spicy pork sandwich from seoul sausage company

spicy pork sandwichSeoul Sausage Company started as a food truck – I remember first encountering it years ago in K-town at a food festival in a small parking lot. I somehow managed to have too many tickets to redeem for food and ended up eating TWO sausages from these guys, on top of full meals from other trucks. Incredibly, they were still enjoyable.

Now they have a more permanent location in Little Osaka: a storefront off Sawtelle that’s poppin’ even on weekdays. They’re a down to earth spot with great staff; even though I’ve only been inside once (so far!) I remember how nice the guy was behind the counter when we couldn’t decide what to get. I’m pretty sure he gave us free drinks when we realized we forgot to order them.

seoul sausage coJon brought me take-out from Seoul Sausage Company last night – a Spicy Pork Sandwich. He’d eaten there and ordered the Poutine, which he described as a creamy french fry dish.

The sandwich buns threw me back to earlier childhood days, when burgers were a simpler affair. My first bite was actually quite spicy – much hotter than any other bite into the sandwich. I think I may have bitten into a rouge and substantial chili or something since none of the other bites had the same amount of heat. In fact, aside from the echo of that first spice, “sweet” is how I’d describe this sandwich.

The apple cabbage slaw provided a creamy respite to the heat of that first bite, but I’m not the biggest mayo person, so as I continued to eat, it was a bit much. The patty is the star of the show here, and I made sure that for my last bite, I savored it alone—sans bun or slaw!

I’d recommend it as a new blend of flavors to try, but think that next time I’d like to try one of their balls instead =D

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simple pesto aioli chicken wrap

pesto chicken wrap

Here’s a quick lunch you can take to work and a snazzy way to eat up those chicken breasts.

lavashJon loves flatbread and we’ve found  that Trader Joe’s lavash is pretty awesome and easy to use. It’s already cut into a handy rectangle that happens to fit perfectly into my toaster oven and is easy to roll up. Unlike other flatbreads we’ve encountered, it also holds together pretty well after being toasted and rolled.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp mayo
  • 1-2 Tbsp Pesto sauce
  • 1 piece lavash flatbread
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1 cooked chicken breast, sliced thinly
  • 1 1/5 cups chopped spinach
  • 1 sliced tomato (optional)

To make:

  1. Combine the mayo and pesto. This is your pesto aoili!
  2. Spread evenly on the lavash
  3. Cover with shredded mozzarella
  4. Toast until the cheese is just melty
  5. Spread the chicken strips on top, about 2/3 of the way across the lavash
  6. Add the chopped spinach on top of the chicken
  7. Optional: Add sliced tomato on top of the spinach (this helps to keep the tomato in the middle of the wrap and avoids a soggy wrap when lunchtime comes around)
  8. Roll tightly, starting with the spinach/chicken covered side
  9. Cut in half diagonally for added style points. Stick 2 toothpicks in each half to keep it from unravelling in transit.

 

garlicky greens

Garlic Spinach
Sautéing greens is super easy, and they cook quickly.

I like to add garlic to mine for flavor (and health benefits!). When I’m feeling fancy and don’t mind the extra time, I’ll chop up some onions too.

How to cook fresh greens:

  1. Add some oil to a warm pan. Use whatever you’ve got handy (olive oil, coconut oil).
  2. Add garlic (optional). You can add a whole clove as is, minced, or crushed.
  3. (If you’d like to use onions, add chopped onions here. Turn the heat down to low and let them get lovely and translucent. ~15-20 minutes)
  4. Chop up some greens. Use a lot because they shrink down to about 1/4 of their original volume!
  5. When the garlic/onion are ready, turn heat to medium and add the greens until there’s no more room in the pan
  6. Stir around until they’re mostly wilted, and add more fresh greens
  7. Continue to stir around, add more fresh greens until their all cooked up

chickpea crust quiche

Quiche

I found a recipe from Cake Batter and Bowl for a quiche with a crust using mainly chickpeas. Intrigued, I adapted it based on what was in my fridge and pantry. The results surprised me. Not only is it pretty easy to make, but the crust holds together very well, and it’s tasty to boot! Feel free to modify as you see fit to your fridge and tastebuds. In the quiche pictured above, I used spinach and chopped up some sliced pepper turkey we have in the fridge for sandwiches.

