Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

So I’m happy to report back that Thanksgiving 2016 did carry on, despite my mom’s fickle threat about the possibility of it not happening. I knew she was 99% bluffing and saying that out of frustration. But there was still that chance. Gosh, my belly and I would have been so sad. But, like my usual Thanksgivings, I was able to stuff my face like a fat kid that just got back from fat camp. OMG…I swear, I felt like I ate my body weight, and then some!

The gorge fest began on Thanksgiving Day. I started the cooking on Wednesday night. I didn’t cook as much as I usually do. I cut out a couple of things from the menu. There’s just already way too much food, so cutting out a couple of dishes worked out better for me too (less fuss). The items being omitted ended up being the stuffing and green bean casserole. So on Wednesday night until Thursday morning, I did the usual: cranberry sauce, mashed yam, lasagna, pumpkin pie, and turkey.

The turkey, the star of the show, was the last one to be finished. I took it out of the oven around 4a.m. I was a zombie. I didn’t know whether to set my alarm and fall asleep or to just have more coffee and wait it out. I had to let the turkey sit and rest. I just didn’t sleep and waited it out. When it was time, I dismembered and pulled the turkey. With the breasts, I just loosely covered it because I like to cut it cold. I stuck everything in the fridge and finally crashed around 6:30a.m. The slicing of the turkey breasts and pan dripping gravy making would be done when I woke up some hours later. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Mama said that we might not have Thanksgiving dinner this year. Say WHAAAT??! She'd better be kidding!

After last Thanksgiving’s fiasco, my mom threatened to not have family Thanksgiving dinners anymore (she can be such a drama queen sometimes). She replied with an “I don’t know,” when asked if we will be doing dinner.

So here is a little background on what happened last year....

As usual (as I have been doing for the past few years... 2013 / 2014), on Thanksgiving 2015, I did the works….a dinner of the Thanksgiving classics (turkey, ham, mashed yam, cranberry sauce, gravy, pumpkin pie, stuffing, green bean casserole…….and the not so traditional lasagna, only because it’s always requested). And my mom did her usual Korean dishes.

On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I had come home after a long day at work. And then I had yada yada things to finish at home. So I don’t think I got to start the preparation until around 12-1am.
The first thing I did was take out the turkey from the fridge to let it sit for a bit, to ensure a more evenly cooked turkey. The turkey had been dry brining in the fridge for days, preparing itself for maximum juiciness.

While the turkey was sittin’ and relaxin’, I got to work on preparing the other stuff. I started with the pumpkin pie. I cubed some butter, threw it in the freezer while I mised out the other ingredients. The butter cubes got icy cold in no time, all ready to be cut into the flour mix. I mix dough the old school way, with two forks until the dough comes together. Lindsey of American Heritage Cooking does a great job of demo-ing just that (She uses knives, as most people seem to do when doing this. I prefer forks lol) ! After it came together, I threw it into the fridge to let it chill and allow the gluten to relax.

Oh yeah, and my brother’s birthday was around that time too. I was making a Cookie Monster cake for him, so I remember making the chocolate chip cookie dough that night (then wrapped up, threw in the freezer, and baked days later).

After all that dough making fun, I turned on the oven and the fun times began. While the oven was getting warmed up (all ready to be used and abused), I threw in lasagna noodles into the boiling water I had going. While that was going, I made the filling. I don’t do anything fancy with the lasagna. It’s a pretty basic, uber-cheesy recipe that I’ve been using for years. I have tried venturing out into more *sophisticated* recipes, but apparently, my brothers seem to find more comfort with the lasagna that they grew up with. And it has Ragu sauce as one of the ingredients…. So how much more basic can it get, right?

So, when the sauce and noodles were ready, I assembled and then threw them into the oven. I also seasoned a couple of ginormous yams and threw those in as well.

On the stovetop, I had turkey stock and cranberry sauce going. While all that multi-tasking madness was already going, I started cutting bread to be used in the stuffing. I had the Korean style milk bread from Paris Baguette. I seasoned that a little bit, and into the oven it went with the others.

When the cranberry sauce and croutons were done, I laid down and watched TV, hoping that I wouldn’t fall asleep and burn the place down. The turkey stock, I attended to as it simmered for hours and hours, skimming along as needed. How do you like to make turkey stock? I usually add the goodies that come with the turkey (stuffed inside), mirepoix, and some herbs (in cold water). Then, I simmer it for hours. The stock is then used later in gravy at the end. For the stuffing, I prefer to use chicken stock (which I store-bought).  

When both the yams and lasagna were out of the oven, I got to business and in went the turkey, the star of the show. While that was happening, I rolled out the dough onto the pan. I lost all my pie pans, so I just use a cast-iron skillet (so versatile) for my pie needs now. After I rolled it out, back into the fridge it went.

