Friday, March 26, 2010

pretty lattes

my cousin and his wife go to a local seattle coffee shop, caffe zingaro, all the time. so much that when he walks in, he can just say, "i'll have the usual." the barista then makes their "usual".

i enjoyed a nice soy vanilla latte. i love how they make a design in the foam. can't get that at starbucks.

before i left seattle, i bought a bag of beans from them to enjoy seattle coffee back in california. just made a cup, and the coffee was so smooth. made me want to drink another cup the next day.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

oh julia!

upon my arrival to seattle, my cousin's wife, kim, prepared a beautiful nicoise salad originated by julia chila. it was composed of tomatoes, green beans, boiled potatoes, tuna, hard boiled eggs topped with anchovy and capers.

the dressing was a nice tangy vinaigrette.

i had to get this recipe and share it as well. i enjoyed it so much i already made it when i returned home.

this will be a great salad for the summer when i don't want to cook anything. you can prep everything the night before and put it all together the next day.

here's the recipe:


1 large head Boston-lettuce leaves, washed and dried
1 pound green beans, cooked and refreshed
1-1/2 tablespoons minced shallots
1/2 to 2/3 cup basic vinaigrette
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 or 4 ripe red tomatoes, cut into wedges (or 10 to 12 cherry tomatoes, halved)
3 or 4 "boiling" potatoes, peeled, sliced, and cooked
Two 3-ounce cans chunk tuna, preferably oil-packed
6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and halved
1 freshly opened can of flat anchovy fillets
1/3 cup small black Ni├žoise-type olives
2 to 3 tablespoons capers
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley


Arrange the lettuce leaves on a large platter or in a shallow bowl. Shortly before serving, toss the beans with the shallots, spoonfuls of vinaigrette, and salt and pepper. Baste the tomatoes with a spoonful of vinaigrette. Place the potatoes in the center of the platter and arrange a mound of beans at either end, with tomatoes and small mounds of tuna at strategic intervals. Ring the platter with halves of hard-boiled eggs, sunny side up, and curl an anchovy on top of each. Spoon more vinaigrette over all; scatter on olives, capers, and parsley, and serve.

Yield: Serves 6

basic vinaigrette


1/2 tablespoon finely minced shallot or scallion
1/2 tablespoon Dijon-type mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon wine vinegar
1/3 to 1/2 cup excellent olive oil, or other fine, fresh oil
Freshly ground pepper


Either shake all the ingredients together in a screw-topped jar, or mix them individually as follows. Stir the shallots or scallions together with the mustard and salt. Whisk in the lemon juice and vinegar, and when well blended start whisking in the oil by droplets to form a smooth emulsion. Beat in freshly ground pepper. Taste (dip a piece of the salad greens into the sauce) and correct seasoning with salt, pepper, and/or drops of lemon juice.

Yield: For about 2/3 cup, serving 6 to 8

Monday, March 22, 2010

go big red!

b/c cornell was in the ncaa basketball run, my cousin and his wife (being cornell alumni) found a bar that was playing the game against wisconsin. they took me to spitfire in downtown seattle which is right next to yuki's hair salon, owned by apolo ohno's father.

i ordered the traditional panini pressed cuban sandwich with ham, braised pork, swiss cheese, dijon mustard and sliced pickle. upon my cousin's wife recommendation, i asked them for mustard and mayo on the side. then i combined the two and spread it on top of the pork.

the pork was very nice and juicy! full of amazing flavor. i thoroughly enjoyed my sandwich. and cornell beat wisconsin too!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

yum.. waffles

saturday morning, my cousin makes breakfast for his wife, and i was able to join in. this saturday he made belgian waffles. i noticed that he had heavy whipping cream in their fridge, so i made some homemade whipped cream.

it's so easy. just take some whipping cream in a mixing bowl. add some powdered sugar (maybe 2 tablespoon), and 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla. use an electric mixer and beat until it starts to get fluffy. if you want it sweeter, you can add more powdered sugar and beat.

so we enjoyed belgian waffles with maple syrup and whipped cream.

mmm.. i love breakfast!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

stamping and strawberries.

to celebrate my friend's birthday, i made chocolate covered strawberries. this was my third time making them, and i think i'm gettin' the hang of it.

i used dark chocolate chips and about 1-2 tbsp of vegetable oil. i realized the key is not overmelting the chips in the microwave. i melted them for two 30 second intervals. i kept stirring as i was melting them. i only needed about maybe 10 more seconds, and it was completely melted.

i created happy birthday picks as well. i just punched and stamped the circles, and then glued a toothpick to the back.

combining stamping and cooking brings me such joy!
oh, and they tasted great!

meat loaf asian style

i tried out another new recipe tonight, asian style meat loaf. it was pretty easy and very tasty too. instead of making individual loafs, i put it into one loaf pan so it took more cooking time. when baking you must make sure that the whole thing is at 160 degrees. i use a meat thermometer to check. probably took about 1 hour to bake.

i served it with some bok choy and red bell peppers.

(note: this was not my photo. i just used it b/c i didn't get to take a photo.)

i would definitely make this again.

pappa rich in the US!

yesterday i spent 3 hours sitting in a chair while getting a root canal. i was in pain all last night. this morning i still had a dull pain. but something deliciously good took my pain away. what is this delicious goodness? pappa rich buns. OMG...

they are hollow sweet bread with melted butter in the center. the outside is coated in this mocha maple vanilla thin crust. excuse my lack of words, but this is the best i can do to describe them. trust me. they are good. correction... awesome!

i first had these buns in thailand this past summer. they call them mr. bun there. i smelled this sweetness as i descended down the escalator. my nose followed the smell to mr. bun. then i had them in korea (they came them pappa roti over there). when i returned home, i searched for these buns, but alas, there were nowhere to be found. i even wondered if i could bake them myself b/c i craved them so much.

well, now i discovered they are in old town pasadena! my friend had told me they opened a store nearby. i happened to be down there this afternoon on an errand, and then i saw "pappa rich". i immediately parked and walked in. they told me that fresh ones were coming out of the oven in 15 minutes. i told them, "i'll wait." i went back outside and fed my parking meter.

when it was done, i said, "i'll have one for here."

i broke off a piece. i could smell the vanilla maple flavor. ooh...i popped it in my mouth. if i could squeal, i would have squealed right then and there. just like i remembered. i squealed inside. :)

somehow my pain disappeared. what pain? what root canal? all i thought of was the delicious sweet buttery goodness of those pappa rich buns.

i went back to the counter and bought three more to go. i couldn't leave without taking some home. they said i could reheat in the toaster oven so i'll see if it tastes just as good. i'm so ecstatic to find that they have come to america and right in my neighborhood! i told them that i'll definitely be back again and again. i've already become a fan on facebook. as soon as i post this, i'll post photos on facebook in my food diary album.

even as i write this post, i can smell the vanilla maple flavor, and i resist every temptation to eat another one. must wait...

you know sometimes people hype things up, and it doesn't live up to the hype? not this. and if you disagree about the goodness of these buns, well, that's your opinion and you are entitled to your opinion. but i don't think you'll be disappointed if you have a pappa rich bun.