Monday, December 19, 2011

Turkey Day 2011

Mango Glazed Stuffed Turkey
Thanksgiving this year was simple and small. Last year, we had so many leftovers that I didn't want to repeat it this year. Also, I didn't want to make everything from scratch since I started school on Thanksgiving day. My ginger glazed turkey for last year was a hit and my husband loved it. I loved it too, but wanted something sweeter this year. Living in Hawaii, I thought it'd be great to have a mango glazed turkey. It was a hit too! My husband loved it more than the ginger glazed and he's wasn't even fond of the idea. I thought it gave the turkey a nice little sweetness. Who doesn't love a savory and sweet meal?
Our turkey....the turkey neck is tucked underneath
the skin to keep it moist and not over cooked.
That's why it looks funny :)
As usaul, I stuffed the turkey with my mother-in-law's recipe of a noodle stuffing. Then I injected the turkey with a garlic butter sauce that will make the turkey stay moist while cooking. And lastly, I brushed it with my mango glazed. It's a combination of mango nectar, sugar, and some mango pineapple jam simmered on low heat until it has reduced to a glaze. Of course, add salt and black pepper.

My turkey plate for 2011...yummm
This year was simple. We also had celebrated the day before with friends and had lots of leftovers. I didn't want to make much so my husband made the sides while I took care of the turkey. He made regular herb stuffing and macaroni and cheese. It was easy, stress-free, and there weren't much leftovers. I preferred it this way. Also, he made a peanut sauce to go with his turkey as always. It's a tradition to have the peanut sauce every year. Reminds me of back home with my family.

My husband's birthday was the last day of the month. We were so busy that I didn't have time to make him a cake. Besides, he didn't want a cake. He had already gotten his birthday gifts 2 weeks before so all that was left was to celebrate it. He has been so busy at work that we couldn't find time so at the last minute, I made him a sweet potato pie/cake. I love sweet potato and had recently introduced him to sweet potato fries, which he now loves. I thought this would be a great way to celebrate his birthday while having sweet potato pie for Thanksgiving. The fruitloops were just for show. We took them off before baking it again. It's a pie with a touch of mommy and baby.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Simple Bread

I love breads, especially fresh out of the oven. Frankly, I should stay away from carbs, but breads go great with everything. I needed bread one late night for dinner and my husband took the car so I had to make it from scratch. It's not hard to make it from scratch, but it's a longer process to make. Advice: make it ahead of time before dinner. Waiting for the dough to rise and all took forever...atleast it felt that way. It was worth the wait...definitely. Nice, warm, soft, buttery dinner rolls for dinner...that's pretty much all I ate. Of course, everyone has their own simple bread recipe, it's not hard to make. This one happens to be mines, the perfect recipe for me. 

Fresh dinner rolls out of the over, brushed with melted butter
1/2 cup milk
3 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp butter
2 pkg active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
5-6 cups AP Flour

In a small pot, heat up milk, sugar, salt, and butter until butter melts and sugar is dissolved. Set aside and let cool slightly.

In a bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the warm milk mixture and about 4 1/2 cups of flour. Knead with hands until all ingredients are mixed. Add 1/2 cup of flour at a time while still kneading until dough comes cleanly off the sides of the bowl. You may not use all the flour, which is okay. Continue kneading dough on a flour surface until dough is smooth and elastic. Then place dough into a greased bowl and cover for about 1 hour. Punch dough down and divide evenly in half. Shape to desired sizes. Cover again and let rise for another hour. Bake at 400 for about 30 minutes or until goldne brown. Cool immediately on wire racks. **May brush tops with melted butter for extra flavor**

