August 27, 2010

munchies from the beach

gotta love them dippin dot
finally  got my blueberry pancake fix
went to stewart's for their rootbeer floats. wound up staying for dinner :)
went to stewart's for their rootbeer floats. wound up staying for dinner :)
crab cake sandwich with an awkward piece of lettuce
ultimate grilled cheese sandwich = american, cheddar, bacon and tomatoes.
also went a little mexican
steak tacos!

a not-so-old memory

Of course as soon as I promise to cook more, what do I have but another restaurant update. Except this one is slightly different. I mentioned this place in my last post about Raw citing that there was a restaurant near my home that has THE best sushi I have ever had, even better than anything I've had in Philly.

Welcome to Bonjung.

This was the place where I fell in love with sushi, where I learned everything I know about Japanese/Korean cuisine, and where I spent the second half of high school working. I was making a quick detour home tonight and realized this would be the last time I could eat at one of my favorite restaurants for a very long time. And who can resist sushi?

Naturally, we ordered all of my favorite rolls :D

last samurai: soft shell crab tempura, cucumber, spicy crunchy mix inside & outside, topped w/ tobiko, scallion & chili sauce

mudslide: tuna & avocado, topped w/ spicy crunchy miso sauce, scallion, & chili sauce

incredible: shrimp tempura, spicy tuna, cucumber, topped w/ seared tuna, white tuna, avocado w/ special sauce, tobiko, & scallion

volcano: shrimp tempura, topped w/ avocado, spicy seafood topping, scallion, eel sauce, & chili sauce

Last Samurai = BEST ROLL EVER

And then there was dessert...

I can NEVER resist tiramisu
Chocolate Hazelnut Cake
After we devoured these 2 babies, the kitchen sent out this complimentary dessert:

I'm not the biggest fan of fried ice cream except this was green tea ice cream.
Needless to say we were all stuffed after dinner. In fact, it is 4 hours later and I am still full...probably not the best idea when we are all going to the beach tomorrow :p

Hopefully I'll get some shots of boardwalk eats on our 3 day trip to the beach!

August 24, 2010

A New Perspective

When I first started this blog, I had intended for it to be more of a reflection of the fun eats that Philadelphia had to offer. However, I quickly discovered that I neither had enough time nor the pocket change to go gallivanting across the city when the mood struck me. What with classes soon to start, I'll have even less time for my frivolities.  With that in mind, I decided to tweak the purpose of this blog. Since I am a college student, and one of the hardest things to do in college is to maintain a a consistent diet - I'll be focusing a lot on quick, simple recipes that I make in my own dorm as well as quick and yummy eats that I find on Penn's campus. There will still be the occasional gluttonous journey downtown and I still haven't forgotten about my tiramisu adventure, but I do think that this new perspective will be more relevant and useful for the readers as well as a motivator for me to keep on cooking :)

Having said that, this is what I had for dinner tonight: (first meal to come out of my new (tiny) kitchen!)

Bi Bam Bap! It is probably my favorite Korean dish of all time. It's so perfect - it has a little bit of everything that is amazing: rice, veggies, meat, egg AND spicy hot sauce. Need I say more? The summer before I started college, I worked at a Japanese restaurant and practically lived off of this dish because the kitchen made it for us for dinner every night. There are so many variations for this dish: chicken/beef, carrots/radishes, spinach, cabbages/lettuce......YUM.

I used a pretty inexpensive piece of meat since we are college students after all :). I think this was a shoulder cut? Any type of meat would work although if you wanted to be authentic, go for bu gol gi. H-Mart also sells pre-marinate bu gol gil for about 6 dollars a pound.
First step: marinating the meat. I used soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, srirachi, and mirin (for a little sweetness).
Used about 2 tbs soy sauce, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp salt, few cracks of pepper, drizzle of srirachi, and 1 tsp of mirin.
Stir fry the vegetables:  used button mushrooms, (shredded) carrots and (strips of) zucchini with soy sauce, salt and sesame oil.
Also blanched some spinach and cut some Romain lettuce.
Cook an egg and put it all over a bed of rice! I like my egg the traditional way with the runny yolk but feel free to cook the egg completely.

What the dish looks like once you mix in the secret ingredient: spicy pepper paste (Gochujang). We didn't actually have any so we went to Koreana and the nice lady gave us enough for dinner and then some. Yay Koreana!

August 22, 2010

Firsts and Lasts

My Canon Rebel xsi came in on Friday! Naturally, I couldn't wait to start snapping pictures and fiddling around with the manual setting. Here are the scenes from the weekend:

last cooked meal at home (and first food shot with the new camera)

Inspired by the brunch I had at Distrito a few weeks back, I made this for my last breakfast at home. Toasted flatbread smeared with refried beans, scrambled eggs with cilantro, fresh tomatoes, sauteed salmon and a crackle of fresh black pepper. I know some people can't stand cilantro but I absolutely love it. My mom put it in practically every dish so naturally, I do too :)

Finally tried Taro Bubble Tea! About time so it is what my blog is named after...Got this one from Koreana. The taste is slightly creamy/milky with a naturally sweet flavor. The bubbles had a great consistency AND I got a a boba tea rewards card. 5 bubbles teas = 1 free one! I shall be frequenting this newly renovated eatery often this semester :)

Kim Bap. Typical but tasty nonetheless.

