Visit to Korea 2017ย 

Oh boy, where do I even begin? 

We get to visit Korea (yes, South Korea) only once every 2-3 years. I’m from Busan, the second largest city in Korea. This time, we were there for my sister’s wedding so we stayed around Busan the whole time. Seoul is fun but I think I’ve come to like Busan more. I definitely enjoyed every single moment, every bite. 

Well, right after we got off the airplane, we went to Geoje Island for a family trip. We lucked out with this beautiful resort, Hiclass Geoje
Playing in the pool means HANGRY people!
There’s nothing like stuffing your face with BBQ meat and soju on a vacay!
On our way back from Geoje Island, we dropped by this restaurant for some FRESH seafood. In addition to sashimi, they also give you so many side dishes, aka banchan. The things in the above picture are: sea pineapple (sea squirt), conch, “live” octopus in sesame oil and sea cucumbers. They sound kinda horrifying but aren’t that bad๐Ÿ˜‰ 

So, now, I’m just gonna list all the things we ate in Korea๐Ÿ˜‚ 

Dwaejigukbap: pork and rice in pork-base broth. Busan is well-known for having awesome DJGB!
Guksu: Korean style noodle soup. It’s quite easy to make it at home but I have a go-to place in Busan. Never disappoints. 

Fruit cakes are a thing in Korea I’d say. Cakes are so pretty that I sometimes don’t even wanna eat them๐Ÿ˜‚ Do they taste as good as they look? Heck yeah. 
์•™๊ผฌ์ ˆํŽธ, some super famous rice cake! In Korea, things change very fast. There are a few VERY trendy items whenever I visit Korea. This time, at least in Busan, this thin rice cake filled with sweet red bean paste was a hit!
Mommy’s hangover soup! This dried pollock soup, aka bugeoguk (‘guk’ means soup), is the ultimate remedy for bad hangovers. My mom loves to add ground black pepper at the end. 

Kimchi pancake and makgeolli! The salty, crispy kimchi pancake goes perfectly well with the sweet rice (alcoholic) beverage. It’s pretty easy to get korean style pancakes in the States now. I definitely recommend you order one of these next time you are at a Korean restaurant. 

Handmade dumplings. You easily run into these big batches at any market places. 

Speaking of markets, I just LOVE walking around them and looking at all these delicious snacks, sauces, etc. 

Tempura style snacks: battered and deep-dried. Everything tastes great when fried!

Tteokbokki, rice cake and fish cake in spicy gochujang (red chili paste)! If you dip that deep-fried stuffed pepper in the red sauce and have a big bite, I guarantee you that there will be a party in your mouth. One of my favorite street food dishes!

Korean beef BBQ….! We went to this butcher’s/restaurant, where you pick your own meat. You take what you have picked upstairs and they give you this tableside grill along with a variety of side dishes. Locally grown Korean beef just melts in your mouth. 

Duck BBQ! No marinating, no seasoning. Just some fresh duck meat and lots of garlic!
Bar food aka anju. One great thing about drinking in Korea is that you keep eating while drinking. Your bar food selections are amazing too. This seafood noodle soup was perfect with our sake! Also, you can drink pretty much all day/night in Korea. A great place for party animals. 

Just another typical breakfast scene at my parents’. You get a bowl of rice and several side dishes. I think I ate so many veggies even without trying. I already miss her food๐Ÿ˜ญ

Sashimi bibimbap and gukbap (‘bap’ means rice). We went to this old, quaint village by called Huinyeoul Cultural Village by the ocean. Right before we walked around the hilly alleys, we went to this restaurant and had an amazing lunch. Not too heavy or light. Fresh fish and lots of vegetables. 

Then, more street food! Hotteok is like a mini pancake filled with brown sugar and nuts. My brother-in-law’s favorite snack it is. Dakgangjeong is Korean fried chicken covered in spicy sauce. They are usually in a bite size so it’s easy to eat them while exploring busy streets of Korea. 

S. O. J. U! This liquor is found everywhere in Korea. Super cheap. Each city has its own so it’s another fun to try different kinds.

Rice gelato! Yes, I said rice. Centum City is a huge mall located near Haeundae beach. There, I found this mysterious flavor and I fell in love right away. The combination of tiramisu and rice flavor was oddly satisfying!

Cakes, cakes and cakes! Too pretty. 

All-you-can-eat korean buffet! You pay $25 and just go to town. Amazinglicious!

Mom’s bulgogi lunch! 

My aunt’s scrumptious gimbap…! This is one of the things that I definitely miss a lot. I don’t know what she does to it but we all love her rolls. Very addicting!

Lastly, meals served on Korean Air! In-flight meals are usually awful but I actually do enjoy eating what Korean Air serves. On the way to Korea, the lunch was bibimbap with seaweed soup. On our way back, it was rice served with doenjang (korean miso, if you will) and veggies. 

Our trip to Korea this time was a bit too crazy between the wedding and some personal issues. I am not complexly confident that I ate everything I wanted to. However, it’s always so much fun to go out there and spoil myself with endless eating and drinking. What’s surprising is that I somehow lose weight despite all of that..! I guess it’s the lifestyle. 

