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Thai Cooking: Tom Yum Koong (Sour & Spicy Shrimp Soup)

October 19, 2010

I’m having another Thai cooking session tomorrow and we’re making Phad Thai ! Today, however, I’m going share this recipe for Tom Yum Koong. Koong means shrimp, but you can use chicken or other seafood(cuttle fish, mussels, white meat fish) in this soup as well. The key to making this dish is to NOT stir when adding the seafood until they are fully cooked.  This dish is very fast and easy to make, prepping will actually take longer than cooking! Please note that if you skip the optional ingredients you will still get a delicious Tom Yum Soup! :)

Servings: 1-2

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup  Water/Chicken Stock
  • 3-4 Shallots
  • 5 slices of Galangal Root (Optional)
  • 2 Cilantro (Stems for soup & Leaves for garnish)
  • 15   Tail-on Shrimps (more or less depending on size)
  • 12(100 g)   straw mushrooms
  • 2 Lemongrass cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 4-5 Kaffir Lime Leaves (Optional)
  • 1 tsp Thai Roasted Red Chili Paste(Optional)
  • 1 tbsp Unsweetened condensed milk(Optional)
  • 3 tbsp Lime Juice
  • 2-3 Fresh Thai Chilis
  • Fish Sauce

Cooking Instructions:

    1. Bring water/Chicken stock to a boil and add Shallots, Galangal and Cilantro stems. Add a teaspoon of fish sauce (or less), you can adjust flavors at the end.  (You may want to add 1/2 chicken flavor cube at this point if you are cooking with water)
    2. If the water stops boiling, wait until it starts boiling again then add Shrimps and Straw mushrooms and let them cook for about 2 minutes. Do not stir.
    3. Add Lemongrass and Kaffir lime leaves
    4. Mix unsweetened condensed milk and Thai Roasted Red Chili Paste together in a little bow to break the lumps in the chili paste.
    5. Turn off the heat then add milk and chili paste mix  and stir.
    6. Add lime juice and chilis
    7. Adjust flavors to your liking. You’re done! Serve with a plate of steamed rice and enjoy your Thai dish!

Thai Cooking: Chicken Cashew Nut Stir-fry

October 11, 2010



Since I’m teaching Thai cooking twice a month, I thought it would be a great idea to share the recipes here on my blog. The first recipe I’d like to share is the Chicken Cashew Nut Stir-fry, it is more of a Chinese-influenced Thai dish. Please note that you may alter the amount of Thai chilies to your liking or you may skip it totally. The jalapenos I used were not spicy at all, but they provided a peppery kick to the dish. Whatever adjustments you make to this dish, the peppery aroma makes the dish, so don’t skip the chilies/Jalapenos totally.   Enjoy Thai cooking!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-size pieces.
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp Oyster Sauce
  • 1 tsp soysauce
  • 1  1/2 tbsp water or chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 cup cashew nut(roasted)
  • 2 dried Jalapenos(or any dried chilies) chopped and fried  ***see below for tips
  • 2 chopped fresh Thai chilies
  • 2 Green Onions chopped into 2-inch pieces

Cooking Instructions:

** Frying your dried Jalapenos: Cut your Jalapenos into smaller pieces first, they are quite tough, so using scissors is much easier. Heat up some (1-2 tbsp) vegetable oil in a small skillet don’t let it get too hot. Fry the Jalapenos quickly(or they turn really dark or burn) and remove from oil to place on a strainer or kitchen towels :) They should be crispy when cooled.

1. Mix salt, pepper and all purpose flour. Coast chicken pieces with flour mixture.

2. Heat 2 cups of vegetable oil (or sufficient amount), fry the chicken until the crust turns golden then remove from skillet/wok to rest on a strainer or kitchen towels.

