29
Sep 11

Din Tai Fung

LA and Seattle are the only locations in the U.S. We went to the Din Tai Fung in Seattle on our recent trip up there, and I can’t wait to go back to the LA (Arcadia) location. “Xiao long bao,” hubby and Harold kept saying over and over all day. Yes, it’s fun to say, but I had no idea what they were saying. I thought they had discussed a movie and were referencing a line in the movie or an actor. Nope. “Xiao long bao” is the term for small buns steamed in small bamboo baskets. They are loosely referred to as “dumplings.” But they are not your average Joe dumplings. Besides whatever filling you order, it has a little bit of soup inside that results in the perfect delicious bite. The place is Michelin Guide recommended. Need I say more?

As you enter the restaurant, you can view workers through glass windows preparing the little morsels. I thought that was pretty cool…no shady business going on.

I never would have thought. But the julienned ginger with the 3:1 ratio of soy sauce to vinegar (as performed by the waiter) was absolutely divine with the xiao long bao. You know I’m gonna try this at home, but mine will probably be a 1:1 ratio of soy sauce to vinegar. I heart vinegar.

These green beans were fantastic. Can’t you just tell from the photo?? Mmmm…

We ordered baskets on top of baskets of the xiao long baos…literally. It was a never-ending supply.

Then this bowl of plain white noodles came out, but little did I know that this was so far from plain. Upon mixing, you get a yummy mixture of seasonings that I wish I can taste right this moment.

Here’s a closer look. :)

Then this unsuspecting bowl of plain wontons or dumplings came out. I’m sorry I don’t know what they were. I don’t mean to offend you guys. (I’m talking to the food.)

Ahhh, but of course. These ain’t no plain Jane wontons. Look at that perfect bite. Looking at my photos, I realized that we had fried rice as well, but I failed to get a good shot of it. :(  It’s difficult to stuff your face and take photos at the same time.

After a long meal, it was time for dessert. To the left is the taro dumpling, and to the right is the sweet red bean dumpling. Oh so yummy! I preferred the taro. Hubby preferred the red bean. But I’ll take either!

Then this giant bowl of shaved ice with various goodies on top…it was big enough to feed our party of nine.

My share. :)

And sadly it came to an end. I can’t wait to go back! I hear there are lines outside the LA location sometimes. But I’d wait in line. Din Tai Fung, thank you for an awesome experience!

Anyone else notice the Hello Kitty card? Not mine, but cute!


24
Sep 11

Fatterday Saturday

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And the day ain’t over yet!

Posted from WordPress for Android


22
Sep 11

Kimchi Gooksoo (Kimchi Noodles)

When you’re feeling really lazy in the kitchen (seems to be a common theme for me these days), and you want something quick but still yummy, kimchi gooksoo to the rescue! It’s so easy, Kuma can almost do it! And it sure beats ramen (at least for me). It’s perfect for a quick lunch, or even dinner, especially on a hot summer day (which is nowhere to be seen these days :( ).

Kimchi Gooksoo

Ingredients:

  • well fermented kimchi, 1 cup chopped
  • thin Asian noodles (somyun, soba, rice noodles, etc.)
  • sesame oil, 1 tbsp
  • sugar, 2 tsp
  • hot pepper flakes, 1 tsp
  • kimchi juice, 1 tbsp
  • white or wine vinegar, 1 tbsp
  • hot pepper paste to taste (optional)
  • soy sauce to taste (optional)
  • chopped green onion
  • roasted sesame seeds

Directions:

  1. Cook noodles until al dente. Rinse with cold water, and make sure noodles are cold and drained well.
  2. Add kimchi, sesame oil, sugar, hot pepper flakes, kimchi juice, and vinegar. Hot pepper paste and soy sauce are optional. Mix well, taste, and add anything according to taste.
  3. Sprinkle with green onions and roasted sesame seeds.

Disclaimer: The measurements stated above are estimates. Please listen to your heart, and add ingredients accordingly.

Kimchi Gooksoo (Kimchi Noodles)

Ingredients

◦ well fermented kimchi, 1 cup chopped
◦ thin Asian noodles (somyun, soba, rice noodles, etc.)
◦ sesame oil, 1 tbsp
◦ sugar, 2 tsp
◦ hot pepper flakes, 1 tsp
◦ kimchi juice, 1 tbsp
◦ white or wine vinegar, 1 tbsp
◦ hot pepper paste to taste (optional)
◦ soy sauce to taste (optional)
◦ chopped green onion
◦ roasted sesame seeds

Instructions

1. Cook noodles until al dente. Rinse with cold water, and make sure noodles are cold and drained well.
2. Add kimchi, sesame oil, sugar, hot pepper flakes, kimchi juice, and vinegar. Hot pepper paste and soy sauce are optional. Mix well, taste, and add anything according to taste.
3. Sprinkle with green onions and roasted sesame seeds.
http://cynthiakim.com/2011/09/22/kimchi-gooksoo-kimchi-noodles/


20
Sep 11

Kuma loves her daddy.