I did have a great time in Korea, but it’s good to be back home with my kitties. So, Korea, till next time!

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Asparagus meets pseudo-bulgogi!

Got some leftover ground beef? Make this asparagus wrapped in bulgogi marinade ground beef! Bulgogi is usually made with think slices of beef ribeye or briskets but who says you can’t use the marinade for ground beef?! ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

You can bake it in the oven (375F / 15-20 minutes) or simply cook it on a pan with some oil. 

For 0.5lbs of ground beef: 2 tbsp of soy sauce, 1 tbsp of sugar or molasses, 0.5 tbsp of sesame oil, 0.5 tbsp of mirin (optional), minced garlic, chopped onions, chopped jalapeรฑos and some black pepper. 

That’s it! Super simple yet delicious! 

Hope you had a great Easter weekend! 

Getting my winter baking fix!

Once in a blue moon, I feel like baking. It might have been the snow on the ground, the cold crisp air or just me wanting some sweets but feeling too lazy to go get them. 

I googled simple brownie recipes and bam! Here they are all ready for my Sunday evening. And this actually is my favorite brownie recipe so far. Now time to devour while watching the golden globe awards!

Cheers to delicious winter! 

Recipe here!

Holiday cookie exchange 2016!

‘Tis the season! I am just coming back home from delivering cookies to our neighbors!

Baking isn’t my forte or my cup of tea at all, but baking for other people once a year is doable (well, with A LOT OF help from the hubby).

For the neighborhood cookie exchange, we baked two kinds of cookies. Got ideas and recipes from the Food ย Network magazine.


These tiramisu sandwich cookies were the bomb! Well, they could have been a little more moist but they tasted delish. I mean, how bad can they be when they have cocoa, espresso, vanilla, mascarpone cheese, cream cheese, Kahlua, butter, butter, more butter, sugar, sugar and SUGAR! ๐Ÿ˜‰


Then, hubby’s choice: peanut butter crinkles! These are firm on the outside and gooey inside…. Heaven in my mouth!

I gotta say, though. Every time I bake something, I keep thinking, “this much sugar?” ๐Ÿ˜‚ These peanut butter cookies had brown sugar, granulated sugar and powdered sugar (lots of it๐Ÿ˜ฑ). Oh well, not now then when, right?

It’s been so hectic. Now I’m ready to sit back and enjoy some Christmas music. Happy holidays!!

Summer Vacay 2016 – NY/VT/RI

I was away for a week and just got back home..! This vacation was, of course, amazinglicious as usual! LOTS OF FOOD every single day. 

It started with awesome BBQ at the annual family picnic in upstate NY. People bring not only sausages and burgers but also homemade desserts too. It’s one of the events that I most look forward to every year!
Then, there are meals prepared by Jo, who is better than any other chef!l that I know!๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‘ Her homemade food is out of this world. Pretty much everything is made from scratch! Don’t know how she does it every time. Her buckwheat crepes were a bit hit this year! 
During the visit to NY, we took a day trip to Burlington, VT. YES, when in Vermont, do what everyone else does: Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Too bad that we didn’t have time for the factory tour. Oh well, next time.  
After we left NY, we went to Rhode Island. Real vacation started there! Seafood, seafood and more seafood!โค๏ธ
Among all the great food options, these 3 particular spots were my personal favorites. 

1. Matunuck Oyster Bar, South Kingstown, RI – Great location, awesome service and delicious lobster rolls!

2. Wharf Pub & Restaurant, Newport, RI – Super friendly staff, GREAT food and fun drinks! This was by far the best restaurant (food and atmosphere wise) in Newport. Sit at the bar and make some friends!

3. Del’s Lemonade – THE. FROZEN. LEMONADE. OMG. We went to Block Island for another day trip. After biking for a couple of hours, the frozen lemonade just hit the spot. Refreshing, yet not too sweet, the lemonade even had bits of lemon in it! Gonna miss this one a lot I think. 

Yes, the trip was so much fun and delish! However, I can’t deny that I’m so glad to be back home snuggling with my kitties! 

Summer is almost over but it isn’t yet! Time for some more fun back in NOVA/DC! Happy summerโ˜€๏ธโ˜€๏ธโ˜€๏ธ

P. S. When in Newport, don’t forget to check out the Bit Players at the Firehouse Theater! Great improv comedy shows on Fridays and Saturdays! Many of the people in the audience seemed to be locals. Apparently, Newport locals hate the construction of Broadway, which is a street a little off the main drag. It’s where things are happening these days! 

Christmas 2015 in New York!

This Christmas weekend has been so amazinglicious! It’s always great to have an awesome cook or two in your family. Between going out to some cool restaurants in upstate New York and Jo’s unbelievable cooking talent, I’m still in food coma. I’m really amazed how someone can cook everything so perfectly all from scratch! Jealous!

Here’s a little footage of my scrumptious weekend!  