2nd Batch: no butter brushed on top...same delicious results

Friday, September 30, 2011

Tomato Tofu Stir Fry

This is a dish that will always remind me of my mother. I remember when I was little, she would use a whole chicken (bones and all) and cook it with tomatoes and green onions. It was definitely one of my favorite dishes of all time. You get the nice juicy chicken pieces, especially the bones, and the tangy-ness from the tomatoes. Serve it with a hot scoop of rice and I was in heaven. My husband had never had anything like it before. I cook it a lot for him since we've been married and we can never get tired of it. Honestly, you don't even have to use chicken. You only need 2 main ingredients: tomatoes and green onions. Try it with eggs (my most favorite), pork loins, beef short ribs, or tofu. Just 2 ingredients and you can make so many different dishes. My husband loves it best when my mom uses chicken feet. Sounds gross, but it was delish! That's all he talks about. Sadly, I can't get much chicken feet here in hawaii unless I buy a live chicken. But this is a must-try will love it. It's very easy to make and very few ingredients, but tastes great. It's like tomatoes and green onions were meant for eachother...kinda like me and my husband teehee =).

Chicken Tomato Stir fry with Tofu

2 tomatoes
2 green onion stalks
1 pkg (10 oz) extra/firm tofu
4 boneless chicken thighs
2 Tbsp oil
2 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper
3 Tbsp sweet dark soy sauce

Prep: Skinned the boneless chicken thighs and chop them up into bite size pieces. You can definitely use boned chicken thighs and keep the skin on. You can even use a whole chicken, but boneless chicken thighs were all I had so I had to mention it.

Slice tomatoes into thin moon-shaped slices and set aside. Wash and cut up green onions to about 1/4" and set aside. Mince garlic and set aside. Cut tofu into bite size pieces and set aside.

Cook: Heat up skillet pan on medium heat with oil and add the garlic and chicken. Cook chicken until sides start to turn brown. Add in the tomatoes and cook until tomatoes have released all it's juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Then add in green onions and stir. Add in the sweet dark soy sauce and stir until all is cooked and has come together nicely. Add the tofu last and don't stir as much so that tofu doesn't break apart. Let the tofu soak up the tomato juice for a bit until most of the juices have gone down and it's done. Serve with fresh cooked rice. (the longer it simmers, the tastier it is...but becareful not to burn it)

I do have a secret ingredient that makes my dish taste a bit different and more flavorful from my mother's, but I can't share. =)
All that it's missing is a bowl of rice
This tastes even better the next day or later on in the day. My husband literally asked me to make this dish for him everyday so he can pack some to work. I'm surprised he's not tired of eating it. Try this recipe with other ingredients that I've mentioned above. You will start to love this tomato and green onion marriage.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Thanksgiving Pasta

I call this dish Thanksgiving Pasta, but I don't actually make it for Thanksgiving. I call this Thanksgiving Pasta because my kitchen smells like Thanksgiving when I'm cooking. Growing up, both my mom and dad cooked the turkey together. They would wake up very early to cook everything and eat by noon. We never had the traditional dinner because everything was eaten by noon, but we sure did have a great family time. Our turkey was always cooked the same way every year with 3 main ingredients: carrots, celery, and onions. Those were the 3 ingredients I used to make this pasta dish smelling like Thanksgiving morning. 

I like this way of cooking store-bought spaghetti sauce because there's more flavor to the sauce than just tomatoes. I always had a difficult time buying store-bought sauce because I can never find "the one". Of course there's new and improved tomato sauces such as portebello mushrooms, but it wasn't ever good enough for me. I wanted a traditional tomato sauce with something extra and this was it.

6 celery stalks, chopped coarsely
3 fat carrots, chopped coarsely
1 onion, chopped coarsely
10 mushrooms, chopped coarsely
1 lbs cellentani noodles or any pasta noodles
1 jar traditional spaghetti sauce

In a food processor, puree all the vegetables together. You may have to add a little water to help with the puree. Meanwhile, cook the pasta as directed on the box.

When all the vegetables are pureed into an apple sauce like texture, heat up a pot with about 2 Tbsp of olive oil and brown the pureed vegies. This process will take awhile so be patient and keep stirring. If you added water to help with the puree, it may take longer because the water will have to evaporate before the browning can begin. At this point, you may also add salt and black pepper if you like. I didn't and on't worry if alittle of it sticks to the bottom of the pot...just keep stirring with a wooden spoon until the color is like a rusty reddish brown color. This process is to bring out the most flavors from the vegies.

