Red, Hot Bubbling Cauldron of Mandu Jungol - Gonjiam


Spicy, red and hot? I am so there. And that is exactly what I'll get when I order mandu jungol at a hole in the wall called Gonjiam. The waitress brings out a vessel filled to the brim with generous dumplings, zucchini, mushroom, scallion, and udon noodle. Then it is placed atop one of those mini gas range thing and kept bubbling and hot. It is so damn good. It makes my mouth water just to look at that picture.

First two times I had mandu jungol there it was pretty spicy. I rememebr Boy and I finishing a whole pitcher of water while trying to finish our own little pot. But the third time I only drank a glass of water. Hmmm, I hope it's spicier next time I go back. It is quite refreshing in a sweating, runny nose sort of way, sending hot spicy broth down one's throat.


Before we started on that cauldron of red, we appetized ourselves with the modeum-jun, meaning literally everything pancake. Those cute little juns are a lot fluffier than ones you get at most Korean restaurants. More eggy than battery, imo. We saw other tables that had a huge plate of noodles and such but I find it hard to sway from my spicy mandu jungol.


One spectacular thing about Gonjiam is their pa (scallion) kimchi. Definitely one of the top two pa kimchi I have ever tasted. I don't make kimchi but I tell ya I definitely know a quality kimchi from a supermarket overseasoned crap kimchi. This was fresh, pungent, oniony. I was in kimchi heaven.

Ohh, wish I was there right now! Me getting hungry. :/

Beverly & Western

What I Eat

Hmmm don't think anyone is posting anymore what they've eaten. I guess the busy holiday season and all. Well here is mine, with a few pics to be posted later.

*taco bell hexagon thing - i don't even know what it's called. my mom had it leftover and told me to take one for lunch. and i obliged.
*4 jalapeno poppers & few bites cheese burger from jack-in-the-box; diet coke - boy went to jack and then tempted me with the smell of fast food.
*kimchi fried rice w/pepper jack cheese
*lindeman's framboise; freixenet cava; too many cute miette bakes
*1/2 tj olympiad pizza; 1/2 grilled cheese w/deli turkey, brie & onion

*toasted pain de mie (bread bar) w/santa barbara seafood spread
*jasmine tea
*3 mini corn tortilla quesadilla w/deli turkey, chipotle salsa & jalapeno
*taco bell hexagon thing - doh! why did i eat another one. it was in the fridge. i was hungry after work. sigh, bad eating habits continue to profliterate.
*white rice; spicy napa cabbage soup; radish & chive kimchi

*toasted pain de mie w/tj organic strawberry jam and peanut butter (yummy!)
*lemon water
*spicy napa cabbage soup; tj organic dark chocolate 73%
*lemon water; deli turkey
*2 LA galbi; radish kimchi; spicy gochujang soup (vege, pork, red pepper paste)

*toasted pain de mie w/fried egg, cheese, deli turkey and sriracha
*2 pocket coffee - sadly defective so without the espresso gush
*2 LA galbi; tj soba noodle bowl
*satsuma; 3 pieces dduk (rice cakes)
*mixed grain rice; dakdoritang-spicy chicken w/gochujang, potatoes, mushroom
*geundae soup - haven't figured out what the name of this vege is in english but it looks like a leafy green.

*deli turkey; satsuma
*pocket coffee
*mixed grain rice; dakdoritang
*salchichon iberico; rogue creamery smokey blue cheese; the cheese co rosemary crackers; port brewing wipeout ipa; afflingem noel; prosecco; one bite sprinkles chocolate cupcake

*geundae soup; mixed grain rice; chive kimchi
*bibim nyengmyun-cold buckwheat noodle w/spicy marinade from ktown galleria food court
*waldorf salad sandwich from cake house

*geundae soup; mixed grain rice; dakdoritang
*fuller's esb
*rocco's pizza w/cheese, green peppers & meatballs
*more rocco's pizza; hansen's 0 calorie soda


Holiday in Paris


I will be spending holiday this year in Paris with Boy and five of my close friends. Woohoo~!

We're heading out there after Christmas and celebrating the new year there. And eating, sleeping, drinking, exploring, and probably putting on some pounds. This will be my second trip to Paris, the first visit being back in summer of 2003. My god, was I a different eater then. I barely knew anything about food, was oblivious to the food blogging world, and was so clueless in general. Having blogged now for a mere year and a half, I've visited so many good blogs introducing me to so much good food. I'm ready to go back to Paris and do some serious eating. Not to mention, not being broke like I was backpacking years ago, this trip should prove to be tres bon and filled with deliciousness.

I've been checking out David's blog and of course the famous foodie jetsetter Chez Pim's reviews and recommendations but if you've been out there recently I would love some advice!



When I was a little kid I used to make a lot of kimchi fried rice. But when I wanted to make it a little bit more special I would envelop the kimchi fried rice in a thin egg crepe to make ome-rice. Like an omelet but filled with fried rice of your choice. It's awesome!

This particular one that I made used up some leftover omelet filling which consisted of bacon, corn, peas & onion. After frying up some sliced up napa cabbage kimchi in butter I added the omelet filling and some gochujang. Then the rice, some nori powder and sesame oil. Then in a separate pan I cooked an whisked egg into a thin crepe. Then you know the rest. Wrap up that kimchi goodness in the golden egg and you got yourself some fine comfort food.

You can get ome-rice at "boon-shik" Korean restaurants, which are casual eateries that sell both snacky stuffs and other Korean dishes. They provide an extensive menu covering dishes like steamed dumplings, soups, noodles and of course kimchi fried rice and ome-rice.

