chefkelly's blog

October 15, 2009

chef kelly is growing up! she’s moved to

Filed under: becoming a chef — Tags: , , , — chefkelly @ 4:27 pm

Kinda sorta figured out this whole hosting your URL thing…

Check out my blog now HERE!  More exciting Korean recipes to come (click) HERE ~~~



October 4, 2009

Bring zing to your chicken recipe…Chicken Marbella (tribute to Ms. Sheila Lukins)

On my way to work driving down the ever-treacherous demonic 405 in LA, I heard a clip on KCRW.  A listener, an expat in a far-away land, perhaps Sweden or even Iceland wrote in, saying how uncanny it was that at the very moment she heard the recent passing of Ms. Sheila Lukins, the infamous cook, co-author of The Silver Palate and food editor for the Parade Magazine (taking over Julia Child’s role in the mid-80s), that she was eating her infamous Chicken Marbella.  Indeed, I was sorry to hear she had passed.  But I didn’t even know her.  It was Julia Child with her boosterous, high-pitched voice and personality.  Julia who had her TV show and even a movie, Julie and Julia, Julia who seemed to be synonymous with introducing Americans with French cooking.  I was too young when the first Silver Palate came out but come to find out, in some sense, the baton had been passed from Julia to Sheila, pushing taste buds to go beyond the often snobby Frenchy food to healthier and practical dishes such as gazpacho, hummus, spicy carrot cake and of course, Chicken Marbella.

So. Chicken.  I think it is one of those “neutral” meat that’s approachable, thought to be better-for-you than say, beef and frankly, one that I do eat quite often but often get bored with what it renders.  The chicken marbella by Ms. Sheila Lukins is simply amazing!  And the secret ingredients that take chicken to the next level?  PRUNES!  Who would have even thought that marinating chicken with prunes, green olives, capers, olive oil, oregano, red wine vinegar (& a few others) would create this delightfully tantalizing chicken?!  It’s the perfect melange of flavors; savory, salty, sweet, and sour with just the right amount of decadence of olive oil fat infused into chicken that makes me salivate.  And the best part?  It’s super EZ!  Everyone will think you spent hours cooking it;)   Just marinate overnight, pop it in the oven the next day and voila – chicken marbella.

With much thanks and full credits to Oprah Winfrey who shared the Chicken Marbella recipe on her site – here’s my attempt which turned out beautifully; served with sauteed arugula & smashed roasted potatoes. Total comfort food.  Also was able to use cold leftover slices tossed with a salad for a meal the next day. 

Chicken Marbella

Share your favorite chicken recipe here!

Made with two tablespoons of love; love for food, love for life.


September 17, 2009

korean sushi, gimbap or kimbap (translation seaweed rice)

Filed under: becoming a chef, Chef Kelly, Korean food recipes — chefkelly @ 11:22 pm

gimbapcooking three days in a row!  Yum~ Yum~

7 ingredients

1. egg

2. carrots

3. cucumber

4. gobo (japanese burdock)

5. spinach

6. yellow daikon

7. kalbi marinated beef

Rice & Roasted Seaweed


Odwalla Berries GoMega snack bar review

Filed under: food review — Tags: , , — chefkelly @ 4:24 pm

The same peeps who make the all-natural juice has come out with new snack bars, on sale at Vons and Wholefoods that prompted me to try it.

Hit with an afternoon hunger pang, I opened up a Berries GoMega. At 210 calories, it’s a hefty bar. First bite kinda tasted good; tangy, chewy…and then it was downhill. Very dense and chewy, from the flax seeds combined with the seedy, “pop-ness” of figs, I had to sit it aside to think, am I so hungry to take another bite?

It makes u feel like you’re eating a good, ground up mush from the grounds, sorta like coffee grounds meet dates, berries and figs. Almost like you’d know what it feels like to be a deer or a zoo animal and what they eat.

Wonder if they taste tested this stuff. I’m sure it’s all a matter of preference but it was pretty disappointing nonetheless. Stay away from Odwalla bars unless you like that gritty feeling, I pictured my face like a camel, chewing away…

Anyone have snack bars they recommend? Ones that are tasty AND good for you?

