31 May, 2011

I'm back/Korean BBQ

Wow, I didn't realize it had been 3 weeks since I'd last posted.  I've been busy with end of school year things, a trip to NYC, and life in general.  

You won't see many photos of the family's trip to NYC because quite simply, I misplaced the SD card with my vacation photos.  It was an 8gb so the amount of photos lost (approx. 600) is nauseating. I try not to dwell on it.  I'm praying it shows up sometime soon where I least expect it.  I think I left it in the NYC apartment we stayed in but no show yet.  Life goes on.

Let me just say that after eating NY food for a week, coming home to Nashville to get a
Chick-fil-a sandwich (something I usually love) was a disappointment to the taste buds.  The food there is so great.  Even my husband and boys swear the hot dog vendor's dogs are extraordinary.  :)  I'm not a fan, but I can vouch for their pretzels. :)

My hubs served in the USAF for nearly a decade.  A few of those years were spent in Seoul, Korea.  He introduced us to Korean cuisine (particularly Korean BBQ) quite a few years ago.  We all love it and frequent an authentic Korean restaurant here in Nashvegas called The Seoul Garden.  

After our visit to the Empire State Bldg. last week we walked a few block to NYC's Korean Town.  What a wonderful area!  Lots of great restaurants and tea shops.
 We found this restaurant called Won Jo.  We were excited to try Korean BBQ in Korea Town.
  Korean BBQ is marinated pork, chicken, or beef (called bulgogi) that they bring and you cook it on grill that is built into your table.  They bring rice, lettuce leaves, and all sorts of wonderful side dishes called kimchi.  Kimchi is a delicious spicy, fermented, cabbage. Other types of kimchi might be radish, cucumber, potatoes, eggs, fish, etc.. (see all the little white dishes above are kimchi) You take your lettuce leaf and put on the meat, rice and whatever kimchi you want and roll it up. Yum.  It's one of my favorite things to eat.  The kimchi soup was my favorite thing tho'.   Fun times and great memories were made.  

10 May, 2011

Greek chicken pasta

Here's another Greek inspired recipe I found the other day while searching all recipes for a chicken pasta recipe.  One of my favorite things is marinated artichoke hearts, and when I saw this recipe included those-I knew I wanted to make it.  I used whole wheat pasta and canned tomatoes but other than that I followed the recipe exactly.  The tartness from the artichoke hearts, feta, and lemon is really wonderful.  A salad and some crusty bread  would be great with it as well. .http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Greek-Chicken-Pasta/Detail.aspx

06 May, 2011

Chair luv

My current blog photo is a piece called "Marin".  It's from a series of mixed media I did quite a few years ago.  I love the idea of taking an old chair with great bones and redoing it into something fabulous.  Upholstering is something I've long wanted to try but haven't had the time, room, or resources to make it happen. My mind overflows with different design ideas. My mixed media chairs were kind of an alternative way to express them.  My love for a good wingback chair is well documented.  "Wingey" (below), was my first dishtowel design, and the first one I ever sold on my site and Etsy back in '07.
While perusing Etsy I came across Happy Chair.  Shawna Robinson, a formal Nascar driver,  runs the company. I was excited to see her offering some things on Etsy.  Her pieces are amazing! Is this love seat below the cutest or what?  Not really fitting for my decor, but I could so see it in a single girl's apartment, bedroom, or the sitting area of a boutique.  

Loving the combination of colors on this owl chair.

The "marry me" chair reminds me of one of my favorite things - -Ruffled nickers! :) 

You can view all her available pieces at shawnarobinson.com.  

03 May, 2011


                 Carnitas means "little meats" in spanish.  Pork carnitas is simmered pork used in different Mexican dishes.  They are usually made using heavily marbled, boston butt or a picnic cut of pork. This is the same cut of meat used in pulled pork for BBQ.    It's braised in liquid (the authentic method is using lard for liquid-eewww!) and seasonings for a good while and used in tacos, burritos, etc...  
This particular recipe has a very mellow tasting, juicy meat.  A perfect accompaniment to the stronger corn tortilla, cilantro, red onion, and salsa flavors.
It's terrific because you get the richness and tenderness like you used lard but YOU DEFINITELY DIDN"T.  We will use evaporated milk and coca cola instead.
Boston butt piece of pork
onion roughly chopped
a can evaporated milk
a can of coke
1/4 c. salt
2 cinnamon sticks
head of garlic, top cut off
water to cover

