Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Tomato Pesto

Saw this recipe for Tomato Pesto on Serious Eats earlier this year, and we've been making it regularly since. As its super easy to make and quite tasty, I highly recommend you give it a try.

Recipe: Pasta with Tomato Pesto

1/4 cup (one 6-ounce can) tomato paste, preferably organic
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon pine nuts
1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne or crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons tomato juice
2 plump garlic cloves, trimmed, peeled, and roughly chopped
1 pound dried mostaccioli, penne, or rigatoni
Freshly grated pecorino Romano

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

2. Combine the tomato paste, olive oil, pine nuts, salt, cayenne, tomato juice, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Run the motor until you have a smooth purée. Set aside at room temperature while you cook the pasta. (You can cover and refrigerate the pesto, but be sure to bring it to room temperature before boiling the pasta.)

3. Generously salt boiling water; drop in dried pasta. Cook, according to package instructions, until al dente. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of pasta water. Transfer pasta to a serving bowl. Add enough of the pesto to coat noodles generously. Add a little pasta water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if pesto seems too thick. Sprinkle with Romano, and pass more cheese and any remaining pesto at the table.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Tomato Paella

Upon reading about this recipe on Mark Bittman's "Minimalist" column in the NYTimes (See video here), HyeRyung and I both agreed it was something we had to try. However the lack of an oven-safe saucepan, late summer heat without A/C in the kitchen, crappy neighborhood tomatoes, and no saffron, our attempt at homemade Paella had to wait. Yet despite the passing of several weeks, we kept this dish in our hearts, and finally this weekend, we were able to get everything together.

Before locally grown fresh tomatoes go out of season, I highly recommend you give this recipe a try. It is easy to make and absolutely delicious!

Recipe: Paella With Tomatoes

Time: 30 minutes

3 1/2 cups stock or water
1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into thick wedges
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Large pinch saffron threads (optional)
2 teaspoons Spanish pimentón (smoked paprika), or other paprika
2 cups Spanish or other short-grain rice
Minced parsley for garnish.

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Warm stock or water in a saucepan. Put tomatoes in a medium bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle them with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Toss to coat.

2. Put remaining oil in a 10- or 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, saffron if you are using it, and paprika and cook for a minute more. Add rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is shiny, another minute or two. Add liquid and stir until just combined.

3. Put tomato wedges on top of rice and drizzle with juices that accumulated in bottom of bowl. Put pan in oven and roast, undisturbed, for 15 minutes. Check to see if rice is dry and just tender. If not, return pan to oven for another 5 minutes. If rice looks too dry but still is not quite done, add a small amount of stock or water (or wine). When rice is ready, turn off oven and let pan sit for 5 to 15 minutes.

4. Remove pan from oven and sprinkle with parsley. If you like, put pan over high heat for a few minutes to develop a bit of a bottom crust before serving.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Anthony Bourdain Gives Props to Astoria!

I can never say enough to promote our hood -- Astoria and the entire QBoro, but there's nothing like a little external validation ;) I'm also particularly happy that he choose the Kabab Cafe as Astoria's showcase; I can think of no better person than Ali El Sayed to represent us.

"I am insanely jealous of people who live in this neighborhood now..."
Anthony Bourdain

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Happy 231st America!

After having neglected the blog once again (I have a few half done posts in my draft box, I swear!) -- I am finally back with some pics from last nights fireworks display . This year HyeRyung and I decided to try our luck viewing the fireworks from the Manhattan side of the East River (last year I saw them from Long Island City in Queens).

Our goal was to make it all the up to the river somewhere on FDR Drive where traffic was closed and the road opened for public viewing. We nearly made it early this year, however we made it to about 1st Ave and 23rd St by the time the first volley of shells were launched. It was quite a scene to be in the midst of the excited crowd -- as people of all ages, etc began to hurriedly rush as we all heard the first BOOMs. HyeRyung and decided to setup camp just short of FDR, and we were lucky to have caught most of the show as well as find a nice spot where I was able to setup my tripod and capture a few nice shots -- including...

For more please visit my July 4th 2007 Flickr Set!

Friday, May 18, 2007

"All Over You Like Egg on a Bowl of BiBimBap.."

In another sign of the Mothership's increasing influence on global pop culture -- Stephen Colbert throws down in a battle against Korean pop icon Rain.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Rain Dance-Off
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Red Rope Screening

If you're around NYC, and have some time tomorrow evening , please come by the "Red Rope Screening," at the Tribeca Cinemas. You'll have a chance to see some great films, and show your support for some great artists. Per the Tribeca Cinemas website:

The Red Rope Screening will assemble more than 200 leading filmmakers, producers, musicians, artists, designers, and local celebrities, to
celebrate highly acclaimed yet still relatively unknown films and offer ideal networking opportunities.