September 16, 2009

Chicken or the egg? What to eat when you’re feeling sick… Tamago Mari & Chicken Soup

Filed under: becoming a chef, Chef Kelly, restaurant review — chefkelly @ 9:59 pm

Been celebrating, post-detox and our wedding anniversary – whatever excuses to dine out at new places, many of which were just plain awesome~  Most of which I’ve reviewed on Yelp including Lucques, Osteria Mozza, Il Pastaio and around the other side, Break of Dawn in Laguna Niguel, Din Tai Fung in Arcadia and Honey Kettle Chicken in Culver City.  And now I’m sick:(  But what is it about cooking that makes you feel better, even only for a little while?  Comfort food of tamago mari with roasted kabocha squash or chicken soup with lime juice, cilantro, jalapeno and avocado – a la Mexican flair~  Hope to get better soon.  Lots of VitC and fluids.  With school starting for most, don’t know how much germs will be spread this winter, H1N1-style…

September 4, 2009

Simple and easy decadent breakfast sandwich recipe – Croque California

Filed under: becoming a chef, Chef Kelly — chefkelly @ 10:35 am

What is it about white bread?  The bad-rep’d Wonderbread kind, that calls your name now and then, no matter how much you try to disconnect any association with this fluffy, squishy refined white flour DSC_0066invention?  Maybe it’s nostalgia growing up with this stuff, an interactive goodness that’s synonymous with pb&j, ham & cheese and all else childhood memories, kind like mac-n-cheese?  And since grocery stores carry only one size (LARGE), and I used just two slices for the meatloaf earlier this week, I was left with a whole loaf calling my name.

My mom used to make these buttered toasts with sprinkles of sugar – very healthy, I know.  And Mike remembered eating some kind of an unforgettable white-bread-with-egg sandwich from a street vendor in Korea, so on my first day of the long Labor Day weekend, I decided to make my version that I’ll call Croque California inspired by Croque Monsieur/Madame. 

It’s simply this.  (Serves 2)

1. Two slices of Wonderbread toasted golden brown using a fry pan (I used Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks – which I swear, it tastes and toasts just like the real thing) sprinkled with some evaporated cane juice.  This will provide a subtle additional sweet “crunch” or “croque” to your toast. 

2. Two beaten eggs with sprinkle of salt, evap cane juice and 2 tsp. of soy creamer.  This will get it super fluffy as you scramble it.

3. Assemble toast, egg, avocado slices, fold like a taco, and mangé!  bon appetit!

(I’m justifying this one because it has the healthy goodness of avocado – with its good monosaturated fat (good 4 heart/lower cholestrol) , protein (muscle), potassium and VitE (skin)).

Have a wonderful, long, labor-day weekend.



September 3, 2009

Korean Kimchi Recipes and Ideas – What to do with leftover kimchi

Filed under: becoming a chef, Chef Kelly — Tags: — chefkelly @ 7:08 am

After a week of liver detox (no – it’s not part of AA – as one vendor at the Farmers Market asked…), and no cooking – I found a whole pickled kimchi in the back of the fridge that was ready for some mouth-watering cooking.  I mean, the kimchi’s pretty ripe!  Which means I better start thinking of using it up fast or look forward to that puckered-up-i’m-eating-a-lemon-face with each bite.  So I decided to experiment in merging the cultures “americano with korean-y”.


Dish 1 – Kimchee Pasta (4 servings)


– 1/2 c. kimchi (the sour “cooked” kind) & 1/2 c. kimchi “juice” – reserve

– 1/2 white/yellow onion

– 1/2 yellow bell pepper

– 1 small heirloom tomato

– 1/2 c. mushrooms (any variety will do but prefer shiitaki)

– pat of butter

– drizzle of sesame oil

– drizzle of walnut oil

– grapeseed oil (for stir-fry)

– 1 c. of pasta (farfalla or fusilli – I used penne and it was bit too thick and doughy)


1) Cook pasta and set aside.

2) Sautee onion with grapseed oil until translucent and bit browned.  Drizzle sesame oil, sautee chopped kimchi til translucent.  

3) Add the rest of the veggies (bell pepper, mushroom, tomato) until all translucent and semi-tender.

4) Using a strainer/sieve, pour the kimchi “juice” reserve over veggie and bring to boil.  Add pasta and walnut oil and toss in pan.  

Sprinkle some cheese if you like and enjoy! 


