Tagged: life

A Recipe for Growth

SamgyetangHere is a visual collection of #hungrytohappy and #haeinskitchen highlights over the last year… 

Nearly a year has passed since my last post; a lot can change in one year. In fact, so much can change in the blink of an eye, that if you’re not careful, you’ll miss it. Life waits for no one.
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Homemade Pizza

Remember the last time you were on a deadline and desperately pressed for time or just way too exhausted from work or life to even remotely consider mustering up the energy to look through the fridge (except to retrieve that last ice-cold beer you saved for yourself behind the carton of milk – oops! sorrry, honey!), let alone make dinner? Remember the last time you picked up your phone just to call your friendly neighborhood pizza place to rescue you rather than calling your significant other to let them know that dinner is ready to be served? I do. In fact, it seems as though it’s all I ever do lately.
I grew up loving pizza. I don’t know anyone who didn’t. It was, in my opinion, a luxurious reward for good behavior. In other words, it was a parent’s laziness or lack of time resulting in a most marvelous treat of a meal for us as kids, and even as adolescents. In most cases, it was the meal succeeding a busy day of fun to which everyone would gather around for a slice or two.

However, instead of having to call for an instant pizza, I can now proudly say that I can make my own – albeit, not quite as conveniently. Pizza is a most wonderful thing. Endlessly versatile, it’s hard for anyone not to love some variation of it. Now, pair that gourmet handmade pizza of yours with a bold glass of wine or better yet, a homemade sangria and this, my friends, is what being a mature adult is all about.
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Chicken Makhani & Garlic Naan

Life is a lot like running. In high school, I used to be my cross country team’s captain. At my school, the high school cross country team was open to middle school students and I remember running my very first 5km race in the cool Autumn breeze of the 8th grade. At the time, I was oblivious to the necessary training and immense mental strength primarily involved in finishing a race. I figured I was young, agile, and fit enough to instantly become one of the faster runners. Plus, I had my lucky pair of running shoes on. Sadly, I was terribly mistaken. I recall sprinting at the starting line to get a head start and consequently shifting between brisk walks, quick spurts, and sluggish jogs. When I finally reached the finish line, there weren’t many people there. I thought it was because I was one of the first to finish. In my exhausted state, I had been completely unaware of the people that had zoomed and zipped passed right in front of me. Finish time: 46 minutes. Wow, I thought, I must be fast. For all I knew, running was a cinch.
I was so wrong. To my later embarrassment and horror, I found out that I had been one of the stragglers – the slowpokes. But instead of getting discouraged and quitting, I continued going to practice 4 times a week and races every Saturday – even if it was only to get my face so red that it looked like a gleaming ripe tomato. Or, to get that adrenaline rush that made my legs numb at the sight of the awaiting crowd and finish line. Slowly, but surely, I improved. I became faster. I started running without needing to stop or take walking breaks. Over the next few years and after countless practices and very many races, I trimmed my 5km time down to a solid 23 minutes 34 seconds. I realized that running, like life, came down to persevering, putting mind over matter, and finding the right pace.Each year is like a race. Last year, I thought valiantly to myself, 2011 is going to be a great year. It’s going to be my year, my race. With a strong finish to the Fall semester of 2010 and an out-of-state, or off-island, vacation awaiting me at the finish line, I rushed into 2011 at a sprint. Needless to say, it wasn’t everything I’d predicted not to mention, everything I’d hoped for. My hasty beginning left me winded. It led me to struggle yet again between brisk walks, quick spurts, and sluggish jogs.  But it was, without a doubt in my mind, monumental. 2011 was a year of many; 2011 was when my blog started getting more recognition from those around me, I got promoted to a job that highlights my strengths and strengthens my weaknesses, I went through a heartwrenching break up that eventually unfolded into a rare, once-in-a-lifetime kind of friendship, I moved into a new apartment with 23… I mean, 4 fun-loving & amazing roommates, I ditched school religiously, I had my share of “drama,” I found love (which I’m admittedly still learning to accept) in what literally was a hopeless place, I quit my 3-year hostessing job at the same restaurant, I worked full-time in high-end, luxury retail, I moved again, I graduated with honors (miraculously), and then – for the first time in 4 years – I returned to Korea and was briefly reunited with my family. It was the race in which I stopped and stalled, time and time again. I even took a number of short-cuts and detours that only resulted in my delayed arrival at the finish line. I persevered, but crawled like a beginner, gasping and panting, to the end of 2011. Continue reading

Short Ribs Burguignon

One of the most amazing feelings, for me, is that of achievement. The sheer feeling of accomplishment in and triumph over an endeavor or obstacle is what makes any challenge that much more rewarding. Oddly enough, I have to admit my biggest challenge at the moment is that of grief, or overcoming it. Like this twist on a classic French Beef Burguignon, grief can be complicated and tedious , making  anyone reluctant to confront and undertake the matter at hand. Although preparing Short Ribs Burguignon may not be as inevitable as the feelings of grief within a person’s lifetime, if you are like me and constantly seek thrill alongside self-cultivation, you can’t desist committing  yourself to making, or attempting to make, the most complicated dishes you know  to attain that blissful feeling.

That, or you try to avoid it for as long as possible until it comes back at you, smack-dab in your face. Either way, there comes a time when you need to do something about it, whether it be going out to have someone prepare that intricate and advanced dish that you obsess about and crave for or, making it yourself (for better or worse) and learning from it.
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Lemon Curd Tart with Olive Oil

It has become unavoidably evident to me recently that when life throws you lemons, you do not pucker your cheeks and cower in fright. Nor, do you make lemonade. Instead, you make a lemon curd tart that, in all its bright and happy glory, transforms even the most sour lemons into a delectable treat. I obviously mean this both literally and figuratively. Growing up (not that I’m all grown-up quite yet), I’ve learned the hard way that life can be a cornucopia of disappointments. You plan the precise steps and measures you must take in order to reach your envisioned nirvana, but more often than not, you find yourself in the limbo of all your hopeful dreams – not here, nor there.

It is in such equivocal moments that I find myself questioning the next step I’ll make and usually, this means taking no step at all until something (presumably a “lemon”) finally hits me. The most recent disappointment came when I found out that going off to grad school was not in the near-sighted future. This isn’t to say I won’t go to grad school eventually, because I’m earnestly looking forward to that day, but it was a devastating let-down nevertheless. I spent days and weeks pondering on what I would do once I graduated college, but my mind would draw a blank every time. I definitely have overarching dreams and a bucket list of things I must do, but when it came to the very next step I would take post-college, the answer came to me in a most unexpected way. As a matter of fact, I should really be expressing my utmost gratitude toward this frequently unheeded blog (sorry!) and its ardent(?) readers. It is from you, that I have received this opportunity to obtain….. Continue reading