Sunday, April 5, 2015

Scallops and Scalpels?

First post ever!  Let's see how long I can keep this up.  Just a little intro on who I am.  I'm a 2nd generation Thai American born in NY but raised in the Valley (the San Fernando Valley in Cali).  I went to Cal (UC Berkeley for those who don't know what UC school Cal is) (GO BEARS!) and lived in the East Bay for 6 years.  Moved to the SLC, Utah 5 years ago and is now a medical student and mother (to my adorable 2 yr old Alaskan Malamute name Yoshi).

I only mention my past because I feel it defines my culinary experiences and shows where I'm coming from.
Anyways back to my background, just finished my 3rd year  in which I probably only really had time to cook maybe once every one or two weeks during the busier rotations.  Anyways, about to start my 4th year here in a few weeks  and decided to finally start my blog at the encouragement of my friends and family :) (cuz sometimes all I do is talk about food and cooking)

So you probably wonder... how in the world is she gonna squeeze in blogging and all the other busy work she needs to do.  How I see it is that I'll allow myself to satisfy my guilty pleasure and talk about food and cooking to ideally get it out of my head to leave room for the hours of studying and reading I need to do.

Pretty sure this first post explains the title of my blog :)

It can't always be steak night!

Quickie #1 - Turkey Sloppy Joes

Not all my dinners are NY Strip Steaks or some fancy endeavor.  This is one of my "semi homeade" meals and super easy to make. 

Sloppy Joes are one of my favorites that remind me of my childhood. I was first introduced to this yummy American comfort food at church dinners (before AWANA) and I'm pretty sure we had them on Easter Sunday for lunch at church as well. For me, I can't have a Sloppy Joe without baked beans (Bush's Homestyle Baked Beans to be exact). 

So here's the quick low-down on this meal. I'm sure many of you have made it before.

1) Ground Turkey (Brown and drain first)
2) add Sloppy Joe mix,
3) Tomato Paste,
4) Water, and
5) A dash of garlic powder
6) Simmer for 10 min. Meanwhile warm up whatever sides you want.

The fridge is empty right now; but, when I get back, I'll definitely be making some Chicken Satay!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Radish Kimchi

One of my favorite kimchi is radish kimchi.  My last staycation I had; I made 4 quart jars of cabbage kimchi and 3 quart jars of radish kimchi... let's just say I ran out a month ago of the radish kimchi. Thus this staycation, I've made another batch of radish kimchi.  Fortunately, I've prevented the fridge from smelling only of kimchi by storing my quart jars in gallon freezer bags. :)

I found this radish kimchi (Kkakdugi) recipe at  There are a bunch of awesome korean recipes on there.

4lbs of korean radish (picture above)
2 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp of sugar
4 stalks of green onion
1 tsp of minced ginger
2 Tbsp of minced garlic
1/4 c of fish sauce
2/3 cup of gochugaru (korean hot pepper flake)
1/3 c of radish juice
1. Cut radish into cubes as seen above.
2. In a large bowl, massage radish with salt and sugar.  Let stand for 30 mintues
3. Drain and reserve radish juice and set aside
4. In same large bowl, mix cubed radish with the rest of the ingredients

Let marinate for 3 days or so on the kitchen counter.

Delicious! Mouthwatering! Spicy!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Pulled Pork

This is one of my favorite recipe finds.  I don't think I ever had a pulled pork sandwich growing up so I had to look this one up. Found on Good Housekeeping's website "Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork."  Also, it's quick and easy. Just throw the ingredients into a crock pot and let it do it's thing for 5-7 hrs.

Of course, I end up changing up a few things to adapt to my taste.  Don't use as much mustard...and since I love chipotle peppers, I add a few peppers from a can of chipotle in adobo sauce.

1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 c ketchup
1/3 c of cider vinegar
1/4 c packed brown sugar
1/4 c tomato paste
2 tbsp sweet paprika
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp of yellow mustard
1 1/2 tsp of salt
1 1/4 tsp of black pepper
2-3 chipotle peppers
4 lbs boneless pork shoulder (pork butt)
Sandwich buns
1. Throw in everything but the pork shoulder into a crock pot set on high.
2. Cut the fat off of your pork butt and section into 4 pieces.
3. Set your crockpot on High if you are short on time. It'll be done in 4-5 hours.   Or if you have all day, set it on low and it'll be done in 8-10 hrs.
4. Check on it every 2 hours and turn the pork.
5. Just before you are ready to serve it, remove the pork and shred it with a fork.
6. Leave the sauce in the crockpot to boil off some liquid and thicken. 
7. Toast up some buns (the onion buns at Walmart go pretty good with the pulled pork), spoon some pork and plenty of sauce on top.

Sorry no after pictures... we ate them up before I could snap a photo lol.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Chicken Satay

Finally posting my chicken satay recipe!  This is another one of those comfort foods that I didn't grow up cooking in the kitchen.  I associate my satay experiences with Wat Thai in LA, the Thai restaurants in LA, and of course Thailand... specifically Chonburi, Thailand...a coastal region just an hour or two from Bangkok.  There is an epic story (epic in that it is told every time I see my mom's side of the family) of when I visited the summer between 5th and 6th grade.  I went alone one summer and stayed with my relatives in Bangkok and Nakorn Ratchasima...hmm and I think Khao Yai. Either way, I stayed with my aunt in Muang Chon/Chonburi for a week... and I ate a record 40 chicken satay in one sitting at a food stand near her house.  Granted they were 2-bite-sized piece. And, ever since she makes sure she takes me there every time I visit.

