Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Allen & Delancey

Before I was surprised with the Momofuku Cookbook, we had an early Christmas dinner at Allen & Delancey before heading down to Virginia for the holidays.

LOVE LOVE LOVED everything EVERYTHING about the restaurant. Great date spot! The Lobster Salad, Octopus Confit, Tagliolini with Rock Shrimp and the duck were TDF (to-die-for), though the dessert was not. Felt like the Banana Pavlova with banana cream, passion fruit and toasted coconut was burning a hole through the roof of my mouth.

Still. I'd go back in a heartbeat.

Update: Did I mention they had a bacon-infused dinner roll that they offered us before the meal? Yes, bacon people, bacon!

***Allen & Delancy: 115 Allen Street New York, NY 10002 nr. Delancy St.

For Christmas my true love gave to me...

So deliciously blunt and almost autobiographical. The book really captures the essence of the man himself and how he came to be. It's true that the cookbook speaks to only the most experienced of cooks, with many dishes requiring several steps, but I think I can take on what Chang calls the "Sandra Lee-simple dish" - Maine Jonah Crab Claws with Yuzu Mayonnaise. Or maybe even the Bacon Dashi with Potatoes & Clams.

It even has his trademarked recipe for Cereal Milk!

Monday, December 28, 2009

The World's Best Chef - My Umma!

Sunday: Mee Yuk Gook (Seaweed Soup)

Monday: Sang Sun Kka Ssu (Fried Fish Cutlets)

Tuesday: Dak Dori Tang (Spicy Chicken)

Wednesday: Kimchee Fried Rice

Thursday: Oh Deng Tang (Fishcake Soup)

Friday: Yoo Bu Cho Bap (Sushi)

Saturday: Bo Ssam (Steamed Pork with Pickled Radish)

Everyday. Ahh Ahh.

Umma is back in Korea. No longer eating like a little piggie. And the holidays are (almost) over.

Back to slaving in the kitchen!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

One potato, two potato, three potato, four.Nothing says "Happy Thanksgiving" in Korean like Sweet Potato Cake (yes, cake, not pie).

Gobble gobble!

***Koryodang: 31 W. 32nd Street New York, NY 10001 nr. Broadway

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Can't Hardly Wait!

On my way to pick up my umma at JFK. Non-stop feasting to ensue for the next three weeks! Pics of homemade Korean meals to come. Yummy yum yum!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Bar Ameri-can't

Every Sunday night, I fall asleep to "Throwdown with Bobby Flay" on the Food Network. Puffy tacos, green chile burgers, and even Asian dumplings, is there anything he can't do? Well apparently, YES.

Went to Mesa Grill a few years back, and wasn't particularly impressed, but decided to give him another chance and headed for brunch at Bar Americain. Was in such a rush that morning, I forgot to bring my camera! Had to make it work with my blackberry.

Love restaurants with open kitchens
And the shellfish cocktails: shrimp-tomatillo, crab-coconut and lobster-avocado were delish
But NOT the shrimp and grits with bacon, scallions and garlic (all I tasted was mush and salt)
And certainly NOT Miss Stephanie's biscuits and cream gravy, sausage & scrambled eggs
No disrespect Iron Chef Flay, but even Ronald McDonald can cook up a better breakfast.

Add to that a bloody mary and a mimosa (mandatory, of course), and the bill came out to $94.67. The best thing about our botched brunch? The bread basket. Now that's just wrong!

***Bar Americain: 152 W. 52nd Street New York, NY 10019 nr. 6th Ave.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Momofukin' Kimchi

Turned on the Today Show this morning and David Chang of Momofuku was doing a cooking segment, on how to make perfectly prickly cabbage kimchi! Eyes wide open, I only caught the last minute of it, but could barely understand what he was trying to say. Someone needs to media train him stat! Our little chef was so nervous, knocking over his ingredients and all tounge tied on national TV. Spit it out David, we love you!

Luckily, I found the clip online, along with his renowned reciepe.
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Napa cabbage kimchi (aka Paechu kimchi)
Makes 1 to 1½ quarts

Kimchi is a fermented pickle, like sauerkraut, and the fermentation process is key to its flavor. It's elemental in Korean food and in Momofuku food, and you can make it with almost anything. In northern Virginia, where I grew up, my mom and my grandmother made it with blue crabs (which was totally gross, in case you're wondering). But some kind of seafood is often added to kimchi to help kick-start the fermentation process. Raw oysters are common as are squid, shrimp, or yellow croaker. We use the jarred salted shrimp that look like krill and have a strong but still appealing and sweet shrimp aroma. A little goes a long way, and a 500-gram jar will last even an avid kimchi maker a while, so take the time and hunt one down.

