Sunday, November 20, 2011

korean bbq-style burgers

I love burgers and I love Korean BBQ, so picking this recipe seemed only natural. I used Angus 90/10 ground beef and cooked these burgers indoors in a cast iron pan (4-5 mins per side). Although we didn't brave the cold like the Use Real Butter folks, they still turned out amazing! Served up on a whole wheat bun, with sweet potato fries on the side. A perfect summer-time meal for the winter-like-fall we're having.

Sweet Potato Fries :)

The Burger Toppings: kim chee, pickled veggies, sirraacha mayo, lettuce & tomatoes

Thursday, October 27, 2011

a few more cupcakes

This past weekend, we celebrated my nephew Myles' first birthday. Although we had the joint party for he and Malia last month, we had to celebrate again here in his hometown :) Because two parties are always better than one!

Being that Myles is allergic to dairy, it was only fitting that I make him vegan cupcakes with vegan vanilla "butter cream" frosting (recipe below). But for a festive and non-vegan option I also made pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting (this bar recipe but baked for 20 mins as cupcakes). Both were well received. The vegan cake has a distinct textural difference that is much more light and sponge cake-like. Some really liked them for their airy consistency, while others prefer the pumpkin cake with it's rich cream cheese frosting. I prefer the latter :)

To top it all off, we topped these cute cakes with mini shortbread animal cookies (non-vegan). My very talented and detail oriented sisters hand made and decorated these little guys. They were the perfect cupcake topper for this safari themed party.

Vegan Vanilla "Butter Cream" Frosting Recipe (an adaptation of a Chef Chloe recipe)

1 cup vegan butter (at room temperature)
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons non-dairy milk

Using a handheld or stand mixer, beat the butter until smooth. With the mixer running on low, add powdered sugar, and vanilla. Add 1 tablespoon non-dairy milk at a time, as needed, until frosting reaches a spreadable consistency. You may not need to use all of the non-dairy milk. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

thai basil shrimp

This is one of J & I's go-to dishes at Thai restaurants- when in doubt, order Thai Basil! Its simple yet has great flavor. I'm no Thai cooking expert, but this is my take on Thai Basil. It's a pretty forgiving recipe and can really be made with any meat & veggies you like. I believe its traditionally made with green beans, but I had asparagus so I went ahead and used it. 

1 glove garlic, minced
Half red onion, cut into bite sized pieces
8 oz mushrooms, cut in quarters
1 lb shrimp, peeled & deveined
1 red bell pepper, cut into bite sized pieces
1 lb asparagus, ends removed then cut in half
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (use fresh chilies if you can)
2 Tablespoons fresh chiffonade basil

2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons fish sauce
2 Tablespoons sugar

Shrimp Marinade:
1 Tablespoon corn starch
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper

Heat wok to med-high. When the wok is hot add oil, follow by garlic and onions. Stir fry the garlic and onions until aromatic, then add crushed red pepper (or chilies). Stir together, add asparagus followed by mushrooms.  Stir fry over med high heat for about five minutes or until the asparagus begins to tenderize. Meanwhile, combine marinade ingredients and mix with shrimp; set aside. Add bell peppers, stir then add sauce ingredients and sauté for about one minute. Create a well in the center of the wok, and then add shrimp.  Mix together and cook until shrimp is pink, about two to three minutes depending on the size of your shrimp (I used 16/20). Turn off heat and stir in basil. Serve immediately over steamed rice. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

the mobile food rodeo

A few weeks back, my cousin Katherine and I attended Seattle's Mobile Food Rodeo. It was a fun way to explore some of our local food trucks and try an array of foods in one spot. After much time spent waiting in line here's what we tried...

Bistro Box. I had the kobe beef with bacon & my cousin got the coconut chicken. Both came with two dipping sauces: garlic aioli & a ketchup mayo. We agreed that this was just ok. Nothing bad, but nothing amazing.

Lumpia World. We tried three flavors: ginger pork, ground steak & lemongrass chicken. I liked the lemongrass chicken, but the classic combo of ginger pork takes the cake! And after all, we still favor Katherine's grandma's lumpia :)

Where Ya At? This truck was super popular with a long line for the majority of the time we were there. We ordered the jambalaya and hot beignets. The flavors did not disappoint, however, our jambalaya rice was uncooked! But the hot beignets totally hit the spot, so moist, fluff and messy in a good way. I'd still love to go back and try a few other menu items.

