Let’s Cook: Kimchi Bokkeumbop

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this at Berkeley Bowl and passed on buying it because I’m terrified they’ve added soy sauce. They add soy sauce to everything and anything that resembles Asian food. I mean honestly! I know it’s a staple ingredient, but does every piece of fish in your sushi need to be marinated in it? I think not. At any rate, here I am attempting to create Maangchi’s kimchi fried rice because I’m paranoid and I needed to use up a jar of kimchi that’s been chillen in my fridge for a while. I LOVE watching her cooking videos. She is incredibly sweet in them and the food always has an authenticity to it that comes with being cooked from the heart. So here we go!

Kimchi Bokkeumbap by Maanchi

3 Cups Steamed Rice
1 Cup Chopped Kimchi2014-08-03 16.00.57
¼ Cup Kimchi Juice
¼ Cup Water
2-3 Tablespoons Gochujang
3 Teaspoons Sesame Oil
1 Teaspoon Vegetable Oil
1 Green Onion (Chopped)
1 Tablespoon Roasted Sesame Seeds
1 Sheet of Kim (Roasted and Shredded)

  1. Heat up a pan. Add the vegetable oil.
  2. Add the kimchi and stir fry for 1 minute.

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  1. Add rice, kimchi juice, water, and gochujang. Stir all the ingredients together for about 7 minutes with a wooden spoon. Add sesame oil and remove from the heat.
  2. Sprinkle with chopped green onion, roasted gim, and sesame seeds. Serve right away.

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Alright, so I’m going to give my final thoughts on the dish a bit differently from the regular today. I’m starting with the things I didn’t have while cooking. The only ingredient I could not find was the gochujang or hot pepper paste. I was able to get a chili sauce, but I’m not sure if it even came close to replicating the taste of the hot pepper paste for two reasons. First because different peppers taste differently as well as have different heat intensities and I have no idea if chilis are the primary pepper used in hot pepper paste. Second, because the chili sauce was Chinese so additional spices in it may have been different than those used in the Korean hot pepper paste. Next run through I’m hoping I’ll be able to track down some gochujang to see if there were any differences. Alright next I would HIGHLY recommend you used a wok whilst making this. You may have noticed there are no pictures of me frying the rice with all the other ingredients, well that was because my entire stove top was a hot mess during that step. Okay, it wasn’t that crazy, but it was crazy enough that I was more focused on corralling ingredients than taking pictures. Now that I’ve wined a bit about the tiny hurdles I encountered let’s talk taste. I’m not going to lie to you, I was a little disappointed in how my bokkeumbop tasted. I think, though, that my disappointment was entirely subjective as I’m not the world’s biggest fan of flavored oils. When I say flavored oils I’m talking about sesame oil, truffle oil, olive oil… the types that have a distinctive taste to them. I find that it’s very easy to overpower more subtle flavors while cooking with these and I had a hard time getting past the amount of sesame oil in this recipe. Like I said, this is a me thing and may not apply to everyone. Now I know the next time I make kimchi bokkeumbop to add less sesame oil. Interestingly enough despite wanting less sesame oil I was wanting more sesame seeds because I really liked the crunch they gave to the fried rice. On that note I should mention I did mess up the directions a bit and thought I should be frying the green onion with the kimchi. Had my brain not farted out at that point, I think the onions would also have added a nice bit of crunch to the dish. I’d say that I was overall a fan of my kimchi bokkeumbop. I love the spicy, tangy flavor of kimchi (it’s one of those foods that leaves a bit of a tingle in your mouth) and that was definitely one of the stronger flavors in the rice. Not sure about you, but this is definitely one of those “s**t what am I making for dinner” dishes in my house because we always have kimchi on hand. Oh man, but I’m thinking I’ll make a point to make my kimchi fresh next time for added deliciousness. Ah but now I’m rambling so have a lovely day, I’m out!


