Saturday, June 30, 2012

Hot Air Balloon Pop-Up Card

Last week, Brenda handed me Playful Pop-Up Cards, by Takami Suzuki. It was perfect timing because I was planning on making a card for my cousin Mary's baby shower. In the past, I've always tried to make cards when possible. Finding the time to do so became problematic over the years. So about two years ago, I vowed not to let work interfere with my interests. This week, I set aside a few hours to make this hot air balloon card.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Smartphone Sweaters (for sale)

One upside to my long commute is that it provides plenty of time to knit. Because of Rick's enthusiasm for my smartphone sweaters, I've been diligently working on these since April. They're for sale on Copious, along with some clothes from our closet.

Dutch Baby with Lemon Sugar

Epicurious, from which this recipe hails, describes a Dutch Baby as a cross between a pancake and a popover. If you heart crêpes, French toast, and Yorkshire pudding like myself, then you'll want to make this for breakfast or dessert.

After attempting several recipes with fillings, I settled on this one because of the lemon sugar. I used to sprinkle granulated sugar on my French toast as a kid instead of drizzling syrup. And, you already know about my obsession with lemons. So, understandably, this is my favorite recipe. By the way, you also have to like butter, but who doesn't?!

As always, recipe is after the jump. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Broccoli Rabe and Sausage Pasta

When K called me earlier asking what we should have for dinner, I suggested broccoli pasta. Not only is it quick, it's also one of my favorite pasta dishes, especially K's version. He has perfected it over the years and tonight's topped all the others. I highly recommend using strozzapreti instead of the traditional orecchiette. It may just be me, but I think you get more pasta per bite :)

Please read on for the recipe. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Coconut Cream Pie

My first slice of coconut cream pie was in a small town restaurant in Missouri over twenty years ago. I don't remember anything we ate from that trip except that pie. Still, it wasn't until about five years ago when I started craving cream pies. Suddenly, I couldn't get enough of it. Still can't.

It may not look like much, but I swear it tastes really good. How can you go wrong with custard, whipped cream, and toasted coconut flakes? To ensure that it tastes extra coconutty, I added some coconut milk to this Old Fashioned Coconut Cream Pie recipe from All Recipes. I also favor graham cracker crusts over traditional pie shells for cream pies. Click on the link below to see these tweaks.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

You can't tell from this picture, but this is a strawberry rhubarb pie by another friend named Lauren. After hearing how amazing her pies are, we were elated when she was pressured to make one for last weekend's barbeque. Being that it is June and strawberries are in season, she settled on this pie. She did not disappoint. The pie crust was truly buttery and flaky, like the recipe claims, and the filling reminded me of strawberry jam. It was the perfect dessert to celebrate summer. 

Now that I have the recipe from Smitten Kitchen, I'll have to take a stab at baking a real pie one day. Deb, the author of the blog, also provides step-by-step instructions on how to make the dough. To copy it here would not make any sense as it is super detailed and lengthy. Just reading it gave me some confidence to attempt a pie in the near future.

Lemon Sour Cream Pound Cake

Linda's Lemon Sour Cream Pound Cake looks unassuming, but is full of lemony sweetness. The use of confectioner's sugar instead of granulated sugar not only made the pound cake look elegant, but also resulted in a transparent layer of icing. Since the icing is made with lemon juice and lemon zest, it is super citrusy and tart. For a girl who loves lemons, this isn't a problem.

Read on to see what else Linda did to improve Oprah magazine's recipe.

Hot Dog with Guacamole, Chopped Onions, & Sriracha Sauce

I'll admit that I was the first one to turn down these hot dogs. But, that was before I learned that they would be topped with guacamole, chopped onions, and Sriracha. There are some foods I simply can't resist. Guacamole and Sriracha are two of them. They just make everything taste better.

My friend Glara was inspired to make these delectable hot dogs from an issue of Real Simple. Unfortunately, the recipe is not on their website. In its place, here is the guacamole recipe that pulled it together, courtesy of Rick. The secret ingredient is mayonnaise.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Chili-Lime Broth with Udon and Bok Choy

K surprised me again by making this Thai-style chili-lime broth with udon and bok choy tonight. Given that it reached a 100 degrees today, I didn't expect him to cook at all. But, this is the kind of dish we crave on a sweltering day. It's similar to Vietnamese pho. Though, the chilies, cilantro, and lime hint at Thai. We realize that udon isn't the first choice for this type of broth, but we had it on hand and prefer thick noodles. As for the bok choy, it's our go-to vegetable for noodle soups. You'll notice that we tend to mix Japanese, Korean, and Chinese ingredients whenever we make anything Asian.

The chili-lime broth recipe was originally published in Sunset magazine, but is available for everyone on My Recipes. I've copied the recipe here and inserted K's changes. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Stuffed Artichokes

I love any kind of stuffed vegetable — mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers, etc. I particularly enjoy stuffed artichokes because you get to savor them as you eat each leaf, layer by layer. Okay, maybe it's just a vehicle to the breadcrumbs and broth. Anyway, knowing my love for sauces, K whipped up some extra lemon butter broth in addition to Saveur magazine's recipe. You may find both recipes after the jump.

Moroccan Chicken with Lemon and Olives

After my friend Heather mentioned that she made a Moroccan chicken dish, I considered doing the same and stumbled upon this Moroccan Chicken with Lemon and Olives recipe from Simply Recipes with preserved lemons. Of all the different cuisines we eat, Moroccan is the least familiar, so we weren't acquainted with preserved lemons. It intrigued me because...

a) I love lemons. To prove it, I voluntarily entered myself into a lemon eating contest in sixth grade and tied for second place. There were only three contestants, but we were a close second!
b) I love pickled foods. It's one of the few Korean traits I exhibit.

