Thursday, August 29, 2013

My Korean Dodger Dog

The Dodgers are the hottest team in baseball right now - at least, according to my sports-loving husband.  I was dragged by my family to Dodger games as a child, and I often found them to be quite boring.  The one thing I fondly remembered were the famous Dodger Dogs, those super long hot dogs that were perfectly salty.    As I've grown older, I've come to appreciate baseball a bit more.  And while I'm admittedly not a super-fan, I'm voluntarily heading back to Dodger Stadium again this Friday to root for my team with Dr. S and my parents.  In commemoration of Hyun-Jin Ryu, the talented Korean starting pitcher, I thought it fitting to make a Korean version of the Dodger Dog!  If the Kogi Truck can mix tacos with Korean food, why not make a Korean hot dog?  I randomly came up with this recipe, using ingredients super common in Korean cooking.  I topped off a jalapeno pork sausage with a quick slaw and stir-fried kimchi, finished with a spicy gochujang aioli stir-fried kimchi.  They turned out delicious and were decently spicy with a garlic punch, which is exactly how I like my Korean food.  Go Dodgers!

Three of the most important ingredients in Korean cooking.  From left to right: korean red pepper flakes, napa cabbage kimchi, and gochujang paste (a red pepper paste).  Most of these can be found in Asian markets.

Sarah's Korean Dodger Dog 
(aka Spicy Korean Sausages with Cabbage Slaw, Kimchi, and Gochujang Aioli)
Makes 4 hot dogs

4 jalapeno pork sausages (but any hot dog/sausage will do)
4 hot dog buns
1/2 cup of napa cabbage kimchi
1 small napa cabbage, or 1/2 a large napa cabbage
1/2 a jalapeno, cut into a small dice
2 garlic cloves, minced or crushed
3 tablespoons of rice vinegar (or use regular white vinegar to substitute)
2 teaspoon of sesame oil
2 teaspoons of Korean red pepper flakes
Salt to taste
1/4 cup of mayonnaise
1 tablespoon of gochujang paste, a Korean red pepper paste

1.  Make a quick slaw by chopping napa cabbage into thin 1/2 inch strips.  Place into large bowl and toss with diced jalapeno, rice vinegar, 1 tsp of sesame oil, and red pepper flakes.  Add salt to taste then set aside.  
2.  Make the gochujang aioli by mixing mayonnaise, gochujang paste, and garlic and set aside.  
3.  Grill sausages/hot dogs on low-medium heat, turning every so often to prevent burning.  If a barbeque grill is not available (like in my case), you may just cook them on a stove top in a large pan. 
4.  Meanwhile in a small saucepan, lightly fry the kimchi with 1 tsp of sesame oil on medium heat until lightly browned.  
5.  Once the sausages are close to being cooked through, open up the buns and toast them face down until lightly browned.  
6.  Assemble your Korean Dodger Dog by placing the sausage in the bun, adding some stir-fried kimchi, then adding some cabbage slaw.  Finish it off with a few dollops of the gochujang aioli.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Confetti Skirt and Split-back Sweater

I found this skirt while I ventured out thrift shopping for furniture this past weekend with my mom.  I love the confetti-esque faux leather pieces that flutter in the wind.  I also made out with a large framed mirror for my powder room that I'll likely end up restaining during a future DIY project.  I ended up pairing the skirt with a mint green open-backed sweater in a color combination that was reminiscent of this outfit post from a little bit ago.  This time around I swapped out the ivory leather tank for an ivory (p)leather skirt and kept the outfit more casual with some low wedges. 


Mint green split-back sweater: Club Monaco 'Jocelyn' sweater.  Ivory faux-leather confetti skirt: Zara.  Mirrored wedges: Christian Louboutin.  Handbag: J.Crew Edie in dusty rose.  Rings: from random places.  Necklace: Anthropologie 'Ines' necklace.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Melting in Rome


By the time we got to Rome, I threw fashion out the window and focused on staying cool and comfortable.  The sheen of sweat on my face was a constant presence and I was grateful to have packed my trusty hat to shield my scalp and face from the blazing sun.  Makeup consisted of sunscreen, I resorted to a bun or braid for hairstyles, and my main accessory was a bottle of water. 

While we stayed in hotels and resorts during our travels through Provence and the Cote d'Azur, we rented apartments in Paris and Rome.  Our Rome apartment was conveniently located just a few blocks south of the Piazza di Spagna and its central location made it easy to explore the city by foot.  We walked to the Villa Borghese and Piazza del Popolo, the Colosseum, Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, the Trastavere neighborhood, and Vatican City but it was the sights along the way that I really cherished.  Walking around the city also made me feel a little less guilty about all of the pizza, pasta and gluttonous amounts of gelato I was consuming with reckless abandon.

