Chicken “Porridge”

Today was hangover central. We don’t normally go out much anymore but I’ve come to one conclusion: anytime there is sake involved, sobriety is over for the night.

So with hangovers comes the need to have food that you won’t projectile vomit immediately. I prefer soups and spicy foods, while many others eat greasy food. Well….we did both today. Greasy pizza at Sam’s Club, pho, and now a hot porridge.

Growing up, there were a handful of Korean dishes that I still crave today. There was kimchi fried rice, dduk-kook (rice cake soup), kimchi jjigae (kimchi stew)…I can go on for a while. But there was one dish that my mom used to make that I could eat bowls of without ever getting sick of it: chicken porridge.

Now, the reason I put quotation marks around the “porridge” in my title for this post is because I just didn’t have the energy to find short grain rice. So instead of the standard thick and sticky porridge, we ended up with a porridge that was a bit more soupy. But it was amazing, nonetheless.

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One other thing I changed was that traditionally, I have known to just put salt and pepper (to your tasting) when the porridge is ready to eat. But today, I made a simple soy sauce-sesame oil sauce that tasted AMAZING when it was mixed into the porridge.

This recipe is great for a cold winter day…although it’s not cold here in Pensacola. It was 70 degrees today and humid. The A.C. had to be turned on…I’ll stop there.

Time: 2 hours

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

Porridge:
2 cornish hens, defrosted and cleaned
1 onion, halved
1 bulb of garlic, cloves peeled and smashed
4 stalks of scallion, cut into thirds
1 big knob of ginger, peeled and cut into large chunks
1.5 cups rice, cleaned and soaked in water for about 1 hour
water

Sauce:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 stalk scallion, diced

1. Place your chickens, garlic, onion, scallions, and ginger into a large pot. Add enough water to cover the chickens. (I would say I put about 3 quarts of water)

2. Bring to a boil over high heat.

3. Once boiling, reduce the heat and allow to boil for 1 hour. Skim off any gunk on top in the mean time.

4. Remove your chickens carefully and take off all of the flesh (carefully). I discarded the skin at this point. I also removed most of the other ingredients (onions, garlic, etc.) but it is entirely up to your preference of how much you want to remove.

5. Add the rice to the pot and add in the chicken meat. Bring to a boil.

6. Allow the porridge to boil until the rice is done cooking.

7. For the sauce, combine all ingredients.

8. Serve the porridge with the sauce and enjoy! You can top off the porridge with fresh ground pepper and fresh scallions.

As for the rice, if you cannot access short grain rice, using long grain (like I did) is sufficient. But if possible, get the correct rice to achieve the nice porridge texture.

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Mung Bean Pancake

First of all, happy holidays and a happy New Year! It’s been a busy last few weeks. School went on break for the holidays and then we drove up to New Jersey. Yes, Florida to New Jersey. It was a long trek but very much worth it. We walked all over NYC, went to a Brooklyn Nets game, ate doughnuts, ate dim sum, ate prime rib roast, ate…well, we just ate. A LOT. And we brought this little brat:

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My favorite thing about going back to New Jersey is being able to eat homemade Korean food endlessly. From soups to noodles to kimchi, I just can’t get enough of it. One of my absolute favorite foods growing up was the mung bean pancake, or as we say bin dae dduk. It’s a very traditional Korean dish that you can see being sold by street vendors all over the busy parts of Seoul. Filled with vegetables and some pork, this pancake is addicting. It’s like the crack of Korean pancakes. Don’t get me wrong, the name “mung bean pancake” is not at all appealing, I know. But my husband had these for the first time this past Christmas and boy, was he excited.

But first, let me cover the basics of this recipe. I’m sure you’re used to seeing mung bean sprouts at the store but I am going to assume the actual mung bean is not something you have really ever shopped for. It’s the mung bean sprout…in seed form! I was lucky enough to find it at my local Asian market but I also have seen it in organic food stores as well. Make sure to get the ones that are split already since the most tasking part is getting as many of the green skins off of the beans as possible.

