is the kettle on?

tea milk sugar

Whenever I come home, I head straight for the kitchen to turn on the kettle. What’s gotten into me? The only time I go mad for tea is when I’m in Ireland. Suddenly here in the states, I have this thirst for tea all the time. I grew up drinking Bo Ri Cha (barley tea) at home, but that’s not the same. Bo Ri Cha was like everyday drinking water for us, it’s the stuff they serve at all the Korean restaurants. (more…)

pork roast dinner

roast pork dinner 1

I’ve been feeling a little homesick for Ireland these past few days. Am I allowed to use the word ‘homesick’ if I’ve never actually lived there? I’ve visited there so many times, it’s like I’ve lived there. Seriously, nearly every page of my passport has green ink on it! I should really just get an Irish passport already, I hate waiting in the Non-EU line at customs! I tried going through with Kevin before, but nope, they accepted him and I was told to go back into the Non-EU line. So I waited and waited and when I finally reached the Customs official, he asked me where my husband was. Next time Kevin, you’re waiting with me! I don’t know where this sudden longing to be back in Ireland is coming from. Maybe it’s because we’ve been drinking loads of Barry’s Tea and we don’t have proper biscuits and snacks to have with it. HAHA. Maybe it’s because we know we won’t be traveling much this year and that makes me miss my in-laws a bit more than usual. But anyways, this desire to be in Ireland has inspired me to cook Irish dishes all week. Sometimes, I feel bad for only making Korean or Italian dishes at home. Meat and potatoes have turned into kimchi and rice or pasta and salads in this house. So I dedicate this week to you my dear. I’ll cook all your favorite dishes, save for Steak and Kidney Pie. I still haven’t a clue how to make that. (more…)

poor man’s bibimbop

mixedreadytoeat

Growing up, the only Korean dish I knew how to make was instant ramyun. Boil some water, empty the seasoning packet and noodles into the pot and in a few minutes, your meal is ready. Easy peasy! Sometimes, I would add in sliced onions or scallions. On special occasions I’d add in pieces of hot dog and crack in an egg! Fancy! As I got older, I realized this kind of cooking wasn’t going to cut it. I told myself if I’m going to marry a nice Korean man, I need to learn how to make excellent Korean food… perhaps that’s why I married an Irishman! HAHA. I’m being silly… but seriously, I’m constantly learning new recipes and it’ll be some time before my Korean cooking is excellent! 😉

I never really learned how to make classic Korean dishes properly. I sort of just experimented on my own living in Italy. Sure I called my mom for some guidance, but trying to learn recipes from a Korean mother is a little (too) frustrating for me. They don’t measure anything and I feel like every ingredient is optional. ‘Add in some peppers if you have them, if you don’t it’s ok.’ ‘Don’t add in too much water at the start, but if you do, it’s ok.’ “Grate in some apple. You don’t have apples? Use pears. No pears? Use kiwis. No kiwis? Well, it’s ok then.’ ‘This broth needs more salt. Or maybe it doesn’t. But you can add more if you want, but this will do too.’ So what is it mom – does it need more salt or not?! AHHH I’m so confused! She may not be a good teacher, but she’s a great cook. Her food is AMAZING! I tell her all the time that she has Mash It Neun Sohn, literally tasty hands, because everything she makes is so delicious. I’m convinced that one day, my Korean cooking will be just as amazing and I will surprise my mom with an elaborate Korean feast fit for kings. One day Lisbeth, one day! For now, I’m not going to kid myself, Americanized Lisbeth style Korean dishes will do. 😉 (more…)

petit louis bistro columbia

I’m not one of those people you’d usually find at grand openings for things. But when I heard The Whole Foods Market in Columbia, MD was finally opening its doors, I couldn’t resist…I tried, but somehow around lunch time, I found myself there. I came up with a clever way to trick Kevin into going with me. We had a morning meeting in Baltimore City and on our way home I “suggested” we go for an early lunch somewhere. We haven’t been to Iron Bridge Wine Company in Ellicott City, MD for some time so we thought we’d head there towards Howard County.

“…actually, Kevin…we haven’t had Petit Louis Bistro in a while either…mmm I could go for a Quiche Lorraine. A nice brunchy lunch. Doesn’t that sound good today? …And maybe if we have time we can quickly drive by Whole Foods and see if it’s really busy, I mean it’s just right by there…and if it’s not too busy maybe we could go in…OMG You know what? We’re out of Raisin Bran…” INCEPTION! I’m such a genius! 😉 (more…)

zucchini blossoms

blossoms from the market

Do you know what these beautiful flowers are? They’re squash/zucchini blossoms and boy are they delicious! I remember buying them a few summers ago at the Roots Market in Clarksville, MD. They showcase seasonal produce from local farms at various times throughout the year. They might get in a few dozen zucchini blossoms, a handful of garlic scapes, a few dozen patty pan squash and so on. And when they’re gone, they’re gone for the season. We don’t live so close to Clarksville anymore so we aren’t able to frequent Roots as often. We probably missed out on the blossoms delivery this summer. If you’ve been following the blog, you will know that I’ve been shopping at the local farmers markets a lot this year. I should really join a CSA. I had been searching for them all summer without much success. Every week I’d pick up a few zucchini or yellow squash and then it came to me. Surely these farms must have loads of blossoms growing out on the fields. I decided to write to a few local farmers to see if they could help me out. (more…)