3. In a small bowl mix oyster sauce, soy sauce, water(or chicken stock), sugar, and sesame oil. Now you have the sauce

4. Add 2 tbsp vegetable oil to the skillet/wok and add garlic, let it cook a little, but don’t let it turn brown.

5. Add your chicken pieces and mix and then add sauce mixture from step 3 and stir mixture and sauce together until all sauce clings to all chicken pieces

6. Add Cashew nuts and mix.

7. Turn off the heat and add green onions, Jalapenos and chilis and stir them together quickly. You’re done!  Serve with a plate of steamed rice and enjoy your Thai dish!

*This recipe makes 2-3 servings.


So you think you want an Alaskan Malamute?

September 4, 2010

This is our 2 and a half year old Alaskan Malamute, Koda,

he loves to pop balloons

So you’re thinking about getting an Alaskan Malamute? What’s next?

Here’s a little honest guide for those who want to be owned

by Malamutes!

I’m not going to go through the Breed info because if you’re

thinking about getting a Mal, you probably have looked

up all the information there is out there.

And it’s likely too, that you might have already read a blog post,

like this one, trying to help you with what to expect

when you’re getting a Malamute.

A Malamute in Your Home

  • INSIDE: Malamutes are very graceful indoors, our Koda has never clumsily knocked anything off.
  • SPACE: BUT, they don’t fair very well being a full-time indoor dog. Be ready to walk them long distance multiple times daily if space is limited in your home. Or they may turn to your furniture to expend that excess energy. They are capable of HUGE damages. Preferably, don’t get a malamute if space is limited.
  • SHEDDING: BE PREPARED to vacuum a lot (we vacuum daily) if your Malamute is going to spend some time indoor. They shed excessively all year round, more during certain times of the year.  They shed A LOT and I mean it!
  • DIET: Sources on mals say they don’t eat as much as you would expect them to. It is true in Koda’s case. A 35 lbs(15 kg.)  dog food sack will last us about a month. Get them the best food you can! They love treats and table scraps too, but too much human food is not good, watch out for salty foods ^__^ Koda loves pumpkin and carrots.
  • TEMPERAMENT: They are VERY friendly, Koda loves everybody, he loves meeting new people and will jump and celebrate your presence like you’re the president of the United States. If you’re a dog lover you will feel special, if you’re not- you’re going to be scared out of your mind, of this HUGE wolf-like dog who is jumping at you.
  • SOCIALIZING WITH OTHER PETS:, Koda’s has been quite friendly but he got more aggressive and more dominant towards other male dogs when he reached puberty at 8 months.  Unless they grew up together, mals shouldn’t be left alone with smaller animals, even if they’re not aggressive, they don’t know their own strength(Koda still tries to sit on my lap)
  • MALS WITH KIDS: They love kids, Koda does but again they don’t know their strength and might hurt a small child when they are over-excited. They might get possessive of their toys if the child is trying to grab it. Always be cautious. Better be safe than sorry.
  • CLIMATE: They really enjoy cold climate. And they LOVE snow. Koda moved to Thailand with me last year, and we moved back to Korea in February this year. I was worried that the sudden change in climate from super hot to COLD winter would make him sick. But he just jumped at the snow and wanted to stay outside and never got sick. BUT Huskies and Malamutes have been successfully bred and raised in tropical countries too. Have a shady ventilated area for them  and give them lots of water, our Koda doesn’t drink from a doggy bowl, he drinks from a BUCKET.
  • THE YARD: If you have a nice yard. Supervise them, they like to DIG, DIG, DIG. Let them know they can’t do that. Prevent the damages before they occur. Save yourself the frustration.
  • CAGE: Koda has a big kennel in the yard, when we’re not home that’s where he is. This prevents him from running away, destroying the yard(we’re renting), destroying furniture and breaking out of the house(he opens the back door) and then wanders out of the yard while exploring. Mals are explorers. Having an proper kennel for them when you’re away is a good thing. It will save you the frustration which is good for them too(No scolding or worse- relinquishment)!
  • JETSETTERS: If you move around a lot, especially overseas. Think about the moving costs, it can be expensive to ship pets. It’s cheaper when they fly with you as excess baggage than as cargo but still pricey. BUT a big dog will sometimes have no choice but to fly as cargo.  If you’re flying with your dog, let the airline know ASAP that your dog will be flying with you. There is limited room for pets on a commercial plane. Before you travel, you also have to make sure you have their health paper work ready, their shots need to be current. With some destinations you may need to have their blood work done months in advance.

