Korea On My Mind

August 22, 2017 § Leave a comment

I’m almost halfway through my Korean visa, and I should make better use of that 5 years that they’ve given me. So here I am planning a mini Korean holiday that is getting me more excited by the minute.

Seoul-Food

I imagine chicken and beer or chimek, mageoli, kimbap, fresh kimchi, samgyeopsal, deep-fried mandu, haemul pajeon, bingsu… My mouth water at the thought of grilled Hanwoo beef that melts in the mouth and I remember our incredible meal in Hongdae. And then my mind wanders to the other food I have to yet to have. I promised to go back for— jjajangmyeon, samyetang, soy sauce crab, sundae (not the frozen dessert but Korea’s blood sausage that got my attention because of these twins) and much more that I’m still not aware of.

So now I crave Japchae. That’s a Korean-style noodle dish that is usually served as a side dish consisting of vermicelli noodles, meat, and assorted vegetables sautéed in soy sauce. This version is without meat, and even my meat-loving hubby gave his thumbs up.

Japchae

Japchae (Korean Style Noodles)

Adapted from this recipe in Epicurious

What You Need:

  • 5-6 ounces Korean vermicelli noodles
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp. Sesame oil
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. oil
  • 1 med onion sliced lengthwise 1/8 inch thick (1 ½ cups)
  • 3 medium carrots, cut into 1/8 inch thick matchsticks
  • 1 ½ cup mushrooms, trimmed and sliced thick
  • 1 ½ cup snow peas (recipe called for spinach but I didn’t have that)

What you do:

  1. Soak noodles in a bowl of warm water to cover until softened, about 10 minutes, then drain in a colander. Cook noodles in a 3-4 quart pot of boiling water until tender, about 2 minutes, then drain in a colander and rinse under cold water until cool.
  2. Blend soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and garlic in a blender until smooth.
  3. Heat oil in a deep 12-inch heavy skillet over high heat until it just begins to smoke, then stir-fry onion and carrots until onion is softened. About 3 minutes.
  4. Add mushrooms and stir-fry until softened, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add snow peas and stir-fry 30 seconds, then add noodles and soy sauce mixture and toss to coat.
  6. Simmer, occasionally stirring, until most liquid is absorbed, 3-5 minutes.
  7. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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My Tuna Sandwich

June 2, 2017 § Leave a comment

Just back from a month-long trip, which hopefully explains why this blog went without a post for so long, I thought it fitting to share a simple favorite to start the momentum going again (crossing my fingers).

You see, before a long journey, I try to do as much work as possible in the hopes that when I get back, I won’t have too much of a backlog. But we all know that that never actually happens, right? So I try to catch up.

Which means no lunch outs for at least a week (which usually happens pre and post travel), but that’s ok. I had this most of last week.

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You should know by now that canned tuna never fails me and no matter what, it has to come with capers and dill. And so it goes without saying that my version of the tuna sandwich/salad – whatever you want to call it has both and more. See?

IMG_4221that’s tuna, capers, dill, mayo, salt and pepper to taste.

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That’s pimento to add a hint of smokiness to it.

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So there you have it… my tuna sandwich. Simple, I told you, and different, in a good way. Have a great weekend, you guys!

Peanut Butter Pie

September 21, 2016 § Leave a comment

This is for peanut butter lovers.

slice

With cream cheese and whipped cream, this pie is a lighter, creamier version of the spread. So good. Ambrosially addicting, if I may say so myself.

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Browsing through some recipes lately, I came across this peanut butter pie and thought of using up that slightly consumed bottle sitting in the pantry for a while now. I am not a peanut butter fan. I mean, I like it but never top of mind so I often have a bottle lying around untouched for months.

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And besides, I bought a bottle of Almond Butter that’s waiting its turn to be consumed. Yes, I am anal that way.

What You’ll Need

  • 1 (8-inch) graham cracker pie crust (how to make your own)
  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 8 oz. whipped cream

 

What You Do:

With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Blend in peanut butter and vanilla. Fold in whipped cream.

batter

Spoon mixture into pie crust. Refrigerate for 4 hours or until firm.