I like a generous squeeze of ketchup and sriracha on mine. I was a complete ketchup whore when I was wee. But now that I've become a sophisticated adult I now add sriracha. ;)


Skirt Steak with Romesco, Dandelion Greens & Toasted Israeli Couscous


Do the ingredients sound familiar? Yes, the little bits of leftovers of this and that from the catering gig. I can't believe it but I actually managed to finish all the leftover israeli couscous without wanting to choke myself. For this meal I switched it up by sauteeing the remaining couscous until it got nicely browned and toasted. Then placed it in an oven-safe dish with a light grating of parmigiano reggiano and kept it warm in the oven while I got the steak ready.

I got some skirt steak to use up romesco. :) Now that may seem counter-intuitive considering I was buying more groceries, steak at that, to use up leftovers. But this is not just a thrifty endeavour but also a creative one. One that takes opportunity and turns it into a pleasant dinner. And the skirt steak would be the perfect complement to the toasty and spicy romesco sauce which together would make one very pleasant weekday dinner for Boy and I.

For the steak marinade, I smashed up some garlic, chile de arbol and rosemary with my humongous Thai mortar and pestle. After trimming the steak of some of its excess fat I rubbed the marinade in and kept it in the chiller while I got the broccolini ready.


I blanched the broccollini in salted water for a few minutes then drained it. I gently heated up some olive oil in a saute pan and cooked the leftover garlic-rosemary marinade until the aroma filled my eager nose. I like sticking my head above garlic cooking oil. It's a very comforting smell. To this comforting pan I tossed the broccollini and seasoned it with black pepper and salt.

I believe an IPA accompanied this comfy weekday meal. And perhaps a warm electric blanket.

Beef Meatballs with Cumin, Coriander & Mint; Israeli Couscous; Dandelion Greens with Bacon Lardon, Ricotta Salata & Sherry Vinaigrette


Remember that gig I did a few posts back? The birthday party? If you've been keeping up with What I Eat you should remember israeli couscous with this, israeli couscous with that. Jesus christ, so much israeli couscous leftover! Ok, I miscalculated but you know how them pasta can be. Blowin up and all.

So I wanted to make something to go along with the israeli couscous studded with dried currants, pinenuts and chopped basil. I also had greek yogurt leftover in the fridge and I thought ooh, why not some meatballs and cucumber yogurt sauce? Except I didn't make the cucumber yogurt sauce because I didn't want to buy a whole container of persian cucumbers at Trader Joe's when I really only needed one. So I seasoned the greek yogurt simply with lemon juice, liberal amounts of garic and black pepper.

Now for the meatballs, I wanted to make lamb meatballs but Trader Joe's does not sell ground lamb. Nor ground pork, fyi. So I went with what they had, some really good looking ground angus beef. I seasoned it with a coriander-cumin spice mix I had made ages ago (maybe half an age) from making roasted cauliflower. I also added to the seasoning a small handful of withering mint which I was determined to use up. Perhaps some parsley went in there too. Then I added some milk-soaked dinner rolls leftover from the sliders from the same gig.

I formed them into nicely sized patties (instead of completely round spheres for quicker cooking) and cooked them up in a jiffy. Paired with the cool touch of the greek yogurt and light and still textural israeli couscous, these meatballs made a satisfying meal.


But alas there was another challenge. Using up the leftover dandelion greens. I made a similar salad to the one I served at the birthday party sans roasted kabocha squash. But the bacon, ricotta salta, shallots, and sherry vinaigrette was still there so it's all good!


What I Eat

Here is what I ate last week. I thought now that I'm airing all my dirty food laundry maybe I would eat better but on the contrary I've been eating "too well", if you know what I mean. I did a few lunges though...

*lemon water
*chicken yuekgyejang (spicy Korean soup w/chicken, scallion, fern braken, eggs); mixed grain rice w/beans; pickled onion
*lemon water; tj 73% organic dark chocolate (just a small piece - i've had the same chocolate bar for forever)
*dongchimi (white winter daikon kimchi); few bites rice & fried anchovy - a little snack desperately needed when I got home from work
*skirt steak w/romesco; toasted israeli couscous w/light grating of parmigiano reggiano; broccolini w/mashed up garlic, rosemary & chile de arbol (leftover marinade from skirt steak)

*tj non-fat english muffin w/peanut butter & tj organic strawberry jam
*lemon water
*skirt steak w/romesco; toasted israeli couscous
*lemon water; greek yogurt w/wildflower honey & toasted almonds
*happy hour@Tom Bergin's w/Boy - 5 excellent chicken wings with liberal dips into the thick blue cheese sauce; pilsner urquell
*daikon soup; mixed grain rice w/beans; banchan - dongchimi, chive kimchi, radish kimchi, fried anchovies - i love kimchi as you can tell
*1 tiny bite vanilla tofutti dipped in leftover almond praline which I gave to Mom (I studded the exposed sides with the praline crumbles I saved from way before - my motto is reduce waste!)

