Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Chocolate Chip Oreo Cookies

Cookie in a cookie!  I thought these were cute, so I just had to try them.  They turned out really good.  Someone on the blog I got them from, Lovin' From the Oven, said they tasted like cookies and cream.  I am not sure I got that.  But I only tried two and each cookie was a lot different because I found that the amount of Oreo in each dough blob varied a lot.  I made them for our department BBQ tonight.  There were a lot of people there so they were gone in like 60 seconds (along with the rest of the desserts).

I did adjust for altitude.  I have secretly been making cookies and not posting them to blog.  I am trying to find the perfect high altitude chocolate chip cookie recipe.  And I have been really not satisfied at all.  I have tried a few different recipes that many people claim are "the best chocolate chip cookie ever".  They do not work at high altitude.  So, I have decided I will never make another cookie recipe without adjusting for high altitude.  Every time I figure out the best adjustment, the cookies are so amazing. 
For these cookies, I added about 1-2 tbsp of water, 1-2 tbsp of flour and used less sugar (maybe 1 tbsp less).   This is all not indicated in the recipe below.  I did some research and that is what a lot of people said they were doing.  It isn't ever an exact adjustment.  And it seemed to work for these.  Unlike most of the cookies I make, these did not spread, the edges didn't burn and they were nice and soft.  

Chocolate Chip Oreo Cookies

1 stick softened butter
6 Tablespoons sugar
6 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
11 broken pieces Oreo Cookies
1 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream butter, and sugars until well combined. Add egg and vanilla until mixed well.

2. Place flour, baking soda and salt into a large bowl, stir to combine. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients then stir in oreos and chocolate chips until just combined.

3. With a medium cookie scoop, scoop onto baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until cooked, but still soft. Let cool on baking sheet for 3 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

(Servings: ~20 cookies, Prep time: 20 min., Cook time: 30 min., Difficulty: Easy)

Printable Version

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Lime and Coconut Chicken

I really liked this.  Please ignore the broccolini.  While it was fine, it just doesn't go.  I just felt like we needed a good, green veggie in our diets after last night's cheese-feast.  And it is what I had.  But the rice, chicken, sauce and mango salsa were all really nice together.  I was worried it would be too sweet.  Too pina colada-y.  But it really wasn't.  It was so gooooooood.  

I will miss these creases in my counter tops.  When we move.  Some day.  To a place without creases in the counter tops.  

Lime and Coconut Chicken
adapted from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or 4 breasts)
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
Zest of 2 lime s
3 teaspoons ground cumin
3 teaspoons ground coriander
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1.5 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons curry powder or paste
1 14 oz can of coconut milk
Pinch cayenne
1 small fresh hot chili, such as Thai or Serrano, minced (optional)
2 mangoes, chopped
1-2 tbsp of finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Fresh limes, cut into wedges
White rice

Trim fat from chicken breasts. Starting on thick side of the breasts slice chicken breasts almost in half, then open each like a book. Place each open breast between two pieces of plastic wrap, wax paper or inside a large, open, Ziploc bag. Using a small heavy pan, bottle or smooth meat mallet lightly pound out each breast into even thickness.

Mix all remaining ingredients except mangoes, red onion, cilantro and lime wedges.

Add chicken and 1/2 the marinade to a large bowl or ziploc bag and chill in refrigerator for up to two hours. Place other half of marinade in a container and refrigerate until chicken is done marinating.

When ready to start cooking chicken, throw on the white rice.

Remove chicken from marinade. In a heavy skillet or grill pan, heat a splash of oil over high heat. Cook chicken in batches to prevent over crowding in pan. Place breasts in the hot pan and cook without turning for a couple minutes. Flip breasts over and cook until other side is golden, it shouldn’t take long depending on the thickness of your chicken.

Warm the other 1/2 of the marinade to use as a sauce.

Mix together mangoes, red onion, cilantro and lime juice. Serve chicken with white rice, mango salsa and a lime wedge.

