Category Archives: Recipes

diced radish kimchi (kkakdugi)

About a year and half ago, I took a kimchi making class where I learned to make kinds with Hae Jung Cho, a master preserver and chef. Read about the experience here. I was recently inspired by the Netflix series Cooked, inspired by a book of the same name, written by Michael Pollan. He delves into the health benefits of fermentation and how it’s a technique used to preserve food and also explains all the nutritional value of it. I love that he makes his own kimchi too! It reminded me of this easy recipe. Took me about an hour on a Monday night. Enjoy!

day 10

day 10 of the kkakdugi – perfectly ripe!

diced radish kimchi (kkakdugi) adapted from Hae Jung Cho’s recipe
(makes about 2/3 a kimchi jar, the squat half-size one)

Ingredients
3 lbs. radish (I like the Korean grown ones)
1 TB sea salt (or kosher salt)
1 tsp sugar (white is fine)
1/2 cup of ground red pepper
2 TB Asian fish sauce
1 1/2 TB minced garlic
2 TB minced ginger
3 green onion stalks
1/2 bunch of Korean watercress or minari
1 tsp salt (added later)

Preparation
1. Wash the radish. Use a veggie peeler to peel the skin. Chop into 1-inch cubes.
2. In a glass, ceramic, or stainless steel bowl, place the radish cubes and sprinkle with 1 TB of salt and 1 tsp of sugar. Let this sit for about 40 minutes then drain radish in a strainer or colander for 10 minutes.

Directions
1. While the radish is sitting in the salt and sugar mixture, wash and trim the green onions and watercress. Chop them into 1-inch pieces and set aside.
2. In a large glass, ceramic, or stainless steel bowl (plastic may stain), mix together the fish sauce, ground red pepper, garlic, and ginger.
3. Add the cubed radish to the bowl and incorporate until all sides of the radish are coated (I suggest using one-time use plastic gloves).
4. Add in the watercress and green onions and gently mix.
5. Taste to determine whether to add more salt into the mixture.
6. Put mixture into a container, like a glass kimchi or mason jar, pressing down to reduce air bubbles.
7. Pour a small amount of water in the mixing bowl to collect all the remaining seasoning and pour into the container. Press down again.
8. Cover container and let it sit in a cool, dark place at room temperature for 2-3 days. Then, refrigerate and enjoy in about 8-10 days as it takes about 10 days to 2 weeks for full fermentation.

Notes
I substituted fish sauce for salted shrimp due to a shellfish allergy. To use salted shrimp, add 2 1/2 TB instead of 2 TB of fish sauce. I like making my own kkakdugi as it is less sweet and less salty than the store bought kind. Very refreshing.

ingredients

watercress

Korean watercress (minari)

powder bottle

Red pepper powder – look for ‘Product of Korea’

day 1

Day 1 of the kkakdugi

day 2

Day 2 old kimchi jars come in handy

 

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Challah Bread

Happy Holidays! Hope you had a lovely Christmas and are looking forward to the new year. What better way than to try out a new recipe like this one from William Sonoma on challah bread. I always think of the college students at the Claremont Colleges that sell this bread every Friday to raise funds for Darfur. So goooood.

If I knew how easy it was to make this bread, I would have made it sooner! This bread is great by itself or with mashed avocado on top with coffee. I just love the smell and taste of fresh baked bread.

Check out the full recipe on the hyperlink and I also included some notes below on what I learned/Googled along the way.

IMG_2017 (1)

  • Recipe makes 2 loaves.
  • No stand mixer is needed. I mixed everything with a wooden spoon. The recipe is written for both methods. Using a stand mixer will probably result in a smoother looking braid but I like the rustic look.
  • Active dry yeast dissolves in warm water and doesn’t need to foam although the recipe indicates it should.
  • Use fresh ingredients. To make this, I used ingredients that I bought the same day (eggs, flour, butter).
  • For butter to come to room temperature quicker, slice it and lay it out on a cutting board or plate.
  • The hardest part of making this is waiting for the bread to rise the first time (takes about 2 hours). Place the loaves in a warm room covered with a damp paper towel, cheesecloth, or plastic wrap and wait patiently (I kept peeking).
  • No rolling pin or pastry brush is needed. I used my hands to roll out the dough ropes to make the braid and used a spoon to apply the egg wash before going into the oven.
  • The recipe calls for a 4-threaded braid. I opted for a traditional 3-thread braid as a newbie, I wasn’t taking chances and over complicating things.
  • Experiment with add-ins like raisins or ground cinnamon. Next time, I’ll add poppy seeds on top. Enjoy!

steamed mussels in white wine sauce

As another birthday draws near, I was thinking about what I would tell my decade-younger self. One big piece of advice I would give myself is not to be afraid to fail by taking more risks. I wish I would have studied abroad and taught English in Asia before heading to graduate school. Why was I in such a rush to have my life figured out? I often tell my students that they’ll be working for the next 25+ years and delaying grad school or a ‘real job’ for a year or two won’t make significant impact in the long run. Funny how I’ve gained that perspective many years later having been in their shoes.

