Friday, September 30, 2011

Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Muffins

I don't know what inspired me to suddenly try this recipe.  I'd been in a chocolate chip cookie mode, but I just got the inspiration to finally see what all the hype was behind the "donut muffin."  I guess it's muffin that tastes like a cake donut.  How is that possible?!?! 

It seems like a pretty basic cake/muffin recipe with all your basics: flour, leavening agents, sugar, eggs, milk, etc.

I'm wondering if I should invest in a nice stand mixer, but my handy dandy hand mixer, which I've had since college and is probably the only kitchen item I've kept since that period of time, has yet to fail me.  That's gotta count for something.  Maybe I'll put it on the registry and hope someone gets it for me?  I mean, Dumpling Man and me...

The recipe calls to alternate mixing the dry ingredients and milk to the creamed butter/egg mixture.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011


So after discovering the deliciousness of galbijjim at Seongbukdong, I had Korean savory fall-off-the-bone tender meat on my mind.  It was never anything I thought I could recreate at home.  The Pouter and I discussed that a pressure cooker was probably involved in making such a culinary treasure.  But I actually came across a pretty manageable recipe on  So off to H Mart I went.  Yes, there is an H Mart in Portland!

I bought a family pack of short ribs because it was on sale.  The other half is in my freezer waiting for some inspiration.

There was a WHOLE LOT OF FAT that I had to trim off the meat.  Some pieces were mutilated because they were soo fatty, so after all the trimming, there wasn't much left but a big bone and some meat dangling off.

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Mom's Steak Salad

You won't usually hear me say things like, "Oh my mom makes the best..." or when I'm at a restaurant you won't hear me say "Oh my mom's version is better."  My mom isn't that kind of mom.  The type of mom who loves to be in the kitchen, perfecting recipes that have been handed down generation after generation.  That's not to say I didn't eat home cooked meals every night and liked it.  Every night my mom cooked, and I usually enjoyed the things she made.  But now that we're all grown up, it turns out my mom cooked purely out of necessity and not out of passion.  She's actually pretty lazy when it comes to cooking.  Still though, there are a handful things my mom made that have just stuck with me all these years as things that I just love to eat.  Her steak salad is one of those things.

It's totally simple, but to me it's delicious.  She would take leftover rib-eye steak, cut it up, stir fry it with some oyster sauce and throw it on top of a salad with a really simple vinaigrette.  Eaten with a side of rice, makes for a complete meal.  I think I just love the idea of meaty flavorful slices of beef mixed into a refreshing salad.  I love the Thai beef salad, yam neua.

Here I just take a cut of flank steak, sliced up into strips, marinate it in some oyster sauce and garlic.

Then, I stir fry it on very high heat with some onions and extra oyster sauce.  It's important to get some good color on the meat without overcooking it.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Roman-Style Chicken

So after a couple days of eating rice, I got a little tired.  I wanted to mix things up and try out an Italian recipe from Giada De Laurentiis, who is turning out to be my favorite and most reliable Food Network chefs.  I've found her recipes to be pretty simple and tasty to boot.  I'm pretty picky about the food I cook and especially about the food I post about.  So you better bet that if I've gone to the effort to make a recipe and even post about, then it should be something you might like.

I don't know how chef's always say you can substitute prosciutto for bacon.  Bacon has a smokiness which I would find distracting in most dishes that call for prosciutto.  I try to make as few substitutions as possible.

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Monday, September 19, 2011


After a very long and exhausting morning/afternoon of smiling, posing, chit chatting, and sweltering in the heat, Dumpling Man, some friends, and I headed out for some fun and entertainment at the center of all that is hip, cool, and Asian in the OC...Diamond Jamboree!  For those of you unfamiliar with Irvine, you should know that there are quite a few Asians that live there and around the area.  Combined with all the young Asians from UCI, well you have quite a large population of Asian-Americans that need to be entertained and fed in a way that only a new and modern plaza packed with shops and restaurants skewed toward satisfying the Asian "flava" can fulfill.  Dumpling Man is the target consumer for a place like Diamond Jamboree.  He loves Asian things, he loves new things, he loves clean things.  Diamond Jamboree is all these things.

Wow, I've totally digressed, because we didn't even eat at Diamond Jamboree!  We just sang and boozed it up at the karaoke lounge there, which is pretty nice I might add.  Afterward, it was just Dumpling Man, Quack Man T, The Mom, The Germanphobian (aka CMac Attack), and I who were left standing to chug down all the beer Turtle TWu had over-ordered for us before he had to hike it back to LA.  Let's just say that all the champagne from earlier in the day did not sit well with all the beer Dumpling Man and Quack Man T ended up drinking.

None of us were that hungry, but we somehow ended up at Ikko for dinner, which is not really a place you go after a day of drinking.   I would consider Ikko to be one of the best restaurants in the OC for sushi and modern Japanese fare and the price point certainly speaks to that.  The Germaphobian ditched us for cooler friends, so the four of us were left to peruse the menu, but we couldn't decide and opted for the 6 course + dessert $80 omakase.