I laid back down. I exhaled. By that time, I was about to fall asleep, so I made myself a cup of coffee.
The next thing I got to work on was the mashed yam. They have cooled a little bit but were still warm. Mashing yam sounds like a fun project for the little ones (given that the yams are safely cooled enough). I mashed, I sipped (coffee), I seasoned, I tasted, I mixed, I whipped, I dosed off, I seasoned some more, I tasted again, and was on repeat until the desired taste was achieved.

Next, -the stuffing. Honestly, I don’t even know what I am doing when it comes to the stuffing. All that matters is that people gobble it up. I just throw in whatever I feel like, throw it in the oven and call it a day. It’s usually a mix of croutons (like the one made earlier), apple or pear, walnuts, sausage (I prefer a spicy kind), celery, onion, eggs, herbs, raisins, some stock, seasoning, and into the oven it goes.

By the time all that is done, it’s show time for the relaxed/ rolled out pie dough. I made the pumpkin pie filling, filled the shell, and into the oven it went (above the turkey, of course). Some people are anal about not cooking sweet and savory at the same time in the same oven, but what can we want trying to make most of our time with a single oven?

Next, green bean casserole and glaze for the ham. I like the Pioneer Woman’s recipe for the glaze (but I used coke instead of dr. pepper. Maybe I will try with dr. pepper this year if we even have a Thanksgiving). While attending to those, I started clove-ing the ham, which is a tedious task (maybe another fun activity for the kids to do lol). The ham was purchased already cooked, so all I did was warm it, then glaze it at the end.

Meanwhile, after how many dishes were already finished and ready to go, I waited for the turkey to be done. I went back on the couch to chill and unwind. I set the alarm to go off because I desperately needed some zzzzz’s.

I have Nelly’s “It was just a dream” for my alarm lol. So now whenever I hear that song on the radio, I get unpleasant feels. So when I heard the sounds of, “I was thinking bout her, thinkin’ bout me. Thinkin’ bout us….” I was pulled out of my cozy little nap and walked myself over to check on the turkey. I think it must have been close to five or six at the time and I was a zombie.

When the turkey was done, I let it sit and let it rest for a while……while I went back to rest myself. And you think my work was done? Ha!

There was gravy to be made. And since I prefer to use the pan drippings, I can’t make it until the very end. So yeah…..the finale of the whole fiasco was the gravy.

And then nap time? I don’t think so. To prepare for my brother’s Cookie Monster cake, I decided to make the chocolate frosting that (crack of dawn) morning.

After that…..a little bit of rest time, clean up time….the turkey’s still resting……
And of course, the turkey had to be cut. But that didn’t happen until hours later.

I swear, it was lunchtime before I knew it. Like I said, my mom was preparing Korean dishes. For lunch, I had a plate of my own labor of love (one of everything), along with what my mom was making. I crammed one of everything onto a plate of what I could. I got two plates, one for the traditionals, one for the Korean dishes.

My youngest brother was dating this girl last year (that my SIL and I were not too crazy about). She volunteered to fry the jeon (Korean savory pancakes), with the guidance of my bro.
Dinner was around 5pm, the Thanksgiving table all set and ready to go. Okay, so I had worked the previous night, and then cooked all night after work until the sun came up, and was up to eat lunch. How am I still alive, right?

Well, come around dinner time, the power went off in my system. I couldn’t help myself….I left to go crash while others were left to enjoy the works of my labor.

I wasn’t around to notice, but later I heard that my SIL was appearing to look depressed, pissed off, and just in a somber mood. It was actually the beginning of her being in excruciating pain.

Fast forward a year later and the pain is still killing SIL. From what I understand, she was having a bit (I think it was mild at the time) of back pain. She went to go see a chiropractor and it ended up getting worse…..worse to the point where it hurts to even exist. He fucked her up. Please pray for her recovery. Please pray for her to be able to go back to a normal life, to be able to enjoy being a newlywed, and be able to enjoy things she loves again (like cooking).

I hope that next Thanksgiving, she’ll be able to take on some of the labor of love of our Thanksgiving dinner. I look forward to tasting some of her creations soon.

So with my absence and my SIL feeling all defeated, my mom said that it was the saddest Thanksgiving of her life, with a daughter that was MIA and a daughter in law looking and feeling like she just lost the will to live. I am hoping that she said what she said out of frustration and that our usual Thanksgiving dinner will take place.

I can’t imagine what SIL is going through. She has always been such an active and energetic person, so it is especially sad to see her so down all the time. My mom treats her DIL as she would her own child. But she gets frustrated at the fact that SIL won’t listen or keeps finding things that she doesn’t like about each doctor. It’s complicated. In my honest opinion, I think there is hope if she just listens and consistently gets treatment despite the temporary discomfort the treatment may bring. But she seems to just go a couple of times, says she feels more pain, then wants to find a new doctor. Then, it’s back to square one all over. So I don’t even know what to do or say to her anymore either. I feel like she needs to be dragged continuously until she gets better.