(Servings: 4, Prep time: 30 min., Inactive prep time: 1-2 hours, Cook time: 30 min., Difficulty: Easy)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Croque Monsieur

I had some pretty awesome teachers growing up.  This is something I was well aware of while I was young, but now that I am older, I have truly realized how lucky I was.  I think this is partially because I have matured enough now to look past the fact that I heard my teacher say the word 'boob'.  I took French in middle and high school.  I think foreign language teachers are all a little bit crazy, which is what makes them so great.  I remember the most random and specific details about my three French teachers.  And they all seriously loved anything French.  They taught me so much about the French culture and about French food.  French cooking is sophisticated.  And while, this was no French culinary school, they gave us many opportunities to explore French food...eating and cooking.  A lot of times it was extra credit.  And I was an extra credit kind of girl.  So, I always went home and made different French recipes.  I remember making meringues, buche de noel, crepes, Salade Nicoise, and Croque Monsiuer!

Some recipes call for making a ham and cheese sandwich, dredging in an egg batter and then frying in a skillet as you would French toast and this is actually a Monte Cristo sandwich.  The Monte Cristo sandwich is sometimes fried.  I used to get a similar sandwich at a fast food-ish type place and it was called a "Frenchie".  Ha.  This particular recipe (Ina Garten) is made in the oven, covered in a Mornay sauce and then crisped up under the broiler.  It is delicious.  We had it with a salad of lettuce, grape tomatoes, red onion, and goat cheese with a balsamic vinaigrette.  Normally I would leave the goat cheese out with such a cheesy sandwich, but I needed to use up a little goat cheese.  Shoot.  

In other news, it snowed last night.  Seriously!  I have never been so disappointed in Boulder weather.  

Croque Monsieur
by Ina Garten via Food Network

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups hot milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch nutmeg
12 ounces Gruyere, grated (5 cups)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
16 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
Dijon mustard
8 ounces baked Virginia ham, sliced but not paper thin

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan and add the flour all at once, stirring with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Slowly pour the hot milk into the butter–flour mixture and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thickened. Off the heat add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup grated Gruyere, and the Parmesan and set aside.

To toast the bread, place the slices on 2 baking sheets and bake for 5 minutes. Turn each slice and bake for another 2 minutes, until toasted. Lightly brush half the toasted breads with mustard, add a slice of ham to each, and sprinkle with half the remaining Gruyere. Top with another piece of toasted bread. Slather the tops with the cheese sauce, sprinkle with the remaining Gruyere, and bake the sandwiches for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the topping is bubbly and lightly browned. Serve hot.

(Servings: 8, Prep time: 25 min., Cook time: 20 min., Difficulty: Easy)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

Whole Foods has a delicious Roasted Tomato Basil Soup.  I love it.  This tastes just like it.  The flavor is so clean and simple.  It does call for quite a bit of basil.  The recipe calls for 4 cups packed basil.  I have no idea what packed means for leaves of basil.  So, I just used a lot.  It was about 4 ounces (one of those big boxes).  And I thought the basil flavor was perfect.  I love basil.  Is there anything better?  We are starting an indoor herb garden in our window box thing.  I CANNOT wait.  Our seeds have sprouted and we have had about a 70% success rate.  We keep watering the failures but I am pretty sure they aren't going to grow.  We planted 60+ plants so I guess there is some room for failure.

We had some steamed artichokes with a lemon/garlic dipping sauce.  My mom always made stuffed whole artichokes.  They were amazing.  I have such fond memories sitting around, eating whole artichokes with my mom and grandma and fam.  My mom always stuffed them with bread crumbs and cheese.  I think sometimes I just ate off the stuffing and didn't scrape the meat off the leaf.  And my grandma and mom would tell me how to do it.  So, steaming them, you don't have a can only scrape the meat off.  And it is so delicious.  I just like the littlest amount of sauce on each leave.  I kind of used this recipe.  And I bet we only used about a tbsp of sauce total.  For three whole artichokes.  

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup
by Ina Garten via Food Network

3 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 (28-ounce) canned plum tomatoes, with their juice
4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 quart chicken stock or water

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss together the tomatoes, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the tomatoes in 1 layer on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes.

In an 8-quart stockpot over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the butter, and red pepper flakes for 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown. Add the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme, and chicken stock.
Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Pass through a food mill fitted with the coarsest blade. Taste for seasonings. Serve hot or cold.

