Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Recipe: Ddukbokki or Labokki

Easy Medium Hard
Cook Time: 20 min

As you may already know, I love ddukbokki.  There are so many ways to modify this dish and I'm still trying to perfect my own... but here's a standard version for now.  (One thing to note is that this dish is best served hot and does not taste good reheated.

1. Base soup is important!  Boil 2 cups of water, 1 tablespoon minced garlic, 3 pieces of dashima (aka kombu in Japanese) for 5 minutes.

2. Remove the dashima.  Stir in 5 tablespoons of gochujang (Korean chili paste), 1 tablespoon gochugaru (Korean chili flakes), 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and 1 tablespoons sugar.
3. Add sliced onion and carrots.  Optional additions: Hard boiled egg, mushrooms, odeng (fish cakes), pork, dumplings, and/or SPAM!!

3. Add dduk (rice cakes) and green onions.

4. While you cook the dduk (rick cake), boil a pot of water and cook a package of lamyun (instant noodles) (just the noodles! Don't add the powder sauce!)
5. Drain and add to ddukbokki -- Now you have La-bokki!
6. Eat and Be Happy!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Recipe: Miyuk Gook (Kelp Soup)

Easy Medium Hard
Cook Time: 20 min

Recently I caught some wicked cold and all I wanted to eat was some 'miyuk gook' (kelp soup). Koreans have long believed the nutritional benefits of kelp.  It is tradition for women to eat this soup after giving birth bc it is so rich in nutrients.  I never before bothered to ask what nutrients, but apparently it's really high in iron and antioxidants and prevent cancers etc.  Time and time again, I am astounded that ours ancestors knew this kind of stuff before there were science labs etc etc.  I don't get it ... but it's proven over time - so eat kelp.  It's good for you.  And this soup is so delicious!

1. Rehydrate dry kelp in water to yield 1-2 cups.
2. Drain kelp (save 3 cups of water). 
3. Sauté 1 medium garlic, minced garlic, and beef chunks / mussels in 2 tablespoon sesame oil & 1 tablespoon soy sauce.  (I had cubed ham so I threw it in and it was SO good!)
4. Add kelp and sauté a few more minutes.

5. Add kelp water until mixture is fully covered.
6. Lightly boil for 10+ minutes.
7. Eat & Be (Healthy) Happy!

Friday, September 23, 2011

NYC: Cafe Habana

Cafe Habana
17 Prince St (& Elizabeth St)
Very Casual
Recommend: Grilled Mexican Corn via Take-Out

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

NYC: Num Pang

Num Pang (Midtown)
140 e41st St (bw 3rd & Lex)

Very Casual
Recommend: Pulled Pork or Boneless Spare Ribs

Monday, September 19, 2011

Recipe: Scallop & Pea Linguini

Easy Medium Hard
Cook Time: 30 min

I tore this recipe out of the Real Simple magazine and adapted it to my liking using some gourmet ingredients from Grand Central Market.  Hope you like it!

1. Sear scallops about 3 mins on each side - remove from pan.
2. Cook fresh pasta.
3. Blanch fresh peas
4. Toast panko crumbs mixed with lemon zest, salt, pepper, olive oil in 350 degree oven.
5. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in pan where scallops were seared.  Scrape bits of scallop juice left on pan.  (IMPORTANT: You must keep stirring the butter or else it'll burn!)
6. Add pasta, peas, scallops, and chopped fresh tarragon
7. Plate and sprinkle panko.
8. Eat & Be Happy!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Drawing in the Park

Today we learned how to draw with charcoal in Central Park with Adrienne from The Art Studio NY.  I'm terrible at drawing, but the instructor helped us to embrace our inner artists haha. 
 Happy Birthday, Nikko!


