June 28, 2018

Pull Apart Bread

Pull apart bread. So easy. So cheesy. So delicious.

There are many combinations or things that you can stuff in bread.
You can take the savory route or the sweet dessert route.

You want to start with a loaf bread that is not sliced but the whole loaf.
You can bake the loaf of bread yourself or purchase already made.
(Whatever fits your time and life style will determine that)

Here are the most relished combinations that you can stuff your pull apart bread.

~ Buffalo chicken
~ Philly cheesesteak style
~ Spinach and artichoke
~ Roasted garlic and mixed cheeses
~ Mixed mushroom and provolone
~ Scrambled eggs and bacon or sausage
~ Eggs, peppers and onions
~ Mashed bananas and diced sauteed apples + nutella
~ Mac and cheese stuffed pull apart bread
~ French onion style (a play of french onion soup)
~ Roasted veggies diced small with desired herbs
~ Strawberry basil and balsamic vinegrette
~ Brie cheese and cranberry

Below are some pictures of different types.
Cut the bread into cube pieces (without going all the way down)
You want the loaf bread to have cubed pieces that eventually pull apart
once it is ready to eat.  Drizzle a little olive, grape seed or veggie oil
on the bread and crevices, stuff your bread along with any cheese/s
and then bake in the oven on 350 degrees for about 8-10 minutes.
(until the cheese melts and top of the bread is toasted to your preference.

Zestfully,  private party chef Yoon

May 30, 2018

Sashimi Salad

Sashimi Salad with salmon or tuna is our go-to for cooking classes
because salmon and tuna are the most accessible for the general public
to purchase. You can always cultivate a dish and create it to your liking.

Below is a common base that you can start with.
I typically will start with some type of green whether it be red leaf lettuce,
romaine lettuce, cabbage (green or purple) mustard greens, baby spinach,
watercress or an organic spring mix for mini lettuces and greens.

Add other veggies such as sliced or shredded carrots, pickled radish,
or plain radish, cucumbers slices or shredded, a smaller type of
mushrooms (eg: enoki), a bell pepper for color...

and then to the Salmon or Tuna - make sure that you are purchasing
"Sashimi" grade or "Sushi" grade fish because you want it to be the
freshest but more importantly because you are consuming it in raw form.

A great marinade for the fish and then to ultimately add to the
other veggies will be: 
~ juice of 2 limes (for acidity)
~ 1-2 TBSP of sugar (for sweetness)
~ sriracha mayo (mix sriracha & mayo together) if you enjoy things spicy,
   use extra plain sriracha at the end as well (to you liking)
~ 2 TBSP of soy sauce (for the salt aspect & flavor)
~ 1 TBSP of fish sauce (extract of anchovies) not oyster sauce
~ 1 TBSP of sesame oil (or a little more to your liking)
~ sprinkle of sesame seeds (to your desired amount) (start with 1 teaspoon)

Once your fish is marinating for about 15 minutes you can assemble all
your veggies and then lay the fish on top and mix everything or plate
it to look layered and then mix once you/your guests are ready to eat.

Zestfully,  private party chef Yoon

May 17, 2018

Stuffed Mushrooms

White button mushrooms are great to stuff.
I love to stuff them with vegetables and cheese!

You can take large white mushrooms, twist and pop the stems off.
and stuff them with spinach and artichoke, a caprese style stuffing,
Italian sausage, pepperoni and cheese, etc... cultivate it to make it your own.

Once you decide what to stuff the mushrooms with, simply add a little olive oil
or grape seed or avocado oil and drizzle over all the mushrooms. This will not
only give it flavor but will allow for the mushrooms to bake better.
Add your preferred cheese (shredded off the block if you can) and then
simply bake for 10 minutes on 375 degrees.
You can always garnish with a sprinkle of herbs or a veggie puree or cream sauce.
I love to add pea sauce or carrot puree. The purees can be easily made
by chopping the desired veggie into small pieces and simply simmer for about
10 minutes with choice of stock or water. (the liquid will cook down)
Then blend to your desired thickness. I put them into squeeze bottles for easy use.

Zestfully,  private party chef Yoon

April 2, 2018


Guacamole is an avocado based dip that was started by 
the Aztecs back in the 16th century. The word guacamole
came from Aztec dialect which translates literally
to avocado sauce.  Makes sense and sounds pretty simple...
just like this home-made guacamole recipe.

