Rating: 4/5 (a little too much fat for my liking)
Ever since I discovered Maangchi on YouTube, I have become enamored by Korean food. Each dish is an adventure that's served with its own comrades, or side dishes. When I heard of the raved-about Stone Korean Restaurant, I decided to try it out for myself and see if it lived up to the hype! Everything on the menu looked so delicious, and since I was dining alone, it was hard to choose just one thing. So I ordered the #2 combo: Kalbi ribs and Bibimbap for a total of $25. It was a little steep price-wise, but I was so full by the end that this ended up being my only meal of the day.
I had heard of Korean Kalbi ribs, watched videos of how to made them, and even read recipes, but today was my first time tasting them. Served on a sizzling hot platter atop a bed of onions, these were the most tender pieces of beef I had ever had the pleasure of eating. The meat fell off the bone and the ribs were covered in a sweet and sticky sauce. One you ate one, it was hard not to eat five more.
Rating: 4/5 (a little too much fat for my liking)
Next was my usual go-to at Korean restaurants, bibimbap. The version served with the combo was only vegetables, but the helpful server added beef for free! When ordering bibimbap, ALWAYS go with dolsot, or stone bowl. (I see where the restaurant got it's name...) The rice, vegetables, and meat are served in a stone vessel that has been warming on the stove. This allows the rice to crisp up on the bottom, which adds a nice texture to the dish. But be careful not to touch the bowl, you'll get burned! Bibimbap is traditionally served with an egg on top. In other restaurants I've eaten at, the egg has been fried, but at Stone, you receive a raw egg yolk as garnish. Worry not. Immediately mix up the rice and vegetables with the egg, and the heat from the bowl and the rest of the dish will cook the egg. I ate several of my ribs in the meantime, allowing my egg to heat up and the rest of my dish to cool down.
Perhaps the best part of Korean food is the banchan, or side dishes, it's served with. Stone rotates it's side dishes, so there's always variety. Today, I was served traditional cabbage kimchi, steamed broccoli, pickled onions, cucumber kimchi, potato, bean sprouts, and something that tasted like a sweet coleslaw. I really enjoyed everything except for the broccoli, since it was plain, and the bean sprouts, since they didn't seem to have much flavor. I was also served a spicy gochujang chili sauce that I squeezed all over my bibimbap. Delicious!
Today was the first weekend of my second summer interning at Microsoft. My love of Seattle has not diminished one bit in the last twelve months. One of the best parts of the city is the food, especially the abundance of Asian cuisine. After strolling around the Pike Place and EMP for most of the day, my friends and I retired to Bellevue for dinner. Thai Ginger was only a four minute drive from the Park & Ride, so it was the obvious choice to satisfy our hunger.
I was really excited when I saw chicken wings on the appetizer menu, as I have made it a tradition to order the deliciously sticky and crispy delicacies at every Thai restaurant I go to. Today, however, I was disappointed. Instead of receiving several sweet and spicy wings, we received two jumbo battered-and-fried pieces of chicken. The partially cooked chicken was stuffed with vegetables and was served alongside a generic sweet and sour sauce. This was not what I expected to receive, nor did it exceed expectations.
I ordered the Pad Kee Mao with chicken and was pleasantly satisfied. The flat, wide rice noodles were cooked perfectly, and the vegetables were crisp. The sauce was average. I ordered a 3.5/4 on the spicy scale and my tastebuds remained unchallenged. We were given chili sauce, chili powder, and chilies in vinegar, but it's always more convenient when the chefs season your food while it's being cooked, as opposed to you applying the seasoning as garnish.
WARNING: You will need a glass of milk to scarf these down with. Or five.
So, I have this new found affinity towards refrigerator biscuits. Maybe it's the simplicity of prepackaged dough. Maybe it's the buttery, flaky goodness. Maybe it's the excitement of smashing the cardboard can against the counter until it pops open, filling the kitchen with a sound that rivals fireworks on the Fourth of July. Yeah, it's that reason.
On a serious note, refrigerator biscuits serve as a convenient and delicious vehicle for carrying delicious ingredients, sweet or savory. They're made without eggs, so more friends can enjoy! I made these Nutella bombs as a sort of pull-apart birthday dessert, and it seemed to be immensely enjoyed by the recipient and his friends. So much so that the lactose intolerant in the group inadvertently downed several glasses of lactose rich milk, as they were so enamored and distracted by the ooey-gooey chocolatey balls.
To make your own Nutella Bombs, you will need:
Remove the biscuits from the can and gently roll them out so they are slightly wider and flatter. The butter in the biscuits must remain cold and in chunks, so try not to work them too much or apply too much heat. I find it best to roll out a few and store them in the fridge while I roll out some more.
Take the Nutella out of the freezer and using two spoons, scoop about a teaspoon into the center of each biscuit.
Fold the edges of the biscuit over the Nutella, to seal the ball. You can do what I did and pleat the edges like a dumpling!
Place the finished balls into a tray and cover in a mixture of melted butter and brown sugar. This will create a deliciously sweet, golden-brown top.
Store the tray in the fridge until you are ready to bake the bombs. Bake according to the instructions listed on the biscuit dough cans (I did 350F for about 20 minutes, or until the tops were golden-brown and the biscuits had risen significantly).
Serve with a glass of milk and a smile! This dessert is fun to share with friends, but be sure to let the dish cool slightly before digging in! Or, you could sacrifice your fingerprints, since being burned by Nutella would be an honorable way to go.