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Other than the mung beans themselves, this recipe calls for really basic ingredients. Serve it with onions in soy sauce and vinegar and you’ll be happy as a clam.

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Makes about 10-12 medium sized pancakes
Ingredients:

1-1.5 cups of split mung beans (soaked overnight in water)
1 cup mung bean sprouts, blanched and squeezed out
1/2 cup chopped kimchi (the older, the better)
1/2 cup julienned pork (I used pork loin)
4-5 stalks of green onion, julienned thinly

1. You must soak the beans overnight; this will soften the beans as well as allow the green skins to come off.
2. Once your beans have soaked, start massaging the beans to get as many of the green skins off as possible. As you do this, swish the beans around with the hand and pour out the water. The skins will float out. Continue to add water and repeat this process until you are left with mostly “peeled” beans. Set aside.
3. Blanch your bean sprouts, meaning boil them in water for about 2-3 minutes. Then, rinse them with cold water and squeegee the water out of them. Put into a large mixing bowl.
4. Rinse your kimchi with water to get rid of the pepper flakes and juices. Chop roughly.
5. Add your green onion, pork, and chopped kimchi to the large mixing bowl.
6. In a high speed blender, blend your mung beans with a bit of water. I added about 1/2 cup but essentially, you want it to be relatively fluid like a thick soup. Add water if needed.
7. Mix together the blended beans and the ingredients in the mixing bowl. (See photo above)
8. Heat up a large frying pan over medium high heat and add plenty of olive oil. (Make sure to have ample oil every time you ladle more pancake mixture in)
9. Ladle your pancake mixture and flatten the pancakes as much as possible. Cook until golden brown on both sides.
10. Enjoy with soy sauce, vinegar, and diced onion!

One of the biggest tips is to slightly undercook the pancakes, meaning just to a light golden color. I like these pancakes best when they are reheated so by undercooking the pancakes, you can fry them back up to a nice golden color to eat.

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Lasagna Bolognese

It’s Sunday! Meaning there’s only 4.5 days of work left until we drive a long ways away to the northeast for the holidays. Meaning, there’s more chances of crazy children this week. I will probably have to be institutionalized after this week of work.

Holidays means lots of gift giving. I don’t like receiving gifts as much I enjoy giving them. Is that weird? Maybe I should be institutionalized already.

I got an AMAZING cookbook from my lovely mother-in-law filled with drool worthy recipes. The pictures are the best part…I could so easily be entertained by pictures of food for hours.

Well in this cookbook, one recipe immediately stood out: lasagna bolognese. I just recently watched Anthony Bourdain in Naples, Italy, and in the episode, there was a grandmother (who stood about 3 feet tall) who made a ridiculously good looking bolognese. It was filled with veal, pork, and beef and simmered for what I believe at least 5 hours. Could you imagine?7

But one problem with today’s cooking expedition: dog problems and lack of grocery stores. The dog had her 3rd vet trip in 24 hours today so that was exhausting in itself. I was not in the mood to go hunting down for the ingredients called for in the recipe. But even if I did have the energy, I live in Pensacola. Never heard of it? I hadn’t either until a couple months before we moved here. Here, in the land of Pensacola (and as I have said numerous times before), there is nothing. By nothing, I mean it’s hard to find a lot of ingredients, such as pancetta and veal. Not kidding, it’s hard to find veal. It’s simply not in demand here in the Panhandle. And when I need Asian ingredients? Forget it. There’s one Vietnamese store that doesn’t scream “murder house” and even in there, there’s not much. One time, when we were driving down from Atlanta, I randomly decided to look up “Korean grocery” on Yelp and indeed, there was one in Montgomery, Alabama. Yes, I went Korean food shopping 3 hours away from home because it does NOT exist here.