Once vegies are all browned and smelling great....slowly add the jar of tomato sauce. Stir slowly, scraping the bottom of the pot, and make sure it's well combined with the puree. Once tomato sauce is heated then it's ready to serve over pasta noodles.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Kab Yob/Eggrolls

Eggrolls...everyone has their own recipes. Some may even have a secret ingredient or two. Unfortunately, I don't have any secret ingredients...yet. When I was little, my mother would make eggrolls using her memory and taste. She never measured anything and there was never any recipes written. When she's done mixing up the filling, she'll taste it raw and spit out. I can't be a taster like her so I sniff the filling. So far, my smelling technique works for me. I grew up making eggrolls like my mother...with no recipes. Every ingredient needed was all in my head and how much ingredient needed was all in my smell. If I could smell the key ingredients then it was good. But I knew one day I'll have to have a written recipe and  a secret ingredient. I've been experimenting on eggrolls, though there isn't much ways to experiment on them. I've added different spices and sauces, but still couldn't find my secret ingredient. Also, I had to learn how to make smaller batches. One thing about making eggrolls is that I always made them in huge batches. Coming from a big family, my mom always made everything in huge batches so I learned the same thing. Everytime I made eggrolls for my husband and I, it would take me almost the whole day. Making the filling, rolling up the eggrolls, and deep frying the eggrolls took a lot of time for one person. My husband would help out, but he's not that great at it. Finally, after so many hard work, I went with my original recipe that I always make...and this time I wrote down measurements and made a smaller batch. I know many other people may have a similar recipes, but that's because we're asians. Most of our recipes will be similar. A lot of people like their eggrolls plain with salt and black pepper, but I like mines with alittle more flavor. I love my eggrolls dipped in a spicy pepper sauce and my husband loves his with a peanut sauce. But it's safe to say, everyone loves eggrolls.

Eat them while nice and hot...
But be careful!!

My package of noodles came in little bags like this.
If you can't find this brand just use half of any noodle package.
More noodles won't hurt.
4 (1.3 oz) bags bean thread noodles
1 (1 oz) bag wood fungus strips
3 cups shredded carrots
1/2 head of cabbage, shredded
1/2 bag of frozen peas
1 lbs ground pork
4 eggs
1 1/2 Tbsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp Maggi seasoning sauce or soy sauce
1/2 cup dark sweet soy sauce
2 tsp grated ginger
1 onion, diced
1 pack (25) spring roll wraps, frozen
1 egg yolk

Luckily, my grocery store sells the perfect amount of dried
fungus for my filling.
***Mushrooms are optionals. If you can't find fungus strips, just use any dried mushrooms. After hydrating them, just cut them into thin strips. Add alittle or a lot. If you're not sure, add a cup of fungus for the first try. Also, if it's too much time to shred carrots and cabbage, just use half a bag of cole slaw mix. I personally like more carrots than cabbage and the freshness of the vegetables.

Prepare ahead of time:
Soak noodles and fungus in hot water for about 30 minutes. Diced onions. Shred carrots and cabbage. (Can add more cabbage if desired) Grate ginger using microplane and set aside. Defrost wraps on counter.

Drain noodles and chop them into smaller strands. Drain fungus and throw away any hard pieces.

Add all ingredients together except the one egg yolk. Mix with hands first to evenly break apart the ground pork. You can sniff it at this point and see if it needs more of something, if you know what you're doing. This is the part where my mother would taste it.

I use a fork to measure out the right amount of filling. I'm also very good at using my eyes to figure out the right amount, but the key is to have about the same amount of filling in each eggroll.

