Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Rabokki

Ramen = ramen
Ddeokbokki = spicy rice cakes
Ramen + Ddeokbokki = Rabokki

Here in Oklahoma there is a thing called Wing Wednesday (at least between me & hubby...). There is a pub grub type place a block up from us that has cheap wings on Wednesdays and it's the highlight of hubby's week lol. Turns out that is perfect because I use that as an excuse to opt out of boring pilot talk between him and his buds and make myself any Korean food that hubby doesn't particularly like. Savory mochi is apparently not a thing in Japan so hubby can't handle it. So today is rabokki day.

I actually posted a rabokki recipe last year. But I tried it again a couple of weeks ago and realized it was STILL too spicy for me despite halving the spice over the course of three different attempts. Rabokki should be a perfect combo of sweet and spicy, and I also like mine with fish cakes and lots of hard-boiled eggs. The only way I could tweak this to be better is by adding some fried sweet potato...ahhh, Korean street food...

Rating: 9/10
Why: There's a small ddeokbokki place in a market on the outskirts of Seoul that makes the best ddeokbokki I've ever had. Until I find out their secrets this can never be a 10.





Rabokki
Serves 3-4


  • 1 c ddeok medallions (or the long ones)
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1/2 pkg Shin ramen noodles (or use the whole pkg if you want!)
  • 1 tps Shin ramen powder (or red pepper powder)
  • 1/4 c onions, sliced
  • 2-3 oz. fish cakes (opt.)
  • 2 c water
  • 1/2 Tbsp red pepper paste
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • green onions for garnish (opt.)
  • sesame seeds for garnish (opt.)


Directions:

In a frying pan set over medium heat, combine the water, red pepper paste, ramen powder, sugar, soy sauce and garlic. Bring to a boil. Here you can taste it to see if you want more spice (ramen powder) or more saltiness (soy sauce).

Once it starts boiling, add the onions and cook for 2-3 minutes. Then add the ddeok medallions and cook another minute or so until they are tender.

Add in the fish cakes, eggs, and noodles. Continue cooking until noodles are al dente. Serve right away and garnish with sesame seeds and green onions.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Galbi Jjim (Short Ribs)

I may have mentioned this before but I've been watching this drama that is called Let's Eat. It literally has like a 5-minute segment in every episode where they just eat! Like as in close-up after close-up of them stuffing food in their faces and purposely smacking their lips and such. That doesn't paint a pretty picture but they seriously make me soooo hungry every time they do that. And sometimes I will crave what they were eating for days.
I don't remember if they ate galbi jjim or not but I've been craving it all week....weird because it's not something I've ever craved before. And I'm not pregnant.

My Rating: 8/10
Why: Taste-wise it is a 10. It's really yummy, to the point that I'm amazed it came out of my kitchen. But short ribs are very fatty and I find the fat to be not-so-appetizing...and also, I over-mixed it in the last part of the recipe, so my potatoes created a bit of a sludge which also was not so appetizing...haha. So just don't do what I did.




Galbi Jjim
Serves 4
Adapted from the amazing Maangchi

  • 1.5-2 lbs short ribs
  • 6-7 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • about 1 c baby carrots
  • 1 medium-sized potato, chopped into 1-inch chunks
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 2 c water
  • 1 Tbsp white wine or rice wine
  • 4 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 8 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp honey 
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • green onions for garnish (opt.)
  • sesame seeds for garnish (opt.)


Directions:

Place dried mushrooms into a small bowl and soak them in water. In a separate bowl, submerge your ribs in water as well and let them soak for about 30 minutes, rinsing them a few times.

While they are soaking, prep your marinade: mix together the water, wine, soy sauce, minced garlic, brown sugar and onions. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drain the ribs and add them to the boiling water. Boil for about 5-10 minutes and drain. Rinse off the ribs in cold water, clean your pot, and add the ribs to the pot again.

This time cover the ribs in the marinade and bring it to a boil on high. Lower the heat to medium and let it continue to boil for 20 minutes.

Chop your mushrooms into quarters and add all of the veggies into the pot at once. Cover and let the mixture simmer on low for 30-40 minutes until the meat is tender.

Uncover and add the honey, sesame oil and black pepper. Bring the heat to high and cook just until the liquid is mostly evaporated, stirring gently when needed.

Serve over rice and garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Coconut Dream Puffs

Out of everyone who ate these, I'm pretty sure I liked them the most. LOL. I am usually my own worst critic, but...holy crap I LOVE coconut and these are basically coconut cream pie in cream puff form.

