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Preview: Nook & Pantry - A Food and Recipe Blog

Nook & Pantry - A Food and Recipe Blog

A Collection of Recipes, Culinary Endeavors, and Anecdotes of a Third Year Medical Student

Updated: 2017-12-05T00:41:20.964-08:00


as promised


jump to the new blog!This feed contains copyrighted photos and text from Nook & Pantry. If you are not reading this material in a feeds aggregator or by e-mail subscription, the site you are viewing may be guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact nookandpantry (at) gmail (dot) com

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There was a time I cooked or baked something different every day. Then, life, school, work, eventually a wedding happened, and the food blog was repeatedly neglected. But I refuse to retire it. A few months back, while still completely devoted to wedding planning, I asked Steven what he thought about starting a blog together. Understandably, he was skeptical. I mean, I can’t even keep my food blog running, how could I start a second blog? But he didn’t dissuade me either. Maybe he was enticed by the prospect of writing about craft cocktails. The truth is, blogging is hard work. Kudos to the people who are able to make a living blogging full time. I am not a chef or photographer and certainly not a writer. Cooking and snapping a few pictures is easy, taking a good picture is hard, using photoshop with nonexistent photoshop skills is ridiculous, and the writing, oh man the writing, would easily take hours. That is how blogging became tedious. This time around, the pictures with be...

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Guide to Crabs: how to clean and pick meat from a crab


Seattle is best known for salmon but my favorite local seafood is the Dungeness crab. Eating crab is messy and time consuming so the puny guys are not worth the time. Dungeness crab, on the other hand, are sweet, meaty, and easily two to three pounds. Whenever it was Dungeness crab season, that is, when they were cheap, my family would buy a few live ones from the Asian market, steamed them at home, and make a rice noodle soup with the flavorful liver. Because of this, I've become quite adept at extracting meat from a crab. For the freshest possible product (barring catching the crab yourself), you would buy a live crab and steam it yourself. If you do buy a fresh crab, don't boil it. Boiling it will cause all the flavors to leech out into the water. What a waste. Unfortunately, the seafood vendors at Pike Place do not sell live crab. It was either Dungeness crab meat for $40/lb or whole cooked crab for $10/lb. Being the cost-obsessed, poor student that I am, I figured with the...

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Valentine's Day 2012


Steven and I just celebrated our 9th Valentine's Day dinner and our last as an unmarried couple. Instead of going out, we continued our yearly tradition of dining quietly at home. Each year, we mix up the menu a bit but we always do ribeye for Steven and some kind of seafood for myself. We started out the day with some wedding cake tasting. Cake place #1 Cake place #2 For tasting #3, we ordered a cake from Macrina (they didn't offer the flavor we wanted as a cake sample, so we had to buy a whole cake), which we ended up using as our dessert. After that, we went down to Pike Place to get some dinner ingredients. A cooked crab and a half pound of "butt cheeks", the fishmonger's words, not mine. And we fell madly in love with DeLaurenti all over again. Steven with the upstairs bar selection and I with yeast (I finally found SAF instant yeast after weeks of searching). Multiple shelves of bitters and Pok Pok's drinking vinegar! Menu: pan-seared ribeye with mt. townsend...

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Thanksgiving 2011


I'm a night owl. It is officially Thanksgiving as of an hour ago, which marks the start of the holiday season and my favorite time of year. Now it's perfectly acceptable for me to eat a little more than I should, indulge in buttery baked goods, and most importantly, listen to Christmas music.  I have been spending Thanksgiving with Steven's parents for many years now. We usually alternate between doing a turkey or prime rib for our main event. In the past, Steven has mentioned more than once that turkey is dry and bland so naturally I didn't think he'd mind that his mom and I were talking about forgoing the turkey entirely and doing something like rack of lamb and duck confit. To my surprise, Steven specifically requested turkey this year. I later discover this is only because I told him about a Cook's Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen version (link to recipe and episode) that involves roasting a salt-pork covered, self-basting turkey. In addition what is essentially a...

