annie chun’s dinner party

This dinner party started like all of the other dinner parties I have.

With prosecco. Prosecco with ume plum wine to be exact.  I was lucky enough to participate in an Annie Chun’s Dinner Party, which meant I was to host an Asian Dinner Party, choosing between Korean, Thai or Chinese fare. I decided to go with a Korean theme, mainly because the Korean Flank Steak recipe sounded amazing!

Menu

Starters: Chicken and Pork Pot Stickers, Rice Crackers & Roasted Seaweed

Main: Korean Flank Steak with Sticky Rice, Pickled Cucumber Salad and Sigumchi Namul (Korean Seasoned Spinach)

Dessert: Black Sticky Rice with Coconut Mango Ice Cream

This dinner party was a lot of fun to plan – with a little guidance from Annie Chun’s and plenty of creative room – I decided on a menu that like most of my dishes, is healthy, simple, full of vegetables and delicious as ever.

The starters were Pork and Chicken with Vegetable Pot Stickers served alongside some Rice Crackers and Roasted Seaweed for munching. (We did have a slight fiasco with the pot stickers sticking to the pan because I don’t think I used enough oil, but thankfully my guests didn’t judge me too much and they still tasted good!) :)

A marinade of Korean BBQ sauce and gochujang sauce flavored the Flank Steak impeccably, and the Taster cooked it to perfection! After some quick internet searches for some side dishes to go along with the Korean Steak I decided on a pickled cucumber salad (so simple!) and Sigumchi Namul. Both side dishes allowed me to do most of the prep work ahead of time and the great thing about spinach is that it literally takes 2 minutes to cook. Since there would be rice twice during the meal, I knew I wanted strictly veggie sides. The greens also add a beautiful contrast to the plate.

Dessert was easy. But I can’t really take credit for it. You see, desserts have never really been my strong point and I just happen to know someone who makes home-made ice cream in all sorts of flavors. Yes, home-made! So Kate made some Coconut Mango Ice Cream for me and I served it over the black sticky rice. The ice cream was great – not too sweet, with hints of mango and coconut. It really was the perfect ending.

It is actually quite rare for me to have dinner parties. I love to entertain, but because our table only seats 4 and our dishes are less than desirable, entertaining is usually limited to appetizers and cocktails. Since this was a bit of a special meal, I also wanted to really think about the table settings and decorations. Just like dessert, decorating is not something I really excel at so I wanted to keep it simple. Flowers and candles were easy, and always warm up a table; and the little cards on each place setting read Jalmukesumneda, which essentially means, I’m looking forward to this meal.

And I really was. :)


Annie Chun’s provided me with various products and compensation for other ingredients for hosting this dinner party.


in my cupboard: jalfreezi sauce

As much as I love spending time in the kitchen, sometimes it just isn’t feasible. We all have the nights when spending an hour to make dinner is just not an option. One of my favorite “after soccer, before next activity meals”  growing up was tortellini with pesto. My Mom always makes batches of pesto when the basil is blooming and then freezes it to use throughout the year. I have very fond memories of those rushed, but always finding time to eat as a family, meals.

Unfortunately I don’t have any home-made pesto to toss with tortellini, but I have something that comes pretty close, with an ethnic twist. Jalfreezi Simmer Sauce makes dinner taste like it’s been simmering away for hours, instead of minutes. When served with some naan, brown rice and tofu, you can almost pretend that you are at your favorite Indian joint.

The sauce is delicious and the ingredient list is real. Does it get any better than that? I’ve had pre-made sauces in the past and was never thrilled, but this I can say will be making it to my pantry again.

The Makings of a fast, delicious Indian meal at home:

What is your go-to quick meal?

afternoon tea

source

Afternoons always call for something salty or something sweet – but always something. As of late, I’ve been on a sweet kick and as much as I love a good soy chai tea latte, I’ve got a close contender that is much lower in sugar, calories and $$. Is it exactly the same? Of course not, but you can have this every day!

Combine all ingredients for that perfect afternoon tea break.

california dreaming…

Hello Everyone!

I’m back from California and despite the perfect weather and sunshine, I have to admit that I was ready to be home, looking forward to my daily routine, reading all of your blogs and of course seeing the taster!

Expo West 2010 went very well. As with any big event, the glitches are quickly fixed and we served up more bread, tortillas and pizzas than I can even wrap my head around. After the show, I was fortunate enought to spend some time in LA with family and meet Lynn from The Actor’s Diet! (I had confused the dates and due to a last minute change Christy was unable to attend – next time Christy!) It was so fun to chat with her and meet the famous Julius. She is as beautiful as you can imagine!

I promised you some of the newest and most interesting products out there so here they are. Because we were so busy and the show is so huge I certainly didn’t see everything but here are some of my favorites.

Interesting & New Products:

  • Lara Bars: There are some new bar flavors like Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (there is a bit more added sugar with the chocolate) but unfortunately by the time I got to their booth they were all out of samples! I heard nothing but good things so am anxious to see them in the stores!
  • Coconut Water Sorbet: This coconut sorbet was delicious, sweetened with agave and will be so refreshing in the midst of summer – the lemonade flavor was perfectly tart, but I’m even more excited to try the Hibiscus variety.
  • Amazing Grass: I’ve been using the grass for some time but was explaining that I just can’t down it plain with water and would like to – enter in the newest variety that has a nice lime flavor and also contains matcha and mate in addition to the green goodness – trust me when I say you can drink it straight. They also have a new bar out, Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bar that was delicious and I will be buying again.
  • Daiya Cheese: this new vegan cheese is out of this world. I obviously am VERY picky with vegan/dairy-free cheeses because I love cheese and refuse to eat mediocre cheese. With that said, it will be in my shopping cart this weekend.
  • Zhena’s Gypsy Tea: Coconut Chai with some almond milk and agave/stevia = perfection in a cup.
  • Hansen’s Natural Fruit & Tea Sticks: The natural version of Crystal Light – finally! These low-cal drink mixes are sweetened with truvia and are deliciously sweet – I know the kids at camp will love them!
  • YumNuts Naturals: Roasted, jumbo cashews with no added oils – perfect for afternoon snacking (Toasted Coconut was my favorite).
  • Hummus Chips & Dressing: I’ve had the hummus chips at other shows and always loved them but have yet to see them in the stores – this year they also had a new hummus dressing which is similar to a thinned-out hummus – perfect for any salad!