By now the wraps should be perfectly defrosted and easy to peel. Face one corner of the wrap towards you...kind of like a squared out diamond. Add the filling alittle bit below the mid point of the wrap. Shape it like a log, not too long and not too fat. Take the corner that's towards you (that would be the bottom corner according to the picture) and gently roll it over the filling. Very carefully, but tightly, roll the eggrolls upward until aligned with the side corners. Tuck in the corners (the more you tuck in, the shorter the eggroll) and continue rolling tightly until you're near the the top corner. Remember to be gentle while rolling as tight as you can. It's okay if the eggroll isn't tight, but it won't look pretty. Dab alittle bit of the egg yolk to the top corner and roll all the way until sealing the eggroll. Lay finished eggroll on its sealed side and continue making eggrolls until all fillings or wraps are done. I was able to make about 30 eggrolls which required 2 packs of wraps.

Deep Fry:
Heat up lots of oil in a deep fryer on medium heat. Fry about 4-5 eggrolls at a time so they can evenly cook and so that the oil temperature won't drop. Fry them until they're golden brown, about 5-7 minutes. Set them on paper towels to drain excess oil and eat.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Korean Sushi

I love japanese sushi as much as the next guy, but when I found out about korean sushi I was hooked. Very similar to japanese sushi, but warmer and more fulfilling. Also, no raw fish which I'm not a big fan of. Korean sushi is like eating a meal wrapped up in a nori. I love making this for my husband, it's his favorite. He prefers this over japanese sushi. Traditional korean sushi or kimbap is made with pickled daikon, blanched spinach, and sauteed carrots. I didn't have pickled daikons, spinach, or carrots in hand so I substituted with dou chua which is vietnamese pickled daikon and carrots. It's very easy to assemble and all ingredients can be found at your local supermarket.

All the ingredients for the marinade
thinly sliced beef
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
2 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp dark sweet soy sauce
1 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp soy sauce

Mix all ingredients together very well. Cover with saran wrap and refridgerate for about 1 hr or over night.

* I used beef chuck sliced thinly across the grains. You can use any beef. Also, I used minced ginger and garlic from a tube which made life so much easier. If you can't find dark sweet soy sauce....eliminate it and use honey.

2 cups uncooked rice
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp roasted sesame seeds
4 eggs, beaten
Salt and pepper
Dou Chua (check my recipe: easy banh mi)
Nori wraps

Rice: If you are using instant rice then follow the directions on the box. If not, scoop up 2 cups of uncooked rice. Wash out the rice with water until the water is becomes clearer. Cook the rice according to your rice cooker. My rice cooker says for every cup of rice add 1 1/4 cup of water. When rice is cooked, dish it out onto a bowl. Add the sesame oil and roasted sesame seeds. Mix well, but don't smash the rice and set it aside.

My husband is not a big fan of sesame oil and sesame seeds
so I added enough to give it flavor but you can always add more
Eggs: Beat the eggs. Add salt and black pepper to your desire (about a pinch of salt and pepper per egg) and cook on a oiled skillet. Keep it round...not scrambled. Push in the edges of the egg omelet towards the center while tilting the pan so other raw egg parts can  be cooked. Keep as round as possible. When majority of raw eggs are partially cooked, carefully flipped the whole thing over and let cook for a few minutes. Dish out onto a cutting board and slice in 1/2 inch strips. Set aside.

It's a bit tricky to flip this whole thing, but practice makes perfect.
Meat: Take out the marinated beef and cook in medium heat. Cook until sauce has reduced or until beef is fully cooked and sauce is thickened.

I think it's best to cook the beef until all the liquid has disappeared,
that way the sauce won't interfere with the rice.
It's okay if there's a little sauce.
Lay grid side of nori wrap facing up. Spoon a few spoonfuls of rice onto the nori and flatten evenly as much as you can. Add a layer of beef strips, a strip of egg, and some duo chua. Roll up nori wrap, tightening as you roll but being careful not to tear the wrap, and seal with water.

Lay all ingredients just below the half way point of the wrap.
Viola!! Then slice about 1/2 inch thick and server with soy sauce diluted with either vinegar or water. Making it sure took quite a bit of time, but it was well worth the time and effort.

