Tagged: cheese

Summer Fruit Bruschetta & Homemade Ricotta

Most of the time, I enjoy baking and cooking alone. This can typically be attributed to two things. The first being that, well, I’m Haein and I am the clumsiest girl I know. In other words, I like sparing myself the shame, so please continue to keep me on that culinary pedestal as I continue to make a mess masterpiece in my kitchen. The second being that having the kitchen all to my lonesome gives me a deep sense of serenity and control – and who doesn’t want complete and total control?! Oh, right, and peace.
But, every once in a while, I have the unexpected pleasure of friends willing to help or learn or just eat in my kitchen (as opposed to my dining room, I guess). My most recent catering event was one such instance of true camaraderie.

One of my best friends was here this past week from California and she’s just left, leaving me feeling bereft. She spent one of her first weekends home helping me prepare for the biggest baking extravaganza of my still-developing life. Not just her, but also several more of the most kindhearted and compassionate friends I have. They volunteered their time and energy to help create a success beyond my imagination. Success for me, of course, being all-inclusive of my ability to occasionally stuff their mouths with so-called mistakes or “extras” (though there really weren’t any) in addition to shoving extra jars of homemade strawberry jam or fresh ricotta cheese into their arms.

But enough about that.
Continue reading

Salt

I’m not a bad daughter. In fact, I fancy myself as quite the opposite. Despite the distance and years between us, my parents and family in Korea are constantly in my thoughts and everyday actions. I am, for lack of better way to put this, my father’s daughter. As a child, I cringed and pouted when people would tell me I either was or looked exactly like my dad. “I want to be like umma, not appa,” I’d repeatedly whine. With this, my younger sister followed in my footsteps and we’d compete to claim inheritance of mom’s svelte and gorgeous physical features. As we’ve grown older, however, we’ve come to realize that while my sister may look more like my dad than I do, she acts more like my mom. Me? I am exactly like my dad.
From our stubby toes and absent-mindedness to our love for foreign languages and moments of silence, we are one and alike. My dad similarly bestowed upon me an appreciation for food in all forms. At the young age of 4 or 5, I had my first taste of gourmet cheese. I will never forget my dad in the kitchen, gingerly cutting the wrapped lump of German Butter cheese (Butterkäse) into generous slivers and placing each over slices of apple with his stumpy, callused hands. The first bite is one I will always remember, soft and buttery flawlessly paired with crisp and subtly-sweet. This flavor was only to be sharply, beautifully contrasted with the various salumi, or cured meats, he then allowed me to try. In addition to the more simplistic joys I grew up eating (instant mac & cheese, spaghetti with meat sauce, or spam, eggs, kimchi, and rice), the more complex and matured flavors of cheese and meats also have the ability to take me back to my not-so-distant, treasured childhood. And though it is always an honor and pleasure cooking for you, appa, if you were here for this upcoming Father’s Day, I wouldn’t think twice about taking you to Salt Kitchen & Tasting Bar. For memories sake. Continue reading

Kimchi Quesadillas & sesame-gochujang sour cream

Under the never-ending list of Things I Absolutely Have to Make (or have already made) and (need to) Blog About (including my favorite go-to Korean staple, kimchi jjigae/stew, which has been requested by several & is soon to come), there is the kimchi quesadilla, which I have finally gotten around to making. It may sound a little strange initially, but trust me, the pairing of kimchi with cheese is nothing out of the ordinary. In fact, growing up in Korea, this was a prevalent and beloved conjunction of contrasting flavors and textures: tart, spicy, briny, and crunchy with buttery, nutty, oozy, and melted; a serious match made in culinary heaven.
However, it wasn’t until last summer when I visited L.A. amidst the Kogi Truck craze, that I had the opportunity to try one of these insanely good, savory treats. I was immediately blown away at first bite. As I’ve experienced re-creating this quesadilla with my own artistic flare, I’ve consistently found myself wondering: why has this concept not been popularized sooner? I mean, everybody loves quick and easy finger-food, especially when it goes hand-in-hand with an ice-cold Corona and lime, right?
Continue reading

A Spud-ful.


