Grilled Panzanella

Grilled panzanella – 6 servings

Good olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 large ripe tomato, cut into 1-inch cubes
10 large basil leaves
3 tablespoons capers, drained
1 red onion, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 3 large pieces
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 3 large pieces
1/2 small ficelle or ciabatta, cut into 1-inch thick slices and sprinkle with parmesan cheese too


Prepare a charcoal grill with hot coals. Brush the grilling rack with olive oil.
In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, mustard, vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.
Place the cucumber, tomato, basil and capers in a large bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss together. Set aside.
When the grill is ready, brush 1 side of the onion slices and the peppers with olive oil. Place them, olive oil side down, on the grill and cook for 4 minutes. Brush the other side with olive oil, turn them over and continue cooking an additional 4 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the grill and place on a cutting board. Slice the peppers 1/2-inch thick, separate the onion rings and add them both to the cucumber mixture.
Brush the bread slices on both sides with olive oil and toast them on the grill until golden. Add them to the cucumber mixture. Pour the reserved vinaigrette over the vegetables and toss together. Serve warm.

Crunchy Baked Pork Chops

I found this recipe from smitten kitchen, which is the first food blog I've ever followed. It's a beautiful blog full of lovely photos and yummy recipes. The photos are almost as gorgeous as this site...which is basically the equivalent of food porn in which people like me go a little OCD. WARNING...If you like photography and love to cook, do not click on that's addicting!!!

I'm realizing the older I get, the more I enjoy pork. I used to think pork was just fatty bacon and never heard of it referred to as the "other" white meat. When cooked properly it has a hint of sweetness and it's VERY delicious. When I say properly, I mean when it's not bone dry. I'm telling you...instant read-thermometer is a wanna-be chef's best friend. You'll NEVER have over-cooked meat ever again!!!

This is a very simple recipe that comes together in a flash. If you're really in a rush, I don't think brining the pork is necessary. I've made pork chops plenty of times and this is the first time I've ever brined them. Honestly, I didn't see too much of a difference although I did find the pork to be a little more salty when brining them. However, that could have been from the fact that I didn't use the dijon mustard called for in the recipe which would have given a nice tangy contrast to the saltiness perhaps. Anyway, this recipe is very good and I served it with simple roasted potatoes.

Crunchy Baked Pork Chops
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
Serves 4

CI notes: This recipe was developed using natural pork, but enhanced pork (injected with a salt solution) will work as well. If using enhanced pork, eliminate the brining in step 1. The bread crumb mixture can be prepared through step 2 up to 3 days in advance. The breaded chops can be frozen for up to 1 week. They don’t need to be thawed before baking; simply increase the cooking time in step 5 to 35 to 40 minutes.

Table salt
4 boneless center-cut pork chops
6 to 8 ounces each, 3/4 to 1 inch thick, trimmed of excess fat
4 slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
1 small shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Ground black pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup plus 6 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
3 large egg whites
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Lemon wedges

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Dissolve 1/4 cup salt in 1 quart water in medium container or gallon-sized zipper-lock bag. Submerge chops, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 30 minutes. Rinse chops under cold water and dry thoroughly with paper towels.
2. Meanwhile, pulse bread in food processor until coarsely ground, about eight 1-second pulses (you should have about 3 1/2 cups crumbs). Transfer crumbs to rimmed baking sheet and add shallot, garlic, oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss until crumbs are evenly coated with oil. Bake until deep golden brown and dry, about 15 minutes, stirring twice during baking time. (Do not turn off oven.) Cool to room temperature. Toss crumbs with Parmesan, thyme, and parsley.
3. Place 1/4 cup flour in pie plate. In second pie plate, whisk egg whites and mustard until combined; add remaining 6 tablespoons flour and whisk until almost smooth, with pea-sized lumps remaining.
4. Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees. Spray wire rack with nonstick cooking spray and place in rimmed baking sheet. Season chops with pepper. Dredge 1 pork chop in flour; shake off excess. Using tongs, coat with egg mixture; let excess drip off. Coat all sides of chop with bread crumb mixture, pressing gently so that thick layer of crumbs adheres to chop. Transfer breaded chop to wire rack. Repeat with remaining 3 chops.
5. Bake until instant-read thermometer inserted into center of chops registers 150 degrees, 17 to 25 minutes. Let rest on rack 5 minutes before serving with lemon wedges.

**I cooked mine on a cooling rack so they would get extra crispy and crunchy on both sides. Sometimes when you cook them directly on a baking sheet the bottom side gets soggy.

Kim-bap (Korean sushi rolls) & Boiled spinach

Wow, I am just a lean, mean, blogging machine. I've posted five recipes over the span of two days...and they've all tasted really good. I'm getting all my blogs in now b/c I won't be cooking that much before the wedding. Today, I went over to my mom's and we made kim-bap, which is the Korean version of a California roll. The ingredients she uses are rice, bulgogi (marinated beef), yellow radish, egg, and spinach. (In the future I will post a recipe for the bulgogi - so many things to cook, such little time) Today we also put in sesame leaves which added a nice clean fresh taste. But feel free to add whatever you like, sometimes she'll also put in kim-chee, long julienned strips of sauteed carrots or fish cake.