I was able to make 6 fat sushi with all ingredients...woot hoot!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Wedding Anniversary Picnic 2011


Kimbap, korean sushi, made with flavored rice, eggs,
do chua, and marinated beef.
My husband and I had just recently spent our 6 year wedding anniversary together. This year was extra special because we had our son to celebrate with us. Every anniversary, we would do something different and something special to the both of us. In the past, he has surprised me with little meaningful gifts in a special location. They were all special and memorable so this year we decided to do something simple. Lately, my husband's been very busy at work so it was important for the both of us to have a good relaxing time. We decided to do a picnic at the beach. The picnic menu was easy to make. I just had to go through my recipes that didn't require reheating. I came up with all my husband's favorite dishes: korean sushi, fresh summer rolls with a peanut dipping sauce, bun bo xao with nuoc cham, chocolate mouse cake, and watermelons.

Fresh Spring Rolls

Fresh rolls: vermicelli noodles, lettuce, cilantro,
and honey roasted ham

Fresh spring rolls were the first to come into mind when planning a picnic outdoors. It's easy and simple to make and can be eaten at room temperature. My husband loves fresh rolls because we can make it as healthy as we want. Fresh rolls can be filled with anything you want that doesn't require a microwave. I love the fresh rolls for the noodles...I stuffed mines with lots of noodles. Also, it doesn't require spoons or forks. Fresh spring rolls originated from Vietnam, but now you can find them with a chinese, thai, and even french twist. There are even some fresh spring rolls made for desserts!
Bun Bo Xao

Bun Bo Xao: lemon grass marinated beef, vermicelli noodles,
and nuoc cham (chili fish sauce)

Bun bo xao with nuoc cham is a vietnamese dish that's eaten cold and very simple to make. Bun bo xao is simply a bed of noodles with marinated beef and toppings. Nuoc cham is the chili fish sauce that combines everything favorite sauce. You can add toppings like bean sprouts, mint, cilantro, peanuts, and shredded carrots. I only used what I had, but it's very delicious without toppings. I grew up eating this dish. I remember going into a vietnamese store and they would have it already made to eat. I forgot about this dish until I came to Hawaii. My husband fell inlove with it too. It's like a cold noodle salad...perfect for the beach!

Nuoc Cham

Nuoc cham: fish sauce, sugar, water, chili peppers, lime juice
I love nuoc cham! I make it to eat with almost everything. I can make it really spicy or less spicy for my husband. It's great with all kinds of spring rolls, egg rolls, cabbage rolls, or as a pepper dip for beef, pork, chicken, etc. Very simple to make and doesn't require much effort. Alittle of this sauce goes a long way. You only need a few spoonfuls of this sauce over your bun bo xao and it will taste great already. This sauce is a very thin sauce so the flavor spreads very easily. I packed this in a seperate container and off to the beach we went!! Had a great picnic with my little family!! Recipes coming soon...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

One Dinner Night

A nicely seared juicy medium well flank steak with a side of creamy buttery mashed potatoes...delicious!! Unfortunately, there are no recipes. I was going through my photo albums and found these pictures.  All I can remember is that they were so delicious that I still crave for them. I cooked these on special nights when I feel like my husband deserves an extra special meal...but I think it's time for me to cook whenever I crave for a nice juicey streak. I was never a steak eater until I was pregnant with my son. The first and second trimester...I was all about fuji apples. Then in my third trimester, I was all about steaks.  

I used a skirt flank steak...seasoned it and seared it
Obviously...I didn't let it sit long enough...too eager to slice it up
What's better paired with steaks than mashed potatoes...
I also added steamed vegetables but no pictures
When I was pregnant with my son, I had this strong craving for purple sticky rice. Sadly, I couldn't find it anywhere not even the ingredients to make it. Luckily, my mom sent me the ingredients and my cravings were fulfilled. Purple sticky rice is just like sweet sticky rice, but with a blend of black sweet rice. (I know, it's says black but the color is purple) You may have seen the black sweet rice made in a chinese soup dish with red beans. It's acutally a favorite dish of mines...perfect on cold school nights and late studying. Basically, the white sticky rice is dyed with the liquid from the purple sticky rice. The taste is a bit different than just plain white sticky rice.

