tteok rice cakes

I’m so excited, Santa gave me a Lowell Ego Light Set for Christmas!! Now I can finally take good pictures at night, since that’s the only time I have to take my food photos. I’m definitely jealous of food bloggers who have time to cook and photograph during the day!

tteok rice cakes

Unfortunately, Nate will be in California for most of January looking for a full-time job, and he said he’s taking his camera with him. I’ll be left with my crappy point-and-shoot, which I honestly have no idea where it is. But at least the lights might help a bit? I’m so mad because my parents got me a new lens for chanukah and it’s great for food photos!!! Maybe I can convince Nate to leave his camera with me for safe keeping ;)

Anyway, I got the opportunity to use my new lights last weekend when I invited a friend over for dinner! The lights + my new lens were as amazing a team as I’d imagined.

tteok rice cakes

I’m not sure if you’re familar with these korean rice cakes (tteok/dduk). They’re not the puffed rice cakes you’re probably thinking of that we eat in america. Instead, tteok are made of glutinous rice flour and when cooked, they become chewy and delicious. They come in many shapes this particular type is sliced into little flat disks.

IMG_7203

I had only had them before in korean soups, where they act kind of like noodles or dumplings. Recently, however, I came across this recipe in which they’re stir-fried and they become slightly puffy and crispy on the outside, and I was intrigued! *You can find them in the freezer section of your local asian grocery store.

tteok rice cakes

I don’t think this dish is authentically from any asian cuisine in particular- more of a mix of korean and chinese. It was super quick to make and really delicious! I added some mushrooms to bulk it up a bit more in the veggie department.

tteok rice cakes

Stir-fried Spicy Rice Cakes with Pork and Mushrooms

Slightly adapted from Cooking LIght

Print this recipe!

Serves 4

2 tablespoons dark sesame oil, divided
4 cups sliced rice cakes (rice ovalettes), divided
1 bunch green onions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
12 ounces lean ground pork
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 cups no-salt-added chicken stock (such as Swanson)
3 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon sambal oelek (ground fresh chile paste)
4 lime wedges

Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add 2 cups rice cakes, separating the stuck-together ones as best as you can (otherwise they won’t cook as well); stir-fry 3 minutes or until blistered, turning to brown on both sides. Remove rice cakes from pan; place in a large bowl. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil; swirl to coat. Add remaining 2 cups rice cakes; stir-fry 2 minutes. Add green onions to pan, and stir-fry for 1 minute or until rice cakes are blistered, turning to brown on both sides. Remove rice cake mixture from pan; add to cooked rice cakes.

Add pork to pan; sauté for 2 minutes, stirring to crumble. Add mushrooms and saute 2 more min or until brown.

Stir in chopped onion, and salt; sauté 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in cornstarch. Gradually add stock; bring to a boil. Stir in soy sauce and sambal; cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Divide rice cake mixture evenly among 4 shallow bowls; top each serving with 3/4 cup pork mixture. Serve with lime wedges.

…or take three, or four, as the case may be.

As I said in my last post, I had the pleasure of catering lunch for Nate’s short film shooting last weekend. With a lot of hard work, he and his crew managed to finish up shooting all the scenes they needed in two jam-packed days. These guys definitely worked up an appetite during all the takes they had to do of each scene!

Hoisin Chicken

I couldn’t believe all the hard work that goes into making a film. This one is only going to be 10 min, so I can’t even imagine what it must be like to make a feature length film. For each scene they had to completely rearrange all the lighting and camera equipment to get everything just right.

This would be hard to begin with, but in Nate’s miniscule apartment, it made it all the more difficult. Four guys (plus me) were stuffed into a room that’s not much bigger than a walk-in closet. Needless to say with all the moving around and getting stuff done, these guys got hungry and my lunches were a hit! Although, I’d imagine they probably would have eaten anything.

Curried Chicken Salad: Source

The rest of day 1 included a recipe for Grilled Hoisin Chicken Skewers from Bon Appetit that I reworked for indoor use, since I don’t have a grill. It worked out pretty nicely. The second recipe is one of my absolute favorites for making use of leftover chicken. It’s a healthier and refreshing version of chicken salad that I served on big hoagie rolls. I didn’t have time to take a pic of that one, so I borrowed it from Cooking Light’s website.