*lemon water; santa barbara seafood spread (yes the one with the huge list of ingredients i can't pronounce. this is one of my few guilty pleasures)
*edamame; tuna pasta salad; pepperjack cheese (work brunch)
*steak caesar salad made w/leftover skirt steak
*lemon water; few bites omelet filling (bacon, corn, peas, onion) as quick snack after work
*kimchi mandu (dumpling) stew w/korean squash, button mushroom, tofu, scallion, potato

*omelet w/mixed grain rice on side, like a deconstructed ome-rice; marinated dried daikon
*kimchi mandu stew
*lemon water; 1/2 wheat bagel w/santa barbara seafood spread
*spicy vege soup w/little bits of pork; mixed grain rice; many kimchis
*i indulged - ate 3/4 twisty donut from a korean bakery
*brown rice tea

*petit croissant from Bread Bar w/tj organic strawberry jam
*lemon water
*spicy vege soup w/little bits of pork; white rice; brown rice tea
*lemon water
*baechu gook (spicy napa cabbage & daikon soup); mixed rice; kimchis
*Miette bakes Boy brought back for me from SF - lavender shortbread, mini scones, thumbprint cookies, coffe & hazelnut macaron
*hmmm beers... i'm thinking... trader joe's dark lager, new belgium 2 below, watermelon ale from some sf brewery

*ome-rice w/kimchi fried rice
*lemon water
*Abbot's Pizza - bianca, diet coke
*a refresing pint of racer 5 ipa (left glass) from father's office
*korean bbq - LA galbi to be exact. that the crosscut shortribs with three little bones; kimchi fried rice; more kimchi!; ipa of some sort

*baechu gook (spicy napa cabbage & daikon soup); mixed grain rice; kimchi
*diet coke
*2 pints heinekin, 4 glasses champagne


Happy Holiday!

Maggie's Farm Wild Arugula with Buffalo Mozzarella, Bresaola & Pomegranate


Miso Scallops with Sauteed Spinach & Crosne


I spotted a bag of frozen Japanese scallops at Trader Joe's that I might find useful. At about $10 for the bag I thought it would do myself just fine to make some home meals with the frozen scallops.

I marinated them with white wine, white miso, soy sauce, and mirin. Broiled them. Tapped my fingers waiting for them to brown on the edges. Waited more - maybe I should have moved the oven rack to the highest level. The scallops were a little bit overcooked but they sure look pretty in brown.

To complement I cooked up those curly looking crazy tubers called crosnes, which is actually a village in France where it was introduced to the country in 1882. Also known as Chinese artichoke, Japanese artichoke, knotroot, and chorogi, these little tubers are said to taste similar to Jeruselem artichoke.I got them from the Weiser Farm stand. I can't explain why I was immediately attracted to them considering they look like larvas. But I was. They tasted mild to me and the texture was crunchy and the shape so much fun! Until I'm reminded they look like larvas.

After trying to somewhat unsuccessfully rub off the brown color off the crosne, I cooked them in a pan with a little bit of water. When the water almost evaporated I put in olive oil and garlic. Then the spinach along with a drizzle of soy sauce and sesame oil. Then plated and topped with the miso scallops for a nice weeknight dinner.

In Search of a Food Mill

Hello all!

I'm looking to get a food mill but don't know which brand to get. The highly rated ones on Amazon are Cuisipro and MIU. But I'm not sure those will be sturdy for a long time. Otherwise I'm willing to fork over more dollars for something like All Clad or Matfer.

Is there a hardware store in LA I can goto for a good food mill or one that you would recommend?



Happy 1st Birthday Lunch in the Palisades

I was hired few weekends ago to cater a lunch party celebrating the client's 1-year old baby daughter. Sure why not? I didn't have any plans that weekend and 20-25 people sounded like something I could handle. The guests were to be mostly adults but a few children in tote also, so I had to make sure there was something kid-friendly in the menu.

That Saturday was a beautiful and clear day here in LA. Driving down PCH was nice. It had been a long time since I've gone that way, which I frequented daily commuting to high school the last two years of attendance. I got to the house early and started setting up but had to be quiet for the baby was peacefully asleep upstairs. The house and kitchen was beautiful though which made it such a pleasure to work there.

A sizeable island with a viking range took up camp in the middle of the kitchen while the two ovens were off to the side and I was blessed with so much counter space. Not only that, the house and the kitchen was flooded with daylight. It was refreshing and of course I started daydreaming about my own dream kitchen. It was impeccably clean, organized and peaceful.

Then the guests started to roll in. With the kids. This is the point you drown out the noise and concentrate. I was pretty relaxed the whole time but I could feel the hectic raise the tension of the host and the helpers as they tried to get everything in order.

I started off the guests with two appetizers...

Goat Cheese Mousse with Roasted Grape

Cannellini Bean Crostini with Salsa Verde


Roasted Kabocha Squash with Dandelion Greens, Bacon, Pecans & Ricotta Salata

Israeli Couscous with Currants, Pinenuts & Basil

Organic Beef Sliders with Romesco & Smoked Cheddar

The client and guests were really pleased with the food which made me happy. see? ----> :D I even got to use their outdoor viking grill for the little itty slider patties, which acquired that great smokey grilled taste. While I had a short break I stuffed my mouth with one of em, one that was cooked a little more pink. Yumyum! I like cheese, I like burgers, and I like romesco. Taste of success.


What I Eat

Here is what I ate last week.