I love eating the purple sticky rice by itself, with larb, fried eggs, or (my husband's favorite) sardines.

I mixed some purple sticky rice with the white sticky rice
both cooked perfectly...fresh out of the steamer
I love the smell of fresh cooked rice!!
Lau Lau, an Hawaiian dish consisting of pork wrapped in Taro leaves then wrapped in Ti leaves. This specific lau lau is made up of pork belly and purple potatoes. You can find a variety of lau laus. Some made with chicken, beef, salted butterfish, and no potatoes. For some, the smell of the Ti leaves is a bit too strong but don't won't be eating the Ti leaf. I've had authentic lau laus and I actually can't even taste the salted butterfish. I guess it's there to bring a bit of a flavor to the pork since they don't flavor the pork. Getting authentic lau laus is sometimes a challenge...traffic is way too crazy sometimes so I buy mines already made at the supermarket. All I have to do is steam them. I love the purple potatoes....kind of like sweet potatoes but purple. It's now one of my favorite dish and I plan to make my own versions of a lau lau soon.

The big tough leaves around the lau lau is the Ti leaf that it was wrapped in
Here you can see the purple potato snuggled in pork belly meat
all covered in taro leaves.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Creamy Khaub Poob Fawm/Creamy Kapong Pho

I love Nqaub Poob (kapong). It's a curry noodle soup dish made with chicken and coconut as well as other Thai ingredients. It is a Thai dish, but has become a traditional dish in many Hmong families. It comes in a variety of spicyness: mild, medium, and hot. I also love Fawm (pho) which is a Vietnamese dish that has become a traditional dish to many Hmong families also. I've combined some ingredients from Pho/Fawm and some from Kapong/Nquab Poob. I couldn't figure out what I really wanted to eat that day...I craved for some curry and craved for beef at the same time. So this recipe came to me at the last minute. I added peanut butter because my husband loves adding peanut butter to his kapong and I fell in love with it too. I didn't have any toppings to make this dish really great...I used what I had on hand only. But feel free to add mint leaves, bean sprouts, and thinly sliced cabbage as toppings.

My Pho and Kapong combination creation.
The beef and onions are from the pho recipe.
The curry and peanut butter is from the kapong recipe.
(I will post up the kapong recipe soon) 
Beef chuck roast, thin slices
2 tsp soy sauce
¼ tsp magi’s seasoning sauce
½ tsp sugar
1 Tbsp corn starch
1 garlic clove, minced

1 lbs oriental style vermicelli noodles
¼ tsp grated garlic
¼ tsp grated ginger
1 onion, sliced
3-4 lime leaves
2 star anise
½ stalk lemon grass
4 oz can curry paste
½ cup peanut butter (I used crunchy peanut butter)
5 cups water
2 Tbsp sugar

Start with the meat. Use as much or as little beef as you like, but be sure they're thinly sliced. Mix all ingredients together and set aside.
Meanwhile, boil a huge pot of water to cook the noodles. The noodles will take about 10 minutes to cook, but this depends on the thickness of the noodles. They are done when you try one and it’s not chewy. Constantly stir to prevent stickiness from one another and the pot. When noodles are cooked, immediately drain out some of the hot water and add cold water to stop the cooking process. Repeat this process until the water is cooler. Drain and set aside.

Heat up a pot with 1 tsp of oil. Add in the beef mixture, the grated garlic and ginger, and stir until beef starts to brown. Then slowly add the curry paste and onions. (Curry paste comes in a mild, medium, and hot flavor. Choose which ever flavor you desire. I’m using a medium flavor.) Cook the curry until it darkens in color. Next, you will add the 5 cups of water and bring to a boil. Then add the peanut butter, sugar, lime leaves, star anise, and lemon grass. Stir and let simmer for about 30-45 minutes.

Grab some noodles into a bowl and spoon some of the creamy curry over your noodles. Top off with bean sprouts and mint leaves. Serve.

