Thursday, October 20, 2011

Korean Food! (attempted)

My attempt at some of my favorite Korean food!! I made tuna kimchi jiggae which was surprisingly extremely easy and tasted really yummy. And I also made a bulgogi marinade using the Asian pears I picked up at the farmers market, but marinated some shrimp with it instead of the usual beef - my own twist I guess... Yummmmm!!!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Farmer's Market Finds!

I was in Hillcrest this morning for Turbo Kickboxing - FYI out of all the 24 Hour Fitness gyms in San Diego, Hillcrest 24 Hour has THE BEST kickboxing classes. Not your typical kick boxing class with a bunch of girls that are being wimpy and are afraid to yell and one or two guys hiding in the back who can't get the moves down. The Hillcrest TKB class has a bunch of gay guys in it that are all buff and into it and can actually get the moves down (their energy really pumps you up) and everyone in the class is yelling and so in to it. I LOVE IT.

Anyways, so while I was down there I went to the Hillcrest Farmer's Market - my favorite farmers market in San Diego! When I was in school, my favorite farmer's market was the one right by UCI's campus every Saturday. Irvine farmer's market is still my favorite, but I love the Hillcrest one too.

I picked up some goodies! One of my favorite spreads: Hani's Mediterranean Salsa. I'm not sure why they call it salsa... apparently the real name for it is "Zhug" - a Yemeni chili garlic sauce. Anyways, this stuff is amazing. I bought the one that has a layer of whipped garlic & olive oil (that somehow tastes amazingly creamy) mixed in. I would drive all the way down to Hillcrest all the time JUST to get this stuff if I had to. Luckily, it lasts 3 months in the fridge so I can just stock up on my supply once in a while and not have to drive all the way down there. :)

I thought I was pretty much done shopping until, all of the sudden, 30 minutes before closing, all of the stands started going crazy with sales. I LOVE SALES!! Seriously... You have no idea what sales do to me. I pretty much go crazy. It's really bad... But anyways... at least I found some fun stuff after that!

I got all of that pineapple guava for only $1!!! And I got organic asian pears and organic pluots for a little over $2 total! Yayyyy sales! I also picked up some mojito mint (my mom loves mojitos haha) and winter savory. The mojito mint is interesting... It tastes a little less minty, less sweet, and more earthy than most mints. Winter savory is something I've never tried or even heard of before. I've heard of summer savory as being a really good herb in pretty much anything, so I figured this is probably similar, right? I haven't tasted it yet, but it smells a little bit like oregano. I'm excited to play around with this herb!

And just for fun... I LOVE all of the street art in Hillcrest. This was just one of the many painted electrical boxes I walked by:


I went to the Ocean Beach Oktoberfest last weekend. The Oktoberfest celebration itself wasn't that great... but, as always, eating and drinking down in Ocean Beach is always fun.

It seemed like most of the restaurants/bars down Newport Ave all had their own little Oktoberfest specials. Newport Pizza & Ale House had specials on steins of beer.

Anyways, the giant beers reminded me of my travels in Europe last year with one of my best friends. We got a chance to go to the last weekend of the 200th anniversary of the real Oktoberfest in Munich. Apparently, both days we were there the beer-"tent" we were in had 10,000 people in it each day.

October 2010 @ the Hofbräuhaus tent @ Oktoberfest in Munich

SO... getting on to my point... then giant beers at Oktoberfest reminded me of all the delicious food we had at Oktoberfest (and Germany in general). We were only in Germany for about 3.5 days (1 day/1 night in Hamburg and 2.5 days/2 nights in Munich). Since we were traveling on a budget and didn't have too much time there, most of our meals consisted of pretzels, sausages, and pastries - all of which were still amazing, by the way. The only actual sit down hearty meal we had was at Oktoberfest and I have a craving to re-create all of it!

Half a chicken and Pork

Some German girls that we met there recommended we try these if we're looking for a traditional style meal. Both were amazing - meat falling off the bone, crispy skin, juicy, and delicious. I thought the most interesting was that little potato ball on the right. It was like mashed potatoes, but shaped in a ball that kind of all stuck together and had this chewier sort of texture. I found some recipes for it, so sometime soon (hopefully before October ends, so it can be my own mini-Oktoberfest celebration) I'm planning to attempt to make a meal of that potato ball, some roast chicken, and of course some sausages and homemade pretzels. Oh yeah... and beer.

Enjoying our meal! Btw... I just realized I shouldn't have called this a sit-down meal because no one was ever sitting down... Everyone was standing on the benches, stomping on the chairs, singing, and drinking.

Bought some dirndls (the dresses) for Day 2!

And just for fun... videos of Hofbräuhaus

Look out soon for my Oktoberfest meal re-created! :)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Asian Salad Dressing

So I have this Asian style salad that I ALWAYS make. It's pretty much my favorite salad ever - I throw it together all the time. And I always get requests by friends and family members to make it. I make the dressing from scratch, but I've never written down a recipe for it until a few days ago. I'm not really a recipe type of person - I usually just go by what feels right and tasting as I go. But at least now that I have  finally written down the recipe, I can make my favorite salad dressing taste exactly the same every time!!!! This probably isn't something that I should be that excited about.... but honestly this is an awesome dressing. It deserves some excitement.

I love this dressing because it is a great blend of pretty much all great flavors: savory, sweet, sour, salty, and spicy. I usually make it in a salad with whatever veggies I have on hand (carrots, cucumbers, celery, bell peppers, etc..) and load up the salad with A LOT of sliced green onions and cilantro - I seriously think this is what makes this salad so good. If I have some leftover chicken, I'll throw that in too - especially when the chicken had marinated in a little soy sauce and garlic or one of my fav marinades, Trader Joe's Island Soyaki. Then sprinkle the whole thing with sesame seeds and some of the dressing. Yummm!

See??!?! Doesn't this look like an awesome salad? Too bad I forgot to take a picture of it all mixed up - it looked even better... Now on to the dressing recipe:

Asian Salad Dressing:

- zest of 1 orange
- 4 cloves garlic, grated
- 1 inch knob of ginger, grated
- big pinch of red pepper flakes
- 2 tbsp Miso paste
- 5 tbsp soy sauce
- 6 tbsp rice vinegar
- 5 tbsp mirin
- juice squeezed form half an orange
- 8 tbsp sesame oil
- 8 tbsp canola oil


1. Zest/grate first 3 ingredients into a 16 oz jar with a lid.
All the yummy grated goodies

2. Throw all of the other ingredients into the jar with the orange zest, garlic, and ginger. I ran out of red pepper flakes when I made this, so I substituted with Shichimi Togarashi (Japanese red pepper and spice blend). It was still good with Shichimi Togarashi, but I think I prefer the spicy bite that the bigger chunks or red pepper flakes add.
All of the other ingredients... 

3. Close the lid and shake up the jar!!! Its best to let it sit in the refrigerator overnight so the orange, garlic, and ginger flavors are pulled out into the liquids, but if you're short on time an hour will be ok.
Yummm!! It doesn't look very pretty, but I promise it tastes really good!

4. Drizzle over a salad then EAT! Of course, the most important step :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Awesome Sandwich

Double Decker from Board & Brew! My favorite sandwich there has always been the Turkado (sourdough, lots of turkey, jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, and a ridiculously thick layer of avocado) until I discovered this sandwich today!!! Pretty much the same as the Turkado but with swiss and cheddar instead of the jack cheese, an extra slice of sourdough, and BACON. And you can't forget Board & Brew's special sweet and sour sauce!! Yummmm!!