For the crust:

  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained
  • scant 1/4 c whole wheat flour
  • 1 well-rounded Tbsp coconut oil

For the filling:

  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • dash of salt
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 3/4 cup of meat, crumbled or diced (turkey slices, cooked bacon, sausage…)
  • 1 cup cooked greens (spinach, chard…I bet broccoli or grilled asparagus would taste great too!)

Add chickpeas, wheat flour, and coconut oil to a food processor and process away until a soft dough forms. Mold this into a greased pie pan. You can have fun making a pattern in the edges. Or attempting to (see picture above for my first go at this). Bake the crust alone for 20-25 minutes at 350°F oven.

Note: You might have a little dough leftover – this is OK. My pie pan seems a bit small. It’s 6.5″ in diameter at the bottom though it measures almost 9″ at the top, if I include the little aluminum edge. Which is the diameter to measure pies with anyway? Indeed, despite similar labels, pie pan volume varies quite a bit. Tricky tins! You might have to adjust the amount of filling based on how it looks sitting in your pie pan. The good news is, another beaten egg and milk are pretty easy to add if you need more volume.

Note II: I use a small convection toaster oven, which I believe adds a few minutes to the cooking time. Start checking on it at around 20 minutes to make sure your crust doesn’t burn.

While that bakes, get the filling ready. I like to use freshly sautéed greens as opposed to frozen. It seems like an extra step but doesn’t actually take up much more time and adds so much more flavor! Beat your eggs, add milk and a dash of salt, and mix together.

Once your pie crust is ready, remove from the oven. Mix up the greens, meat, and cheese so they’re all evenly distributed in the cooked crust. Then, slowly pour in your egg mixture. It will take a few seconds to settle into all the nooks and crannies, so gently agitate the pan and continue to pour your egg mixture until there’s absolutely no more room.

Carefully get this back into the oven and back for another 40 minutes at 350°F or until the egg is set.

Slice and serve!

steaming slice(Best served when warm and the cheese is melty!)

 

jury duty and grand central market


20150115_124617 copyI got pretty lucky yesterday. Sure, I didn’t get selected to serve Jury Duty after being called in to court, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I got to visit the Grand Central Market during my lunch break!

They gave us a generous 1.5 hour lunch break, plenty of time to explore Grand Central Market, savor a sentimental meal, and enjoy the sun at Grand Park.

I used to visit Grand Central Market as a kid with my grandma. Back when bus transfers were free, we’d stop by on our way to/from Chinatown and buy produce. Dragging a rolly cart along would help us to take advantage of major sales like taking home half my weight in tomatoes. At 8 lbs for $1, I’m not far off from the truth!

It’s sure changed a lot since then. As with the rest of downtown, it’s re-invented itself as a go-to spot for lunch and other foodstuffs. Stands like Olio Wood Fired Pizza, Press Brothers Juicery, or The Oyster Gourmet draw new, younger life in this historic building. The line for Eggslut wrapped around the stand. I was tempted to join in because who doesn’t love egg–centric food? 😉 Still, I felt nostalgic for old comforts instead.

Sarita’s Pupuseria has been around since before the eggsluts and fancy juices got there. I’ve had their pupusas many times before. Of course they’re handmade to order – I can’t think of a time I’ve ever had a pupusa that wasn’t handmade. But I can’t give a recent review of their pupusas because I ordered platanos fritos con frijoles y crema.