(Servings: 6-8, Prep time: 15 min., Cook time: 1 hr. 35 min., Difficulty: Easy)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Country Griddle Cakes

As a former IHOP employee, I proudly present to you a really good recipe for IHOP's country griddle cakes.  Apparently, these are no longer on their menu.  We don't go to IHOP anymore, so I wasn't aware of this.  I was just craving them,  I am about this much too good for IHOP now. smells weird and I feel like I know too much.  I won't tell you those stories.  Sandwich.  Fell on the floor.  Still served to customer.  

Anyways, these were my favorite pancakes at IHOP.  I am kind of a pancake purist and the pancakes above are about as crazy as it gets for me.  But, for me, if I am going to have fruit sauce on my pancakes, I have to have whip cream.  I guess I am kind of all or nothing.  Otherwise, these are amazing with hot maple syrup (also, butter pecan is amazing!)  When I do put fruit on pancakes (almost always strawberries), I just cook them down with a little sugar (depending on how sweet they are).  Then, I like to take them off the heat for about 10-20 minutes before eating.  And fresh whip cream, sweetened with a little powdered sugar.  Amazing.  I mean, let's be real, this is dessert.  But that is fine.  Scot likes to say that some desserts taste like this, like strawberry shortcake.  It makes him feel better than saying these pancakes are like dessert.

If you have never had country griddle cakes, you have to try them!  They are so delicious.  They taste kind of like corn bread.  I love the texture.  They get their flavor from Cream of Wheat instant cereal.  There are lots of recipes that use cornmeal.  But I specifically remember during my training at IHOP, they told us to tell customers, who asked what country griddle cakes were, that they were pancakes with Cream of Wheat in the batter.  I don't know who even eats Cream of Wheat as a hot breakfast cereal.  But, these are a great change from regular pancakes.  And no harder.  And so good.  Big mistake IHOP.  Big.  

Country Griddle Cakes
by IHOP (maybe) and LOTS of sites without references

11/4 cups all-purpose flour
11/2 cups buttermilk
⅓ cup instant Cream of Wheat (dry)
1 egg
⅓ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat a griddle over medium heat. Butter griddle.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl with a mixer set on high speed. Mix until smooth.

Pour the batter by ⅓-cup portions into the hot pan and cook pancakes for 1-2 minutes per side or until brown.

(Servings: 4, Prep time: 15 min., Cook time: 20 min., Difficulty: Easy)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

S'more Pie

Pie and S'mores.  Combo food?  Yes.  Maybe I like combo foods now.  What I liked about this pie is that it stays true to the s'more.  It is simply: graham, chocolate and marshmallow.  And it is layered like that.  It is much harder to make than a s'more and so my main concern was:  would making this pie for an entire afternoon be worth it?  I mean s'mores are pretty easy.  Would I rather just have a s'more?  The answer is unclear because I made this for a friend's birthday party tonight.  The party was a mystery party and things were pretty crazy.  I tried to take a moment to fully experience the s'more pie.  And I really liked it.  But at the same time I was trying to play my character, a sorority girl working on her MRS degree, and was slightly distracted.  People seemed to really like it, though.  Many said it was much better than a s'more.  Thank goodness!  I think the homemade marshmallow was definitely the best part.

This pie was not easy.  That is why I have officially labeled my first recipe as advanced.  The reason is because candy making is so flippin' hard.  For me.  Luckily, I spent last Halloween with some friends trying to make candy.  We tried to make chocolate turtles, taffy and hard candy.  I say tried because all and all the end results were not really all that good.  While making taffy, we cooked the sugar too long and ended up making some hard candy.  Anyways, we ended up kind of coming up with something that would fit each of those categories in the end.  But boy was it a struggle.  The problem is that at high altitude, you have to adjust all the candy temperatures.  And the adjustment is not straightforward.  They say to subtract 2 degrees F for each 1000 ft above sealevel.  However, in my experience, it has to be even slightly less.  

So, this pie is made up of a graham cracker crust.  Tradish.  Then, a layer of chocolate cream filling.  I used milk chocolate but you could use dark or bitter sweet for more of an adult twist.  Lastly, the marshmallow layer.  Homemade marshmallows.  It is the reason I wanted to make this.  Making marshmallows is kind of like making any other candy.  Except after boiling and getting to the right temp, you beat it with some gelatin.  And this marshmallow layer was the tricky part.  For me anyways.  Deb, from smitten kitchen, didn't have any problems.  