*tj non-fat english muffin w/1 slice bacon, wild arugula, buffalo mozzarella; izze pom
*jasmine tea
*israeli couscous w/basil, currants & pinenuts; lemon water
*1/2 fuyu persimmon
*pollack dumpling soup w/egg; nooroongbap

*vege omelet w/bacon; mixed grain rice; grandma's pickled onion; fingernail size dark chocolate (my mom had accidently used with a liberal hand dave's insanity hot sauce thinking it was a regular hot sauce and i needed something to coat my dying tongue)
*izze pomegranate
*lemon water; 3/4 fuyu persimmon; roasted almonds
*lemon water
*dandelion greens w/bacon, shallots & ricotta salata; israeli couscous w/basil, currants & pinenuts; beef meatballs w/herbed greek yogurt

*mixed grain rice w/beans; sauteed anchovy; chive kimchi; dried daikon
*izze pomegranate; dark chocolate
*israeli couscous w/basil, currants & pinenuts; beef meatballs w/herbed greek yogurt
*sweet rice w/red beans; chive kimchi
*wild arugula w/buffalo mozzarella, bresaola & pomegrantate; mac n cheese w/bacon lardons

*tj udon
*thanksgiving dinner - turkey, ham, cranberry sauce, pumpkin tart, fudge brownie, 1 glass red wine, 1 glass yuelsmith
*sweet rice w/red beans; chive kimchi & dried daikon

*2 peanut butter & jelly dinner rolls; izze blackberry
*mac n cheese w/bacon lardons
*lemon water
*samgyetang - korean chicken soup; mixed grain rice; kimchi
*2 tacos from Armando's; tj potato chip & sea salt caramel

*samgyetang w/mixed rice, kimchi
*2 carne asada tacos from El Parian; izze blackberry
*spicy dumpling soup w/cabbage, red pepper & potato
*tj potato chips

*spicy dumpling soup w/cabbage, red pepper & potato
*Boy's delicious brunch he cooked for me: scrambled eggs w/jack cheese; rosemary potatoes; 1/2 bagel; 1/2 bottle sparkling wine made into mimosas; 2 slices thin bacon
*brinata & rogue creamery smokey blue cheese; few slices prosciutto; 1/2 bagel; 3 glasses red wine; 1/2 glass yuelsmith
*1/3 tj sea salt caramel
*Seoul Garden - beef jingheeskahn (korean shabu shabu); 1 glass sapporo

Check out Sam's great post on what she ate last week. She took pictures of everything! That sounds like a huge challenge for me which is why I haven't done it. I am running out my door every morning, breakfast in hand if there is one. Also no cameras allowed at work so I wouldn't be able to take pictures of snacks. And I eat lunch around 1130-12 everyday which would warrant not so great pictures. Okay, you've all heard my excuses. :) I'll try to add some pictures next week though.


Mini Poppyseed Lemon Bundt Cake


What to do when you have a huge container of poppy seeds...


Buy a $30 bundt pan and make adorable mini poppyseed lemon bundt cakes.

I need to make many many more cakes if I'm going to use up those poppyseeds. I hear that they're highly perishable! And I've had them since that spring dinner I made for my parents... when I only needed a pinch actually.

If you have a delicious poppyseed cake recipe that I can make in my new bundt pan, please share!


What I Eat

In keeping with my plans to continue sharing my record of everything that I've consumed here is last week's eatings and drinkings:

(days approximately divided into 5 intervals of breakfast, mid-morning, lunch, mid-afternoon, dinner which denotes the time of day more than the succession of meals... then additional nighttime stuffs if applicable)

b: tabouli; babaganoush; tzatziki; pita
mm: (should have been drinking water but too lazy to leave my cube)
l: tabouli; babaganoush; tzatziki; pita
ma: lemon water (1 mugful water, juice of 1 lemon, 1 tbsp maple syrup, pinch cayenne a la master cleanse - always gulped down); few bites of kimchi jjigae when I got home
d: lavash, babaganoush, kebabs (chicken, lamb, beef), few sips beer

**Boy and I had lots of leftovers from last weekend from Marouch. The food there is so delicious and fresh. I brought the tabouli, etc for lunch but as you can see I split it up between 2 meals. Then leftovers again at dinner. But I never get sick of Marouch! It's that good and satisfying.

b: lemon water
l: pineapple variety heirloom tomato, arugula & avocado salad; 1/2 large apple
ma: small piece dark chocolate; 1/2 large apple
d: scallop pajeon (scallion pancakes w/japanese scallops); kimchi jjigae

b: tj non-fat english muffin w/fried egg & buffalo mozzarella
l: blt w/niman ranch applewood smoked bacon, focaccia rolls, red leaf lettuce from weiser farms, pineapple variety heirloom tomato; small red leaf salad
d: mixed grain rice w/kimchi, spicy eundae (type of fish which i don't know the english name of) & daikon, scallop pajeon; kimchi jjigae
n: 1 very small bite of each hot dog and pizza (Boy's dinner at the movies); 1 isabella's cookies in peanut butter bomb; few sips diet coke

**My Korean dinners may sounds like a whole lot of food but it's really just a few bites of each banchan (side dishes that accompany every meal) and the main dish if there is one.

b: lemon water
mm: big piece red velvet cake :/ (work people birthday celebration)
l: blt w/avocado (everything else same as yesterday); small red leaf salad
ma: almonds
d: mixed grain rice w/kimchi, soybean sprouts, pickled sesame leaves, sauteed spicy baby potato
n: red wine & too many hor d'oeuvres (pizzetta, salami, cheese - none of which were just ok which makes me want to kick myself for eating so many anyways! and to top that the wine was merlot, not my fav.)

