Food for Kids: Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Kale and Avocado Ice Pops

Kale and avocado ice pops

Kale and Avocado Ice pop

I’ve been waiting to deliver the official recipe for my healthy take on ice pops via the cookbook I’m authoring however given it’s St. Patrick’s Day today and some parents recently asked me for this recipe- I’ve decided to let everyone take a shot at making their own before the book comes out. Don’t worry- you’ll still get plenty of recipes in the actual cookbook and a few comical illustrations accompanying it.

My four year old is the star of my culinary dreams. He eats just about everything. Whether it’s spicy, creamy, fermented, raw, cooked, hot or cold- there isn’t a thing he’s not willing to try- at least once that is. Nothing can be too dangerous or ethnic enough. Discovering new vegetables are always welcomed by Daniel. Alex, his older six year old brother on the other hand- won’t even look at a vegetable, unless it’s part of a lesson plan in school. He’ll look at them, with oohs and aahs- but it ends there. They never eat any digestive play.

As a parent, and being named chef mommy by my kids- how do I explain to other parents about my battle with their veggie intake? I blame it partly to the American food culture, adding the endless commercials for unhealthy snacks and their father’s bad habit of eating junk food and drinking soda in front of them. I had to smarten up and figure out alternative ways to feed them the healthier things in life.

Zoku Quick Pop Maker

The Zoku Quick Pop Maker: make ice pops in 7 minutes

So last year, I figured out how to incorporate the greens into Alex’s diet by blending them into other familiar flavors- delivered into instant ice pops thanks to the Zoku Quick Pop Maker. Within minutes, he devoured not one but three ice pops that I made with Kale, avocado, yogurt and honey.

We haven’t made these in a little while- but promise to get back into them before Memorial Day weekend. Until then…here ‘s my recipe for healthy kale and avocado ice pops you can try at home! You can also use the conventional ice pop molds.

Kale and Avocado Yogurt Ice Pops

Yields 6 Servings

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

1 avocado, peeled with seed removed

1 bunch of kale, stems removed

1/4 cup honey

1/2 cup whole greek yogurt

Directions

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Place kale leaves and blanche until leaves are very tender (about 8 minutes). Remove kale from water and place in an ice bath. Remove kale from ice bath after about a minute and place inside a food processor or blender. Pulse for about a minute on low, then blend with the avocado, honey and yogurt until it’s smooth and creamy (about 1 minute).

Spoon mixture into ice pop molds, place wooden sticks (if you’re using conventional molds) in the center and freeze overnight uncovered on a flat surface. Unmold and serve!

 

 

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Filed under Food for Kids, Holidays, Hot on the Blog, March 2013, Recipes

Restaurant Opening: Barn Joo

Barn Joo: 893 Broadway, NYC

The view from upstairs

Spring is almost here…I can almost taste the sweetness of new desserts along with that scent of new restaurant openings- those show stopping events and the bitchy reviews by the bitter bloggers and critics thereafter. Before we know it, we’ll be swinging back into restaurant week- where some of us will casually pretend to be tourists for cheap dinners at $35.oo, though I seldom recommend it. I’m not missing the mid-winter blues either, as my foot’s finally healed after taking that unfortunate dive in the Flushing Corona Center parking lot while delivering gallons of homemade kimchi.

Opening at Barn Joo: Rina Oh, Ling Tan, Mie Iwatsuki

Rina Oh, Ling Tan, and Mie Iwatsuki at Barn Joo grand opening in NYC.

And here’s to giving Spring an early start with the first installment of restaurant openings. Say hello to the Korean pub called Barn Joo, located at 893 Broadway in the Flatiron district of New York City. It’s a multi-level drinking joint contained below the Verite Hotel, a boutique hotel by the same proprietor. The basement serves as a private clubroom replete with lounge tables and DJ booth, the main floor’s filled with more tables with a bar that’s perfect for happy hour gatherings after work, and last but not least- a private VIP lounge upstairs. We made an appearance with the usual gang, myself (Dining with Outlaws), the Insatiable-Critic Gael Greene, and Ethno Junkie: Rich Sanders, the fabulous Peter, and the former owner of the Quilted Giraffe- Barry Wine upon the first visit.

The main floor of Barn Joo with the owner, Charles "Tiger" Chong.

The main floor of Barn Joo with the owner, Charles "Tiger" Chong.

