Monday, August 30, 2010

though not food related, this is a really really cool blog site

read the about section. i love her attitude, motivation, and commitment. plus the clothes she makes are awesome. inspires me to work hard on my blog as well, or put full effort in whatever i have to do for the day. go check it out!!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

hw break

i know this photo might seem a bit crazy! a lot going on and a weird angle and lighting. haha.

it's a turkey burger (turkey, onions, garlic, pepper, ketchup) with goat cheese and tomatoes on a roasted green pepper "bun". with sautéed mushrooms and pasta salad, all over a bed of spinach.

this was my lunch from earlier this week. i didn't even miss bread, which says a LOT coming from me (i would eat pasta, rice, bread, starches all day everyday if i did not fear the consequences) because the whole thing reminded me of a stuffed bell pepper, in cute sandwich form.

recently i became enlightened to the world of roasted bell peppers... it's fast, easy, and absolutely delicious. you basically stick a whole pepper under the broiler, turning occasionally until the skin blisters and starts to turn brown/black. after this you can cover it while it cools, so that it "steams" itself for a few minutes and the skin slips off like a banana peel. but in this case, i just left the skin on because i figured it would be less messy if i was going to hold this like a burger.

anyhow, the last few weeks i've been trying to eat really healthy, and with the exception of beaujo's pizza one night and chipotle for lunch today, essentially everything i've eaten has been whole home-cooked foods. in addition to tons of fruits and veggies lots of quinoa, flaxseed, oatmeal, poultry and seafood, vinegars, plain yogurt, etc etc have been staples. lately i've been dressing my salads with just some goat cheese crumbles, spices, lemon juice, and/or vinegar... no oil is really needed! i find that oil is good in a dressing mainly because it helps distribute the other components that deliver the "bite".. (think, acidic or pungent) and even though oil is always tasty (it's so smooth and coats your mouth with richness!) it's something i've tried to cut down on lately. and it's pretty safe to say life sans excess fats is still pretty tasty.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

the dynamic duo

i figure i should update.. it's been a while! does anyone even read this, except my parents? haha. even if not, it doesn't matter. it's something to do, hold me accountable.. having short term goals is always nice. especially when i get to eat them!

school's only 1 week in and already i am swamped... hw and meetings, early classes, advisors, cooking, cleaning, exercise, etc etc....

anyhow here is a picture from the last time i photographed food.. earlier this week. in case you are wondering, the dynamic duo is in reference to tomato and basil. some things are just meant for each other, really!!

fresh cherry tomatoes from my parents' garden... cute, am i right?

in honor of the dying basil plant (sad!) that was to be mine, 
goodbye, basil plant

i made a simple caprese-esque salad... with roasted cherry tomatoes!
basil ribbons! (not from the dying one :P)
olive oil!
salt pepper!
mozzarella cheese!

often times simplicity is most genuine expression of elegance... 

fresh simple ingredients speak for themselves. yummmm!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

happy birthday, 엄마!!!!

as a child i quickly learned that my mom has a penchant for 팥, azuki, red bean... however you may call it.  these beans are boiled and prepared with sugar for use in many east asian desserts and candies. almost like an analog to chocolate, it is quite versatile and pairs well with all kinds of treats. i clearly recall her fondness for this sweet paste because i hated it for the first half of my life, and couldn't understand the appeal!

later as my bones grew and my tastes along with them, i too began to enjoy pastries and treats with 팥, particularly a brand of green tea ice cream with 팥 i bought several times from the 7-11 by my uncle's apartment near 남산. maybe i could've blamed my ice cream binge on the hot korean summer, but there was no denying it - the combination of flavours was amazing! a timeless classic like pb&j, or tomato and basil
(more about that later).

fast forward to 2010...

i wanted to make my mom a very special cake for her birthday (technically on thursday, the 26th). keeping her favorite things in mind, i began my project.
slicing cake layers

i studied several green tea cake recipes online and adapted one to my needs. you can find the original recipe here. fresh pungent ginger balances the sweetness and discreetly adds complexity to the flavour. this recipe is adjusted for high elevation (5000+ ft)

ginger green tea layer cake (adapted from all recipes)
  • 2 cups + 2 tbsp AP flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp matcha green tea
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 drop green food coloring (optional)
preheat oven to 360 F.
grease and flour 2 8-in round cake pans.
sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and matcha. 
in another bowl, cream sugar, oil and eggs. stir in yogurt, vanilla extract, ginger, and coloring. 
slowly add dry ingredients and stir well until just combined. mix for one minute longer. 
pour batter into prepared pans, and shake to eliminate air bubbles.
bake for 25-30 min, checking doneness with a toothpick.
cool for 10 min in pans, then finish cooling on a wire rack.

