Thursday, January 27, 2011

SNOW DAY CRêPES : BRUNCH FOR TWO


The brain couldn't produce a creative title today, but I suppose the little  ^  on the word crêpe can resemble the pile of snow on our roof. Snow day! First week of work and it's a 4 day week.  Is that good or bad?

After staying into the wee hours of watching the snow, hubs and I filled up on sleep. Now, watching snow is one of the most peaceful things, but sleeping-in is not easy work. The Lonely Laboring Lung is slaving away while all other functions except the occassional twitching muscle and for those who drool, the drooling,  are still as a rock. So it was off to the kitchen to fill our tummies that survived the piles of snow that fell on our house. Long stretch of sleep during cold weather and food replenishment...We sound like korean bears!




 Important note: Korean bears also sounds a lot like "korean pears".




Crêpes are French. The ingredients include flour, eggs, milk, butter and salt and they come in two types. Sweet,  crêpes sucrees and savory, crêpes salees. Put all the foreign fancy words aside and it's simply... a really thin pancake.





So we had sweet and savory crepes. One way to make a sweet crepe is to add some rum and vanilla in the crepe batter and finish with Nutella . For the savory crepe, adding some sage/rosemary and salt to the crepe batter and tucking away some chicken-pot-pie-like filing hit the mark. To make sure the crepes weren't mixed up, raspberries for the sweet and fresh parmesan cheese to the savory.












Ladies and gentlemen, Sweet and Savory.


Diner-style homefries made an appearance and of course, over easy eggs. The eggs didn't have such an "easy" time flipping. Look at their scars! Poor things, but rest assured, they are still filled with the yellow (korean) oozing soul. So there it is... brunch.




Add coffee x2.





and you have ....

Snow Day Crêpes: Brunch for 2.  :)


Bon Appettito!

FY

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Shrimp Etouffee Buffet

First Etouffee!

The word comes from the French word étouffer, which means to smother.

 
 
 Sous Chef was able to pull the whole shrimp out of it's shell.
Perhaps it requires the same skills as pulling teeth??

Mamma Mia! :)




Bon Appettito!

FY


Sunday, January 23, 2011

"SQUASH ME!" + COMPANY

Funny word.

Squash.

"skwash"



3 Different meanings:

1. Squash- v. to press into a flat mass or pulp

2. Squash-n. a game for two persons, resembling squash racquets except that the ball is larger and livelier and the racket is shaped like a tennis racket

3. Squash-the fruit of any of various vinelike, tendril-bearing plants


Being a food blog, you've already deduced it's the later. :)


Squash is much like the pumpkin and a perfect food for winter. Two similar squashes are Kambocha and the Acorn squash. You can tell the difference because the acorn squash looks more like an acorn.  




Mild in flavor but great for your body, these moderate priced vegetables are great things to include in your winter dishes.  

One way to eat it is a snack. Cut it in half, microwave for 5 minutes or until outer rind is soft. Add a little butter and brown sugar, put it into the oven at 350 with a little water at the bottom of the pan. 50 minutes to 1 hr later, it will be soft enough to put a spoon through it. Take out and eat! A healthier option is to bake it without the toppings and add honey before you eat it.






You can also put these things in pasta and eat it as a meal!  Grab some paparadelle noodles, add the squash, garlic, olive oil, onions, asparagus, pinenuts and freshly grated parmesan cheese.



Instead of discarding the seeds,  bake them until they're crispy and add a little salt. If you've had pumpkin seeds, they taste much like them. Nutty.




--


Restaurant Recommendation:

Hudson Bread Co/ Breadman's Cafe
5601 Tonnelle Ave,
North Bergen NJ 07047

Great place to buy your bread and brap lunch. This place ships out their bread to places such as Manhattan's Ritz Carlton,Waldorf-Astoria and the Atlantic City casinos. The menu is limited, but the chicken pesto sandwiches on ciabattas that we had were excellent.  I am usually hesitant towards ciabattas as they frequently threaten to scratch the top of my mouth, but this one didn't! :)  Great place to sit on couches and study, drink coffee and chat. It's cozy 






----

Pasta making for lasagna

What a field day, but pasta making is taking less time as dues are paid to practice hours. Homemade pasta makes a huge difference in the taste of the final product, but sad, I forgot to take a picture of the final product. (doh!) but making good progress on perfecting the lasagna we had in Rome.



And another practice at the checkered cookies. Cookie baking is coming along slowly but steadily. As challenging as it has been for me, I am determined to be good baker. (someday) Our pastor mentioned today that, it is so important to approach challenges with the right attitude and confidence that you can do it.  So....I can do it!  *fist pump*



Tried the outline.



