Swedish Fish

I ate lots of sushi in Stockholm.

Why?

Because the fish was so fresh and delicious!

The distinctive characteristic of localized Swedish sushi was the a dollop of mayo based “sauces.”

Assortment of sushi at Sushi Samba in Slussen. This place was a casual take out place filled with locals.

15 pieces of Scandinavian sushi at Rakultur, a trendy restaurant.

I watch as my Swedish neighbors spread the dollop of sauce over the fish with their chopsticks before plopping it into their mouths.

 I spotted cod roe tempura with kimchi remoulade on the menu!The kimchi sauce was a letdown. It tasted like kochujang (Korean red pepper paste) rather than kimchi. And it left an oily mouthfeel.

But can sauces like this be the key for Korean food to become more widely accepted?

There’s a lot of potential because it can impart flavors that are associated with
a particular cuisine and be culturally appropriate (for local consumers) as well.

I would have to think twice about having another kimchi remoulade but I think it might be a good way to appeal to the masses.

 

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The Plate Makes the Dish

What color plates do you eat from?

I usually use my hand-me-down black plates but they are really unphotogenic. I also don’t know if my food necessarily looks tastier because of the black background. I would rather have different colored plates but I guess I’m stuck with them until they all break.

A study has shown that the color of your plate can dictate how much you eat.

Check out the article and mini experiment recreated by ABC News: Plate Color

Tonight, I decided to test how a bi-colored plate would make me feel about my dinner.

Before

 

(This is a plate my dad made! Isn’t it lovely?)

Menu: tomato basil salad with arugula.

Ingredients: 2 handfuls of baby arugula, 2 handfuls of heirloom baby tomatoes halved, a smashed garlic clove, 2 whirls of olive oil, 7 leaves of basil, and salt and pepper to taste

I tossed all the ingredients (sans arugula) together and left it standing for about one hour and then dropped in the arugula right before plating.

AFTER

 

I grilled some herbed focaccia to go along with this salad. I made sure that I topped the pieces of bread with the tomatoes that have been marinating in garlic and basil so that the juices would seep into the toasty focaccia.

This was one of the most flavorful, light, and crisp dinners I’ve had in awhile. Perfect for a late summer evening!

But apart from what I actually consumed, eating off a plate made by my dad really made me savor each bite.

Birthday Week Breakfast

Do you eat something special for your birthday?

I usually like to eat miyuk gook (seaweed soup) the traditional Korean birthday soup.
(I’ll share my recipe when my birthday rolls around in a few months!)

Another special occasion I was able to witness while I was in London was my friend’s 30th birthday! He proclaimed a full week his birthday week and had made plans to feast like a king each day.

I got to share a birthday week meal with my friend and the birthday boy. I was super excited because it had been 3 weeks since my last home cooked meal. I had been craving the taste of home.

It actually didn’t matter that it wasn’t the taste of my home per se. It was more important to me that my friend was cooking in her kitchen with ingredients that could be found in her fridge.

My friend lightly sauteed the spinach and poached eggs for us. She also brought out toast, cheese, and biscuits. I was so pleased because the dish was uncomplicated and clean.

The birthday boy on the other hand made fluffy french toast topped with fresh strawberries and vanilla ice cream.

Ice cream for breakfast?

Why not? It’s his birthday week!

As I watched him beam as he ate his special breakfast, I made a mental note to recreate that moment for myself.

Pisa Airport’s Secret Cafeteria

I’ve been pretty lucky this summer.

Of the 9 flights I have taken, only one from Pisa to London was delayed for 2 hours.

Have you been to the Pisa airport? It’s jam packed with stores and people! It’s disorganized and grimy, like an old train station.

I walked around to find a place to eat but all the fast food/take away places did not entice me. Instead, I went upstairs and found a cafeteria that was filled with “locals” rather than tourists.

I observed what people were choosing off of the compact buffet line and noticed that the “locals” were actually airport employees. The cooks knew them by their first names and openly gave them extra portions. Relieved that I found an alternative to the numerous tourist traps below, I decided to try the food for myself.

I quickly learned that the pasta carbonara and tuna salad were the popular dishes among the employees that day.

When I took my first bite of the pasta, I immediately understood why almost all of the employees had selected this.

It was light and airy with a flavorful hint of pancetta. It was nothing like the other carbonaras I have tasted! It was simple and straightforward. The salad (minus the canned olives and corn) was hearty and satisfying as well.

As silly as it may sound, I felt really proud for having found a “local” spot as I ate my lunch among the Italian airport employees.

It was a nice calm lunch away from the anxious travelers in the congested terminal.

Morito: Spanish/Middle Eastern Tapas

When I saw her come out of her office, I immediately remembered the last meal we shared seven months ago.

A divine early dinner at Jason Atherton’s Pollen Street Social!

Snacks before dinner: Chicharrón and olives

The highlight of the meal: Slow cooked egg, chorizo, and “patatas bravas”

Although we had barely communicated since I instinctively knew she was going to whisk me away to another fabulous meal.

I rarely trust people when it comes to food recommendations but she is one of the select few I genuinely do not question. If I could, I would have her tell me everything she eats all day, everyday and recreate her diet to precision.

After walking around a bit we ended up in front of Morito in Exmouth market with two wine cocktails in hand to get us through the hour wait.

