Cooking

Dan Can Cook: Korean Dinner, Ham Hock Soup and Dessert

I love to cook and I used to do it professionally, but these days I really don’t get much of a chance. Between work and all the restaurants I have to review, I don’t really have an opportunity. (This might also have something to do with all the weight that i have gained.)
Anyway, when I went home, I decided to do a lot of cooking for my family. My parents are retired and living in Florida so they like things simple and easy. The BBQ grill is the equipment of choice or a terracotta microwave bowl that you can roast a chicken in 25 minutes (For real, it exists and it works pretty well). I like to cook with what I have and there were lots of toys for me to play with in my parent’s refrigerator.
For example above is my ham-hock soup with lima beans. We had the ham bone leftover after eating our honey baked ham so I threw it in a pot with onions and carrots and stewed it until the marrow just oozed out. The soup was delicious for it had a hint of maple, smokiness from the ham.
Pizza Fruit Tart

Next up is my pizza fruit tart. I made a crust from flour, sugar and butter and baked it up. Then I made a sweetened cheese filling with cream cheese and topped it with fruit they had in the fridge- oh, wait. I had to borrow the strawberries from a neighbor. On top is a orange glaze I made from orange juice, sugar and corn starch.

The next morning there was quite a bit of the fruit mix from the dessert the night before so I made fruit pancakes with a orange glaze in the morning. This was really refreshing and delicious- especially with a dollop of cool whip.

Now the last night of my stay, I decided to throw a dinner party for my parents. I couldn’t figure out what to get them for Christmas (they didn’t like my idea for a bidet…they already had a Kindle…and they told me I was not allowed to go crazy buying gifts for them), so my present to them was a dinner party for them and their friends.

Before arriving in America, I had packed my bags with all the essential sauces and ingredients that I knew I wouldn’t be able to get in America and prepared a variety of different Korean dishes.

For dinner I made daktoritang (Red Spicy Chicken BBQ), bulgogi, japchae (glass noodle salad),  bean sprout side dish, spinach side dish, and a cucumber side dish. It was a lot of food, but I was able to pull it off in about 2 hours. So did these old folks like what I made?

I think so, because dinner was pretty quiet at first. Many of the people at the table never had had Korean food and they said they liked the vegetables and the meat dishes. They especially like the daktoritang (even though a few said it was super spicy.) It was a good time and I really enjoyed doing it.

A dinner party for a christmas present, not a bad idea. It could become a new trend.

A quiet dinner of Korean food
A whole spread of food (say hi Bob!)

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Non-Korean Eats, Out of Seoul

Food Porn: Pasquale’s Pizza in Florida

Pasquale’s Pizza in Florida

Hi Mom!

Oh, and for you the rest of you. I’m just putting these up to tease you and because I seriously want a hot, dripping, greasy slice of this awesome pizza from Florida. It was at Pasquale’s and it was epic. For me, a good pizza is all about crust and here they have great crust and the pizza is crisp on the bottom.

Awesome stuff. Oh, and they have Ms. Pacman in the restaurant. Double Awesome.

Dan

Pizza should be folded to eat properly
See how toasty the pie is! nice!
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Out of Seoul

Good-bye Florida and Thanks for all Weight

The Gray Family in Florida, USA

Well folks, my vacation to Florida is coming to an end. I am packed and ready to get on an airplane and head back to Seoul, Korea. I wanted to say thanks to my parents and my family for putting up with me for 2 whole weeks. Thank you so much. I also want to thank Brenda and Bob for their good humor and for taking good care of my parents. I spent a week eating, writing, and spending time with the family in sunny Florida. I think I’m going to have to come back sooner rather than later.

Now during my trip, I did my best to exercise almost everyday. I got a Kindle, so I even went for walks while reading it. Unfortunately, it was all for naught-I gained 2 pounds. So after I return to Korea, I’m going to go on a diet (I’m sure many others are resolving to do this as well). I might even join a fitness class or something.

Before we do that, here’s some my found foodie memories in the USA.