Kuma loves daddy more than mommy. But it’s ok…whatever makes daddy happy.

This is what she does all day…waiting for daddy to walk through the door.

Looking up to daddy.

Her eyes only follow daddy. :(


19
Sep 11

Easy Chicken Enchiladas

I’m always interested in healthy and easy recipes to balance out my not-so-healthy days. Hannah Ban Anza sent me this recipe for her Easy and Healthy Chicken Enchiladas the other day. It totally has potential to be low fat and low carb, but of course I used full fat cheese. I’m not opposed to fat-free cheese. I just couldn’t find any that day…but I really didn’t mind. :)

Ban’s Easy and Healthy Chicken Enchiladas

Ingredients:

  • shredded chicken
  • 1 can of red enchilada sauce
  • 1 can of green enchilada sauce
  • nonfat shredded cheese (Monterey Jack or Cheddar or both!)
  • shredded iceberg lettuce
  • chopped cilantro
  • diced red onions
  • diced bell peppers (red, yellow, or orange)
  • sliced black olives

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375°.
  2. Spray 9 x 13 baking dish with Pam or lightly rub with oil for nonstick effect.
  3. Fill each tortilla with shredded cheese and shredded chicken proportioned to your liking.
  4. Roll up and place onto oiled baking dish, and keep lining them up as you fill the dish.
  5. Pour red sauce over half of the baking dish.
  6. Pour green sauce over rest of the dish.
  7. Sprinkle shredded cheese over everything.
  8. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes.
  9. Uncover foil and bake for 10 minutes.
  10. Serve enchiladas on a bed of shredded lettuce.
  11. Sprinkle pre-chopped cilantro, bell peppers, and red onion on top.

Optional:

  1. Serve with pickled jalapeños.
  2. Hot sauce for extra kick. (Not optional in my opinion.)
  3. Top with sliced black olives too.

I know everyone has bought this rotisserie at the market at least once in their lives. It’s seriously the answer to lazy nights when you don’t feel like touching a knife or cutting board. Well, it wasn’t one of those nights for me, but this was a short cut for this recipe. For an even quicker short cut (or would that just be a “shorter cut”), Hannah used pre-cooked and shredded chicken found in the salad section.

Guess who smelled her way to the kitchen and right next to my leg! Kuma’s like a ghost sometimes. She pops up out of nowhere…total stealth move.

All shredded and ready to go! You can’t tell, since there’s nothing shown for scale, but it’s actually a big dish. There would have been more chicken too, if it weren’t for Kuma…and me.

I know shredded cheese is probably more appropriate, but I don’t like to pay extra for shredded cheese when it takes a few seconds to shred them myself. I have a grater, but I thought it would be more fun and cheesier to cut rough slices instead.

And some more…

Get your baking dish ready by spraying with a cooking spray or by lightly oiling it.

Now time to assemble! Get your tortilla, and place your shredded chicken on top…

Then add your “shredded” cheese…

And roll!

Place it in the baking dish and repeat until you fill the dish. I filled four rolls perfectly, and it actually served the two of us for two meals! Those enchiladas are bigger than they look!

“Help! Get me out of here!” Haha..sorry. Couldn’t help it.

You can use either red or green sauce, but I used both like Hannah said. Variety is good.

Pour half and half.

I forgot to take a photo of the “shredded” cheese on top of the sauce. But it’s in there, I promise. Place the dish covered in foil into the pre-heated oven. Bake for 15 minutes.

While it’s baking, prep the veggies. Dice some red onions. The more, the merrier.

Then dice some bell peppers…

Slice up some black olives…

Give your cilantro a rough chop…

And finally cut some iceberg lettuce into shreds.

And there you go. Everything you need right at your fingertips.

Back to the oven. After the initial 15 minutes of baking, uncover and bake for another 10 minutes. Oh, it smells so cheesy! I love melted cheese!

Ooh la la! It’s an ocean of melted cheese! Be careful…don’t burn yourself!

Place enchiladas on a bed of shredded iceberg lettuce, and top with all the goodies. Now that’s what you call a hot mess!