**The red wine and hor d'oeuvres were at the Coalition for Clean Air annual fashion show which was held by Ebell Theater, which I live across the street from. Boy works at the Coalition and told me to stop by. Andre from Project Runway was there! He designed, created and donated a wedding dress that was made from all cotton, so that it would be enviromentally friendly and biodegradeable. Andre's mantra for the dress was, "you don't want the wedding dress to outlast your marriage!". :)

b: 5 vege ghimbap from Yanusa inside the Hanam Chain Market
mm: lemon water
l: tj punjab eggplant; pillsbury paneer naan; 1 isabella's cookies in peanut butter bomb
ma: lemon water; 1 isabella's cookies in peanut butter bomb
d: mixed grain rice w/kimchi, miso scallops, sauteed crosne & spinach, soybean sprouts

b: walnut raisan bread from galleria bakery; izze blackberry; 1 isabella's cookies in peanut butter bomb
mm: 2 bites ham & cheese croissant fromt the breadman
l: slider w/romesco, smoked cheddar
ma: mixed grain rice w/kimchi, bulgogi vege soup; white wine (4pm - so I guess a really early dinner)
d: (still full from late lunch/early dinner)
n: beer - i believe double ipa of some sort; pizza w/eggplant - I vaguely remember eating this very late in the night

**Saturday and Sunday were wacky eating days because I was catering/cooking on both days. Saturday I catered a 25 people birthday lunch over in Pacific Palisades. I was working there from 10-230 so all I ate was a slider, which was part of the menu. Breakfast was whatever I could grab on the way out, so bread, cookie and izze. I stopped by the Santa Monica Farmer's Market to grab some greens and picked up a croissant in case I might get hungry at the gig. And when I got home I fixed myself a small Korean meal and relaxed with a glass on wine watching The Celebration. The house I catered at was so beautiful! More on that later...

b: (sleeping)
mm: vege & bacon omelet; mixed rice; cucumber kimchi (10am)
l: (i was prepping, cooking, packing)
ma: pancetta lardons
d: few bites mashed fingerling potatoes w/creme fraiche; few pieces comte; 1 hoegaarden & 4 glasses sauvignon blanc

**Sunday my friend Ellen ("yoonyang") and I cooked a birthday gift dinner for two of our close friends, one being E's boy, along with a few special guest family members. We wanted this to be very special and not just another casual dinner which seems to be as close to civilized we get with our big group of friends. We made a six course dinner + hor d'oeuvres for six people total. More on this later too. I just ate a few bites of this and that while cooking which is what usually happens at caterings. Grabbing hot pancetta lardons from the pan, tasting and retasting delicious mashed potatoes. A cook's gotta taste, right? But I damn well treated myself to some alcohol though.

I still need to make an effort to drink more water though. Sadly I only drink water when it's on a schedule. Lemon water, here I come.

I gotta say, I am really really tired right now. But with a delicious breakfast involving bacon, romesco, buffalo mozzarella & wild arugula, and a glass of hot and soothing jasmine tea I feel a tiny bit revived. Thanksgiving thoughts will have to wait til tomorrow.


Pecan Praline Shorbread Bars


Once upon a time, I tried to make pecan praline. I followed the instructions carefully making sure I brought up the caramel mixture to the correct temperature.

I poured the praline mixture onto a silpat lined sheet pan. But misery. It never hardened. Caramel definitely hates me. However, I could not get myself to to throw this sugary mix out. I thought. Then figured, why not pecan praline shortbread bars?

I made a typical shortbread dough of butter, flour, sugar. Lined a square baking pan with the dough making sure there is a little edge. Reheated the praline mixture in the microwave then poured it on top of the shortbread base. Baked it off which made my kitchen smell sooo good. Yum. Then the pecan praline was saved. The end.


Endive, Roquefort & Walnut Salad; Pork au Poivre with Red Wine-Shallot Sauce


The combination of endive, roquefort and toasted walnuts never fails to bring happiness to my buds. Pleasantly bitter, crunchy and juicy leaves paired with nutty crunchy nuts, and pungent creamy blue cheese. It's so elegant but so simple to make.


Then came pork au poivre. I followed Ellie K's suggestion of using pork tenderloin by cutting it open, ending up with a flat piece of meat. I cut this into portions and slathered it with dijon and pressed in my poorly cracked black pepper onto the surface. I cooked the pork in olive oil until it was brown and yummy. When it was done cooking I made the sauce in the same pan which consisted of shallots, red wine, demi-glace (the little package ones you thin out in hot water), and a dab of butter. And on the side simple green beans with sliced almonds.

It was a simple and delicious weeknight dinner. Mmm... the pictures are bringing back memories! I'm hungry.


Pork Cutlets with Apple Riesling Sauce


In case you didn't know, I love pork. I mean, really. I love bacon, cured meats, pork rillette, baby back ribs, don katsu, pork bulgogi, pork bossam, and on and on. Bacon rules my world but I also need to incorporate leaner protein into my diet sometimes. So I decided to try out the small thin pork cutlets from Trader Joe's.


The pork cutlets were marinated with thyme, rosemary, chile de arbol, black pepper, and smashed garlic. I let that marinate for a little bit in the fridge. When ready to cook I browned the cutlets on both sides and let them rest on a plate while I got the sauce ready. Sliced red onion went into the pork cutlet pan and sizzled and cooked. I deglazed the pan with some riesling picking up all the goody brown bits stuck to the pan. Then went in apple sauce, a dab of demi-glace that was dissolved in a little bit of hot water, and a few glugs of chicken stock. Let a simmer and come together for a few minutes then the pork cutlets were placed back in the pan until it was time to eat.

The pork came out a little bit chewy but not really dry (hooray!). I reckon this recipe would probably work better with a thicker cut like a bone-in pork chop and letting it simmer. It was still delicious though with its savory sauce of red onion, riesling, apple sauce, and demi-glace. And oh, just a small tab of butter at the end.


I crowned the cutlet with a small piece of roquefort when plating it for my tv dinner.