Made one that looked like bacon for the hubs.
Just as he likes it...extra crispy!




And I got a great new inspiration from making the checkered cookies! Though it may be the weekend or longer till I get to it, I am convinced that this idea will be pretty amusing. Hopefully it'll turn out as I imagine it and not as a total

 fLoP!  :0)


Till Next time, Bon Appettito!


FY

Friday, January 14, 2011

"HEALTHY" PIZZA AND FRIES



I know, the title sounds ridiculous. Healthy pizza and fries? That combo sounds like it fits more in the comfort food column than the healthy.

Let's start with the fries. I got a whole sweet potato, cut them into little fiddle sticks, tossed them with some olive oil, salt and a few fresh chop't Italian herbs (sage, thyme, rosemary, basil) and...baked them. They come out colorful and nutritious. The herbs are packed with antioxidants, vitamin A, cancer preventing agents and the sweet potato is packed with calcium, iron, vitamin E and A. And not only that, they're delicious lending a sweet and salty flavor that everyone will enjoy. So instead of the regular limited nutrient potato, try some nutrient packed sweet potato fries. Don't eat them all for yoursef...give them to the kids too! I have a friend who comes over once in a while with some sweet potatoes to bake. I'm going to have to make these for her sometime.  :)




PIZZA

American pizza vs the Italian pizza.
Italian foods are relatively simple, America's get's complicated.  Let's take the American Pizza Hut deep. The pizzas are piled high with all the toppings across the board; sausage, ham, pepperoni, cheese, veggies and extra cheese all on a thick crust. Truly an American creation. "The more the better"



For the Italian pizza, let's go back to the authentic Italian culture to see the mystery of the "healthy" pizza.  Take the simple and classic Margherita.  Basil, tomato and mozzarella. Remember the courses appertivo, primi, secundi, dessert and coffee? Pizza was made as a primi portion and only one of the many small courses in a traditional Italian meal so pizza there is not as filling like Pizza Hut. Often, the pizza has little or no meat because the Italians usually serve meat in the "secundi" portion.




Fact corner: Did you know the Margherita is the national pizza of Italy?


In about 1889, Queen Margherita, accompanied by her husband, Umberto I, took an inspection tour of her Italian Kingdom. During her travels around Italy she saw many people, especially the peasants, eating this large, flat bread. Curious, the queen ordered her guards to bring her one of these Pizza breads. The Queen loved the bread and would eat it every time she was out amongst the people, which caused some consternation in Court circles. It was not seemly for a Queen to dine on peasant's food.
Never the less, the queen loved the bread and decided to take matters into her own hands. Summoning Chef Rafaelle Esposito from his pizzeria to the royal palace, the queen ordered him to bake a selection of pizzas for her pleasure


To honor the queen who was so beloved by her subjects, Rafaelle decided to make a very special pizza just for her. He baked a Pizza topped with tomatoes, Mozzarella Cheese, and fresh Basil (to represent the colors of the Italian flag: Red, white, and green). This became Queen Margherita's favorite pizza and when word got out that this was one of the queen's favorite foods, she became even more popular with the Italian people. She also started a culinary tradition, the Pizza Margherita, which lasts to this very day in Naples and has now spread throughout the world.
 
 So in keeping with the simplicity of Italian pizza, I made the Sorrentina Pizza from Trattoria de Sorrentina which was mentioned in my previous post.  It had three toppings: arugula, cherry tomatoes and prosciutto. It was a white pizza so no tomato sauce. (Picture is of restaurant's pizza)





 
 
Now I could tell you a lot about prosciutto since my curiousity has led me to read a book on them, but I'll just give you the most important things. You can find prosciutto from a charcuterie (deli) and it's simply a dry-cured ham. There are a few different kinds, but Prosciutto de Parma is the tastier one.
 
So where did prosciutto come from?  [No, stay with me! It's interesting. :)]
 
A long time ago before the Italians had refrigeration, they needed meat to last through the whole year. So on the day they butchered a pig, they had some fresh meat as a meal for energy to do the rest of the preparations with the pig which were:
 
1. Take all the big cuts and dry-age them
2. Take the head parts and chop them up to make a "head cheese". ie ears, snout
3. Save the big pieces of fat or lardo for cooking and flavoring foods
4. Grind the tiny pieces of meat and fat leftover and case them into the intestines to make sausage (origins of sausage)
 
 They Italians found a system of salting and drying meat that kills bacteria and prolongs the life of the meat. Let's take, for example, one of the big cuts of meat from the leg. They would be treated with salt and dry-hung for months. That would be PROSCIUTTO. It's not cooked, but perfectly safe to eat. :)
 
Since we're able to get fresh meats from our local store today, there's no need for prosciutto anymore, but prosciutto continues to stick around not out of necessity , but for that signature salty and sweet taste. So with that, I present a Sorrentina Pizza in our home with all it's nutritional and prosciutto glory.
*Angel choir singing*





Bon Appettito!