Easy Chicken Enchiladas

Ingredients

◦ shredded chicken
◦ 1 can of red enchilada sauce
◦ 1 can of green enchilada sauce
◦ nonfat shredded cheese (Monterey Jack or Cheddar or both!)
◦ shredded iceberg lettuce
◦ chopped cilantro
◦ diced red onions
◦ diced bell peppers (red, yellow, or orange)
◦ sliced black olives

Instructions

1. Pre-heat oven to 375°.
2. Spray 9 x 13 baking dish with Pam or lightly rub with oil for nonstick effect.
3. Fill each tortilla with shredded cheese and shredded chicken proportioned to your liking.
4. Roll up and place onto oiled baking dish, and keep lining them up as you fill the dish.
5. Pour red sauce over half of the baking dish.
6. Pour green sauce over rest of the dish.
7. Sprinkle shredded cheese over everything.
8. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes.
9. Uncover foil and bake for 10 minutes.
10. Serve enchiladas on a bed of shredded lettuce.
11. Sprinkle pre-chopped cilantro, bell peppers, and red onion on top.
Optional:
1. Serve with pickled jalapeños.
2. Hot sauce for extra kick. (Not optional in my opinion.) Top with sliced black olives too.
http://cynthiakim.com/2011/09/19/easy-chicken-enchiladas/


16
Sep 11

Flying Fish

When in Seattle, one must indulge in oysters. Harold took us to Flying Fish for drinks and oysters. He planned dinner elsewhere…but more on that later. We had two non-oyster fans, but after trying them here, they were converted. In fact, one of them went for thirds, and the other went for oysters a couple days later (I saw on Facebook).

We ordered the sampler, and I wish I could remember what kinds they were! But the best part was the mignonette sorbet…yes, that pretty pink slushy centerpiece. I’ve had mignonette before but never in sorbet form! I could have eaten that just by itself!

We were pleasantly surprised when the waiter pointed out that Sundays were Half-Price Wine Night! Every bottle on their wine list was 50% off! How awesome is that??

Scallop and sea bean salad, morel mushrooms, orange glaze. Very delicious. I’m an unconditional lover of scallops.

Thai crab cake, citrus salad, lemongrass aioli. Very crabby…taste buds approved.

What’s wrong with this picture?

A friend had placed his wine glass on the table, and it broke! It was the weirdest thing. He didn’t even slam it. My hubby joked to the waiter, “Excuse me, his glass is dirty.” The waiter was not amused.

In the end, we had a great time! Oysters were the star of the show. No dinner here…we went somewhere else for that. That’s how we roll.


15
Sep 11

Seattle’s Pike Place Market


Wow, it’s good to be back home…kind of. I was in Washington for almost a week and had such a great time with family, friends, and food. MK and I went at the best time of the year…no rain and temperature in the 80s! I spent the entire time there in shorts! I go there about once a year, and I never experienced such great weather. Good eats, good company, good times…

On the day of our departure, we stopped by Pike Place Market in Seattle. I’ve been there a few times, but I always love going back. It’s bustling with so much fun stuff and never gets old! San Diego feels so “blah” now…

Harold first took us to a place called Piroshky Piroshky (800+ reviews 4.5 stars on Yelp!) and got us a…piroshky. It’s Russian, and it’s basically a baked or fried bun with stuffings inside. They look like giant dumplings, don’t they? They also have a lot of sweet pastries. Sweet and savory…can’t go wrong.

We had the Smoked Salmon Pate Piroshky. You can’t really tell in the photo, but it had just enough salmon…sooooo good! I want one right now!

One thing I love about this place is that you get samples everywhere! These beef jerkies were some of the beefiest I’ve had…very thick and tender at the same time.

Marionberry…it’s a northwestern blackberry. :(

Elephant garlic…that’s my type of garlic.

You can taste different flavors of honey. That bee tried to get a taste too. Do you see him?

Where else can you get seafood, chocolate pasta, and some colorful sticks all in one place?

Crab and shrimp night, anyone?

Smoked Salmon in Seattle = Money! Look at that giant piece hubby got to sample.

Those peaches really deserve the name. They were delicious!

Pickles, fresh produce, and some funky vegetable…

Oysters in Seattle are to die for. I always eat oysters on Washington trips.

I feel healthy just looking at these!

Those are jars of Ikura Salmon Caviar on the right.

I love those peppers. We got one for my mom years ago, and they dried beautifully.

This is what seafood heaven must look like. Please take me there right now.

I wonder how many smoothies one can make with all this stuff.