I first followed the recipe and boiled the sugar mixture to 250 degree F.  The recipe says 260 so I took off 10 degrees for our 5400 ft altitude.  Then, when it was time to beat the hot sugar into the water and gelatin, I had Scot come and drizzle it in for me.  As soon as the hot sugar hit the cold water/gelatin, it hardened and the beater couldn't mix it in.  It was like hard as a Jolly Rancher.  From my other bad experiences with candy making, I knew it meant the sugar got too hot.  It had reached soft crack stage.  So, I poured the rest of the sugar mixture out onto parchment paper to save as "hard candy" and started over.  

Second try, I did the exact same thing, except I only heated the sugar mixture to right below 240 degree F.  When the time came to drizzle and beat, I was more aggressive and kept beating even though the sugar again got a little hard when it hit the water/gelatin mixture.  It wasn't nearly as hard as the first time, but as we kept combining, it seemed to soften up as I continued to beat.  And it worked!  Which is good because otherwise I may have thrown the bowl out the window and gave up on candy making forever.  Jk.  It was fun.  

I did have to beat for about 10 minutes to get it to the right consistency.  But, it was very rewarding that it worked.  Now, I have to make homemade marshmallows.  I have been wanting to for a while now.  With summer coming up, my goal is to make homemade graham crackers and marshmallows so that we can eat homemade s'mores.  

S’more Pie
adapted from Gourmet, November 2006 from smitten kitchen with modifications by foodforscot

For crust
5 tablespoons salted or unsalted butter, melted, plus additional for greasing
1 1/2 cups cookie crumbs (10 graham crackers or 24 small gingersnaps; about 6 oz, pulsed in a food processor until finely ground)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt (omitted if you use salted butter)

For chocolate cream filling
7 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not more than 70% cacao; not unsweetened), finely chopped or milk chocolate for more of a traditional s’more
1 cup heavy cream
1 large egg, at room temperature for 30 minutes

For marshmallow topping
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (from a 1/4-oz package)
1/2 cup cold water
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Vegetable oil for greasing

Special equipment: a candy thermometer

Make graham cracker crust:

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter pie 9- to 9 1/2-inch pie plate. Stir together all ingredients in a bowl and press evenly on bottom and up side of pie plate. Bake until crisp, 12 to 15 minutes, then cool on a rack to room temperature, about 45 minutes.

Make chocolate cream filling:

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Put chocolate in a large bowl. Bring cream just to a boil in a 1- to 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan, then pour hot cream over chocolate. Let stand 1 minute, then gently whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Gently whisk in egg and a pinch of salt until combined and pour into graham cracker crumb crust (crust will be about half full).

Cover edge of pie with a pie shield or foil and bake until filling is softly set and trembles slightly in center when gently shaken, about 25 minutes. Cool pie to room temperature on a rack (filling will firm as it cools), about 1 hour.

Make marshmallow topping:

Sprinkle gelatin over 1/4 cup cold water in a large deep heatproof bowl and let stand until softened, about 1 minute.

Stir together sugar, corn syrup, a pinch of salt, and remaining 1/4 cup water in cleaned 1- to 1 1/4-quart heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then boil until thermometer registers 260°F (I
recommend 250°F at sea level, a little under 240°F at 5400 ft….or subtract 2°F off of the sea level temperature (250°F ) for every 1000 ft. of elevation), about 6 minutes.

Begin beating water and gelatin mixture with an electric mixer at medium speed, then carefully pour in hot syrup in a slow stream, beating (avoid beaters and side of bowl). However, make sure to beat the sugar mixture as soon as it hits the gelatin water mixture. It will slightly harden at first, just keep beating, it will loosen up. When all of syrup is added, increase speed to high and continue beating until mixture is tripled in volume and very thick, about 5 minutes. Add vanilla and beat until combined, then immediately spoon topping onto center of pie filling; it will slowly spread to cover top of pie. Chill, uncovered, 1 hour, then cover loosely with lightly oiled plastic wrap (oiled side down) and chill 3 hours more.