Poppy Seed Cobb Salad

This salad is probably – scratch that – definitely not for the person looking to lose weight. I’m sure if you eat only a taste of it then perhaps it could qualify, but the chances of you eating only a bite after tasting this are slim to none. I mean honestly it’s less of a salad and more of a lettuce fueled protein transportation device covered in sweet poppy seed deliciousness. Hmm yes, sometimes I astound myself with the elegance of the verbal imagery I create of my food. So if that mental picture made you ready to just dive into this salad, you’re in luck because here’s the recipe.


2 Chicken Breasts (Filleted)
½ Teaspoon Adobo All Purpose Seasoning
½ Teaspoon Salt
½ Teaspoon Pepper
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil

  1. Clean any fat or cartilage off the chicken breasts and fillet them into four thin pieces. Rub an even amount of the Adobo, salt, and pepper into each fillet.
  2. On medium high heat melt your butter and oil in a fry pan. Sauté the chicken fillets until they are fully cooked, around 10 to 15 minutes. Set the chicken aside on a cutting board, once cooled cut into bite sized pieces.

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4 Medium Eggs (Hard Boiled, Diced)
½ Package of Bacon (Fried, 2014-08-01 17.14.05Crushed)
2 Hearts of Romaine
12 Cherry Tomatoes (Halved)
1 Avocado (Diced)
½ Yellow Onion (Sliced)
2 Tablespoons Poppy Seed Dressing (I used Newman’s Own)

  1. To hard boil your eggs set them in a pot and fill it with water so the eggs are just covered. Heat the water on high until it begins to boil. Once the water is boiling cover the pot and reduce the heat to low (if using an electric stove turn off the heat). Let the eggs rest in the water for 12 minutes. After, drain the eggs and cool them under cold
  2. Wash your romaine under cold water and pat dry. To cut your romaine into four pieces slice vertically from root to tip all the way through, then turn 90 degrees and do the same. Keep the cut romaine tightly together and cut through horizontally to create bite size pieces. Set aside in a large bowl.
  3. Diced, crush, halve, and slice your respective ingredients until all of them are prepped into bite size pieces for the salad.

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To plate, I arranged all the ingredients on a cutting board next to the bowl of lettuce and serving plates. This way everyone was able to create a salad with however much of each topping they wanted. I first had this salad when I was 10 years old and haven’t been able to find a replacement favorite since. Despite my earlier teasing about it basically being entirely composed of proteins this salad is actually quite light and will keep you from feeling grossly full on a hot day. Hmm, and now that I think about it this recipe is also great for busy days because it keeps you energized after eating. So maybe all that chicken, egg, bacon, and avocado is a good thing after all.


Mum’s Beef Stroganoff

Here I give you a glimpse of how incredibly spoiled I was a child when it came to food. This was essentially my family’s version of stew and no other beef stroganoff can compare. My Mildred’s beef stroganoff is the most perfect warm, hearty, earthy treat anyone could ask for on a cold day.

deBialokoz Beef Stroganoff

3 Pounds Steak Sliced into Thin Strips (I used Sirloin)
2 Tablespoons Flour
1 Tablespoon Montreal Steak Seasoning
1 Tablespoon Pepper
½ Tablespoon Salt
3 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 White Onion (Diced)2014-07-30 17.12.54
1 Cup White Button Mushrooms (Sliced)
1 Cup Baby Bella Mushrooms (Sliced)
1 Cup Shitake Mushrooms (Sliced)
3 Garlic Cloves (Grated or Pressed)
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
3 Teaspoons Dill
1 Cup Beef Broth
1 Cup Chicken Broth
Sour Cream (Optional)

  1. After slicing your steak pat it dry with some paper towels and place it in a large mixing bowl. Add the flour (I used King Arthur Gluten Free Multi-Purpose), steak seasoning, salt, and ½ tablespoon of pepper to the bowl and toss. Make sure all the steak is evenly coated with flour seasoning.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons oil to a large cast iron skillet and heat on medium. Once the oil is heated add your steak and sauté until just browned. Transfer your meat to a plate and set aside.2014-07-30 17.43.12
  3. Add the rest of your oil to the skillet and heat. Add the onions and sauté on medium heat until they turn transparent. Next, carefully incorporate your mushrooms into the onions. Sauté them until they are just tender and begin to loose shape. Add your steak, garlic, soy sauce (I used San-J Tamari Gluten Free Soy Sauce), pepper, and dill to the skillet making sure everything is well combined.2014-07-30 17.52.25
  4. Turn the heat up to medium high and add your broths. Allow the broths to reduce for 10 to 15 minutes, occasionally stirring to make sure nothing gets stuck to the bottom of the skillet. Once the broths have reduced to a thick gravy consistence you’re ready to serve.2014-07-30 18.04.092014-07-30 18.32.56

