Archive for the ‘recipe’ Category

Biggie Ate Sardines Too

April 9, 2008

Born sinner, the opposite of a winner
Remember when I used to eat sardines for dinner
Juicy, Notorious B.I.G.

Canned fish is really bizarre concept and I understand how people are weirded out by it. But seriously, I have an obsession with it. It tastes good, it’s good FOR you, and it’s so cheap.

Vinka, who works in our finance department always brings this awesome can of sardines that she opens during lunch to add to her salads and what-nots. I was always curious cause I never branched out into the world of canned sardines, and I would always ask her about it. The other week she brought one in for me! Yes, everyone at work supports my eating habits.

It’s packed in vegetable oil, and is from the Adriatic Sea, said the label.

So here’s what I did- I broiled asparagus, boiled potatoes, made a dressing of the fish oil left in the can with mustard and balsamic vinegar, sprinkled parsley, green onions, ground pepper and fleur de sel on top. Et voile! You got yourself a fast, vitamin-packed, cheap-o after work dinner, with enough left over for lunch the next day. Genius.

A boiled egg would have also been good, as would have some sliced red onions for color.

For an added crunch, I’m pretty into these fried onion pieces from Trader Joe’s.

Thank you Vinka for introducing me to the world of canned sardines!

In the words of Biggie, “It’s all good, baby bay-bee!”

Indonesian Yellow Rice Combo

April 2, 2008

We recently had a very happy family gathering, Tessar took a break and came home last week, my daughter also returned from Rochester for the Easter weekend. During the get together, we invited some very close friends over for dinner on March 22.

Instead of cooking Chinese (which would have caused me a lot of work and too much time to prepare the dishes), I chose to prepare the Indonesian Yellow Rice combo dish. It’s a traditional Indonesian cuisine appeared on any kind of celebration occasions.

I would briefly breakdown the combo ingredients as follows:

1. The yellow rice was cooked with coconut milk, lemon grass stick, indonesian bay leaf (salam), lime leaf, with adequate turmeric powder (to make the yellowish look) and salt to taste.

2. The combo dish was completed with:

  • Indonesian beef stew (the dark brown color one), that was my husband, Antonius’ contribution, he is very good at it (it took him a long time to cut the meat, stirred over in the pot etc. :). Materials are: beef shank (cut into pieces), indonesian bay leaf (salam), grinded garlic, shallot, candle nut, chilly, and of course, coconut milk.
  • Fried mini potato cake (round shaped, with a bit of ground meat inside).
  • Fried mini corn cake (corn pieces battered with eggs, deep fried)
  • Chopped fried tofu mixed with shrimp, sauteed with the Indonesian spice.
  • Fried pee wee eggs (hard boiled first), mixed/covered with spicy sauce (tomato chunk,chilly, garlic and shallot)
  • Shredded fried eggs
  • Cucumber pieces to garnish

Each of the above were displayed on top of the yellow rice, made a nice decoration. The base to accommodate the rice is the banana leaf, also is used traditionally to add more aroma to the whole dish.

Happy eating whenever you can,

Editor’s Note: Jennie is Tessar’s mom- remember when I raided his fridge? She is awesome and sent me this delicious recipe and pictures above. Drool. If you have anything you’d like to share with other UM readers, I will post under the contributor name “UM Guest”, so please feel free to email me at

Chile Relleno Burritos by the Beach

April 1, 2008

Every time I visit my family in Northern California, I get to spent one night out at the beach in Bodega Bay having dinner with my god parents, Tom and Carol. If I’m lucky, Carol makes my favorite, Chile Relleno Burritos. She has a killer recipe that gets me every time! She fills green poblano battered chiles with jack cheese, wraps them in flour tortillas, pours sauce all over them, then adds more cheese and bakes them. There are always a million toppings (my favorite) including fresh guacamole and salsa. It is perhaps the perfect meal!

appetizers: nachos!

lime and radish salad


Sunset over the ocean

Carol made fresh baked carrot cake from scratch with cream cheese icing for dessert that just blew us all away. Does it get any better than that? I can’t wait ’til my next trip out.