Easy peasy.

 

Well Hello There!

July 12, 2016 § Leave a comment

Arugula-Salad-with-Smoked-Duck-BreastCredits:  Splendid Finn Now is paper in blue; zigzag stitching by shabbymissjenndesigns; Splendid Finn 4ever striped ribbon and pennets

It’s been a while… Can I tell you that I am still not spending enough time in the kitchen? So much for comfort zones and “everydays”. It’s just been a bustling kind of year for us. We’ve started a bed and breakfast up north (will write about that shortly), we just got back from a rejuvenating trip from the Holy Land, and we’ve gone on a diet since.

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Nothing to do with the Holy Land, our diet, but more of a healthy resolution to keep our blood sugar and cholesterol in check. Recent check ups called for it, that’s why.   So here’s sharing one of the winners (slightly tweaked from here) served on our table recently.

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It’s a flavourful salad of smoked duck breast paired with a punch of a mildly sweet blueberry dressing that definitely qualified as mainstays on our table.

Arugula Salad With Smoked Duck Breast, Berries, and Hazelnuts

What You’ll Need

  • 2 large handfuls Arugula
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Champagne Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1/4 cup dried berries (I used wild blueberries)
  • 2 tbsp coco sugar
  • 1 smoked duck breast, cold, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, roasted and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup very sharp, good aged Cheddar or Gouda
  • Sea Salt

What You Do

  1. Place the dried arugula in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Place the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, sugar, and berries in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir with a whisk until warm (not boiling – 3 minutes or so).
  3. Pour over the arugula, sprinkle with a little salt, and toss to coat.
  4. Place the arugula on a plate and top with the duck slices.
  5. With a vegetable peeler, peel thin slices of the cheddar or gouda over the salad.
  6. Top with the chopped hazelnuts and a little extra dressing. Sprinkle with a little salt.

Banana Breads and My Everyday

February 19, 2016 § Leave a comment

The first month of the year has passed in a blink of an eye. Gong Xi Fat Choi! Well, it is still February, isn’t it? And since the new year had passed (twice in fact), it’s now time to get serious about 2016. Truth be told, I have not been spending time in the kitchen since the Christmas break. I was traveling and as always with long respite, it was difficult to get back into the grind. With deadlines at work calling, I barely had time to myself. And before I knew it, I was on holidays again — this time, to go with hubby’s cousins and close friends to our choiced Philippine destinations. Not complaining.

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Had a wonderful time showing them around and getting to know them better. But every single time a trip is over, the list of things to do pile up. Have you ever felt the need to recover from a long trip? Man!

Banana-Bread-

The way I recover is to get back to my everyday ASAP. Well, baking isn’t my everyday but it is a comfort zone so I made Banana bread, an all time favorite. But not just the plain old banana bread but one that’s leveled up.

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I love it because it has all my favorite things. You know me well if you know that I love candied ginger. I love it so much, I always have a pack or two in my kitchen just for anything.  I’m not as much a fan as hubby is of chocolate bars but give it to me in the form of a cake, ice cream or even cookies… can’t resist that.

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So. Imagine me when I came across this recipe from A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg.   Of course I had to try it. The result was a moist bread, more like a dense cake, interjected with bits of biting, sweet ginger candy and semi-sweet chocolate.   It’s comfort with a kick. Addictive.