This is the last post from my Europe trip.  It's been fun reliving it through weekly posts.  Back to the real life now...

Any other Roman Holiday fans out there???

Dress: James Perse (similar here). Silver sandals: Rebecca Minkoff 'Bettina'. Hat: Target (old). Sunglasses: Chloe.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

DIY: Framed Chalkboard

Warning!!  There is a lot of text below but that's because I wanted to share with you all of the mistakes I made and the lessons I learned while making this framed chalkboard.

This project was supposed to be an easy and fun distraction from the awfulness of unpacking.  I did a little bit of research ahead of time by watching and reading some tutorials on YouTube and blogs.  So one afternoon, when I just couldn't look at the box cutter and bubble wrap anymore, I headed to the local Michael's and picked up (what I thought) would be the necessary tools -- a bottle of multi-surface chalkboard paint, some sponge brushes, a pack of steel wool, colored and white chalk, and a large frame on major clearance ($10!).

When I got home, I disassembled the frame and thoroughly cleaned the glass.  I then started to paint on the first layer of chalkboard paint.  It went on streaky but I was would even out right?  Once the first layer was completely dry (~1 hr), I started painting on the second layer and that is when the problems began!  As I was painting on my second coat, the sponge brush started scraping off the first layer resulting in clumpy lumpy chalkboard paint that was just sliding around on the glass.  Not good...not good at all.  Fortunately, once both layers were dry, I was able to just peel off the paint and I had pristine glass again.  I then hit the web and did more research and I tried everything.  I tried lightly sanding the glass first, painting each layer in opposite directions...nothing came out right.  I decided that the culprit was the sponge brush and headed to the hardware store for a small paint roller.  When I got there, I found something better.  During my research, I read that the brush-on (or roll-on) Rust-Oleum chalkboard paint was the best.  I didn't find that but I found Rust-Oleum chalkboard spraypaint!  I also picked up a spraypaint primer (I wasn't leaving anything to chance).

The tools I used for my first attempt

The paint applied with a sponge brush dried with lines and cracks in it.  This wasn't that obvious at first but became really apparent after I primed the chalkboard with some chalk (see below). 

This contrasted greatly with the spraypaint chalkboard, which resulted in a nice even and smooth surface (this is obvious in the post-priming picture below).

Yay for Rust-Oleum!

DIY Framed Chalkboard

A picture frame with glass
Medium to fine grit sandpaper or a sanding block
All-surface primer spraypaint
Chalkboard spraypaint
Plenty of chalk (you definitely need white but should also get some fun colors too!)

Disassemble the frame.  Gently sand the glass with your sandpaper or sanding block.  Wipe down the glass, making sure it is clean and dry before you start.  Lay the glass on a flat surface.  Spray an even coat of all-surface primer over the glass using long sweeping strokes.  Allow primer to dry completely before repeating with the chalkboard paint.  Apply at least 2 layers of the chalkboard paint.

Once the paint is dry, "prime" the board by rubbing a piece of white chalk (on its side) over the entire chalkboard.  Gently wipe off with a damp cloth.

Reassemble your picture frame and hang!  

We hung it in our dining area over our buffet/beverage station.  I'm thinking it'll be fun to write cocktail menus when we have guests over.  For now, I'm using it to make a never-ending to-do list for Mr. J!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Bright Pink Colorblock

I wore this bright pink outfit to work and changed out my nude wedges for some heeled sandals to go out to dinner with the hubby.  Of course, my top was tied a little lower making it more work-appropriate for day.  No worries, not a sliver of my midriff was showing!  This bubble gum pink shirt was a bit hard to match with color-wise, as white seemed too prepster, black seemed to 80's, and any other color seemed to clash horribly.  I opted for a tonal look and chose an equally bright skirt for some cheeriness.

Pink silk sleeveless shirt: Equipment.  Pink skirt: Jil Sander.  Heeled sandals: Celine.  Clutch: Anthropologie.  Bracelet: really old. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Blush Silk in the Cote d'Azur


After we left Lyon, we headed to Avignon, where we rented a car and our vacation really began.  With just a loose itinerary, we lazily drove through Provence.  Our first stop was the small town of Les Baux-de-Provence, which is named after the rocky spurs that jut out and create a unique landscape against the surrounding green fields.  We stayed at La Cabro d'Or and it was simply heaven.  From there, we moved down to Ramatuelle, a town located on a hilltop overlooking St. Tropez and the Mediterranean sea.  Finally, we drove along the coast, stopping in St. Tropez, Cannes, and ending in Monte Carlo.

