Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Bertucci's (Wednesday, 3/31/10)

My nephews, my sisters, my mom, and I went to Bertucci's tonight. It's the first time I've been there and it's not bad for a chain restaurant. I got the meatballs & spaghetti in pomodoro sauce and a caesar salad (with anchovies).

Cheese & crackers (Tuesday 3/3/10)

At my mom's house we had crackers, cheese, salami, pistachios, Cadbury chocolate mini eggs, & wine.

Fondue (Monday 3/29/10)

I'm on a quick Spring Break visit to family. At my sister's house we had fondue, bread, vegetables, and wine.

For dessert we had ice cream mochi:

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Spaghetti Carbonara (Saturday, March 27, 2010)

I asked Ethan to make my favorite, Spaghetti Carbonara.  He actually made it with rotini pasta and pancetta.  When I eat this dish, I really don't know when to stop just have to tell me that I'm full, otherwise, I'll keep eating until it's all gone! I'll suffer the consequences later - it's totally worth it!

Ippudo (Friday, March 26, 2010)

Tonight we ate at Ippudo.  Check out my blog posting on my other Blog, Out to Eat.

Guchujong pork (Thursday 3/25/10)

I defrosted some pork roast (we get a big pork roast from Costco and divide it up to make 4 different dishes) and made a guchujong pork dish. I based it a bit on what I remembered putting into guchujong chicken a couple of weeks ago, but no potatoes and more of a braise than a stew.

The main flavors in the dish are guchujong (Korean chili paste), tahini (sesame paste), sesame seed oil, and ginger. A bit more subtle are soy, Korean chili pepper, and garlic.

One of my regular banchan is grated daikon with a little salt and mirin. For some reason, tonight I unthinkingly put in soy sauce (instead of salt) and experimented with using Korean malt syrup instead of mirin. Both are mistakes... the daikon needs light flavors that bring out its taste, not heavier flavors that mask it. Plus the soy gave it an unappetizing brown color.

The daikon is at "9 o'clock" below. Going clockwise are radish kimchi (one of my favorites), geem, Korean zucchini, and ojingo (dried squid in guchujong).

Janet's coworker Julie sent her home with a huge slice of chocolate cake. It was great! The recipe comes from Ina Garten (aka the Barefoot Contessa) and Janet has sworn to try making it herself.

Leftover sujube (Wednesday 3/24/10)

We had leftover sujube (torn noodle soup). I picked out the leftover noodles (which went from mediocre to soggy flakes of lead) and made a new batch of noodles.

To go along with the leftover soup, I tried out a new banchan:  Soy-Sweetened Lotus Root. We had a dish like this at a friends-of-friends house around Christmas, and I had tried a couple of times to recreate it (with mixed success). There is a recipe for the dish in our most recent Korean cookbook acquisition, The Complete Book of Korean Cooking (reviewed by me here), so I decided to give it a shot.

  • The recipe is to slice a lotus root into 1/4" slices. I used pre-sliced packaged root, but if it is fresh the slices should be dipped into acidulated water to keep them from browning. 
  • The root slices are then put in a pot and covered with water. Soy sauce is added (about 1/4 c. per 3/4 lb of root) and boiled for 20 minutes.  

  • 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar and 3 tablespoons of maple syrup are added and the boil is lowered to a simmer for another 30 minutes. I suspect the maple syrup is a substitution for Korean malt syrup (which we have), but we actually have more maple syrup on hand then we know what to do with, so I kept the substitution. I like the resulting taste, so we'll keep maple syrup in our version of the recipe.
  • The root is drained, coated with 2 teaspoons of toasted sesame seed oil, and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds.
We loved how the recipe turned out, so it is definitely a keeper!

Janet sliced jicima to which we added a little rice wine vinegar, mirin, and Korean chili pepper. Janet had a bite and accidentally had a piece go down the wrong pipe. It may have been having a piece stuck in her throat, but it felt a little like she was having an allergic reaction to the jicima (and people do have reactions to it--the plant is in the nightshade family) so Janet steered clear of the dish for the rest of the night.