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Blueberry Muffin


The fact that this is my seventh muffin recipe on the blog shows how much I love them. I'm certainly not the first to proclaim the muffin top to be the best part. When the muffins are not intended for any occasion the following day, there can be half a dozen mangled muffin bodies after Steven and I are through with them. The tops are best after the muffins have rested for a few minutes after coming out of the oven. This crucial wait allows for the exterior to set into a slightly crunchy crust and allows for the muffin to cool enough for eager fingers to pry the tops off of the unsuspecting body. We can't let the precious tops go to waste. After muffins sit around, you lose the distinction between the top and bottom and the next day, you're left with a plain, uniform muffin. The tops are never the same, even after reheating them in the oven. I wondered why I’ve never seen a pan that capitalizes on muffin-top love like game changing edge brownie pan. But a quick google search...

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Meat Lasagna


updated from archives Every time I open the pantry, I'm accosted by two lingering boxes of lasagna noodles that have been sitting at eye level for the last two years. They are the final edible remnants from when I catered E's wedding over 2 years ago. I have not made lasagna since then--perhaps it's because I'm still a little traumatized by all the prepping and cooking that went on that week. But if I'm to be successful in clearing out the entire pantry, I had better start making some lasagna. In other news, I'm still working through moderating all the unpublished comments and the hundreds of emails in my blog email. So if you've left a comment on this blog and are wondering where it is or if you've sent me an email and I have not replied, please bear with me. Thank you for your patience! I do love your emails and comments. If you make something from the blog, I wanna hear about it! Even if you didn't like it. Also let me know if recipes are unclear, I'm in the process of updating...

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Hearty Spaghetti and Meat Sauce


(updated from archives) I grew up on spaghetti with Ragu. Not the lowercase italicized ragu, but the capital R followed by a copyright sign Ragu. And it was Hunt’s more often than not since it was cheaper. As a child, I always wanted the meat flavor thinking that it sounded better than plain tomato. Then one day, I thought it was odd that there wasn’t actually any meat in the sauce. Upon further inspection, the sauce was merely “flavored with meat.” Gross. When Steven and I first started dating (now nearly a decade ago, crazy right?), he made some spaghetti for me with his mom’s homemade meat sauce. The sauce had actual pieces of real meat, onions, chunks of tomatoes, and oh my god are those herbs? This is also how Steven introduced me to cheese. Like many Chinese people, my family was very suspicious of cheese. Stinky tofu? Bring it on! Fermenting milk? Nooo thank you. But Steven eventually won me over with a little freshly grated parmesan on my pasta. When I started cooking,...

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Fondue for Two


I'm in the process of tidying up the blog after months of being away (pardon the dust). While I was going through old flickr photos, I stumbled on this gem: See the date? This episode aired May 3, 2011 according to the wiki. Shoulda copyrighted that gem of a phrase! (You can watch the episode on FOX, which is where I got the image clips) Further similarities: Mr. Bunnington Lord Tubbington Hmm... curious... This feed contains copyrighted photos and text from Nook & Pantry. If you are not reading this material in a feeds aggregator or by e-mail subscription, the site you are viewing may be guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact nookandpantry (at) gmail (dot) com

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Spaghetti alla Carbonara


Carbonara is Steven's most requested dish. It's one of the few recipes on this blog that I make regularly, so I'm a little embarrassed I haven't updated the recipe since 2007. The ingredient list has stayed the same in the last four years but I added the trick of tempering the eggs with boiling pasta water before adding it to the pasta. On the rare occasion, I get a little fancy but I always go back to the original recipe of 5 ingredients, 6 if you include salt for pasta water. Traditionally you would use pancetta or guanicale, but let's face it, that stuff is expensive and I'm a poor student. Because this recipe is so simple, there are a few things I feel strongly about. First, I don't believe in adding cream; I think it's like cheating. But I unfortunately don't know anyone Italian who can back me up. Second, use freshly ground pepper; this is non-negotiable. This recipe is one of our staples during medical school, because I can make this in less than 30, maybe even 20 minutes. I...

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Chicken Adobo


update from April 2007 When I first made chicken adobo 4 years ago, I was a little apprehensive about the seemingly large amount of vinegar the recipe called for. However, the vinegar mellows with cooking and the sauce is amazing over freshly steamed rice. I prefer a 1:1 ratio of soy to vinegar. I reach for a milder vinegar like rice, white wine, or cider vinegar. I personally find plain white vinegar is too monotonous and abrasive. You can marinate the chicken as long as you want but this is rarely something I plan that far in advance. I usually throw all the ingredients together in a pot and let it sit for about an hour (sometimes I skip this part entirely if I feel particularly lazy). Chicken Adobo approximately 2 pounds of dark meat chicken (thighs and drumsticks) 1/2 cup soy sauce (low sodium preferably) 1/2 cup rice or cider vinegar 1 cup of water 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar 5 garlic cloves, smashed with the side of a knife 2 bay leaves 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black...