If you are making a small bowl of guacamole  for up to 3 people
you can use 2-3 ripe avocados, 
1 small tomato (diced)
a quarter of a small red onion, (diced small)
handful of cilantro stems (chopped- including the stems)
the juice of 2 limes
a pinch of cumin (about 1/2 a teaspoon)
and a pinch of salt  (to your tasting)
and a pinch of sugar (optional; to your liking)

Avocados are meant to be picked in their unripened stage off of their
trees and are to be left on the counter or table to ripen.  Do not put your 
avocados in the frig unless it is ripe and you want it to stop ripening.
Avocados are typically a dark, forest green color and when they start
to ripen they turn a blackish hue AND they are soft to the touch.

To make a basic, easy but super flavorful guacamole all you need to do
is cut your ripened avocado and place it in a bowl.
Dice up the tomatoes into small pieces and throw them on top of the
halved avocado. Dice the red onion into very small pieces--
the smaller the better. Chop the cilantro and add that to the bowl
as well. Lastly, squeeze the juice of the limes and add a pinch of salt.

It's nice to take a fork and stir and fold all the ingredients together.
The sweetness and liquid of the tomato gives a natural sweet flavor
along with the lime juice bringing out some acidity. Onions always
give food more flavor and red  onions being the mildest makes 
for the best onion to choose for guacamole since everything is raw
and the beautiful hue of the purple makes it look attractive as well!

Zestfully Let's Cultivate Food

March 23, 2018

Stuffed Meatballs Drunken in Tomato Sauce

Stuffed meatballs. Drunken in Tomato Sauce. Yum!

You can stuff meatballs with whatever your stomach desires.
I love the play on a caprese stuffed meatball.

You take your choice cut of ground beef. I often use 85% 15% fat
for a little fattier juiciness.

Make your caprese filling. Little cubes of block mozzarella cheese, dried basil
and tomatoes diced up small. Drizzle a little olive oil on the mozzarella
while adding the dried basil (1 TBSP)(the dried basil works well in that it adheres
to the cheese well).  You call always add a little fresh basil as a garnish!

Stuff the meatballs (ideally 1.5 - 2 inches in diameter)
and cook them right in your tomato sauce. You only need to cook them
for about 15-20 minutes. (the total time will be based on the size of your meatballs)

Zestfully,  private party chef Yoon

March 20, 2018

LCF Beef Skewers

Beef Skewers. Yum! You can grill them outdoors, you can use an electric griddle, a stove top griddle or you can broil them in the oven.
Once you add the marinade to the beef -
ideally you want to marinade for a minimum of 30 minutes. (overnight is best)
(Make sure your skewers are soaking in water as well to help prevent them from burning)

1-1.5 pounds of sirloin tips OR choice of beef
3-4 TBSP of hoisin sauce
2 TBSP of soy sauce
2 TBSP of sesame oil
1 TBSP of apple cider vinegar OR rice vinegar
1 teas of garlic powder OR grate 2 cloves of garlic
1 teas of sugar OR grate a little apple or a pear for natural sweetness
sprinkle sesame seeds (optional)

Take your strips or bite size pieces of beef and skewer them through.
ideally 3-5 pieces are a nice amount.

The temperature you are looking for is about 350-375 degrees.
Grill for about 5-7 minutes on each side OR to your liking of beef!

Zestfully Let's Cultivate Food

February 27, 2018

Firecracker Shrimp!

Take your Shrimp (de-veined) and let it sit in your marinade for
ideally 20-30 minutes. I usually leave the shell on the end of the tail
(the last segment of the shell) for the purpose of holding it while eating;
almost like a handle or skewer-like)

1/2 sriracha & 1/2 hoisin sauce with the juice of an orange.
Start with 2 TBSP of the sriracha and hoisin sauce.
This appetizer is called firecracker because it is meant to be spicy,
if you wish to tone down the spiciness - simply add less sriracha sauce.

Wrap in in an egg roll wrapped that is cut in half diagonally
(to make 2 large triangles)  Have the tail end stick out of the wrapper
and roll while adding a little egg around the places where you want the
egg roll wrapper to adhere.  (The egg is your gluing agent)

Zestfully,  private party chef Yoon

February 19, 2018

Miso Soup

Miso soup is made from fermented soy bean paste which is a great source of beneficial bacteria. It is light, flavorful and a great base to use to cultivate by adding a range of ingredients to your liking.

A great base and easy way to make Miso soup is the following recipe:

for 2 people:
~ 2 cups of water
~ 2 TBSP of miso paste
~ 2 teaspoons of sesame oil
~ scallions cut to your liking (ringlets or shredded)
~ tofu cut to cubes
~ seaweed, soaked, chopped and to your liking (when soaked in water - will double in size)

Let it simmer and add tofu at the end.