But for those who do not like coconut as much as I apparently do, my hubby said he would like it better without the coconut milk (basically a standard pastry cream) or even with just whipped cream and strawberries. Kind of fishy, considering he ate about double the amount of these puffs I did...

My rating: 11/10.
Why: If you like coconut cream pie you will like these.




Coconut Dream Puffs
Makes about 2 dozen mini cream puffs
Puff recipe adapted from Eugenie, coconut pastry cream slightly adapted from Zoe

Puffs:

  • 1/2 c unsalted butter
  • 1 c water
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1-1/4 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs

Coconut Pastry Cream:
  • 1 can (13.5 oz) unsweetened coconut milk
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 Tbsp corn starch
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 c sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2-3/4 c whipping cream, whipped and sweetened with powdered sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400F. Prep baking sheets with silpats or parchment paper.

In a saucepan, combine butter, water, salt and sugar. Let the butter melt over medium heat and bring the mixture to a boil. As soon as it comes to a boil, remove from heat and add the flour all at once. Stir just until combined, and return to heat.

Mix until it forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the pan, then again remove it from the heat and pour it into a large bowl to help it cool down. Let cool for about 5 minutes until it is warm-lukewarm (you can also stir or beat it to help it cool).

Beat your eggs prior to adding, but pour them into the mixture as if you are adding one egg at a time. Mix well after each addition until completely combined.

Use a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip (or use a spoon) to pipe the paste onto your baking sheets. Give them about a 1-1/2 inch diameter. Dip your finger in water and smush down any pointy tips on your puffs.

Place in the oven (I did one baking sheet at a time just in case) and bake for 20 minutes, or until puffed up and golden brown. Do not open the oven to check on them or they might fall. Let cool completely.

For the coconut pastry cream:

In a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, combine the coconut milk, sugar, salt and vanilla.

In a bowl, mix together the yolks and corn starch.

Once your coconut mixture is hot, take a 1/2 cup and gradually add it to the egg yolks to temper them, whisking the entire time. Then add that to the hot cream. With heat on med-high, whisk for a full 3 minutes. It will turn thick and bubbly.

After the 3 minutes, melt in the butter. Remove from heat and mix in the coconut flakes.

Place the cream into a shallow bowl and let it cool on the counter for a bit. Once cooled enough, press a piece of saran wrap directly onto the surface of the cream and refrigerate for at least one hour (or freeze for  30 minutes if you are in a hurry).

Once the cream is completely cool, remove it from the fridge and gently fold in the whipped cream.

To assemble:

Use a small knife to cut a slit through the middle of each puff (I like to keep a hinge on it, rather than just cutting it completely in half). Fill with about a tablespoon of pastry cream. And done! Refrigerate if not serving right away. Dust with a bit of powdered sugar to garnish.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Double Truffles

Out of all the chocolates I made for hubby's chocolate box, these were my favorite. So I was flabbergasted when hubby bit into one and was like "umm...it's really sweet." He didn't like it. But wait for the end of the story:
We gave some away and then froze the rest, and a few days later..."Gina, I don't know what I was thinking! These are amaze-balls."
Well, more or less that's what he said.

Rating: 10/10
Why: So yummy and easy (as long as you're not making 10 million of them).




Double Truffles
Makes about 32
Adapted slightly from Sugar Hero


  • 7 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2/3 c heavy cream
  • 2 tsp honey
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 pan of your favorite box brownies, cooled
  • 1/4 - 1/2 c chocolate frosting
  • milk chocolate chips for dipping


Directions:

Pour your semi-sweet chocolate chips into a large bowl and set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine the heavy cream, honey and pinch of salt and warm it over medium-high heat. Remove from heat once bubbles start to form on the outside of the pot (don't let it boil).

Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate chips and let it sit for a minute or so until the chocolate is soft. Whisk until it's smooth and then add the butter and whisk until melted and well-combined.

Take a piece of saran wrap and press it directly onto the ganache. Refrigerate for about an hour and then start checking it every 30 minutes by pressing it to see if it is firm enough to roll into balls (I think mine actually took about 3 hours).

Prep a pan with parchment paper for your truffles and start scooping out pieces and rolling them into small balls, about 1/2 inch. Keep some cocoa powder handy to dust your hands whenever it gets sticky. Refrigerate when done.

For the brownie layer, in a large bowl, mix together the brownie and some chocolate frosting. Add just enough frosting so that the brownie sticks together and the surface looks smooth. You don't want it overly moist.

Take out your truffles and cover them in the brownie mixture, rolling the balls as smooth as you can. Refrigerate until firm, so that they are easier to dip.

