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**

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Reese's Chip Cookies

I love cookies!! Who doesn't love them? I know I say I love a lot of things, but it's because I do. Cookies are my emotional food that I go to. When I'm sad and when I'm lonely, I munch on cookies...but my favorite emotion to eat them is when I'm happy and loved. Basically, I eat cookies whenever! I love all types of cookies, but my favorite are the soft cookies. I know there's a ton of recipes out there for all kinds of cookies, but I love my recipe the best. It's perfectly cooked and soft. I can't get enough of these!!

1 cup butter, room temperature
½ cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar (packed and overflowing)
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs (room temperature)
½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp baking soda
2 cups + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour (save one cup on the side)
2 cups of reese's chocolate chips

Using a mixer, mix butter and both sugars together until well blended. Add in vanilla and eggs, one at a time. Add in the salt and baking soda; mix well until all is evenly blended. Add in 1 cup and 2 Tbsp of flour. Mix well and turn off the mixer. Mix in the last cup of flour using a wooden spoon and add the reese's chips.
Don’t over-mix as this may toughen the cookies.

Spoon and drop onto ungrease cookie sheet giving about 2 inches of space between each cookie. Bake at 350 degrees for about 7 minutes and then rotate cookie sheets so cookies bake evenly. Bake for another 4 minutes. When cookies are nice and brown (not under-cook or over-cook) take cookie sheet out and set aside for one minute because cookies will continue to cook if on cookie sheet. For crispier cookies, bake longer and check every minute that they're golden brown and not darker brown. Remember when you take the cookies out, they continue cooking on the cookie sheet.

Spinach Quiche

It was the weekend of July 4th and I didn't want to wake up early to make breakfast. So I decided that I'll make a quiche and we'll have it for brunch. Quiche are one of my favorite things to make and eat. It's so easy yet so filling. You can make all kinds of quiche. My favorite is with spinach...and I mean lots of spinach. You can definitely add meat such as ham, bacon, hot dogs, or sausage links. I made an easy vegetable quiche the night before and stored it in the freezer for the next morning. I spent the night before making the pie crust and filling. Everything homemade from scratch is always better and it was great!! This is something my husband can make for me from scratch!

This recipe makes 2 crust so remember to divide the dough in half. You can always buy a 9 inch frozen deep pie crust.

6 eggs
1 cup milk
10 oz frozen spinach, thawed and drained (you can add about half for starters)
1 cup shredded swiss cheese

Mix eggs, milk, spinach, and cheese together. Sprinkle in some salt and black pepper. Pour into pie shell. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 min. or until center comes out clean. ***You can add other fillings but make sure all fillings total up to 2 cups only***

Beef Honeycomb Tripe Curry

So I had leftover beef from making pho one day. I then realized that I also had leftover honeycomb tripe from when I made another dish. I had to find some way to use them both up before they're wasted. It was also day for me to clean up my pantry and fridge. I didn't have much ingredients, but I used what I could. I decided to make a beef curry dish. I love curry...especially Thai curry and they're so simple to make. I just gathered up all the ingredients that I had and put them all together in a curry sauce. The curry sauce I used is Panang's a curry, but it's really not that spicy at all and it's filled with flavor. It turned out great!!

The tripe gave it a chewy texture and the beef was just so soft and tender. I used a beef roast but you can definitely use any beef you have. I didn't have vegetables on hand but you can definitely add them.  If you're going to add potatoes, cook them seperately first and then cut them up in cubes. Add them with the spices and they should be perfectly cooked. My husband now loves this dish even though he's not a big fan of curry, but he loves his tripe.

It's alittle hard to find honeycomb tripe. Most people are terrified to cook with them. I love them in my laab and in noodle soups. If you can't find cooked tripe then just cook it yourself by boiling it. If you can't find tripe at all, then just cook this recipe without the tripe.

1 cup cooked honeycomb tripe, thinly sliced
1 lbs beef pot roast, cubed
1/4 stalk of lemon grass
2 lime leaves
1/2 tsp garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ginger, minced
1 Tbsp Panang Curry Paste
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 star anise
1/2 onion, chopped
2 Tbsp oil
green onions
1 cup water

Heat oil in a pot and brown the cubed beef. You just want some dark color all around it's edges, don't worry about if it's cooked or not because it'll be cooked later. After browing the beef, set them aside on a paper towel and add in the onions, garlic, and ginger. Stir until onions are sauteed.

Add the curry paste and step back because they will pop and the smell is very strong also. Stir up the curry until it's been cooked and turned into a darker color. Add the cooked tripe and stir until all strips are fully coated. ***You can definitely substitute stripe for vegetables such as bamboo, bell peppers, and even potatoes.***

Once the tripes are all coated with curry, add the beef back into the pot and add the coconut milk and water. Stir until coconut milk has dissolved and is well combined with the water. Bring to a boil and drop lemon grass, lime leaves, star anise, and salt to taste. Let simmer until liquid has reduced and thickened. Throw in green onions, stir, and turn off the heat. Serve on rice. *You can add more water if you prefer a soup texture rather than thick*


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