Cooking at Home: Korean Style Lettuce Wraps

Sometimes, I seriously crave Korean food. When I lived there, I obviously got to eat it anytime I wanted. It was so much fun being able to go out and try new things with friends. I especially loved how communal dining in Korea was. At most restaurants, the food was cooked right at the table and you usually cooked part of not all of your meal yourself.

I’m really happy that I’ve introduced Matt to Korean cuisine because now he always wants to cook it!

Last night, we decided to make Korean style lettuce wraps. For protein, we used chicken and cooked it in a dak galbi inspired sauce. Dak galbi is a spicy stir fried chicken dish featuring flavors like gochujang, gochugaru, soy sauce, curry powder, garlic, and ginger. It definitely had a kick to it, but it was delicious! The traditional dish also includes sweet potato, carrot, cabbage, and rice cakes. (If you’re interested, there’s a recipe here.)

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Matt also makes his own kimchi (cabbage and cucumber). The cabbage kind is not my favorite, but I always enjoy the cucumber. He also made pickled Korean radish, spicy bean sprouts, sauteed mushrooms, chives, and shiso (we didn’t have Perilla leaves, which are typical in Korean cuisine). For the wraps, we used red lettuce. Matt and I had so much fun mixing and matching all the veggies in our wraps to see which flavor combinations worked the best. It was probably the most authentic Korean dinner he’s made to date.

Have you ever made Korean food at home? What’s your favorite dish?

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Tia Tries Blue Apron

Last night, I had dinner with our friends Alex and Bryan. Unfortunately, Matt had to work so he wasn’t able to join us.

Alex was excited because they recently started using Blue Apron. She told me that their first three meals were free, and with their current plan they get three meals per week. Blue Apron has a two person option as well as a family option (for four). I’ve heard good things about the meal delivery service from other friends, and I was looking forward to seeing what it was all about.

On the menu was spinach and fresh mozzarella pizza. All the ingredients were fresh and individually packaged: pizza dough, spinach, mozzarella, parmesan, ricotta salata, oregano, green pepper, shallot, tomato sauce, and red pepper flakes. Each meal comes with its own recipe card. There were even full color pictures and wine pairings. I also saw nutrition facts for each meal as well as some other literature about food.

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Alex and Bryan prepared everything together. I tried to help, but mostly ended up drinking wine (I brought over a yummy red moscato). What I thought was interesting about this recipe was that the sauce didn’t actually go on the pizza, but was instead reserved for dipping as per the directions.

When everything was ready, we sat down to eat. I think we were all pretty impressed with how the pizza came out: the dough was nice and crispy and I loved all the fresh veggies on top.

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What I liked best about my Blue Apron experience was that the recipes are ones you might not typically think to make while cooking at home. For example, Alex mentioned that she and Bryan made kale quesadillas with fried egg one night and shiitake miso burgers another. I feel like it really allows you to explore new foods. What I didn’t like was how much package waste was leftover. While it’s great that the ingredients are pre-portioned, there was a lot of plastic to throw out.

Have you ever used Blue Apron before? What are your thoughts?

*This post is not sponsored by Blue Apron.

Celebrating St. Paddy’s… with Ramen!

Happy (belated) St. Patrick’s Day everyone!

Yesterday, Matt and I planned to go out and have a nice, big Irish breakfast and some beers. Too bad when we got to the pub, there was an hour an a half wait. We moved on to Plan B, which was another pub less than ten minutes away. It was also crowded, but we got our beers and waited about 30 minutes for a table. After realizing how incredibly overpriced the menu was, we got up and left.

After a little more driving, we found ourselves at Squan Tavern in Manasquan. While they weren’t offering any St. Patrick’s Day specials, they did have some good lunch deals. We got a cheese pizza for $5 as well as a chicken parm sub (also $5, but I added fries for .99). The pizza was honestly some of the best we’ve had in the area. It was very well-seasoned with thin, crispy crust. The sandwich was good, too, but the fries were definitely not crunchy enough. I should’ve stuck with the potato chips that were originally included.

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Overall, we thought it was a good deal and would  go back again for the pizza.

For dinner, Matt wanted to get creative with some Irish-inspired ramen. His mom had been cooking corned beef and cabbage all day, so he planned on using some of the meat. He also made a shoyu broth from the juice. A few days before, he made an Irish style kimchi with cabbage, red cabbage, and scallions, and let it ferment. The ramen also included pickled mustard seeds, scallions, a caraway rye crumble, and a sweet mustard sauce. It was one of the most unique dishes he’s ever cooked for me and I really loved it!

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The rest of the night, we got to relax and watched some Twin Peaks together.

How did you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? What traditional (or non-traditional) foods did you eat?

 

 

 

Let’s Do Brunch: Matt Talks Eggs Benedict

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Matt getting excited about Eggs Benedict!

Eggs Benedict is a staple of brunch dining and, in my opinion, one of the most versatile of all egg dishes. It might even be more versatile than the omelette! The concept seems like a simple one: eggs, some sort of protein (usually a type of ham), toasted English muffins, and Hollandaise sauce. However, given these simple constructs it allows the individual cooking to get a little creative and maybe even bend some rules.