The menu’s quite small at Barn Joo- it’s a one pager, mostly small plates of Korean pub grub compared to the dozen or so pages filled with cocktails, beer, and liquor. At the opening night when I returned the following week with a different crowd of familiar Asian models- we were treated to a full house and sat in a private booth upstairs. The usual suspects were there- those who happen to attend any Korean restaurant opening in NYC. Seeing these private dining guests reminded me of Kristalbelli‘s opening last year.

Spiky Hat at Barn Joo

Restaurant openings plus spiky things are causing a deja vu experience.

The models, the manager, the K-pop fans were all there. This was indeed a Moving Feast with the familiar staff and opening patrons. I’m not complaining since the fried chicken supply seemed endless and we stayed till almost midnight indulged in heated conversations about revenge, marriage and playing mean girls in real life.

Barn Joo Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken perfect for sharing, although one order's never enough: one order per is the recommended dosage.

Formal reviews to follow later on…in the meantime you should give it a swing by with a few friends or foes and try a few soju cocktails and their Korean fried chicken.

Barn Joo

893 Broadway

New York, NY 10003

www.Barnjoo.com

 

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Filed under Dining with Outlaws, Hot on the Blog, Korean, March 2013, Restaurants

Dining with Out-Laws may sometimes be unwelcomed in the near future…

Dining with Out-Laws

I’m finally turning this blog into what it was originally intended for. A blog about dining out. Not with your typical family or friends- but with a special group and a mix of the unwelcomed. The critics, the foes- the ruiners for some. For others- their words are captioned for decades long after restaurants receive their initial four stars with reviews immortalized, lamented, framed- then plastered all over the world wide web. It’s much easier to do the latter than the former. And no, I will never ever apologize for my reviews. I won’t take your money either. If you want to treat me to a free meal to write a review, invite me over to your house and we can talk over fluff while you make me dinner. But not in your restaurant. Although I welcome the offer for free meals via insta gift cards. I’m a bit of an Indian giver. A cheapie, and love re-gifting gift cards. So bring it on!
Michael Bao's last restaurant in New York
I was invited to visit Bao at 26 Greenwich Avenue a few months ago…I wanted to write about this place while it was still open- but felt bad, and would’ve been cursed if I’ld exposed the dump while Michael Bao was still here. Then Hurricane Sandy came along- and shut it down for good. Maybe it was intended to be that way. Who wants to have their last hoorah and leave the land of opportunity with their tails between their legs? The food was usually good, as always- the chef seemed to deliver. But the lack of decor- or shall I say: the recycled decor left over from the previous joint, along with French signage outdoors, floor cleaning products staring at our table kinda rubbed me the wrong way.
Green custard
This dessert was pretty spectacular. The green custard above rubbed me the right way for some reason. The consistency of the chewy fresh ginko, married with the caramel sauce added a nice touch. It wasn’t too heavy nor sweet. It was just right. We didn’t care so much for the lettuce wraps with fried chicken- there was nearly not enough lettuce and the service wasn’t that great.
Cleaning supplies at Michael Bao restaurant
The most entertaining part of this meal- was perhaps the stripper look a like flashing her red brassiere under the sheer white blouse with fire red painted lips sashaying her way up and down the cramped space- that was indeed the highlight of the night. Now that’s all I remember from our meal together. Those two girls seemed to know the chef quite well- well enough to help themselves straight out of the rice cooker, practically licking the sauce off his lips in the open view kitchen, with the cleaning supplies staring at both our table and the kitchen staff. I hope he did it to get a rise out of us, and wasn’t being delusional about reality. But if I were in his shoes- I may have done the same. It’s hard to imagine spending a wonderful evening joined by some of the best art dealers from Beijing with designer friends and models at the former Bao joint- only two years earlier. A somber farewell to see a chef brought down like this. I might have seen the chef tremble for a second when Gael Greene yelled at him right before we left: “Who do these girls think they are- walking right into your kitchen and helping themselves to rice- do they work here?”…(and no they didn’t work there). Seriously- who were those girls?
Our VIP table
Whoever they were- at least I’ll never see them again, unless Michael Bao moves back to NY from Vietnam and invites all of us for another opening in the distant future. Well, the show must move on, and Spring will soon be near, along will rise new restaurants, with new menus, new chefs, followed by more reviews. Take good care Chef Michael Bao. New York will miss your serial restaurant openings/closings.
***

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Filed under Dining with Outlaws, Hot on the Blog, January 2013, Uncategorized

The Two Little Bakers: I’ve given birth to a new blog!