Save yourself from frustration. Save the animals from negligence and abandonment

This is the same with other pets and not just dogs or Alaskan Malamutes.

These are living creatures. They need love and care.

Know what you’re getting into when you’re getting a pet.

Know what to expect.

Know how to deal with problems.

BETTER YET: Know how to prevent the problems.

Be patient and open-minded, let them become a member of your family.

If you think “They are just dogs” and will not socialize with your dogs as much,

at least treat them humanely(food and shelter)

If I can add anything to this list please let me know.

I want people to know what to expect.

I’ve seen people go through animals like they are

disposable just because they don’t want to “deal”

with them anymore.  It is really sad. If your pet has behavioral problems

he might be given up by the next owner and the next owner ……OR

He might not be adopted at all and ends up being put down.

Think about the consequences of relinquishing a pet.

No life is more or less significant than others

A life is a life.

There is no bad dog, if you provide proper care

and keep them out of trouble you will never have to think about giving them up

because they are TOO MUCH to handle ^__^

Good luck with your Alaskan Malamute, Our Koda has given us so much

joy and laughter.. and love. I think it is all worth it and unless we’re  broke

and can’t care for him anymore I will never give him up.


And yet another make-over!

September 3, 2010

I revamped my blog again. And like my other custom themes, this one was designed

by me. Here’s a quick note I’d like to throw out there

** I’d be more than happy to design some custom headers for some lucky readers!

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post!

I can only work on so many for free. So I will update this blog when the offer is closed ^__^

Now onto the usual blog things!

We were hit by Typhoon Kompasu(category 1) last night. But we made it!

Just some strong winds but no roofs were blown off or anything.

Except for Koda’s tarp that was blown off his cage.  Of course he was safe inside with us ^__^

I made this super cute zipper pouch/wristlet last night during the Typhoon.

I  A B S O L U T E L Y  love it!

If you want to make one too, follow this tutorial by Ayumi of Pink Penguin!

I already made two items followingher tutorials.

They are beautifully written and illustrated and her projects are just ADORABLE!

This is the pouch with the drawstring bag, my other creation from

PinkPenguin’s tutorial. It’s reversible and what you are seeing is the reverse side.

This is the exterior of the drawstring bag shown above. I’m sending it to my mom

These items, by far, are my best sewing projects. Thank you Ayumi!

^__^

And that’s all for today.  Happy Friday and Have a lovely week-end!

What’s cookin’ Goofy-Lookin’ ?

August 24, 2010

I’ve been writing too many random blog posts lately. Pondering and venting and ranting about life in general. Yes I tend to do that sometimes.

 

I think It’s about time I post an update from the kitchen! I decided to create a photo album dedicated to my cooking on facebook. My friends and family seem to love them. Most of them are surprised I can cook(and make it look nice too!). Yes I’m often underestimated in more areas of life than one(I’m not sulking though, I love that I can surprise people and prove them wrong ;) )

 

Today I made this refreshing and filling Japanese Potato Salad following the recipe from JustHungry.com, it was meant (mainly) for my husband’s lunch box (the rest for me! haha). Turned out my husband didn’t have to go to work today -_-  I don’t know how long this Potato Salad is going to last. Certainly not until it’s spoiled! I’ve been nipping at it, little by little in the last few hours. And I’ve just made myself stop 3 minutes ago (just so I can enjoy it tomorrow too)

 

I love Japanese food, I love the way it smells, I love the way it’s prepared, I love the way it tastes. I just LOVE Japanese food. It’s not the same way I love Thai food or Italian food. I can’t pinpoint exactly what aspect of Japanese food I like. I think that Japanese cooks/chefs handle the arts of cooking very well.  Even the dishes that derive from outside of Japan, like this Potato Salad, are so beautifully tweaked. Oh and their baking is awesome too! The light and fluffy Japanese Cheesecake, I still have to master that! I can probably write a whole blog post about Japanese food. So delicately prepared and presented. So precious. Not to mention so fresh and wholesome.

