Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Party Like It's 1995

I love the 90's. Jock Jams. JNCO jeans. Chains. Grunge. Spice Girls. T.L.C... the list goes on.
At the parties that I've had at my apartment, I always play the "90's Hits" channel on my Optimum Cable channel. There's just something so tantalizing about hearing "This is how we dooooooo it" (Montell Jordan if you're not down with it) while eating a wing.
So this past Saturday, my friends and I celebrated our friend Barbra's big milestone. We won't say what the milestone was, but let's just say we are all so proud of her!
I did this party pot-luck style because as we all know, I am extremely poor. But that is no excuse to not have a party!
Everyone brought some delicious stuff. Aside from the usual chips and dip, we had some pasta salad, cole slaw, my usual slow-cooker vegetarian chili (quick, easy, AND cheap!) and of course tons of dessert!

Thai Cole Slaw (Peanutty Sauce loaded with Craisins!)

Greek Pasta Salad

Vegetarian Chili

Shrimp Wontons (WARNING: this picture is a little vulgar!)

Spinach Dip

Wings from River's Edge Restaurant in Woodlawn (My friend John's dad is the owner!)

And Round 2: A Whole Course of Desserts
Oreo Cake (No Lulu's... we made a last minute trip to A&P!)

Chocolate "Mousse" Pie

Pastries from Fleetwood Pastry Shop

Homemade Fudgey Brownies (By Kathleen)

The highlight of dessert was definitely Beth's Chocolate Mousse Pie. Ok. This was no mousse, it was rich, thick and velvety like cheesecake. It was absolutely delish! Beth, I underestimated your baking skills. I apologize. And the brownies! Good job Kathleen! They were perfect. Fudgey with a crackly top! And y'all know I would've baked too... if my oven wasn't dead. Resentment brewing...

Yay for Babsy!

I love her for so many reasons; One being that she feeds me cake icing

River's Edge Restaurant
1064 Mclean Ave
Yonkers, NY 10704
Phone: (914)-237-9823

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Korean BBQ Deserves 12 Hours of School

So as I sit in the computer room of Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, I am asking myself, why I have already been here for 10 hours. Why am I pursuing this doctoral degree? Why am I so tired that I had to take a nap on the grass outside? Why have my days been non-stop, and why have I been running around like a crazy person trying to separate what I know about Child Assessment and Remediation?

Is it because I want to make a lot of money to buy a nice car? No.I don't care for fancy cars. My Toyota Echo is just fine.
Is it because I want to eventually have a career so that I can support my family? No. Since I am so single now, who knows if I'll even have a family (boo-hoo, I know, cry me a river).

I've been thinking hard about this path that I've chosen and I've finally come to the conclusion:


Kalbi, japchae, pajeon, kimchi.... omg.
And this was what I had last Saturday at our favorite Korean restaurant in Westchester. Kalbi House.

Kalbi House is much smaller than the other Westchester Korean restaurant opponent (Kang Suh). Kalbi House is, however, much better in quality, taste, and service. The meat is always of the highest quality, the kimchi is the best that I've ever had, and the woman who is like the royal queen hostess there is just the most pleasant, sweetest woman ever.

This night was also wonderful because it was the first time that I saw my mom in like 2 weeks and my brother in like a month! We are so silly, but we have so much fun together!

We ordered the usual... Kalbi, Pajeon, Beef Tongue... we also ordered the Pork Belly which is a new addition for us.
First, our dinner always starts with a Salad and Miso Soup.

Then, all the Banchan (mini dishes (free!)... usually pickled vegetables, kimchi, seaweed, spinach, etc.) arrive, and I get super excited to prepare my plate!

Pajeon= Scallion Pancakes (It wasn't as crispy as I like it this time :-(...)

Beef Tongue= Beef Tongue

Pork Belly= Enormous slices of pig+fat...

