January 18, 2018

The Egg Poacher

For my birthday a few months ago, Big Sista gifted me a PoachPod, which is an egg poaching silicone pod. She knows I love eggs and eat them every morning for breakfast, so this was the perfect present.
FYI, I have unsuccessfully tried poaching eggs exactly twice in my life. There's something about vinegar and carefully dropping and retrieving the egg with a slotted spoon. I suppose it can be easy but the PoachPod is heaps easier.
All you need is to do is:
  1. boil 1.5 inches of water in a pan/pot with a lid
  2. spray pod with a non-stick cooking spray and crack egg into pod
  3. place pod in pot and place lid on top
  4. let poach for 3-5 minutes
  5. remove by gently flipping over to serve
EASY PEASY!
And while I still enjoy eating my eggs either soft boiled, scrambled or over easy in the morning, I do enjoy a good poached egg on salads these days. 
My favorite combos: 
  • arugula + poached egg + avocado + balsamic vinegar + olive oil + parmesan + salt & pepper
  • baby kale + this mustard vinaigrette + avocado + broccoli + poached egg
  • baby kale/arugula + roasted broccoli + avocado + tomatoes + green goddess dressing

January 11, 2018

Fried Korean Street Food

During the winter months in Korea, Koreans warm up to sweet, sugar and nut filled pancakes (hotteok) served at street carts. My grandma used to make a version of these pancakes at home with raisins and brown sugar. But when I saw this recipe for savory hotteok, I was immediately intrigued.
While these fried, pupusa-like treats are not exactly in my post-holiday-eating-healthy diet, I couldn't resist using a free morning to make these yeasted-dough goodies.
The filling uses the same sweet potato starch glass noodles in the popular Korean noodle dish japchae. It's a pretty easy recipe to make but requires rising time for the yeasted dough. So while the dough is rising, you have time to make the filling. Also the dipping sauce isn't necessary but is a nice complement to the hotteok.

The end result: a crispy yet chewy pocket of savory deliciousness.
The Recipe: Vegetable Hotteok from Aeri's Kitchen

Recipe Tips:

  • sweet potato starch noodles and sweet rice flour (mochiko brand) are available at your local Asian market but click on links above to shop for them on Amazon
  • hotteok gets its flattened disc shape with the aid of a special hotteok tool and you can see it in action in this video but if you don't have one (I don't!), you can simply use a spatula.
  • feel free to use any vegetables that float your boat or even add ground beef
  • Aeri's recipe is great because she doesn't douse her cooking pan with heaps of vegetable oil but if you prefer the extra oil, feel free to use a heavy pour of oil for frying

December 30, 2017

Best of 2017

2017 was an eventful year filled with a sista wedding, moving to a new city with a new job, saying goodbye to my grandma and my childhood home, witnessing the solar eclipse and many tasty adventures. Here are some highlights from twenty-seventeen:

Best of 2017:
Best Meal: The six course meal I enjoyed at the now closed Oxheart in Houston was a delight. Each dish was so flavorful, creative and so beautifully plated. 
Best Food Adventure: The parents took me to the Korean bar, Hanshin Pocha, to enjoy Korean bar food out in the burbs of Chicago. They offer bar delights like spicy chicken feet and intestine with garlic but my parents and I were more conservative with our order. I keep dreaming about the scorched rice in seafood soup we ate. So flavorful and so comforting. I can't wait to go back for more, especially since it's so cold out now! 
Craziest Bite: Barbecue Burnt Ends Ice Cream from Betty Rae's in Kansas City. Sweet and tangy and delicious--somehow it actually worked well as an ice cream flavor. 

Best New Kitchen Gadget: My food pro that I bought early in 2017. It made life so much easier since I didn't have to use my tiny mini chopper to do what a big food processor should have done. And I could not have made my favorite baked item this year without it (see below) 
Best New Baked Recipe: The rugelach I made earlier this month were so addicting, in both sweet and savory forms. 
Best New Cooking Adventure: Homemade hummus also made possible with my new food processor. Labor intensive but well worth the time and so delicious with toppings. 
Newest Obsessions: Can you believe I tried avocado toast for the first time this year? It was love at first bite and quickly became my breakfast every day this fall. My favorite combo is sourdough bread, sunny side up egg, everything bagel seasoning, feta and Frank's Hot sauce. 
I also became obsessed with making onigiri after buying a mold at my local Asian market. It was a quick way to make lunch or a snack. And I was even gifted a panda onigiri shaper for my birthday---so adorable yet so hard to cut out the seaweed with the mold.
Best Cupcake: My favorite cupcake of 2017 was actually the first one I consumed of the year back in February. Tout Suite in Houston had the most delectable, perfectly baked little cakes I've eaten in a long time. 