I served mine with rice on the side because well… that’s the way I prefer it! Damum would also make it with shoestring potatoes on the side, which I would highly recommend trying as well. You’ll notice I also added a huge dollop of sour cream on the side. God bless the Russians for adding sour cream to everything. I swear, because of my grandparents I accept sour cream mixed with soy sauce as a legitimate dip for fries. Sounds weird, but sweet mother of god it is phenomenally delicious (so creamy, so tangy). Anywho, I hope you enjoy my family’s greatest comfort dish!


Let’s Cook: Chocolate Cheesecake Mousse with Raspberries

I found this recipe on Pinterest last week and could not wait to try it. Before I get into the recipe I have two things that need taking care of. First, I need to give credit to Maya from Alaska from Scratch (website title is linked, go visit!) for coming up with this incredible dessert. Ma’am you are doing god’s work, thank you. Second, I need to address some problems I ran into that were completely my fault for having a kitchen that is entirely devoid of baking supplies. I mean my god, so many hurdles could have been avoided if I just chilled out and went to Target before starting, but NO I wanted my mousse as soon as possible gosh darn it! Herp, anywho the things I didn’t have included multiple mixing bowls and ramekins. Yeah… so when you see my melted chocolate sitting in a ceramic bowl in the photos below it’s because I had to make a mad dash to clean out my only mixing bowl so I could begin whipping the heavy cream in it. My lack of ramekins was less of an issue because I had small cups I could plate with instead. So kids the moral of this story is make sure you have everything you need to cook (including cookware) with before starting because causing an epic battle to erupt in your kitchen that alarms your neighbors and frightens all sane individuals in close proximity is just not worth it. No matter how delicious the mousse. Okay, onto the recipe!

Chocolate Cheesecake Mousse from Alaska from Scratch by Maya

1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream (Cold)2014-07-28 17.03.49
8 Ounces Cream Cheese, Softened
3 Ounces Semi-Sweet Chocolate Squares
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 cup Powdered Sugar
1 cup (Half Pint) Fresh Raspberries

  1. Melt chocolate using a double-boiler (a stainless steel bowl over a saucepan of simmering water) until
    smooth. Remove from heat while you do the next steps.
  2. Add the cold whipping cream to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on high speed until the cream holds a stiff peak. Add the softened cream cheese and beat on medium speed until combined and smooth. Gradually pour in the melted chocolate followed by the vanilla. Finally, add the powdered sugar until it all comes together.2014-07-28 16.53.532014-07-28 16.58.17 2014-07-28 16.59.26
  3. Pipe using a piping bag fitted with a large tip or pour the mixture into 6-ounce ramekins or other small dessert vessels. Top with raspberries, reserving leftover raspberries for serving. Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.2014-07-28 17.12.46
  4. Serve chilled with additional raspberries on the side.2014-07-28 19.04.49

Alrighty, so there’s the recipe for you. Let’s begin the review the same as last time and start with texture. Because of the cream cheese this mousse is quite dense. However, I didn’t feel as if that detracted from the mousse at all. The smooth, creamy quality of the dessert really makes you feel like you’re biting into a crustless cheesecake rather than a cup of mousse. I was able to find a bit of a trick on accident after saving one ramekin in my fridge overnight. It came out with an air-ier, more typical mousse like texture so if you’d prefer your chocolate cheesecake mousse to be on the lighter side leave it in the fridge for a bit longer. Now let’s talk about the flavor… it was heavenly! Maybe because I’m a sucker for raspberries and chocolate, but honestly if you don’t like that flavor combination you may want to go get your tongue checked. It was so incredibly good. Again I was surprised at how much the mousse not only felt like cheesecake, but tasted like it too. I would definitely recommend making this for anything you’re asked to make dessert for because it’s so incredibly easy… just make sure you have all your supplies. Seriously.