i sliced my two layers to create four. this was easily achieved by marking the meridian of each layer with toothpicks, using them to guide a long serrated knife. next, i put together some frosting.

making of azuki-sesame buttercream frosting, with fresh 

this is my favorite part of this story. i was going to go to the store to pick up a can of premade 팥, but my mom insisted she would make some from scratch. think about it like this: i am making my mom this cake, and she helps me to make sure it happens. she helped bake her own birthday cake! what a wonderful mom :)

i can't offer a precise recipe for this frosting because i just did it "by touch", but here is my best shot:

azuki-sesame buttercream frosting
  • ~3 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 cup salted butter (softened)
  • 1 cup azuki paste
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • cold milk
combine butter and azuki paste until creamy.
add confectioners sugar, 1/2 cup at a time until thickened.
add vanilla and sesame oil, whip thoroughly.
add milk 1 tsp at a time until desired consistency is reached.
spread onto ginger green tea cake.

putting the layers together

ready for glaze!

before applying the frosting anywhere, i took a heaping spoonful aside and diluted it with milk to create a very thin frosting... just for crumb coating! the crumb coat is there to ensure crumbs stay in place and you don't accidentally rip your cake apart while applying heavy frosting. after that layer set i put on the original frosting, waited for it to dry and then smoothed it down by rubbing it with acetate sheets.

cooling down the white chocolate glaze

originally i had planned for the cake to be covered with a pourable white chocolate ganache. i had a very difficult time finding recipes to reference, though there are a myriad of recipes for its dark chocolate brother. but i wanted to stick to white chocolate since i didn't want to overpower the more delicate flavours of the cake with the strong, distinguished character of cocoa. plus, green tea chocolates are great and made with white chocolate. 

i anticipated something much different than my final product; the glaze i ended up with didn't exactly harden, and was somewhat clear rather than opaque. at first i was disappointed, but later i grew to like it since it lets the flecks of red bean from the frosting underneath show through. cooool. so i suppose it's better classified as a glaze rather than ganache.

white chocolate glaze
  • 1 part heavy cream
  • 2 parts white chocolate, chopped
bring cream to a simmer over medium heat.
remove from heat, stir in chocolate until melted.
cool to desired consistency, then pour.

happy birthday cake

i picked some flowers from my mom's beautiful backyard garden and put them under a spun sugar dome. black sesame seeds along the sides as well.

the thing about spun sugar is.... don't make it in hot weather! this picture was taken 5 min in and you can see it has already begun to collapse. an hour later it looked like the flowers were being choked by a pile of cellophane noodles. that being said, it is a beautiful addition to many desserts and hopefully with practice i will learn to make more stable sugar creations. the procedure is simple and i followed it directly from this site.


the cake was delicious! the green tea was very faint but enhanced the other flavours a great deal. i hope this helped make my mom's birthday a little more special. i love you 엄마!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

veggies... better than candy

hello hello...

 i finally made it to the farmer's market, after all this time. wow, was i missing out all summer. it's a wonderful place, so many colorful and weird heirloom varieties of everything you could think of...bundles of white carrots, huge maroon beets, green speckled tomatoes, disc-shaped peppers..

 of course it's pricey, but not so much that you couldn't prepare meals featuring some of these fresh produce items from time to time. there were also booths to sell snacks, fresh bread and cupcakes, even specialty smoked salmon. the line for the palisade peaches was a block long... the market starts at 4 but people were lining up at 330. what's the buzz all about? maybe next time i'll check it out

i picked up a bag of purple basil (very similar in taste to sweet basil, but in an exciting color!) and tiny heirloom cherry tomatoes. they are so cute!!

this trip to the market, and in the spirit of working out lately (hooray!)..i wanted to eat a light dinner. now that i look back on it, it's all vegan. i've learned this year that though i could never give up meat, i love love love vegetarian/vegan food. boulder working it's magic on me? as much as i hate how this place breeds filthy hippies in spades, i suppose i'm reaching some sort of equilibrium with my environment

rinsing and cutting veggies

first i sautéed asparagus with a bit of olive oil and toasted some minced garlic. then i prepared flatbread dough... flatbread has been my starch lifeline throughout this summer. lately i've been feeling a bit sour about buying sandwich bread (nothing at all against that pillowy, baguetty stuff :P)... something about it just does not seem too much like "real bread"... like that pillowy stuff! 

