100 days old baby party (백일)


Today my hubby and I held a mini gathering at our house in honor of my second daughter’s 100th day party. I only slept for 2 hours the night before, but somehow I managed to survive the day.

The 100 days old party is a milestone widely celebrated in the Korean culture. It is held to show that your baby has survived their first 100 days, which is known to be the most delicate time for a baby’s health. Back in the days, because of poor living conditions and diseases, many babies were not fortunate enough to survive this long.

Wine was good!

I really wanted to cook more food, but with two babies under two years old…. I’m lucky enough to even eat during the day.

Cake was a perfect level of sweetness!




Hubby's backyard BBQ Steak


Finally a sunny day after all that rain in LA (something we don’t get to say too often). To celebrate, the hubby and I did a last minute backyard bbq with this huge 5 1/2 pounds chunk of bone in prime rib meat. Tasted just like eating at a five star restaurant. Steak

We generously sprinkled on some salt, added fresh ground pepper then finished off with some thyme.

Steak

My hubby’s grill set up. That first sizzle as the steak hits the hot grill is like music to our ears.

Steak

Meat and nature at its best. I was too busy eating that I forgot to take a picture of the inside!




Oxtail Soup (꼬리곰탕)


Oxtail Soup

Weather forecast says several rainy days ahead for the Los Angeles area! To prepare for this unusually wet and cold condition, I’m making what was a definite comfort food for my sister and I when we were growing up (still is).

Ingredients:

2 packs of beef oxtail (about 4lbs total)
1 whole onion
2 green onions
Salt and Pepper to taste

Oxtail Soup

Directions:

  1. Soak the oxtails in cold water to get the blood out (I usually do this overnight changing the water every so often, but several hours will be enough)
  2. Drain the oxtails, add to a huge pot and pour water just until covered. Boil once then discard water and drain (you will see brown stuff floating around)
  3. Rinse and clean the oxtails in water and throw them back into the huge pot

Oxtail Soup

4. Peel a whole onion (leaving a clean layer of the onion peel on gets rid of the gamey taste)
5. Throw the onion into the pot with the oxtails and pour as much water as you can where it won’t boil over on high heat (about few inches from the rim)
6. Boil on high heat with lid slightly covered until reduced by about half
7. Skim off the fat from the top and ladle into a bowl
8. Sprinkle sliced green onions and finish with some salt and pepper




Kimchee (김치)


Kimchee is a forever staple in our home. I have many childhood memories making boxes of kimchee with my grandma to hand out in jars to the rest of the family. It was certainly a very happy day for everyone.

Ingredients:

2 napa cabbage
1 cup – salt (I used himalayan pink salt this time, but sea salt is the best)
1/4 cup – sweet rice flour
1 1/2 cup – red pepper flakes
1/4 cup – maesil (plum flavored extract)
1 asian pear
8 – red jalapeno
1/2 of an onion
1/2 cup – garlic cloves
1 tbsp – minced ginger
2 tbsp – salted shrimp
3/4 cup – fish sauce

Optional:
1 radish
green onions

Directions:

  1. Make a salt water bath for the cabbage by adding 1 cup of salt to about 12 cups of water (it may seem too salty, but when it tastes like ocean water it is just right)
  2. Cut the cabbage into fourths
  3. Dunk the cabbage in to the salt water bath so that it seeps into every crevice of the cabbage
  4. Start stacking them into a huge bowl sprinkling extra salt onto each cabbage
  5. Pour the leftover salt water bath over the cabbage pile when done
  6. While you wait about 4 hours until the cabbage becomes slightly limp, start on making the sauce

7. To create the paste that makes the sauce stick to the cabbage, mix 4 cups of water and 1/4 cup of sweet rice flour into a pot and cook on medium heat (make sure there are no clumps of sweet rice flour, I use plastic gloves and mix manually.. but whatever works)
8. This next part is pretty labor intensive, you must stir this paste mixture for awhile (took me about 20 minutes) until it becomes thick OR when left standing it starts to boil9. When finished, add it to a bowl with 1 1/2 cups of red pepper flakes and 1/4 cup of maesil then mix all together and set aside (maesil adds natural sweetness to the kimchi)