Til next time, salmon friends…


09
Sep 11

Dweji Bulgogi (Spicy Pork) Tacos!

Instead of carne asada tacos, and instead of rice and dweji bulgogi, I decided to mix it up and make dweji bulgogi tacos! The best of both worlds! I think I love tacos more for the cilantro and onions than for anything else.

Remember this?? *stomach growls*

All you need to do is get some veggies ready, and you’re ready to eat! I know what you’re thinking about the perilla leaves and mint. They don’t belong here. Oh, but they do! For a low-carb meal, use the perilla leaves instead of tortillas. But if you want it all (like I do), try this…

Yum yum!!! So many fragrant veggies and more importantly, so many flavors!

Taco without a perilla leaf.  Still good, but I love me some perilla leaves!

Hungry yet?

Dweji Bulgogi (Spicy Pork) Tacos!

Ingredients

◦ pork belly (pork shoulder), 1 1/2 lbs
◦ hot pepper paste, 1/3 cup
◦ onion, 1 medium sliced
◦ garlic, 4 cloves minced
◦ ginger, 1/2 tsp minced
◦ green onions, 3 chopped
◦ green chili pepper (optional)
◦ hot pepper flakes, 2 tbsp
◦ brown sugar, 2 tbsp
◦ soy sauce, 1 tbsp
◦ black ground pepper, 1/2 tsp
◦ sesame oil, 2 tsp
◦ roasted sesame seeds
For tacos:
◦ small corn tortillas
◦ onions, cilantro, mint, perilla leaves, radish, limes

Instructions

1. In a thick bottomed wok or pan, add these ingredients: 1½ pounds (600 grams) of pork belly of bite size pieces about ¼ inch thick, onion, green onions, minced garlic, minced ginger, chopped green chili pepper (optional), hot pepper paste, hot pepper flakes, brown sugar, soy sauce, black pepper, and sesame oil.
2. Heat up the pan over high heat.
3. Mix and stir all ingredients with a wooden spoon, until the pork is cooked thoroughly. It’ll take about 10 minutes, and the onion will look translucent and mushy when it’s done.
For tacos:
4. Assemble tacos by with dweji bulgogi, tortillas, and your choice of veggies.
http://cynthiakim.com/2011/09/09/dweji-bulgogi-spicy-pork-tacos/


08
Sep 11

Spicy Stir-Fried Pork (Dweji Bulgogi)

I don’t know about you, but I have a love-hate relationship with pork. I love pork and everything it stands for…like yummy, fatty, greasy deliciousness. But I feel so guilty, because it’s so yummy, fatty, and greasy! What’s a girl to do??? When in doubt, just enjoy. Life’s too short.

I usually make this when I don’t feel like making such a mess in the kitchen and can’t think of anything else. It’s super easy and quick! Almost too easy! Recipe is from Maangchi, of course. Thanks, Maangchi!

Dweji Bulgogi

Ingredients:

  • pork belly (pork shoulder), 1 1/2 lbs
  • hot pepper paste, 1/3 cup
  • onion, 1 medium sliced
  • garlic, 4 cloves minced
  • ginger, 1/2 tsp minced
  • green onions, 3 chopped
  • green chili pepper (optional)
  • hot pepper flakes, 2 tbsp
  • brown sugar, 2 tbsp
  • soy sauce, 1 tbsp
  • black ground pepper, 1/2 tsp
  • sesame oil, 2 tsp
  • roasted sesame seeds

Directions:

  1. In a thick bottomed wok or  pan, add these ingredients: 1½ pounds (600 grams) of pork belly of bite size pieces about ¼ inch thick, onion, green onions, minced garlic, minced ginger, chopped green chili pepper (optional), hot pepper paste, hot pepper flakes, brown sugar, soy sauce, black pepper, and sesame oil.
  2. Heat up the pan over high heat.
  3. Mix and stir all ingredients with a wooden spoon, until the pork is cooked thoroughly. It’ll take about 10 minutes, and the onion will look translucent and mushy when it’s done.
  4. Transfer it to a serving plate and serve with a bowl of rice, some lettuce, a few more side dishes (if you want), some soup, and kimchi.

Watch how easy this is!

I always have some pork belly in the freezer for those “in case of emergency” days. You know…those “don’t feel like cooking”/”don’t have much time”/don’t have much in the kitchen” days.

You can get the chunks of pork belly that are not sliced up like this. I like the chunks even better, but I’m just working with what I have. Plus, it was more appropriate for what I did with this dish (which will be a later post…hint hint).