I can’t rewind myself back to my early 20’s, but having this food blog has challenged me to take more risks in cooking things I’m not familiar with like mussels. I was wondering the aisles of Whole Foods and came across some live mussels and thought about Chef Julie Yoon’s recipe for mussels in white wine. I was able to experiment on my lovely roommate and college friend for dinner as we were celebrating my friend’s birthday. Serve this simple, light, and satisfying dish with a toasted bagette slices or over spaghetti. Btw, Chef Julie’s how-to video was helpful in walking me through the process.

mussels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steamed Mussels in White Wine Sauce
adapted from Chef Julie Yoon’s blog
serves 4

2.5 lbs live mussels (see notes below on storing these)
3 TB unsalted butter, divided
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion or 1/2 large onion diced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 lemon
3 roma tomatoes or 2 medium tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
salt and pepper

1. Clean the mussels under cold running water in the sink. Remove beards by slicing them with a paring knife. For ones that are slightly open, gently tap the hinge of the mussel on your cutting board so they close. If it doesn’t, discard. Should take about 15 minutes.
2. In a large pot on medium heat, add 1 TB of butter. Once melted, add your onions and garlic until cooked through (about 2 minutes). Add chicken broth and wine; bring mixture to a boil and add mussels. Cover with a lid.
3. Let the mussels simmer for about 5 minutes (set a timer) and shake in the middle for even cooking. At the end of 5 minutes, check to see that the mussels have opened. Turn off the heat and add parsley, tomatoes, and remaining 2 TB of butter. Gently toss to make sure the butter melts.
4. Toss any mussels that didn’t open. Squeeze half the lemon over the mussels and serve over pasta or with crusty bread.

Note: I bought my mussels 2 days before cooking them. To keep them fresh, I kept them in the mesh bags they came in and placed them in a colander in the fridge with bags of ice. Make sure to place a Pyrex or some kind of plate to catch the melting ice. I also covered the colander with a wet paper towel and re-wet it each morning. I know it sounds complicated but I had to keep them alive before serving for optimal flavor =) I wouldn’t recommend freezing them. 

white sangria

Hope you had a lovely weekend spent with your families celebrating Mother’s Day. Like many people (including my parents’ pastor who mentioned it in his sermon) was touched by NBA superstar, Kevin Durant’s MVP acceptance speech. I admit I got choked up hearing him thank his mom. What a great reminder to vocalize our appreciation for our loved ones, moms who are unsung heroes.

I had planned on making lasagna for my mom and pairing it with a nice red wine but because of the warm weather (it’s going to be 100 later this week, here in Los Angeles), white sangria would be the refreshing choice. Scored this $4.99 white wine fruity blend from Trader Joe’s (Pancake Cellars Big Day White 2012) which is a decent wine for this price and great in sangria since it has green apple notes (photo credit). If you’re in the mood for a red sangria, here’s an easy recipe I featured last year. I also recommend this strawberry agua fresca that would go well with a spicy Asian or Mexican dish.

good white ed

 

sangria rr recipe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


white sangria
(adapted from foodnetwork.com)
serves 6
1 green apple, sliced in wedges
1 lemon, half moon slices
1 lime, half moon slices
1 cup, strawberries, quartered
3 TB sugar
1 bottle (750ml) of dry white wine (chardonnay and riesling are great too)
1 pint of raspberries
2 cups (approx) of soda water

Pour a half bottle of wine in a pitcher and add 3 TB of sugar. Stir and let it sit for 5 minutes or until the sugar is dissolved. Add the fruit except the raspberries and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serve with ice cubes, raspberries, and a splash of soda water.

Included in the dinner spread was lasagna and strawberry-basil shortcakes (ready for a magazine photo op) made by my sister (click here for the recipe). Not pictured: galbi and kale, brussel sprout, cranberry salad). I’ll share the bolognese sauce recipe once the weather cools down.

M day collage

 

Dr. O’s Signature Chicken Pasta

My graduate program held an end-of-the-year reception for graduates and family members and it was the job of the 1st and 2nd year grad students that volunteered were suckered into preparing food and decorations for 250. This is dinner mind you. This was my first experience in catering and I LOVED it!

My faculty member, Dr. O, taught us how to make this wonderfully simple and addicting pasta dish that I still make to this day (it’s been 6 years since I first made this). The warm, nutty flavor comes from toasting the pine nuts, which are pricey but a little bit goes a long way.