anyhow, flatbread is always an improv thing for me. today, it was 3 tbsp of bread flour, 1 tbsp ground flax, little bits of salt, baking soda, and dried oregano... and water to the desired consistency. rolled three mini breads, and onto a hot ungreased skillet til you see little bubbles! then flip.... and it should puff up like a small balloon. 
rolling out the flatbreads

for the simplified bruschetta salad, i half of the cherry tomatoes in half and mashed the other half. stirred in some minced basil and added a splash of balsamic. then spoon over mixed greens. easy peasy....

sqeeeezing little tomatoes

the final plate

it looks kinda huge, but truly it is a rather small plate. i had a tbsp or so of leftover hummus, which is always so nice with carrots. and yes, i ate the other 2 breads not pictured!! of course!

toasted garlic is very earthy... almost to the point of being bitter. i wonder if there is a way to tone this down, or if i just did it wrong... :) and another thing... i don't know why all these pictures are slightly out of focus, perhaps god's way of telling me it's high time to break the food-pictures-at-night habit. sigh, but what to do when you're a nocturnal college student? 

Monday, August 16, 2010


cucumber and peach, 1

toasted sourdough, roma tomatoes and sweet basil, blackberries

cucumber and peach, 2

Thursday, August 12, 2010

moving and unpacking is tiring! finally at the new place, and i love it. smaller bedroom, but more spacious living room. small-ish kitchen, but i like the layout of it. hooray!

i'm at the old apartment writing now, since internet hasn't been set up. i haven't really cooked anything in the past few days, but as soon as i'm settled i have a list of things i'd like to try out. on moving day my parents came up all the way from lone tree to help me move. they brought a pickup truck and lots of energy... my dad lifting heavy things with sumeet, and my mom cleaning the old apartment like a pro! i am so grateful to have such wonderful people to help me move... who sacrificed an entire afternoon in the heat to make sure i get my stuff into a new place! so thank you to my parents and sumeet for being wonderful!

the only food picture i really have is from my last trip home...

물 냉면 .... beef broth, buckwheat noodles, thinly sliced beef, hardboiled egg, cucumber, kimchi. 

korean summertime food! delicious and refreshing... thanks uhmmah! :D

Sunday, August 8, 2010

au gratin

a few weeks ago i bought a 10 lb bag of potatoes for 2.99... it was either that or 1.49/lb if i wanted to buy them individually. last night, i realized i am moving in a few days and i still had way too many of these. time for potatoes au gratin/ pommes de terre au gratin/ scalloped potatoes. i remember the first time i had this dish was at one of the AWANA dinners where we had a different course at everyone's house haha... alyssa's mom made us these and i've loved them since. i didn't use a recipe, but you can get away with just about anything with a background of cream sauce and potatoes. just use your imagination!

start with thinly sliced russet potatoes, i used about 4-5. 
preheat your oven to 350 F

make a cream sauce: fry 3 cloves minced garlic with 1/3 cup butter
 stir in a few tablespoons to flour to make a thin roux, reduce heat
mix in 1/2 cup plain yogurt and water and stirred til smooth and at desired consistency. 
add paprika, rosemary, salt, pepper, and a few slices of cheese (i used sharp cheddar).
(i also added a tsp of brown mustard for acidity)
add potato slices and toss well to coat

layer 1/3 of potatoes in bottom on baking dish
add cheese, spinach leaves, red onion rings. (you can add any veggies you want)
repeat with 2 more layers, top with remaining cream sauce and thinly sliced cheese
bake for ~ 1hour, done when potatoes are fork-tender.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

chili powder tilapia filet, kiwi salsa, spicy sautéed sugar snap peas

*sigh* another camera phone picture...

i have some very overripe kiwis.. they are mushy and quite sweet. i thought they'd balance well with orange habanero, red onion, and yellow bell pepper. tossed in lime juice and salt. next time i think i'd choose a different pepper since the habanero has such a distinct taste (that i felt didn't mesh well with the kiwi) but the heat it imparted on the salsa was fabulous, especially with the tender flaky fish. oh, and next time i won't forget the cilantro!

