Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hoddeok (Sweet pancakes with brown sugar syrup filling)

Lately I've had a mild obsession for Korean food. I just can't get enough and I'm craving it constantly. Being my boring self, I've spent a lot of time searching recipes for Korean food. Then again I see nothing wrong in that because Korean food is absolutely delicious! I've been following the wonderfully talented cook, Maangchi, on youtube most recently. All of her recipes and videos look delicious. After making many of her recipes, I came to the realization that Maangchi is absolutely wonderful!!! Her recipes are usually quite straightforward and always delicious.

Recently I tried out her Hoddeok recipe. Hoddeok is basically a pancake filled with sugar syrup inside. It is a recipe popular street-side snack in Korea...and I know why. It's beyond delicious. It's slightly chewy, it's soft, it's sweet, and it's nutty. Believe me, if you decide to make this, you absolutely will not regret it. Enough with the chit chat, here's the recipe and some pictures to go along with it.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Linguine with parmesan crusted chicken

This is a very simple pasta dish that can be made very easily after a hard day's work. All you need is some tomato sauce, chicken breast, bread crumbs, and your favorite pasta. I created this recipe right before I decided to cook dinner for my family. I knew that I wanted to make pasta and I just so happened to have some fresh tomato sauce in the fridge, so I decided to create my own very simple recipe. Because I didn't really pay attention to what I was doing, the measurements may be off so you may have to adjust some things.

This was actually the first time I used parmesan breadcrumbs and pancetta. I never found any use for pancetta before, but now that I've used it, I know that it's something I'm going to use in my pasta dishes often. It's so crispy and just salty enough. In my opinion it's better than bacon because it's much thicker so there's more flavor.

Linguine with parmesan crusted chicken:

makes 4 servings

1 pound linguine
1 cup chopped pancetta
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 chicken breasts
1 egg
1 1/2 cup parmesan bread crumbs

In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook linguine until it is al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, and set aside.

In a bowl, beat one egg. In a separate bowl, pour in the breadcrumbs. Cut each chicken breast in half and pound them out slightly. Heat a large skillet with 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is heated, first dip the chicken slices into the beaten egg, then coat the chicken in bread crumbs and cook in the skillet until both sides are brown and crispy (about 5 minutes each side). Cut into slices and set aside.

In another large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is heated, cook the pancetta until it is brown and crisp. Once the pancetta has crisped, add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. After about 30 seconds add the tomato sauce and cook for about 5 minutes, just until the sauce is heated through. Toss the cooked linguine with the sauce and let the pasta finish cooking in the sauce, about 3 minutes.

To serve, place the pasta in a dish and arrange the chicken slices on top of the pasta.

This dish is wonderfully easy and absolutely delicious. It's surprisingly light and fresh tasting. Feel free to add some diced onion along with the pancetta if you want some more texture since the onion in the sauce becomes quite soft. I served the pasta with "perfect crusty bread" I made the day before. I highly recommend you make this dish if you're not in the mood to slave over the stove. It's absolutely delicious.

Happy Cooking!

Basic Tomato Sauce

For a while now, I've wanted to make tomato sauce from scratch. I got so tired of using the canned stuff but I was always too afraid to make my own sauce. I would always look at recipes and watch videos on how to make tomato sauce, but for some reason I never really attempted it....that is until recently.

I know I'm not the only one who watches Chef John's videos on youtube. He's an amazing chef and makes the tastiest looking food. So as I was watching his latest video, I came across his basic tomato sauce recipe and watched the video. As I was watching it I realized it didn't seem that difficult to make sauce from scratch. So that's how I came to the decision of trying to make tomato sauce.

You can find this recipe on youtube or you can visit his blog. There are so many different recipes to try out and everything looks delicious.

Basic tomato sauce recipe:

2 cans (28-oz) whole peeled San Marzano plum tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 rib celery, fine dice (I didn't use this since I didn't have any)
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
pinch of red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon anchovy paste (I didn't use this since I didn't have any)
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley

water as needed
In a dutch oven, sweat the celery and onions with the olive oil over medium-low heat. Cook the mixture for about 15 minutes, until the celery and onions become golden brown. 
Pour the whole tomatoes into a large bowl, and with your hands, crush the tomatoes. The tomatoes should almost have the consistency of a puree. 
After 15 minutes add the garlic, salt, sugar, herbs, red pepper flakes, anchoy paste, and white vinegar. Turn up the heat to medium and cook the mixture until all the liquid has evaporated. You do not want the mixture to brown or form a crust on the bottom of the pan. When the liquid has almost completely evaporated, add the tomato paste and cook for about 2 minutes. 

Next, add the crushed tomatoes and chopped parsley. Stir the sauce and add a splash of water. Let the mixture simmer. (You will be adding water about every 10 minutes.) When it comes up to a simmer, turn the heat down to low and simmer for 1 hour 30 minutes. Stir the sauce every 10 minutes when you add the water. After 1 1/2 hours, the mixture should be nice and thick. Serve on top of your favorite pasta and enjoy!

This sauce is very simple and it is absolutely delicious. I never thought I'd be able to make such a wonderful sauce, but I did. Really, it's a very yummy sauce. I made some linguine and parmasean bread crusted chicken and served it to my family. They loved it. My dad devoured the meal in 5 minutes. I guarantee this is going to be your go-to tomato sauce recipe after you make this. It's so great and I definitely think you should try it out! 

Happy Cooking!