What I Eat

Sam over at Beck & Posh just wrote a post on everything she ate last week. I thought brilliant! Like her, I keep a record of everything I eat and have been doing it for some time now. I started doing that as a way to keep track of how much healthy or naughty food I eat throughout the week, although sometimes keeping record doesn't necessarily hold me back from having very naughty weeks.

I gotta admit my eating habits for the last few weeks have been a bit kooky though. But here is everything I ate last week divided by breakfast, mid-morning, lunch, mid-afternoon, dinner:

B: izze pomegranate, mixed grain rice w/squash, fish jun (egg dipped & fried), bean sprouts, roasted seaweed (startin my day all Korean here)
L: 2 japanese crackers
MA: almonds
D: white rice w/kimchi, squash, daikon saute, fish jun

B: turkey sandwich w/arugula
L: raspberries, almonds
MA: master cleanse lemon drink
D: white rice w/kimchi, ugoji gook (dried cabbage soup), Seoul Hwaegwan - jungol (Korean version of shabu shabu), hwae naengmyun (cold buckwheat noodle w/sashimi & red pepper sauce)

B: master cleanse lemon drink
MM: master cleanse lemon drink
L: izze clemetine, almonds
MA: master cleanse lemon drink, hwae naengmyun
D: Novecento - spaghetti vongole (shared), tagliata mostarda (shared), bruschetta, few glasses of wine
*Bottle Rock - big bottle of hitachino nest white ale

B: master cleanse lemon drink
L: chickpea spinach salad w/feta
MA: master cleanse lemon drink
D: Taqueria Sanchez - 1/2 al pastor burrito, chips & salsa, asada taco, Angel Maid - cream puff

B: izze clementine
MM: master cleanse lemon drink
L: 1/2 pastor burrito, spinach salad
MA: master cleanse lemon drink
D: turkey sandwich w/arugula, 1 bite mac n cheese
*beer, beer, beer

MM: Chabelita - carne asada taco, al pastor taco, diet coke
L: India Spices - pakoras
MA: 1/2 bottle red wine
D: yakisoba w/scallion
*Anchor Brewing Winter Ale, few glasses of Sauvignon Blanc

L: yakisoba w/scallion, 1/2 grilled cheese w/marinara sauce
D: Marouch - tabouli, babaganoush, kebab combo

Kooky indeed. The weekends always tend to get a lil bit messed up because I goto sleep really late. And drinking usually entails not the healthiest foods the next day. But you can see on Sunday I ate healthy middle eastern food! Yay, victory. Although I did eat tons of food Tuesday-Thursday evening though. Probably because I was being way too healthy during the day. :P Sigh. Ok, I'll try to eat healthier this week, trying to follow the original guidelines of 5 smaller meals a day. I'll try!


Mini Swiss Chard & Feta Turnovers


Little things are so cute, aren't they? When I saw Sam's little philly cheesesteak turnovers over at Becks & Posh I thought how cute! and how delicious! But Sam made her own dough. Yikes. Now I'm not a good dough person nor do I like making dough as the flour gets everywhere and when fat is required it sets a thin film over everything I touch. But, the recipe seemed easy enough and I am so glad I used it because it was easy and delicious!

Dough Recipe:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 stick (4 oz) butter cut into cubes
8oz cream cheese or fromage blanc
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Combine all of the ingredients together in a food processor or Kitchen Aid until a dough forms. Wrap in waxed paper and rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make the filling.

I used cream cheese because it's easier to find. A quick whirl of the food processor and I became dough woman. For the day at least.

For the filling...
I blanced a few bunches of swiss chard and cooled them in an ice bath. Drained and squeezed most of the water out. Slice into thin bits. Sweated finely chopped onion in olive oil. Added red pepper flakes, garlic & swiss chard. Crumbled feta in when mixture had cooled a little bit.

Filling the little cutouts of the dough was kind of fussy. And since I made two batches of the dough, the rolling, cutting, filling and cooking took some time out of my day. But I can't wait to try out some other fillings. Pork bulgogi with king oyster mushrooms & scallion? Yumm. My mouth waters now.



Roasted Farmer's Market Carrots & Potatoes


When I was young carrots were high on my hate list. Even until a few years ago the only carrots I would eat were those shaved down baby carrots that came in a bag. Preferably dunked in a thick bowl of ranch dressing, I guess to cover up that carrot taste. Even that I probably only ate once a year. Raw carrots still aren't my best friend. I just read recently somewhere that those baby carrots are shaved into shape from big carrots! Liars.

I've been faced with crappy carrots all my life and I laid down the judgement on all of carrot-dom.

However, my first memorable experience with carrots was at AOC. They used to get these tiny baby carrots from the farmer's market and roast them for a salad. The skin of these colorful carrots would get carmelized and shriveled and the texture took on a little bit of that roasted root vege bite.

Epiphany. As I've started to cook the last few years there have been many of those moments when I think holy crap, I had no idea ___ could taste like this. Those epiphanies have really made me appreciate good quality produce and makes scouring the farmer's market really exciting. I guess it's kind of comparable to eating tomatoes from the big supermarkets all my life then having that first actually ripe and super juicy tomato from the farmer's market. Cheers to the hard working farmers who bring such beautiful healthy produce to the market!

Here is my Roasted Farmer's Market Carrots & Potatoes:


Simply delicious.


Hello colorful potatoes.


And still delicious as part of my tv dinner with shavings of parmigiano reggiano.


Corn & Snap Pea Salad


Remember back in September when I couldn't find any snap peas to make a salad for my friend's birthday lunch? Well look at this! Snap peas from the farmer's market (well a few weeks ago). But still. Completely unexpected and pleasantly surprising as it allowed for my one and only purchase of snap peas for this season.