Kalbi= Marinated Short Ribs

The mess that is Kalbi+Bones:-)

How can it not be the most fun to sit around with people and cook your own food in front of you, and cook it to your liking?! It's fun and fabulous! We couldn't order as much as we usually do (yes, us tiny Asians eat a lot) because there was only three of us... this is definitely an event where the more is merrier and tastier!

The Kalbi is nice and tender and fatty. The Beef Tongue has the perfect amount of chew but still soft. The Pork Belly (must be crispy) is delicious! And the kimchi? I could eat a whole tub of it :-)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I'm Sew Crafty!

Ok, I totally stole that from a store in Yonkers. Sew Crafty.... how clever.
Anyways, I have no food posts. So I will let you in on my new diversion... Re-cycling clothes that I don't wear anymore! I plan on making some funky new bags, shirts, sweaters, pillow, trinkets, etc. using ONLY clothes and fabrics in my house!

Here's what I've made so far:

The "Turn It Over" Pillow

On the flipside... words to live by :-)

"Hugs Not Drugs"

"Medical Emergency" Tissue Case

Buttoned Up Envelope

Cute, right?!
I lied before... I have another Lulu cake update:

Mango Curd. White Chocolate Buttercream. Matching Fork...

How can you not smile?

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Bittersweet Post

I wonder how Hayashi Rice (Rice) feels. Hayashi Raisu is a well-know, beloved Japanese dish, that is often over-looked by many restaurants. Hayashi Rice is the equivalent of the hearty American Beef Stew. It is thick, rich, chunky, and satisfying. Sound familar? It also sounds like it could be Karei Raisu (Curry Rice). Restaurants in Japan frequently have Karei Raisu on their menu, but what about Hayashi Raisu? It's always Curry, Curry, Curry... Poor Hayashi Rice.

However, the thing that makes Hayashi Raisu so special (at least to me) is just what makes it so sad. You usually only have it at home, made by your mother or grandmother! It is almost the epitome of Japanese home cooking.

Excerpt From The Hayashi Raisu Chronicle: Am I not as good as my brother, Karei Raisu, to be openly and publicly loved and devoured? My life is so bittersweet.

I'm sorry, Hayashi Raisu, but my brain may have developed a neural synapse that tells me that you will make a guy break up with me. So, this is also a bittersweet post because it was also the last meal that I cooked for that guy. Remember him?

The method for making Hayashi Raisu is identical to making Karei Raisu. Another reason to wonder, "Why am I not good enough?!"

Here's the boxed roux.

Chop up the veggies.

Sautée with cubed meat.

Add enough water to cover the meat and veg and simmer for 20 minutes or until veggies and meat are at the desired consistency. (I had to take out the veggies and cook the meat for longer because I used really tough beef round :-P)

Turn off the heat and add the roux. Stir, mix, go crazy until there are no roux chunks left!


Oh... you nasty plate of deliciousness. I.HATE.YOU.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Flour, Butter, Chocolate, and Sugar

Those are the four ingredients that will always make me smile! I almost forgot.
And who uses these ingredients with the end result of perfection? Lulu Cake Boutique

Seriously, every time I even just step foot in this tiny little bakery, it makes me smile. It's not only the delicious cakes and cookies, but it's also the super cute and friendly people who work there! Shout outs to Sara, Victor, and Jay!

I love when they are in creative mode... if they have some kinda crazy concoction brewing in the back, they feed it to me! Free tastes of Lulu stuff in the middle of the day are like the best times ever!

So on today's trip, as I prepared myself to break them the bad news about the end of my relationship, I started getting really happy. They always keep me on my toes because I never know what they will have. What kinda brownies? Cookies? Rugelach? Cupcakes? So as my curiousity grew, I completely forgot about my "bad news"!

Every time I walk in there, I'm in there for like 30 minutes because a). I'm really indecisive and like to stare at everything before I decide what to get and b). I like starting up long ridiculous conversations with the workers.

Today, the conversation, of course, was about the break-up. Victor's solution to make me happy was to let me try a Vanilla Cupcake that they will be selling at their Tarrytown Cupcake and Coffee Bar in late 2009/early 2010.