Zestfully,  private party chef Yoon

February 1, 2018

Dan Dan Noodles

Dan Dan noodles is a Chinese noodle dish that traditionally consists
of a spicy chili oil, Sichuan peppers, minced pork and scallions served
over flour based noodles often made of egg.

As I refer to students during classes, once you learn a base or foundation
of a dish, you then can and should cultivate it to make it your own
by adding what you like to it. 
(mainly because you are the one who is going to eat it)

As many dishes migrate to the western hemisphere they adapt more often
than not to Americanized taste-buds and get modified with spice level,
more Americanized veggies or other ingredients.

Did you know the word 'Dan Dan' refers to a carrying pole that was used
by street vendors who would carry baskets over their shoulder hanging from
Dan Dans (poles) and sell them to local people as they passed by?
Now you do!  The literal translation is: "noodles carried on a pole"

We have a themed class titled "Let's Eat Philly"
where we make Philly style soft pretzels, Philly Cheese steak bites
& Chinatown Dan Dan Noodles. Below is a picture of Dan Dan noodles
made with rice noodles and spaghetti style noodles.

Recipe & Ingredients:

your choice of rice, linguine, spaghetti, egg noodle, green noodle

~ traditionally ground pork (1/4 lb per person)
~but ground chicken is ok if you don't eat pork
* optional - also adding some pork belly or bacon is an added extra.
.....did someone say bacon!?!

~ scallions chopped small or shredded with the 'herb shredder'
~ some type of green is always good whether it be the
    traditional mustard greens,   or other options: bok choy, yu choy,
    broccoli rabe stems, kale, spinach etc..

1 TBSP of red pepper paste
1 TBSP of sesame paste (can be miso, or tahini, or soy bean paste)
2 garlic gloves minced or grated fine
1/4 cup of stock (your choice, chicken, veggie, beef)
2 TBSP of soy sauce
1 TBSP of sugar (or grate some apple or pear for natural sugar)
1 TBSP of sesame oil (any oil if you don't have sesame)

1. have your noodles already boiled
2. brown the protein (saute the meat)
3. add all the sauce ingredients except for the stock
4. toss in the veggies (if you are using)
5. toss in the noodles
6. add the stock little by little to help liquefy the sauce to your preference
7. add into your favorite noodle bowl and garnish with scallions
   (sesame seeds and or peanuts are sometimes a nice added bonus)

Zestfully,  private party chef Yoon

January 31, 2018

Low Country Boil

Fill a large pot of water so that about 2 inches of the bottom of the pot
is filled with warm-hot water. Add a cap full or about 5 TBSP of old bay right
into the pot.  Here is a suggestion of what items to out into your pot. I say
suggestions because it's really what your group likes. Typically it's going to
be seafood, sausage and root veggie friendly.  Once your pot starts to boil,
add your ingredients from heartiest to least heartiest.
eg: add the potatoes and carrots first, then mussels, crabs along with
other items with shrimp being last, when the shrimp changes color -
you know it's time to roll out that brown paper or even newspaper.
It's going to be about 30 minutes but it depends on how much you are low boiling.

Here's a list of starters: (again, it's your group's preference)
1 lb of beef sausage
2 onions cut in half for flavor
1-2 lbs of shrimp, with shell on for best flavor (yes, you peel them at the table)
1-2 pounds of baby potatoes cut in half or in quarters
1 lb (1 bag) of baby carrots
1-2 bell peppers for flavor
1 corn on the cob per person
    (cut in half or thirds for easier eating and quicker cooking)
1-2 lbs of mussels
1-2 lbs of clams
desired amount of crabs
3-4 lemons cut in half for the acidity and flavor
mini hot dogs to make it a little more kid friendly

Here are some pictures of different low country boils I've done.

Zestfully,  private party chef Yoon

Wonton Egg Drop Soup

Wontons are often described as irregular dumplings.
Here is a recipe to make wonton soup Or egg drop soup OR
you can go all out and make wonton egg drop soup together in one!

2 carrots cut in half or whole
3-4 celery stock cut in half
1 medium onion cut in half
1-2 cinnamon sticks
3 TBSP of soy sauce OR 1-2 teaspoon of salt (your desired amount of salt)
2 garlic cloves cut in half OR (1 teaspoon) of garlic powder
1 TBSP of sesame oil
let it come to a low boil and then turn the heat down on a medium simmer 
to add the wontons, eggs or both!