Grant, over at Well Fed, makes some serious good eats. Back in the middle of summer I saw his post on his Corn & Snap Pea Salad with Blue Cheese Vinaigrette. It looked so refreshing and vibrant that I knew I must try it out. Until I completely forgot about that is and let summer pass me by.

But these late late snap peas will redeem me sort of, won't it? I made a simpler version leaving out the blue cheese vinaigrette and with roasted corn and blanched snap peas. Add a sqeeze of lemon, drizzle of olive oil, sprinkle of parlsey and a few grinds of black pepper and this salad was dressed and ready to go.


I added a tiny bit of feta to the salad when it got promoted to my tv dinner plate.


Heirloom Tomatoes


I heart tomatoes. These beauties are from the Santa Monica Farmer's Market - the big tomato stand. So juicy and perfect with a sprinkling of fleur de sel, torn basil & a drizzle of fruity olive oil. The orange one in the front is the Pineapple variety and the greenish-red one is Brandywine Black. There is even a Persimmon variety hanging out on the top left.


A simple heirloom tomato salad makes for a beautiful and delicious dish, even as part of a tv dinner.


King Oyster Mushroom with Soy Sauce & Sesame Oil


I can eat a whole bowl of this accompanied only by freshly steamed rice and kimchi. Some time ago my mom started adding king oyster mushrooms to her bulgogi mix. While the beef would marinated with garlic, onion, soy sauce, scallions, sugar and sesame oil, the mushrooms would also soak up this marinade. This resulted in delicious mushrooms that were fried up with the bulgogi. I thought I'd try it out with just the mushrooms. Instead of marinating the mushroom slices I brushed on the soy sauce sesame oil mixture for an even seasoning. I sprayed a non-stick pan with canola oil and cooked the mushroom slices, one side at a time, until it got carmelized and deliciously brown. Then devoured it.


Roasted Sweet Potato with Romesco, Baby Romaine & Feta


The color contrast in this dish is beautiful - the deep warm orange of the sweet potato, the squeaky clean white of the feta, and the variations of green and purple in the baby romaine leaves. A virtuous dish if you will, easier to make than is visually pleasing. Chunks of sweet potato tossed in brown sugar, brown butter, thyme and sage. Then roasted until tender and carmelized onion. At this point you can pretty much assemble the salad as you see fit. Maybe some arugula and parmesan. Or spinach and blue cheese. Or just a big bowl of the roasted sweet potato itself.

**I completely forgot to mention the romesco pulling this dish together. I always defer to Suzanne Goin's recipe which calls for ancho chilies. It nutty and smoky with a healthy dose of deep chili flavor rounded out by roma tomatoes, lemon juice and olive oil. Truly delicious and a must-add for any dish! Thanks Grant for noticing those brown dollops!


Macerated Berries with Lavender Mascarpone Mousse


For me, there is no such thing as too much berries. There above was my hurrah before fall really became fall here in LA. Well I suppose I was a lil bit late anyhow. Raspberries and blackberries alike were not faring well a few weeks ago when I needed a simple dessert. So strawberries took up most of the room for plate of macerated berries. I took the best of the lot at the market and added a few rescued blackberries in there. A spoonful of sugar and a few drops of balsamic vinegar did the strawberries good and formed a light sheen of syrup over their exposed surfas. The blackberries got added to the mix before serving and dolloped with a mascarpone mousse flavored with orangeblossom honey and lavender, the macerated berries got the extra touch it needed.


Saturday Lunch at Lucques

I had a craving for Lucques's Steak Frites with Arugula Salad, Bernaise & Herbed French Fries, which I tried way back in the day (ok 1 year ago) for USA Dine Out. I didn't participate in the charity event this year but looking back now I should have gone to Lucques again 'cause their three course lunch menu was only $20!


But back to the lunch at hand, it was a beautiful day. Warm, relaxed, hanging out with the girls. I started out with a glass of Craftsman Triple White Sage which Lucques had on tap along with a few of their other beers. Pretty impressive. I never suspected the White Sage to be a triple. A beautiful foggy yellow hue with a subtle sage flavor. Followed by a few mimosas, I was a happy camper.


My friend got their Sangria Blanca which was strong as hell. I think there was too much brandy or something. I like my sangria refreshing and fruity with only a hint of liquor, or even none at all, which results in high drinkability. But I think my friend liked it fine though - she drank up in a quicky.


For the appetizer course I ordered the Fatoosh Salad with Persian Cucumber, Tomato, Feta, Parsley & Fried Pita which was delicious!


But a lot of people were partial to the also delicious Heirloom Tomato Salad with Burrata, Torn Crouton & Opal Basil. I liked both a lot but since I make that heirloom tomato-burrata salad at home a lot I wanted to try something else. I mean I probably buy the same farm tomatoes as Lucques from the SM Farmer's Market. And I bet they also use Gioia's burrata, which is amazing (and available at Bay Cities.


So then it was steak time. I'm not sure what cut of meat this was. I looked up a bunch of steak frites recipes but they all use different cuts of meat. I guess I could have asked but I was too busy enjoying the tender steak dunked in warm bernaise sauce. And completely distracted by the lovely wilted arugula which I gobbled up and the thin light french fries which I also dunked into the bernaise. There is just something so satisfying about a good piece of steak with a starch like awesome herb fries.