Fusion on the Run. I ordered the KV fusion Banh Mi for J since he was unable to make it. But managed to steal a nibble just to make sure it tasted ok :) The meat marinade is delicious and I'm a sucker for a banh mi, so it was a victory in my book. I would definitely love to go back and try the other sandwiches like the Ono!

I'm excited that Seattle is finally jumping on the food truck bandwagon. There were many other trucks I wanted to try, but we could only eat so much in so little time. My next food truck stop will be at the Wallingford Food Truck Pod, one of the first food pod's here in Seattle. Hopefully more will start to pop up throughout the city. Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

birthday cupcakes

My niece & nephew had their joint birthday party this past weekend. The big one! And since their mommies take on so much the aunties came to the rescue helping with the party invites, paper goods, food, desserts and babysitting :) My contribution included invite design, paper goods design, rolling egg rolls and baking cupcakes. Here is a little picture recap of the party.

The Candy Bar / Food Table / Dessert Table

Mini Donuts / Vegan Vanilla Baby Cakes / Coconut Macaroons / Shortbread Cookies / Rice Crispy Treats / Chocolate Macaroons 

Strawberry Cupcakes & Cream Cheese Frosting / Lemon & Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting / Chocolate Kahlua (recipe below) & Coconut Frosting

Chocolate Kahlua
1 package Swiss chocolate cake mix
1 small package chocolate pudding
1 pint sour cream
4 eggs
3/4 cup oil
6 oz chocolate chips
1/3 cup Kahlua

Mix ingredients together and bake at 350 for about 15 mins.

Happy Birthday Malia & Myles!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

mother's bistro & bar- portland, or

For some family time and Labor Day weekend, J & I ventured back to my hometown of Portland, OR. On our drive down, we started talking about how we default to the same handful of Portland restaurants. So in an effort to get out and explore my home-city, we turned to Yelp and off to Mother's Bistro we went.

Given it was a holiday weekend, we knew we'd there would be a good wait. We waited about 45 mins and it went by rather quickly, with lots of sunshine, self-serve coffee & my niece to keep us on our toes.

On to what we ordered....

Crunchy French Toast with Bananas. This was my perfect french toast- crispy exterior, a smooth center and all lightly sweet. My personal choice & favorite :)

Seasonal Waffles- Fresh Oregon Blackberry Waffles. The berries were huge and super sweet. The waffles were so incredibly light & fluffy, they were like pancake-waffles!

Pork Apple Sausage & Cheddar Cheese Scramble. I didn't try this one, but everyone who did seemed exceptionally pleased.

Omelet du Jour- Cajun Scramble. Straightforward & done well, the roasted breakfast potatoes definitely hit the spot.

All in all we had an amazing meal and experience at Mother's. The staff was extremely friendly, the food was perfect and the prices were great!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

ginger garlic rubbed chicken with honey drizzle

I got this recipe from Week of Menus but made a few modifications to suit what I had on hand and my preferred method of cooking. It’s so simple but so flavorful! A perfect dinner idea when you don’t know what to make with chicken :)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ginger powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoons rice vinegar


Mix garlic, ginger, paprika, salt, and olive oil in a bowl. Mix well. Add chicken and rub well so that the mixture coats all the chicken evenly. Let stand for about 30 minutes (Week of Menus didn't specify to marinate, so you can proceed if you’re pressed for time).

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Heat a cast iron pan on medium high heat. When the skillet is hot, drizzle with olive oil then add chicken. Sear about two minutes per side, then finish cooking in the oven for about eight minutes. Remove from heat, brush with honey-vinegar and return to the oven for another minute or two. Place the chicken on a serving dish with the honey sauce on the side. I served our meal up with rice and steamed baby bok choy with oyster sauce.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

chicken lettuce wraps

I love lettuce wraps! It’s one of my summer stables for a light, quick dinner. My usual recipe includes clear bean thread noodles but I decided to switch it up and make a meatier PF Changs-inspired one. This is by no means a copycat recipe for their lettuce wraps, but still yummy none the less. The shrimp dish pictured with the wraps is simple pan fried shrimp with bell peppers and onions. I’ll post that recipe later.   

