Archive for the ‘cooking’ Category

Many (belated) thanks to Yarnnut at gailknits who gave me a “You Make My Day” award. Here’s how it works in her words: “Give the award to up to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel so happy about Blogland! Let them know by posting a comment on their blog so that they can pass it on. Beware! You may get the award several times!”

So it’s my turn! I enjoy reading many, many blogs, most of them craft related. Here are ten nine that I take particular inspiration or pleasure from, in no particular order.

  • Geckogrrl of All in a Day’s…. I always feel privileged to read her crafty and emotionally honest posts, and genuinely look up to her. Thanks again for all the encouraging posts through my dissertation and career decisions!
  • Robyn of crochetbyfaye is an amazing design talent. I always look forward to seeing what she comes up with next. Her pattern sneak previews are tantalizing and leave me impatient for the day they get published.
  • Futuregirl has got talent and dedication to craft. Kudos to someone who tries to make a living out of doing what they love.
  • Lily of LilyGo designs and knits perfectly tailored, fine-gauge garments with a demure feminine sensibility.
  • Hannah of Bittersweet maintains a fabulous blog on craft and vegan desserts chock full of beautiful ly composed photos and witty amigurumi stories. She is only 19 years old. And has already published a dessert cookbook.
  • Mariannealice of Applehead specializes in collages and cartoons as well as crochets and knits. She has a distinct soft, charming aesthetic. I also love the photos of her two beautiful daughters because they remind me of me and my sis growing up.
  • Milobo of Without Seams is another fellow ambicrafter (that is, she both crochets and knits). I identify with her because of her affinity for the technical aspects of yarncraft design and for seamless garments. Wish I could finish projects as consistently!
  • Yarn Abuse is a hapa Korean gal (or so I assume based on her kimchi tchigae post) with fierce knitting skills, legions of regular readers and the self-deprecating wit of a Jewish comedian. Since so much of that wit is directed at her (imagined fat) ass, the feminist in me shrinks a little but she is still fun to read.
  • Last but not least, my friend Dotorious Judy of Otherwise is a fellow foodie and 1.5 generation Korean American leftist. I highly recommend checking out her “Missionary” comics based on her dissertation project.

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Raw Fish, Anyone?

A great reward after two and a half hours of bike riding (on bike routes from the Alameda shoreline to the Oakland Airport and back):

Berkeley Bowl has an amazing fish section, including reasonably priced sushi grade fish. I picked up some tuna along with a seasoning package with which to make poke and planned a chirashi sushi dinner.

The great thing about chirashi sushi is that you start with seasoned rice and then get creative with the toppings. I added: gari shoga (pickled sliced ginger for sushi) , beni shoga (shredded red pickled ginger), avocado, lightly dressed sliced cucumbers, fukujin zuke (a sweet mixed pickle that you usually eat with Japanese curry), and a Korean shredded daikon pickle (which I probably would not use again for this, as the smell is strong). I also added tamago, a special omelette that can be made into nigiri sushi. In retrospect I should have added shredded nori, but it was still delish.


In addition to miso soup, I served horenso no goma-ae. Spinach with sesame dressing. I was thrilled to finally learn how easy it is to make, using a recipe from an English/Japanese basic recipe booklet brought back from Japan by my partner. Fresh spinach is blanched, immediately rinsed with cold water, squeezed, then chopped. Dressing: toast several tablespoons sesame seeds in a pan; coarsely grind; then mix with a little sugar, pinch of salt, and just enough soy sauce to form a coarse paste. Hand-mix spinach and dressing together; mound on a plate to serve.

Edited on September 15, 2007.

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$5 Trader Joe’s bouquets have been exploding with stargazers.



I’m still new at this photography thing. Focus, focus! Anyway, I gathered some heirloom tomatoes, red bell pepper, a sweet Armenian cucumber, and red “spring” onions at the farmer’s market and made some refreshing gazpacho. But no recipe, since I forgot to take a pic of the soup!

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What to cook for a guest on a hot day? It was a friend visiting from New York, so I wanted to serve something special. At the neighborhood fish market, I splurged on a really nice cut of ahi tuna. Then I went home and improvised.

Seared Ahi & Soba Noodle Salad

Sesame and cracked pepper crusted, seared ahi (chilled) on a bed of wilted spinach, on top of miso flavored, chilled soba noodles, on top of a salad with a miso or light rice vinegar dressing. The key is high quality tuna. The cracked pepper lends piquancy, the sesame and soba a rich earthy nuttiness, and the dressing(s) a balance of acid, salt, and a slight sweetness. The dish pairs well with a crisp white wine or, my favorite, soju.

Seared Ahi & Soba Noodle Salad - detail

Recipe follows. Keep in mind that this is a modular recipe; you can cook one component or substitute parts. (more…)

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This is a yummy dish that you can quickly whip up for one, or two, or a dinner party of four. You can serve it as an appetizer or as a side vegetable. It’s especially good with fish or steak. It’s so good that it almost never makes it to the dinner table at our house; my partner and I stand around the kitchen eating the spears with our bare fingers while the rest of the food is cooking.

I first tasted seared asparagus from the grill, but learned that you can get nearly the same flavor from high-heat cooking in a frying pan. The key is not to overcook it.

RECIPE:  Pan Seared Asparagus


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Kimchi Chigae

Kimchi chigae. A hearty, spicy stew made from kimchi. Kimchi, in case you’re wondering, is lacto-fermented napa cabbage made with lots and lots of red pepper. Think of it as piquant sauerkraut. Also made with daikon radishes or other veggies, kimchi is the soul of Korean cuisine.

Like most Korean Americans, I don’t know how to make kimchi and just buy it at the store. It’s tough but I try to find tasty and MSG-free brands.

I’ve always wanted to make kimchi chigae but assumed it must be insanely complicated. Then one day, with a slightly overripe jar of kimchi in the fridge, I ran across this post by Yarn Abuse. I’m actually pretty good at amalgamating recipes, so after an extensive survey of online recipes, I came up with this:


Recipe follows. (more…)

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Today is a beautiful, warm, sunny day. So I took the Black Quartz sweater off the manikin and have been wearing it about town:


This is from the Smoky Quartz Tunic in Interweave Crochet Fall 2006, with additional body shaping and Lion Babysoft.  The most wearable thing I have ever made.  And it’s comfy. I was going to add sleeves, but it looks so cute with a cap sleeve that I’m thinking about leaving them off. Any opinions?

Alas, knitting has been a trial.  I started a top-down raglan with a Knitware-generated pattern using Bernat Softee Chunky, thrilled about how quickly it was knitting up. Then I discovered that the stitch counts were completely screwy.   Could the problem be that it’s a free trial version?  But I knit about 3 more cables on the wristwarmers. Patience, patience.

I wanted to show off my latest cookbook acquisition:



I was depressed about something or other and wandered into the neighborhood bookstore for some restorative shopping. I saw this book by Madhur Jaffrey and couldn’t resist. First time I heard of her, she was on National Public Radio (NPR) describing her childhood food experiences in the most delectable, mouth watering terms. Like resting ripe mangos to cool in an icy mountain stream, rolling and squeezing the fruit, and piercing it to suck the cold, juicy pulp. mmmm.

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