End complaint rampage. So what I was originally attempting to say above was that I just wasn’t in the mood to go find veal and pancetta for this recipe. As I always do in cooking, improversation (google Michael Scott) is key. Or, just elimination of ingredients and still making it taste good. So I’ll be honest. I’m typing this post up as I lay in bed with the dog. If you’re a crazy dumbass like me, you’ll make the lasagna pasta sheets (see my ravioli recipes for how to make homemade pasta). It took quite a bit of work to make the pasta but I know it’ll be worth it.

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You’re going to look below and ask “What about ricotta cheese?” No ricotta cheese here. The recipe calls for a bechamel sauce, as well as whole milk in the bolognese. Strange but I’m excited. I know as Americans, we’re used to lasagna that has loads of ricotta cheese and mozzarella cheese, along with tangy spaghetti sauce but not today. Not. Today. The bechamel sauce was basically a replacement for the ricotta cheese…I think. Let’s just go with that. But man…this bolognese sauce is just to die for. Yes, it takes a while. But it’s worth it. Really worth it.

So with that, I present to you my improversised (it’s a word now) lasagna bolognese.

Time: 3-4 hours (mostly from letting the sauce simmer)

Ingredients:

Bolognese sauce

1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 red onion, diced
3-4 minced garlic cloves
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 can tomatoes, blended until smooth
1 can tomato paste
2 cups water
Fresh parmigiano reggiano
extra virgin olive oil
red pepper flakes
dash of salt, pepper, and sugar

1. In a pot, heat up the oil over medium high heat. Add the onions, celery, and carrots.

2. Allow to cook for about 5 minutes, or until the vegetables have become translucent.

3. Add garlic, ground beef, and ground pork.

4. Saute until the meat is cooked through. Add the blended tomatoes, tomato paste, red chili flakes, cheese, and water.

5. Allow to come to a boil while mixing.

6. Let simmer for 2.5 hours. Add salt, sugar, and pepper to your tasting.

Bechamel Sauce

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup whole milk
dash of nutmeg and salt

1. In a pot, melt the butter over medium high heat.

2. In a separate pot, warm up the milk.

3. Add the flour and whisk. You want to cook the flour with the butter, so lower the heat and continue to whisk for about 1 minute.

4. Add warmed milk, nutmeg, and salt. Whisk.

5. Allow this mixture to boil until thickened, about 5 minutes.

6. Set aside and allow to cool.

Lasagna Preparation

Bolognese sauce
Bechamel sauce
Shredded fresh mozzarella
Fresh lasagna sheets

1. Butter your baking dish.

2. Layer the bottom with sauce.

3. Alternating with mozzarella cheese, bechamel sauce, bolognese sauce, and fresh pasta sheets (or store bought), assemble your lasagna! Top off with bechamel sauce and bolognese.

4. Bake at 400 degrees F until bubbly.

Enjoy!

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Butternut Squash Bread

HOLY crap. This turned out amazing and this is coming from a person who is NOT a baker. I hate measuring. HATE it.

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I had a butternut squash sitting around for weeks. I personally know that these don’t go bad very quickly. In fact, I’m pretty sure this one could have sat around until the new year and it would have been fine. I was planning on using it for SOMEthing for Thanksgiving but just never got around to it…

A few days ago, my dearest husband insisted it was time to throw out the squash. I refused. Profusely. I told him that I would prove to him that the squash was perfectly fine and that I would create something wonderful out of it.

And wonderful indeed! The sweetness of the roasted squash is perfect for this bread. While researching other recipes for pumpkin breads, etc., I consistently saw the recipes call for 3 cups of sugar. Are. You. Kidding? 3 cups? For one loaf? Nope. Not happening in my kitchen. There is just no way one loaf of bread needs 3 cups of sugar. I’m not a health nut but dear god…just no.

Well, some of you are probably thinking “Well if the recipe calls for it, DO IT.” Have you noticed I’m a stubborn person by this point? The bread turned out perfectly sweet. Any sweeter, the bread would have made my teeth rot instantaneously the second I took a bite.