Mexican Food at Abuelos, Florida
Bob and Brenda with their Lego Space Shuttle Model they built in 2 days

Rice Crispy Treat
Ham and Bean Soup
Brenda’s Famous Chocolate Strawberries
Justin Bieber! What the hey?
Turkey Sandwich with Cranberry and Gouda…Yum
Flan at Abuelos in Florida
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Non-Korean Eats, Out of Seoul

Ridiculously Hot Wings, Fried Pickles and Very Little Salad at Hurricanes in Florida

Ridiculously Hot Wings, Fried Pickles and Very Little Salad at Hurricanes in Florida

My sister is a wing connoisseur. She’s one of those people that could be in the most exotic destination in the world famous for their local cuisine eating at the most authentic restaurant in the city and she would order wings. So…while in Florida we had to test out the best wings Florida had to offer.

Apparently, the best place is called Hurricanes and they are famous for their 30 different sauces- especially their aptly named “Ridiculously Hot Hurricane Sauce.” Oh, it’s hot. It starts by burning off your tastebuds on your tongue and then spreads to your cheeks and forehead. After a few minutes your face feels like it is about to burn off and you are left in a beautiful state of euphoric pain. It’s nice. I should have bought a bottle.

They also had fried pickles there- they just added them to the menu. These were good, but I was told not as good as my first attempt at them.

The menu is pretty diverse- what you would expect at a typical franchise place. I ended up getting the chicken sandwich tossed in buffalo sauce-just the extra hot Hurricane sauce (level 4 sauce). The buns were toasted and smeared with butter. My father had the steak sandwich and this was outstanding as well. The roll was sooo soft.

Oh, and the wings? According to my sister: “A bit too crunchy for my taste, but the sauce was alright.” So…they are ok, but she has had better. I thought they were alright. The restaurant goes heavy on the butter on everything (I think that’s their secret). They fry things well and the oil must be changed regularly because everything had a nice sheen to it.

The salads are not salads here- so I don’t recommend it. I substituted fries with a salad and I ended up getting bagged lettuce topped with a ton of shredded cheese and three rings of red onion. I didn’t know that I should have asked for extra salad and hold the cheese. The balsamic dressing was pretty gross as well. 

I would say that this place is much better than Hooters for wings and the service was just as nice.

Dan

Locations throughout the country:
http://www.hurricanewings.com/content/locations/locations.cfm

Fried Pickles at Hurricane Grill and Wings

Fried Onion Rings at Hurricane Grill and Wings
Cheese with salad
Chicken Sandwich with Extra Hot Sauce
Steak Sandwich at Hurricane Grill and Wings
Wings at Hurricane Grill and Wings
Hurricane Grill and Wings
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Non-Korean Eats, Out of Seoul

Snapshots of a Supermarket in Florida

Tofurky: Snapshots of a Supermarket in Florida

I was in Publix Supermarket in Florida and I was impressed and shocked. Impressed because it is so big, shocked because the produce section is so small and most of the market is filled with dry foods, cooking equipment, sauces, and frozen foods. The other oddities were the vegetarian section with Tofurky. This thing claims to be tofu turkey with stuffing, and rich giblet gravy. Sorry, but I think people should simply eat Turkey or make a new tradition.

Wouldn’t that be great? I think vegetarians should come up with a new thanksgiving feast dinner. I could even imagine having something like a cornucopia of vegetables that are grilled and fresh with bean pancakes or something. I don’t know something like that- if not, it’s like a constant reminder of the food you are missing.

The other odd thing I saw was dutch chocolate with red wine. I don’t know what it tastes like, but it doesn’t quite jell in my mind.

I hope everyone is having a good holidays.

Sincerely,

Daniel Gray

Vegetarian Section: Snapshots of a Supermarket in Florida
Dutch Chocolate and Red Wine! Snapshots of a Supermarket in Florida

Snapshots of a Supermarket in Florida
Snapshots of a Supermarket in Florida
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