This was inevitable. After all- I’m a bit obsessed with organizing things which includes kitchen cabinets, pantry items, spices, shoes, toys, files both printed and internets stuff. I can’t stand looking at things that are disheveled and boy do I start cleaning after each and every episode of Hoarders. So it’s just become natural that I couldn’t sustain all my files on this little blog. I gave birth to two beautiful boys a few years ago and now I’ve given birth to their existence online. Some may criticize me and say I should’ve waited till they’re old enough to read and write their own words but I couldn’t help doing it now. So here it is! Welcome to the new site I’ve just given birth to: www.thetwolittlebakers.com ! Don’t worry dear readers- I’m not going anywhere anytime soon. This site will still continue doing it’s thing. Here’s a little sneaky peak of the first official recipe by the boys: Cranberry Scones. Hope you like it!

The Two Little Bakers Cranberry Scones recipe

Cranberry Scones by The Two Little Bakers, Alex and Daniel

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Filed under Hot on the Blog, January 2013, Tea, The Two Little Bakers

How to Gear Up for the Holidays

Let the festivities begin and Happy Holidays to you! If you’re not feeling festive yet- may I entice you in gearing up for the upcoming month of December? You don’t have to be religious to celebrate Christmas, after all it’s based on a pagan Nordic tradition from the folklore elves to the festive drinks.

Nothing better than celebrating the darkest days of the year with some lights, fairy dust, and gift giving and I can’t think of a better reason to throw another big festive food shindig…can you? I did pretty good this year and got a Canadian Fraser Fir the day after Thanksgiving. Nothing beats a black Friday Christmas tree deal, over six feet tall for under thirty bucks.

I decided to turn myself into the anti-Scrooge this year. Normally I’ld cringe and hiss before family members manage to get me into the holiday mood- occurring sometime towards Christmas Day (the day before to be exact). I just always believed religion and obsessive spending/ indulging in food, drink, and buying excessive unnecessary stuff was just unnecessary and therefore a bit sinful.

But there’s nothing wrong with celebrating the darkest days with lots of light, elves, festive food and drink to warm your soul. Since that’s a strictly unreligious practice- I’m glad to announce I’ve been converted, yay! To gear up for the holidays I’ve managed to prepare: 

1. Christmas tree decorated by the kids. All I had to do was drive them there, let the kids pick their tree and pay (cash only) the man who tied the tree to my car. Don’t forget to tip the person who carries the tree to your car. They work under extreme conditions standing outdoors all day long, often times till midnight- encountering festive little brats with their parents pick out a tree several hundred times a day yet always manage to cheer a smile for you when you’re there buying your pick of the forest.
2. I prepared 15 gallons liters of kimchi for my annual kimchi giveaway. This practice wasn’t inspired merely for the holidays, it just so happens to be cabbage season and kimchi making practices normally occur at this time of the year. So why not get some brownie points for sharing with my beloved friends and family? I tried it last year and got a bunch of hoorays and they’ve been waiting all year to get some more…so here it is!
3. The first kimchi takers of 2012. The Insatiable-Critic Gael Greene was the first person I handed a jar to (not pictured since I promised not to publish the photo- can I publish it later Gael? How about if I drew a nice hat into the photo?)
4. I have to give some kudos to the Red Farm Chef Joe Ng pictured above, who managed to make some amazing little sculptures out of Dim Sum dough. We’re planning on taking some Dim Sum classes hopefully very soon. Kimchi for Dim Sum lessons, not a bad barter eh?
5. I decided to go for it and build the candy covered edible Christmas tree this year for the kids (shhhh- they don’t know about it yet)….
6. For inspiration, I dug up this old (very bad hair day photo) of a peacock I sculpted using edible foodstuffs. The armature was made of rabbit carcass and a roasted turkey breast before I laid a vinegar based dough over it and fire torched the thing, then molding it to look like this. It originally sat on top of aspic neatly decorated with flower petal designs before somebody decided to move my piece in the walk in and I discovered an ugly pile of liquid crapped on my perfectly ruined aspic the following day. Thanks anonymous person who ruined my aspic two years ago…I don’t know who you are- but you should be getting one of these bottles coming in your direction very soon. Karma’s a Bitch. See bottle below.

