Monday, May 26, 2014

Pesto arugula scrambled egg breakfast sandwich

Since I've been home in New York, I've visited Penelope a couple of times on slow weekday mornings or lazy almost summer afternoons. And since the first time I posted about Penelope, not much has changed on their menu and not much has changed in my order. I always go for their Penny egg sandwich, which is scrambled eggs with American cheese and pesto on an English muffin or croissant. It really is so simple, yet so good. To be honest I have not tried any other option on their breakfast menu. 

Well sometimes I just can't get myself to walk down the block to Penelope or it's just so not worth the wait, so I make my own rendition of their pesto egg sandwich. The ingredients are simple, and it really takes less than 5 minutes to put everything together. It's worth the time because once you have a great breakfast, you're pretty much guaranteed a great day to follow. 

Pesto arugula breakfast sandwich (serves 2)
3 eggs, beaten with a sprinkle of salt
1/4 cup milk 
1 tsp canola oil 
1 cup arugula 
2 slices whole wheat sourdough bread 
2 tsp pesto 
black pepper to taste 

1. Heat canola oil on a non-stick pan on low. Add the eggs and milk on to the pan and whisk slowly over low heat until cooked to your desired scrambled egg consistency. 
2. While eggs are slowly cooking, toast the sourdough bread.
3. Once toasted, spread a teaspoon of pesto and about 1/2 a cup of arugula onto each slice. 
4. Top with freshly scrambled eggs and top with black pepper to taste.
5. Serve with your fruit of choice! I used grapefruit slices and pomegranate seeds to add some contrast in color and flavor.

✓ protein
✓ vegetables
✓ whole grains
✓ fiber

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Momofuku Ssam & Milk Bar

David Chang's bo ssam

TL;DR: Grab at least 7 friends and book the sweet and tender slow cooked bo ssam for your next special occasion! 

Booking brunch is usually a hassle as it is, but booking a Mother's Day brunch is always extra challenging. You want to find a place that can comfortably accommodate your entire party, somewhere that is family appropriate, and of course you want something special because it's Mother's Day. After hours of research of all the different possible brunch options in Manhattan and scanning through menu after menu of special prix fixes, I just was not too impressed. Last year we were at Aquavit, so that's a pretty hard act to follow. However, I noticed that Momofuku Ssam just recently started serving brunch, and I figured their bo ssam would be the perfect balance of novelty and sharability, so I went through their unnecessarily complicated sign-in for a reservation system and booked a bo ssam for Mother's Day. 

Before our bo ssam feast, we started the meal with several plates to share: 
  • fresh uni over warm soft tofu - The uni was fresh, but the warm soft tofu threw me off. I would have preferred it served over either cold tofu or warm scrambled egg whites. 
  • dry aged sirloin tartare - This was a delicious beef tartare paired wonderfully with buttermilk. 
  • grilled asparagus with brown butter and bone marrow - Though I couldn't tell if there was actually bone marrow, the brown butter spread was decadent. 
  • smoked salmon buns - Extremely picturesque grilled sesame buns with smoked salmon and a bit of egg salad. Great breakfast alternative! 
  • rotisserie duck over rice with chive pancake - The duck was undoubtedly tender, but the fragrant oiled rice was unfortunately a tad bit too wet. I'm very picky with my rice texture. Also, the chive pancake wasn't pan fried enough! It was neither flaky not aromatic. 
  • spicy pork sausage with rice cakes  - This was a very fancy ddukbokki! The dduk (rice cake) was crispy and fried on the outside and chewy and soft on the inside. Exactly the way it should be. 