It’s also great for feeding a crowd and a lunch idea (tastes great at room temperature).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. O’s Chicken Pasta
Serves 6-8
4 skinless boneless chicken breasts, cooked and chopped into strips
1 jar (8.5 oz) of sun-dried tomatoes, julienned (Trader Joe’s)
1 cup of basil
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
¼ cup pine nuts
1/8 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 package of tortellini pasta
Salt and pepper to season

  1. Boil pasta until al dente.
  2. Drain sun-dried tomatoes and set aside the oil from the jar of sun-dried tomatoes.
  3. Take stems off basil and chop into thin strips.
  4. Toast pine nuts on a baking sheet in the oven at 250F for about 5 minutes or when they brown (keep a close eye as they can easily burn).
  5. Mix pasta, tomatoes, basil, cheese, chicken, and pine nuts into a large mixing bowl.
  6. Pour 1/8 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup oil from sun-dried tomatoes, and minced garlic onto a pan over medium low heat until it boils. Immediately pour over pasta mixture and mix thoroughly.
  7. Season with salt and pepper accordingly.
  8. Serve and enjoy! Dish can be served at room temperature or warm.

I also recommend the sausage and veggie pasta for a meatier dish. For this Mother’s Day, I’ll be making lasagna for the first time (wish me luck!).

It was a big hit at my office potluck this past January. Check out the delectable spread.

work potluck jan 2014

 

 

kimchi quesadilla

I love Korean BBQ places but often the kimchi is disappointing. I dunno why they focus on all the other banchans (side dishes) and meat while neglecting quality kimchi. What ups the flavor quality and experience for me is grilling it to get that nice caramelized taste.

I made some kimchi quesadillas this week as my roommate brought her mom’s homemade kimchi to share. Made with organic, locally grown napa cabbage, it’s really good and even better when grilled and combined w/cheese. Check out my easy recipe for making kimchi quesadillas below. Love me some kimchi and 3-ingredient dishes!

1 collage kimchi quesadilla

kimchi quesadilla (serves 2)
1/2 cup of kimchi (napa cabbage, ripened), chopped
2 tortillas (I used whole wheat tortillas)
1 cup of shredded cheese
pico de gallo to serve (optional)

Place a frying pan on medium heat and add 1 tsp of vegetable oil and kimchi. Pan fry until browned (in my picture, it looks burned but it’s not) and set aside.

Adjust stove heat to medium low and place a tortilla and sprinkle a handful of cheese evenly on half the tortilla. Scatter half the kimchi on top of the cheese. Place another handful of cheese over the kimchi layer and fold over. Brown both sides of the tortilla or until the cheese is all melted. Place quesadilla on a cutting board; should rest for a few minutes. Slice into 4 pieces and repeat the same process for the 2nd quesadilla. Enjoy w/some pico de gallo.

Try this and tell me what you think! Check out my other Asian fusion recipes like the kimchi mac and cheese, korean tacos, or bulgogi pizza. I also love this blog that features more Asian fusion recipes.

salted brown butter rice crispy treats

I was inspired to make these when my friend MC was raving about how easy and addicting these are. I hit up my local Fresh & Easy market to grab the two missing ingredients (this recipe has a whopping total of 3, sans salt, everyone should have salt at home, common now). The clerk there was so sweet as he was telling me all the variations of rice crispy treats that his wife makes for him. Chocolate drizzle, melted chocolate, mixed nuts, Rice Chex... all the endless varieties. What struck me about this brief interaction (with a total stranger) is I sensed how much he loved and appreciated his wife. Something as simple as a 3-ingredient sweet treat will do that, make you feel someone’s love.

Enough of the sappy talk, haha. Back to business. I love how this recipe doesn’t require you to turn on the oven. All you need is the stove top, medium pot, wooden spoon, and baking pan.

rice krispy treats brown butter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

salted brown butter rice crispy treat (adapted from smittenkitchen blog)

1 stick of unsalted butter (equivalent to 1/2 cup) + 1 TB for the baking pan
10 oz. marshmallows (big or small ones are both good)
1/4 tsp of coarse sea salt (I like Morton’s)
6 1/2 cups of Rice Krispies cereal (I may have added another handful–eyeball it)

Butter a baking pan or sheet as the finished treat will cool on here. I recommend using parchment paper to avoid a sticky mess in cleaning up.

In a medium pot, melt butter on medium-low heat until it starting foaming and starts looking golden. Stir so it doesn’t burn. The trick is to get to the amber color but doesn’t burn; should have a nutty aroma. Adjust to the lowest possible heat.

Add 10 oz of marshmallows into the pot and stir with the melted butter. Should dissolve and the browned bits should be evident on the white puffs of sugar. Once everything is melted, add your rice crispy cereal (I measure this all out beforehand so it’s quick) and salt. Stir/mix until everything is incorporated and pour out into your buttered baking pan.

Let it cool before you cut it into squares and enjoy. I tried these 2 days after I made them and they were still crispy and not stale. Hey, not bad, huh? I know because my coworkers didn’t devour them the first day.