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vanilla pound cake


Two years ago I bought 2 dozen vanilla beans for a great price. They were my precious babies so I used them oh so sparingly. The vanilla beans won't be a problem to move and I intend on bringing them with me but I am less stingy about using them now. I used a Tahitian bean for its floral notes in homemade marshmallows over the Christmas holiday. This week, I used the creamy Bourbon bean for a simple vanilla pound cake. Pound cake is one of those things that almost requires no recipe. Like the name suggests, one pound of butter, sugar, flour, and eggs, or in my case 8 ounces, and a splash of vanilla, pinch of salt, dash of baking powder. The crunchy corners on the end pieces are my favorite, just like corner brownie pieces. simple vanilla pound cake 8 ounces all purpose flour (approximately 1 3/4 cup) 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon table salt 8 ounces unsalted butter at room temperature 8 ounces granulated sugar (approximately 1 1/4 cup) 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or...

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the pantry


My pantry has become increasingly cluttered over the last few years. The new year was a good time to reorganize and figure out just what is in there. Steven and I are anticipating relocating about a year and a half and I figured we'd better start using some of this stuff up. We've accumulated so much, especially after signing up for a Costco membership, that it will most likely take us the full 18 months to clear out the shelves. the pantry shelf one: teas, cookies, crackers, and snacks shelf two: pastas, noodles, rice, and grains shelf three: dry baking (flour, graham crackers, oatmeal) shelf four: wet baking (sugars, extracts, syrups, chocolate) shelf five: dried goods (variety of fungus including two types of wood ear, nori, bean curd skin) shelf six: sauces, wines, canned (coconut milk, tomatoes, bamboo) I discovered 4 packs of nori. I had no idea I had so much nori. We bought an 8 pack of Spam from Costco because we love musubi. Surprisingly, we only have 2 cans left. That...

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Leftover Turkey and Seafood Paella


  I hope everyone had a spectacular Turkey day. I was too busy eating so I unfortunately don't have any photos of the spread. *sadface* And I'm still recovering from my food coma. As for the actual turkey, I've never been too crazy about it the day of but I do love the leftovers. Aside from the always glorious post-Thanksgiving sandwich, the possibilities for the turkey are endless: soups, chilies, stir fries, casseroles, etc. A paella is a little like a casserole in the sense that it is often served in the same vessel it's cooked in. I've adapted this paella recipe for leftover turkey but leftover roast chicken would work just as well. This recipe is made in a 6 quart Dutch oven because I don't have a paella pan nor do I have a open fire of orange branches and pine cones so I did the cooking in the oven. Leftover Turkey and Seafood Paella 1 cup chicken or turkey stock 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled 1 pound seafood of choice or a mixture of shrimp, peeled and...

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Thanksgiving 2010


First I told myself I would blog again after spring quarter, then it was after summer exams, pretty soon after that I planned to put something together while I spent autumn in Alaska. Now it’s been over 6 months since my last post, but hey who’s keeping track anymore? But with Thanksgiving being tomorrow (or later today depending on when I finish writing this), I couldn’t let it go unacknowledged. Thanksgiving to Christmas is my favorite time of year. Two foodcentric holidays flanking a period of butter-filled holiday baking, what’s not to love? Who knows, maybe this year I’ll have enough time to do a third installment of 12 days of Christmas cookies. But before I get carried away and make promises I can’t keep, I’ll do a quick rundown of the Thanksgiving menu. Steven’s mom usually makes a turkey or prime rib. She also makes my favorite side dish: sticky rice, in lieu of stuffing. Not only do I dislike the texture of stuffing, I’m grossed out by the idea of literally stuffing food...