Other main courses that graced our table included the Heirloom Tomato "BLT" with Avocado, Smoked Bacon & Basil...


and Grilled Pork Burgers with Romesco, Ricotta Salata and Aioli on Brioche Bun. I don't know why they clarified "Smoked Bacon". Wouldn't one usually expect an American style bacon on a blt? Of course if the bacon was substituted with let's say English bacon (which would not be a good blt at all) then a clarifications seems in order.

I better go back for the blt before all the heirlooms disappear. The sandwich just looks so juicy. My friend also testified that the bacon just melted away in her mouth. Then why didn't you give me a bite! Actually I was quite full from my steak plate. And I knew the pork burger was also delicious having tried out the recipe from the Lucques cookbook. But why is the bun so big?? I wonder where they got their brioche buns...

For dessert we shared Ricotta Semifreddo with Strawberries, Huckleberries & Hibiscus Syrup and Chocolate and Hazelnut Dacquoise with Apricot Sorbet & Creme Fraiche. I was partial to the semifreddo which was light and lovely and sooo good with them berries. Berries with dairy is definitely one of my favorite forms of dessert. I dig the freshness of it all.

So much delicious food and booze for a warm Saturday afternoon. I followed this up with a long, very long nap. Then when I woke up my parent's had come home and ordered delicious Korean-Chinese food. What a delicious weekend. Food & Drink + Nap is a great formula to learn and appreciate.


When Your Fridge Gives You Leftovers...


...make a savory pancake.

I had some chicken filling leftover from a catering event. Previously it had been a flavorful filling for Thai chicken cigars with ground chicken, cabbage, bean sprouts, Thai basil, fresh chilies, scallion, fish sauce, red curry paste, lime, and cilantro.

Then it sat in a bowl begging to be used. I turned it into a jun (Korean for savory pancake) by adding more scallions and tossing it in a simple batter of flour, water and egg. Add sambal and you got delicious.


Mediterranean Picnic


For my last visit to the Hollywood Bowl this season to see Massive Attack I was in company with two vegequarians and Boy. I thought a simple meal of healthy Mediterranean flavors would suit this event perfectly. I'm pretty sure there were picnic-friendly plates of hummus all over the theater. It's quite ubiquitous, isn't it?

It is quite delicious after all, easy to make, easy on the wallet, and very healthy too. So do make it at home instead of buying a premade one for wonderfully fresh flavors. In my hummus I added garlic, lemon juice, a pinch of cayenne, and a spoon of tahini. I drizzled in some olive oil while it was pureeing but also cut it with a bit of water for a smooth consistency without tons of oil. Then on top I drizzled a bit of extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled a pinch of parsley and served this delicious bean puree with whole wheat pita. (The one in the above pic is Matiz Olive Oil Flatbread).


Then a refreshing Mediterranean salad to complement. It flaunted its juicy tomatoes, tangy feta, red onion, and spicy peppers. I found this salad quite addicting and reminded myself I should make it more often in place of the boring romaine and dressing salad I've been eating lately. I think I'm culinarily depressed or something. Or maybe just regularly depressed and projecting onto the culinary sector of my life. Hmm.. either way, I definitely need to make the Mediterranean salad again and slap myself back to consciousness.

All in all, I'm not a dessert person. I will never refuse a fresh strawberry with freshly whipped cream, or a bite of raspberry-showered pavlova, or a French macaron but a pastry-chef I'm not. I really gotta be in the mood to make the sweets. And on few occasions spontaneity has been my downfall. So when my friend C was in town for the Massive Attack concert she requested a dessert. I straight up said no. Then, 'bacon or dessert'. I almost forgot, I made a batch of pig candy for this concert. Those are like happy smile makers ---> :D :D :D!

C is vegequarian but makes an exception for bacon. Smart girl if ya ask me.


But then my dessert-neglecting heart softened up. It seemed like forever since I've seen C. So I made these chocolate dipped lady fingers with roasted pistachio and fleur de sel in her honor. Yip that's it, just dip, sprinkle and sprinkle. Well besides the chop chop and [silent roast] for the pistachios.


Ice Cream & Puff Pastry Epiphane

I've just had an ice cream & puff pastry epiphane!

Holy crap. I got some blueberry ice cream from Trader Joe's the other day. Had some puff pastry shells sitting in my freezer. Decided that maybe stuffing a warm puff pastry shell with the creamy blueberry ice cream might be a good idea.

It was a brilliant idea! Well, I didn't eat a whole shell but I did make a mini ice cream sandwich with the warm puff pastry shell tops that I cut out. (Trying to watch my waistline). However, I stuffed and distributed the six blueberry ice cream stuffed warm puff pastry shells to my co-workers and they were mightily well received.

Do try it. You might even yell oh my god like in your small work corner kitchen like I did.


Soba Noodle with Cucumber & Tamari


While testing recipes for the wedding I made this delicious noodle. I adapted and combined a soba noodle salad recipe with some Japanese cucumber salad. The noodle was so easy to make and surprisingly delicious. I couldn't help but keep slurping down "test noodles" while making it. The dressing added so much flavor and the cilantro and scallion added the right herby oniony touch to balance it out. For the dressing I used tamari, fish sauce, chili oil, garlic, ginger, lime juice, peanut oil, and sesame seeds.

Then on the side I made the Japanese cucumber salad (sunomono). I cut some Korean cucumbers into thin batons, tossed it with kosher salt then let it drain for 30 minutes. Meanwhile I made the simple dressing of soy sauce, rice vinegar and sugar. When the cucumbers were ready I gently squeezed out the water and dressed it.

Then the noodle and cucumbers were combined and voila, delicious noodle!