It was delicious!! Tastes like kapong and pho, but it was too spicy for my hubby.
Next time, I will have to go with mild. It's lighter in color and not spicy.
The peanut butter is just delicious with curry.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Korean Festival 2011

The Korean Festival is held every year on the island of Oahu. This year me and my family had a chance to attend this festival since last year I was very pregnant. It was held at the Kapiolani Park which is across from the beach. Many people attended this year and there were lots to see and do. I, obviously, went to the festival mainly for the food and the entertainment.

The beach area is always packed with joggers, surfers, and tourists. We had to park across the park so by the time we got to the festival, we only had a few minutes to watch the korean dancers perform. Their costumes were very pretty, but I'm sure they were very hot and sweaty. It was a really hot day in Honolulu. I even had an ugly tan, but the festival was well worth it.
These girls are wearing traditional hanboks made for their dance group.
I can't remember what he was doing, but it looks exciting!
This bboy had some very strong arms. We were impressed on how long he can stand on just his arms.
Next to perform were the Japanese drummers. They were very entertaining to watch and the sounds were just amazing to listen to. My little son was so amazed, he didn't mind the older Korean ladies smiling at him and holding his hands. They thought he was very cute.
To watch them was just amazing...
But to hear them was just...heart-pounding.
Spam kimbaps
Attending a Korean Festival, you must try kimbap. Kimbap is known as korean sushi, but with no raw fish. Everything in the kimbap is cooked and eatened warm. Kimbap usually consist of the nori, cooked rice, egg, pickled diakon, carrots, cucumber, and meat. In this case since we're in Hawaii, our kimbap had a Hawaiian twist. Spam. I'm not a big fan of spam, but it didn't really bothered me so much since it was with other ingredients. I can honestly say, it was good but I can make tastier kimbaps.
Meat Jun with spicy cucumber and macaroni salad
Next, we ordered a plate lunch. A plate lunch usually consist of some kind of starch (rice, macaroni salad) and a vegetable side. I ordered Meat Jun which is a thinly sliced tender piece of beef that's been marinated and dipped in an egg batter then pan fried. I've had meat jun without it being dipped in egg and I prefer it that way, but this was very good. It came with spicy pickled cucumber and a macaroni corn salad. The meat jun was the best part of the meal.
One side banana and one side strawberry...yummy vanilla ice cream
Being in Hawaii, a festival is not complete without shaved ice. Shave ice is not crushed ice or like a snow cone. The texture of the ice particles is a lot smoother and melts nicer on your tongue. It's hard to explain, but once you have a taste, you'll know. There is only one place for the best shaved ice, but it was nowhere nearby. Unfortunately, we had to settle for what was there. What a perfect way to cool ourselves. 
That's a lot of sweet korean pancakes    

Here you can see one lady (in the green apron) stuffing the pancakes with the sweet filling and putting it on the grill. The lady next to her will then flatten them down with her spatula. These are the same sweet korean pancakes like the ones I made from a box except mines were green tea flavored.  The filling is a sweet sugar syrup with chopped peanuts. Becareful when eating, syrup may burn tongue. So delicious!!
You can actually hear them sizzle!

You can get a better view in this picture of the lady gently pressing the pancake dough down. She's doing it carefuly, not to let the filling ooze out. She will flatten the filled pancake dough out and let it cook for about 2 minutes. Then she will flip the pancake once to brown the other side and it's ready to eat. Sadly, the line was too long for me to stand in the sun and wait to eat some. They sure did smell great!

These guys are working hard on the grill! You can see their famous korean Galbi/Kalbi being grilled. Galbi (mainly known as Kalbi) are marinated short ribs. The marinade is a soy sauce base with ginger, garlic, and sugar. They are my husband's favorite. I love them too, but they are quite fatty. They are very juicy and sweet and just tender to the bone. Watching them grilled the Kalbi made us so hungry, but we had them too many times. It was delicious just watching them being cooked. Boy, they smelled delicious!! The guy in the white is actually stirring up a spicy soup. I don't remember what it was called, but he had a good arm workout.  