I steamed some asian eggplant for gaji namul.

We added some leftover mixed grain rice, geem (seaweed sheets), and kimchi and had a meal.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Pasta with sausage (Tuesday March 23, 2010)

Everyone's heard of chocolate covered strawberries?  For dessert we decided to experiment with strawberry covered (Easter) chocolate:

It turns out there's a reason this hadn't been invented.

Kimchi Sujube (Monday March 22, 2010)

The great thing about having roast chicken on Sunday night is that I have a good excuse to use the leftovers to make Kimchi Sujube on Monday night.

I fried a couple of eggs to have on top of our bowls of soup. 

The noodle dough wasn't a stretchy as the last time I made this, but I'm not sure what I did differently.  Perhaps it was a bit dry?

Roasted Chicken (Sunday, March 21, 2010)

Roast Chicken is something I've been trying to "master" for several attempts now and I have to say that tonight was my favorite so far.  I finally got crispy skin and a golden color.  On all of my previous attempts, I've used fresh herbs inside and out and used olive oil.  I never quite got much flavor from the fresh herbs, but this time I used Montreal Steak Seasoning and melted butter.  I separated the skin from the meat like I read in other recipes, and rubbed the butter on top of the skin and underneath.   Since I used up the last of the butter (I think it was only a couple tablespoons), I rubbed a little bit of olive oil on the chicken as well.

This was a bigger chicken than my previous ones so I wasn't entirely sure about the timing.  I think it roasted for about 2 hours, maybe less.

Yay, montreal steak seasoning.  This was a spice my friend Sarah suggested we use on roasted potatoes - it's so good!

Kale with garlic

We also had wild rice, but I forgot to add that to my plate for this photo

It's Easter time and the season for chocolate eggs.  We bought a bag of Cadbury chocolate mini eggs last weekend and went through them in abou a day.  When we went to Target this morning we didn't see the Cadbury eggs so we bought Hersey's milk chocolate eggs instead.  Knowing that the chocolate eggs only come out once a year, we thought we'd stock up...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sandwiched and Seven's Turkish Grill (Saturday, March 20, 2010)

I started the beautiful sunny day with Yoga, brunch at the Whitney Museum and a facial at Mario Badescu with Yumi.  A little belated birthday celebration.

Danny Meyer opened up a temporary cafe at the Whitney called Sandwiched.  It's been getting a lot of press from the time they opened and since we were only a couple blocks away, Yumi and I just had to check this out.  I ordered the "Applewood-Smoked Turkey & Gouda" and Yumi ordered the "Line-Caught Albacore Tuna".  My sandwich was definitely good and hearty - no complaints, but didn't wow me.  Yumi seemed a bit more excited about her sandwich.  She said there was a hint of lemon in her tuna which she liked.

Ethan and I met up in the Upper West Side to watch Avatar so we grabbed an impromptu dinner at a Turkish restaurant called Seven's Turkish Grill.   It was a surprisingly good meal.  I probably wouldn't go out of my way to come back here, but it was definitely satisfying and tasty.  Ethan and I ended up ordering the same thing...I've been on a bit of a sandwich kick.  We ordered the "Special Beyti Kebab" which was ground lamb with garlic, hot pepper, parsley kebab wrapped in lavash bread, served with their special sauce.

Leftovers Reinvented (Friday, March 19, 2010)

Since our friends Nami and Jonathan have been renovating their kitchen, we were lucky enough to have them over for dinner a couple nights this week.  What a treat for us! What a joy to have a two year old at the dinner table.  Have you ever watched a 2 year old eat?  I couldn't keep my eyes off of her, especially while two fisting the dried seaweed.

Ethan was very creative in combining some leftovers into entirely new dishes.  