FY

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

SNACKAGE!

Going out in the cold weather isn't ideal unless it's to play with snow. Other times, it's inside wearing the softest clothes under the warmest blankets that sound more ideal. You can't stay in bed all day ...well, actually, I know some that can, haha, but the kitchen is ideal favorite spot #2.


One of the things that I've finally solved is that mystery of the sugar cookie. Put your hands up in the air!  \0/  I've finally made some batches that actually taste like sugar cookies instead of baked flour. Nothing fancy yet. Gotta get the fundamentals first. My mistake was using the tub butter instead of sticks of butter. So batches of flour later, rest assured that I'll never forget: stick butter!  I made some traditional round cookies, but I also thought I had to make the other Chicken McNugget shape in the left bottom corner. Morphs a little during baking, but Ode to the Chicken McNugget!



And another practice at royal icing. Slowly getting there. This is taking some practice too, just like the sugar cookie. Slow, but steady. As long as we get there...someday. "Tie-riffic!"



Unlike the sugar cookie, the granola bar is a much easier undertaking. My husband eats these every morning, so I gave them a try to see if I could make them instead of buying them. Making granola bars is pretty versatile in terms of what you want to put in them. Next time, chocolate chips might be fun... or bacon for Kee.  :) 




And here is a quick and fun savory snack. Some time in early december, my friends and I did a food tour in Manhattan as a last hurrah for our friend who was having a baby soon. We ended up going to about 6 places throughout the evening into night, having a little bite at each place. One of the places was yakitori in a small and crowded place in St Marks. Fun atomosphere.


Pretty crowded huh? You can see the skewers that we ordered and there was one that I particularly had a liking for.



 I was shopping with my husband and as we were cruising in the frozen isle,
*angel choir music*
Into the cart.



I know, a little scary looking, but once you've tasted them you'll have a paradigm shift on these little yummies. Instead of making you cringe, you'll drool.




All that had to be done to these bad boys was to batter and deep fry them and put them on a stick. It was like clockwork for my husband when he saw this.




Sardine in one hand,  a beer in the other. He says fried foods go extremely well together. Though I'm not a fan of the juice, I had a sip while we snacked. It's actually very refreshing and helps the greasiness away.  






Food for thought:
The things that are the most beautiful cannot be seen...
 

They had caviar inside...


:*)



Bon Appettio!

FY


 




Wednesday, January 5, 2011

TEXAS AND WISCONSIN HOLIDAYS





January 2011 is here! Happy New Year! With the dawn of the near year, most people have probably thought one of the three things:
1. This year I will (enter resolution)
2. I can't believe 2011 is already here!
3. I need to lose my holiday weight.

In terms of #3, my husband and I have decided that we're getting serious about this weight loss and the tangible ways we can accomplish this without slipping is:
a) eat smaller portions
b) give ourselves a dose of truth each day and step on our new scale
 
LORD HELP US!
So where did we gain this holiday weight? Texas and Wisconsin, home of good eats! This year, it was Thanksgiving in Texas and Christmas in Wisconsin.




TEXAS


From the airport, my brother picked us up and we all took the 2 hour drive to Hempstead, Texas which was not too far from Houston. My Uncle has a ranchhouse on a big plot of land which our families from Houston and Austin came to.  My mom, aunt and some younger ladies of the family helped with the preparation ni my Aunt's country/rustic kitchen and the results were amazing. The spread was substantial! Unfortunately, we didn't catch any pictures of the food nor the beautiful house, but I can say that my mom, aunt and cousin did a wonderful job with the food. Highlights were my mom's glazed ham and my aunt's stuffing. Two of the greatest cooks ever! Right in their tracks is my cousin, Hana, who seems to think of something really inventive every year. The other year was an amazing holiday drink and this year she had a "leftover casserole" which consisted of ingredients from the thanksgiving table with a few extra ingredients all baked into a casserole dish. You're amazing, little cous.