10. In a blender, throw the asian pear, red jalapenos, onion, garlic, ginger, salted shrimp and fish sauce all together
11. Pour this mixture into the bowl of paste and mix all together

12. This is optional, but you can add radish by peeling it and slicing into matchsticks (I used my mandolin slicer) and throw in some green onions for added flavor and color

13. After about 4 hours, rinse the cabbage and drain very well (I leave it to drain while I do other errands around the house)
14. Once drained, cut out the root end of the cabbage (some people eat it, but I don’t) then slice the cabbage into small squares/rectangles
15. In a huge bowl, incorporate the cabbage with the sauce (preferably done by hand, wearing long dishwashing gloves)
16. Pack it tightly into kimchi jars or any other air tight container and refrigerate




Dduk Gook (떡국)


Dduk Gook
A Korean ritual to ring in the New Year is 떡국. A dish that can be eaten anytime of the year but definitely on New Years day.
Ingredients:
1-2 handful – 떡 | Oval sliced dduk (rice cakes)
2 cups – 곰탕 | Oxtail Soup Broth & Meat
1 egg
2 pieces – 김 | Korean Laver (seaweed)
Sesame Seed
Green Onion – sliced
Salt & Pepper to taste
Directions:
  1. Put the rice cakes in cold water for 20 minutes to soak
  2. Add the oxtail broth and meat to a pot and boil
  3. Add rice cakes
  4. Mix up the egg and fry it, eventually cutting to thin strips and set aside
  5. Using scissors, cut the seaweed pieces into thin strips as well and set aside
  6. Tasting the broth along the way, add salt and pepper to taste
  7. Once the dduk rises to the top of the soup, you are ready to serve the bowl
  8. Add the sliced egg, seaweed, green onion and sesame seed as preferred

Dduk Gook 2




Sushi Gen (Little Tokyo, Los Angeles)


Lunch date with the hubby at Sushi Gen! This was the line before they were even open. Luckily, we got seated immediately at the sushi bar where we experienced their delicious omakase.Sushi Gen

Sushi Gen

Omakase means “It’s up to you”, which is a Japanese tradition of letting the chef create any plate for you. Here, the plates keeps coming until you say stop. Sushi Gen

This was one of the best sushi experiences… ever. Everything we ate was so fresh with the flavor perfect to our taste. Sushi Gen

Sushi GenWe spent $300 easily, and that is without drinks! Worth every penny.

SUSHI GEN
422 E 2nd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
T: (213) 617-0552




Hong Kong November 2011


Hong Kong 2011

Hong Kong Hotel BuffetI ♥ ♥ ♥ eating food with an incredible view! @ the Harbour Grand Kowloon Hotel.

HK food I was quite spoiled with good food…. (.^__^.)

Dim SumI know I say I ♥ everything a little too often… 🙂 but I really do ♥ Dim Sum!! Perfect for the indecisive (me), the choices are endless.

Shark Fin Dim SumShark Fin Soup Dumpling~  ^_____^

Taiwanese Food

Taiwanese food & beer in Hong Kong.

I wouldn’t mind moving to Hong Kong just for the food! 🙂

 




Gye Ran Jjim


Gye Ran Jjim (계란찜) – Steamed Egg 

Gye Ran JjimIn our house, we always have a staple of organic cage free eggs. 🙂 On a busy week when there is no side dish (ban chan 반찬) to eat at home, I can always cook this up in a hurry.

Gye ran jjim (계란찜) is one of my favorite Korean egg dishes. It is served as a side dish at many Korean restaurants, but they just don’t give you enough of it… right?? Simple to make, but timing and technique is everything. Now you can enjoy this silky fluffy texture of the steamed egg as often as you want, which might be everyday.