Our family is more on the Americanized side and typical Korean traditions don’t always hold. In old school Korean traditions, during holidays, it is typically the daughter-in-laws that have to suffer through the labors of preparing all the food. And I understand that it is usually a ton of food, like enough to feed the whole neighborhood sometimes (maybe an exaggeration, but it is A LOT!). So the  daughter-in-laws in Korea often dread the holidays because it is so much work for them, while others can relax and play. And I, as an unmarried daughter of the family, would be able to partake in just kicking back and just pigging out. I heard those traditions are lessening, though, thank goodness for the poor daughter-in-laws of Korea. I have seen some of my older 1.5 generation cousins (living in the states) going through that some years ago. But in my immediate family, it’s obviously a tradition that has skipped us.

So I guess I will find out soon if we will be doing Thanksgiving or not. I am 99% sure that my mom was bluffing. After confirming, I’ll need to go pick up a turkey ASAP and get a start on dry brining it. 

After if and when we do have dinner, I will be taking off to Vegas for round two of pigging out for the week. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

A "We never fight" prime rib celebration dinner - random rambles about (blood) type B personality and being a Taurus

Is it normal to never fight in a relationship? For many couples, the occasional quarrels, word spats, arguments just seems like it comes with the territory of any *normal* relationship. One person says or does something to piss the other off….someone left the toilet seat up, someone forgot an anniversary, someone lied about something, someone had a bad day and took it out on the other, someone feels unappreciated, someone slept with the babysitter, and on and on and on. Many times, it starts with the little things, then escalates into something more….

For me, I have had fights in the past with former SO’s about such things as being lied to, punctuality annoyances, dirty dishes piling up, their driving sometimes (I just can’t take it being in the car with people that speed, text while driving, follow too closely behind, etc)……oh and food! Disagreements about what to eat have led to fights in the past. Probably wasn’t smart of them to argue with a girl infused with behgorage lol. It just never works in their favor.  I am not even in the right state of mind at such times, so I will not be held responsible for what I do or say lol.

So it is somewhat surprising to me that SS and I have never had a single fight, not yet anyways lol. I have to admit, a part of me secretly wants to have a fight, just to see his confrontational side. Never fighting almost seems abnormal. I can’t help but to wonder that if or when we do have a fight, it’s going to more than make up for itself by Hell being raised.

SS and I are both very calm people. From what he has told me, he said that it takes a lot to get him mad, but when he gets pushed too far and does get mad, he tends to really lose it. This sounds a bit scary because I am the same way. Though it’s easy to irritate me, for me to actually get mad, it takes a lot….but once it happens, it kind of throws people off to see me go out of my element and character, getting worked up, raising Hell. I don’t even remember the last time that actually happened.

SS thinks that the fact that we are both blood type B has a lot to do with why we don’t fight. B’s are sensible, independent, and don’t like conflict. Koreans are big on judging personality by one’s blood type. I understand that some companies tend to eliminate applicants with certain blood types, believing they’d be unfit for the job if certain positions require such and such personality. Type B men have also come to known to have a reputation of the worst men to date. They even made a movie about it, many years ago, greatly exaggerated, of course. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was made by a woman that got jaded from dating a type B *bad* boy. Asking one’s blood type is also a common first or second date kind of question among some Koreans. I know many people that want to stay far, far away from type AB’s. Type AB’s are known to be one of two things: genius or psycho.

SS is the first fellow B that I’ve gotten involved with. Pretty much most of my past SO's were a series of type O’s. And I think that is because it’s usually been the typical case of “opposites attract”. I am introverted. Type O’s often tend to be outgoing and bubbly. They’d be the ones to bring me out of my shell. It was usually the norm for my SO to be pretty talkative (sometimes motor mouths that never STFU) and hyper. Part of it worked well because in certain areas, we’d complement each other. But sometimes, our differences would clash. Type O’s are also known for being insensitive, sometimes very direct. That can be a good or bad thing. SS, being a fellow B also said that in his experience, O’s have usually started the fight or caused a fight to start lol.

Let’s also talk about signs (and the role it might play in my relationships). I am not too hardcore into astrological signs, but when it comes to mine, I am pretty much a *typical* Taurus. The following memes apply to yours truly: 

For more, follow me on my Taurus Pinterest board. 

