Category: Fish

Kimchi Chigae (김치찌개)

In the last few months, I felt (yet again) suspended in limbo. In so many ways, this year feels like a first. The first year I can’t use being a full-time student as an excuse to eschew finding a steady and stable full-time job. The first year I realize the true effort it takes to keep in touch with even the best of friends, whose lives also happen to be unfolding unexpectedly before them. The first year I see life the way I do now. It feels strange and surreal to remind myself that I am a college graduate, an adult.
Once in a while, I sift through old pictures and catch snapshots of my past, finding myself at a loss for words. I remember those blunt bangs and the plaid uniform I wore at my private school in California. I remember my strawberry-blonde best friend, her freckles an object of my greatest envy. I remember my sun-kissed skin from blackberry-picking with my Guatemalan nanny, Adela. I remember ferry rides to Granville Island and goose-chasing at Stanley Park with my sister in Canada. I could never forget the fluorescent lights of Seoul and the way my heart would beat in the city. I remember my first failed experiments with make-up and fashion, high school crushes and cliques. Flip forward a few pages and I vividly recall my high school graduation, all the flower leis, and my first official cap and gown. Then I remember Seattle and the courtyard of cherry blossoms on campus. It baffles me that now, I’m looking at freshly-printed photos of my friends and I in forest green caps and gowns against azure Hawaiian skies, proudly displaying our post-college diplomas – our tickets into the real world. To think, I’ve journeyed this far.

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The Pig and the Lady

Sometimes, a hiatus is in order.
Life can be much too hectic at times, even for your average 22-year old, college student who loves to bake, cook, and write. The truth is, everyone needs a break, even when it means peeling yourself away from the things you love to do.
These last few months have been both immensely taxing and astonishing to me. I caught a most severe case of Senioritis leading into my first month of my last semester as an undergrad student. Classes were ditched, assignments missed, and I played hooky left and right to no end (until now, that is). Meanwhile, I found love in an unfamiliarly familiar, irrationally justified, and imperfectly perfect person.  And like all other great loves in life, it was completely unexpected. More untimely and unexpected is the fact that I am currently in job-limbo after having made a bold (and admittedly a little impetuous) decision to leave my precious hostessing job at a restaurant that I have come to cherish as my home over the last 3 years. With all that said and done, a hiatus was and still is undoubtedly in order so that I may refresh, venture forth, and excel in the perpetually uncharted future.
And though my future (post-hiatus) may not be as discernible (nor brilliant, dare I say) as that of The Pig and the Lady’s, I still find myself extremely lucky to have experienced this pop-up restaurant phenomenon prior to their break and my own.

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Furikake Crusted Mahi Mahi

This post is going to be relatively short, ending with a recipe for a dish that I did not create myself. Actually, the idea was originally mine, but as soon as I mentioned my intentions to create the dish, Pat was on it. What about my intellectual property rights?! Little did I know that Pat was, in reality, a vicious maelstrom of sorts out to suck up each and every one of my culinary ideas! Well, not really. This is actually not even an original idea of mine, it is a common way to prepare fish here in Hawaii. It was just the first time that I had wanted to re-create the dish at home (and apparently, the first time the idea had ever even crossed Pat’s scheming mega-mind!). Furikake is a Japanese dry condiment that is typically sprinkled upon rice to add flavor and texture. Though there are many variations, furikake usually consists of chopped nori (dried seaweed), sesame seeds, bonito (dried fish) flakes, sugar, salt, and yes, MSG (monosodium glutamate – the infamous flavor enhancer and preservative). Considering the fact that Hawaii is so geographically close to and culturally influenced by Japan, it is only natural that what we deem “local” in terms of food and its preparation heavily integrates various aspects of Japanese Cuisine.