The service was slow and choppy but we were happily seated at a curbside table eating dinner on a Wednesday night at 10pm.

A silky smooth tomato gaspacho with shrimp and avocado (oops…out of focus!)

Crusty bread rubbed with garlic and tomato topped with ham, blue cheese, and sardines +Fried potatoes with herbs

Scallops with chorizo and roasted tomatoes

Our last order of fried baby squid was lost because some confusion between the wait staff but we were too caught up in filling in the gaps from the past few months that we didn’t really care.

Instead, we ended our meal with a cheese plate (I forgot to take a photo of!).

Could we have eaten more? Probably. Would we have enjoyed it? Most definitely.
I can’t wait for our next food adventure!

Spring Brunch

I know a lot of you are anticipating my report about the Walkers’ crisps but I’ve been waiting to taste them with my British friend so she can help solve the mystery! We are scheduled to taste them later this week so you will get an update soon!

So to get our minds off of the Walkers’ crisps, I’ll tell you a bit about my weekend!

Yesterday, I was invited to brunch to welcome Tad Nakamura (documentary filmmaker) to IU to kick off Asian-Pacific American Heritage month. He was really fun and engaging!

I made mini frittatas with ricotta, red and yellow bell peppers, and scallions and also a mixed berry salad with mint and honey.

The spread:

Bagels, garnishes, cured meat, sausage, grapes, coffee cake, grilled asparagus, smoked salmon, chocolate cake, shortbread cookies, berry salad, and frittatas.

I absolutely loved these shortbread cookies! So pretty!

They were made by putting the dough into hand carved wooden molds first and then baking them off.

Fish symbolizes abundance in Korea so I ate a big chunk of it yesterday, hoping that it will bring me luck!

3D Adventure

Last night, I went to a cajun restaurant in Mooresville, IN for a friend’s birthday party.

My friend found Zydeco’s through an iphone app that shows all the nationally known restaurants in a given area and decided that we should all take a road trip.

So, what’s a cajun restaurant doing in Indiana?

Watch this: Paula Dean’s got nothing on this chef when it comes to the use of butter!

The place was decorated as if it were Mardi Gras everyday!

The most impressive thing was that they had amber and dark Abita beers on tap. I first tried them last May when I was in Nola and I remembered really liking the amber ale.

For dinner, I created my own tasting menu off of the appetizers:

1. Vegetarian red beans and rice: This was delicious! I could eat this everyday!

2. Half and Half=Gumbo and Jambalaya: I was expecting it to be served in two different bowls as it is shown in the Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives but it was combined. It was difficult to tell the flavors apart.

3. Maque Choux (corn chowder) with Crawfish: My least favorite- Think flavors of condensed milk, nutmeg, cinnamon, sweet pumpkin dominating a corn chowder.

As we waited (an hour and half for our food to arrive!) this was brought to my attention:

Do you see what I see? This certainly may have been a typo but it sure was tasty!

Now, how did Guy Fieri find out about this place? My guess is that hidden gems are usually not featured on 3Ds.

One Bowl Dinner

What do you forgo when you are busy?

Cooking?

Cleaning?

Exercising?

I admit, the past week, I’ve been slacking on all of these.

But last night, I pulled myself together.

For dinner, I made bibimbap (literally translated as mixed rice) in no time.

What you will need: (all ingredients can be substituted and amounts changed)

1 large bowl

5 large lettuce leaves

1 avocado

6 raddiccio leaves

4 pieces of marinated Japanese burdock root

6 sesame leaves

2 pieces of smoked salmon

2 cups of brown rice

sesame oil, soy sauce, sesame seeds to taste

Chop, scoop, and tear ingredients and combine everything in the bowl. Mix vigorously until everything is incorporated well.

Then I decided to take pieces of dried seaweed and make mini hand rolls!

Quick, satisfying, and interactive!

Pork Tacos

Aren’t you all curious to know how I’ve been eating my pink pickled onions?

I’ve added them to salads and sandwiches so far but my favorite has been:

pork tacos!

I seasoned some ground pork with cumin, paprika, coriander, chili powder, and jalapeno. I then made some guacamole and red cabbage slaw. Topped the whole thing with a couple of strands of pickled onion.

Seriously, the pickled onion takes ordinary tacos to a whole different level.

Have you made your batch yet?

Quick and Easy Garnishes

Guacamole: Preparation Time: 8 mins

2 ripe Hass avocados

1/2 lime

1 jalapeno finely chopped

salt to taste

1 tablespoon of chopped red onion

1 handful of cilantro roughly chopped

Directions: Cut avocados in half and scoop out the insides with a spoon. Squeeze lime onto the avocados and sprinkle a bit of salt. Add red onion, cilantro, and jalapeno and mix.

Red Cabbage Slaw: Preparation time: 5 mins; marinating time: 20 mins

1/4 red cabbage sliced thin

1 carrot sliced thin

a couple of dashes of rock salt

a dash of cumin

1/2 lime

1/2 handful of cilantro roughly chopped

Directions: Place sliced red cabbage and carrot into a mixing bowl. Add dashes of rock salt and toss with your fingers to begin the process of wilting. Squeeze in lime juice, add cumin, and sprinkle cilantro. Mix well and let it sit until the cabbage starts to become tender.