Melt your milk chocolate either in the microwave or in a double boiler. If in the microwave, start by heating it for 30 seconds, then stirring smooth. If it needs more time, do it in shorter intervals, stirring each time afterwards until smooth. I like to add just a couple drops of oil for a slightly thinner, smoother coating.

Use a fork to dip the chocolate, gently shaking off excess chocolate after each time, and using a toothpick to softly slide the bottom of the truffle off of the fork. Repeat until done.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Lobster Mac 'n Cheese

Some people think that an expensive ingredient like lobster is wasted on unremarkable mac 'n cheese (ahem. Georgie).

I am not one of those people.
Enhanced comfort food is my favorite. I believe good ingredients can take a dish to the next level. This was my fav out of our V-day meal (hubby's was the this one), I loved it. But yes, the expensive lobster could be subbed out for a lot of equally delicious cheaper options.

FYI on the Gruyere cheese I bought:
At the commissary it cost a whopping $9.50.
At Walmart there were two types: an apple smoked one for about $3.50 and a standard one for $7. I had trouble choosing because I was afraid the apple smoked one wasn't "real" Gruyere (it was made in Wisconsin) lol. But then I decided there's probably no difference...and I was right. Went for the $3.50 one and it was great.

Rating: 9.5/10
Why: I didn't expect to like it as much as I did. I was afraid that the smoked flavor of the cheese I bought would come out too strong. But no, it worked perfectly and was so delish.



Lobster Mac 'n Cheese
Serves 4-6 
Adapted from my beloved Ina

  • 1/2 lb elbow macaroni
  • 2 c milk
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/4 c flour
  • 6 oz Gruyere cheese (2 cups)
  • 4 oz sharp cheddar cheese (1 cup)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 3/4 lb lobster meat, chopped into large bite-size pieces
  • 3/4 c panko bread crumbs


Directions:

Preheat oven to 400F.

Cook pasta in a large pot according to directions. Drain and toss with a bit of olive oil to keep it from clumping.

Heat milk in a small saucepan, being careful not to let it boil.
In your large pot over low heat, melt 3 Tbsp of butter and add the flour. Whisk for 2 minutes. Add the heated milk and continue whisking for ac few more minutes until it is thickened and smooth.

Remove from heat and stir in both cheeses, and the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Mix in the macaroni and lobster. Place into your dishes. (Mine filled about 4 mini pie pans.)

Melt the remaining butter and mix it with your panko crumbs. Sprinkle evenly over each dish and cook for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly. Mine were more golden brown than they look in the pictures.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Smoked Salmon & Shrimp Salad

This is a great starter. It's light, seems fancy and is so so easy. I didn't have to cook a thing because I used frozen cooked shrimp; all it required was assembling.

Hubby's Rating: 9/10
Why: He said it was his favorite dish of the night, and gobbled up both mine and his. Lucky for him I don't really like smoked salmon. 



Smoked Salmon & Shrimp Salad
2 servings
Adapted from HERE

  • 1 Tbsp Fage yogurt (or creme fraiche)
  • 1 tsp horseradish sauce
  • 4 slices smoked salmon
  • 10 large cooked shrimp, tail on
  • salt & pepper
Salad:
  • juice of one lime
  • zest of 1/4 of a lime
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp finely grated ginger
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 handfuls small leaf salad
Directions:

If you're using frozen shrimp, thaw them in a bowl of cold water for about 20-30 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt and horseradish sauce, along with a bit of salt and pepper according to your liking. 

In a separate bowl, make the lime vinaigrette by whisking together the lime juice, zest, honey and ginger. Then whisk in the oil. Toss the salad with some of the vinaigrette, just until it's flavored. Save the rest to garnish the plate.

Take out two small salad plates. To assemble, lay 2 slices of smoked salmon flat, side by side in the middle of the plate. Place 5 shrimp in a circle over top of that and drop a dollop of the cream in the middle of all the shrimp. Cover with a handful of the salad, and drizzle some remaining vinaigrette around the entire dish.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Valentine's Day Dinner for Two

For Valentine's Day I made a big list of dinner ideas and had hubby choose what sounded the best to him. This works great because I can make sure it will be something he will like, and also because if it's expensive...well, that's his fault since he picked it ;)

I loved hubby's choices. They were simple dishes that I knew I could pull off, but had just enough of a twist to allow me to do things a little out of the box.

This was the menu:

Starter: Smoked Salmon & Shrimp Salad
Entree: Porterhouse steaks with roasted Brussels sprouts
Side: Lobster Mac 'n Cheese

And no dessert because I made him a box of chocolates as his gift.

Here's a snapshot of dinner; I'm going to post the recipes over the next few days:



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