Brown topping:

Preheat broiler. Transfer pie to a baking sheet. Cover edge of pie with pie shield or foil and broil 3 to 4 inches from heat, rotating pie as necessary, until marshmallow topping is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Cool pie on a rack 10 minutes. Slice pie with a large heavy knife dipped in hot water and then dried with a towel before cutting each slice.

[Alternately: I browned the topping with a creme brulee torch. It took some time and didn't get as brown as I think it would have under the broiler (the pie was still cold, and hard to heat up with a small flame) but it does work in a pinch, or when you're away from the oven.]

Note: Pie (before browning topping) can be chilled up to 1 day.

(Servings: 6-8, Prep time: who knows, Cook time: an entire afternoon probs, Difficulty: Advanced)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Kimchi Bokkeumbapa

The last Korean recipe for the week!  And I am very sad about that!  I hardly ever can't wait to make the same dish again, but that is the case for all the Korean dishes I have made this week.  This Kimchi bokkeumbapa translates directly to kimchi fried rice.  I think fried rice has kind of a negative rep.  I am pretty sure it is because all the ghetto Chinese take out comes with fried rice.  Why!?!  And why did I just call it ghetto?  Sorry!  

Fried rice, when made properly, is so delicious.  And also so sensible.  The texture is best when it is made with old rice.  If you have leftover rice, this meal take less than half an hour to make.  The importance of old rice is something I can confirm from making many bad fried rice dishes.  If it is made with fresh rice, the end result is too wet.  Back to fried rices bad rep, I also think fried rice has a bad rep because it is called "fried" rice.  But don't even worry about it, there is very little added oil in fried rice.  This particular recipe also has pork belly, but let's just ignore that.  Actually, my grocery store doesn't have pork belly, so I just used bacon.  SO amazing.  This dish is like bacon and eggs and Korean spicy goodness.  

Kimchi Bokkeumbapa

1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 cup pork belly (sliced) - samgyeopsal
1/4 cup onion (chopped)
1 cup cooked rice
1/4 cup kimchi
1 clove garlic (chopped)
1 tablespoon of gochujang
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 green onion (sliced)
1 green chili (sliced)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1 egg (fried, optional)

Heat the oil in a pan. Add the pork belly and onion and saute until the pork belly turns white. Add the rice and let it cook until it starts to brown, flip it and do the same to the other side. Mix in the kimchi, garlic, gochujang and soy sauce and cook for 5 minutes.

Serve garnished with the sliced green onions, green chilies and toasted sesame seeds and top with a fried egg.

(Servings: 1, Prep time: 10 min., Cook time: 15 min., Difficulty: Easy)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Today is 4.20.  Before living in Boulder, this day was never really a thing.  But it is here.  Mainly, those punks take my spot on the bus on 4/20!  Rude!  Jk.  It's fine.  But, seriously, it was so crazy today on my way home.  My bus home was 30 minutes late and the bus stop was totally packed with new and mysterious people.  People with walking sticks decorated with feathers, bells, and other random objects.

Today is similar to coming home from work during a huge sporting event.  Where no one seems to have cars.  No adults (very few anyways).  Or children.  Just a bunch of punks.  Relaxed punks.  And they are nice punks.  My favorite thing that happened, was when I was waiting at a cross walk.  This friendly guy came up next to me on his little bike for tricks.  He smiled at me and said, "were you just at the field?"  And I laughed.  Does it look like I was just at the field?  Haha.  I guess I look way more hardcore than I am.  Figures.  Little did he know, I was just trying to get home to make me some Bibimbap!

Anyways, enough about the cannibis culture.  Whatever that even means.  We are continuing on with the Korean theme this week.  This was another delicious and easy dish.  I can't wait to try more Korean meats and dishes.  I have loved them all.  Bibimbap is really simple. It is just steamed rice with a bunch of veggies and meat.  Great for leftovers.  It is served with them all separated like the picture above.  Before eating, you just mix everything up.  Like this.