Shrimp & Crab Ceviche yuzu tomato sorbet, white fish
The dinner started off strong with this AMAZING trio of flavors.  The ceviche was bright from the fresh seafood and tangy from the very interesting yuzu tomato sorbet.  It was lovely.  The white fish was salty with also some citrus hints and served cold.  The fried greens gave some textural contrast.  My words are falling short on how kickin' I thought this dish was.

Sashimi amberjack, sea bass, whelk clam
This was another WOWSER.  First of all, the pieces of fish were huge and soo fresh.  The meat was sweet with that fresh ocean flavor.   My favorite was the whelk clam which had that firm chewy/crunchy texture you expect from giant clam.  It was sweet and salty.  I loved it.  The sea bass and amberjack were equally impressive.

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Tori Soboro

This is definitely one of my go-to recipes for a quick easy dinner and it is easily one of Dumpling Man's favorite foods.  I like it, but he LOVES it.  You can substitute the chicken for turkey and it tastes just the same or even better.  I would avoid using ground chicken breast since it can be pretty dry.

Tori Soboro adapted from
Serves 2-4

1lb.  ground chicken (may substitute with ground turkey)
4 tbsp dashi stock, optional
3 tbsp sake
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp ground ginger
Sliced scallion, nori, egg for garnish

1.  In a pan, brown the ground chicken.
2.  Add the sake, soy sauce, mirin, and sugar and combine over medium-heat.  Stir frequently so that the ground chicken makes nice even crumbles.
3.  If it looks dry, add the dashi stock.  You can substitute for chicken stock or water.
4.  When the liquid in the pot is reduced down to very low (15-20 minutes after), add the ground ginger and continue to cook for another few minutes.  
5.  Serve over white rice.
6.  Garnish with thinly sliced egg, green onions, dried nori.

Seriously, an instant and delicious dinner!

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Little Big Burger

Since moving to Portland, I've had the strangest cravings for an In 'N Out burger.  It's only strange because I never crave In 'N Out.  I probably eat In 'N Out on only one occasion, on my way to Las Vegas.  I think I'm probably craving it because I know I can't have it.  In an attempt to find a delicious burger, we stopped at Little Big Burger after walking to the restaurant we actually wanted to eat at and found it closed.

The menu is simple enough, very In 'N Out-esque

Rootbeer Float tillamook vanilla ice cream, barq's rootbeer
I'm not a huge fan of rootbeer but I like ice cream, so I agreed to trying this out.  It tasted like a rootbeer float.  Enough said.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Little Bird

It's always nice to already have some friends when you move to a new city.  Big Spoon and The Gunner are just a few of my fellow Portlandians.  We kicked off my first weekend in the new city at Little Bird, a relatively new French restaurant in Portland.  Ordering wine turned out to be a huge ordeal after the waiter, out of obligation, halfheartedly asked if we were above 21.  Of course we all said yes, but The Gunner and Dumpling Man had to make some jokes which resulted in the waiter actually carding us.  Dumpling Man being the genius he is did not bring his wallet that night.  So after some crafty use of the internet with multiple iPhones, he was able to prove that he was in fact who he said he was, and as old as he said he was.  The manager for the evening had to approve such non traditional identification before we were served.  I can't even remember if the wine was worth all that.

Oysters daily selection
 I've really grown to appreciate the taste of these briny little fellas.  I used to think these tasted like one big fishy gulp of the ocean, but now I taste salinity tempered by fleshy sweetness.  A squeeze of lemon seems to cut any fishiness while adding another dimension of brightness to an already fresh bite.

Roasted Bone Marrow black olive & citrus tapenade
I think Cut ruined bone marrow for me.  Everywhere I go, the bone marrow simply cannot compare.  The bone marrow here was good, but not the best.  I'm not a huge fan of olive tapenade, but they made good use of it here to jazz up the fattiness of the bone marrow.  My other complaint, which applies to most bone marrow dishes, is that they never give you enough of the toasted baguette.  They expect you to consume ALL that fat with just 3 measly slices of bread.

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Clay-Pot Miso Chicken

So after a most disastrous attempt to make my own Japanese curry, I felt pretty down and discouraged.  But along came David Chang to make things right in my world.  I've had good luck with some other David Chang recipes from his Momofuku cookbook, which I have decided to purchase instead of continuing to leach his recipes from random internet sites.  I've never eaten at Momofuku, but I have heard such great things and all his recipes look fun and interesting.

So I actually got the recipe from a once great and active fellow food blogger.  She decided to do one recipe in the Momofuku cookbook everyday until she cooked everything in the book.  Since she finished, her blog has now become defunct.

Sorry I don't have many pictures of how I got here, but I'll probably make this again and update it.

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Friday, September 2, 2011

Masu Sushi

Ok here is more of the same (Japanese), but at least it's not in the South Bay.  It's pretty much impossible to find good sushi in Portland.   Every place is just "meh" and I think most people would agree.  Masu just might make the cut for decent sushi by my standards.

Complements of the house.  The pickled vegetables were not very pickley.  It was pretty toned down.  I like my tsukemono to pack a little more punch.  The added octopus was nice because they were quite tender, with just a touch of chew. 

Fennel and Dungeness Crab Sunomono carrot and mango
The crab was too watery, like it hadn't been defrosted approrpriately.  The pickled veggies were more of the same blandness.  I liked the fresh bite of the fennel.

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