½ head of iceberg lettuce
20 ounces ground chicken
2 cloves minced garlic
1 red onion -- chopped
¼ cup chopped toasted almonds, optional  
2 cans (8 ounce size) water chestnuts, chopped
½ cup shitake mushrooms, chopped
½ green bell pepper, diced

Cooking Sauce:
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
¼ cup hoisin sauce
½ teaspoons ground ginger
1 tablespoon mirin  
1 tablespoon sambal olek  
2 teaspoons sesame oil

Optional Dipping Sauce:
¼ cup hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon water

Rinse lettuce, keeping it whole. Set aside to drain.

Heat the wok over medium high heat, add a splash of oil, and then add onions and garlic. Cook for a few minutes until slightly translucent. Add chicken stirring often to break up the meat, then add shitakes. While chicken is browning, mix sauce ingredients together then add to the wok. Cook for about seven minutes until meat is cooked through and well combined. Add water chestnuts and bell pepper to warm through, about two minutes. Plate and top with toasted almonds. Serve with lettuce and additional sauce if desired. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

happy birthday lica!

A very Happy Birthday wish to my favorite co-blogger Miss Lica! Cheers to an amazing birthday-week :)

Friday, August 12, 2011

the waffle window

A few weeks ago we headed down to Portland for a baby shower and squeezed in some time to try a tiny restaurant called the Waffle Window. I found this place a while back and had been wanting to try it but never had the opportunity. Finally we got our chance and it was delicious! There are plenty of options as the menu changes nearly weekly with fresh local ingredients. From savory to sweet or just plain they've got you covered. I'm a waffle person, so this was my spot :) Here's what we had...

Summer Vibes: fresh peaches marinated in a lemon verbena syrup, served with blueberries, whipped cream & berry coulis

Blueberry Lime: fresh blueberries, blueberry-cinnamon compote & lime curd  

Berry Bliss: fresh raspberry, strawberry, blueberry and blackberries topped with whipped cream & berry coulis

The Whole Farm: pepper bacon, roasted red peppers, spinach, sauteed mushrooms & brie 

and Banana Rumba: fresh sliced bananas, caramel sauce, whipped cream & granola crunch 

They were all tasty but my favorite was the Summer Vibes, the peaches were so fresh and full of summer flavor! J's favorite would be the Banana Rumba, but he's really a sucker for anything banana caramel. I'm sure we'll be revisiting the little waffle window in the future, as my sisters' have told me about a raspberry coconut waffle that is heavenly. We'll just have to wait and check back the next time we're in town. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

craving the islands- kalua pork

Lately it feels as though everyone's been talking about Hawaii, whether it's heading there for vacation, wishing they were on vacation or talking about their favorite island foods. With all this talk, it got me missing Hawaii and one of my favorite dishes- kalua pork. Kalua pork is just one of those things that hits the spot, its warm, its smokey, its salty and its delicious. Since I couldn't jet off to the islands or build my own imu (in my apartment) I found this easy recipe and made a few modifications. With only four ingredients and a slow cooker, this recipe couldn't be more simplistic. 

3 lb pork shoulder blade roast (mine were sliced because that's all the store had)
1 tbsp liquid mesquite smoke
3/4 tbsp coarse sea salt
1/4 head of cabbage, shredded

Place pork in the crock pot and stab it all over with the tip of a knife. Rub sea salt all over pork. Drizzle the liquid smoke all over and set crock pot to high; cook for about 10 hours. Until the meat falls apart when probed. 

Turn off the slow cooker and shred pork with tongs or two forks. Then heat a pan on medium high heat and add shredded pork, pan fry for about two minuets then add a few handfuls of cabbage. 

Mix together and cover for 3-5 minuets, until cabbage is tender and slightly translucent. Depending on the size of your pan you may need to do this in batches.

Remove from heat, plate, serve with steamed rice and enjoy a little taste of the islands! 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

to the ballard locks we go

Last weekend the weather was amazing and we couldn't just waste the day running errands. So we decided to hit up the Ballard Locks for a little bit of hometown tourism, sunshine and live music. It was so enjoyable to just wander around the park with Solei, listen to the jazz band, watch the boats and see a few salmon travel through the fish ladder. For those that don't know, the Ballard Locks is the place boats, barges, yachts, and other floating vehicles come to safely travel from salt to fresh water or vice versa. Cheers to playing tourist (again)! 

The water level has been adjusted and the boat parade is ready to exit... 

Solei & I enjoying the warm weather...

Happy weekend everyone!