 As a Taurus, I don’t ever like a person easily, whether it comes to dating or friendships. It takes time to build trust and figure a person out. I open up to very few people. I detest superficial relationships. I’d rather spend a lazy Sunday afternoon with a BFF eating Chinese take-out and binge watching K dramas than to go out to a social setting with a bunch of people I hardly know well. I am not too fond of strangers (nor want to spend time with them) until I have gotten to know them pretty well and have come to terms with actually liking them. It takes me months and months and months to feel someone out. As a Taurus, I like to take my time with most things and absolutely hate being rushed.

So yeah...I am blood type B and a Taurus. Life experiences have made a part of me feel like I wouldn't totally omit these factors when it comes to the types of personalities that I mesh with. 

So how does prime rib come into the story?

Monday, October 3, 2016

Another breakfast adventure at Rialto Cafe - (but on one of their *off* days)

You know how they say restaurants can have “hit or miss” days? Well, my second visit to Rialto Café turned out to be a testament to just that. Having had a pleasant first visit, I looked forward to another venture here. SS and I were going through our other options. We have a list of different places in the area that we want to try. But at the same time, sometimes, familiarity is also nice. During our last breakfast adventure, I couldn’t make up my mind, whether to pick one of the places we haven’t tried or to come back to Rialto, where we already had a great experience at. So I suggested that SS decide for us. He decided for the latter.

As with our first visit, we arrived a little bit past 8am. The occupancy of the place at the time was less than half. I was starving, hot (the weather lately has been unbearable), uncaffeinated, and sleepy. I went to bed around 1am, woke up at 5am, sat in traffic for a good hour and a half going to and from the LAX airport. So yeah, I needed coffee and food. Then I was going to go back home and take a quick nap before work.

The food did not come out until about 30 minutes later. I was starting to grow impatient and grouchy. Imagine an uncaffeinated, sleepy, starving Miss Kim waiting that long for food. Last time, it was twice as busy but the food came out at a reasonable time.

I enjoyed the breakfast burrito last time, so I ordered that again. We also wanted to try something new. We got the Smoked Salmon Scramble, a “very popular dish” according to the server. I love smoked salmon (or maybe I used to?), but it’s one of the things that I used to munch on often during my hunger phase moments at work, so it’s not something I particularly crave. It’s hard for me to enjoy it with as much gusto, being that it tastes like the feels of: pressure, stress, the pain of being hangry, and just mere FML moments. But since SS wanted to try it and it’s been a while for me, it’s what we ordered. We also ordered a single serving of Buttermilk Pancake, like last time.

After 15-20 mintues, we were still waiting for the food.

Waiting time dragged on…………….

And on……..

Early stages of behgorage were starting to kick in. SS was talking, but the behgorage drowned out his words. So I don’t even remember the things he said during that suffering moment. I almost wanted to leave. But if we went somewhere else, that would mean even more waiting.

So I suffered through it some more. I weakened. I fell into depression. I was hurting. I hated everyone...had all the classic symptoms of behgorage.  SS doesn’t go through behgorage. He was hungry, but remained calm and normal.

I think I was on my second cup of coffee when the food still hadn’t arrived.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Puppies and coffee - my afternoon at The Dog Cafe

Happy Fri-yay! I wish I can partake in the Fri-yay/TGIF merriment with the rest of you in the normal (whatever that is) work-world. I'm so jelly. I still have three more days to go until my long-awaited weekend starts.So it's more like a hump day for me. For the sake of Fri-yay spirit, I thought I'd brighten the mood by posting about my recent experience at a pooch cafe. 

PUPPIES AND COFFEE. ENOUGH SAID. If those two things don't put a smile on your face, then I don't know how we can be friends. Just kidding (sort of). 

I love puppies. I love coffee. Combine those two together and I am in caffeinated puppy-luvin’ heaven. I’ve heard about the popularity of pet cafes in S. Korea some time ago. So when I heard about the concept materializing here in the States, I was stoked. I had The Dog Café bookmarked for months. I finally got a chance to stop by yesterday. 

A coworker and I were both called off, so we decided to take a trip to visit some pups! I left my home around 3-ish and didn’t arrive until past four. I was able to do a walk-in. The time was 4:15. The gentleman at the front asked if we wanted to wait until five to get the full hour or if we wanted to go in now and join the 4o’clock session, but miss out on the 15 minutes. I was not going to wait 45 minutes. I hate waiting. I didn’t mind too much about the minutes that we missed. I guess the part we missed was the “introduction” time. So we missed the part where each pup was introduced, but we got caught up later. The fee for puppy time is $10pp and they check your id, get your signature, all that good stuff. I ordered myself an iced latte, another $4.36. From the posts I was reading in the past, I understand that the $10 fee included a free drink. But I guess things have changed. Or only certain drinks are free. No idea. I saw many previous posts/reviews stating how the $10 included a free drink So I was kind of surprised when he gave me the extra amount for what I thought was already included in the $10 tag.