2017 By the Numbers:
50 blog posts
14 cupcakes eaten
9 different taco places visited in Houston (with multiple trips to several)
5 baseball games attended (only one non-Cubs game)
2 trips taken to visit friends (San Antonio and Charlottesville)
2 cities lived in

December 22, 2017

Rugelach After Hanukkah

Lemme start out by saying I actually made these rugelach on the 7th and 8th nights of Hanukkah but since I'm slow to post, I'm only now writing about these Hanukkah treats a day too late.
Rugelach are flaky, filled, mini croissant-looking pastries that are typically served during Hanukkah but can be enjoyed any time of year. Since I grew up in large Jewish community, I was no stranger to these sweet treats. But since it's been a couple decades since I've had rugelach, I decided to bake some during this holiday season.
Typical fillings include a fruit jam, nuts and chocolate. But I decided to bake two different kinds:  sweet and savory. Both are so delicious but if you had to make me choose which was my favorite, the non-sweets lover in me will obviously say the savory one. Plus it includes everything bagel seasoning!
These are pretty easy to make---you just have to be patient with some chilling times but with the waiting time, you can wrap presents, drink some egg nog or watch some old holiday tv specials.

Rugelach

December 18, 2017

DIY Stamped Pouches

It's the sixth year that I've been making Christmas crafty gifts and lately I wonder if I'll one day run out of ideas. Oh silly me, as long as there's Pinterest, I think I'll be stocked with ideas for many years to come.

This year's craft is stamped pouches that can be used as cosmetic bags or pencil pouches. I purchased some on Amazon but you can also easily find some at your local Hobby Lobby.
A watermelon print is easily made with a DIY potato stamp.

Or you can use a pencil eraser to create an easy polka dot pattern.

And if you have a stamp carving kit, you can carve out a cute pineapple print.
Stamped Pouches: adapted from The Lovely Drawer
Supplies needed:
canvas zipper pouch found here or here
fabric paint
1 small potato, cut into a quarter of its size to create a watermelon shape (refer to this photo)
pencil with a fresh eraser
stamp carving kit (optional)
sponge craft brush
Directions:
1. Coat the stamp with paint using the sponge craft brush and practice the shapes on a scrap sheet of paper. When ready, stamp the pouch on both sides.
2. Let paint dry for a couple of hours. Then fill pouch with your favorite pencils or makeup.

December 16, 2017

Cupcake Day 2017

I'm a day late on this post but Happy (belated) National Cupcake Day! I've had a five year streak of mediocre/bad cupcakes on this day and I'm pleased to announce that I finally have broken that streak. While the cupcake wasn't OMG amazing, it was still pretty tasty.

I patronized a cupcake bakery located in the historic River Market neighborhood of Kansas City. Baby Cakes had an assortment of cupcakes available and my eye caught a festive chocolate cupcake topped with mint chocolate frosting. Each cupcake is $3.
The cupcake had a good balance of mint and chocolate and it wasn't too sweet. The crumb was fluffy but was a tad on the dry side. It was a festive treat on a busy weekend filled with lots of holiday concerts. And I'm so glad I found a good cupcake nearby my apartment.
Baby Cakes
River Market
108 Missouri Avenue
Kansas City, Missouri

December 8, 2017

Chai Snickerdoodles

There's something so warm and cozy about snickerdoodle cookies. Maybe it's the perfect combination of spice with the pillowy texture gives off the warm fuzzies. So I found it only fitting that a chai spiced snickerdoodle would enter my holiday baking repertoire this season.
The chai spices add an extra something special to these cookies and they give you a break from chowing down on mint and gingerbread goodies all season long.
The Recipe: Chewy Chai Snickerdoodles from How Sweet Eats