Thank you, Tom and Carol!

Just added:
Chile Relleno Burritos Recipe
(I’m not sure of the exact recipe Carol uses, but this is pretty close)

One dozen flour tortillas
Large can whole green chiles
1 pound monterey jack cheese
2 egg whites
green enchilada sauce or salsa verde
refried beans

Stuff the chiles with big chunks of jack cheese cut into long pieces. Whip egg til peaks. Dip each chile in, then roll in flour. Repeat. Fry battered chiles ’til golden brown in veg oil. Drain on paper towels. Lay each chile loosely in a flour tortilla folded in half in a 9×11 inch baking dish. Add a couple TBS of refried beans to the burrito as well.Pour the green sauce of your choice inside each, then put jack cheese inside before rolling each burrito up.

Pour more sauce over the baking dish full of burritos, sprinkle with grated jack cheese and bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve with refried beans, rice, guacamole, pico de gallo, shredded lettuce and chopped black olives.

I Baked Bread, So Don’t Break Up!

March 31, 2008

When the routine bites hard
/ And ambitions are low
And the resentment rides high
/ But emotions won’t grow
And we’re changing our ways/ Taking different roads
Then love, love will tear us apart again
– Joy Division

Recently, a few of my closest friends have been going through devastating breakups- couples who have been together for 3 years, 5 years, 7 YEARS.

Why the sudden onslaught of break-ups? Let me tell you: it’s March.

March is a shameless adulteress who cheats on Winter with Spring. March makes promises of Spring, but refuses to abandon Winter entirely. This leaves people anxious, restless, sick of being housebound. While they wait around for warm weather, they begin pondering profound subjects such as their “lives”, “meaning”, and “existence”. The first thing to go is always the relationship.

Oh, I know all about the heartbreaks that March brings. Rewind to 2005. He threw an outrageous tantrum, paced back and forth in my living room for 2 hours, gave me back my keys, and slammed the front door. I watched the whole scene from the couch. Yes, it was a mess. Yes, we broke up- for real this time. Yes, it was in March.

Breaking up blows. Can I get an AMEN?

So to celebrate the final days of this miserable month, and to somehow spiritually reach out to all those in tragic break-up mode, I baked bread with Stacy and Amy this weekend. (Stacy just got married. Amy is a Serial Craig’s List Dater. I rush home on Friday nights to watch LOST by myself).

Can you imagine me, Kayoko– the clumsiest, most impatient anti-baker ever– baking bread? It’s unheard of, I know, but it was glorious!

Baking bread must be the most loving form of food creating- you must nurture it, let it grow, play with it, and keep a close eye on it, in order for it to reach its full potential. I LOVED this entire process- it is super easy, economical, and you feel like you are a part of a secret society (Amy: “People have been baking bread for thousands of years!”).

We baked three types of bread (links to recipes): the ever-magical “No-Knead Bread” from Bittman and the Sullivan Street Bakery, Focaccia from Delicious Days, and two loaves of Honey Wheat from All Recipes. You need to let the first two rise for at least 12 hours.

Here are the ingredients for all 3 recipes. This is it!Yeast before:
Yeast after- check out that head!:
Here is an easy to follow Bittman video for the No-Knead Bread that you should watch before starting. Bittman is the messiah.