The amount of salt in kimchi stops almost every kind of food-borne nastiness from working except for lactic acid bacteria, and once that bacteria starts to produce lactic acid, the pH of the whole thing drops, and nothing grows that's going to cause spoilage. My friend Dave Arnold, The Smartest Person Alive and a food-science genius, explained that to me, and he also says that using sea salt or any naturally evaporated salt will help the pickles keep and stay firmer longer because of the trace amounts of impurities you can't taste, like magnesium and calcium.

At Momofuku, we make three types of kimchi: Napa cabbage (paechu), radish (from long white Korean radishes or, failing that, Japanese daikon), and Kirby cucumber (oi). Our recipe has changed some since I learned it from my mom, who learned it from her mom. I add more sugar than they would. We let the fermentation happen in the refrigerator instead of starting the kimchi at room temperature and then moving it into the fridge when it starts to get funky. At the restaurant, we let the kimchi ferment for only a couple of weeks, instead of allowing it to get really stinky and soft. There's a point, after about two weeks, where the bacteria that are fermenting the kimchi start producing CO2 and the kimchi takes on a prickly mouthfeel, like the feeling of letting the bubbles in a soft drink pop on your tongue. It's right around then that I like it best.

• 1 small to medium head Napa cabbage, discolored or loose outer leaves discarded
• 2 tablespoons kosher or coarse sea salt
• 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
• 20 garlic cloves, minced
• 20 slices peeled fresh ginger, minced
• 1/2 cup kochukaru (Korean chile powder)
• 1/4 cup fish sauce
• 1/4 cup usukuchi (light soy sauce)
• 2 teaspoons jarred salted shrimp
• 1/2 cup 1-inch pieces scallions (greens and whites)
• 1/2 cup julienned carrots

Cut the cabbage lengthwise in half, then cut the halves crosswise into 1-inch-wide pieces. Toss the cabbage with the salt and 2 tablespoons of the sugar in a bowl. Let sit overnight in the refrigerator.

Combine the garlic, ginger, kochukaru, fish sauce, soy sauce, shrimp, and remaining ½ cup sugar in a large bowl. If it is very thick, add water 1/3 cup at a time until the brine is just thicker than a creamy salad dressing but no longer a sludge. Stir in the scallions and carrots.

Drain the cabbage and add it to the brine. Cover and refrigerate. Though the kimchi will be tasty after 24 hours, it will be better in a week and at its prime in 2 weeks. It will still be good for another couple weeks after that, though it will grow stronger and funkier.
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Have have have to try this "salty and tasty" dish. Pics to come!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mama Mexico

Received an e-mail this morning from Seamless offering 10% off - and even more restaurants added to Delivery Week! With my wisdom tooth fiasco finally over, decided to order dinner.

My $20.09 three course meal? Quesadilla Mexicana (ham), Chimichangas de Pollo O Carne (pictured), and Dulce de Kalhua (homemade).
So so so good. It was worth every penny.

Expires: 11:59 PM ET tonight

***Mama Mexico: 214 E. 49th St. New York, NY 10017 nr. 3rd Ave.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wanna Screw?

Picked these puppies up the last time I was at the Han Ah Reum on 32nd St. Big Screw bars (and yes, that's what they're really called)!
A mix between strawberry and apple, it looks like I found the perfect cure for my poor little mouth.
Now go screw yourselves!


Just got my wisdom tooth pulled. I swear that stubborn little sucker was hanging on for dear life. No more eating/cooking real food for the next 48 hours.

What to do with myself...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

HMart Online

Always wondered why there wasn't a Korean version of FreshDirect, until now!

Can't believe I didn't know this but apparently HMart has had their own website this whole time. Complete with coupons and even free shipping on certain items! In case you're not fluent in Korean, the English tab is on the top right ;)

Just placed an order for kimchi and red pepper powder in my pajamas. Ahh. This is too easy. Now I'm debating if I should be nice and send my sister at RISD a box of instant rice and ramen noodles. Nah!


Monday, October 19, 2009

Zucchini Pancakes

So loving zucchini right now. Just the other day I made a zucchini frittata topped with tomatoes and white cheddar cheese for brunch.