Dish 2 – Bison Kimchi Meatloaf (6 servings)

[ sorry – no pix for the meatloaf]

(This dish requires some modifications as it was way too soft.  But I couldn’t believe how well the meatloaf goes with kimchi.  And I was afraid that bison would turn out too dry but it was anything but that.    Awesome!  Leftovers were perfect for some breakfast sandwich open-faced on a toasted English muffin as well as a pasta dish 4 dinner.  You could also use this as “stuffing” for korean dumplings/mandu, I’d think.  Next on my list to make…)


– 1/2 lb. ground bison

– 1 small carrot

– 1/2 onion

– 2 stalks celery

– 1 cup kimchi

– 2 slices of bread (soak one in milk til very soft, crumble other slice and set aside)

– 1/4 cup silken tofu

– organic tomato paste

– 1 egg (beaten)

seasoning: thyme, rosemary, basil, worchestershire, brown sugar, shoyu and black pepper


1) Chop all vegetables separately in a food processor including kimchi. 

2) Sautee carrots first, then onion and celery, then kimchi last.

3) Turn off heat, add 2 tbsp. of tomato paste, your seasonings to taste.

4) In a large bowl, combine the sauteed veggies with the ground bison, egg, and bread.  Combine mixture well.

5) For meatloaf glaze, in a separate bowl, combine 2 tbsp tomato paste, 4-5 tbsp hot water, 1 tbsp brown sugar, splash of worchestershire and black pepper.  Pour into a greased meatloaf pan.

6) Bake for 45 min in a pre-heated 375° oven.  At half time (~20-25 min mark), pour glaze over meatloaf.  The liquid will evaporate and create a nice, umami glaze on top.

7) Cool for 15-20 min, slice and serve with some sauteed vegetables or mashed sweet potatoes.

Then for the 3rd day, I heated up the leftover pasta + the leftover meatloaf to make “kimchi meatloaf pasta” – brilliant!  Quick and easy~  Happy Labor Weekend everyone~

kimchi pasta with meatloafsauce


August 31, 2009

Liver detox is finished! We caved to Korean beef noodle soup (sul lung tang) @ Hanbat in K-town and it was GOOD!

Filed under: food review, restaurant review — chefkelly @ 10:44 pm

We’re human after all…we almost got to the finish line (just had one more meal of fruit for dinner).  It’s a Monday and for 5 days, we’ve been doing nothing but drinking water, herbal teas, fresh fruit and veggie juices and were completely waterlogged.  With one more fruit meal to go, I caved. My body was begging for some old-fashioned protein, iron and calcium and I had a craving for korean beef noodle soup, sul lung tang, at my all-time favorite place, Han Bat Shul Lung Tang in Koreatown.  It’s a complete comfort food, with zero frills and 100% authentic.  I’ve been going here since I was in high school and the taste has not changed one bit.  Han Bat is a total hole-in-the-wall place, where I was once afraid to take my hubby, then “just dating”, because I thought he’d be mortified by the place; if your gf/bf gets impressed by your restaurant selection here, then it’s a destiny and you’ll be blissfully happy as I am.  At $9.00 for a complete meal (tax included), it’s a total steal!  But I’d easily pay double that.

korean beef noodle soup with scallions

Korean beef noodle soup (sul lung tang) from Han Bat in K-town

Sul Lung Tang’s sort of like Korean version of veal stock; utter umami savoriness (that’s like saying savory savoriness, huh?).  Made with beef (bone, meat etc) , it’s simmered for hours until the broth gets all velvety and milky to the point that if you were to cool it, it’d get gelatinous and wiggle.  Simply season it to taste with sea salt, black pepper, minced scallions, and red pepper/garlic paste, dunk your rice in soup, in it goes into your mouth and it’s like being a kid again.  Something about a warm umami broth (whether it be chicken soup, vietnamese pho, or sul lung tang) that nourishes your body and just makes you feel all fuzzy from inside out.  Their radish kimchee’s the best as it’s homemade and pickled just right so that it’s got that spicy, garlicky kick but also have the salty/savoriness from the tiny shrimps they use, top it with some tanginess and crunchy texture that’s to die for. 

It used to be a “very hush-hush only koreans know kinda place” but I think the cat’s out of the bag as I saw few tables with gasp! Caucasians there.  Must be that 150+ reviews of 4.5 stars on yelp including mine (click the link above).  I asked the Korean waitstaff (bustin’ out my Korean, of course), whether this was the norm to which she said that they’re usually introduced by a Korean friend who then get hooked and come by themselves all the time.  She points to one table and goes,”see that american couple?  they eat more kimchee than we do!”  I think radish kimchee’s taste and texture is much similar to pickles or sauerkraut but with a major red pepper kick which is like pickles with a POW!