7. Last but not least. If you get one of these bottles gifted to you this holiday season, you know you’ve been a little naughty this year. P.S. They’re sold at big chain liquor stores and Whole Foods Market nationwide.

That’s about it for today! I hope ya’ll are ready for Christmas! The one thing I didn’t get a chance to get is a furry red sweater with reindeer and snowflakes. Still shopping for one of those cooky sweaters. Where to buy a Cooky Christmas Sweater Guide coming very soon! Happy December Everyone!!

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Filed under Dining with Outlaws, Holidays, Hot on the Blog

Favorite Moments: How to Eat Your Favorite Thanksgiving Pie

May I introduce my little pumpkin pie, the ultimate fan favorite Thanksgiving dessert?! Some lifetime memories were made late last night after we devoured two rounds of turkey and glazed ham married with my new kimchi sofrito recipe. Afterwards- we were greeted by the inevitable delectable pumpkin pie, who sat next to a perfect pecan pie. They were both pinched long before dessert time of course. But who can blame a room full of overstuffed adults and children? Not me….and I certainly couldn’t say no to anyone asking for more whipped cream…Hope you had fun with yours, because we certainly did!

Hello Pumpkin Pie

Hello Pecan Pie.

Hello Gorgeous!

Me: Show everyone how to eat pie Daniel, Mommy’s taking pictures with my iPhone!

Daniel: Ok….

Daniel takes his FIRST bite of pumpkin pie, EVER.

Daniel: How was that Mommy?

Me: You didn’t smile. :( Can you smile for me?

Daniel: Ok, take another picture…CHEESE!!!!!!

Me: That’s such a fake smile Daniel! Ugh- just eat your pie then.

Daniel: Ok.

Daniel: (silent thoughts) This pie sucks. I’m bored. Thanksgiving sucks.

Daniel: (silent thoughts) I’m sooooo bored……

Daniel: (silent thoughts) At least it’s better than more turkey and veggies!

Daniel: (silent thoughts) I wonder if it tastes any different if I cut it into pieces?

Daniel: (silent thoughts) One more piece to go and then I’ll know. Nothing better than pie with whipped cream…yay!

Daniel: Oh no! I’m out of whipped cream!!!!!!!! MOMMY!!!!!! There’s no more whipped cream! :(

Me: You mean this? You want more?

Daniel: Yay! Yes! Yes! Yes!

Me: Here you go gorgeous! On second thought- do you want to try a big bite of whipped cream?

Daniel: Huh? On my fork?

Me: No. Just open wide!!

Daniel: Um, ok.

Daniel: AH.

Alex: (in the background) Hey what are you doing to Daniel?

Me: You want some too Alex?

Alex: Hey- what are you doing with that thing in my face!!!

Me: Just say Ah- look! It’s really yummy…

Alex: (giggles)

Me: Ok- who’s next? Mozie!!!!

Mozie: I don’t think so. Get that device away from my furry face! (jumps off the couch and hides)

And Daniel takes the last big bite before we’re off to sweet dreams….

Daniel: Mommy, can I tell you something? I had so much fun today! I love you very very much Mommy.

Me: I love you more my little black beauty.

Fireworks sparked off somewhere in the distant sky before we were gently swept away into a dreamy landscape with magical unicorns and fairies…

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Filed under Favorite Moments, Holidays, Hot on the Blog, November 2012, Uncategorized

How to Eat Your Favorite Childhood Ice Cream

I recently went on a culinary voyage to my home away from home. To the place I called home for three primal years of my life. Going to Korea to eat my heart out- I couldn’t leave without having my favorite childhood food- the inevitable ice cream which haunted me for decades, as this little thing was the last thing I remembered eating before taking off into the unknown (South America) with my parents and brother. I didn’t find the strawberry flavor I coveted so much- but instead discovered a new one, pistachio with a chocolate ball at the very end for happy endings.

How to Eat Your Favorite Childhood Ice Cream:

Inspect the little big thing at first.

I wonder if this ice cream missed me as much as I did…

Small bites, licks, exams…

Yup- that’s what I’ve been craving for so many years.

The taste just fills me up with utter joy!

Where have you been all my life?