As most of you are all aware, a couple days ago (on March 11), a tragic earthquake and tsunami hit Japan and destroyed Sendai as well as many other areas. Many were injured, killed, and are still missing. Everyone in Hawaii has been affected by this natural disaster, be it due to the constant sirens of tsunami warnings or the countless number of family and friends that live in or are inextricably tied to Japan. Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers go out to Japan in this time of great need.
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Miso Saba

Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time, not so long ago (as in, two weeks ago to be more exact), I promised to bring you cookies. The events that occurred thereafter are to blame for my failure to deliver those seriously terrific cookies, which will lamentably have to wait. I went to Dallas, Texas over the winter holidays, for no other reason than the fact that Pat’s immediate family lives there. While the trip was actually more animated and entertaining than imagined, there was one particular event that detained me from coming home to my kitchen to cook and photograph all that I love for the world to see. Obviously, of course, amongst a heap of other things.

Ever watch that movie The Terminal? The one with Tom Hanks? Well, I was Tom Hanks and this was not a movie. After irresponsibly missing our flight home, we were put on standby for what felt like an eternity. Seriously, our flight was supposed to leave on the 28th and we then proceeded to “live” in the airport until late New Year’s Day. Well, not quite “live,” – seeing as we did have the luxury of being picked up late at night to sleep at Pat’s parents’ house after an entire disappointing day of waiting hopefully for any flight out of there – but spend 9-hours a day for four grueling days. Pat’s mom even packed us amazing banh mi sandwiches every morning, which I joked that we needed to ration in case we decide to trade sandwiches for burgers or drinks with our new temporarily permanent neighbor, Burger King. At that point, I was only half kidding. Anyway, we made it home (albeit with arduous efforts) to bring in the New Year with renewed resolutions and better recipes, this being the indisputable “happily ever after.” Continue reading

The Real Meal.

Anyone else in dire need of a truly wholesome meal? Both my hands are up with outstretched arms. See this white flag? Yup, I finally surrender. The gig is up, sugar, we were in it for the long haul, but it’s over and done. Finito. I’m abjuring the tempting evils of my beloved dulcet treats. Okay, fine, I was being a tad melodramatic. I’m not officially nor indefinitely forgoing sugary substances, but most definitely for the time being (as in, the next few days or so). Especially since the past several days have been admittedly anything but sweet – from multiple canker sores and an excruciatingly sore throat to fever outbreaks and unbearable body aches. I know, I realize nothing about this description of my sickly physical state sounds the least bit appetizing so I’ll leave it at that and spare you the gritty details. Although I must say, summoning whatever dwindling energy I have left to write in this *eh hem*, ravishing and oh-so-vital blog can certainly work up an appetite. Wouldn’t you agree? Ya hungry yet?

Actually, my energy is slowly but surely reviving as my body is resiliently healing, with the indispensable aid of pain killers, antibiotics, and duh, quality food. Interestingly enough, this complete meal ensemble came together accidentally, as do most noteworthy kitchen  masterpieces. I initially came across a brussels sprout and shallot recipe from Bon Appétit that instantly had-to-be-made due to an ineludible cosmic force of attraction. Fortunately and unfortunately, this force steered me to a dish I wasn’t immediately attracted to. The unfortunate bit being that unlike the hundreds (well, 199 to be exact) that raved on and on…and on about how delicious, perfect, and oh-mah-gawd like fabulous this dish was, I found it a little…well, disappointing. It reminded me of sauerkraut (not that I dislike it) or this one Rachael Ray recipe I tried out for sweet and sour red cabbage that I miserably ended up discarding (what a waste!). As open-minded (or, I suppose ‘open-tummied’) and un-picky as I am, I guess I have what you might call an aversion to this relatively unfamiliar quasi-bittersweet flavor combination. Nevertheless, the fortunate part far outweighed whatever the heck it is I just carped on about for the past few lines. Honestly! Did I not mention that this brussels sprout recipe is a blue ribbon one (only the best of the best at epicurious!)? Obviously, if anything, this indicates it’s me there’s something wrong with.   Continue reading