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Banana Bread with Chocolate and Crystallized Ginger (Molly Wizenberg of Orangette)

WhatYou’ll Need:

6 tablespoon (80grams) unsalted butter

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

¾ cup sugar

¾ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

¾ cup unsweetened chocolate chips

¼ cup finely chopped crystallized ginger

2 large eggs

1½ cups mashed bananas (from about 3 large ripe bananas)

¼ cup well-stirred whole milk plain yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

What You do:

  1. Set rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease a standard-sized (about 9 by 5 inches) loaf pan with cooking spray or butter.
  2. In a small bowl, microwave the butter until melted. Or, alternatively, put the butter in a heatproof bowl and melt in the preheated oven. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add the chocolate chips and crystallized ginger and whisk well to combine. Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs with a fork. Add the mashed banana, yogurt, melted butter and vanilla and stir to mix well.. Pour the banana mixture into the dry ingredients, and stir gently with a rubber spatula, scraping down the side as needed, until just combined. Do not overmix. The batter will be thick and somewhat lumpy, but there should be no unincorporated flour. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the top.
  5. Bake until the loaf is a deep shade of golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 minutes to 1 hour. If the loaf seems to be browning too quickly, tent with aluminum foil.
  6. Cool that loaf in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Then tip it out onto the rack and let cool.

Enjoy!!  And I hope you had great Valentine’s Day!

When It Rains, It Pours

October 21, 2015 § Leave a comment

Do you sometimes feel like troubles and obstacles are a constant visitor? Yes, it is pouring now. One snag at a time, I tell myself. “Don’t let them stress you out, it’s not worth it,” I convince myself. I take comfort in His words … Cast all your cares upon Him, He cares for you (1Peter 5:7). God is in control, He truly is. Adversities he allows for a reason, many times it is to prove to me that He is in control and that I must not worry. Easily said than done. And to relieve me from worrying, I bake.

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A recipe I grabbed from Gourmet a while back has become a recipe for keeps. This Zucchini Ginger Cupcake is spiced and flavoured with ginger, cinnamon and a touch of orange zest… wouldn’t it call out to you too?

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What’s so marvellous about it is it’s easy and quite healthy as it uses olive oil (I also use virgin coconut oil sometimes) instead of butter and honey instead of sugar. Best of all, this moist cupcake is high up there in the flavor department with or without the cream cheese frosting (the only thing not so healthy, actually).

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Half of these cupcakes ended up with the security people of the building I live in. The maintenance guys, the receptionist, and the security people—they make me feel safe, and cared for, so I show my appreciation by feeding them sometimes. I wonder if they know that they are eating a vegetable cake?

Waiting for Plums

June 22, 2015 § Leave a comment

 

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This is what you make when you have an overflow of plums.   I love stone fruits, and friends and family know that. So when plums (or peaches and cherries) reach our soil, I sometimes end up with too much. When that happens, this cake will most likely end up in my oven.

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A light, moist cake with a citrusy bite that’s great with tea, I served this to friends last year and it was a hit. Not a typical cake in my part of the world and because it was a hit, I thought that you’d like to try something different.

The rains have finally arrived. It was an unbearably hot summer this year and I welcome the downpours. I am still waiting for those plums to reach me but wouldn’t it be nice to stay in on a rainy day and while the time away with a Korean drama series that I’ve become addicted to?

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Plum Cake (adapted from 33 Degrees)

You will need:

  • 2 eggs, plus 1 extra egg yolk
  • 140 grams butter softened
  • 140 grams golden castor sugar
  • 140 grams all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 200 grams plums, stoned, half roughly chopped into pieces and the other half cut into wedges.

For the topping:

  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 200 grams golden castor sugar

What You Do:

  1. Preheat your oven to 160ºC/fan oven 140ºC. Grease and line a 1kg loaf tin.
  2. Lightly beat the eggs, extra egg yolk and the vanilla extract.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy. You want the butter and sugar to lighten considerably for a good cake.
  4. Pour in the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Fold in the flour, baking soda, salt, orange zest, 2 tbsp of the juice and lastly the chopped plums.IMG_6242
  6. Spoon into prepared tin and scatter the plum wedges over the top.IMG_6243
  7. Bake until cake is golden or until an inserted skewer comes out clean, about 45 – 50 minutes.
  8. Let it cool for a few moments before turning out onto a wire rack.
  9. Mix the lemon juice and castor sugar with the remaining orange juice and pour over the cake.

 

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