Wild Mushroom Jook (Korean Risotto)

March 9, 2014 § Leave a comment

I made this in November 2012—its a good dish to eat during chilly winter months….


Tender Squash, Juicy and Sweet Cucumbers

August 21, 2013 § 1 Comment

Zucchini from my mom’s garden is one of the things I miss the most.  She grows the Korean variety (surprise, surprise).  So you can probably imagine my excitement when someone gave me some squash from their garden!  Oh—yes, they were just as tender cutting through them as I remembered!  There is NOTHING that comes close to homegrown veggies.

I *mandolined* the cucumbers to make the “salted cucumbers” that we always order extra on our bagels at Beauty’s Bagel in Oakland, mentioned here.  Since we don’t eat a lot of sandwiches at home, I eventually morphed it into a Korean side dish (post will come later).

I made this pasta dish the day I received these beauties….look how tender and juicy they look!

Ingredients:  avocado oil, green & yellow squash, pan-roasted garlic, clams & their juice, saffron, crushed red pepper, white wine, sea salt, butter, Parmigiano-Reggiano

Malaysian Rice Salad

August 12, 2013 § 3 Comments

I’ve been always interested in Southeast Asian foods, but never took the time to learn how to make anything.  I think the food is very sophisticated the way certain herbs are used with very French-like sauces and still be considered deeply-rooted Asian food.  I find the combination of Asian and European-influenced foods quite fascinating.  I should point out here that I am NOT one of those that likes exotic food, though—sashimi is about as exotic as it gets for me as long as it is not moving on the plate!

I made this DE-licious Grilled Vegetable and Rice Salad with Fish-Sauce Vinaigrette from bon appétit magazine.  I deviated from the recipe:

  1. I couldn’t find the red chilies, so everything ended up being green for me instead of green with specks of red.
  2. I also didn’t have any eggplant, which was a huge bummer, because we ended up using it for another dish the previous night.
  3. Fresh okra was substituted for frozen okra because there weren’t any good fresh ones at the time I went grocery shopping.
  4. The last thing is that I didn’t grill the corn on an open fire.  Instead, I baked the corn in the husk in the oven at 350 °F, directly on the oven rack, for 30 min.

Probably change #3 and 4 were fine, but the next time I make this, I will definitely get those red chilies and get extra eggplant.

I was a little hesitant to buy the fish sauce, but read the ingredient list and hoped that it was true.  The fish-sauce vinaigrette sounds pretty disgusting, and seemed like it would be once I opened that bottle of fish sauce!  Luckily my preconceptions were completely wrong—the sauce was SO delicious and even more so when the dish all came together.


In hindsight, I think adding fresh tomatoes will make this dish even more lively and tastier (I am on a tomato kick right now—peak season for sweet tomatoes!  Post about this to come soon!).

Sablés: Classic, Espresso Dark Chocolate and World Peace

August 9, 2013 § 1 Comment

These are the Valentine’s Day cookies I made for 2013 (I know, this posting is super late!).  All the recipes are from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking book. Unfortunately, my World Peace cookies did not turn out perfectly.  It was most likely due to the type of cocoa powder I used…..here’s what these World Peace Cookies should have looked like…


August 6, 2013 § 8 Comments

My housemate makes the BEST japchae (our moms don’t count, though *^^*).  This is a relatively simple dish, but takes a LOT of preparation and timing is crucial.  He washed and prepped everything from start to finish by himself.  I’m usually his sous chef for this dish, but I was out with a friend at the time! :p

Here’s how he makes it:


  • All the veggies and fish cake should be sliced to similar sizes. Set these aside.
  • Slice the beef lengthwise to bite-size pieces, so that they are somewhat similar to the veggies.  Add sliced garlic, soy sauce and sesame oil.  Mix well.  Set aside.


  • Bring a pot of water to a vigorous boil and drop in the sweet potato starch noodles (I’ve heard people call them “glassy” noodles) – follow cooking time on the package.
  • Drain the noodles and place in a large bowl.
  • Add sesame oil right away to coat the noodles.  This not only gives the noodles flavor, but it will also prevent it from sticking.
  • Add soy sauce just before adding to the wok, otherwise, the noodles will soak it all up and will get too plump (imagine overcooking pasta).


  • Heat a wok or large pan, place a generous amount of high heat oil (canola, safflower, grapeseed, vegetable) to sauté the ingredients.
  • The ingredients should be added in the following order:  carrots, onions, beef, fish cake, green onions, sweet potato starch noodles (add soy sauce to noodles at this time, before adding to the wok), mushrooms, baby kale, spinach.  Each layer should be salted a little and sautéed before adding the next ingredient.
  • Add some sugar at the end for a little sweetness.
  • Mix everything really well.



  • One can omit the fish cake and beef to make this a vegetarian dish.
  • Add any vegetable you want.  We typically use carrots, onions, mushrooms, green onions and spinach.
  • I recommend using wood ear, shitake and/or oyster mushrooms.  Avoid using crimini and button mushrooms—I don’t think the texture and taste would be right, BUT, to each his own, right?
  • We used baby spinach and baby kale for this one, but just remember that it takes longer to cook the baby kale.
  • Toasted sesame seeds are also optional — it can look a little “messy” if you use it, though, so it has been omitted here.
  • To make it spicy, you can add any of the following or any combination thereof:  spicy peppers, red pepper powder, spicy pepper oil.

NOTE:  You probably noticed that I have no specific amounts listed and this was not to be annoying, but I genuinely don’t know how much.  We just “add enough to make it taste good”.  The key is to taste the food at various stages to suit your taste buds and to follow your intuition.  That’s typically the answer one would get from a Korean mother. *^^*


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Pancetta, Peas, Caramelized Garlic & Saffron Tagliatelle in White Wine Sauce

August 5, 2013 § Leave a comment

The title pretty much says it all, except that the garlic was a cheater’s version of slow-roasted garlic.  Basically, on low heat, I placed garlic in a lot of extra virgin olive oil for several minutes.  Melissa Clark from the New York Times Dining section has a short video on how to do this.  I’m sure I’m breaking all kinds of rules when I make pasta and Italians might be horrified by my methods, but it was still tasty and my housemate asked for seconds! 🙂

Grilled Cheese w/o the Cheese!

August 3, 2013 § 4 Comments

This was super simple and packed a punch in the taste department.  Since the roomie is not as fond of grilled cheese sandwiches like I am AND he was craving his mom’s sandwich (grilled bread, eggs, tomatoes), I put my own spin on it.

I used anchovy oil and butter to grill the bread slices; placed farm fresh eggs, slices of tomato and cucumbers inside—THAT’S IT.  I served it with a side of half of an avocado and grilled brussels sprouts (anchovy fillets, fresh garlic, crushed red pepper, salt, fresh cracked black pepper).

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