Servings: 2

Ingredient list:

  • 2              Large Eggs
  • 2              Pieces of Dry Kelp (다시마) 2″ x 3″ (or roughly the size of a credit card)
  • 1              Clove of Garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 tsp     Sesame Seeds
  • 1/2 tsp     Sesame Oil
  • 1 tsp        Fish Sauce (or 1 tbsp Salted Shrimp Liquid 새우젓)
  • 1 cup       Water
  • 1 tbsp      Green Onions (sliced)
Gye ran jjim ingredients
The jar on the far right with the red lid is the Salted Shrimp (새우젓). You can find this at any Korean market, but sadly…. my sister does not like shrimp, so I don’t use it as often as I would like. The salted shrimp adds good flavor to gye ran jjim, although, I prefer to use the liquid and not the actual shrimp chunks.
Korean Earthen PotWhen making Gye ran jjim, it is important to use the right pot. This is the traditional Korean earthen pot made out of clay called ddook beh gi (뚝배기). It retains heat for much longer than a regular pot, and that is why it’s used for stews, soups, & Gye ran jjim to keep it hot and steamy until it’s all eaten up. The diameter of the pot I used for this recipe is 4.5 inches.
Kelp BrothFirst step is to make the broth. Add 1 cup of water to the pot, along with the 2 pieces of dry kelp. Bring to a boil. (I leave the lid off for this step, just in case I forget about it and the water over flows… happened to me before…  >.< )
Egg Mixture
While you wait for the water to boil, in a small bowl, add the following ingredients: 2 Large Eggs, 1 tsp Fish Sauce or 1 tbsp Salted Shrimp Liquid, 1/2 tsp Sesame Seed, 1/2 tsp Sesame Oil, 1 clove of garlic minced (I used 2 because I ♥ garlic!), and a small pinch of salt. Whisk away with a fork or chopsticks and set aside.
Sliced Green Onions
Slice up the green onions…
Egg Mixture in BrothThen once the water starts to boil, take out the kelp and dispose. Continue to boil the broth for 2 more minutes, then reduce the heat to low. After another 2 minutes, grab the egg mixture and give it one last quick whisk, now dump it all into the hot broth.
Immediately, start stirring the egg broth mixture with a spoon. Be sure to stir thoroughly reaching the bottom of the pot (this prevents the egg from burning on the bottom).
After stirring for about 15 seconds, cover with lid. Please try to refrain yourself from peeking for the next 18 minutes!
Green onions on egg
After 18 minutes has gone by, open the lid, sprinkle the sliced green onions over the steamed egg, then close the lid again. This process should be done as quickly as possible so there is little heat loss~ Now, wait 2 more minutes then turn off the heat. Remove the pot to a trivet or any other heat safe surface. Serve immediately! 🙂
Geh ran jjimGeh ran jjimPlease don’t mind the blurriness… I’m still learning. ^_____^
Geh ran jjimEnjoy! ♥



Jab Chae


Jab Chae (잡채) – Korean Vermicelli Noodles

Jab Chae (잡채) is a traditional Korean side dish prepared with vermicelli noodles (made from sweet potatoes) mixed with various vegetables and meat. Although it is a side dish, many times I eat it as a whole meal by itself. ^__^

Servings: 8-10 as a side dish or 4-6 as a main dish    

Ingredient list:                                                                  

  • 5 oz      Beef (about 1 cup sliced)
  • 1           Spinach Bundle
  • 1/2        Large Onion (sliced)
  • 1           Medium Carrot (sliced in sticks)
  • 6           Mushrooms (about 1 cup sliced)
  • *1/4       Red Bell Pepper (Sliced)
  • 1           Bag Vermicelli Noodle (11oz, 300g)
  • 2           Eggs
  • 1 tsp     Sesame Seed (for garnishing)
  • 2 tbsp   Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp     Sesame Oil
  • 1           Clove of Garlic (minced)
  • 1 tbsp   Water
  • Salt + Pepper

Marinade for Beef:

  • 1 tbsp    Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 tsp   Sesame Oil
  • 1            Clove of Garlic (minced)
  • Pinch     Salt + Pepper

Sauce:

  • 6 tbsp     Dark Soy Sauce
  • 2 tsp       Sesame Oil
  • 1 tbsp     Sugar
  • 1 tsp       Sesame Seed

* Optional

Start off by slicing your beef into thin strips, I used the thinly sliced beef from the Korean market (used for krn bbq), but any chunk of meat will do.Sliced raw beef Add all the ingredients for the beef marinade to a small bowl, mix, pour over the sliced beef, and mix again to make sure all the beef is covered. Put it aside and let the beef soak up the sauce.