I know this will be frowned upon by many of you, but I did trim the fat off of some of the pieces. Hey! I have three weddings to attend in the next month! But as you can see, there is still plenty of fatty goodness left.

These are all the veggies you need. So easy and you should have all of these in your kitchen anyways! I used a jalapeño instead of green chili pepper. And yes, I used 75% more garlic than Maangchi’s recipe calls for. But you expected that, right?

Prepare all your veggies…

And throw them into the pan with the pork.

Then add all of the other ingredients: hot pepper paste, hot pepper flakes, brown sugar, soy sauce, black pepper, and sesame oil. Beautiful, isn’t it?

Take one more look.

Mix, mix, mix over high heat continuously for about 10 minutes or until the pork is cooked. I’m so hungry now!

Transfer to a plate, sprinkle some sesame seeds, and dig in! Check back tomorrow, and I’ll show you what I did with this!

Spicy Stir-Fried Pork (Dweji Bulgogi)

Ingredients

◦ pork belly (pork shoulder), 1 1/2 lbs
◦ hot pepper paste, 1/3 cup
◦ onion, 1 medium sliced
◦ garlic, 4 cloves minced
◦ ginger, 1/2 tsp minced
◦ green onions, 3 chopped
◦ green chili pepper (optional)
◦ hot pepper flakes, 2 tbsp
◦ brown sugar, 2 tbsp
◦ soy sauce, 1 tbsp
◦ black ground pepper, 1/2 tsp
◦ sesame oil, 2 tsp
◦ roasted sesame seeds

Instructions

1. In a thick bottomed wok or pan, add these ingredients: 1½ pounds (600 grams) of pork belly of bite size pieces about ¼ inch thick, onion, green onions, minced garlic, minced ginger, chopped green chili pepper (optional), hot pepper paste, hot pepper flakes, brown sugar, soy sauce, black pepper, and sesame oil.
2. Heat up the pan over high heat.
3. Mix and stir all ingredients with a wooden spoon, until the pork is cooked thoroughly. It’ll take about 10 minutes, and the onion will look translucent and mushy when it’s done.
http://cynthiakim.com/2011/09/08/spicy-stir-fried-pork-dweji-bulgogi/


07
Sep 11

Soy Sauce Marinated Eggs


I came back home after a fun and long Labor Day weekend and remembered that I had these eggs marinating away! And it was oh-so-tasty! I think I just ate about 5 of these right now.

I always thought I could only have these yummy eggs in jangjorim (a Korean beef side dish). Whenever I see jangjorim at a restaurant, I’d rather go for the eggs than the beef. They’re just so good…so much more fun than regular hard-boiled eggs.

Soy Sauce Eggs

Ingredients:

  • 15 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup cooking sake
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
Directions:
  1. Hard-boil eggs in a large pot. Peel the shells and place the eggs back into the pot.
  2. Add soy sauce, sake, water, and sugar.
  3. Simmer for 20 minutes over medium heat. Mix around occasionally.
  4. Keep eggs in soy sauce when storing.

Get a large pot of eggs and get them boiling! Might as well make a large batch, if you’re gonna do it. I used 15 eggs. It’s not that much.

After boiling, peel all the eggs. I love hard-boiled eggs. They’re healthy and cute.

I can’t hard-boil eggs and not give any to Kuma. She loves eggs. She’ll get her lazy butt up and trot over to the kitchen whenever she hears the egg shells cracking…funny girl.

Put all the eggs back into the pot, and add the soy sauce, sake, water, and sugar.

To pepper or not to pepper…

Of course I peppered. I don’t think it made much of a difference in taste, but it sure does make it look more like a party.

After simmering for a few minutes, they start to get a happier glow. And it smells so good!

This is Day One of soy sauce marination. Good thing I had to leave for the Labor Day weekend, or else I never would have seen Day Five.

And Day Five…soy sauce has successfully permeated through the whites. Delicious!

Soy Sauce Marinated Eggs

Ingredients

◦ 15 hard-boiled eggs
◦ 1 cup soy sauce
◦ 1/2 cup cooking sake
◦ 1/2 cup water
◦ 4 tbsp brown sugar

Instructions

1. Hard-boil eggs in a large pot. Peel the shells and place the eggs back into the pot.
2. Add soy sauce, sake, water, and sugar.
3. Simmer for 20 minutes over medium heat. Mix around occasionally.
4. Keep eggs in soy sauce when storing.
http://cynthiakim.com/2011/09/07/soy-sauce-marinated-eggs-egg-jorim/