The runny yolk is key.  So yummy.  I also made Oi Moochim, which is just like seasoned cucumbers.  Also delicious.

by Jen Lee via Food Network

Bibimbap (BEE-beem-bop): One of the most popular dishes in Korean cuisine, bibimbap is a nutritious rice dish of steamed rice and pre-cooked vegetables (usually spinach, bean sprouts, carrots, mushrooms, egg and lettuce. It can also contain ground beef but can be ordered without meat. Dolsot bibimbap is the same dish served in a hot stone pot (the pot is pre-heated in oven) to make the rice on the bottom crunchy and to keep the dish hot for a longer time. Bulgogi (BULL-go-ghee): Literally meaning "fire meat", bulgogi is thinly sliced, usually rib-eye or sirloin, marinated grilled meat. Gochuchang (GOH-choo-jang) paste: spicy red pepper paste sold either in glass jars or plastic containers that can be purchased at any Korean or Asian food market.

Steamed white rice
1 carrot, julienned
Cooked bean sprouts, sauteed in a little sesame oil or peanut oil and seasoned with salt
Cooked spinach, sauteed in a little sesame or peanut oil and seasoned with salt
4 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced and sauteed in peanut oil and seasoned with salt
1 egg, cooked over easy
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
Soy sauce, to taste
Gochuchang Paste, recipe follows

*Cook's Note: This can be done in a regular bowl or a hot stone bowl. If it's in a hot stone bowl, the rice becomes crunchy because it's still cooking.

Put cooked rice in large slightly shallow bowl. Place bulgogi (with juices from cooked meat) and veggies on top of rice but place separately so you can see each ingredient beautifully placed on rice. Put egg on top. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and drizzle with sesame oil and soy sauce.

When ready to eat, mix all ingredients together with some gochuchang paste, to taste. The bibimpap should be moist and not dry. Add more sesame oil and gochuchang paste, to taste.

Gochuchang Paste (seasoned red pepper paste):

4 tablespoons gochuchang (available at Korean grocers)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 teaspoons sesame oil

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well.

(Servings:  varies, Prep time:  30 hour, Cook time:  1 hour, Difficulty:  Intermediate)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Korean Tacos

I made a double batch of the Bulgogi (Korean BBQ beef) over the weekend.  I cooked it all up because I don't think the beef should sit in the marinade for more than one day.  The leftover bulgogi made this Korean taco meal very easy.  And I REALLLY liked these tacos.  If I had a favorite tag, I would use it.  I am going to make one.  

The tacos are made up of the Bulgogi, a Korean salsa, and a few simple toppings.  I had already cooked beef, that I just warmed up.  However, if you marinate the meat the night before, cooking it up only takes about 5 minutes because it is so thinly sliced.  The toppings take just a few minutes to chop and mix up.  One is an onion and cilantro relish (basically just onion, cilantro and lime juice...delicious).  The other is lettuce dressed in a quick Korean dressing.  The salsa takes about an hour.  I made it right before we ate it, so it was still warm.  I thought I would prefer it cold, but when it was in the taco, it was good warm too.

Korean tacos like these are becoming popular, especially in California.  I have heard lots and lots about them.  But never had them.  We don't have Korean taco vans in Boulder.  That I know of.  Please let me know if there are any in a 50 mile radius of me.

I love that these tacos don't have cheese.  I am sick of cheese.  I ate too much of it over the past month.  And I need a break.

Great for those of you suffering from seasonal allergies and who have lost your sense of taste.  Scot could kind of taste this meal!

Korean Tacos

12 small tortillas
1 lb Bulgogi (Korean BBQ beef)
1 cup Korean style salsa roja (recipe below)
1 cup onion and cilantro relish (recipe below)
2 cups shredded lettuce in a Korean sesame vinaigrette
6 tablespoons sesame seeds (toasted and crushed)

Assemble tacos.

(Servings: 4, Difficulty: Intermediate)
Korean Style Salsa Roja

1/2 pound plum tomatoes
1/4 pound tomatillos (husked and washed)
1 cup water
1 ounce (about 20) dried chilies de arbol (toasted)
1/2 cup onion (chopped)
1 tablespoon garlic (grated)
1 tablespoon ginger (grated)
2 tablespoons gochujang
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (toasted and crushed)

Roast the tomatoes and tomatillos until charred on all sides, about 10-12 minutes.

Place the tomatoes, tomatillos, water, chiles de arbol and onion into a sauce pan, bring to a boil and simmer until the onions are tender, about 20-30 minutes.