I’m back and let’s just say it’s been a very long week – a very animated one, at that. I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this previously, but I attended a private international school in Korea for middle and most of high school. Now besides entitling its students to a sense of worldly knowledge and ignorant arrogance (no offense), the school truly formed an elite sort of family that has members all over the world. That being said, I can comfortably find at least one or two Seoul Foreign School students that I know in just about any state or even continent I go.  Lucky for me, living in Hawaii and all, I get a lot of friendly and familiar visitors from my old school. However, the past week has been the first time that I’ve reunited with five of them at once on this not-so-stranded island. And boy, I tell you, us Koreans, we party hard.

Hence, with everything my jobs, friends, and parties entailed, I was once again forced to commit the crime of negligence to my kitchen. So, although this may not be a meal or dish worthy of any sort  of remote self-aggrandizing, it’s still something you can snack on until my next (not nearly as overdue) delicious post. Continue reading

Cobb-ulously Improvised.

Anyway, back to being narcissistic (for today, at least). The members of my household, myself included, have become increasingly self-conscious due to some recently realized and undoubtedly unwanted weight gain. We are getting quite chubbalicious (chubby from delicious delicacies), if you know what I mean. Hence, we have decided to start eating healthier. Well, for the time being or however long my junk food-loving body can withstand. Seriously – I kid you not, I am currently having withdrawals.

While the silly BF has somehow gotten the idea that he can succeed in doing the “Master Cleanse” (also known as the “Beyonce diet”), the roommate and I are slightly more sane – I mean, realistic. Just to fill you in, the “Master Cleanse” is some sort of detox diet that consists of sipping on a lemonade concoction for about 10 days. Think that sounds easy?  I forgot to tell you that it’s all you are allowed to consume. Food is absolutely out of the question. This “lemonade” is composed of water, real lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper. Basically, it’s self-induced anorexia. Okay, scratch that. That’s a little extreme. However, it definitely takes an immense amount of self-discipline to successfully accomplish such a daunting task. I have not yet mastered this sense of self-discipline and don’t tell, but neither has the BF. Sorry babe, but as of right now, I don’t think either of us will be seeing those sexy Beyonce curves anytime soon.
Continue reading

Quick Blurb.

As you should already know, or at least semi know by now, I love to cook and I love to eat. The huge down-side of this for me and for everyone who shares this passion is that it burns huge holes in your pockets. I mean, it’s an expensive hobby. I can’t help it though, I would much rather spend my paychecks for this particular pursuit of happiness than spend it on other ephemeral or useless things. Please tell me I’m not the only one.

Well, even if I was, I try to find short-cuts here and there to save some extra cash while still satisfying my needs. One of these shameless money saving tricks include canned and instant foods. Not always my favorite, but they give me what I need for less dough. It’s also helpful that my sheltered boyfriend grew up on a diet of instant saimin (ramen noodles) and boiled eggs which therefore makes everything I prepare ‘amazing’ to him. He even praises me during my most irritating culinary disasters, which only adds to the irritation, albeit cute. Lucky for me, he’s simple and easy to please, so I don’t have to go all out with the best ingredients all the time. Yet, it’s funny how much he has taught me about food. We come from very different backgrounds and cultures, which inevitably means we have different palates.

For example, he prefers to have all his food salty. By salty, I mean he adds even more salt to instant noodles, something that is already overloaded with sodium. On the other hand, I prefer most my foods on the sweeter side. I guess we make the complimentary blend of sweet and salty, no? However, our ‘blend’ has been leaning more towards the salty side since I’ve been acquiescing more often than not to his requests for saltier foods. His most recent food discovery encompasses everything he loves, which I find entertaining and fascinating despite its unhealthiness. Lo and behold,

It was a great deal, 2 for $5 at Don Quijote and it made a really great lunch (except for the fact that it’s a little on the saltier side).

It took only a few minutes to heat in the microwave. We fried a couple eggs, sunny side-up, and placed them over a bed of rice and topped it all off with the steamy curry. We then generously sprinkled some shredded cheddar cheese over it all a la ‘Curry House’.

And yup, it tasted even better with my kimchee.