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.