In my enthusiasm, I failed to realize that it takes up to 3 WEEKS to preserve lemons. Normally, K prepares the foods that require time as I like instant gratification. However, I surprised myself by waiting patiently for the lemon rind to soften. It was definitely worth the wait. I was so excited to make it again, that we had it a couple of months later for my birthday.

Recipe is after the jump. The only thing that I did differently is exclude the raisins. We're just not huge fans of dried fruit. This may be why we don't have Moroccan too often... Also, you may find instructions on How to Make Preserved Lemons at Simply Recipes.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tatsuta-age (Japanese Fried Chicken) Sandwich with French Potato Salad

Just realized that K made the tatsuta-age into a sandwich once. He just cut the chicken into larger chunks and topped it with shredded cabbage and Japanese mayo. This is for those who prefer meat (especially fried chicken) in between bread, like our friend Laura.

Recipe for the French Potato Salad with Dijon Mustard and Fines Herbes was found on meals matter, but originated from Cook's Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen. As always, you may find the recipe here after the jump.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tatsuta-age (Japanese Fried Chicken Nuggets)

Earlier today, I was pondering what to post tonight and thought K's tatsuta age (or Japanese fried chicken nuggets) would be a perfect transition from our last meal on paper and plates. Since it was laundry night (aka take-out night), I didn't mention it to him. So, you can imagine my surprise when I came home to a huge batch of tatsuta-age. Clearly, great minds think alike!

Anyway, we ate it with rice and a simple salad. It's good on its own too. Follow K's recipe after the jump.  

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Japanese Mushrooms with Soy Sauce and Butter

To accompany the 'Japanese' noodles, we had K's Japanese mushrooms with soy sauce and butter. As you already know by now, mushrooms go really well with soy sauce and butter. He's made this before with just enoki mushrooms, but tonight, we added the shimeji mushrooms just because they were available at the market. You can use any variety of mushrooms. 

It's really simple, as you can see in K's recipe after the jump.

‘Japanese’ Cold Noodles with Yuzu

Today, K requested my cold noodles with yuzu. It's based on bibim guksu, a Korean spicy cold noodle dish, that I usually make for myself when I want something quick and light. (That recipe will eventually appear here. I often make it in the morning when K's asleep, so no photo op :(

This 'Japanese' version was created when I was trying to make use of the yuzu kosho that K's sister brought from Japan. Yuzu kosho is a paste made from yuzu peel, chili peppers, and salt. I figured the the flavors—citrusy, spicy, and salty—would complement the sesame oil, thin wheat flour noodles, and lettuce. Aside from the spicy sauce, these are the main components of bibim guksu.

The result is what you see above. See the recipe after the jump.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Soy Sauce Butter Pasta with King Oyster Mushrooms

Several years ago, K and I had lunch at a small noodle shop in Tokyo, where they only serve various kinds of spaghetti dishes. They ranged from spaghetti bolognese to soy sauce butter pasta. I opted for the latter since it's uncommon in the States. Combining soy sauce and butter wasn't new to me, as I had many servings of rice, soy sauce, butter, and eggs growing up. I just never had it with spaghetti and seaweed. Anyway, I was blown away by this simple dish, so K figured out how to recreate it when we returned home. Because K felt his way through it, he doesn't have exact measurements. As long as you find the right balance of ingredients for you, that's all that matters.

Recipe is after the jump. This one's for you, Josh!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Firecracker Beef on Rice Noodle Salad

Tonight, K prepared this Firecracker Beef on Rice Noodle Salad, which we tend to have only in the spring/summer. It's an Asian-inspired dish found on the Chinese food page of (surprise). Regardless of its authenticity, it's really good and one of my faves. 

As the name suggests, it's spicy! Note, do not (or at least try not) to inhale when searing the beef. We quickly learned that the chili pepper fills the air so you may find yourself coughing uncontrollably. Don't worry, it's worth the mild irritation.

You may find the recipe on, but it's a transcript for the video demonstration by Chef John Mitzewich. I don't know about you, but recipes in paragraphs are difficult for me to follow. So, click on the Read more link below to see it in outline form and see the improvements K made.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Curried Red Lentil and Swiss Chard Stew with Garbanzo Beans

Craving something warm and healthy for what I thought would be a chilly, grey day, I decided on this Curried Red Lentil and Swiss Chard Stew with Garbanzo Beans recipe from the Bon Appétit Fast Easy Fresh cookbook (also available on As I was making it, the stew seemed a bit weak for my taste buds, so I added a cube of Rapunzel Vegan Vegetable Bouillon with Sea Salt and extra curry powder. Depending on which vegetable broth you use, this may be unnecessary. I used a homemade vegetable broth made a month ago using leftover vegetables, which wasn't the best. Still, it came out pretty good and went well with couscous. Next time, I will definitely add more onions, use really good broth, and add lots of curry powder again.

As always, recipe is after the jump.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Chilled Avocado Soup

Another chilled soup to try is Martha Stewart's Chilled Avocado Soup. We made this last summer on one of those nights when you just want something cold and satisfying. This is super quick and easy, not to mention best eaten immediately, as avocado turns quickly.

Recipe is after the jump.

Creamy Gazpacho Andaluz

Turning toward savory foods now... With the weather warming up, K made a creamy gazpacho the other night. This is the best gazpacho I've ever tasted. Seriously. I had it everywhere in Barcelona and none of them compare to K's. Granted, I may not have sampled the cream of the crop, but I can't imagine one better than this.

The recipe was found on JS Online, but seems to have originated from Cook's Illustrated. You can save yourself a trip by clicking on the Read more link below for the recipe.