Friday, September 16, 2011

Recipe: Steak Sandwich

Easy Medium Hard
Cook Time: 20 min

I was craving for some steak today, so I stopped by the grocery store after work and saw flank steak and decided to make a steak sandwich.  Good choice! 
Tip: Good bread is key to a good sandwich.
Tip: Don't overcook the steak!
Steak Marinade
1. Marinade flank steak for about 10-15 minutes
  • 1/4 cup soysauce
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar (can use brown sugar or palm sugar too)
  • 1/2 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • Sprinkle of black pepper
  • Squirt of sriracha hot sauce (if you want a kick)

 2. Toast halved baguettes with olive oil or butter

3. Grill marinaded steaks on pan
4. Remove from heat and let rest on cutting board
5. Sauteed onions and mushrooms (add green or red peppers if you have them) in same pan

6. Assemble sandwich with leafy green and tomatoes
7. Eat and Be Happy!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Seriously Delicious Meatball Spaghetti

Easy Medium Hard
Cook Time: 30 min

Something about rainy days just makes you want something warm and hearty.  Don't you agree?  For my current project, I sit in a little conference room with 3 other girls - all who love to cook and/or eat - so brainstorming for dinner options is always fun and easy.  So when Ashley mentioned meatballs, I just knew that's what was gonna be for dinner :)

My Tomato Sauce (6 big servings)
1. Cook minced garlic, onions, and mushrooms in olive oil.
2. Add two big cans of diced tomatoes.
3. Add salt, pepper, pinch of sugar, and dried herbs (I use Herbes de Provence, mostly because I'm lazy).
4. Simmer for at least 15 minutes.  Longer = More flavor.  Just make sure you're not drying it out.

My Meatballs
1. Soak 1/2 cup breadcrumbs + 1/2 cup milk in big bowl.
2. Add chopped up (or minced in food processor) onions into teeny tiny pieces. (VERY important, or else they will create crevices and crack open your meatballs - and you will be sad).
3. Add chopped fresh parsley and other herbs if you want.
4. MY SECRET: Add meat of 6 spicy pork sausages (removed from cases, of course).
5. Add about same amount of ground beef.
6. ROUGHLY mix together with your hands - but DO NOT over mix.  (Or else, your meatballs will not be like rubbery tennis balls - and you will be sad).
7. Make into little balls.  (Note: Smaller meatballs are easier to eat and faster to cook)

All Together Now!
1. Fry meatballs in pan.
2. Add to sauce.
3. Cook together for a few minutes.
4. Boil pasta.
5. Add sauce + meatballs to pasta.
6. Eat & Be Happy!!!

Mishi's Note: I don't usually really go bonkers over anything I cook.  I don't know why this is, but it is.  I think I like feeding other people more than I like feeding myself.  But these meatballs -- were so delicious!  I was eating with Jason and Teresa and I said out loud, "MAN these are good."  So, go make some and tell me how yours turned out!  :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Brooklyn: Pies & Thighs

Pies & Thighs
166 s4th St (Driggs St)
Very Casual
Recommend: Fried Chicken!!!

Didn't have enough room in our bellies for any pies, but this is HANDS DOWN the best fried chicken we've ever had!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Brooklyn: Forcella Pizza

485 Lorimer St (near Grand St)
Recommend: Montanara (Fried & Baked Pizza)

I read about Forcella on Tasting Table and added it to my 'Must Eat List'.  But you know, I like pizza.  I can't say, I L-O-V-E pizza, but y'know, I like it.  So, it was on my list, but not #1.  But one day, Mark and I were walking to Key Foods supermarket on Grand St and I saw the little awning and recognized the pizza shop name.  We thought, hey why not.  And boy ... lemme tell you, this pizza is way beyond 'hey why not' pizza.
Their oven was built and brought over from Naples and assembled by the head pizza maker man who's won like world championships in pizza-making.  That is serious pizza skills.  And you can taste it!

I would highly recommend that you dine in for this pizza.  It's super thin crust will probably get really soggy if you get it delivered.  We tried 3 different kinds.  Since I'm not fluent in Italian, I will give you the simple ignorant American names for them: Meat Lover, Vegetarian, and Fried Freaking Fantastic Margherita.  This last one was so good I went the extra mile to even get the right Italian name for you: montanara.

If you're in Williamsburg near the Lorimer stop, seriously, go here.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Oh Canada, Oh Canada!