I have always had a fond interest in this saucy, buttery dish. I have actually created several variations, but today I’d like to share with you my most recent, and perhaps most succulent: Sweet Chile Shrimp Eggs Benedict.

Now, Eggs Benedict may seem like a simple, easy to prepare dish on the outside – but do not be fooled. There are a few classical French cooking techniques present in this dish that may pose a challenge to the amateur cook. The perfect example of this is the Hollandaise sauce. This gorgeous, buttery beauty is one of the 5 Mother sauces in French cuisine, and certainly the most fickle. Seeing that it is a simple combination of butter and egg yolk leaves very little margin for error. This sauce can break or curdle on you in a heartbeat, so be wary, but don’t let this discourage you!

Have you ever made Eggs Benedict before? Do you keep it classic, or get a little crazy?

Sweet Chili Shrimp Eggs Benedict

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Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 12 41/50 count raw cleaned, shelled shrimp
  • 4 (1″) thick slices of crusty Italian bread
  • 6 eggs
  • Scallions sliced lengthwise
  • Sesame seeds for garnish

Sweet Chili Sauce:

  • 2 tbsp. chili garlic sauce
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 ½ tbsp. soy sauce
  • ½ tbsp. miso paste
  • Cornstarch slurry to thicken
  • 1 tbsp. neutral oil (like vegetable oil)

Miso Sriracha Hollandaise:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 6 oz. clarified butter
  • 1 tbsp. miso paste
  • 1-2 tsp. Sriracha (to taste)

Directions:

To start, gather your eggs. You can’t have Eggs Benedict without them. In this case, they are going to be soft boiled. Classically, the eggs are to be poached, but this method is more efficient in regards to both time and energy.

Bring a pot of water to a boil and place 4 large eggs gently into the pot. Make sure not to crack the egg as it will ruin the shape and, potentially, the entire egg. Cook them at a rolling boil for 6 minutes. Then, place them in an ice bath and peel the shells off when they have cooled. Set aside in a bowl for later use.

Next, it is time to make the sweet chili sauce for the shrimp.If you are using fresh shrimp, make sure that you have them deveined and shelled. If you are using frozen shrimp, you can buy them shelled and deveined.

For the sweet chili sauce, first place a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Next, add in the oil and let it get hot. Add the chili garlic paste and stir quickly. Wait 15-20 seconds, and then add the sugar. Mix with a wooden or plastic spoon until dissolved. After the sugar and the chili paste are bubbling nicely, add the soy sauce and miso paste. Stir until the mixture bubbles again, and then add your cornstarch slurry. Only add enough to thin the sauce. Then, allow it to thicken via the cornstarch.

After the starch has come together, add the shrimp and saute them until cooked thoroughly. If your sauce gets too thick, add a little water to the pan. You want it to coat the shrimp, but not evaporate away and burn in the pan.

Now that two of the four main items are prepared, it’s time to prepare the bread. Make sure you have a fresh loaf of bread – preferably one with a thick crust, like Italian bread. The slices should be a little less than an inch thick. The bread can be toasted, but it can also be left soft and chewy in order to absorb all of the sauces.

Now for the hard part: the Hollandaise.

The first step to any Hollandaise is tempering the egg yolks. In order to do this, separate the yolks and the whites. In a small metal bowl, prepare the yolks by breaking them with a whisk. Turn on one of the burners on your stove and slowly add a little heat to the bottom of the bowl while steadily whisking. Do this until the egg turns a lighter shade of yellow. If this method seems too complicated, the same thing can be accomplished with a double boiler.

Once the yolk is tempered, slowly start whisking in all of the butter. Make sure to add the butter in parts – ideally three or four. If you add it all at once, or aren’t whisking swiftly enough, the sauce will separate.

Once you’ve succeeded in making the Hollandaise, whisk in the miso paste and Sriracha.
The only step left is to compile all of the items in the appropriate fashion. Using the bread as your base, layer the shrimp, egg, and sauce on top. Garnish with scallions and sesame seeds. Enjoy!

All About That Food

Food is a huge part of my relationship with Matt and our daily activities. We are almost always eating, cooking, watching videos about food, looking at pictures of food, or just plain thinking about the next meal we’re going to have together. It makes us really happy and we love to see others get excited about food, too.

Even when we’re not with each other, we like to share what we’re eating or, mostly in Matt’s case, cooking. Since we worked opposite schedules yesterday, we used pictures to let each other know what was on our plates.

I went to Chipotle after work and, while I love their food, I don’t usually go too often. I got a burrito bowl with barbacoa, brown rice, pinto beans, mild salsa, corn salsa, sour cream, and guacamole. It’s pretty much my standard order. It was so good! I even got to enjoy it by a sunny window seat right next to the heater (it was quite cold and windy out).

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Matt had a slow day at P.F. Chang’s, so he had some time to have fun with sushi. He ended up making a roll with spicy tuna, scallions, and shrimp tempura inside. It was topped with seared and marinated ahi tuna, avocado, eel sauce, spicy mayo, chives, and crunchies. I’m so jealous I wasn’t able to try it!

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How does food influence your everyday life? What do you find special about it? Please share with us!