And with the leftover veggie, fruit, flower, whatever it is classified as, I decided to make a Korean zucchini pancake (ho bak jun) as a side dish (ban chan).

- 1 medium-sized zucchini
- 1/4 cup of flour
- 2 eggs
- Pinch of salt
- 2 teaspoons of olive oil

First, slice the zucchini about 1/4 inch thick.
Then coat it lightly in flour. I had organic Korean pancake mix (bu cheem gah ruh) on hand, and used that instead.
Crack open the eggs, add a pinch of salt and lightly beat together. Then take the flour covered zucchini and dip it well into the egg mixture.
Heat up your frying pan, add a touch of olive oil and pan-fry for a few minutes on each side.
Once it starts to turn a nice golden brown, you are ready to plate and serve!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Stepped out of a cab on the corner of Bowery and Houston and spotted Georgina Sparks! For those of you non-Gossip Girl viewers (you're totally missing out), Michelle Trachtenberg.

Still excited over my celebrity-sighting (I know, I’m a New Yorker, we’re supposed to keep it cool) we headed to DBGB. Can we say the best-burger-I’ve-had-in-a-restaurant-on-the-East-Coast-ever? I’m only saying that to cover my bases since Shake Shack and In-n-Out are technically fast-food joints, and Father’s Office is all the way over in LaLa Land.

We ordered the Yankee with Vermont cheese (no bacon)...
... and the Piggie topped with pulled pork from Daisy May's on a cheddar-cornbread bun.
Tried to work the camera to find just the right lighting, but after several takes, our impatient selves couldn't wait any longer to try the food! We stopped fidgeting with the settings and dove in.

Topped off our meal with a coffee-caramel sundae. I’m pretty sure this replaces Momofuku Ssam Bar as my boyfriend’s new favorite restaurant. Sorry David Chang!

The New York Times also just published a review today.

***DBGB Kitchen & Bar: 299 Bowery St. New York, NY 10003 nr. 1st St.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

NYC Delivery Week is Oct 19-31

Just read on Grub Street that Delivery Week is coming up!

Similar to restaurant week, three course meals will be $12.09 plus tax for lunch, and $20.09 plus tax for dinner.

I'm already mapping out my plan of attack. First up on the list, Mama Mexico. Now if only I lived closer to Hill Country!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Ox Tail Soup - Gom Gook

I know I know, it's been forever but I finally started cooking at home again! And just in time for fall. This soup will warm your body and your bones. And is so super easy to make. It's actually one of the first Korean dishes that I tried, with my mom giving me the directions over the phone. And it was a success! You just need a pinch of salt, and a dash of patience.

- 1 package of ox tails (found at your local super market)
- 1 tablespoon of minced garlic (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chopped green onions/scallions

First you start off by prepping the meat. Soak the ox tails in cold water for about an hour, then drain. Clean it off by cutting all the extra fat around the outside. But don't go too crazy, we like fat since fat = flavor!

Then bring a large pot to boil and add in the ox tails, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Sit and let boil for anywhere from five to 12 hours. The longer you let it simmer, the more flavorful your broth will be. Skim off the foam and fat every few hours like so:

You may want to pour in an extra cup of water or two when you see your stock reducing. Once it's done you can also add in chopped scaillions or green onions. To make it a bit heartier, I also decided to include dang myun (Korean noodles made out of sweet potato starch), but you can easily substitute somyun as well (wheat flour noodles). Or just simply enjoy it with rice!

I was too impatient (and famished) so I fixed myself a bowl after about four hours and let the soup continue on low heat for a few more hours. Yum!

You can tell the broth isn't as white-ish in color as it should be, but it was still delish! Half way through:

The great thing about cooking in large quantities is that you can keep it in your fridge/freezer and have it again a few days later! This makes around 5-8 servings and is best enjoyed with a side of ripe kimchee.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Back to Blogging

Oh blog, how I've neglected you so! Now that the summer travel season is over, I'm back to my tiny 6x4 Manhattan studio kitchen (totally not kidding about the specs, I wish)! I'll try to post all of the pictures and restaurant recommendations from my vacation soon (Hawaii was amazing). And more recipes to come this weekend!


Monday, May 11, 2009

Cheese Rice with Spam and Eggs

My brunch go-to when I am craving comfort food, or am just plain hungover (that’s how easy it is to make)!