Banchan with fried tofu and leftover chicken

Fried Mixed-Grain Rice with Steak, Asparagus, Scallions, and Gingko Nuts

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Fridge...So Much Food!

I was just amazed at how full our refrigerator was.  I do like a full fridge...full of options!  Perhaps it's intriguing to peer into someone else's fridge or just plain disgusting.

Regardless, here's a peek!

Chicken and Potatoes (Thursday, March 18, 2010)

We had our friend Nami and her 2 year old daughter Mio over for dinner.  I forgot to take photos of the finished dish, but here are some as Ethan was preparing the meal.  He modified Jamie Oliver's Crispy and Sticky Chicken Thighs with Squashed New Potatoes and Tomatoes.  This is a great dish!

Along with the chicken we had skillet asparagus from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone.

We started off with some fresh mozzarella and tomatoes:

Preparing the chicken:

More Magnolia's cupcakes

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Steak (Wednesday, March 17, 2010)

For dinner, Ethan picked up some food at Stew Leonards.  An interesting grocery store, that's not your typical market.  It takes you on one path that winds through the entire store.  You basically follow this path from beginning to end.  The produce here always looks so amazingly vibrant in color, it just makes you want to buy everything!  It was a treat to eat strawberries that not only smelled as strawberries should, but the flavor was heaven!  I'm definitely looking forward to the summer full of fresh fruit!
Very yummy grapes and strawberries...the strawberries were amazing!

Salad with grapefruit

Tomatoes and fresh mozzarella

Ciabatta Bread

Dry-Aged T-Bone Steak

For dessert, I picked up Magnolia's cupcakes at Grand Central...yes, they just opened up there and how convenient.  We can now have magnolia's cupcakes every night for dessert ; ) I bought  chocolate with chocolate frosting and red velvet. 


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Ramen noodles (Tuesday March 16, 2010)

I was working late helping a friend tear out his kitchen floor, so we didn't have a real meal. Janet had a package of ramen noodles with an egg on top for dinner and when I got home I had the same... plus lots of kimchi!

Stir-fried Pork Belly & Kimchi (Monday Mar 15, 2010)

After our trip the to the H&Y Korean supermarket, we were all stocked up for making more Korean food.

I've been wanting to try making gingko nuts, so I made a simple ban chan of them:

I had read that they should be sauteed in a bit of oil until their shells crack. Crack is an understatement--I'd say, "explode like giant popcorn kernels." I'll have to figure out another method of making these. Or at least use a lid on the skillet.

Our other ban chan were napa cabbage kimchi, gim (seaweed sheets), and radish kimchi (which is my favorite kimchi):

The baby bok choy at H&Y were on sale ($0.99/lb) so I made a dish of them that is more Chinese than Korean. (In college I was a line cook in a Chinese restaurant):

Our main dish was stir-fried pork belly with onions and kimchi. I made a mixed-grain rice to go along with it. The rice included brown rice, white rice, wild rice, lentils, and a few other assorted grains. Bags of mixed-grain rice can be purchased at the Korean supermarket, but I just make my own. I'm pretty impressed with Korean cuisine that it maintains a whole grain tradition (even though white rice is much more commonly eaten).

As usual, we ate it all!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Leftovers (March 14, 2010)

We had quite a variety of leftovers: pork with bacon, chicken burrito, yellow rice, black beans, baked rigatoni, spinach with parmesan...and carrot cake for dessert.



Korean Grocery Store - H&Y Market (March 14, 2010)

Daylight Savings...Daylight Savings...I kept trying to remind myself, but of course I forgot until I woke up at 10:30 this morning.  Once we got moving, we took a trip to H&Y Mart (Korean grocery store) in New Jersey - just over the George Washington Bridge.  I love these trips, since we stock up on so much Korean food and fresh produce.

Ginormous Fuji Apples

My favorite ramen noodles (Shin Ramyun)

Gochujang...lots and lots of gochujang...and soybean paste

H&Y Mart (map)
1 Remsen Place
Ridgefield, NJ 07657