(be sure to take out all of the items that help create the light flavorful broth
before gently dropping the wontons and adding the egg towards the end.
The carrots, celery and all above ingredients are to just create the broth
and are meant to be taken out by a strainer, or ladle, large spoon or tongs etc...)

half pound of ground pork OR chicken
1/2 bunch of cilantro cut into 1/2 inch pieces OR chopped fine (to your liking)
pinch of salt OR drizzle of soy sauce to coat the ground protein
2 garlic gloves minced or chopped fine
1 TBSP of hoisin sauce
1 TBSP sesame oil
1 TBSP of rice vinegar 

Egg drop portion:
take 2 eggs, crack them, whisk and add 3-4 TBSP of water
drizzle over a fork right into the stock to get long ribbons of egg
(it will cook instantly)

Scallions are a nice way to garnish at the end, right into your bowl

Zestfully,  private party chef Yoon

Papaya Salad

Papaya Salad is a crunchy, crisp, briny, delicious slaw salad
made from shredded green papaya, tomatoes, carrot and acidic seasonings.

Traditionally, you will see many recipes that have green beans
and dried shrimp. Over the years of teaching cooking classes,
people have commented that they don't care for the dried shrimp powder
or whole dried shrimp along with raw green or string beans
so I simply took those out, left the fish sauce (made from anchovies)
in there for the earthy brininess and have never turned back. 
Here is LCF's simplified Papaya Salad recipe:

1 whole GREEN papaya shredded
   (it will be green on the outside and not soft, you want it to be unripe,
   the mature ones will be soft & have the coral color inside)
2 limes (the juice of) - squeeze it by hand or your desired gadget
3 TBSP of sugar (or grate some apple or pear for natural sweetness)
   (sugar is optional)
1 TBSP of fish sauce (any fish sauce brand is ok, don't substitute oyster sauce)
2 cloves of garlic minced or chopped fine OR garlic powder (sprinkle desired amount)
1 TBSP of vinegar
1 medium ripe tomato or heirloom tomatoes for color
   (cut into strips or diced)
1 handful or desired amount of peanuts whole OR crushed (it's to your liking)
1 carrot shredded

Mix all together by bare hand OR with an easy throw away glove
for easy clean up. Ideally you want to let it infuse/marinade for at least
40 minutes for the flavors to have the utmost best mixed in flavor but
right away is going to be ok....  if you must.  :)

Zestfully,  private party chef Yoon

January 26, 2018

Vietnamese Sticky Wings

Chicken wings (fresh if possible) your desired amount, start with 1.5 pounds
1-2 TBSP of fish sauce (to your liking; remember it is potent, briny & strong)
4-5 cloves garlic minced or chopped
2 TBSP of sesame oil  (veggie, grape seed, avocado, peanut, canola or corn is ok too)
TBSP chopped cilantro OR scallions (for those that don't like cilantro)
TBSP chopped peanuts  (or to your liking)
1 TBSP of sugar  (optional)
heavy drizzle of hoisin sauce (enough to coat like a bbq glaze)

marinade the wings, (ideally you want to let it marinade & sit
for at least 30 minutes), place them in an oven safe pan or cookie sheet
with aluminum foil or a cast iron skillet
bake for 30 minutes on 350 degrees,
move from the center of the oven to the top shelf right under the broil setting
to get a little crispy char for an additional 5-7 min.

Zestfully,  private party chef Yoon

January 24, 2018

Manhattan style Clam Chowder

1 medium onion diced
3 stalks of celery chopped
2 carrots diced small
1-2 garlic cloves minced or pressed or 1 teaspoon of garlic powder (to your liking)
3-4 strips of bacon cut into small pieces
1 cups of water
2 cups of tomato sauce (to you liking; crushed, stewed, diced or sauce)
2 lbs of fresh clams or 1 can of clams  (to your liking and convenience)
~ clam juice (you can make your own clam juice by steaming fresh clams
and using the liquid from the steamed clams  *note- don't stir the liquid around after steaming to prevent getting sand in your ladle. 

1. Start with sauteing the bacon right in a medium size sauce pot (ultimately the pot you will use to cook the chowder
2. Once bacon has started to brown add, all the veggies and saute until half cooked
3. Add the garlic, then the water, then the clam juice, then the clams
and after everything is sauteing nicely in the pot for about 7-10 minutes, add the tomato sauce and put a lid on the pot so it doesn't bubble all over.
4. Let everything simmer and once all the veggies are soft (check a carrot because it is the hardiest)  the Manhattan style clam chowder is done!
optional garnish - chopped fresh parsley or dried Italian seasonings

Zestfully,  private party chef Yoon