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Carrot Cake with Pineapple and Coconut and Brown Butter Rum Cream Cheese Frosting


I had some flopppy carrots and a half bar of cream cheese that needed to be used up so the obvious choice was a carrot cake. My original idea was to spice things up by adding currants instead of the traditional raisins because I hate raisins. But Trader Joes, my go-to source for quirky ingredients, no longer carries currants and I wasn’t about to go to Whole Paycheck and drop $10 on some fancy heritage currants from the South of France. Instead I got the next best thing, pineapple. I’ve actually never purchased a can of pineapple before or any canned fruit for that matter, so the first step was locating the canned fruit aisle in grocery store, an aisle I avoid like the plague. Who knew there were so many ways you could cut and can a pineapple—crushed, tidbits, chunks, rings? Many recipes call for crushed but that stuff looked a little too beaten up for my tastes, whereas the chunks were way too big. I wanted discernible pieces of pineapple in my cake so the tidbits were perfect. After...

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Banoffee Bread


jump to the new blog for banana bread recipe Banoffee Bread 3 large overriped bananas. 1/2 C packed light brown sugar 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled 2 large eggs 1/4 C plain yogurt or sour cream 2 tsp vanilla 2 C all purpose unbleached flour, (8.8 oz) 3/4 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp table salt 3 1.4 oz. Heath bars roughly chopped (or other toffee candies, like Almond Roca) Optional coconut topping: 1 tablespoon of cream cheese and 1/2 C of sweetened shredded coconut Preheat the oven to 350 deg F. Adjust the oven rack to the lower middle position or one level below the middle. Butter and flour a loaf pan or line it with parchment paper. Optional - making the coconut topping: mix the cream cheese and sweetened shredded coconut until it is evenly mixed (I just used my hands). Set aside for later. In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas until a few chunks remain. Mix in the melted butter, sugar, eggs, yogurt/sour cream and vanilla until smooth and evenly mixed. In a...

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French Toast


Breakfast is the one meal where I don't feel guilty about eating a lot. After all, it's the most important meal of the day, right? When I have time to make a big, sit-down breakfast, I like to go all out and hit my major food groups--meat, eggs, carbs, and coffee. Yup, I think that just about covers it. The last time I made French toast was before I started med school so I had aallll the time in the world to make everything fancy and gourmet. I even baked my own bread. If I hadn't gotten accepted, I would probably be making my own Nutella and grinding my own powdered sugar in a mortar and pestle. Luckily, nowadays, I doing something a little more productive with my time. The raisin bread I bought from Safeway makes for some pretty darn good French toast, and I don't even like raisins. Maybe it's the power of butter and maple syrup. Other than PB&J's I can't think of any other good uses for this bread, so it looks like I'll be making a few more servings of French toast with the...

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Guest Post! Shanghai Drunken Chicken


Shanghai Drunken Chicken at Rasa Malaysia Yes, I'm still here. No, I haven't forgotten about this blog. I know the crickets have been chirping here more than I've been posting. If only I have more free time because right now it's virtually non-existent. I can't remember the last time I've been sick but a bug was bound to get me sooner or later. I woke up this morning with the whole nine yards--fever, sore throat, cough, and aches all over. I tried to catch up on my reading but that wasn't happening. I should have known reading about urine and kidneys gets nowhere when you're sleep-deprived and feverish. So, instead of studying, I resigned myself to spending the day in my pajamas with chicken noodle soup, catching up on food blogs and many issues of Bon Appetit (au revoir Gourmet, you will be missed!). This is long overdue but check out my guest post on Rasa Malaysia! I was torn between drunken chicken or crab cakes; drunken chicken won but I did make some crab cakes after Bee got...

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Heirloom Tomatoes and Bacon


The sandwich of summer, the BLT. I think my laptop caught me drooling over the shiny new Macbooks because it decided to die last week, two days before classes started. Awesome. After running every recovery, repair, and restore program, the consensus was that the hard drive irreparably failed. I've noticed that Dell computers start having problems after a year, suspiciously only a few days after the one year warranty expires. Luckily, I purchased a four year warranty with this computer but that means three more years before I can finally make the switch over to Macs. Absolutely everything was on that hard drive-a year of schoolwork, previous work files, blog stuff-everything! And stupid, stupid, stupid me didn't back anything up! Before I launched into a full-blown panic attack once I realized I had lost all of my beloved wedding photos and invaluable lecture notes, Steven was able to salvage everything. Whew! Crisis averted! But boy did I learned my lesson. Always back up on an...

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Macarons, macarons, macarons!