Since Rino and Jeff were getting married in Toronto, we decided to take a little road trip. OH, what a great idea it was! Mark is really the only person in this entire world that I wouldn't hesitate (0%) jumping in a car for an 8hr drive. Think about that... I mean, I have friends I would do it with - no doubt - but 0% hesitation? Who's that in your life? Anyway, we packed our bags and drove through NYC, NJ, and the humungous state of NY.

(Sorry, that's all in Japanese... I'm using Mark's computer haha)

We didn't really have an itinerary, so we googled Indian reservations along the way but couldn't find one close enough to visit. And then Mark said something genius... 'Weren't Buffalo Wings invented in Buffalo, NY?' Genius. So, we headed to Anchor Bar where buffalos were invented in 1964. The story goes that the son of the bar asked his mom to cook up something late at night for his friends who had stopped by the bar - so she fried up some leftover chicken wings (which at the time, I guess were not meant for eating, but rather thrown into stocks), smothered them with some sauce, and a global sensation was born.
I'm sad to say that they were ... not delicious. They were probably the ... oh, I feel bad saying this ... worst wings I've ever had. The sauce was great, butthe chicken was completely dried out and parts were impossible to even chew. Maybe it was just our batch - who knows. In either case, it was a really fun experience :)
We still had 4 hours to go, so we hit the road. We think it may have been illegal to drive a U.S. car rental into Canada without having told them in advance... so, it was nice that we didn't get detained at the border. Haha. Hello, Canada!
The CN Tower
We got into Canada pretty late, so dim sum at Rol San for brunch in Chinatown was another fantastic Mr.MC idea! I can't believe I'm saying this, but it was better than my favorite place in NYC - Jing Fong! Everything was made fresh and relatively healthy (not too oily). Delicious!
Rol San | 323 Spadina Ave | Toronto, ON M5T 2E9

After brunch, we walked around Chinatown and discovered sugarcane juice. The simple extraction process was fascinating to watch! It didn't taste as sweet as I thought - but very refreshing.

We went shopping (did you know that Club Monaco is a Canadian brand?) and then got ready for the wedding. A ferry took us to a special exclusive island where the ceremony and reception was held. Beautiful and so special!
The Ferry Ride
Rino & Jeff
Dock of Reception Hall
Mark's ASIJ (American School in Japan) Friends
After a night of making new friends and dancing, we stopped by the wedding brunch and then headed to Niagara Falls! Since I can't even remember the last time I was here with my family, it was breathtaking how enormous and strong the falls were. It was incredible. It always amazes me, the fantastic power and unmatched beauty of nature ... and the very fine line between the two characteristics.
Canadian "Horeseshoe" Falls
Aerial View (umm from a website)
We learned that the falls were created by glaciers melting after the Ice Age and erode 1 year each year. It gushes 600,000 gallons of water per SECOND. Thirsty, anyone?

Before heading back to NYC, we had lunch at "Elements on the Falls" - a fancy restaurant overlooking the Niagara Falls. A little pricey, but really worth the window view of the falls!
Spinach artichoke dip - my favorite appetizer!

Mark is a serious trooper. I don't know anyone like him. I think I drove like 10% of the entire trip... and was falling asleep for 50% of that 10%. God bless this man! We ended up driving a different route back - through some small towns in the countryside, which was beautiful and lush with green pastures and lots of cow dung haha. We were slowly driving through another sleepy town called Mount Morris, when we spotted this cute little Italian restaurant: Questa Lasagna!

Questa Lasagna | 55 Main St | Mt Morris, NY

The head chef was originally from Brooklyn - and man, the homemade pasta in the lasagna and the amazing tomato sauce on the fried eggplants... Finger lickin' good!

Amazing food - Amazing service!

Sorry! We at all the lasagna before we took the picture!!

What an amazing weekend! I'm so glad we got to take this little road trip. After traveling by myself this summer, it was really fun to share one more adventure with Mr.MC before he heads to London. Heehee. I feel so lucky and so happy!! I heart you Mr.MC!