As the landscape changed, so did the food.  While Paris meals were heavy on foie gras and beef dishes, the coastal cities offered more fish and seafood.  And being closer to Italy, we also started seeing pizza pop up on the menus.  The one constant throughout our travels in France?  The bread...oh the bread was so good.  That, and the heat!  I know I'm sounding repetitive in my posts but it was just so hot.  I threw on my "naked dress" to keep cool.  Why do I call it my naked dress?  Not just because of blush-nude color but also because the silk is so lightweight, it feels like I'm wearing next to nothing. 


Blush silk dress: Rory Beca (one of my favorite finds from Shopaholic Sample Sales).
Sandals: Zara (old). Tan satchel: Mulberry 'Alexa'. Bracelet: J.Crew (old).

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Zong Zi

Before I left SoCal, Sarah wanted me to teach her how to make zong zi - delicious packets of glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves.  This dish is typically eaten during Duan Wu Jie aka Dragon Boat Festival or the Double Fifth Festival.  Popular zong zi fillings include fatty pork, shiitake mushrooms, peanuts, salted duck egg, sweet Chinese sausage, mini shrimp (xia mi), mung bean...pretty much anything your heart desires!  My family usually keeps it simple with just pork, mushrooms, and peanuts.  For this recipe, I included sweet Chinese sausage too since this is a favorite of Sarah's.

As with all of my parents' recipes, the quantities are never exact.  Usually when I ask my mom, "How much of...(fill in the blank here)?", the answer is usually, "Until it looks right."  I guess it just takes many many tries to develop a Chinese chef's own internal calibration.  I am certainly working on mine!

In the end, zong zi making is quite simple with the only difficulty being the wrapping process.  That and patience - the ingredients usually need to be prepped several hours in advance (or the night before) and once wrapped, they need to boil for at least 2 hours.  For this zong zi enthusiast, waiting is the hardest part!


Zong Zi
(makes ~40 zong zi)

80 dried bamboo leaves
One 5-pound bag of glutinous rice (either long grain or short grain - your preference)
2-3 pounds of pork shoulder, butt, or belly
20 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 package of sweet Chinese sausage, cut into 1/4 inch slices on a diagonal
1.5 cups raw peanuts
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1/3 cup + 3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp rice cooking wine
3 tbsp five spice powder
1 tbsp sugar
cooking string

Soak bamboo leaves in a basin or your sink overnight.  Scrub the leaves to remove any dirt or residue.  Meanwhile, place rice in a large pot and cover with water.  Allow to soak overnight as well.  Boil the raw peanuts on a low simmer for at least an hour, then drain.  Soak shiitake mushrooms in water until soft.  Wring dry and cut into strips (~3-4 strips per mushroom).

Once the leaves and rice have been soaking for at least a few hours, preferably overnight, drain any remaining water from the rice.  Season the rice with ~1/3 cup soy sauce (this is just an want enough to turn the rice a slightly golden color but not too much to make it too salty.  Alternatively, you can use less soy sauce and add some salt) and 3 tbsp vegetable oil.  Cut pork into 1" pieces and season with 3 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp rice cooking wine, 1 tbsp sugar, and 3 tbsp five spice powder.

Lay out rice, marinated pork, shiitake mushroom strips, cooked peanuts, sweet Chinese sausage, and softened and cleaned bamboo leaves.  Select two leaves that are about the same size.  Align them with tapered ends overlying, shiny side up.  Gently fold in half until the ends are parallel.  This will form a small cone or cup for the rice and fillings.  Be sure to hold the cone firmly in your non-dominant hand and do not let go!!  Scoop in a heaping spoonful of the seasoned rice.  Add the pork, mushroom, peanuts, and sausage and top with another heaping spoonful of rice.  Slightly pinch the leaves at the top of the filling and fold the ends over to cover the top of the cone.  You may have some extra tail sticking out.  Simply pinch and fold over the excess (see pictures above).  Make sure that all of the filling is completely wrapped by the leaves!  Secure tightly with cooking string.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Gently place the wrapped zong zi in the pot and allow to simmer for 2 hours.  Once fully cooked, unwrap your zong zi and be careful not to burn your mouth as you shovel in the hot sticky rice!  You can season with some additional soy sauce or hot sauce if you'd like.

These freeze well and can be easily reheated in a steamer or in the microwave for a quick meal or snack.  Having trouble with the wrapping?  This video provides a good tutorial.

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