Hoisin Broiled Chicken

Adapted from Bon Appetit

Print this recipe!

serves 4-5

3/4 cup hoisin sauce
3 Tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
3 Tbsp sesame oil
3 Tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar (or cider vinegar)
1.5-1.75 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch strips
3 Tbsp sesame seeds

Whisk first 4 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Place 6 Tbsp sauce in small bowl for glaze.

Mix chicken into remaining sauce; let stand 10 min.While chicken is marinating, turn on broiler.

Put broiler pan or cooling racks over a sheet pan. Spread out chicken pieces on rack, about 1/2 inch apart. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

Broil chicken until cooked throught and slightly charred, brushing with glaze and turning oftten, about 8 min. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

(Leftovers are delicious cold or room temp)


Curried Chicken Salad

Recipe from Cooking Light

Print this recipe!

serves 2

1 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast (about 8 oz.)
1/2 cup halved grapes
1/2 cup diced apple
2 Tbsp diced pineapple
1 Tbsp dried currants
3 Tbsp light mayo
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp lemon juince
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp sliced almonds, toasted (optional)

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl.

Combine mayo thru pepper and pour over chicken mixture.

Toss gently, springly with almonds. Cover and chill

This past weekend I helped Nate out. Technically, I guess I was employed by him (he didn’t pay me for my services, but I’m just nice like that). You see, Nate went to NYU film school and has aspirations of being a writer/producer in film or tv. His jobs haven’t really given him the opportunity to do any writing, so to keep his creative juices flowing and build up a “reel” (as they call it in the entertainment world) he has been writing some short films just for fun. This weekend he has actually gathered some friends in the same industry into a crew to shoot this short- it included a camera guy, assistant camera guy, sound guy, Nate and me.

Nate was both the director and the actor…such a talented boyfriend I have! I told Nate he should do acting more often because he’s so funny…he makes the best faces and is so good at keep a straight face and not cracking up when he says something funny. I’m hopeless at that. He just has to give me one look and I burst into laughter.

I’m so excited because I got to be the person who slams the thing together (which Nate has told me is called a slate) and yells “take 3!”

But in addition, I was given the more important task of catering lunch for his crew. Since I was working on the set both of those days and had to make it ahead of time, it couldn’t be anything too fancy, but at the same time I didn’t want it to be ordinary.

I pulled out a few of my fave recipes for portability and came up with a menu for the two days of lunch I needed to provide. Day 1′s menu included our family favorite recipe for Chilled Chinese Noodles, a yummy Hoisin Chicken, and some fresh fruit salad with mint and lime. For dessert I made the secret recipe that I can’t give out yet because I’m entering it in the Pillsbury Bakeoff next week. This was my fifth batch and after much tweaking I think I finally have a winner…well let’s hope! Day 2 will recycle the chicken into one of my all-time favorites- Curried Chicken Salad, which i usually make low fat, along with hoagie rolls, leftover fruit and dessert. No crazy complex recipes, but definitely enough to satisfy some hungry men.

After watching these guys shoot for two days, I have a much greater appreciation for all that goes into film making. I could never be in that business though, because honestly, I lack the patience. Having to shoot the same scene 4 times is tedious. But I’m totally pysched to see the finished product :)

Below is the recipe for the Chilled Chinese Noodles that is, in my opinion, the best of the bunch. They’re all delicious though, or I wouldn’t put them on the blog. The rest of the recipes will be posted over the next week, so…

“Cut!”


Chilled Chinese Noodles

I have no idea where this recipe came from, but my mom’s been making it forever!

Print this recipe!

serves 8-10 hungry people, as a side dish

1 lb. angel hair pasta, cooked and drained
1/3-1/2 cup peanut oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 scallions, whites & green separated, chopped fine
1/2 cup soy sauce
4 Tbsp cider vinegar
2 Tbsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp pepper
4 cups mung bean sprouts (you can leave them out if you can’t find them, or add something similar)

Drizzle noodles with 2 Tbsp peanut oil, toss well.

In skillet, heat 6 Tbsp. peanut oil. Add garlic & whites of scallions. Stir on high 1 min. Remove from heat.

