Turkish Yogurt Soup

1 Jul

I recently bought an EasiYo yogurt maker after getting tired of the dilemma of trying to decipher which store-bought yogurt labeled “plain” was actually plain, which was vanilla-flavored, and which contained more sugar than a can of soda–believe me, you only want to accidentally put sweet vanilla yogurt on your falafel once to lose all taste for ever making that mistake again.  Anyway, I made a batch of unsweetened Greek yogurt, was quite pleased with the fresh and tangy results, and then faced the problem of what to do with a liter of yogurt before it spoils.  Even I can’t drink that much lassi that quickly.

Yogurt soup was the answer–and it also let me play with the mint I’ve been trying to grow indoors!  I started out with a recipe from The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook, tweaking as I went along (as usual).  Since this is not reheat-friendly soup, I didn’t want to wind up with oodles of leftovers I’d have to nurse carefully along over a burner to prevent curdling, so I had to cut some of the measurements in thirds.  I also didn’t add any rice or grain, to avoid excess carbs.

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Review: FELL+COLE Gastronomic Ice Cream in Seoul

23 Jun

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This morning, I found myself musing on the combination of bacon and maple sugar.  I’d heard of an ice cream flavor incorporating bacon, and could imagine that actually turning out quite good, so one whim led to another, and googling led me (with camera in hand and a taste-testing buddy in tow) to a little artisanal mostly-organic ice cream shop in Seoul called FELL + COLE, after a couple of streets in San Francisco, where the owner was inspired in the first place.

 

 

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Herbed Spinach Pasta Salad

2 Jun

herbedspinachpastasalad001Today, I bought a new ‘spice rack’.  There’s been a big agricultural fair at City Hall plaza, near my new house, these past few days, and I keep prowling past all the herbs and plant pots for sale with wishful eyes.  This one, though, was a winner.  It doesn’t take up much horizontal space, it’s stable on its base (for a minimum of cat-related damages), and it’s terribly easy to angle around each segment as needed.  I grabbed the stand, then promptly bought basil, rosemary, and golden lemon thyme to occupy it in my sunny window.  I figure the plants are a lot cheaper than buying the fresh herbs at the grocery store, only to have half of them spoil before I can use them due to getting too cold or too wet or too dry in the fridge or on the way home.  My fridge, by the way, is a beast at freezing things. I haven’t yet quite figured out how to turn the thermostat in there up a bit so it stops icing my water and destroying my green produce.

Anyway, with all these fresh herbs on hand, I decided it was time to make one of my old standby recipes again, a super easy pasta salad.

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Dalkkalbi

25 May

A uniquely Korean food that I’m always a little surprised hasn’t caught on more, internationally, is 닭갈비 (dalk-kalbi).  In Seoul, dalkkalbi restaurants are everywhere. dalkkalbi001
You come in as a group, sit down around a table with a built-in hotplate, and the server brings your chicken to cook in front of you while you wait.  At heart, it’s just spicy chicken stir-fry.  External trappings may include 떡 (ddeok, or rice cake), potato, sweet potato, an assortment of vegetables, mushrooms, glass noodles, shredded cheese, or even a round of fried rice at the end.  Either way, I’ve never met a foreigner who tried it and didn’t like it.

I’ve been telling myself I was going to whip up a batch at home for months, now, but between the move, training for a new job, and general new-home issues, I didn’t find time until today.  I used an excellent recipe, which I really didn’t stray too far from.  The curry powder was kind of a surprise addition, but I tried it and it really works. Anyway, I’m exceptionally pleased with how this batch came out.  Now I’ve just got to figure out what to do with all the leftovers!

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Blueberry Pomegranate Microwave Muffins

30 Apr

And here’s the final entry for my April baking craze…

I’ve had a pomegranate sitting in my fridge for an embarrassingly long time, and no idea what to do with it.  So, I decided to make another batch of muffins, last week, to use up the seeds.

By the way, if you’ve ever wondered how to get the seeds out of a pomegranate with no mess and no fuss?

Fill a big bowl with cool water. Submerge your pomegranate, and cut it in half with a sharp knife.  Once it’s halved, use your fingers to scoop out the seeds and crack the fruit further open, all underwater.  The seeds sink to the bottom, while the pith and peel float to the top.  Simply skim off the chunks of pith and peel, at the end, and drain your seeds.  You’re all set, with no juice staining your fingers, your table, or your clothes.

The following recipe is adapted from one found here.

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Microwave Muffins

30 Apr

Since I’ve apparently decided April was microwave baking month, for me, I’ll round it out with the other two microwave muffin recipes I tried, this month.  These both were hits, though I’d advise having a big glass of milk ready to go, when you eat this one!  This recipe was adapted from one I found here.

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Strawberry Banana Cream Cheese Microwave Muffins

21 Apr

strawberrybananamuffins001My best purchase, recently, has been a set of silicone muffin-cups.  They’re safe for microwave use as well as oven use, and the Rum Double Chocolate Microwave Brownies come out like a dream, with them. Using them is much, much more convenient than using a mug, too.  Anyway, I’ve been doing more experimentation with microwave ‘baking’, using them.  In one round, I made the brownie recipe but added about half a cup of chopped kumquat I had left over from the salsa, and let me tell you, dark chocolate, coconut rum, and kumquats? Great pairing.  In the next, I could no longer find kumquats in my neighborhood, so bought a carton of strawberries instead, and made a rum-less version to use up some milk chocolate chips I wanted to get rid of.  That variation was a bit too sweet for my tastes, but they seemed to go over well at work.

Anyway, all of this left me with most of a carton of strawberries to use up before they went bad, and then someone gave me a couple of bananas, which I don’t usually eat on their own.  I decided to kill two birds with one stone and whip up something using both fruits.  Google, as usual, led me to a helpful recipe, and I figured I might as well discover whether an oven-baking recipe would work in the microwave as well.

(Spoiler alert: It did.)

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