Monthly Archives: March 2012

Granola

This recipe is inspired by the jar of granola I was given, as a parting gift from a decadent birthday meal, from Eleven Madison Park.  I do not know why I have never made granola prior to this. It is embarrassingly simple yet the outcome is divine. I can easily envision myself gifting beautiful batches of homemade granola in mason jars with darling swatches of colorful cloth tied with twine. After my children leave for college when I start my own Dragonfly Inn, I would make fresh granola every morning for the early morning risers, alongside a beautiful fruit platter and homemade yogurt.

Please have fun with your granola mix! Blend whatever fruit and nuts you love but I recommend keeping the ratio of oats:fruits:nuts. Those with nut allergies, can assemble it with pumpkin seeds.

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Blackberry Chardonnay Tiramisu

Blackberries grew abundantly around my home in Seattle. In our backyard (when we didn’t prune their thorny bushes) and definitely in front of my house along the lake. I never was too fond of blackberries because: 1) I never purchased them at the store because I could just pick them come summertime; 2) I never picked them from my backyard because I could never beat out the crows to getting the ripe ones; and 3) They just have way too many seeds to be enjoyed. That is until I realized how to easily remove the seeds by cooking them. Last time when I visited Seattle, I enjoyed foraging for berries, especially because blackberries make the ultimate sauce for waffles and cakes.

This recipe is perfect for the New York apartment cook- those who you use their oven for storing surplus off-season clothes.

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Corn Chowder with Truffle Oil

There’s something about creamed corn and Chinese people. We love it. Next to my grandmother’s stacks of Swanson’s chicken broth would be her stash of Del Monte creamed corn. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my bowls of creamed corn egg drop soup but until I had fresh-made creamed corn, there was no looking back.

This recipe of corn chowder has three components going for it. The homemade creamed corn, pre-roasting the potatoes, and a good drizzle of truffle oil.

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Brown Butter Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies

Most people know about the old realtor trick of baking cookies before an open house to give a home a warm and inviting appeal. Why go through all the steps of baking cookies if you can do just one thing: make brown butter. The aroma of brown butter brings itself to a whole other level to its regular churned counterpart. If you can imagine how caramel bubbling in your kitchen could sweeten the air of any home, imagine if I could make this the basis of my perfume line.

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I am addicted to the grey salt caramels so if brown butter has the scent of caramel, how could I resist chocolate chip cookies with salt flakes?

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Smoothies

The first time I went to ABC Kitchen, I was so excited to see that they had an elixir bar with its own chef who created this amazing menu. Just like its regular menu, it contained fresh and amazing ingredients. I remember trying two different ones that day. One was a sweet variety that had cocoa nibs, fresh pressed almond milk, frozen banana chunks and a swirl of chocolate. The other one was more savory with cilantro, avocado, and young coconut meat. The next time I went back to ABC Kitchen, I was saddened to hear that they eliminated the elixir bar because the juice-master had left and took her equipment. Here we are sitting at this gorgeous reclaimed wooden table that easily costs a grand but the restaurant couldn’t purchase their own $500 vitamix?

Smoothies are the ultimate disguise to get your kids or your non-veggie/fruit loving partner to consume fiber. Just like those commercial green superfood smoothies, you can put in greens. I have found frozen spinach to work best.

For me, a simple combination is best to start with:

Fruit + banana + juice + yogurt/non-dairy milk + ground flax seed = No-fail smoothie

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Steak

Originally, I wanted this to recipe to be my first blog entry because Steak Frites has a dear spot in my heart. It was the first dish I learned to make by watching my dad. Yet at the time when I was ten years-old, maybe eleven, I just called it steak with fries. These fries were not your Ore Ida frozen variety but fresh hand-cut fries from a potato. And some nights, two Russets. I love telling this story because I cannot fathom the idea of my child cooking with a pot of oil, let alone unaccompanied! But at the time, the worst thing I could do was make soggy fries.

Every Friday evening, my mother would take my brother to Boy Scouts. The nights I chose to stay home alone (my dad was normally off on some consulting gig), I would plan the ultimate evening a 4th grader could devise.  A lovely meal of steak with fries to accompany the ABC line-up of TGIF (Thank Goodness It’s Funny) Friday night. My favorites were definitely Full House and Just the Ten of Us. Coach Lubbock anyone? I never got into Perfect Strangers with Larry being so obnoxious to Balky.  I enjoyed those Fridays, not because I had rule of the remote but because I always opted to cook steak with fries.

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Korean Bean Paste and Vegetable Stew

New York City has over one million Asian Americans residing in New York City. Wait, let me put it this way, New York City has more Asian Americans than San Francisco AND Los Angeles combined!  You would think this city would have spawned countless irresistible, line-provoking eateries of Asian specialties.  Unfortunately for me, that is just not the case. Korea ‘town’ in NYC is really 32nd street between Broadway and 5th Ave. There are random strip malls in Los Angeles that have better restaurants than what is housed on 32nd. I guess the positive side to this is its challenge to me: to increase my Asian cooking repertoire.  My neighborhood in Brooklyn has handfuls of mediocre Thai restaurants but Korean restaurants? Well, I think I saw a sign at a random sandwich deli with their sandwich board claiming it serves bibimbap. So what do I do to solve this dilemma? I get a zipcar and drive out to Super H-Mart in New Jersey and spend hours perusing their aisles  trying to determine which of the five brands of one product is best. To someone who is a sucker for great packaging, I always go with the one with the prettiest label OR if there’s a photo of an individual, it shows accountability. Anyhow, here is my attempt at Doenjang Jjigae!

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Ginger Tea

If I were a holistic doctor, this would be my Rx for nearly everything. As soon as any of us are feeling like we’re coming down with something, I bust out the ginger. For cold and flu season any day it’s dreary out, we always have on hand a supply of fresh ginger root just for this tea.  This simple concoction of ginger and raw honey is even more potent when you can use organic ginger and raw honey. I am a fan of raw honey because it contains high levels of nutrients, antioxidants, and alkaline forming properties. And if you ever find yourself rummaging through your medicine cabinet for neosporin, guess who  also has anti-bacterial agents- Dr. Raw Honey!

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Chocolate Guinness Stout Cupcakes

One of my Little Green Wagon clients turned friends are returning back to England. For their good-bye party, I thought it would be nice to bring something personal and festive to their St. Patrick’s Day gathering. Vinegar Hill House in Brooklyn has this abundantly moist Guinness Chocolate Cake that almost every patron there completes their meal with. I thought their recipe would be perfect for the occasion: Brooklyn + Irish + friendly party food!

For those who don’t favor super sweet desserts, this is a really nice mellow chocolate cake where the Guinness brings out the flavor of the chocolate. I adapted the recipe a bit for the cupcakes. Since I had a little bit of batter leftover, I decided to try out the bake-in-a-can technique. Unless you do not have any cake or muffin pans, I do not recommend using anything larger than a Campbell soup can because it takes a considerable amount of time to bake.

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Kabocha Croquettes

Croquette? I had no clue what it was since I knew it only as “korroke”, the Japanese version, a panko encrusted potato-patty with minced onion and carrot and small amounts of meat, fried to a beautiful golden brown then topped with tonkatsu sauce. So when I went to Spain my first time in college, I knew I would have no problems sampling the true form of a croquette at a tapas bar. But I think a croquette will always have its Japanese roots. My ode to korroke.

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