 

All dishes I love, I want to be able to create. Which is a useful habit, if there comes a time when I have to live far away from the city(like right now) where there aren’t many restaurant options. Sometimes I worry that if I try my hands at too many things that I won’t be “REALLY good” at something. But I just follow my heart :P

Here is me, drinking the Omija Tea at a cafe in Seoul

 

My friend from highschool, Undram, came to Korea for a visit. If you’re thinking “who comes to Korea for vacation?” She happens to love Korean TV drama :). So as a result I had a wonderful day hanging out with my old friends, sipping iced tea on a hot Friday afternoon.

 

We also shared a bowl of green tea ice cream on shaved ice.

 

And bought these cute little anime-style rings. I bought them for other people but one of them broke. And those two people happen to be twin girls. -_-

 

Wow another long blog. I hope that wasn’t too much rambling! ^__^ I notice that I have readers every day.  But I rarely get any comments. Please, please, please, leave my some comments if you can. I love them ! :)

 

And to end this post.

Here is Koda the Alaskan Malamute, caught in the act. He’s not supposed to be sleeping on the couch like that. But he looked too cute to be scolded so I grabbed the camera to take a picture instead.

Party! Party! Party! – Wooo!!! Who wants to PARTAYYY!!??

August 12, 2010

“Who wants to party??!?!?”

Not me. I just don’t have it in me.

I tried, but never got into it.

Still try sometimes, because it’s what most people around here do to “socialize”.

When I started college and hit the “drinking age”. I was so proud that I could finally “go clubbing! wooooo!” I didn’t think about why I was so excited about it or whether I was going to like the experience or not. I was excited because, that’s what everybody was doing. People go partying to “have fun”. It was the next step in life. The right thing to do.. The “cool” thing to do. The “fun” thing to do.  So it was only right that I should be excited to join the night-life crowds and party the night away.

I think that’s how it started for most people. Just another rite-of-passage, the next step. But most people grew into it. Give them some booze. Then comes tipsiness and then drunkenness. Shy people become out-going, talkative. Inhibitions go out the window. You say and do outrageous things. “Cool” things..”Fun” things. I just never got into it. I’m not a drinker, I tried.. But I don’t see the point in forcing myself to drink something that doesn’t taste good to me until I puke over and over again, until I finally get used to it and be a part of the crowd.

Some people go partying to meet people. There’s hardly any where else you can go to just strike up a random conversation or just go in and buy someone a drink without being a weirdo. Of course if you happen to take a trip some where or are in a yoga class you can strike up a conversation and make friends. But it’s nothing like doing that in a night club or a bar. You have more courage after a drink or two, or more. With the beer goggles on, dim lighting and people groomed specifically to get a little somethin’ or attract some attention from the opposite sex. Where else would you prefer than to a place like a night club where most people are good-looking? And they are flaunting their stuff, dancing the night away.. looking “HOT!!” or “SEXY!!” or both.

Some people go out to party to have a little escape from their family. Life is stressful and hectic because they have to work so hard to feed their family, they come home from work and have to deal with their kids being kids and their wives “nagging” Some people don’t really say that about their wives. But some people do.  And yes.. the thing is. Life is too crazy and they need to go somewhere else because they can no longer “relax” at home any more.  So they drown themselves in some happy drinks at a bar somewhere.

Some people go party to go dancing.. for other people to see.. Because if you really love to dance. You can dance anywhere. There’s probably more room for that in your living room than at a packed night club.

Some people go just to drink because they love to drink. And drinking at home, doesn’t count as “having a great time”.

There are countless reasons why people love to party. None of them that I have pondered appeal to me. Sure I go sometimes because it’s where friends go to “have fun” and have their birthday parties and other parties. So I show up because I’m a pretty decent friend.