I topped the loaf off with pumpkin seeds and baked it for an aeon. Or what felt like an aeon. But the moisture from the squash just made the loaf incredibly perfect.

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If you have a butternut squash (or even canned pumpkin) sitting around and a nagging husband (:D), make this loaf of awesomeness!

Time: 2.5 hours (1 hour to roast squash, 1 hour for baking, .5 hour for prep)

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients:
1 butternut squash, washed and halved (comes out to about 2 cups)
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Roast your squash at 350 degrees F for about 1 hour. Place them face down (cleaned, halved, and seeds taken out) on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You will know when your squash is done roasting when the skin starts to have brown spots and the squash is soft to the touch. Once done, allow the squash to cool.

2. In a bowl, sift your flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

3. In another bowl, combine your eggs, sugar, honey, and vanilla. Mix with a whisk until combined.

4. Add your flour mixture and mix to combine.

5. Scrape the squash out of the skin and add to the mixture. *You can also blend the squash to make it smoother. I prefer the chunks of squash throughout the loaf.

6. Mix until just combined.

7. Pour into a loaf pan. Mine is nonstick so I just put parchment paper down. Otherwise, I would butter and flour the loaf pan.

8. Bake at 350 for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Enjoy!

I topped mine with pumpkin seeds, which is totally optional.

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New England Clam Chowder

Or shall I say, CHOWDA? Ugh…this is one of my favorite soups. Ever. I love the combination of seafood brine-y-ness with the cream and potatoes. It’s just…delightful.

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It also reminds me of the years I lived in California. Driving down the 1, there was a place that always sold clam chowder in a sourdough bowl. Yea, I know. This is pretty prevalent in northern California. I mean, you walk around Fisherman’s Wharf and there’s at least 15 places in sight where you can get a big bowl of soup served in a huge sourdough bread bowl. But back to that place on the 1. You drive down a scenic route alongside the huge cliffs of northern California, passing restaurants intermittently. If you’ve never driven down these cliffs, do it. The first time I ever went was when I was about 8. Ever since then, I still got the chills and blissful feeling driving down the same route year after year.

But this place was the one. I have no idea what the name of the place is. Never could remember it, even after all these years. All I know is that there was a landmark I always looked for to get to this place: smokestacks. Random, yes, but accurate? Oh yes.

The soup there was just perfect. Maybe it was nostalgia over the span of years I would visit there but god, I never felt happier visiting this place knowing I was about to consume a billion calories of soup-y goodness. The sourdough bread soaked in the goodness of the soup was my favorite part.

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This soup was pretty easy to make. I would say the only “difficult” ingredient is the clams. Luckily, I have my big ol’ seafood market here where I can get any type of seafood I need so I was able to get fresh clams. But I have read recipes where people just used canned clams so if that’s all you can get, go right ahead.

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Eat with some crackers or sourdough bread and enjoy it on a lazy, chilly Sunday!

Time: 1 hour
Makes about 6 servings

Ingredients:

1/2 pound clams (I used clam strips)
1 bottle clam juice (found by the canned tuna & sardines)
1.5 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 large potato, cubed (I always use red potatoes, they retain their shape perfectly)
1/2 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 bacon strips, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup flour
2 tablespoons butter
2 bay leaves
black pepper

1. In a large pot, cook your bacon on medium high heat.
2. Once lightly cooked, add onions and celery. Cook until onions are translucent.
3. Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.
4. Add butter,flour, and potatoes and cook for 1 minute while stirring constantly.
5. Add clam juice and bring to a boil.
6. Add milk and cream. (You can adjust here how much milk you want. I prefer my soup to be not so thick)
7. Add bay leaves and tons of black pepper.
8. Add clams and bring to a boil.
9. Let the soup simmer on low heat for about 40 minutes, or until the soup has thickened and potatoes are cooked through.
10. Serve with ground pepper and crackers. Enjoy!