originally i wanted to make fish tacos, but alas i was tired and with a giant, rather curiously painful mosquito bite gracing my arm i was in no mood to roll out tortillas by hand. an easier, healthier option was staring me in the face.... sugar snap peas on the brink of expiration, begging to be used up! peas taste so amazing when sautéed, and always seem to become crisp and wonderful. lightly dressed in hot sauce and black pepper, these delightful veggies were just the thing to complete the meal.

in other news, today's weather was fabulously cool/rainy, and i began my chem tutoring mini-job. which means, lots of studying to make sure i'm on top of my game! it'll break me back into the school mindset, i hope.

until next time.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


lauren went home to michigan, which leaves me camera-less until i return home to fetch mine. also, we've had lots of bbq's with the neighbours lately since they are moving soon and we've been celebrating to wish them off well.

i took a picture of a dish i made yesterday on my phone, and have decided to post some other fun memories that i found on my phone since i don't have nice food photos to blog about for the time being.

mac n' goat cheese
(no butter or cream!)

while boiling elbow macaroni, fry thinly sliced garlic with olive oil until fragrant. sprinkle in some flour, cook roux until pale yellow. next i added pasta water, but would've loved to have added chicken broth instead (reminiscent of velouté) or milk (à la béchamel)

stir in goat cheese, basil, oregano, salt/pepper. (i also added turmeric for color). whisk until smooth, then fold in cooked pasta.

i read a few weeks back about a typical garden weed called lambsquarters can be cooked like spinach, chard, other leafy greens. 

this fascinated me, and i did some research. while at a bbq at the neighbour's, i noticed a plant that fit the description. 

after comparing with online images, i have concluded that the goss/grove area is ridden with this hidden veggie treat, and i cannot wait to try it out!
late-night wal mart trips with my parents are always a family tradition/habit. a great cure for boredom, and meandering through the big glossy aisles alleviates our guilt about big dinners (at least, enough so that we usually justify getting ice cream cones on the way home) :)

anyhow, i saw this weird little can of "tiny shrimp" while we were wandering there one night.

seems kind of scary, but the name is cute. what would you do with a can-full of "tiny shrimp"?

the next few pictures are of the member of our family who doesn't come on our wal-mart adventures.

candy likes sleeping, and eating. though she is more picky these days, she is relatively easy to please. (think, most things meat).

here she is relaxing on her star bed made for her by my mom.

hmm.. must be that comfortable, eh?

but not as comfortable as the living room rug! it's in the living room candy finds napkins in the middle of the night to rip up.

she also lays down here while waiting for food if we're eating a meaty dinner.

surprise, uhmmah and dad! look at my new tattoo!

(just kidding)

it's a picture from some newspaper i can't remember, but i think it's cool/funny.

apparently so deeply moved by buttery duck liver, expressing this enlightenment on the racy medium of human skin.

a french classic on knuckles, who'd have thought?

this is peter the cat

walking home from school one evening last semester, this buddy followed me home and up the stairs.

i tried entertaining him with this impromptu ribbon toy and some milk, but i guess none of that was to his liking.

he left shortly after i got a hold of his owner, who told me he knows his way home

operation hulk!

found this beauty while at lollicup a while ago with kelsi.

quirky, tacky, mildly amusing.

if you mess up, he says "HULK SMASH!!!!!"

look how pretty daniel's park is. the "escape" destination of all the  cooped up suburban high schoolers of highlands ranch.

i don't remember when i took this picture, but from the looks of it, apparently sometime in the winter.

a rainbow i threw together with leftover fruit that my mom had used for some pastry/dessert (because really, that is the only time we have such a rich variety of fruits in our house) :)

want to eat more fruit? there have been studies done: dishes with a variety of colors encourage more eating. (think of what seems more appetizing, all orange jellybeans, or mixed flavors?)

apply the same trick to fruits and veggies. they're naturally so colorful so try to mix them into more dishes!

another arrested development joke.

at the sprint store in lone tree, they have pictures like these all over the walls to advertise features of the phones.

do you see michael bluth?!

(again, if you've never watched this show this might not be amusing. but hahaha.)

this picture isn't particularly clear, but it might be one of my favorites. i love the color and the silhouettes of people in the crowd.

this is from last august, when pretty lights performed on campus for the welcome back concert.

go listen to one of their songs!

a very fun night, like many of the other ones in boulder.

i hardly look through my phone pictures so it was fun to recap all the memories. i'm sorry to deviate from the "food" part of "food blog", but i hope you enjoyed this little album as well.