Archive | September 2012

Those little Brats!

This weekend Jeremy and I walked all over Timbuktu!  Okay, it was really from one side of Itaewon to the other, and then a little further, but it may as well have been to Timbuktu with the weight of the shopping that we did!  We started at one market because Jeremy wanted some beer brewed in Oregon, and we had heard that there was a store in Itaewon that had it.  So, we jumped on a train, then in a cab to get there.  So we started at this higher end store, that had the beer, but we found things we don’t normally find in Itaewon that I wanted also…like bratwurst and Italian sausage.  I got one package of each (for about $10.00 each), and we got some spinach artichoke dip, and some (stale) Turkish bread.  We also found ginger ail and mug root beer, so we were happy campers!  We got all our stuff, and packed it up in a backpack.  We next went to a restaurant, then the foreign market we usually go to for 20 lbs of Bob’s Red Mill whole wheat flour.  I wound up lugging that around the rest of the day!  We walked down the street, and enjoyed taking the time to enjoy Itaewon unlike usual when we just go for flour, or whatever from the foreign market and that is all.

When we got home the meat was still very cold, but it had thawed out.  So, I knew I was going to need to cook at least one of them in the next day or two. One of the big problems in Korea is that it can be difficult to find hot dog buns however, so I had to make them of course.  I made the hoagie rolls that I made last week.  This time, I threw in some extras to make them extra savory.

If you can see, I threw just about everything but the kitchen sink.  I chopped up sun dried tomatoes in the food processor with a little oil, then I oven roasted three small red bell peppers.  I let both of those drain for several hours, and chopped the peppers up really fine.  Then I sprinkled in garlic bread seasoning, rosemary, thyme, freshly grated parmesan cheese, a few sprinkles of cayenne pepper, some regular black pepper and maybe some parsley into the dough, and let it rise.  The bread turned out incredible!

I had been debating for two days how to cook these bratwursts, and I finally took someone’s advice, and decided to cook them in a frying pan for a few minutes in liquid, then broil them.

First I added about 1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar, and 1/2 a cup of orange juice together in a pan, and I had one thinly sliced apple and onion that I added to it, as well as some garlic.  Next I added the sausage and put the lid over the top at medium heat.

I just let it steam a bit, until I looked in and saw the skin on the sausages coming off.

Then they were hard, and I transferred them to a pan to go into the oven to broil them.

 I let the pan continue to simmer down on lower heat.

I pulled the brats out when they were done and looked pretty good on two sides (I did flip them half way through)

Next I sliced a bun like a hot dog bun, not all the way through, put in some yellow mustard (I would have preferred something grainy and better, but yellow was all we had).  Then I put the sausage in and piled on the apple and onion mixture.  Combine with the bread it all tasted amazing!




It’s Not Easy Eating Green…

But it is REALLY easy DRINKING it!

Breakfast/brunch today is a green smoothie.

First is simple!  You make almond milk.  If you don’t know how, follow the link and learn!

Next you peel, core, and quarter one apple and one cucumber.

Next take about 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of fresh spinach, and wash it.  You might want to take off some of the thicker stems.  Add it to your list of ingredients, and also grab maybe 1/2 to 1 cup of frozen fruit, such as peaches, or berries (I used white peaches that I peeled and froze myself).

So this is all of your ingredients.

Okay, to assemble, put the frozen peaches in the bottom of the blender, with everything else on top.  maybe put the spinach next, to make sure the leaves get mixed in…then 1/4 of the cucumber and 1/4 of the apple.

Add in 2 teaspoons of honey, and 1/8 of a teaspoon (or just a drop or two) of good quality vanilla.

Add 1/2 a cup to 1 cup of almond milk (depending on how much liquid your blender needs to blend).

Mix until smooth.

It is done when it is all smooth and then you just serve it directly into cups.  This is enough for just over 2 8oz servings.

I also use liquid vitamins, and I threw those in too, cause I hate the flavor…


Its Greek to Me!



Today I made my version of Greek food.  It is very simple, and usually has tons of flavor.  First this morning I started by putting some chicken into a crock pot on low before work.  I put in 4 chicken breasts, 2 cups of chicken broth, some garlic (maybe two small cloves), and a generous sprinkling of thyme (I wanted oregano, but we didn’t have any).  I came home to my house smelling wonderful!

Next I made some Tatziki sauce.

I love this sauce, and it is so simple to make!  Usually you use Greek yogurt, but I did not have any, so today I used sour cream.  First you cut up one cucumber and take the seeds out.  You can do this with a spoon or a corer.  Normally I either grate it, or I slice it very finely, however I recently got a papered chef cheese grater that grates very fine.  I decided to use this so I got very fine strings of cucumber. I then put the grated cucumber into a tea towel and rang it out very tight.  Often you just add some salt and let the cucumbers drain, but I wanted dinner sooner than later, and this was really quick.  I then chopped up the cucumber very finely to break up the strings a little bit and added it to about a cup of sour cream.  Then I added a good sprinkling of garlic powder (minced garlic is great too), and maybe 1/8-1/4 teaspoon of dill.