This was the first Thanksgiving that Kee and I were spending with my side of the family and in the Korean culture, the new couple bows together to the family. We bowed to the adults and when it came to the kids, I think we'd all agree it was akward to be so formal to eachother. So on the cue, we all faced eachother and bowed. The Korean bow is done from head down to the floor which we did with the adults,




but either we all had ESP or are plain lazy second generation cousins, we all bent at the waist.



It seemed normal to the younger ones but the adults were shocked! Relieved the akwardness was over and the hilarity of the cousins thinking exactly the same way, the whole room, adults and cousins alike had a good laugh.

Then it was away from the formality to a game of spoons! With a twist, we added a spoon shuffler, Ariel, and we said she could move the spoons however she wanted. She favored people at times (her mom! ) by putting all the spoons in front of one person, played peach maker by putting them out equally in front of everybody and when she was feeling miscievious, she hid them in another room which led us into an epic battle to just even get in the door!





So after spending the time there, it was back to Austin where we enjoyed Texas and Mom's cooking. It was Kee's birthday so she went all out to make banchans, kalbi jjim and of course, meeyuk kuk. While my mom was prepping the amazing meal, My dad, brother, Kee and I helped my dad pick the last persimmons off our tree for the season as well as some grapefruits. We had to get the persimmons down with an extended tree saw and a long crab net!








and after helping my dad in the yard, we came inside to my mom's wonderful  homemade food. :)












We also hit up Countyline and Rudy's while we were there. In Texas, when you say "ribs" it's not baby back ribs, but beef ribs.



And my brother, Kee and I met with Jinny and Kee's friend Mike over Rudy's and Mozarts. Creamed corn, oh how I've missed you~~


For diner it was back home, where we had a Texas-Korean BBQ. My mom and dad teamed up for the grill! My mom marinated kalbi and my dad grill the kalbi, the Texas Jalepeno (YUM!) sausage and the corn. While my brother, Kee and I played some basketball to get in some exercise, we'd stop to catch some fresh kalbi my dad was taking off the grill. Let me tell you, fresh kalbi off the grill should be the next world wonder. Instead of gatorade for NBA basketball players, it should be kalbi. They would win more games that way!








Here we are, around the table. Even if we all knew it was her, my mom wouldn't claim the amazing kalbi she marinated! We are all proud of Dad's grilling and the "kids", well...we'll happily do the eating! :)




video






WISCONSIN


For Christmas, it was off to Wisconsin a land with large plots of land and covered in snow. Kee used a snow blower for the first time to clear his parents' driveway. :)


Lots of great food from my mother-in-law as well as a nice meal at a steak restaurant. My mother in law loves to make beautiful table scapes and this is a "simple" Christmas breakfast she created for us the day we left.



We also visited a steak house while there. The meal started with a seafood appetizer which was pretty amazing. King Crab legs, shrimp, lobster, tuna tartare and oysters.




A non-traditional cob salad. Interesting plating!




Steaks with sides of honey sweet potatoes, lobster mac and cheese and asparagus with hollandaise. Yum yum.





We drove to Chicago to visit some of our friends and their kids and Tim and Cindy treated us to quite a feast! Wings from Great Seas, Clam Chowder and biscuits from Bob Chin's, mussels in wine sauce, scallops, lobster claws and finished with a Moscato Asti! Thanks guys~ Later, the soon to be wedded couple, Hannah and Jason joined us too.




Ladies:


Men:



And on Christmas morning, we went to early morning church service at my father-in-law's church. It was hard to wake at 5:15am since we came in at 1am after visiting our friends, but it had it's rewards.

My FIL gave a sermon on faith that referred to the story of Jesus on a boat with his disciples. As he fell asleep, a storm fell upon the boat and the disciples were worried and woke Him. He told them not to worry and have faith because He is in control of all things as He calmed the storm before their eyes. Great words for the year.

Afterwards the service, we visited a Yugoslavian family with my FIL and MIL to wish them Merry Christmas. They were so hospitable... We were invited in the house and the Mrs quickly set up a whole table of goodies and coffee! Amongst them, freshly made baklava. Yum~~


And that wasn't the only treat..the Mr had recently retired and started raising some chickens. The chicken had eggs and they hatched days before we came!






video


And on our flight back...well, our flight got cancelled due to the big storm on the East Coast. Thousands of flights got cancelled including ours and the next flight out was four days later! So we rented a Jeep Liberty and headed back for 13 hours. Praise God there were no major problem and slid into home at 4am.


I hope you all had wonderful holidays with your families and Happy New Year~ Stay tuned for more food discorveries and eats in 2011!

Bon Appetite!

FY