I have the best friend who brought me the best souvenirs! After a month-long honeymoon hopping across Eurasia from Russia to France, E.’s final destination was Paris. The morning before her flight back to Seattle, she rushed over to Pierre Hermé to buy one of every macaron available that day. After a trans-Atlantic flight with a brief layover in Iceland, a collision in the X-ray machine (the macarons, not the people), 90 degree weather in Seattle, E. and husband E., and a dozen of the prettiest macarons made it back home, well-traveled, tired, and a little sweaty. That night, we hung out, drank French wine, ate French almond cakes and French rum cakes. Before Steven and I overstayed our welcome, we left the weary travelers and drove home with twelve macarons nestled in my lap and an obligatory mini Eiffel Tower. I am one lucky gal! Just look at those beautiful colors! I saved the Pierre Hermé plastic bag, Pierre Hermé decorative paper bag, the two macaron guides, and yes, even...

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Crab Cakes


Mmm mm! 4 oz. crab cake with Israeli couscous (our current obsession) cooked in crab stock. I’m back! I spent the last month working at a clinic in the coastal fishing town of Westport, WA. I had some of the best seafood ever while I was down there – crab, salmon, tuna, spot prawns all fresh off the fishing boats. Before heading back to Seattle, K., the gal I was staying with, hooked me up with 6 Dungeness crabs to take home. Whoohoo! I also had the clams we dug up the day before, salmon a neighbor brought over from his fishing, and blueberries I picked from the shrubs outside the house. It was some seriously sweet loot to take home. My dad is in town and Dungeness crab is his favorite. We feasted on steamed crab with fresh ginger spiked black Zhejiang vinegar for dipping. I cleaned and picked out the meat from the leftover crabs for crab cakes. Dungeness crab is one of the meatiest crabs but even so, it took two very large crabs to yield one pound of crab meat. Jumbo lump...

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Extra Virgin Olive Oil


A few weeks ago I was asked by Gaea if I'd be interested in reviewing some of their products. I am by no means an olive oil expert but I thought, heck why not, tasting products is always fun. Gaea specializes in extra virgin olive oil but they also make Greek food products like cooking sauces and tapenades. They sent me a free 17oz. bottle of their extra virgin olive oil and a bottle of their Myconos (tuna and kalamata olives) sauce. By now, I’m sure everyone has heard that olive oil is good for you so I won't bore you with those details. An "extra virgin" olive oil is the highest quality and means that it has not been chemically treated or heated in the process of extracting the oil from olives. This is the kind you want to look for because it has the highest vitamins and antioxidant content and the most health benefits. "Cold pressed", olive oil obtained without the use of heat, is ideal but the term is unregulated and is used mainly as a marketing tool. "First press" is an...

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German Pancake/Dutch Baby with Apricot and Raspberry


Steven and I bought a half flat of the biggest raspberries we'd ever seen from our local berry stand. We're lucky enough to live blocks away from the only Seattle location of the Spooner Farms berry stand. One more reason why I love our neighborhood. Raspberry season is coming to a close in Washington state and they will eventually be replaced by blueberries and blackberries. If you live in the North Seattle area or close to any of the other locations, I recommend you check out Spooner Farms and stock up on these amazing raspberries while you still can. Between the car ride home and breakfast, we polished off one half pint. Any suggestions for what I should do with the remaining 5 half pints? Steven and I aren’t big breakfast people but when I do make breakfast, I go all out. Bacon and eggs usually make an appearance, sometimes I do waffles, sometimes pancakes, and sometimes I get crazy and put everything together. The German pancake, also called Dutch Baby, is like a crepe...

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Duck Noodle Soup


I walked into the Asian market only needing some tofu but walked out with over $80 of groceries and a whole roast duck. $1.28/lb white peaches, heck yeah! 99c/lb bok choy, yeah I need that too. Whoa, fish sauce is on sale?! Well, I still have some at home but it doesn’t hurt to have a backup right? As for the tofu I needed? Well, I got 2 shapes of deep fried tofu, a pack of pressed, firm, and silken. I had to restrain myself from those damn cute tofu knots. The roast duck, which was also on sale so how could I not get it, was the highlight of the trip. I brushed the sweet plum sauce on the skin and reheated it in the toaster oven to restore the skin to its original crispness. I asked to keep the head and neck so I could turn it into duck stock. Then, putting that 99c bok choy to good use, I added it to the stock for a simple but perfect lunch - somen, roast duck, bok choy, in a simple duck soup. It's comfort food, Chinese style. Simple Roast Duck Stock 1 roast duck head...

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