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mother-in-law's Spaghetti

Spaghetti with no tomato sauce. Weird huh? But believe it. I've never heard of such thing until I married my husband and had a taste for myself. When my husband and I were dating, he was always talking about his mom's spaghetti. But he mentioned no tomato sauce. After marriage, my mother-in-law made this dish and I fell in love. Salad dressing....specifically french salad dressing. As strange as it sounds, it was actually very good. Over the years, I've attempted to make the dish, but it never turned out exactly like her's. I don't know where I went wrong. I've tried making this dish so many times for my husband, but he still loves his mom's dish more. I do too. I think her secret was the love that she puts into making this dish. Fortunately, I think I've got it right this time. For the first time in all of my attempts, this one came to be the closest in taste.

1 lbs spaghetti
½ lbs ground pork
Handful of chopped cilantro
Bottle of Sweet and Spicy French dressing
Olive oil

Boil a pot of water. Add lots of salt to have it taste like salt water. Drizzle some olive oil in the boiling water and add the spaghetti. Cook as directed on the box for al dente. Drain and set aside.

Mean while, heat up a skillet and cook the pork. Add a pinch of salt and cook until the pork juice have completely evaporated. Drain any excess pork juice.

Combine the pork, spaghetti, and chopped cilantro. Toss and mix all very well and let cool for about 10-15 mins. When cooled, add in the ½ bottle of salad dressing first. Toss very well until all is mixed and coated. Add about another ½ of the half dressing and toss. Ready to serve.

**I love cilantro so I added more**

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Cantaloupe Glazed Pork Chops

Ok so I was craving for some honey dew melons, but I bought cantaloupes instead. I always get those two mixed up. All I remember is that one is green and one is orange hahaha. Anywho...I ended up buying 2 cantaloupes and had to find ways to use them up. I'm not a big fan of them. Well, my dear husband tried hard to eat most of them, but there were still some left. I decided to make a cantaloupe glaze for my pork chops. Have no idea how it would turn out...I never even heard of such thing. Took one deep breath and started making a glaze. Glazed my pork chops and ending results.....well it was great!! It was more than great....I loved it!!! The pork chops were sweet, but not so sweet...sweet enough to taste the cantaloupes. I'm so glad I wrote down the recipe....definitely going to try this recipe again!! It will be one of my family's recipe.

I paired this meal up with a box of potato au gratin and sauteed mushrooms and onions. I had to cheat on the potato au neighbors were moving so they gave it to me along with other boxed foods and so I thought I'd use it. To be was weird using box meals. I haven't used them for a year and I can honestly say, homecooked meals are better. But saved me some work.

1/2 cup already pureed cantaloupes
3 Tbsp honey
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1 Tbsp ketchup

Combine all ingredients into a saucepan. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to let it reduce and thicken. This will take awhile (15-20 mins), but keep watch and stir sauce so it don't burn. Once reduced, set aside and let cool.

(To puree cantaloupes, all you do is blend diced cantaloupes until it's like the texture of apple sauce. My blender was a strong blender so I didn't have to use water to help puree it, but if you need to add water then add alittle. Of course adding water means simmering the sauce a bit longer.)

4 t-bone pork chops
2 Tbsp oil
Salt and pepper

Heat a pan on medium heat and add in the oil. Salt and pepper both sides of the pork chops. Once the oil is hot, carefully lay the pork chops in the pan. You want the pan to sizzle when adding the pork chops so that it can give a nice sear on the outsides, sealing in the juice on the inside. Leave it alone for a few minutes allowing it to brown nicely. Once the pork chops are browned, flipped them over and do the same. Once both sides are nicely browned, take them out and set them on paper towels and pat dry.

Preheat the oven for 450 degrees. Glaze the pork chops on both sides and bake in the oven for 7 minutes. Glaze them again and continue baking for 4 minutes.

(I was able to prepare the boxed potato au gratin, have it baked in the oven and bake the pork chops at the last 10 minutes. Both turned out great and it was good planning. While they were baking, I was able to slice up an onion and mushrooms and sautee them in butter. Everything was nicely done and ready to serve at the same time. Great planning huh!)

**You can see the cantaloupe glaze**

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