Oooh...ahhh....the kim-bap tower

The only recipe I was able to get was for the boiled-marinated spinach b/c she already madethe bulgogi before I got there. The rice you use with this dish has to be a little seasoned as well or else the kim-bap will taste too bland. My mom season's hers with sesame oil, roasted sesame seeds and salt. The rice should not taste too salty but have just a little bit of flavor. The reason being when you combine all the ingredients together for the kim-bap, if the rice has too much flavor the entire roll will taste salty.

Again, since this is my mother, she eye-balls everything so my suggestion would be to season and taste as you go. The only requirement is that you must buy real spinach packaged in budles. You can't make this dish with those pre-washed ready-pac baby spinach in bags b/c you won't get the right consistency. Enjoy!

Boiled spinach

Bundles of spinach
Roasted Sesame oil (dark colored)
Roasted sesame seeds
Garlic, finely minced to taste

Fill your sink with water and swirl the spinach around so all the grit falls to the bottom. Drain the water and repeat about two more times or until there is no more dirt coming from the spinach. Bring a pot of water to a boil and quickly blanch the spinach in batches. As soon as the spinach begins to wilt just a little, quickly remove it and run it under cold water. If you let the spinach wilt too much it will become mushy. Then squeeze out most of the water from the spinach and put into a clean bowl. Season with salt, roasted sesame seeds, garlic, and sesame oil and you're done. (I would give each ingredient one good turn around the bowl as a start)

광어 전 (breaded flat fish)

Here is a photo of 광어 전 (breaded flat fish) with a kim-bap tower behind it. 광어 전 (breaded flat fish) is a very easy dish to make for a light meal. It's basically equivalent to America's fish sticks except instead of a thick breaded coating, we simply coat ours with egg. It's flavorful to eat on it's own or dip it in some flavored soy sauce. The ingredients for the soy sauce are soy sauce, sesame oil, korean red pepper flakes, green onion and some minced garlic. This dip is also great to drizzle over pan fried tofu and dumplings too.

This is not an exact recipe but a cooking method. You can substitue the fish for any kind you'd like. Just make sure you slice it thin.

광어 전 (breaded flat fish)
광어 (flat fish)
오뚜기 부침 (Korean pancake mix)
마늘 까루 (Garlic powder)


Heat a frying pan on medium high heat. Season the fish with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Crack as many eggs as you will need to coat the fish and whisk, season with a little salt. Cut the flat fish into 1 1/2 inch pieces and then dredge it in the pancake pix. Shake off any excess flour then dip it into the salt then straight into the pan. Cook fish about a couple minutes on each side. Lay down paper towels on a plate to capture any excess oil from the fish and serve.

미역국 (Korean Seaweed Soup)

Seaweed soup is a traditional korean soup you eat on your birthday. Technically, my mom says you do not age that year unless you eat it. Since this coming birthday I will no longer be in my twenties :( I am choosing to not eat it for the rest of my life. In Korea, a woman will eat miyeok gook for two weeks straight after she gives birth to promote the health of her and the baby. I don't know if that will be happening for me when I'm preggers, but I have eaten it every year since I was born and it'll be a nice tradition to continue when I have my own little rugrats too.

This is a very healthy soup and you don't have to wait till your birthday to eat it. It warms your tummy on a cold day and tastes great when you eat it with dduk bohk ki (spicy rice cakes) which is what Koreans consider comfort food. I'll be sure to write a post on that one too.

Again, I forgot to take a photo so I got the picture from this site.

미역국 (Seaweed soup) – 2 servings
Dae Lim Me Yuk bran seaweed
4 oz sirloin meat
Sesame oil
Dah shi dah (powdered Korean beef stock)

About one large handful of seaweed and then reconstitute in hot water till puffs up for 15 minutes.
Then rinse b/w hands like you are washing clothes and dunk back in water about three times till no more sand comes out.
Squeeze out some water and cut into 2 inch pieces and put back into empty pot.
Cut meat into small cubes/rectangular sizes and put in same pot as seaweed (as much meat as you think you need)
Put in one small spoonful (regular spoon size) of sesame oil, do not fill liquid all the way to the top of spoon and then put in about same amount of salt and mix all together.
Put on stove top and add a little bit of water about ½ an inch so meat can boil in it at about medium heat so water comes to simmer/soft boil.
Then add in as much water you want to have for the dish then put in 2 cloves of garlic (smashed into a paste) and bring to soft boil for 5 minutes.
Taste and adjust with salt and pepper. Then if still not good taste (which probably won’t be) add in a sprinkling of dah shi dah then taste and adjust with salt. Then simmer for 15 minutes with lid slightly open, not closed.