Sausage, Bell Peppers and Pasta

This was a makeup Father’s day dinner since I wasn’t able to make it to town that weekend. It’s also a favorite family recipe.

It’s super fast, fresh and simple! Just a smoked beef sausage (or any kind of sausage you have on hand), a couple bell peppers (I usually get the trio pack from the store – red, yellow and orange!), and bowtie or fusilli (the swirly) pasta.

First get the pasta cooking, while waiting for that to get cooked to the preferred chewiness, cut up the sausauge into bite sized chunks and start to heat up in a pan with some oil (I like to use olive). Cook these until they start turning a nice dark brown on both sides. Then add the sliced bell peppers and some seasonings. The original recipe calls for marjoram and basil, but you can use italian or something else entirely!

You want to make sure not to overcook the peppers, Just get them heated through and take it off the heat. Drain the cooked pasta and mix all of it together and combine with a generous handful of cheese!

Voilà! A delicious and quick healthy meal.

My favorite part though, is that this is such a versatile recipe. You can sub for anything you have on hand. Potatoes instead of pasta, throw in other veggies. It can be a different meal every time. Or the same if you find a fave combo!

Experiment and explore the endless realm of cooking!

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Hodori (A Korean Restaurant)

Do you like Korean food? Because I love it. Actually, come to think of it, I just had a post talking about my love for Korean food and the infamous omurice.

At any rate, Hodori is where I went with some good friends for lunch the other day. I’ve actually been several times because it’s the best Phoenix Korean restaurant I’ve found (okay, so it’s the only one I’ve found fairly close by.)

Fun fact time! Hodori means Little Tiger in Hangul (that’s the Korean language, fyi) and the name of the 1988 Summer Olympics held in Seoul, South Korea!I have no idea if the restaurant is paying homage to the Olympics or if the owners just really like Tigers, but their food is good and the staff is friendly.

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Upon first entering, the young Korean staff will (usually) greet us customers with “Yoboseyo.” This is actually a common greeting over the phone. I suppose it’s just the younger generation adapting it to a new situation. At any rate, it always makes me smile when they greet obviously non-Asian customers in Korean.

The dining area is very open and spacious – almost cafeteria style, but with better tables and chairs. The walls are lined with posters of pop-idols and sake and soju ads, and near the door is a collection of Tal-nori   (a masked drama) masks. They have the usual range of kindly old man to jokester monkey to creepy sad/evil faces.

Now that you’ve learned a little bit more about Korean culture we can move on to the food!

I have 2 go-to meals that I tend to order over and over. The dolsot bibimbap and jap chae.

Bibimbap is usually a bowl of cold seasoned and cooked vegetables – like shredded carrots, steamed spinach, pickled cucumber, cooked sliced mushrooms, bulgogi or ribeye beef and an egg over easy on top. Dolsot means stone pot and changes the cold dish into a hot one. They heat up this gorgeous stone bowl throw in a layer of rice to get hot, crispy and sizzling, and put the normal bibimbap fare on top of that. The best part of the hot bowl is when the rice gets all crunchy and starts to brown at the very bottom. I love scraping it off and softening it up in the bowl of potato(I think, or maybe leek or onion?) soup that accompanies the dish.

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Jap chae is a sweet potato noodle dish stir-fried with a variety of vegetables and sometimes beef. It is cooked in a sweetish and spicy sauce. The noodles are translucent and very light in flavor. They have a slightly chewy, slightly slimy texture that is really fun once you get used to it, though admittedly rather difficult to eat with chopsticks. XD

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I could go on about several other dishes, but this post is getting rather long. Also, I once again forgot my camera – sorry! – so the pictures used in this post are taken from the internet. I’ve included the links to the original site (which should provide a recipe should you want to try to make this for yourself!).

I’m just going to leave this post with a dare for all of you to try Korean food if you haven’t, and give it one more try if you already have but didn’t love it!