Preparations for the No-Knead and focaccia:

19 hours later- It has RISEN! This is the No-Knead:

Throw No-Knead dough in a hot cast iron pot:
Almost there- about 40 minutes into it. We needed to constantly check on it:

It’s done! What a beauty- I would say that it took about 70 minutes for this to thoroughly finish. You need to keep tapping the top until you get a hollow sound at all angles. This was perfect- just shy of being burnt, golden crust, spongy inside- PERFECT:
Focaccia- also need to let this dough rise overnight. It didn’t rise as much as we wanted, but it was fine. We added roasted zucchini, peppers, and fresh rosemary on top. Genius! It was delicious:

Honey-wheat. This did not need to rise overnight. Next time, we will grease the measuring cup before pouring in the honey:

Kneading with love. Stacy said it felt like a baby. It did! Had this supple, bouncy flesh-like feel. This may have been the funnest part, the kneading, pulling and pounding. Tip: let dough rise in warmer-than-room temperature, Amy said. So close the doors and windows.

This recipe makes so much dough!
Buttering the top:
Almost done:
I had to leave before the honey-wheat came out, which was sad. But Stacy sent me these pictures. Look at these- they could be entered into pageants!
We all agreed that the No-Knead loaf was better than anything you could buy in the city (I’m sorry, but I shouldn’t have to trek into Soho for a baguette from Balthazar). As Amy said, it was elastic, spongy. It had depth. The crust was perfectly done- crunchy, hard, but not burnt. Ideal sandwich bread.

The focaccia was also awesome- not too greasy, just nicely coated with olive oil. I highly recommend adding the peppers- it adds some acidity, which balances out the oil.

About the honey-wheat, Stacy said: “Texture is rich and soft. Sweet in the best way!!” Sorry to miss it.

Baking bread was actually one of my 2008 resolutions. It was one of those daunting tasks that I had been fearing- it seems like such a pain in the ass! But I’ve learned that all you need is a little bit of time, and willingness to nurture it for an afternoon. It’s that simple. You too can be a part of this secret society.

A word to the wise: next time you want to break-up with your partners, bake bread together. I think it might help. No talking, just kneading. Or No-Kneading. This should inevitably lead to hot, passionate sex on the kitchen floor. YESSS!

Starting tomorrow, break-ups should officially be put on hold until March 2009.

LOVE happenings to look forward to in April:
– Wong Kar Wai’s My Blueberry Nights is released in the US
– After a 11 year “break-up”, Portishead’s new album Third officially comes out
– New episodes of LOST (Desmond and Penny!)
– Tulips! (my favorite, hint hint)
– My BIRTHDAY!!! Let’s all make out!

In 2 of the 5 above films, the doomed couples do not get back together in the end. The first three people to email me which films wins a prize! Email answers to

Film montage starting at top: © United Artists; © Focus Features; © Golden Harvest Co.; © New Line Cinema; © 20th Century Fox.

Happy Hour: Caprese Martini

March 25, 2008

Roasting for Jesus

March 24, 2008

Jesus is just alright with me
Jesus is just alright, oh yeah
– Doobie Brothers

Religiously speaking, I am godless. I am a gluttonous heathen, afterall. If hard pressed, I suppose I would say I’m a non-practicing Buddhist, but that’s only because my dad makes me pray to his little shrine whenever I go to his house. But I refuse to chant during yoga- it annoys the hell out of me (they never tell you what you’re saying, or what exactly it’s for. It’s just nonsense).

However, deep down, I have a soft spot for all things Roman Catholic. Majestic cathedrals, Pope Jean-Paul II (I saw him once!), the Spanish Inquisition, Dante’s Inferno and Jesus all fascinate me to no end. It’s so bizarre- and I feel bad cause Catholicism has traumatized many of my friends.

So of course I was excited about celebrating the Jesus resurrection on Sunday. Easter means ham, hard boiled eggs, and springtime. Gotta love it. But my plans derailed when Troy and Kumiko called to cancel Easter dinner because they were sick. I sorta panicked, but Fumiko said she would come over, so I cooked dinner for the two of us. Those in disgruntled relationships, ponder this: being single means possibly eating Easter dinner ALONE. It’s a crapshoot.