It’s just me and my little ice cream cone! Like a kid again…but better-

I went out and bought three of them and had it for breakfast!

Pistachio flavored chocolate coated ice cream cone with a happy little ending…

Here’s looking at you kid…

Me: Hello?

Auntie: Rina, did you have breakfast?

Me: Um- yea, having some ice cream right now…

Auntie: for breakfast? You’ll get diarrhea!!

Me: Well- I already had two of them so it’s a tad bit late now don’t you think?

Ok- I gotta go now, have lots of things to do (eat my ice cream in peace!!)

And at the end of this happy journey

there’s a chocolate ball awaiting to be Devoured!

The end~ till we meet again,

hopefully it’ll be sooner than later…

To be continued…

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Filed under Favorite Moments, Uncategorized

How to Drink Juice from a Sippy Cup


Want to know how to be a stylin’ with your juicy juice? Here’s my guide on how to drink from a sippy cup:

Doesn’t juice make everyone happy? It certainly makes me happy…

I hope there’s nothing floating in my sippy cup.

Double check.

I’m so glad I can finally put my feet up at the end of a long day…

The birds are singing outside…the sun’s shining…

There’s nothing I would rather do then..to be sipping on some juice with my sippy cup.

Guess what I’m having!

It’s made with grapes.

Do you want some of this grape juice in a sippy cup?

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Filed under Favorite Moments, Hot on the Blog, June 2012, Uncategorized

Favorite Moments: How to Eat a Peach

Howdy! Here’s a whole new category called Favorite Moments where I’ll be sharing how to eat your heart out with style. It’s not just what you’re eating that counts, how you do it makes up about fifty percent of the overall experience. Here’s a guide on how to eat a peach:

Hello? What? You want to know how to eat a peach? Um…ok. I’ll take some pics with my iphone.”

Hello happy peach.

Fuzzy little thing, aren’t you?

The first bite is always the best…

That was pretty good. I think I must finish eating this fruit.

And a second bite shortly thereafter…

Do you want to try this? I know you do, trust me, it’s really good.

I’m about halfway through eating this.

It’s just me and the peachy peach.

Almost done, down to the pit.

Devoured. The End~


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Filed under Favorite Moments, Hot on the Blog, June 2012, Uncategorized

Patjuk, a vegan Winter Solstice Food

 

On Donjinal (December 22): Patjuk, a red bean porridge is cooked and eaten throughout Korea. It’s popularity stems from the seasonal scarcity of fresh meat and vegetables as a mid-winter food which eventually sustained as an entire meal minus all the side dishes one would normally consume during other seasons.

A popular mysterious belief is that the food drives evil spirits away, brings good harvest in the coming months, and of course good luck. It is typically served with glutinous rice flour cakes formed into small balls that resemble a quail’s egg.

I tweaked my recipe from the traditional method by incorporating cooked rice instead of using raw grain rice to cook the porridge. After all- tis the holidays and less work means more time for other things!

Ingredients

1 cup dry red beans

1 cup cooked medium grain glutinous rice

100 grams glutinous rice flour

6 tablespoons boiling water

1 teaspoons salt

6-8 cups water

Directions

Soak red beans overnight in a medium bowl with water (about 3-4 cups) to cover. Drain water before use.

Bring about 4 cups of water to a boil. Add red beans and allow to cook for about an hour uncovered on a simmer.

Stir in cooked rice, season with salt and pepper and cook for an additional 45 minutes to an hour on a simmer. Mash with a potato masher and stir in steamed rice cakes.

The beauty of this dish is that you can buy your rice cakes instead of making them yourself (which is a labor of love in itself). If you’re like me, you’ve made the rice cakes a few weeks in advance and stored them in the freezer. They’re actually very easy to make, and shouldn’t take longer than 15-20 minutes total prep and cooking time.

Combine salt and flour.

Have your boiling water handy and stir in one tablespoon at a time. Your dough shouldn’t be too mushy or too dry.

Knead your dough for about 5 minutes. Form into small quail size balls and steam them for about 15 minutes until they are completely cooked through. The center should be moist, not dry.

Transfer rice cakes into red bean porridge and serve with kimchi or other banchan on the side. You can also enjoy this on its own!

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Filed under December 2011, Holidays, Hot on the Blog, Korean Food at Home, Red Bean Porridge