Entertaining through details – Tables & Figures

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IMG_9163As you might know, past few years have been a huge learning curve in entertaining and hosting for me. I just never thought I would be into connecting with people through food. Cooking for someone, let alone teaching someone how to cook. I guess it’s only natural that when you cook or eat delicious food, you would want to share them with people.
FullSizeRender(6) copy_600_shop1_215823 Producr_TF5249_A_logo_s_shop1_100407In my learning curve, I’ve learned that you can entertain with great food but also by adding thoughtful details to your table. Linens are essential in the kitchen and dining tables, they add warmth and personal touch to your table. I recently discovered TABLES AND FIGURES through Chey, a designer based in San Francisco. I love all of her minimal yet sophisticated design linens (placemats, napkins, table runners, coasters..etc) that she offers through the online shop. As seen below, a warm and healthy Korean breakfast served on BlackGold square placemat.IMG_8750 Producr_TF5338_A_logo(2)(s)_shop1_100408I’m excited to see what Chey is working on next and can’t wait to add more pieces to my linen collection, and hopefully more “entertaining through details” planned for the future!


Photos 2, 3 & 5 via Tables & Figures

Rice & Noodles

Kwang Jang Market Mayak Gimbap

07 10 16

This recipe is one of my favorite from Banchan Workshop #4. It’s very well-known street food in Korea currently selling at Kwang Jang Market in Seoul. And it happens to be vegan! I like this a lot because it’s so much easier to make this at home than regular Korean gimbap using less ingredients. It’s a hand-rolled gimbap with seasoned rice and vegetables, in this case spinach, carrots and pickled radish.


You can replace the fillers if you’d like, cucumbers and avocados are also great replacements. I think the key to this dish is making the mustard dressing to dip.


‘Mayak’ actually means drugs in Korean. I’m sure Koreans named it as such because it’s that addictive? The name is definitely catchy and makes you want to try them! Well, you don’t have to go all the way to Korea to eat this. You can make this at home! Check the recipe below and if you do get to try making them, make sure to leave a comment on how you like them?!!


KWANG JANG MARKET MAYAK GIMBAP (광장시장 마약김밥) – 2-3 servings (makes 16 pieces) – recipe adapted from Korean Bapsang

1/5 cup uncooked short grain rice
4 unseasoned gim (aka nori for sushi) sheets
1 sm bunch spinach
1 large carrot, julienned
4 yellow pickled radish (danmuji) strips
3 tsp sesame oil
salt to taste

1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp Korean hot mustard paste, gyeoja
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar

For the sauce: Finely grind the sesame seeds in a spice grinder or mortar bowl. Mix with the remaining sauce ingredients. Stir well until the sugar is dissolved and the ground sesame seeds are evenly distributed. /Cook the rice using a little less water than usual. (Fresh cooked rice is best for gimbap). /Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Blanch the spinach, wash and drain immediately in cold water, then squeeze the water out. Run a knife through the squeezed spinach a couple of times. Season with the sesame oil and salt. /Julienne the carrots (I use the shredder). Heat a lightly oiled pan over medium high heat. Stir fry the carrots until slightly softened. Lightly season with a pinch of salt. /Cut the pickled radish crosswise in half, and then cut lengthwise in half. When all the ingredients are ready, while the rice is still hot, add the sesame oil and salt. Mix well by lightly folding with a rice paddle or spoon until evenly seasoned.

Cut 4 sheets of gim into quarters. Put a quarter sheet of gim, shiny side down and shorter side toward you, on a cutting board. Spread 1 tbsp to 1.5 tbsp of rice evenly over the gim, leaving a little bit of space on the side away from you. Lay the prepared ingredients on top of the rice, closer towards you. Lift the entire bottom edge with both hands and roll over the filling away from you, tucking in the filling with your fingers. Rub or brush the roll with a little bit of sesame oil for extra flavor and a shiny look. Sprinkle some sesame seeds on top before serving.

Photography by Lisa Wong Jackson, Good on Paper


Mung Bean Pancake (Nokdu Bindaetteok)

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Funny how I seem to have tied memories to almost every Korean food there is. It’s like I could write a short story on almost every food that I grew up with. That’s what I most like about cooking as some of these dishes are so deeply rooted in my culture and my upbringing. I enjoy making traditional dishes with modern techniques as this mung bean pancake (nokdu bindaetteok). I’m sure most of us have that kind of ‘food story’ in our lives that we can tell. This mung bean pancake is a special one. I remember helping my mom make these fritter-like Korean pancake made purely out of mung bean. It was usually served at bigger family gatherings. I also remember not being able to resist to take a bite right off the griddle because it’s so good when it’s hot and crispy! Hope you get to try this recipe at home, even for no special occasion, because it’s GOOD!