Bring a medium sized pot to a boil. While we wait for the water to heat up, get out your bundle of spinach and chop off the ends.Spinach Bundle Now it’s time for blanching~ When the water starts to boil, dump all the spinach into the pot and cover with lid. Turn off the heat, and let the spinach sit for about 5 minutes then drain and rinse with cold water.Blanched Spinach

Leaving it in a strainer is not enough to get the water out, so we are going to squeeze out the excess water. Just grab a handful and start squeezing! Now put the poor squeezed out spinach into a bowl and add  2 tsp Sesame Oil, 1 Clove of Garlic (minced), and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix and set aside.

Assorted Vegetables plate

Moving on to the rest of the vegetables~ Slice the onions into thin strips, cut the carrots into thin match like sticks, slice up the mushrooms, AND I found a red bell pepper in the fridge so I cut that up too. I think it adds good color to the whole dish. 🙂 You can really add any vegetable you like, or that you have in the fridge that needs to be used up.

Beef Stir Fry

Heat up a pan to medium high heat and add 1/2 tsp of Olive Oil. Finally, we are going to stir fry the sliced beef that has been patiently marinading~ Throw them into the hot pan and stir fry away until the beef is cooked through. Transfer the cooked meat to a large mixing bowl.

Onions Stir Fry

Use the same pan (no need to wash) and heat up again to medium high heat. Add about 1/2 tsp Olive Oil (or you can use Sesame Oil instead) and throw in all the sliced onions. Give it a pinch of salt and pepper and stir fry. Cook them until they are “al dente” (cooked, but still firm) for about 5 minutes.   Beef Onion Bowl

Dump those al dente onions into the same mixing bowl with the beef. Starting a collection here~ Beef Onion Carrot Bowl

Repeat the steps used for stir frying the onions for the carrots, and dump them into the bowl .All Vegetable Bowl

Now repeat again for the rest of the vegetables (except the spinach), and dump all of them into the collection bowl. No need to stir fry the spinach, since we already blanched them. They can just go right into the bowl.

VermicelliYou can buy the vermicelli noodles at any Korean market. Usually the smallest size bag of the noodles will fit this recipe. Now bring a medium pot to a boil. Fried EggsWhile we wait for the water to boil, we are going to fry up some eggs. Take the 2 eggs and separate the yolks and whites into two bowls. I add about 1 tbsp of water to the yolks because they are so thick. Slightly whisk the whites and yolks separately with a fork, or chopstick, or whatever you have on hand. Fry them up in a pan on medium heat with some olive oil. Set them aside to cool. Vermicelli BoilingBack to the vermicelli noodles. Once the water starts to boil, dunk the noodles in and cook for about 8-10 minutes. I always taste a noodle to test for the texture that I want. Drain, rinse, and allow to sit in strainer to remove excess water. Vermicelli Drained

All drained~ ~JapChae MixThrow in the drained vermicelli noodles into the collection bowl along with the other vegetables and beef, then mix away. It’s a lot easier to mix if you wear plastic gloves and use your hands! Sauce

Prepare the ingredients for the sauce, and combine them in a small bowl then mix. Pour this sauce over the noodle, vegetable, beef mix in the collection bowl. Use your hands if you can to incorporate everything!Eggs Thin Strips

Now, fold those fried yolks and whites and cut into thin strips for garnishing.Sesame SeedUse the sesame seeds for garnishing as well, and now Jap Chae is complete! ^.^/All ready to serve & eat ~ ♥JabChae2JabChae3JabChae4

  • Tip 1: Add a little sesame oil to the noodles after draining to prevent sticking.
  • Tip 2: Cut the noodles with scissors after draining for easier eating.
  • Tip 3: You can add any vegetable or exchange beef for pork. You can even omit all meat for vegetarian Jap Chae.
  • Tip 4: Any leftover can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer. Just heat it up on a frying pan before serving.

 

 




Dubai May 2011


Dubai 2011Middle Eastern FoodAlthough Dubai is just way too hot & humid for me to handle (they issued a warning of being outside during certain hours of the day to prevent heat stroke)….. I did enjoy the dinner cruise on Dubai Creek~ Overate! 🙁 I also got to shop at the WORLD’S biggest mall!! ♥ CrabWalking distance from the hotel was an authentic Chinese restaurant… and this is the crab we picked out. More crab for meee~~~~  🙂