According the press release by Red Rope Productions, the screening will feature:
2007 "A Nick In Time," by Be Garrett; Sundance/Tribeca/Cannes selection
2007 "First," by DB Woodside/Nick Sivakumaran; in festival circulation
2007 "Spread The Love," by Matt Lilly a.k.a NewguY
2005 "No Menus Please," by Edward Shieh; 20+ international selections
2000 "Mutual Love Life," by Robert Peters; Oscar finalist
2006 "Our Time is Up," by Rob Pearlstein; Oscar nominated

Followed by our networking after-party with DJ Tabu and Stretch Armstrong.

Adidas will also showcase short student-filmmaker documentaries about New York graffiti art for their "End to End" sneaker collection designed by internationally reknown graffiti artists (www.endtoendproject.com).

Two FREE screenings by RSVP ONLY @ 7:30pm @ 9:00pm
Limited seating available.
10pm After-Party.

Wednesday, May 16th, 2007
Tribeca Cinemas, 54 Varick
(and Canal Street)

2/3's of Chai, Matt & Phil

Most exciting for my peoples representing Pittsburgh , is that our friend and filmmaker Matt Lily will be having his film "Spread The Love: A Day In The Life Of Allen Valentine, Freelance Entertainer," screened at this event. And as if having one former yinzer represent on the silver screen wasn't enough -- the soundtrack to the film also includes the song "PB & J" (click for clip) by our boys ChaiBaba, who will also be coming through the city to come see the movie.

For some earlier Matt Lily & ChaiBaba collaboration check out Matt's video from ChaiBaba's
Slow Brewed CD release party shown in the YouTube video below.

If you can go, please remember to RSVP for the movie at Red Rope. And Spread the word!!!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Der mensch trakht ur got lahkht

Need to keep the blog chuggin' along -- so just posting some photos that I just uploaded to a new set on Flickr (click LES, to see the whole set). These were taken just yesterday afternoon, on a trip HyeRyung and I took down to our friend's Matt and Mara, who live in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. As we live in Queens, and work in Midtown or sometimes further downtown, it isn't often we get to hang out in this part of town. Also Matt and Mara have access to a roof which has some of the most incredible views of the city I have ever seen. Next time I'll be sure to take my camera over at night, but until then, check these photos out.

HyeRyung & Mara checking out the view


The last holdouts in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood

Here comes progress!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce

Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce

Marinara Sauce inspired by Lidia Bastianich's Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen as adopted by Serious Eats

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 pounds ripe fresh plum tomatoes, peeled and seeded, or one 35 ounce can Italian plum tomatoes (preferably San Marzano), seeded and lightly crushed, with their liquid
  • Salt
  • Crushed red pepper
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces

1. Heat the oil in a 2- to 3-quart nonreactive saucepan over medium heat. Whack the garlic with the flat side of a knife, add it to the oil, and cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes.

2. Carefully slide tomatoes and their liquid into the oil. Bring to a boil, and season lightly with salt and crushed red pepper. Lower the heat so sauce is at a lively simmer, and cook, breaking up tomatoes with a whisk or spoon, until sauce is chunky and thick, about 20 minutes.

3. Stir in the basil about 5 minutes before sauce is finished. Taste sauce, and season with salt and red pepper if necessary.

Steamed Acorn Squash with Cashew Nut Dressing

Steamed Acorn Squash with Cashew Nut Dressing

HyeRyung found this simple dish in a Korean Vegan cookbook she recently picked up online (송학운 김옥경 부부,의 자연식 밥상, Song Hak Uhn and Kim Ok Kyung's Natural Dinner Table)

The squash are simply chopped and steamed for about 20 minutes or until fork tender. The Cashew Nut Sauce(the book actually calls it Mayonnaise) contains the following:

- One Lemon
- 60g Cashew Nuts
- 25g Onions
- 4Tbspns Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 5Tbspns Honey
- 1tspn Sea Salt
- 1/2tspn Minced Garlic

Once you've assembled the ingredients, just throw them into a food processor and blend until smooth. As with anything, follow your instincts and make any adjustments to the ingredients accordingly.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Resistance is futile...

Edited from a piece originally written in response to the article "Killer Reflection," on Salon.com.

While we continue to search for explanations for the inexplicable acts of Seung-Hui Cho, one thing should be kept in mind. This was the work of an individual who felt obviously felt no connection to any sort of community. From the evidence we have been presented with it seems clear that Cho was completely alienated from his classmates, friends, and family -- Asian, American, or whatever other imaginary construct we would like to assign to him. This being the case, I do not think it is particularly relevant that the accused is of Asian extraction.