MUNG BEAN PANCAKE (NOKDU BINDAETTEOK 녹두 빈대떡) – recipe adapted from Korean Bapsang (4-6 servings)

2 cups dried mung beans (yields about 4 cups soaked)
8 ounces (230 grams) sukju namul (mung bean sprouts)
8 ounces (230 grams) kimchi
6 – 8 scallions
4 ounces (110 grams) pork, ground or finely chopped
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic
1 tablespoon sesame oil
vegetable oil for pan frying
For convenience, I buy “peeled and split” beans. The quality of mung beans make a big difference in the taste of the pancakes, so be sure to pay a little more to buy quality beans.

1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp vinegar
1 tbsp water
1/2 tsp sugar
pinch of black pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes (gochugaru)

Rinse and soak the mung beans in water for 3 – 4 hours. Drain. Meanwhile, cook the mung bean sprouts in boiling water for about 2 minutes. Rinse in cold water to stop cooking. Drain and gently squeeze out excess water. Cut the bean spouts in half (too long). Thinly slice the kimchi and scallions. In a large bowl, combine the kimchi, bean sprouts, scallions, meat, soy sauce, sesame oil and garlic. Mix well.

In a blender, grind 2 cups of the soaked beans in 1 cup of cold water with 1/2 tsp of salt until it has a coarse, sand-like consistency. Add to the vegetable and meat mixture. Repeat with the remaining beans. Gently mix the mung bean batter until the ingredients are evenly distributed.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a non-stick pan over medium to medium high heat. Ladle the mixture into the pan and spread it evenly into a thin round shape. Cook until the bottom is golden brown (2-3 minutes), and turn it over, adding more oil. Press it down with a spatula, and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Repeat the process with the rest of the mixture. Serve hot off the pan with the dipping sauce.


Kitchen Overhaul with Food52 Shop

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My perception of functionally well-designed kitchen has changed for the better when I discovered this buzzing website Food52. For those of you who aren’t so familiar, Food52 is basically a one-stop place for all foodies in the kitchen. Yes, I believe that’s me. I am happily volunteering myself to be in that category. It’s a great place for all food community (eaters and cooks) to come together and share ideas. It even has Food52 Hotline where you can ask any questions about recipe, food sources, cooking technique…etc.  Ohhhh but wait… an online shop? Yes, THE best curated kitchen shop in my opinion. Just want to warn you, it might make you want to overhaul your entire kitchen, right now. It certainly did to me. As I started pinning items on my wishlist I had to stop and say, “Forget it! I want EVERYTHING!” I know coveting can be a dangerous thing. Trust me, I don’t need to add more “things” in my space. I realized that I can not really organize my life and feel happy if clutter starts to build and I am holding onto things that I no longer need or have personal value. It starts with purging and making small positive changes in your space and in your life. Wouldn’t it be great if everything you own in your kitchen or in your home has cherishable value? So I decided to take time in searching for things in my life. Basically doing enough soul searching before purchasing anything for my home. Food52 Shop has made that easier for me. Thanks Food52!

f52-2f52-6 f52-8 f52-3f52-7 f52-4f52-9

1/ staub essential french oven 2/ glass & oak simple storage containers 3/ stonewashed linen napkins 4/ vintage silver-plated eclectic flatware 5/ fresh soil-dipped wooden spoon 6/ seersucker cloth napkins 7/ sugar + cream 8/ vegetable brush

all photos via Food52


Grea8 Chop Chop Salad

05 17 16

IMG_8170A salad that you can prep ahead and store in the fridge (up to 3 days), a salad that you can have for your no-carb-dinner and you wouldn’t feel cheated, a salad that doesn’t really need a dressing, a salad that you can bring it to your friends potluck and make your impression. Guys, this Italian chop chop salad using 8 ingredients is simply GREA8.

iceburg lettuce
italian dry salame
string mozzarella cheese
roma tomatoes
deli sliced peperoncini
red onion
garbanzo beans (can)
chopped black olives (can)
dressing: berstein’s restaurant recipe italian