(Apologies for the Snapchat-quality video)
It's been about two weeks since I've entered the adult world, and I think I like it. It's hard keeping a balance between work and free time, especially when you're trying to budget your money. So here's a simple dinner I prepared for myself and my friends. how simple, you ask? Simple enough that I had the energy to cook this dish after a two hour workout at the gym.
Here's what you'll need:
Garlic (I use a few heads, because my taste buds have adapted after 18 years in a South Asian household)
Cayenne Pepper (Can you handle it?)
Pasta (I used this protein-enriched kind to convince myself I was being kinda healthy)
Parmesan Cheese (Yeah, I'm not being healthy)
This is my absolute favorite thing to do when cooking. Roasting garlic. Cut the tops off of the garlic heads, so the cloves are exposed, drizzle some olive oil on them, and sprinkle with salt. Traditionally, at this point, I would wrap the heads in aluminum foil. As I am not fully an adult yet, and do not splurge on luxuries such as thin sheets of metal, I stuck them in the oven as is. Unfortunately, with this method, the garlic cooks unevenly, resulting in a mixture of perfectly roasted garlic as well as crispy garlic chips. Fortunately, I thought the garlic chips made for an excellent snack.
Carefully remove the soft cloves from the thin peels and place them in a bowl. You'll want to make sure your exhaust fan is on, because it is a strong aroma. Combine with about a quarter cup of olive oil, some cayenne and black pepper, and combine until the cloves are mashed and fully integrated into the lipids. #highschoolbiologyvocab
Oh, yeah. Pasta. Boil water, salt until it tastes like the ocean, add the pasta. You know the drill. Wait until the pasta is al dente. If you're impatient like me, taste several pieces in the undercooked stage, be disappointed that it's not done yet and you just ate something that tastes like cardboard, and repeat this process two minutes later.
When you finally have properly cooked pasta, drain. I got my super-awesome, super-strong workout buddy to drain the pasta into a colander in the sink while I stood back, squealing like a little girl every time the colander began to tip. No pasta was lost in the making of this recipe. Put the pasta back in the pot, back on the stove, so it stays warm.
Add the spicy oil mixture and adjust seasoning to taste. Which for me, means adding several more dashes of cayenne. YAY SPICES.
Also. The best part. CHEESE. Throw the whole tub in there, mix it around until every single, solitary piece of pasta is ooey-gooey and attached by a string of milk fat to at least three more juxtaposing pieces. YUM.
Yes, yes. I know this isn't as colorful as my last recipe, and Alex Guarnachelli from Chopped would probably be very disappointed in my presentation, but hey. I'm not on TV (yet). So here's to a quick, easy, but flavorful post workout meal. If you don't mind gaining back a few calories.
So, I just moved into my new corporate home for the summer in Redmond, WA, and realized that if I wanted to nourish myself without gaining more weight than I had during the school year, I should probably make home-cooked meals. So, I put on my adult pants and went grocery shopping last night. Since I'm still in broke-college-student mode, I decided to do a ten-ingredients-or-less kind of thing, especially because my pantry only consisted of salt and pepper and I couldn't carry much more than a few grocery bags on my own. This dish is not so refined, as it was more of a let's-see-if-my-stove-is-actually-functional kind of thing. And, yes...my stove works.
My super-cool corporate housing relocation specialist people supplied us with a set of knives, pots, pans, utensils, and flexible cutting boards (pictured here is the green one, for vegetables :) ). I chose to make a shrimp dish today, as peeled and deveined shrimp requires little prep work, and I really wasn't in the mood to clean and trim meat today.
What you'll need for this dish:
Parsley or Cilantro
Pasta (I used penne, as I didn't want to ungracefully slurp long noodles in front of company)
Tomato Sauce with Chilies (because I like my food like I like myself...spicy)
Red Chili Paste (because, let's face it, nothing is ever spicy enough)
Peeled and Deveined Shrimp
Small Potatoes (because I don't have a vegetable peeler, and you can eat these potatoes' skins)
I cut up the potatoes into bite-sized pieces on my cute, green vegetable board with my not-so-sharp knife while waiting for a pot of water to boil. (Not just for fun...we will actually be using this water)
See? I told you! Throw in the potatoes (actually, more like gently submerge them because I'd rather not burn myself today), add a little salt, and let them mingle in the hot tub until they are nice and tender.
While waiting impatiently for the potatoes to cook, chop some parsley or cilantro...then chop it even finer because the potatoes aren't done yet and you're bored.
Once the potatoes are done, about an episode and a half of How I Met Your Mother later, drain them and return them to that pot. I actually made someone else do this for me, because I don't trust my wimpy arms to transport a vat of scalding water from the stove to the sink.
Add the whole jar of spicy tomato sauce with a little water and about three-quarters of your parsley, and let them envelop the potatoes. I turned the heat to low at this point so the potatoes didn't overcook and break down in my stew.
I added a few squeezes of this chili pepper paste to turn up the heat...then I tasted it...then added several more squeezes because I still wasn't satisfied. But this step is completely optional, guys.
I added the raw shrimp to the stew to let it cook and absorb all the yummy flavors. You could also cook them in a pan beforehand and then add them, but I wanted one less dish to clean, so...
You could actually serve this dish as a stew, but carbs are my bff, so I cooked some pasta, too!
Literally every competition on Food Network cares about presentation, so I figured I'd give it a shot, too. Ladle a couple of hefty spoonfuls of the pasta-stew mixture into a deep plate or bowl. Remember that one-quarter of parsley that we reserved? Yeah, sprinkle that on top of your dish and voila! A wow-evoking plate of deliciousness!