the other.
Sift together 2 cups of flour, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp baking powder. Add this into the batter slowly until just combined. Now your batter should be relatively thick.
Pour into a loaf pan, spreading the top with a spatula to make sure its pretty and smooth. Bake in the oven for 50-60 min. You can tell its cooked by putting a toothpick in the thickest part – if it comes out clean, its cooked.
* This cake is very moist. I bet it would taste great with coffee!
* Even though you only use a tiny bit of lemon, you can definitely taste it in the cake. This isn’t one of those recipes where the lemon’s function is to enhance the flavor of everything else.
September 15, 2011
I have been brainstorming ways for me to open up my imagination in order to feed my life as well as my craft. So the other day when my friend asked me to go to artwalk, I knew this was the perfect opportunity! Artwalk takes place once a month in down town LA. The city of Los Angeles closes off a bunch of streets, open up a ton of art galleries, and you can eat at the various restaurants all within walking distance. Not only did I see (and purchase) some amazing artwork, but I also persuaded my friends to eat at Cole’s, which I haven’t been at in at least over a year.
I love this. For some reason I think its just beautiful, and dark, and thought provoking…
They were selling succulents, as well. So pretty!
I love how the sign to Cole’s is so old school
Coles is known for their french dipped sandwiches. There are two restaurants in Los Angeles that both claim to have originated the french dip – Cole’s and Philippe’s,* which I visited earlier this year. Both restaurants not only claim to have originated the sandwich, but they both claim to have the best. I’ll let you decide.
The sandwiches were delicious, and the pickles were spicy! I love Cole’s – so much character, especially with the historical speakeasy in the back!
September 8, 2011
As the labor day weekend passes us by, we have now officially transitioned from summer into fall. And while it certainly doesn’t feel like fall in LA (it’s seriously been 100 degrees this week!), moon cakes have already started appearing in Asian grocery stores. Every time around this year, I get a bit nostalgic. Wishing I was celebrating with my family drives me splurge on some white rabbit candy and make food that reminds me of friends, family, and home.
One of my favorite dishes to eat is Bi Bim Bap. It brings me back to late night dinners with friends and family in Koreatown. Although it was a bit daunting, I decided to make my own. I referenced these two recipes (here* and here*), pulling from each recipe to make my own.
You will need some spinach, carrots, cucumber, garlic cloves, bean sprouts, shittake mushrooms, sesame seeds, rice, and most importantly, a big clay pot (you can buy these at Korean stores). Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and place the clay pot in the oven.
First of all cook some rice. I made around 2 cups knowing that I would save some to eat later. While that was cooking, I washed all of my vegetables. I also peeled my carrots.
Julienne your carrots, and thinly slice your cucumbers into half moons. I used two carrots and one full cucumber.
Take your soybeans (I used around 1.5 cups) and rinse them three times (according to Maangchi). Place them in boiling water along with 1 tsp of salt. After about 10 min (Maangchi’s recipe called for 20, but I found 10 to be sufficient), remove the soy beans with a slotted spoon. Set aside in another bowl, mix with 1 clove minced garlic, a bit of sesame oil and salt. In the same pot of boiling water, throw in two cups of spinach. Boil for just a few minutes until just wilted. Strain spinach and rinse with cold water. Squeeze out excess water, mix with 1 tsp of salt, one minced garlic clove, 1/2 tsp of sesame oil and 1 tsp of soysauce.
Next, slice up 5-7 shitake mushrooms. Place in a pan or wok with 1 tsp of vegetable oil. Add 2 tsp of soy sauce and 1 tsp of sugar. Cook for 2 minutes, then remove from heat and add sesame oil. In the same pan, add some sesame oil and saute the carrots until soft, around 4-5 minutes. Remove carrots from heat, set aside. Add the cucumber slices to the pan. Saute for a few minutes until soft.
Next, take 1/2 lb of ground beef. Add cooking oil to the pan, throw in the ground beef along with 2 minced garlic cloves, 1/2 tbsp of soy sauce, 1/4 tbsp of sugar, some sesame oil and black pepper. Stir beef until fully cooked, remove and set aside.
Finally, as a last step, cook an egg in the pan sunny side up.
Remove the clay pot from the oven. Brush the bowl with sesame oil (Be very careful, its hot!)
Pack the bottom of the bowl with rice. I find if you want even crispier rice, you can actually even heat the bowl and rice on the stove until you achieve the desired crispiness.
This is where your artistry can come in. Arrange the vegetables and meat in an aesthetically pleasing arrangement.
Place the egg in the center. Right before serving, top with sesame seeds and hot pepper paste. To eat the bi bim bap, mix everything together! Enjoy!
* I tried to prepare everything in a way and order so that I could use the same pot and pan over and and over again without having to wash/wipe them out in between. Hence why the meat and egg are cooked at the very end.
* Want to read an insanely cute book (that also inspired my title) about Bi Bim Bap? Check it out here*
September 1, 2011
Lately I have been going through a bit of a cooking block. Nothing really has been appealing to me in my cookbooks, as desperately as I try to flip through them. So I did what any sane, rational person would do – I got someone else to cook for me! Enter the beautiful and talented Michelle Wong. She came over the other night and cooked me delicious lamb fried rice. Once you get the basics of fried rice down (here*) you can pretty much swap in any kind of ingredients, spices, and sauces you want.
Lamb, carrots, garlic and green onion. Put the carrots in the pan/wok first, as they need to be softened up.