sites of note

29Nov08

Today’s theme: sites without important vowels.

Cookstr is in beta testing, but it looks like it has a lot of potential – I see a lot of my favorite authors on there already (hi, Mark Bittman!). You can sign up to receive updates for when it launches MyCookstr, which will allow users to save recipes, etc.

Noodlr is a random noodle combination generator. The dishes I saw sounded a lot more delicious than I had expected.

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great for beer, not for Thanksgiving

great for beer, not for Thanksgiving

I CANNOT STOP STEALING FROM JOHN HODGMAN. I am sorry, Mr. Hodgman. You are just too brilliant.

At any rate, on this holiday last year I was eating fried chicken after having spent the better part of an hour searching for a chicken joint. It was the longest time we ever spent looking for a 치킨식당, which can ordinarily be found approximately every .5 miles. (I guess it’s 0.804672 km in Korea.)

Of course, this is a false attempt to solicit my readership’s pity, as I had spent the previous weekend dining on the finest Thanksgiving dishes with the US Ambassador to Korea (true story!). Nonetheless, on that particular day it was very hard not to think about pie, even though I had eaten it only five days before.

So here is a list of foods and food-related things I am thankful for this year.

  • Ovens. I had no idea how often I used ovens until they were taken away from me. A year is a long time to go without baked goods. (And a lot of other things, but in this case, baked goods.) Korean cuisine generally isn’t baked, so they’re not common. In my house in America, however, we have two.
  • Desserts not made from rice. I am as fond of glutinous rice cakes as the next person (lie: I hate glutinous rice cakes), but they are not HOT, they are not GOOEY, they are not COVERED IN CRISP TOPPING or ENCASED IN PIE CRUST, they are not accompanied by cinnamon-infused apples or the delicious salty-sweetness of good cookie dough, and they cannot be sliced or scooped, thus making them difficult to eat communally. The only bonus is that they come in fun colors.
  • Stuffing. My mother’s stuffing is terrific. She hasn’t made it this way all my life – I would say maybe the last third or so – but it contains within it multitudes of apples and nuts and sausage, all brought to a squishy (and yet crisp) texture by that sweet, sweet oven.
  • Cheese. Cheese doesn’t play a huge role in our Thanksgiving, but I can’t express my gratitude enough times that it has come back into my life, even if it’s not relevant. Thanks again, cheese.
  • Food labels I can read.
  • Pecan pie with whole – not chopped – pecans. I am not thankful for chopped-pecan pie.
  • And, of course, my lovely American family with whom I can share this food. I miss my Korean fams too, of course – both my host family and my family of friends – but right now, I’m pretty happy with my mashed potatoes here in the good old U S of A.

Now go make Pumpkin Pound Pudding with your leftovers.


img_3566

I know I haven’t written here in a while, but then I got a comment from Stef at the Cupcake Project, which is the first comment I’ve received from someone whose recipes I’ve made. (Still waiting, Paula Deen.) Then I felt bad, because her comment raised the possibility that maybe people are reading my blog and feeling disappointed about the lack of updates. Um, maybe. (I thought about trying NaBloPoMo again this year, but I’ve been doing that with a side project.)

Anyway, all the cool food blogs are doing Thanksgiving collections, but I’m not going to pretend that I have enough recipes for that. But I CAN offer a terrific seasonal leftover recipe: Pumpkin Pound Pudding.

Continue reading ‘pumpkin pound pudding’


I promise to you that I am not biased against cupcakes in their purest form. I’m quite fond of them. But our original plan was to make Paula Deen’s Gooey Butter Bars, which Tyler objected to on the grounds that they were “too rich” and he would therefore only be able to eat one per day (as opposed to inhaling mass quantities of them). So we settled on Snickerdoodle Cupcakes from The Cupcake Project, which is a little bit like saying that you’re worried about the health effects of cigarettes so you’re going to smoke a bowl instead. In other words, potato, po-ta-to.

I will say, however, that these little cakes survived the hybridization process much better than their muffin brethren.

Continue reading ‘more variations on the cupcake theme’


the real McCoy

05Aug08
pastor torta, Volcanoes Bakery

om nom nom nom nom

Despite the fact that I live in the throbbing cosmopolitan heart of the Tri-Cities Tennessee area, quality ethnic food is not as easy to come by as one might suppose. Even though we do possess a multitude of families from other countries (maybe twenty, not counting my own), there’s not a huge selection of non-American, or non-Americanized, restaurants to choose from.* And while I’m not trying to hate here – I used to daydream about cheese-laden enchiladas during particularly kimchi-heavy days in Korea – I have long wanted to learn about more “authentic” Mexican food, the kind with higher quantities of lard. I sought my dream in vain, I thought, until my dream found me, and revealed its name: Volcanoes Bakery The Real McCoy, home of the best tortas I have ever eaten.

Continue reading ‘the real McCoy’


marshmallow + vanilla

marshmallow + vanilla

Miguk Momma is a classicist when it comes to birthday parties. Tres leches cakes and yogurt ice creams have their place around here, but when it comes to celebrations of life, pure, unadulterated sugar is the order of the day.

Which begs the question: is there a way to increase the indulgence factor of that birthday standby, vanilla ice cream, without substantially altering its character? A: yes. BY ADDING MARSHMALLOW. Laugh if you will, you fans of espresso granitas and you Tahitian vanilla bean enthusiasts, but I guarantee that a bite of this ice cream will send you rummaging for the frosting. And remind you why sometimes adult flavors are boringly overrated.

Continue reading ‘cake and ice cream, v. 1’


sweet tart(e)

03Aug08

I really like Clotilde Dusoulier, which is a less creepy way of saying that I totally want to be Clotilde Dusoulier. While Appalachia certainly has its charms, there are days when I would very much like to be wandering the marches of Paris, two books under my belt, sampling saucissons and contemplating the new trend of rose-flavored pastries in the many patisseries I frequent. Needless to say, Johnson City has no rose-flavored pastries, although we do have more smoked-pig products than any city in France.

So when Miguk Momma returned from that time when she left me to deal with five hundred squash alone, I was thrilled to learn that she had acquired a distinct affinity for Parisian pastries. Seizing the opportunity to finally try one of Clotilde’s recipes for myself, I enlisted her help in embarking upon a culinary journey that would ultimately lead to a very short-lived tart indeed.

Continue reading ‘sweet tart(e)’