Let’s Cook: Cock-A-Leekie Soup!

Well hello everyone! I’ve decided to try something a bit new by… FOLLOWING RECIPES!? Yes! As an attempt to make the blog more interactive I’m going to devote my Sundays to making any one thing from a recipe requested by you! For each step of the recipe I’ll be taking pictures to give you an idea of what your food should be looking like and at the end of the post I’ll give you my thoughts on the final product as well as rate how difficult the recipe was to make. So if you are on the fringe of cooking something, but feel like a tutorial might be in order or are feeling questionable about how it might taste you can check this out first. If you’d like to see a recipe on here post a link in the comments section and I’ll do my best to make it for you!

This Sunday I went with the cock-a-leekie soup from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook and if you’d like to purchase the cookbook I have linked the title to its Amazon page. I bought this book on account of my problem where if I physically enter the Harry Potter section of a bookstore I have to buy something. So whilst out with my friends for brunch one day I decide to stop in a nearby Joseph-Beth to buy a copy of “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” for a friend who was expecting. Now, I’m not sure if you’ve seen the cover of this book, but it is NOT child appropriate. Which is bizarre since it’s supposed to be a book of nursery rhymes for wizard children… someone should really fix that. Anywho, after deciding on an alternative book for my friend I walked back to the Harry Potter section (like a fool) and proceeded to spend a good ten minutes debating the purchase of a limited edition copy of the Sorcerer’s Stone. As luck would have it I spotted this bad boy and bought it instead. This was a fantastic decision because I’ve cooked several of the recipes in here and they have all been phenomenal!

Cock-a-Leekie from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook by Dinah Bucholz

2 Teaspoons plus 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
6 Chicken Thighs (I rubbed mine with Montreal Chicken 2014-07-20 17.34.41Seasoning)
1 Medium Onion, Chopped
1 Pound Leeks, Washed & Cut into ½ Inch Pieces
6 Cups Water (I used 3 cups chicken broth & 3 cups water)
½ Cup Long-Grain White Rice (I used Jasmine)
Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper

  1. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a wide pot (I went with my Dutch oven). Add 3 of the chicken thighs, skin-side down, and cook on both sides until they are golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a large plate. Pour out the fat, wipe out the pot, and add another teaspoon of oil. Repeat for the remaining 3 pieces of chicken.2014-07-20 18.10.39
  2. Pour out the rest of the fat, wipe out the pot, and heat the remaining tablespoon oil. Add the onions and cook until they are translucent, scraping up the fond (browned bits) from the bottom of the pot, about 5 minutes. Add the leeks and cook, stirring frequently, for another 5 minutes.2014-07-20 18.09.472014-07-20 18.15.45
  3. Add the water (chicken broth & water if you’re going with my
    alterations), rice, and chicken. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 1 hour, until the chicken is tender. The rice will be completely soft and almost melted into the soup.2014-07-20 18.27.54
  4. Remove the chicken from the soup. Using a wide spoon such as aserving spoon, skin the fat off the top of the soup. Remove the chicken meat from the skin and bones and chop into bite-size pieces; then return it to the soup. Season the soup with salt and pepper.2014-07-20 19.39.10

At first glance this soup looks very similar to congee, Asian rice porridge typically served at Dim Sum. Which makes sense because by cooking the rice in that much liquid you’re going to end up with rice porridge. To be fair, there is a side note stating that by leaving out the rice and replacing it with 2 cups pitted prunes you can achieve a more authentic recipe. Unfortunately, I didn’t see it until I had all my ingredients in my pot so there was no turning back. Alright, so the soup looks like rice porridge, but does it taste like it? Texture wise
absolutely, but it has a much meatier taste than most Asian based rice porridges. It has a very warm, savory, chicken flavor that reminds me of a heartier version of chicken noodle soup. I would definitely recommend making this on a cool day to warm you up from the inside out. Now go try making this for yourself or leave a recipe in the comments for me to make next week!