All you need are eggs, spam, cheese, and of course rice. I like to add a bit of sesame oil to it as well.

First, cook your rice - it's the easiest if you have a rice cooker, if not, you can buy the microwaveable kind (the one pictured above is Korean, but I hear they also sell them at Trader Joe's), or you can add a one to one cup of rice to water ratio in a boiling pot, until all of the water evaporates and the rice is cooked and fluffy.

Then cut the spam into little cubes (you can use diced ham if you think spam is disgusting, but I think it’s delicious) and fry it in a pan. When it slowly starts to brown, push it to the side and crack an egg on top of the leftover grease - it's best if it's overeasy, so that the yolk isn't completely cooked and is slightly runny.

Next, put a layer of rice in the bottom of a bowl. Then place two Kraft singles on top, and add another layer of rice, so that you're sandwiching the cheese between the rice. The cheese will slowly start to melt.
Then take the cooked spam and add it on top, drizzle a bit of sesame oil, finishing it off with the egg. You can also added shredded cheese as garnish, or scallions/green onions and even sesame seeds work well.
For an extra kick, you can also mix it with ketchup, or hot sauce. I like to use siracha, or have it with a side of kimchi.
Half way through my bowl!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Baked By Melissa

I was walking around Soho the other day and came across these ador-a-ble miniature stuffed cupcakes! I've never heard of Baked by Melissa but they have super cute flavors like cookie dough, peanut butter cup and smores.

It was hard narrowing it down, but my boyfriend and I ended up choosing peanut butter & jelly, red velvet and tie-dye. Handed to us on an over-sized paper cupcake liner (or a coffee filter), they weren't joking about the size. The cupcakes, each a dollar, were roughly the same size as a quarter! Overpriced, but still worth trying.

Despite all of the artificial food coloring, the tie-dye was both of our favorites, and the cream cheese frosting with rainbow sprinkles was perfect. The cake itself was moist, and the icing wasn't too sweet. Surprisingly, the red velvet wasn't very memorable, and was quickly forgotten when we tried the next one - pbj. Topped with peanut butter and jelly, it was filled with a burst of even more peanut butter inside!

***Baked by Melissa: 592 Broadway, New York, NY 10012 nr. Spring and Mercer

Thursday, May 7, 2009


My boyfriend took me to Dovetail for my birthday a few weeks ago. It was a complete surprise and he wouldn't tell me where we were going until just a few hours before dinner. Very risky as the past few restaurants he’s chosen have all been FAILURES hehe. Lo and behold he had a table for two at one of the 2009 top dinning destinations according to New York Magazine’s Adam Platt!

Even with rezzies we had to wait over an hour. We almost left (the UWS Shake Shack was right next door) but I’m so glad we stayed! We started off with the fluke ceviche that came with pears, lime, and tomatillos, and they served us warm mini-loaves of cornbread, which my boyfriend inhaled. I ordered the Pistachio Crusted Duck with endive, dates, and apples (though I could barely taste the apples), and my boyfriend ordered the Buffalo with salsify, brussels sprouts, and spicy parsnips.

I have to say the best part of the meal, was the dessert which came compliments of the chef (probably because it took us for-ever to be seated). Brioche Bread Pudding with bananas and bacon brittle, topped with rum ice cream! Whoever thought of adding bacon to a dessert, is genius just genius!

Sorry I don't have any pictures of the food :(

***Dovetail: 103 W. 77th St., New York, NY 10024 nr. Columbus Ave.

- Picture courtesy of New York Magazine

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Smith & Sundaes and Cones

Went to The Smith in the East Village with my gay-bestfriend-who's-not-gay after work a few weeks ago. The food wasn’t too memorable but I hear they're big on brunch. I want to go back and try the Chicken Sausage + Eggs on a spicy corn bread, with black pepper gravy. Drool.

The Steak Salad with Goat Cheese
And the Orecchiette with chicken sausage, broccoli, and hot chiles

*** The Smith: 55 Third Ave., New York, NY 10003 nr. 11th St.

Afterwards I took him across the street to one of my favorite ice cream spots - Sundaes and Cones. They have the best homemade ice cream with flavors you won't find anywhere else.

They range from the classics of Vanilla and Chocolate to Wasabi, Ginger, Corn, Tiramisu and Black. My personal favorite? The Banana or Taro!

***Sundaes and Cones: 95 E 10th St., New York, NY 10003 nr. Third Ave.

- Pictures courtesy of Hong Choi