Partying is just not for me. I’m perfectly happy just spending my Friday and Saturday nights at home, at a lovely dinner or a movie and call it a night. I love to wake up on weekends and be able to do things without a hangover, I like to sew, to cook, watch TV, take pictures, blog.. do whatever I want in day light with no headaches.  And if I can take a trip out of town some where.. That’s a great time too. Go out to lunch with my hubby or my friends is also wonderful.  There are so many other ways to have a great time for me. So many ways to socialize.  And I count them as “fun”. To party people I may be boring and not fun. But just as some of them may not see how I reap the fun out of these things. I don’t see the point in their “fun” either.

I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. And it’s not like I don’t know what I’m talking about because I’ve never been out partying. I have. But I’m perfectly happy just being peaceful and “not” wild.

I don’t want to offend anyone with my opinions on this matter. Some of my best-friends are party animals. But they know who I am and how I am. They don’t force me to drink so that I can have some “fun”. But sometimes I can’t help but feel like such a grandma because I don’t do wild things. Yes I’m married and I have no kids. So I still have room for some wild actions. We have friends with kids who still party hard.

We are a part of the military community(my husband is no longer active-duty), and most people party hard.. It’s like college! That’s how I would put it. Haha.  But yeah sometimes I feel like such a bore because I’m so mellow and such a home-body. But it doesn’t last long because I realize this is who I am. And it’s nothing to feel bad about.

It’s just that I seem to be the only one who doesn’t really enjoy partying. I’m not a weirdo, I am friendly and I love meeting new people and it’s great to meet like-minded people. I’m just not a party animal, at all.  Even some people I’ve met who said they don’t really drink or don’t party proved to me that I’ve below the standard line. They drink more than I do and still love party(They choose to go out with no invitations or special occasions).

Anyone out there like me? What are your thoughts? Please leave some comments ^_^

This is my party animal, my dog, Koda.

Appreciating a Rainbow- or Two!

August 11, 2010

It’s been quite rainy where I am, which is a little city called Songtan, South Korea. The weather has been unbearably hot the last couple of days. It was rainy all night last night and all day today. I was cooking dinner in the kitchen,  while at the same time,  scolding at Koda (our dog) because he was pacing around non-stop. He wanted to go outside to use to the bathroom but “it’s raining Koda!”. He just had a bath yesterday and I wasn’t about to allow that wet dog smell to ruin everything so soon. I did let him out a couple of times when the rain wasn’t too heavy so he could do little number ones though. ^_^

My husband was getting ready for work(yes, work after dinner-night shift). Koda pacing around. Me cooking in the heat, trying to have the meal ready in time, thinking about Koda and my husband’s shirt that needed ironing and all that rush hour madness(I’m not a perfect housewife-hehe).  At one point I looked outside to check on the weather, to see if I could let the dog out, I spotted a rainbow on the horizon.

“YAY! A Rainbow.!!” I called to my husband “Babe! I have something to show you, come out here!”

Being the dork that he is.. he said “I’m in the middle of a game honey, I can’t just leave!”..  -_-’

So I went to grab my camera. And took a picture!

And then I stepped outside and looked around.. and saw that it was:

A full arc rainbow!!! It was more breath-taking in real-life. At this point, I wished I have a wide angel lens or an attachment.

Of course, while I was capturing the full rainbow and admiring it’s beauty.. I spotted:

Another rainbow appearing along-side the first one, making it a double rainbow!

I just wanted to share these wonderful moments from today on this blog.  I want this documented on here, as a reminder to myself and everyone else, to remember to appreciate a rainbow( or two ! ) any time you have a chance. It’s simple and it’s free but it’s a very uplifting experience. And if you don’t really find it uplifting, then maybe you need to stop and remember to appreciate the little things in life such as this. Hold on to that part of your soul! ^_^

PS. My husband did come out to see the rainbow eventually, and he was happy too!

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