This baby was SO DELICIOUS. It's not even on the menu. You have to specially request it, I think its "7D"? Basically its spicy chicken with carrots/scallions on a bed of rice, fried egg on top all served in a steaming hot pot. I requested for mine to be EXTRA spicy and surprisingly enough, it actually was! Its so big its enough for two meals :)

Random frolicking on campus :p
That's me on the right with two of my pledge sisters who I saw for the first time this summer!

Helloooo Penn!
(Almost) ready for a new semester :)

August 21, 2010

Late Night Series: Pizza!

A few years back, my dad got really, really into bread making. Ironically, it all started when our bread machine broke and he began to make the bread dough by hand. The surprising result was that the bread turned out much, much tastier and he's been rolling out dough ever since. However, there are some concoctions better left to the automated cook and one of those things is pizza dough.

I think the first time I made pizza was after watching the Food Network's The Best Thing I Ever Ate and there was a feature on a breakfast pizza. My mom doesn't even like pizza and instantly wanted to try that pizza so off I went scouring for good prosciutto, herbs, and cheese.

Now, every so often, I get the desire to make a home-made pizza and with the massive amounts of tomatoes just sitting in our kitchen, I thought it was fitting to make the most classic pizza of them all: the Margherita. A quick history lesson for you, the Margherita pizza came about in 1889 when Queen Margherita of Savoy was served a pizza with the colors of the Italian flag: red, green and white.

So what's in this pizza? Fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. I was surprised to find that this recipe calls for only fresh tomatoes and no tomato sauce but the result is absolutely divine.

Rolling out the pizza dough can be tricky since it is very resilient and doesn't like to be stretched out. What I've discovered is that its best to roll it out as best as you can and then let the dough rest for 10 minutes. It becomes much softer and easier to handle after that. After the ten minutes, I usually just use my fingers to stretch the dough out some more (tried throwing the pizza up in the air once but that didn't end too well :p). It also helps to leave some pocket marks on the dough with your fingers.

I like to drizzle olive oil and herbs on the dough before adding sauce or in this case, the tomatoes. 

Fresh, juicy tomatoes!!
I topped the tomatoes with freshly shredded Mozzarella as well as cubes of Mozzarella and some basil from our garden.

Feeling adventurous, and also because there was SO much dough left over, I made another pizza of my own creation. This one had caramelized onions, pears, Fontina cheese and hard sausage.

Here are the two finished products :D

Margherita - this benefited from a another sprinkle of fresh Basil
I don't know what to call this one! haha. suggestions?
The Margherita tasted the best fresh out of the oven. I wasn't too pleased with my other creation at first because the pears made the pizza really sweet but on the second day, all of the flavors had melded together and it made for an amazing leftover meal :)

As if that wasn't enough! There was STILL dough left over. Soooo, I made some yummy cheesy bread. This was a snap to make. I rolled out the dough to about an inch thickness, drizzled it was olive oil, oregano and leftover mozzarella cheese and voila! This was actually the first to disappear from our fridge the next day.

Whew! We still have a good pound of mozzarella left so maybe I'll make a breakfast pizza on my last day at home. Stay tuned! 

Coming soon: Dessert Galore! A lovely and entertaining visit to Penn's dessert truck, Sugar Philly

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August 18, 2010

Summer Scenes

As promised, here are some snapshots of our vegetable garden, herb garden, and fruit orchard. I wish I could take credit for the bountiful plants and trees but unfortunately, I just snapped the pictures. Props to my dad for his diligent gardening efforts :)

I also ordered my first dslr camer, a Canon Rebel XSI and I can't wait for it to come in! After reading some really great articles on food photography, I decided to fiddle around with my Point and Shoot as I anxiously anticipate my belated Birthday present to myself (..along with the help of my dad).

These are the shots I liked the most (after a little fiddling on Photoshop):

Pear Tree

Peach Tree
Basil aka Best Herb Ever
The Lonely Lime
Over-Ripe Cherry Tomato
The rest of the pictures are a lot softer but I like the semi-muted shades. They are also kind blurry because I still had the camera on a really low ISO from my Macro shots, but I really liked the way they turned out :)

This one's probably my favorite, I tried to recreate the same color temperature for the other pictures but no to avail.
Yellow Crocs :)
Another basket of tomatoes..what to do with them all??
I was so excited by all these pears because it meant making another crisp for dessert (which is already half devoured my our family)
One last Macro shot!

I really had no idea what I was doing when taking the pictures. I just kept adjusting different features on Manual and kept snapping pictures. I actually wore the battery out! (oops). I mostly used the Auto Functions and Curves adjustment on Photoshop. Hopefully my graphic design class this semester will make me a little more proficient. :)