Full and happy tummy!  And no regret! 

I’ve detoxed and thus “cleaned my room so that I can make a mess again:) ”

It’s all about moderation, right?  Life’s too short not to enjoy the little umamis like warm sul lung tang.  Here’s to many more soupy broths and happy tummies.

August 28, 2009

Annual Detox, liver cleanse with Dr. Schulz = no food for 3 days…

Filed under: becoming a chef, Chef Kelly — chefkelly @ 2:01 pm
DSC_0049I’m not the “hard-core” kind of a person to be detoxing, eating raw food, wearing birkies, hemp clothes and becoming a vegan.  But I do think that for all of the times you’ve had something you knew was bad for you (bacon, cake, maybe not together), your body has to work pretty hard trying to break down this “bad” thing.  Just like some of the fat that may build up around the pipes if you poured some bacon grease down the drain (yuk), so I think would be similar with your body.  There’s also the whole oil change/don’t take care of your car, then what happens to it analogy…  And we all know from our Biology class that liver produces bile which creates all these neat little enzymes that detox your body and breaks bad stuff down. 
SO- once a year (Dr. Schulz’s program recommends every season but I can’t just imagine doing that in midst of my busy schedule) – we decide to detox for a total of 5 days; 2 days of raw food (fruits/veggie only) and 3 days sandwiched in between of liquid diet/fasting/no eating – well you get the point.  The point being, let’s get your liver on its tip-top shape so that it can continue to be a smooth running machine.  So we’re on day 2, the first day of liquids only and it hasn’t been that bad.  It’s mind over matter, hubby says, and yup, it’s just as much a psychological thing as not eating/chewing itself.  I can’t say that I’m really hungry (after all, I had a whole 2 cups of diluted carrot and celery juice for lunch, wooohoo~), but I do feel a little lethargic, dizzy and that damn headache – makes me feel like a bobblehead.  I keep thinking about what I’d eat when I’m done, and going woohoo – 1 day almost done but then ugggh – 2 more days of this to go – but all in all – know that I’m doing the right thing “spring cleaning” my body. 
I swear they make it tricky so that the detox program seems more complicated than it is.  What you see in the refilled water bottles are detox tea, detox and l-gb shots (i just realized i don’t know what the lgb stands for…and dr schulz doesn’t explain it), potassium broth (basically a veggie broth) and superfoods – a food supplement that looks like chopped grass but is full of all things good blended with fresh fruit juice.
This is one of the commitments to my body, so that I can continue to be healthy while enjoying some of the “bad” food in moderation. 
So off I go to drinking more liquids (ymmmm~ veggie broth) and going “dark” for a few days. 
I’ll be dreaming up the list of meals I want when we’re done with detox early next week.  Taking any suggestions….
Made with LOTS of love; love for food; love for life.

One pot Korean recipe – Mushroom risotto (made in rice cooker)

Filed under: becoming a chef, Chef Kelly — chefkelly @ 1:35 pm
mushroom risotto - korean style

mushroom risotto - korean style

DSC_0042 DSC_0040







Last meal before my annual detox, in mood for some comfort food, I pulled out the rice cooker and put together a super easy and tasty recipe for a mushroom risotto, korean style. 


1/2 c. chopped shitake mushrooms

1/2 c. chopped king trumpet mushrooms

[both are found at your local asian market.  The king trumpet will add a nice meaty texture to the risotto]

1/2 c. finely chopped onion

1/3 c. minced leeks

1 c. Japanese/Korean rice (the stickyshort-grain kind)

Kalbi marinade

2 tbsp shoyu

2 tsp rice wine vinegar

2 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp sesame oil

2 tbsp water

cracked black pepper

How to:

Wash your rice as you’d normally to cook in the rice cooker.  Fill it to the 1c. line with water.

Pour marinade over chopped veggies and gently pour on top of rice.

The juice and the marinade from the veggies will infuse with the rice as it’s cooking.

When the rice is done, drizzle some truffle oil and you’re good to go.

[ as a side dish and a nice crunch, serve it with some kimchi if you have them around or even pickles or slaw]

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