Drain the water reserving it.

Place everything except the sesame seeds into a food processor or a blender and puree adding some of the reserved liquid if necessary.

Mix in the toasted and crushed sesame seeds.

(Servings: 2-3 cups, Prep time: 10 min., Cook time: 45 min., Difficulty: Easy)
Onion and Cilantro Relish

1 sweet onion (chopped)
1 bunch green onions (sliced, optional)
1 handful cilantro (chopped)
1/2 lime (juice)

Mix everything.

(Servings: 4, Prep time: 5 min., Cook time: 0 min., Difficulty: Easy)
Shredded Romaine in a Korean Sesame Vinaigrette

1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 lime (juice)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon gochugaru (Korean chili powder)
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (toasted)
1/2 head romaine lettuce (shredded)

Mix the dressing and toss with the lettuce.

(Servings: 4, Prep time: 5 min., Cook time: 0 min., Difficulty: Easy)

Sunday, April 18, 2010


I was SO excited to dive into a few Korean recipes I have been wanting to try.  The first, is Bulgogi.  It is Korean BBQ made with rib-eye steak (or sirloin).  The marinade has a million ingredients in it.  To the point where I made many extreme approximations when measuring.  I kept thinking it couldn't matter that much with so many ingredients.  However, all the ingredients are easily accessible and I love that.  But I am also kind of in love with going to the Asian market in town, so I don't mind having an excuse to go ever.

I marinated overnight.  The marinade was super cool looking because some sort of chemical reaction happens when you add in the Sprite.

The meat was very tender and had tons of flavor.  I really liked it.  The meat is difficult to grill, because it is sliced so thinly.  The recipe says to grill but when I watched the video (linked in recipe reference), Jen Lee said the meat should be cooked in a pan and boiled in the marinade.  I tried both ways and both taste great.

We ate this with some white rice, kimchi (bought at asian market), and some gochuchang paste (gochuchang, sugar, and sesame oil).

We also ate with some friends who made some yummy spring rolls.

Some people prefer their spring rolls as squares.

Some people prefer to put bratwurst in spring rolls.  That's fine.

by Jen Lee via Food Network

1 pound rib-eye
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 Korean pear or Asian pear, grated with juices
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
1/2 small white onion, grated or sliced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon ground red pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 (20-ounce) bottle lemon-lime soda, optional (recommended: Sprite or 7-Up)

Place rib-eye in freezer for about 30 minutes so that it is easier to thinly slice. When partially frozen, remove from freezer and thinly slice. Set aside.

Whisk together all the marinade ingredients in a large baking dish. Add the thinly sliced beef and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight; it is best if marinated overnight.

Heat grill to high. Remove beef from marinade and grill for 1 to 2 minutes per side. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to compile Bibimbap.

(Servings: 4 servings, Prep time: 2 hrs-overnight, Cook time: 15 min., Difficulty: Easy)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Panino

Sorry, this will be my last goat cheese recipe for a while. I honestly can't get enough.

I had this sandwich when I was in Portland a few months ago at a cool restaurant that my aunt took me too. I reallllly liked it. I wasn't sure if there was much more to it, other than just butternut squash and goat cheese. I decided to just add a more grilled cheesey-cheese (a jack cheese) and spread it with a little Dijon post-pressing. And honestly, it tasted just like what I remembered. It is so good.

Also, it was called a panino rather than a panini at the restaurant. I, of course, asked the server what the difference was. He said nothing. But, wikipedia explains that panino is what they call them in Italy and means "small bread roll". And panino imbottito means "stuffed panino" refers to the sandwich. And panini is the plural for panino. I guess outside of Italy, people use the plural form as the singular sandwich. And pluralize panini as paninis. I like to call it a panino because it sounds cool and a lot fancier than grilled cheese...which is what it really is.

As always, the bread is very important in a sandwich (maybe most important). I got a nice crusty Italian round loaf from Whole Foods. We also picked up some of their amazing soup to eat with the panini (did you get that proper use?) We tried two kinds: Yam Poblano and Ginger Carrot. Both delicious, as always. We liked the Yam Poblano best.

Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Panino

2 pieces of crusty bread
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1-3 slices of Monterey jack cheese
~2-3 thin slices of roasted butternut squash
1 oz of crumbled goat cheese
olive oil

Spread Dijon mustard on one side of bread. Layer onto one piece of bread the Monterey jack cheese and butternut squash. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil. Crumble goat cheese on top. Top with other piece of bread and press down to close. Drizzle olive oil on both sides. Grill or cook in Panini press.

(Servings: 1, Prep time: 5 min., Cook time: 5 min., Difficulty: Easy)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Butternut Squash Pizza with Balsamic Reduction

I have been making a lot of pizza. I just keep finding Pioneer Woman's pizza recipes. And I can't resist trying them. Plus, all these pizza recipes are so easy put together. This is my own pizza creation, but with Pioneer Woman's amazing crust.

The main flavors are butternut squash, goat cheese (whoops, is this the 3rd recipe this week? sorry, i realize i have a problem), and balsamic vinegar. Then, there are also some walnuts sprinkled on top for a nice crunch. Scot loves sweet squashy things like pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash. I knew he would love this flavor combo. He is one of those guys who will eat like the sweet potato dish with the sugar topping (or marshmallows) at Thanksgiving. I love sweet potatoes. But, I like them savory style. And that is kind of how this pizza is.

I would have taken the balsamic reduction even further, but I had to go, so I decided it was fine. If you can't justify using that much balsamic vinegar, to get such a small amount (it is hard, I know), then you could also just serve this with a green salad tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette. Also, I roasted the butternut squash yesterday. I am using the other half tomorrow night.

Butternut Squash Pizza with Balsamic Reduction

1 pizza crust (1/2 this recipe)
1/2 butternut squash, roasted
handful of baby spinach
8 oz. of fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
2-3 oz. of goat cheese, crumbled
1 tbsp of parmesan cheese, grated
1/3 cup of walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 475°F.

Put balsamic vinegar in small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer over medium high heat until balsamic vinegar reduces to about 1/3rd its originally volume. This should take about 20 minutes. It will by thick and syrupy.

Stretch out dough on oiled baking sheet. Rub oil on top of dough and sprinkle with salt. Cover with a single layer of baby spinach.

Thinly slice the butternut squash and put a layer all over pizza. The thinner you slice it, the better (you may not need an entire half of the squash). Sprinkle the top with salt.

Now, layer on the mozzarella. Crumble goat cheese over top. Sprinkle with parmesan.

Bake in the oven for about 12-16 minutes until golden. Once it is out of the oven, sprinkle with chopped walnuts and drizzle with balsamic reduction.

(Servings: 4, Prep time: 30 min., Cook time: 20 min., Difficulty: Easy)

Jamie Oliver's Pasta Salad

Ok, so what I love about this pasta salad, is that everything it chopped up into tiny bits. It is like textural thing. Does it take like half an hour to chop everything into tiny pieces? Yes. Even with my exquisite knife skillz (kidding). You could potentially just throw it in the food processor, but I just can't be that cruel to cherry tomatoes. Bottom line, I love when an otherwise normal/typical thing can be changed up so much by simply doing a fine dice.

More importantly, please check out these chicks:

Our friends have chickens. It is amazing. Aren't they so cute?

I kind of really want chickens now. They are going to have fresh eggs whenever they want. It might be the best idea ever.

Jamie Oliver’s Pasta Salad
from Happy Days with the Naked Chef

11 oz. small shell-shaped pasta
3 cloves garlic
1 pint red/yellow cherry tomatoes (or a mixture of both)
1 handful of black olives, pitted
2 tbsp fresh chives
1 handful of fresh basil
1/2 a cucumber
4 tbsp white wine vinegar
7 table spoons extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Throw in the pasta and cloves of garlic, boil until al dente, drain and run under cold water to cool. Put the garlic to one side to use for the dressing. Put the pasta into a bowl. Chop the tomatoes, olives, chives, basil and cucumber into pieces about half the size of the pasta and add to the bowl. Squash the garlic cloves out of their skins and mush in a mortar and pestle. Add the vinegar, oil and seasoning. Drizzle this over the salad, adding a little more seasoning to taste.

(Servings: 4, Prep time: 30 min., Cook time: 10 min., Difficulty: Easy)