Golden Chocolate Chip Cookies

I kept trying to find adequate adjectives to describe this crisp-on-the-outside, chewy-and-dense-on-the-inside dream. But nothing would do it justice. So here is the picture. Plain and simple.

I don’t have much more to say. It is a modification of a recipe from allrecipes.com. Unfortunately I lost the original link, so I can’t credit it. =(

I ended up reducing the original amount of brown sugar by half – it was just too sweet before. Now, though, they have a slight caramel taste that is not too overwhelming, simply… mmmm.

It is THE perfect cookie. Even a couple days later. They don’t harden or turn into humidified mush. They are a dream of a dessert and I dare you not to love them.

So go ahead, TRY THEM!!! And then tell me how you liked them or what you did different.

Also, you can NOT forget the extra egg yolk. It is essential in creating that perfect texture I’ve been ranting on about.

Golden Chocolate Chip Cookies
Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon.

4. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.

5. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

The Breakfast Club

The Breakfast Club is a trendy restaurant in Old Town Scottsdale. I was brought here with a couple of foodie friends and absolutely fell in love with it. The place is open and has full length windows all around, so the dining room stays bright and cheery. They even have a small bar area if you want to enjoy some day drinking!

The menu offers some traditional and some more sophisticated food choices. They offer several freshly squeezed juice options and breakfast dranks, if you are in the mood. As far as food, you can get anything from the original egg, bacon and toast breakfast, to an omelete, to challah french toast, to several mouth watering choices of eggs benedict. Can you guess which I went for?

See, when I go out to eat, I try to order those things which would normally be too difficult to prepare myself or that have a really new and fresh take on a recipe. When I spotted the Bello Bene and did a little research on bordelaise sauce on my friend’s handy smartphone, I knew I had hit the jackpot.

The Bello Bene features two eggs benedict, on top of portobello mushrooms on top of an English muffin, some sauteed spinach and sliced tomatos, and smothered in bordelaise and hollandaise sauce. It sounds like a lot, looks like a mess in the picture, but trust me. It was amazing.

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This is one of those plates that just doesn’t translate well into photos.
I swear it didn’t appear this messy when sitting in front of me!

Because you are probably wondering, bordelaise sauce is a classic French sauce made from red wine and bone marrow. It is rich and full bodied and incredibly tasty. Hollandaise is a thick creamy sauce made from egg yolk and butter.

I know you are thinking that sounds too heavy or too many confliction flavors, but somehow they made it work. Every flavor complimented the other and blended so well. It was pure bliss taking each bite.

The dish is also accompanied by some fresh fruit and some southwestern style home potatoes.

I made sure to mop up every last droplet of this delightful creation, and though I was bursting full, I was oh so very happy!

Omurice and Kdramas

A few years ago one of my close friends introduced me into the crazy, antic-ridden, fairytale setup of kdramas. This began a a complicated addiction to the rather sexist world of poor girl meets rich boy and through a series of lies and coincidences ends up marrying him against all odds and traditions. (And if this at all interests you, let me know and I can give you a list of the least sexist and most fun shows!)

But the point of kdramas is that they always feature the main actress stuffing her face (oh most becomingly) with food and drink.

Korean food is one of the most delectable cuisines I have come across. Everything I’ve tried I’ve loved – bean sprout soup, short ribs, seaweed soup, kimchi, bibimbap, jap chae… The list goes on and on. But of all these dishes there is one that is revered above all. The omurice!

Inspired by the series Rooftop Prince, I had decided it was time to attempt this most scrumptious looking meal.

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(Yes, those are late 17th century Korean goofs [the goofiest of all being the crown prince] on an impossible mission trapped in modern day Seoul being fed omurices by the adorable Park-ha [who just can’t catch a break].)

I looked up a bunch of recipes and, getting the gist of the process, proceeded to make my own!

I used whatever vegetables I happened to have (garlic, carrots, broccoli, peas, onion and kimchi!) sautéed that up till soft, added some leftover rice, soy sauce and ketchup and set aside.