I didn’t have any big meat item, but I did my usual vegetable roasting. I love roasting vegetables- not only because they taste so good, but mostly because I am lazy, and it’s the easiest thing ever. Here are my ingredients:

Right next to the garlic is a little stick of chorizo. They sell it at Blue Apron in Park Slope for $1.50!!! What a steal! It’s great cause it will hold in the fridge forever, and it’s something different from the same old bacon.

I am relatively new to the cauliflower phenomenon- Aya introduced me to it a few months ago. I’m pretty hooked though. For this, I just chopped up the cauliflower, the zucchini, the chorizo, a few cloves of garlic and peeled the red onions. Preheat oven to 400.

Disclaimer: it took me FOREVER to peel these little fuckers, which is not fun for lazy people. I will use shallots next time.
Put everything in a baking pan, drizzle olive oil all over it, add some salt, grind some pepper. I also added a few bay leaves, cause I had some. I love all the colors here:
Stir occasionally, and take out after about 30 minutes. That’s it!!!
Shave a ton of romano over it, then mix it around.
I obviously needed something else with the meal, so I just made some pasta. I sauteed an onion with a fresh sausage, and boiled fresh pasta that I randomly had in the fridge.

Put some tomato sauce with all of that, et voila! Also, fresh parsley is so necessary.
Here is our meal- Jesus Resurrection 2008. Sadly, the corner wine store was closed, so we couldn’t consume the blood of Christ. Fumiko said we drink the blood all the time, so it was no big deal- we just settled for beer. Would that be Jesus pee? OMG I’m totally going to hell.

PS- the chorizo adds a nice crunch to the soft vegetables. Fumi liked it. Give it a whirl.

"It’s Fried!"

March 12, 2008

Went to Elias Corner for Fish the other night- a reputable Greek seafood joint in Queens that Aya wrote about a few months back. It was awesome!

Aside from the soft, char-grilled octopus, the gooey garlic musselfest, and the plethora of grilled fishes we ordered (red snapper, salmon, the kickass monkfish), my favorite part of the meal was a little something our gregarious server plopped down on the table after our meal was over.

“This is on the house,” she said. Big smiles all around here.
“What is it??” I asked.
“It’s Fried!!!!” she exclaimed.

Best answer EVER! This plate consisted of beignet-like fried dough pieces, coated with a pint of honey. One word: orgasmic. It was sad when it all had to end.

Vestiges of our meal:
Red snapper- the head is the best part! David ate the eyeball. Then swallowed it. Brian freaked out.

Garlicy oozy mussels- very original.

I accidentally dropped a mussel into our carafe of white wine. How does one do that?? I finished it off anyway. No shame- it was fine. You figure that there’s wine IN the mussel dish, so why not the other way around?

Hyoe- we’re devastated you’re leaving the city, but happy we got to send you off with a good meal. You’ll be back though!

Elias Corner for Fish
24-02 31st St.
Astoria, NY11102
T: 718.932.1510

Afterthought: Andy just informed me that these fried donut pieces are called Loukoumades. Here’s the recipe. Yamahomo, get on it, pronto! These are heavenly!

BLT Steak’s Popover

February 19, 2008

I told you that I would blog about BLT’s famous popover (I miss sunny Puerto Rico). Well, images from the restaurant weren’t good enough, also they gave a recipe card with it, so I decided to make it myself. I have had popovers at Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners, and they were crispy on the outside, and hollow inside, and good stuff. BLT’s version was huge, and so crisp outside, and the Gruyere cheese definitely added some indescribable joy to it.

Since I bought a 6 popover pan, I reduced the recipe into half.

  • 2 cups of flour
  • A bit less than 1 table spoon of salt
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 4 eggs
  • gruyere cheese

Warm the milk, beat eggs until they are frothy, add milk slowly (so that it doesn’t cook the eggs). Sift flour and salt, and mix them together well. Make sure you don’t chill the batter. Keep it a bit warm of room temp.