20150115_122620 copyThis dish isn’t anything particularly special, nor is it specific to El Salvador. However, I can say that it is traditional (perhaps mostly for breakfast) and when done right, hits the spot like nothing else. At Sarita’s, the platanos were certainly ripe enough and the natural sugars had crystallized into the perfect crispy-yet-chewy, sweet crunch on the edges. Plantain ripe-ness can be a big problem when ordering, which is why I usually like to see them before ordering. A darker color and seemingly limp texture are signs of delicious and sweet platanos that compliment the savory rich beans and sour cream. Underripe plantains will lead to a dry and tough meal, missing the sweet compliment to the beans/cream.

Of course, that doesn’t mean I didn’t try anything new. I stopped by the Booch Bar by Better Booch to try the Kombucha. I was looking for a healthful drink that might have a bit of caffeine in it to keep me from falling asleep in the juror’s waiting room. I sampled every flavor they had on tap. That’s right, they have tea on tap.

Daily Revival was my first sample and it was a clean and refreshing flavor. Simple and appropriate for a drink if you weren’t afraid to shell out about $6/16 oz. drink on a daily basis. I’m a huge fan of ginger in general and particularly love ginger teas. The Ginger Boost here, however, was much too sweet for me. Same with the Morning Glory, although a fellow sampler filled a growler with it, claiming it had a taste of coconut (I didn’t taste any coconut).

Snow Day - Better BoochI ended up with Snow Day. Living in Los Angeles, this is a dream the kombucha somehow achieved. Light, not too sweet, the chilled drink managed to warm and refresh me. I’m a sucker for ciders and almost anything remotely related to holiday treats. The ingredients listed only: rooibos tea, honeybush, evaporated cane juice, kombucha and other probiotics—all organic. I could have sworn it had notes of cinnamon and cloves, but maybe Better Booch’s specialty is to make you taste what you desire. It was served in a bottle and the guy serving it warned me it wouldn’t quite be as fizzy as what was on tap. True, but it didn’t take away at all from the delicious and refreshing drink.

saladtime: chicken, feta, carrot, tomato

(Picture forthcoming.)

I just decided I have a new goal: to have an interesting homemade salad for lunch at least 3 times a week. Maybe it’s a belated new year’s resolution of sorts.

Jon and I had some chicken breasts that needed to be cooked, so I thought I’d make salads with chicken for lunch. I wasn’t expecting them to be very memorable (alas, I didn’t bother to take pictures at all). It surprised me how filling and satisfying these tasted and inspired me to try making interesting salads more often. Also, I realized I should never settle for a mediocre lunch when delicious ones can be simple!

This particular salad came about using what was in the fridge—fairly basic ingredients:

For 2 very filling salads:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1/2 C feta cheese
  • mixed greens! (I use the bag of supergreens from Costco)
  • balsamic vinaigrette (again, mine is from Costco. I love Costco.)

I made the chicken breasts the night before, seasoning them with a little salt and pepper, and then cooking them on a hot pan coated with coconut oil. 6-7 minutes on each side, or until the juices run clear. Timing will depend on the size of the breasts (yes, I just said that).

Now for the salad assembly…

  1. Fill the salad container you’ll use with mixed greens. I recommend a big one! Start by adding 2-3 tablespoons of dressing and toss to coat. If you need more dressing, add it little by little. Some of the best salads I’ve tried have just a light coating of dressing on the greens (no puddles of dressing at the bottom).  Now that the greens are lightly covered, they should sink down a bit and create space for your toppings.
  2. Slice the carrots into matchstick pieces. I cut the carrot into 2 inch pieces, cut these pieces in half lengthwise, and then sliced them finely. Cut these in half again and sprinkle on the salad.
  3. Slice and/or dice the tomato and add a layer to your salad.
  4. Cut the chicken into strips and then dice into pieces. Add to salad.
  5. Sprinkle a generous layer of feta cheese over all of this.

Voilà! A simple recipe for a deliciously filling salad.