corn tortillas
red onion
crumbled queso (i don't use cheese)
lime wedges

Cut your boston butt into large chunks and remove outer layer of fat.  Put your butt :) into a large pot.  Add your evaporated milk, coke, salt, cinnamon sticks, garlic, and water to cover the roast.  Cover and simmer 3-4 hours or until it's very tender.
Once it's tender you can remove to cool.  Put your meat on a cutting board and using two forks shred the meat.  
For tacos I use a large electric griddle.  On one side I put some of the carnitas meat so it can get brown and crispy.  On the other side I heat the corn tortillas.  To assemble: Heat a corn tortilla.  Lay down some meat, chopped red onion, cilantro, and salsa (recipe below).
You can add crumbled queso or other Mexican cheese if you like.  I like mine w/o cheese. 

 smokey salsa:

  • 3 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 3 fresh jalapenos, roughly chopped (less or more depending on how HOT you like it)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 T. fresh lime juice
  • 2 T. chopped canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce 
  • 1 1/2 t. ground cumin
  • 1 t. sea salt

Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse to the consistency you like.

02 May, 2011

grit bowls

Forget all the derogatory things you have heard about grits. If you've never tried them, how could you really know if you don't like 'em?  Maybe you won't like 'em, but know for sure.  I think you may be missing out on something pretty delicious. 

Have you ever eaten polenta at a nice restaurant?  If you have, you've eaten grits! You can add so many things to grits--savory or sweet.  My favorite way to eat them is in what I call a grit bowl. Grits seasoned up well on the bottom and whatever you like on top. And then, lastly, topped with an egg, any way you like it.  

I use quick grits.  Quick grits are really good. I make my grits in the microwave. Follow directions on the back of the box. 1/4 c. of grits and 3/4 c. water.  Microwave 2-3 minutes depending on the consistency you like.  I usually cook them about 2 1/2 minutes. You definitely need to season the grits well to your liking.
Once they come out of the microwave I stir in a some butter, salt, fresh ground pepper, and a few shreds of my favorite cheese, Cabot extra sharp. I find it in my Kroger's deli case. 

You can add whatever you like to your grits.  If you have sausage or bacon, that is great crumbled up in there, or some fried potatoes or other veggie. You could really get creative. Today I just topped the grits with a fried over-medium egg. Give grits a try.  You may be surprised at how delicious they are. :) 

01 May, 2011

spurgie's lift

Spurgie was groomed on Wed.  I took him to a new place and saved $15 from the normal groomer we use.  Don't know if I'll go back.  He has this look now to his face and the way the fur hits below his eyes that seemed so familiar to me.  I kept thinking 'who does this dog look like?'.  I finally figured it out.  I tried to capture his face in that look.  If you don't see it you're just going to have to trust me on this.  

May Day

As a child growing up in the midwest I truly loved to make and deliver May baskets.  I never really knew the history behind May Day but I loved delivering the vessels of goodies to friends' front porches, ringing the door bell and running.  If your friend chased you down and caught you, you might get a kiss.

I think my mom liked it almost as much as I did.  I imagine it must have something to do with my Swedish roots and my grandma making them with her. May Day is big in Sweden and other European countries.  I remember making them every year until I got too old and loss interest.  There were times it was last minute and mom didn't have anything to put in them.  My mom would quickly pop some popcorn or make some little cookies to stick in there.  I might decorate some dixie cups or make some homemade cups out of construction paper.  And there were always little handmade notes put inside (my favorite part).  Sometimes you'd get a basket and there would be no note.  It would drive me crazy if I didn't know who left it. 

I live in the south and I never hear of May baskets here.  What???  I mention May Baskets and people look at me with confusion.  That's just sad.  My boys have no interest in May baskets (rightfully so).  Every May 1st I talk about how much fun it was way back when to make 'em -bla-bla-bla- and they kinda just roll their eyes.  I guess it's kind of a girlie thing to do.  Maybe I'll get to make baskets with my granddaughter/s someday.  :)