*If you prefer a thicker soup, I suggest adding double the amount of flour.

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Baklava

I love this dessert. Seriously, we go way back to my childhood. I could eat endless amounts of it. In case you don’t know, it’s a Mediterranean dessert that is just to die for. It’s filled with nuts, honey, and delicate phyllo dough. The recipe calls for a lot of sugar but when you eat this dessert, it’s sweet but not overwhelmingly I-need-to-never-eat-sugar-again-I’m-going-to-die sweet.

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What’s phyllo dough, you ask? I would assume most people know what it is but all I know is this: it’s awesome. It’s the thinnest effing thing you’ll ever bake with. Essentially, the “dough” is ridiculously thin sheets used in a lot of dishes. Most commonly, it’s used for spanakopita, baklava, and a ton of other pastries.

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Yes, phyllo dough terrifies me a bit. I do not have a delicate hand. Rather, I just don’t take the proper measures to handle delicate things properly. So what I’m trying to say is, I’m surprised my baklava actually turned out normal without torn pieces of phyllo dough everywhere.

I used cashews and almonds for today’s version. Honestly, it’s because I really didn’t feel like shelling out $10 for a little bag of pistachios. In my opinion, any type of nut you like to eat can be used for this dessert.

Is it a difficult recipe? No. Is it tedious? A little bit. Only because you’ll have to brush tons of butter for every 2 microscopically thin sheets of phyllo dough. The stack of the sheets seemed like it would never go away but after about 10 minutes, I was ready to bake. But you need patience. Every time you brush the butter onto the dough, the sheets start moving. I got pretty annoyed but then again, I have no patience.

Phyllo dough is usually found in the frozen section with pie shells. Just let it thaw properly and you’ll have a great dessert in no time! Other than that, you just need some basic ingredients. Bake away!

Time: 45 minutes

Makes 1 pan of baklava (I used a 9″x 13″ glass pan)

Ingredients:
1 roll of phyllo dough (usually comes in a box with two packages; I cut my phyllo sheets in half since I used a smaller pan but if you are using a larger pan, you must use the two rolls in the package)
1 cup of nuts (of your choice. I used almonds and cashews)
1 stick of butter, melted and cooled
1.5 cups sugar
3/4 cup water
2 lemon peels
2 tablespoons honey

1. In a pot, combine water, sugar, lemon peels, and honey. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Allow to cool once sugar is dissolved.

2. When ready (with dough thawed and butter melted and cooled), coarsely process the nuts. You want the nuts to a coarse meal.

3. In your pan, brush the bottom with butter. Layer your first 2 layers of phyllo dough.

4. Repeat the process of brushing butter on the dough and adding 2 layers until you are about 1/3 through the stack of dough.

5. Sprinkle about 1/3 cup of the nuts over the layered dough. Continue layering until you have about 1/3 left of phyllo dough.

6. Add your remaining nuts and continue layering with dough and butter.

7. After your final layer of phyllo dough, brush the top with butter and with a sharp knife, create a diamond shaped pattern, cutting all the way down to the bottom of the pan. Or, cut into a rectangular pattern.

8. Stick in the oven (preheated to 350 degrees F) and bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

9. Remove from oven and pour the sugar syrup all over the pan. It will seem like a lot but it NEEDS it!

10. Allow to sit for about 2 hours before eating. Enjoy!

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Sour Cream Coffee Cake

I hate baking. But I still like to eat baked goods so there are occasional moments where I will actually bake. But do I follow recipes like I should? God no. I do try to measure properly but I don’t have time for it. Rather, I just don’t care. Measuring vanilla extract? Doesn’t exist in my book. It’s called the “That Looks Like Enough” method.

I suggest using a stand mixer for this but hand mixer will work. I’m waiting to bring my Kitchen Aid stand mixer down from New Jersey but for now, I use a hand mixer that has only 1 speed: really goddamn fast.