And we ate every bit of that before our bo ssam even arrived to the table! By now you must be wondering what in the world a bo ssam actually is. Ssam means wrap, which is commonly used in the form of lettuce at Korean restaurants. The bo is the 8lb pork butt that is served whole at your table accompanied with a dozen oysters, white rice, kim chi, and Cantonese ginger and scallion sauce. The pork butt was so tender that it easily came apart with tongs or chopsticks. It was extremely flavorful and clearly slow cooked for many hours in brown sugar and more sugar. I didn't really get the oysters, but they are surprisingly delicious when eaten with kim chi! All I know is that I ate countless number of bibb lettuce ssams with spoonfuls of jasmine rice (interesting choice) and chunks of fatty pork butt topped with pureed kim chi. Thumbs up, David Chang. 

We skipped dessert at the restaurant and went across the street to Momofuku Milk Bar. As a family, we shared slices of crack pie (which is again caramelized brown sugary goodness), candy bar pie (highly recommended for peanut butter lovers), and the grasshopper pie (eh, not memorable). I remember having the cake balls before, but found them way too sweet, so we skipped those. We also ordered a few cereal milk soft serves with their very salty crush cornflake topping. Cereal milk is the remaining milk when you soak your favorite sweet cereal in it. I don't know what it was, but the cereal milk soft serve is just not as good as I remembered it to be. The flavor just felt a bit off. Oh well. Just pie and maybe cookies next time. And a cute tote bag. 

cold uni on warm tofu

aged sirloin tartare

grilled asparagus with brown butter

smoked salmon buns

rotisserie duck on rice with chive pancake

spicy pork sausage with rice cake

bib lettuce

oysters and pork butt

oyster with Napa cabbage kim chi

cereal milk soft serve with crushed cornflakes

momofuku ssam bar
207 2nd Avenue
New York, NY

momofuku milk bar 
251 E 13th Street
New York, NY 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Chewy Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hello! My name is Linda, and I am notorious for not following the directions on recipes. I'm sure if you have ever baked anything with me, it usually doesn't work out the way it's supposed to. It's mostly because I'm too impatient to measure ingredients. So I really don't know what came over to make cookies with only a 2/3 cup measuring cup and a small spoon. Well actually, I wanted to use all the leftover ingredients in my cupboards before I moved out of Boston.

After emptying out my kitchen, I found that I had a lot of coconut flakes and chocolate chips, so I decided to follow a rough recipe for Anzac (Austrailian and New Zealand Army Corps) biscuits. Anzac biscuits are a popular Australian / New Zealand sweet made with rolled oats, coconut flakes, brown sugar, and golden syrup. The brown sugar and syrup caramelize, giving the biscuits a chewy texture. 

I first following the instructions, measuring out 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of light brown sugar, 1 cup of rolled oats, and a stick of unsalted butter, when I realized that the "1 cups" I was measuring was actually 2/3 of a cup. It really is quite difficult to precisely measure 1/3 cup of anything with just a 2/3 cup measuring tool, so I ended up just improvising it all. I just added more and more dry ingredients until it looked like a dough-like texture and crossed my fingers that it would all come out like cookies. 

In the end, it all worked out and they were crispy, chewy, delicious, and addictive. Of course the one time I make delicious cookies, I have NO idea how much of what went inside of them! But after some experimentation, here's an altered and refined recipe for you all to try. 

Chewy Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
4 tablespoons maple syrup (or golden syrup)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup old-fashioned whole rolled oats (not instant or quick cook)
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
1 pinch salt
2 tbs boiling water
1 tsp baking soda

  1. Melt the coconut oil and add the brown sugar and maple syrup.
  2. After mixing well, stir in the flours, rolled oats, coconut flakes, chocolate chips, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Mix the 2 tbs of boiling water with baking soda. Pour water-baking soda mixture over dough and stir to combine. Mix until it becomes an even dough-like texture. 
  4. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to a week before baking them. 
  5. Preheat oven to 350F, and oil baking sheets. Form 2tbs scoops with at least 1-2in in between each mound. 
  6. Bake for about 9 minutes, or until edges have set and will be just beginning to brown. Bake them up to 12 minutes if you like firmer, crisper cookies.
  7. Cool the cookies before devouring with a tall glass of milk or an iced coffee.