After making the tatziki, I started the pita recipe I found on  I used whole wheat instead of white, and used one tablespoon of yeast instead of 2 1/4 teaspoons.  I let it raise  to double, then formed 10 balls.  Next I let it raise for 10 more minutes then started rolling and baking them.

They looked like hamburger buns before I rolled them out.

Here they are baking.  However, I had a problem that most of my pita pockets did not puff this time.  I have used different recipes where they puff beautifully, but this time I just could not get them to puff.  They actually came out rather hard.

I think part of the reason was you are supposed to have the the oven at 500 degrees F for this recipe and my oven only goes to 400.

While I was waiting for my bread dough to rise, I was busy making greek salad.  This salad consists of 2 seeded cucumbers, a cup of cherry tomatoes that are quartered, a sprinkle of salt, and 1/4 cup feta cheese.  It is super simple and super good!

This is better with crumbled feta that has not been stored in oil, but that is all I can get, so I crumbled up the cubes from the jar and drained some of the oil off before adding it to the salad.

Next I found some Fantastic Hummus in my cupboard, so  I made it real quick by adding some warm water and oil and mixing it up.

I had planned on making Gyros, but because my pita came out rather hard, it turned more into a sampler plate with bread for scooping.  Dinner was very filling and very good however,

Considering I don’t have an oven big enough to really cook a whole chicken, nor do I have room in my freezer to freeze broth, I usually don’t have any actual chicken stock in my house.  I depend on bouillon that comes in jars that my mom sends me from home (no sodium).  However, tonight I was excited that I was able to drain the broth from the crock pot into a strainer, and then I took what was in the strainer and ran it through the tea towel I had used earlier.  I wound up with my two cups of liquid having turned into nice thyme garlic flavored chicken stock for the next time I need it!  I can store two cups in my freezer very nicely!  yay!

Cheese Steaks…not sure sure they are from Philly though

The other day I made whole wheat hoagie rolls for the specific purpose of making Philly Cheese Steaks.  These are some of my favorite sandwiches to have fo dinner, sometimes I use what is left in the pan and make french dip, sometimes gravy, but not tonight.  The beef is some of the best I have ever cooked, and the sandwiches turned out amazing!

First I slice the beef as thin as I can

and I tenderized it.

Now I love to make these, but I can’t really get super thin cuts of beef all the time.  sometimes I do and it great, but most times, I have to cut the beef up and throw it in the frying pan.  Today I used about 1/4 cup of Worcestershire sauce, and about 1/4 cup of balsamic in with the beef, as well as a chunk of garlic, and maybe 1/8 cup of minced pickled jalapenos.

Next I slice up three rainbow colored bell peppers, and sliced 1 medium/large onion.

After I let the meat cook in the liquid a while, on low with the lid on the pan, I take the meat off of the heat and use the pan to saute the peppers and onions in just a little olive oil.

When those start to get soft, I remove them from the heat as well.

I cut the hoagie rolls like hot dog buns and put a little butter on them.  Then I threw them in the broiler to get nice and toasted up, while I put the serving of one sandwiche’s worth of meat and veggies back into the pan with a little of the meat juices.

I warmed them back up, then put them into a pile and covered them with provolone cheese.

I put a lid on the pan, and just let it melt.

Then the buns are done in the oven, and I carefully scoop the meat and veggies over the top of the bottom of the bun.  It is usually rather messy with all the melted cheese, but I try and sound like I do a nice clean transfer! Then I close the sandwich.

Tonight our side was green beans…but potato chips or french fries would be a wonderful addition.  Potato salad might be good too, or even a nice green salad.

Whole Wheat Hoagies

I have baked almost all the bread we have eaten since March.  I try to make low sodium bread and I only use organic stone milled whole wheat flour from Bob’s Red Mill.  I have to be loyal to my home, as the mill was down the street from my old house before moving to Korea, and it is the easiest to get here that I have found.  For months I have been scouring the internet for recipes of 100% whole wheat flour that are light and fluffy.  I had almost given up.  A few weeks ago, when I was out of whole wheat flour, and I actually broke down and bought some white flour for the first time in months.  I could not believe how fluffy it was and I dreamed of my whole wheat bread being so fluffy. I was also blown away by how much yeast one loaf recipe required.  Normally I put in 2 1/4 teaspoons (the amount in one packet) or double that.  This particular white flour recipe called for six tablespoons!  YES SIX!!!!!! and my bread blew up!  It got me wondering if I am a little more generous on the yeast, if my whole wheat dough would puff up more.  I tried a few weeks ago with half white, have wheat flour, and it was okay.  It was still dense, but not nearly as much so as previous whole wheat experiences, and not nearly as fluffy as just white.  So today, I wanted to get a hoagie recipe, because I have intentions of making Philli Cheese Steaks later this week.