Stir in soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, pepper. Pour over noodles. Stir in sprouts and greens of s callions.

Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hrs.

 

Sunrise Mart at sunset, that is! Sunrise Mart is a japanese supermarket near Union Square that I discovered last year in my quest to find asian grocers in nyc.

I love asian supermarkets. I believe this penchant for exotic/unusual and, more specifically, asian groceries developed back when I was in my asian dating phase. Yep, you heard right…I exclusively dated asian men, better known as yellow fever (now, luckily for Nate, I have beardo fever!). Now don’t go asking me why I had this particular condition, because even I’m not sure of the exact catalyst for this phenomenon encompassing the majority of my adult life, but what I derived from these experiences was a love for asian food…both eating it and making it.

With each relationship, I taught myself to cook the food from the country of origin of the guy I was dating. It was mainly Vietnamese and Korean, but I consider Korean my specialty. In addition, I even learned to speak, read, and write Korean. I wish I had practiced enough to be really fluent, but as with most hobbies that came with guys I dated (paintball and motorcycles to name a couple), the korean classes, along with my desire to study, ceased when the relationship ended. But at least I can read the signs and menus in New York’s K-town ;)


I’m not sure if you’re at all familiar with Korean food, but they have these little side dishes that come to your table when you sit down, called panchan. They are DELCIOUS. They usually involve pickled veggies, or sauteed ones, or a korean version of potato salad, or these yummy black beans, and lots of other things. All korean grocery stores sell them, and this Sunrise Mart happens to sell them too, along with some other Korean items.

Prepared food case at Sunrise Mart

The point of all of this background information (yes, I realize I’m very wordy!) is that i was seriously craving some panchan yesterday. So I decided that I would go to the store and buy some, and then make some asian-inspired dinner to go along with it. I wasn’t sure what I would make but knew it would involve broiling fish and roasting veggies with some sort of asian glaze.

When I got to Sunrise Mart, I went over to the veggie area and selected some Japanese eggplant, along with what I thought was a very large sweet potato, although the label said Satsumaimo. This didn’t deter me because I knew that if it wasn’t a sweet potato, it was some other root veggie that could most likely be cooked similarly. I also picked up some white fish fillets also with a name I didn’t recognize, but it looked vaguely like Tilapia. (I looked up Satsumaimo when I got home and found out that it’s a japanese sweet potato with a milder flavor, softer flesh, and a lighter yellow coloring than an American sweet potato).

Satsumaimo, or japanese sweet potato

Source

I wandered around the store further ( I could literally spend hours in an asian grocery store picking up and investigating every item) and came across a case of Miso paste. I’ve been wanting to buy miso for the longest time, so I took some of that and figured I could incorporate it into my glaze.

Tasty taters!

I walked home excitedly, with my purchases in hand and immediately scoured the internet for recipes for Miso glazes. After getting the feel for what went into a basic miso glaze, I created my own and discovered one of the easiest, most delicious dinners I’ve ever made! I’ll definitely be looking for that Satsumaimo again…both Nate and I agreed that it tasted like candy. While this dinner had more obscure ingredients,  you can substitute most everything for the American versions, but you will definitely need Miso paste.

Mah-is-geh deuseyo! (Bon appetit in Korean ;) )

 

Miso Glazed Fish and veggies

Recipe by Me

2 Tbsp Miso paste (i used yellow but i don’t think it matters)
2 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar (you can find in any grocery store)
1 Tbsp sake, vermouth, or dry white wine
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp orange juice
1 Tbsp sesame oil

1 lb white fish fillets (Tilapia works well)
Assorted roasting veggies (i used 2 japanese eggplant and about 3/4 lb sweet potato), chopped into large cubes
1 Tbsp olive oil

Toss vegetables with olive oil. Spread on baking sheet and roast in oven at 450 for 30-40 minutes or until tender, but not too brown.

When veggies are cooked, remove from oven and brush glaze on top.

Broil veggies until glaze is caramelized and browning. Remove from oven.

Spread enough glaze on fish fillets to cover. Broil until fish flakes easily and top is golden. Brush additional glaze on fish and veggies if desired.