Even though we didn't have it at home on a regular basis, this recipe comes from my mom. She knows how I like my chicken satay and I get my need to be efficient from her :)

Marinade (min 2 hrs) & Grill the Chicken:
1 tsp of curry powder
3 tbsp of coconut milk, the thicker portion
1 tbsp of golden mountain soy sauce
2-3 chicken breasts, sliced lengthwise in ~1/4inch pieces

1) In a ziploc bag, mix the curry powder, coconut milk, and golden mountain sauce.
2) Place the sliced chicken breast into the ziploc bag (you can make another batch of marinade if you the chicken doesn't fit in one) and let it marinate for at least 2 hrs. I prefer can taste the difference.
3) When ready to grill, soak the wood skewers (which can be found at your local Asian market for pretty cheap $0.99 for 50-10" skewers) in water for about 1/2 an hour or a few minutes.
4) Skewer the chicken and grill em up.  About 3-5 minutes on each side on a medium heat grill.
Check the thickest portion of one of your satay and make sure it is nice and white (not pink).


Peanut Sauce:
1 1/2 tbsp of peanut butter
1-2 tbsp of red curry paste (depends on how spicy you want it)
1 cup of coconut milk (can add more if you want the sauce thinner)
about 2 tsp of sugar
big pinch of salt
1/4 of a small lime
1) Combine all ingredients into a medium saucepan on medium heat.
2) Let it simmer on low heat while you grill your satay.  (Don't let it burn)

Cucumber Salad:

2 -4 mini cucumbers, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
2 tbsp of Thai sweet chili sauce
2 tbsp of white vinegar
a few sprigs of fresh cilantro, chopped

 1) In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.

Enjoy! Serve with some toasted bread.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Making Kimchi is like Making Beer...

...there are no shortcuts.

I found this stellar recipe for Traditional Napa Cabbage Kimchi in the December 2011 issue of Food and Wine. This recipe is adapted from the hostess of Kimchi Chronicles, Marja Vongerichten. I'll have to check out that TV series. I was on the interview trail and finally gave in and bought a magazine.  It was full of great articles and recipes; and I held onto it as I trekked around the Midwest.  I even created a "bucket list" of some sorts just from the one issue alone.  So far I've attempted the kimchi. I'd like to try making the Sweet and Sour Pork Shoulder.

Back to the Kimchi. I tried making Cucumber Kimchi about a year ago but found no direction on how to perfect it.  The cucumber soggified by the time it tasted right.  I tried this recipe for the more common cabagge kimchi, and it came out almost perfect. I felt I could work with it.

Attempt #1 (as pictured in previous post):
  • Came out almost perfect.  I followed the recipe almost exactly....
  • My only variation that day (as I was juggling another new recipe for dinner that night) was I let the kimchi soak in the salt a lot longer than the suggested 45 minutes x 2. And I just rinsed it in the bowls they soaked in.
  • Result: Perfect bite. Not spicy enough!

Attempt #2 (My Christmas Kimchi):
  • ~doubled the amount of Korean red pepper powder to 1 1/4 cups.
  • Had all my ingredients in the fridge for a few days before I made it. (In retrospect, the cabbage was a little soggy to begin with.)
  • Used warm water to rinse the salt from my cabbage.
  • Salt soak exactly 45 minutes x 2.
  • Result: No bite.  Adequately spicy. A bit too sweet. Dry.
Attempt #3 (Practice makes perfect?!):
  • Used fresh ingredients.
  • Stuck with the 1 1/4 cups of Korean red pepper powder.
  • Used cold water only. Rinsed about 3 times in the bowl they soaked in.
  • Salt soak 1 hour x 2.
  • Result: ... will update in 2 days! I hope this one is it! 
Attempt #4 (This is it!):
  • Used fresh ingredients.
  • 1 1/4 cups of Korean red pepper powder.
  • Used cold water only. Rinsed about 3 times in the bowl they soaked in.
  • Salt soak 45 min x 2.
  • Result: Perfect bite and heat!
  • The key was buying quality Korean red pepper powder (Gochugaru).  Look for the kind that is Made in Korea!

6 1/2 lbs napa cabbage: halved, cored and cut into 2 inch pieces
2/3 cup of kosher salt
10 garlic cloves, halved
1/2 small onion, chopped
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup + 3 tbsp of fish sauce
1/2 lb of daikon, peeled and cut into matchsticks
2 bunches of scallions, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 1/4 cup gochugaru (Korean coarse red pepper powder)

1) In two large bowls (or a massively large bowl), create layers of the cabbage and salt. Let stand for 45 minutes.  Toss cabbage well and let stand for another 45 minutes. The salt will draw out the water from the cabbage and you should be left with cabbage that looks like about half the amount you started with.
2) Rinse salt from cabbage under cold water, about 3 times. Drain the cabbage in a colander and transfer back into the bowl you used or a larger bowl (if you have one).
3) In a mini food processor (I used my magic bullet), puree the garlic, onion, ginger, and sugar.
4) Add the fish sauce and pulse a few times.
5) Add the daikon and green onion to your cabbage.
6) Mix the puree and red pepper powder into the cabbage mixture. (It gets messy! Use gloves)
7) Lightly pack the kimchi into three 1-quart jars (found mine at walmart).
8) Press plastic wrap to the surface of the kimchi and put the caps on loosely.
9) Let stand at room temperature for 3 days. Kimchi should have a good bite and smell of wonderful garlic.
10) Store in refrigerator tightly sealed (or everything in your fridge will be kimchi-efied)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Almost Kimchi!

My first attempt at making the classic napa cabbage kimchi.  I've tried the cucumber kimichi; that turned out ok but not perfect. It lost it's bite/crunchiness.
Was inspired by the recent Food and Wine that I picked up at the airport. We'll see if this recipe works and I'll post it if...when I succeed!