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(Please ignore the clorox wipes in the background… They completed eluded my notice until I had eaten everything.)

Then I made a thin omelette with the most basic of seasonings and assembled!

I thought it was going to be tricky, but it was easier than it sounded.

(The process, in case you were wondering, is to put the omelette mostly on the plate – with about a third hanging off the side – put the filling in, wrap the egg around it and tuck it in like a burrito.)

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I decided to top it off with a ketchup heart and then dug in. Doesn’t that just make your mouth water and stomach grumble?

Now excuse me while I go make another one…

 

Please excuse the horrible lighting...

Please excuse the horrible lighting…

A stackable tea set!

A stackable tea set!

 

 

So I took these just to show to a friend, but it’s so cute I need to share it with you. This is the tea set I will be using for all of my tea (and probably coffee and coco) times with friends and family!

It was half off at World Market, and I absolutely adore it.

And to incorporate this into my food blog theme, I also made a cup of fresh mint tea. Mint tea was my first foray into the world of tea. Up until that first cup of aromatic herby hot water, I could not stand tea. It was flavoured water, weak and disgusting. It honestly made me gag. But then a dear friend in high school brewed us a pot of fresh mint leaves and… everything clicked. I finally understood what tea was. It was a new way to experience a flavor. It was refreshing. It was relaxing. It was soothing and energizing. Everything at once. It was a magic elixir to melt the worries of the day away.

So in honor of this new tea set, and in rememberance of that momentous day, I pulled off several sprigs from my (unfortunately floundering) mint plant, tossed them in the pot, poured the hot water over it and waited for them to steep and fill the room with the sweet tangy scent of mint.

Aaaah. Perfection.

The B Line

I was in Tucson for the weekend catching up with my family and eating at all my favorite restaurants in the area. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera for most of them… Sorry! Never fear, I’ll be sure to post about them in the future.

But I DID remember to take pictures at a new restaurant (well, I have tried the desserts before, but never the savory fare). The B-Line is located on the North end of 4th Ave. This is a cute little street full of bars, restaurants, and artsy Southwestern kitch stores. Super full of character (and hippies and hobos) and a much beloved hangout for Tucsonians. I’ve recently made it my goal to try out all the restaurants on the 4 block street, so look forward to those posts in the future!

Now that you have an idea of the area, I’ll move on to the restaurant itself. I don’t know why it’s named The B Line, perhaps a rail road or the old Street Trolley that used to (and soon will again!) run up and down the street. But I do know that it offers a fun and delicious little haven in the sweltering heat. The interior is modern and simple and they make the most out of their limited space with a bar along the front windows – perfect for people watching – and tables situated in a corner nook.

The food is Mexican/Baja California fare – that means burritos, tacos, enchildas, quesadillas, and sopas – that they offer with a variety of wines and beers. And in the corner of your eye you will find one of the most tantalizing revolving dessert displays around. If you don’t come for a meal, come for dessert because they have pies, cheesecakes, mousses, and cookies to sin for.

For lunch with my cousin I decided to try the Carne Asada burrito. This little beauty was full of tender and flavorful carne asada, grilled zucchinni and bell peppers, achiote rice (which is basically Spanish rice) and pico de gallo. I’ll admit I thought it was on the small side, but I was full by the time I took the last bite.

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The burrito also came with a side of tortilla chips and salsa, which unfortunately weren’t that impressive.

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My cousin tried the tortilla soup and it looked amazing (if you squint just right you can see it blurred in the background of the picture above). A light white broth covered with a layer of tortilla chips and cheese. She looked like she enjoyed it, and she must have because she didn’t even offer me a bite! XP

Though neither of us tried dessert tonight, as I said earlier, I have enjoyed a slice of a sugary creation with a glass of wine before, and it was delicious. So the next time you are in the area, be sure to check this place out!