I too felt fear that this incident would fuel the flames of the latent hatred and discrimination against Asians in America, however so far I believe the mainstream media has been relatively restrained in this case. Of course the right-wing blogosphere has given us its usual dose of venom, but this is no different than what you would usually find on such sites. What I do find equally abhorrent is the reaction amongst many in the Asian media (especially the Korean Language based media), which I think has been too quick to react to a backlash that has yet to manifest itself. I am not even sure that I know what the Asian community is, and it sure is news to me that we have ever been members of a united community of common values and ideas.

Many news outlets have reported that the Korean-American community feels partly responsible for the actions of Mr. Cho. Well my wife and I also members of the Korean community in New York and while we are certainly loathe to acknowledge that a fellow “Korean,” might be capable of such unspeakable violence, we certainly don’t feel any more responsible than any other member of American society. Even if the peculiarities of the “Korean-American” experience might have contributed to Mr. Cho’s psychosis, many other people including those who fit in the vanilla mold of “Typical Suburban White American Male” certainly have their own issues, and the vast majority has not committed acts of mass murder.

In other words, I feel as though we (whatever that means), in the Asian-American community are simply using Mr. Cho’s acts as an opportunity to air whatever misgivings about we might have about American society, and the minority experience. This has happened to such an extent that many have lost sight of the immediate tragedy.

This is not say that there are not valid issues that need to be addressed; but, perhaps what is most disturbing to so many of us, is that despite all of the indignities that we may have faced as the result of discrimination, we too are just like everyone else, we too are just regular Americans. Seung-hui Cho has done what so many of us have asked for so long. He has shattered the mythology of the model minority. We have been assimilated.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Spring Finally Comes to New York

After enduring an April that has been largely wet and unseasonably cold, it seemed as though spring would never come. Interestingly enough on 4/20, the weather finally began to turn around and by today (Earth Day) it seems as though the planet has finally awoke. It was almost as if the all inhabitants of the city, floral and faunal had suddenly burst forth from their dormancy. Crowds of people filled the streets, parks, bars, restaurants, and whatever other public place would accommodate them. Daffodils,plum, and cherry trees have begun to bless us with their blossoms. Such a time truly enlivens the spirit, and inspires us to live.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Korean New Years (Happy 4340!!!)

February 18th, 2007, marks the arrival of the Year of the Golden Pig: 4340 in Korea. This year my wife HyeRyung took on the challenge of making dinner for the family, just a couple of weeks after we committed to giving up meat for good. Since we are quite new to eliminating all meat products from our diet, our daily menu has been undergoing something of a revolution (read The China Study, to find out what inspired us to give up meat). So we haven't had enough time to completely reinvent our daily meals, let alone one that was exclusively Korean and yet we still wanted to host the family for this most special holiday.

Nowadays the dishes most commonly associated with Korea probably include an assortment of BBQ meat dishes (Bulgogi, Kalbi, etc), BiBimBap (with Beef), and more recently Korean Fried Chicken. The most common main courses in a contemporary Korean New Year's dinner is also usually heavily meat orientated, from beef broths, stews, dumplings, etc, etc, etc...

However, prior to much more recent times, the vast majority of our diet consisted of rice (brown to boot) and veggies. In addition Korea's long Buddhist tradition also preached a vegan lifestyle. In homage to our roots, we decided it was time to test out if we could still do it old school. To quote our friends from a previous meal, "HyeRyung, put her foot in it!"

(see a fully labeled version of the above photo at at my flickr site)

In the end the final menu turned out to be:
  • Duk Mandoo Gook. Soup (from dashima, daikon, shiitake mushrooms, carrots and onions) with Homemade Dumplings (stuffed with tofu, shiitake mushrooms, potato noodles, carrots, onion, green onions and kimchee) and Duk (Thinly sliced Rice Cake).
  • Moo Cho Chol Kwa-il. Finely sliced fruit and vegetables (pear, apple, red/green pepper, and cucumber) wrapped in thin Daikon Slices marinated in vinegar, sugar and salt.
  • Tobu Chun: Tofu Patties (Tofu mixed with chopped carrots, green pepper, green onions, onions, bound with egg and coated in flour).
  • Busut Chap Chae: Sweet Potato Noodles with veggies, shiitake, oyster, and enoki mushrooms.
  • Dotori Mook Moo Chim: Acorn Jelly with Chrysanthemum, Sesame leaves, Nori, and soy sauce dressing.
  • Oven Roasted Mushrooms with Korean red pepper paste, rice syrup, and a touch of diluted soy sauce.
  • Steamed Acorn Squash with Cashew Nut Sauce.
There were a few items left out on this post, but these were the main stars of the feast, and what a feast it was.