By the way, why do recipes call for almost 2 cups of sugar for a loaf of pound cake? Just why? I have little to no idea why a recipe that calls for less than 2 cups of flour needs almost an equivalent amount of sugar in it. Why don’t you just shove a stick of butter down my throat and inject me with sugar water? Good lord.

Anyway, end of rant. I love making this coffee cake because (1) It tastes good (2) I rarely mess it up and (3) It’s easy to make. The sour cream is key. Without it, the cake becomes dense and dry. With it, you end up with a perfectly textured piece of cake that will be devoured instantaneously. Thanksgiving is coming up and I will be feeding several hungry beings. This coffee cake is a great deterrent to keep the dudes out of the kitchen.

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Not that this is a twist, but my “twist” on this is the brown sugar, walnut, and cinnamon mixture that is layered into the cake. Most recipes I’ve seen just ask for white sugar mixed with cinnamon but I always prefer to use brown sugar when I can. It just tastes…better.

Time: 1.5 hours

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients:
1.5 cups all purpose flour
1 stick butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
3 eggs
some vanilla extract (If you need an actual measurement, I believe it was 1/4 teaspoon)
dash of salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Set aside. (Preheat your oven to 325)
2. Combine cinnamon, walnuts, and brown sugar in a bowl. Set aside.
3. Line your loaf pan with parchment paper. Or butter it and dust it with flour. That was just asking too much of me on a Sunday so I resorted to paper.
4. Mix the butter and white sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
5. Add eggs 1 at a time. Don’t overmix.
6. Add vanilla.
7. Alternate mixing in the flour mixture and sour cream to the egg and butter mixture.
8. Mix until just combined while scraping the sides down with a spatula.
9. Pour about 1/2 mixture into the loaf pan. Spread out carefully as flat and smooth as possible.
10. Take half of your brown sugar, walnut, and cinnamon mixture and sprinkle over the batter.
11. Pour the remaining batter on top and carefully flatten out again.
12. Sprinkle on the remaining brown sugar mixture and bake for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
13. Enjoy!

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Balsamic Tortellini Salad

I LOVE tortellini. I can just eat a bowl of it without anything on it. But one of my favorite ways is to make a salad out of it.

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The one greatest thing about cooking is that you can really just do whatever you want. What I mean by that is if you want to add some onions, you can add some onions. If you want more garlic, add some more garlic. You get what I mean by now, I assume. This is also the reason why I do not get along with baking.

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So the reason I say the things above is that you can add absolutely anything you want to this tortellini salad. Olives, carrots, cucumber, bell peppers…I could go on forever! It is totally up to your preferences. But all I can say is that the combination of extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and parsley with the pasta is to die for. It’s incredibly easy and super flavorful. It’ll also stay good for several days, meaning great for quick lunches.

Time: 20 minutes

1 package tortellini (I use Buitoni brand), cooked and cooled
1/4 sweet onion, diced finely
2-3 garlic cloves, smashed and roughly diced
10-12 quartered cherry tomatoes
1 handful of Italian parsley, chopped finely
1 large piece of roasted bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
dash of salt and pepper

1. Combine all ingredients except tortellini in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly.
2. Add the cooked tortellini (make sure it is cooled) and mixed thoroughly.
3. Allow to chill in the refrigerator.
4. Enjoy!

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Dad’s Hot and Sour Soup

We drank too much last night. My only known cure for a hangover is spicy food. Very spicy food.

As I was struggling to drive home from Thanksgiving shopping, I recalled my desire to make this soup. I grew up eating this for years. It’s spicy, sour, and filled with amazing textures and flavors. My favorite part is the enoki mushrooms. They’re crunchy but soft at the same time, an unfamiliar texture to most. The bamboo also has a similar texture, along with the pieces of pork throughout the soup.

