Sunday, October 17, 2010

Hong Kong, Ltd.

Goodies from Hong Kong!

Discover Magazine.

Man, Hong Kong's in-flight magazines are so much more interesting and better designed than the ones in the U.S. Cathay Pacific's Discover magazine even had interviews with architects, filmmakers and wine purveyors. Bright graphics, a fun techie section and streamlined layout make for a good read.

Alive, not Dead.

Can you feel the energy??! This granola bar had an ideal ratio of flavor / texture. One bite and I was hooked.

Abalone-Flavored Rice Noodles.

The packaged noodles are so much more refined than ones I can find here in the States. They've got rice noodles and vermicelli, in flavors such as abalone, chicken, beef, etc. I think my family was totally spoiled with good Chinese food because HK's noodles and seafood are bomb.

Mrs. Field's.

What other place elevates Mrs. Field's to such classy packaging? Cookie's never looked so...sweet.

Banana Bread.

This cute little slice of banana bread came in the pretty cut-out bowl (not cheap stuff, either). And this is airplane fare. Book me a flight on Cathay Pacific next time?

More Cooking Adventures with Sarah

Ramyun with Korean veggies, bulgolgi, dduk, egg.

Doesn't this one just scream: EAT ME!!! I obeyed the command. Hong is my preferred brand of ramyun for its chewy, hearty texture. I'm an al dente person, and I loathe soggy noodles.

Kimchi Chigae.

As you can tell from the picture, this is a mild version of kimchi chigae because I was still at odds with my salty gochujang and didn't feel like drinking five glasses of water to make up for it. Otherwise, I'd go for spicy. I added turkey, egg, dduk and Korean greens for some vegetable content.

Kimchi Chigae with appetizers.

I love ban chan. Period.

Neopolitan Egg Spaghetti, pre-mix.

I bought the book Easy Japanese Cooking: Noodle Comfort by chef Kentaro Kobayashi. This guy is a culinary genius. Seriously, he manages to make easy versions of semi-complicated dishes that end up with such a precise taste. Best of all, his recipes aren't 20 ingredients long, and most can be made within 30 minutes or so.

Neopolitan Egg Spaghetti, plated.

What are you waiting for? Go cop his book! Other recipes I'm fiending to try are his Ricotta, Egg & Tomato Spaghetti, Yakisoba Omurice and Carbonara.

By the way, like my paper plates? Yes, I'm low-frills. But I don't skimp on meals. This one dish gave me gastronomic joys for two days.

...And I'm Back!

Alas, I've neglected this blog long enough. Much like a chicken with my head cut off, I've been swamped in school full-time taking design courses while working part-time, so please excuse my long absence.

I thought I should update a little on my week of cooking. While my family was away in Hong Kong, I held down the fort at home and was in charge of dog-sitting, as well as making sure the house didn't fall apart or catch on fire (ha. ha). At the same time, I took the opportunity to embark on some cooking adventures.

All pictures originally taken the week of Oct. 4, 2010.

Kimchi tofu with spinach and ddukbokki.

If the plate looks empty, that's because I was so hungry I ate half of it already. Sorry!

Dduk-fishball soup.

I kind of pulled this one together on the fly. After cooking the dduk, or rice cakes, I split some of it into the kimchi tofu dish and the rest went into a soup with dduk broth. Found some fish balls in the fridge, and presto~ instant (OK, not so instant) soup! Excellent on those windy, blustery cold days of autumn.

Mystery Soup?

While the texture may appear murky, it tasted better than it's letting on...

Kimchi Bokum Bop.

One of my favorite casual Korean dishes, cooked home-style: Kimchi bokum bop, or Kimchi fried rice. I think I must've went with the wrong jar of gochujang, however, because it was mad salty! Many Koreans like their kimchi drenched in anchovy paste and other seafood flavorings, but I found that I like mine more simple and plain - with a "fresh" taste. Oh well, at least I tried...

This is not Korean.

People who know me know that I may not cook an awful lot, but I do make a few dishes well: eggs and noodles. There's nothing like an open-faced mushroom-Provolone cheese omelet for breakfast. If I have ham or bacon on hand, I throw that on too. Actually, I usually fold the omelet over once, but the ingredients in this one were too heavy and refused to turn over (fat omelet!). The cheese could've been melted more too, but it was still good...

More updates to come.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Shake Shack Attack

Shake Shack, I have missed you dearly.

Something about a hearty burger and crunchy cheese fries makes me turn gleeful somersaults inside.

These buns should be wrapped in packaging that reads: "Eat Me." Then again, I don't think that would be necessary...

Shake Shack Madison Sq Pk; E 23rd St & Madison Av; 212-889-6600.

Cultural Smorgasboard

Basmati rice and fried chicken.

Dad's homemade plantains.

Steamed chicken and eggplant.

Father's Day, Korean-style

Ah, another delayed post! Father's Day with the fam at Kum Gang San (We just can't seem to get enough of Korean, can't you tell?). It was a sweltering day, so hot and humid that I was reduced to wearing a dress. Yes, another one of those anomalies. In any case, at 6 p.m. Kum Gang San was already bursting to the brim with crowds standing elbow-to-elbow. We took a number for our party of 7 and waited to be called.

Kum Gang San has a waiting area with chairs and two long tables in the back. While you're standing, help yourself to some boricha (barley tea) or hot coffee. You can also sidle up to the bar and ask the ahjusshi to pore you a soju. Computers are available for your browsing convenience, though if you can't read Korean - tough luck - since the language default is set to Korean and I couldn't seem to change the settings. Oh well.

Twenty-odd minutes later...

We were seated at a table in the back. Waiters and waitresses carried heaping platefuls of haemool pajun, ddukbokki, boricha and appetizers. The restaurant was so busy that they didn't give us our appetizers until a good twenty minutes later. But that's OK, since we were passing round bottles of Hite...

Hite lager is a light South Korean beer with golden flecks and is brewed from rice, as opposed to malted barley. Hite can be found on draft in Korean pubs and bars. Other popular Korean beers include Cass and OB. As a first-time Hite drinker, I wasn't particularly awed by it, but I wouldn't be opposed to drinking it again. I'm definitely more of a dark beer person.

What my family ate:
Grandpa: Gopdol Bibimbap (steamed rice tossed with ground beef and various vegetables served in a stone pot)
Grandma: Sulungtang (simmered beef and bone marrow broth with brisket pieces and hand-cut noodles)
Dad & Sis: Jeonju Bibimbap (Jeonju-style bibimbap with seasoned beef and 26 different vegetables
Mom & Bro: Mandoo Gook (traditional Korean handmade beef dumplings soup)

We ordered one appetizer of Haemool Pajun (seafood pancake). My brother thinks it looks like pizza.

While everyone else was chomping away on their dishes, my place setting was still empty. Forty-five minutes is a hecka long wait time. All I wanted to know was - just where was my ddukbokki??!

After consulting numerous wait staff for an answer and getting the run around, it seemed that my precious ddukbokki had gotten lost in transit (or accidentally served to someone else). Luckily, the chef whipped up a fresh batch for me and it was glowing in all its spicy gochujang glory. I filled up as much as I could take of rice cakes, squid, kimchi and mussels, but there was no way I could finish it after stealing bits of everyone else's food all night. I wrapped the rest to go. Satisfying leftovers for the next day.

Would I go back? I still love Kum Gang San, so yes. But definitely not during a major holiday. Good thing for those appetizers and family love! There's enough of that to go around...

Kum Gang San 13828 Northern Blvd; Flushing; 718-461-0909.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Banksy Returns

Photo montage taken May 31. St. Mark's area. New York, NY.