I found an easy recipe online that was simple, and I had all of the ingredients, however, it was white flour.  I figured oh well, why do I only have to find ONLY wheat recipes for my wheat flour?  And I tried it!  The recipe I found was at  I followed the recipe for the most part, only deviating a little.  That is more what I do than make up my own recipes, I deviate from ones other people have made.  My changes were mostly for flavor…

While mixing the wet ingredients, I added 1 tablespoon of garlic bread seasoning, 1/3 cup of finely grated cheddar, and 1/3 a cup of chopped pickled jalapenos.

One more change however was in the amount of yeast.  I figured if that one recipe I made several weeks ago could ask for six tablespoons, It would not kill me to add a little extra to my recipe.  So, instead of 4 1/2 teaspoons of yeast, I would add two tablespoons.  I made sure I had enough time for my dough to rise to it’s full potential, and then baked it.  I have to say, I am highly impressed!  I will admit my rolls are a bit more dense than I was hoping for,  but they are still pretty light and airy compared to past experiences.  I will be making this recipe again, and I have to admit, I might just add a little more yeast and play with it.  Next time, I might make a whole loaf though, not just sandwich rolls.

They do make the perfect size rolls for sandwich rolls, as a breast of chicken fits on one just about perfectly!

Oh, and this bread also makes some pretty incredible toasted garlic bread!!!

Beanie Burgers


So for this recipe I wanted to try something new.  I have wanted to try a veggie burger for a long time, but I finally mustered up the courage to try this week (We are burger people all the way).

I found a recipe for one that looked pretty good, with some good reviews at  I went to the store to buy two cans of black beans, and I could not  find two cans.  So, I bought one can of black, and one can of “Chili Beans”.  The chili beans are pinto beans that are soaked in Mexican seasonings.

First I ground up two slices of bread in the food processor and set the bread crumbs aside.

Next I put both cans of beans in the food processor, along with garlic, a little oil, the egg and egg white.  I didn’t do most of the seasonings mentioned in the recipe, because the chili beans were already well seasoned, even though I rinsed them off before grinding them up.

While I was assembling this, I was also roasting some red peppers.  I four in half, and took all the seeds out.  Then I put them skin side up in a pan close to the broiler.  I cooked them until they were charred, and then pulled them out and let them cool down.

Once the peppers cooled enough to touch, having the charred skin allowed the skin to loosen up, and I was able to just peel the skin off.  You can’t really tell but the few on the right are already peeled.

The beans were really really runny,even after adding the bread crumbs, so I wound up adding two more pieces of ground up bread to it.  Then I was able to actually form balls with my hands, and put them into a pan with hot oil.  Then I squished them into patties using a spatula.

One the frying was about done, I added slices of cheese to each piece and let it melt.

Then I assembled sandwiches (I didn’t have time to bake burger buns, so we just used store bought bread).

I assembled them by first mixing some Ketchup and Tabasco sauce to make a spicy Ketchup as mentioned in the original recipe.  Then I put it on the bottom bread.  I put the burger over the top, and put the roasted red pepper, spinach, and dill pickles over the top.  I put some mustard on the top bread, and put the burger together.

I also baked some frozen steak fries to serve with the burger.

For my first attempt at a veggie burger, it was actually pretty good.  I learned more about how much bread I really need.  I will make them again, but being that we are burger people, probably not incredibly often.


Eating the Rainbow

Today’s lunch was pretty simple.  Once again we don’t have much food in our house, so I had to rummage through my fridge and cupboards to see what was available.  I had some spinach, broccoli, colorful baby peppers, a can of beans, some cheese, and some bacon.
I thawed the bacon, cut it up into bits and cooked it.  I drained it and set it aside to cool.  I opened a can of kidney beans, and rinsed and drained them.  then I cut up one crown of broccoli into small bite sized pieces.  I also cut the baby peppers into halves, took the seeds out sliced them into thin slices.  I had some spinach I had washed a few days ago, so I pulled it out of the fridge and did a rough chop on that to aim for bite sized pieces.  Then I cut up small squares of cheese (cause it was faster than grating).  I threw it all together into one bowl and tada!
Salad dressings:
My husband likes Ranch dressing, and I prefer a vinaigrette, so I quickly made two dressings to go over the top.
For his dressing, I took some hidden valley ranch powder (probably about a teaspoon or two), and I mixed it with about 1/4 cup of olive oil based mayo…  easy salad dressing.
For my dressing I put maybe 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar, a tablespoon of olive oil, a 1/2 teaspoon of garlic seasoning, and just a sprinkle of the ranch seasoning and whisked it all together…another easy one, and it is one of my favorite kinds of dressing bases.  Normally, I don’t use the ranch, but I add some Dijon mustard and honey, and make it a honey mustard vinaigrette, which I really love.
Anyway, enjoy!