Meanwhile, stick popover pan into 350 degree oven. Once it’s hot, take it out, and spray it with non stick spray, pour the batter (I filled it basically to the top to make the largest possible popovers). Sprinkle cheese on top, and put into the oven for 50 minutes. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN, it will deflate it!

Wow, it started to rise!!
Soon enough, it looks like erected dog penis.
It’s getting bigger and by this time, the smell of burning cheese was so delicious!
Don’t they look fabulous?
As long as you don’t chill the batter, and not open the oven door, this is almost fail proof. For your next dinner party, instead of regular bread, try this. This is definitely the “Did you really make this? Holy shit!” kind of stuff. Similar recipe is yorkshire pudding, but it uses beef jus, but this one doesn’t use any additional grease (other than cooking spray), so it’s vegetarian friendly too.

Purple Cabbage Pasta

February 14, 2008

Last week at the farmer’s market, I accidentally bought a purple cabbage, mistaking it for radicchio. DUH!

So what to do with a head of purple CABBAGE? I recalled Bittman’s coleslaw piece from a few weeks back, but who wants to make coleslaw in the middle of winter? HELL-O!

I needed something to last me all week- for lunches and late nights. I decided to whip me up some pasta with purple cabbage – have you ever heard of such a thing? Bizarre, right? I looked for anything complimentary to cabbage in the fridge- I came up with a can of tuna, romano, frozen peas and garlic. That’s it!

Ok, so this is the easiest thing ever. Just sautee garlic in olive oil, add the cut cabbage, stir in the pan till it is cooked, but still crispy. Grind some fresh pepper, salt, and sprinkle over some red pepper flakes if you fancy. Add the tuna, sautee for a few minutes. Then add the peas for color–purple and green together is delightful! I’ve been obsessed with peas since Babbo’s pea/mint raviolis, and put it in all my pasta dishes now.

Then stir in the pasta. Doesn’t matter what kind of pasta, but for the sake of leftovers, I chose fusilli.

Shave some romano on top, et voila! Purple cabbage pasta. And yes, the pasta will turn a slight shade of purple- but it’s kinda fun. The cabbage is so nice and sweet, and the crunch is crucial.

I tweaked the version the other night- for all you tuna non-believers. This time with sausage instead of tuna, and orecchiette. Plus I had some grape tomatoes in the fridge, so I added that as well. I tried caramelizing onions for it and my poor Ruby (my prized Les Creuset pot) burned to hell. Shit, shit shit!!! Can someone please teach me how to caramelize onions?

This dish was good, but I let the cabbage cook for too long so it didn’t have the crunch that makes this dish special. The caramelized onions added a nice sweetness though, and the tomatoes a tartness.

So now you know what to do when you accidentally buy a head of purple cabbage!

PS- De Cecco Orecchiette is my new fave pasta. Try it!

Tuna Mercury Bullshit

January 30, 2008
WTF! I can’t live without tuna. Recent articles on NYT about mercury might be worrisome, and some people might never eat tuna ever, but I like tuna. If you are eating shit load of fried or junk food, and refusing seafood, that is such an oxymoron.

I am hoping this trend will cause reduction of tuna price, and I will have more of them. Everyone, listen up, moderation is the virtue, both in eating and drinking.

I would rather die from mercury consumption, than not eating tuna forever… So I made tuna tartar.

I am trying to be better about remembering what ingredients I use when cooking.
Recipe for this version is (which won’t be repeated since next time I’ll make it, I will use something completely different):

1/2 lb fresh tuna, cut into small cubes
1/2 of avocado, cut into small cubes
1/2 of mango, cut into small cubes
1/4 onion, minced and rinsed (to cut strong onion flavor out)
1 lemon juice
1 tbsp sesame oil
salt and pepper
dash of soy sauce
dash of ginger dressing
Mix everything together, and chill for about 1 hour to marinate.

I sliced up the rest of the avocado and spread it on the plate, scoop tartar with ice cream scoop, put extra ginger dressing et voila, cute and tasty tuna tartar is ready to be served.