Our 4th of july 2021

Hope everyone who celebrates had a safe and fun 4th of July holiday. Our 4th of July this year was very different from last year’s celebration. In contrast to last year where everyone on our street and all over the Bay Area came out to blast the evening away, no one on our street lit any including Mr Sweetie who looks forward to lighting fireworks year after year. We did not want to light fireworks in respect to city officials’ requests to hold off due to threats of wild fires. Of course, it still did not prevent people from lighting even a week before July 4.

We spent July 4th weekend finishing up renovating the kitchen floor. Well, he did all the work but I spent all of Saturday putting things back and reorganizing after the final tile was dry enough. We were so pooped that it was pizza night delivery that evening. All the hard work was so worth it, though. Mr Sweetie did a fantastic job and I have a beautiful new kitchen floor! For Sunday, July 4th, I cooked up a storm. On the menu:

  • Tomatoes, avocado, red onion and lime salsa served with tortilla chips
  • New York steak for him
  • Salmon for me
  • Sides: Twice baked potatoes and corn on the cob
  • Berry Cobbler for dessert

HOW I COOKED THE STEAK AND SALMON:

I was proud of myself for making this meal. The steak was perfectly medium rare. I seasoned the steak with salt and pepper, and seared it first on high heat (using a combination of vegan butter and oil) then lower the heat to medium. I cooked it for about 8 minutes on one side then about 6 minutes on another. As you can tell, the salmon was still raw in these photos. I waited until the steak was done and let it sit for about 10 minutes to let the juices return to the meat. Then I cooked my salmon in the steak oil and juices until it was just little bit done but still pink in the middle. It gave the salmon a nice flavor of the meat but the taste of the oil and butter were not overwhelming. Plus I was trying to be efficient and creative.

I will let the photos do the talking at this point. I hope to post the recipe for my Berry Cobbler next.

Have a lovely summer season!

Korean red chili pepper stew (gochujang jjigae)

A Korean-American friend of mine told me a while back that I must have been Korean in my previous life. I just love Korean food, even dishes that she thought would be too spicy for many people. I used to devour her homecooked lunch. LOL!

Continue reading “Korean red chili pepper stew (gochujang jjigae)”

Easy garlic noodles (vegetarian version)

First of all, this is not a sponsored post. In fact, this recipe does not even contain Sriracha in it. LOL! I just could not resist getting the Sriracha mug set last Christmas. It is just the cutest gift set for Sriracha lovers which included an oversized mug, chopsticks, chopsticks holder and a small bottle of this Asian hot sauce.

If you have had a chance to dine at Crustacean or Thanh Long in San Francisco, then you probably understand Bay Area residents’ obsession with garlic noodles. (Thanh Long is Crustacean’s sister restaurant.) Not just garlic noodles but THE GARLIC NOODLES served at Crustacean or Thanh Long. Many people from the Bay Area tried (still trying) to duplicate this signature side dish from these San Francisco institutions which are known for roasted Dungeness crabs paired with a plate of buttery, garlicky garlic noodles.

I tried recipes in the past given to me by friends who swore by “It is exactly like the garlic noodles from Crustaceans!” NOT! Not even close. Now, I would not say that the garlic noodles on this post is like Crustacean’s. Honestly, it has been years since I dined at this San Francisco restaurant so I sort of have forgotten what their signature side dish would taste like. However, this Quick & Easy Garlic Noodles that I have adapted from Budget Byte’s recipe is very good. I have made this dish twice, and both times, it was hard to stop eating. It is so comforting and addicting!

I am posting a vegetarian version of this dish (and that can even be made vegan) because I am planning to post a non-vegetarian version in the future (also very, very delicious) that contains fish sauce. This dish is also really so easy to make that you probably already have the ingredients in your pantry. Let us start cooking!

Easy Vegetarian (Vegan) Garlic Noodles

  • 1 lb (16 oz) angel hair pasta or spaghetti noodles
  • 8 cloves garlic to 1 head garlic (8 cloves garlic is the minimum)
  • 3 bunches green onions (sliced and save some for toppings)
  • 4 TBSP vegan butter (for non vegan version, use regular butter)
  • 3-4 tsp soy sauce
  • 1-2 TBSP brown sugar (see my note)
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2-3 TBSP vegetarian oyster sauce (use regular oyster sauce for non-vegetarian or vegan version)
  • Parmesan cheese (for non-vegan version) Totally optional

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a small bowl, combine oyster sauce, brown sugar, soy sauce and sesame oil.
  2. Cook the noodles according to the package directions until al dente. Do not overcook. Drain noodles then set aside.
  3. While the waiting for the pasta to finish cooking, mince the garlic and slice the green onions.
  4. Melt the butter in a large pot or skillet over medium-low heat. Sauté the garlic and green onions in butter until they are soft for about one to two minutes.
  5. Turn off the heat. Add the drained pasta and sauce mixture to the pot. Stir well to coat the pasta making sure that the garlic and green onions are distributed throughout the pasta.
  6. Top the pasta with any reserved sliced green onions, then serve. (Top with parmesan cheese for non-vegan version. Optional.)

MY NOTES

  1. This noodle dish should not be dry or soupy but still moist. If dry, add a little bit of pasta water then mix again. If too soupy, drain your pasta better next time.
  2. I used Mykonos vegan butter. It is a very good brand. Mr Sweetie was not able to tell that it was vegan until I told him.
  3. If you want the dish to be creamier, you can add 2 more tablespoons of butter but I refuse to! Four tablespoons were more than enough that I can handle without feeling like I am clogging my arteries even with vegan butter.
  4. Do not scrimp on garlic! This is garlic noodles after all! Add as many garlic cloves as you could bear to peel and mince. The more the merrier!
  5. Oyster sauce is not vegetarian. It contains oyster extracts. Use the vegetarian version if you want to make the dish vegetarian. You can also use Hoisin sauce which is vegan. It is just a little bit sweeter than oyster sauce.
  6. As it is always my practice when cooking, I taste sauces separately first before adding to the dish. I found that 1 tablespoon of brown sugar is enough for me. Two tablespoons are too sweet but find out for yourself what your preference is by adding one tablespoon of brown sugar first on step #3. If you prefer sweeter, add more sugar.
  7. This dish can be made non-vegetarian or non-vegan. Just use regular butter and oyster sauce.
  8. If you can eat dairy or you want non-vegan, add grated parmesan cheese. I promise you, it is fabulous!