Maryland crabs – part 2

dozen large crabs

Summer’s coming to an end folks! (Sorry! I know I know, saying it out loud makes it more real. I can’t believe this summer’s almost over. Seeing signs for ‘Back-to-School’ is nuts!) For those of you who haven’t enjoyed Maryland blue crabs yet this season, there’s no better time than right now to head out and grab a dozen or two. A good friend of ours recently came to visit us from NYC. Her one request – Maryland crabs! This time we went to Cantler’s Riverside Inn in Annapolis, MD. Fantastic crab house for the entire family. It’s right on the water and it has a dock with its own filling station for passing boats. You can even see the crabs being sorted below, it’s a bit (ok, more than a bit) smelly but the kids find it fascinating. We arrived at Cantler’s around 11:30 on a Saturday, and although the place was filling up quickly we managed to get seated outside without a wait. They offer an all-you-can-eat option, but we ordered a dozen large and lots of sides – fries, onion rings, hush puppies, clam strips and sweet local corn – and of course a round of ice cold Natty Bo’s.

We’ve had crabs a few times this summer at Harris Crab House on Kent Island, Hooper’s in Ocean City, MD, my brother’s house with a bushel from Sea King in Ellicott City, MD, and a dozen or two from Sea Hut Inn in Catonsville, MD. But each time, I dived right into the meal and forgot all about my promise to post a ‘how-to’ on opening and eating crabs. So, this post is dedicated to just that – How I open crabs. (more…)

pasta alla norma

rigatoni alla norma

One thing I look forward to every week is making lunch for my mom at our house. I think she loves it too! 😉 She’s a pretty busy lady, so in the short time we have together I make sure to prepare a lovely 3 course meal – starter, main and dessert. This way, I know she’ll leave with a full and happy belly. Oh and I always send her off with a hot cappuccino to-go. I literally buy those disposable coffee cups with lids from Costco, just for her cappuccinos.

Two weeks ago, I made my mom a fresh zucchini salad, pasta all norma (eggplant spaghetti) and fruit salad of peaches, nectarines and plums. (All made from seasonal produce from the farmers market.) She liked the zucchini salad so much I made it again when the whole family was over for lunch. Although the eggplant spaghetti was tasty and looked pretty, I wasn’t completely satisfied with it. I was short on time and skipped 2 important steps in the recipe and well, while the eggplant should’ve broken apart and become creamy in texture, it remained intact and was quite watery. She didn’t seem to mind, but I told myself I’d have to make it properly for her the next time. (more…)

bruschetta

lovedove tomatoes

Now that you’ve made the ciabatta from yesterday, all you need are juicy sweet tomatoes. These are the tomatoes I picked up after lunch at the Love Dove Farm stall at the Howard County Farmers Market. Aren’t they just gorgeous? I grabbed a pint of Sun Gold tomatoes and a pint of Black Cherry tomatoes. I could snack on them all day.

Farm stalls are overflowing with all different tomato heirlooms and varieties during the summer. Once you’ve tried fresh picked tomatoes off the vine, the ones you find year round in the supermarkets won’t do. It’s hard for me not to pick up a pint or two when I’m out at the farmers market. When using such delicious produce like farm fresh tomatoes, it’s best to keep whatever dish you’re making as simple as possible. You want the natural sweetness and bright flavors to shine. A great dish to show off summer tomatoes is Bruschetta. Here are a few different ways I dress my tomatoes. (more…)

ciabatta…i made one from scratch!

ciabatta ingredients

Why is bread making so daunting? It really shouldn’t be. I’ve made plenty of quick breads at home like scones, biscuits and Irish brown bread without a problem. But you see, they don’t require yeast. There’s something about using yeast and letting things proof for a long time that puts me off of making those types of breads. (more…)

jamaican jerk chicken

jerk dinner

Have you noticed that I love to cook in themes? I’ve been making lots of Korean/Asian and Italian dishes lately, I thought I’d try something different and go outside of my comfort zone. So I invited some friends over for a Caribbean themed – Jerk Chicken dinner. We even had Red Stripe Jamaican style lager! I slow cooked the chicken in the oven and then broiled the chicken pieces skin-side up just before serving to get that charred taste. Delicious!

jerk chicken Jerk Chicken. Try making this dish with scotch bonnet peppers. You can find them at your local Caribbean or Asian market. If you can’t, you can always substitute them with habanero peppers. I’ve made jerk with both, but I prefer the heat the scotch bonnet brings to the dish. It’s great!

mango salsaMango Salsa. This fruity salsa goes great with jerk. It adds a bit of sweet to the savory and helps cools down the heat from the peppers. I season all my salsas with the same 3 ingredients – lime juice, salt and pepper. You can make salsa with all sorts of fun fruits like pineapple, green papaya and watermelon.

coleslaw Coleslaw. Coleslaw adds a crispy texture and a fresh taste to any meal.

jerk spread

Here’s the spread. Look at all the colors and textures! What cuisine should I try next? Irish? Greek? Spanish? I have a paella pan that I haven’t used yet. Maybe I’ll make some pintxos or tapas and seafood paella. Dinner party anyone?

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