    
     

    
    
    
    
   
   
This was my first year to go up to NY on a train too. The train station in Alexandria is conveniently located. Train ride took about 7-8 hours, which would’ve been the same if we had driven. However, by riding the train, we didn’t need to worry about the weather, traffic, etc. 

It was really good to see everyone and spend some quality time together. However, it’s also great to snuggle with my kitties while having some ramen noodles back home.   

 

Merry belated Christmas and a happy new year! โค๏ธ

Christmas 2014 and now entering the new year!

2014 was such a scrumptious year! For Christmas, we picked a cookbook off the bookshelf and cooked a couple of dishes from it. Fun fun! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Vichyssoise, skirt steak and some red wine jus over it!

For New Year’s Eve, we decided to stay in and chill with my favorite Thai food!

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This restaurant, Thai Square, is on Columbia Pike in Arlington. Doesn’t look like anything special from outside but THEIR FOOD IS SO GOOOOOOD!

Now I’m indeed ready for 2015! It’s gonna be another fantabulicious year. ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy new year!!

It’s the thought that counts; better when that thought is delicious!

My father-in-law is a HUGE fan of Linzer tarts. Since the whole fam is down here with us to celebrate the holiday season, I’ve decided to make his all time favorite snack!

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I gotta say, it’s a major pain to make these little delicious treats but it was definitely worth every bad word I let out of my mouth while making them! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I kept saying to myself, “it’s the thought that counts, right?” However, my father-in-law, aka a Linzer tart connoisseur, gave a generous 9 out of 10! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ Now it’s time to enjoy!

Recipe from Allrecipes.com

Thanksgivng 2014 and the leftovers!

Have you taken off your turkey pants yet? After 4 days of stuffing my face, nothing seems to fit me any more so I still have my turkey pants on. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I just finished cooking some turkey curry with the very last batch of turkey meat!

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Yesterday, I tried making this salad below, which came out great.

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Basically, take some of dry, white turkey meat, cut up some veggies
(onions, scallions, bell peppers, etc.) and mix with this dressing I use to make a smoked duck salad. How to make the dressing (4 servings) : 3 table spoons wholegrain mustard, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons honey, 5 tablespoons of vinegar and some minced garlic. BAM! Thanksgiving food is one of my favorite but let’s admit it. It’s very heartattacky! This way, you still get to enjoy the turkey as much as possible yet in a healthier way. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Speaking of awesomeness of Thanksgiving food, this year, instead of going up to see the family, we decided to stay here and cook. Here’s what we cooked and, I gotta say, it wouldn’t have been as fantabulicious without Food Network Magazine. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Appetizer 1: Cornbread-Chorizo Stuffed Mushrooms (Recipe here!)

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Appetizer 2: Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp (Recipe here!)

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Side 1: Apple and Sausage Stuffing (Recipe here!)

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Side 2: Sweet Potatoes and Marshmallows (Recipe here!)

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Side 3: Swiss Chard Gratin – Special thanks to Jo for cooking this for us last year! (Recipe here!)

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Side 4: Jalapeno-Bacon Skillet Cornbread (Recipe here!)

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Side 5: Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes (Recipe here!) & Gravy by hubby!

Everyone was in food coma after dinner. ๐Ÿ™‚

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No matter how stuffed you are, you can’t skip desserts! Thanks to Erika, who is an awesome baker, Thanksgiving night was finally complete!

IMG_0843.JPGHope everyone had an awesome turkey day! Gobble gobble!

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It’s apples and apples!

I gotta say baking has never been my thing. It’s just too much precise measuring, timing, etc. Plus, it’s TMI! I don’t feel comfortable knowing how much butter, shortening (what the heck is this white substance anyway!) or sugar is in my desserts. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss. ๐Ÿ˜‰ However, this Fall, I’ve been kinda “forced” to since I went to Hollin Farms in Delaplane, VA last weekend.

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So, what do I do when I have bags of apples? Gotta bake!

First, we baked a cinnamon crumble apple pie. Recipe is from Epicurious.com.

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I had never baked anything but store-ready-made-frozen-dough cookies but making this pie was a lot better than I had imagined. The best part? the crumbles!

Next, we baked “apple brownies”, recipe of which is also from Epicurious.com.

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This is actually my favorite so far. Crispy on top but super moist inside. Just the right amount of cinnamon. I brought this to work and the girls were literally moaning! #Foodgasm ๐Ÿ˜‰

And tonight, we made some “apple peanut butter cookies”. That’s right. Apples + peanut butter! This recipe I found on Taste of Home.

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Personally, I am not a big fan of peanut butter but the hubby is. ๐Ÿ™‚ They came out great. Very moist inside. The recipe says “grated peeled apple” but I chopped the apple with a knife. That way, the cookies definitely have more “texture” IMO.

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After baking the whole week, I did not feel like cooking tonight so we ordered some Chinese food. Guess what the fortune cookies said: “Apple” and “Sugar”! It’s a sign. We still have about a dozen of apples and that means we gotta keep baking! Bakers gonna bake, bake, bake, bake, bake~ Bake it up! ๐Ÿ™‚