It was very different from the current original Lulu Vanilla cake. This one is less dense, but still pillowy and moist. The vanilla flavor is full and rich. It is not too sweet, but it is the kind of cake that you can eat all by itself.

And by the end of my trip, the Black Sesame Cupcakes were out of the oven! Victor sent me home with one.

Oh... my.... God... this cake was ab-fab! I couldn't believe how prominent the Black Sesame flavor was! In a way, it was very creamy... not the texture of the cupcake, but the flavor. The texture of this cupcake was also tender, light, fluffy, but moist. It reminded me of a Japanese "steamed" cheesecake loaf.

I seriously cannot wait to try all their other creations!

Some other stuff that they had today were the outrageous Potato Chip-Raisin-Coffee-Pretzel Cookies and slices of the Strawberry Crush Cake! I've had the cookie before but I'd never had the cake!

This is the size of my head. It's huge!

Organic Potato Chip!

Yumm..... I love strawberry shortcake!

I of course got my usual selection of little cookies too: Triple Chocolate (now with Raspberry filling) Rugelach, Raspberry Chocolate Rugelach, and the Fruit and Nut Cookies.

Oh, and there's some new stuff on their regular menu...

Like this Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Pie... "Creamy Peanut Butter Mousse, crunchy dark chocolate crust, dark chocolate ganache, vanilla creme..."

This is old news, but the almost way too delicious Sweet 'n Salty Cake. "Belgian dark chocolate cake, fleur de sel caramel, milk chocolate ganache sprinkled with French sea salt..."

I've only experienced this fancy piece of bread once, but it was probably the day I called myself the luckiest girl in the world.

Almond Brioche French Toast ... they just had these huge slabs of french toast in the glass case and it was calling my name. I'm so grateful I tried it because it was so freakin good and I never saw it again :-(

So... go to Lulu and surprise yourself! It'll make you're day 200% smilier :-)

Lulu Cake Boutique
40 Garth Road
Scarsdale, NY 10583
Phone: 914-722-8300

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Only Comfort Foods Can Heal A Broken Heart

Seriously. I feel like only comfort foods will do the trick... and amazing friends of course :-)

So first of all, I have had like no motivation to cook. But I like refuse to eat fruits, nuts, and yogurt all day, even though I love them, so I got my arse in the kitchen.

My mom has been incredible since the break-up. She's such an amazing woman, and one of her best and her most amazing skills is her ability to heal sadness both with love and food.

So here's to you mom. Of course it will never be as comforting as eating your version, but here is my Hijiki No Nimono, dedicated to you.

Hijiki No Nimono
Japanese Home-Cooking=No Measuring of Ingredients! But here's what you need:

Dried Me-Hijiki Seeweed
Renkon (Lotus Root)
Soy Sauce (about 3 TBSP)
Mirin (about 3TBSP)
Sugar (about 3 TBSP)

*Some other vegetables you can use are burdock, green peppers, shiitake mushrooms, etc.

First: Rehydrate the Hijiki. I didn't know how much the seaweed would grow, so I put about a cup of dried Hijiki in a bowl. It made a lot. Let's just say the end result produced about 4 cups of Hijiki No Nimono.

After about 10 minutes of soaking in water, drain and rinse in a colander.

While the seaweed is soaking, chop up the veggies and abura-age into thin strips.

Here's what abura-age looks like. It's fried tofu skin.

I had made Inari-Zushi a few days prior and had a few Inari Pockets left over, so I used those.

Then, sautée up the hijiki, veggies, and abura-age in some oil in a deep pan.

Add the mirin, shoyu, and sugar and stir well.

Add enough water to cover the Hijiki and simmer for about 20 minutes until the flavors are soaked up and the veggies are tender.

Taste it and see how the flavor is. If you like it sweeter, add more sugar. If it's just lacking flavor in general, add some more soy sauce. Just play with it :-)

Hijiki No Nimono over rice is one of my favorite meals. It's the perfect lonely, one-person meal :-)