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There are two ingredients that you will have to hunt down at an Asian market: chili bamboo shoots and canned bamboo shoots. You cannot make this soup without these two. Without the chili bamboo shoots, well…you’d just have a sour soup. Say bye-bye to the hot.

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It’s an incredibly easy soup to make and it’s far better than what I’ve seen sold at Chinese restaurants. If you can find these ingredients and you like spicy-ass food, try this out for sure.

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This is what happens in the background while preparing photos for this blog:

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Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

3-4 dried hot peppers
1/2 cup of julienned pork (I used pork loin)
1 cup mung bean sprouts
1/2 cup spicy pickled bamboo shoots
1 can of julienned bamboo shoots
1/2 cup julienned firm tofu
1 bunch (or half, however much you prefer) enoki mushrooms (If you can’t find these, any mushroom will do)
1 egg, mixed
3 cups water
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 1.5 teaspoon water
ground pepper
chopped scallions for serving

1. On medium high heat, heat up oil in a large pot.
2. Add pork and cook for about 30 seconds. It will finish cooking later.
3. Add dried peppers and ground pepper. I suggest breaking the peppers in half to let out the spice. I also suggest using a LOT of ground pepper, I used at least 1/2 teaspoon.
4. Add both bamboos. Stir and cook for 1 minute.
5. Add mushrooms and mung bean sprouts. Saute for 1 minute.
6. Add water and bring to a boil. Allow to boil for 10 minutes.
7. Add vinegar and tofu, as well as salt to taste.
8. Allow to boil for a few minutes and add the egg. Make sure to stir immediately after adding the egg.
9. Add the cornstarch mixture and allow to boil briefly.
10. Serve with chopped scallions and ground pepper.

Have fun enjoying the spiciness!

*Adjust the spiciness by adding more or less of the pickled bamboo

 

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Olive Bread

It’s Sunday. Meaning it’s time to be extremely lazy. Meaning it was time to make another loaf of no knead bread.

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But this time, with OLIVES.

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I love olives. All kinds. But of course, the best combination with olives is eating it with bread. For this bread, I knew I needed olives with very low liquid content, aka oil cured olives. Ugh god…so good. The saltiness but olive-flavor packed olives (is that redundant?) was perfect for this bread. And of course, you have to eat it dipped in extra virgin olive oil. I mean, how else would you eat it? With butter? Ew, no thank you.

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I won’t lie. The end result will look like a pretty loaf of bread studded with black objects that look like cockroaches crawled into the dough before baking. But with the sticky-ness and chewiness, on top of the crustiness of the bread after baking in the dutch oven, you can eat this entire loaf in one sitting. We’ve eaten at least half already and I baked it a couple hours ago…

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Time: 12-15 hours (sitting time); 30 minutes baking time; 5 minutes prep time

Ingredients:

3 cups all purpose flour
1.5 cups water
1/4 tablespoon active yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup oil cured olives, pitted and chopped (add more if you’d like, there’s no limit. If I could, I would put a whole cup…)
Extra bench flour

1. Combine all ingredients except the olives in a large bowl. Mix until all dry ingredients are combined into a shaggy dough.
2. If your mixture seems a little too dry, add some more water to get the last part of dry ingredients combined.
3. Add the olives and mix just to combine.
4. Cover and let sit overnight at least 12 hours.
5. On a floured surface, dump out the dough and form into a nice, round ball. (**DO NOT knead it! It will get rid of the lovely bubbles that make this bread amazing, just shape it gently) Place onto a sheet of parchment paper. (Not too large of a piece, you want it to mostly fit into your dutch oven)
6. Cover with a clean towel and let sit for 15 minutes.
7. After 15 minutes, uncover and cut an X into the dough. Turn on your oven with the dutch oven inside at 450 degrees F.
8. Once the oven is preheated, transfer the dough carefully with the parchment paper and cover.
9. Bake for 25 minutes.
10. Uncover and bake until golden brown.
11. Enjoy with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar!

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