About Nate @ House of Annie

Nate is the Techie / Barbecue-y half of the House of Annie team. Born in Hawaii, his favorite hobby is surfing...WEB surfing that is. Visit my Google+ Profile
Website: http://www.houseofannie.com
Nate @ House of Annie has written 455 articles so far, you can find them below.

Pan-fried gyoza

In a previous post we did gyoza which was cooked by thrice boiling it in a big pot of water. The boiled dumplings are then eaten with a soy-vinegar dipping sauce or enjoyed with a steaming bowl of noodles. That’s not the only way to eat gyozas though – you can pan-fry them as well.

Put a little oil in a med-hot pan, arrange some gyoza flat-side down and start frying until you hear a sizzle. Then add some water to the pan until it comes up to 1/3 of the height of the gyoza. Cover the pan and cook until the water has evaporated. Let the gyoza crisp up for another minute, then remove from heat.

You can either scoop them out with a spatula (be careful not to break the skins) or turn them over onto a plate.

I like eating pan fried gyoza because the flavor is not lost in boiling water. Instead, flavor is created from concentrated, caramelizing gyoza juices. You don’t need any dipping sauce this way.

Here’s a video of the gyoza-making process

What’s your favorite way to eat gyoza?

Aloha, Nate


Crepes weren’t a big thing for me back when I was growing up in Hawaii. Batter-based breakfasts were usually in the form of waffles, muffins or pancakes – rather bready. Nowadays, I can’t take too much of those dense kinds of foods. Thankfully, crepes are a nice alternative.

Using the “Chantilly Crepes” recipe from Rose Levy Berenbaum’s cookbook “The Cake Bible”, I whipped up a big batch of batter then set to work with the crepe pan. I couldn’t help but notice the browning patterns on the cooking crepe. They kind of remind me of a Mandelbrot set — pretty cool ;-)

I made a pile of crepes for a brunch party the next day.

Spread with Nutella, sliced up half a banana, and topped it off with a few dollops of fresh whipped cream. Yum!

I like crepes because they’re so versatile. You can put all kinds of jams and fruits on top. Annie’s mum likes them with fresh squeezed orange juice and a little sprinkle of sugar. You can even put savory stuff inside…the sky’s the limit!

What do you like in/on your crepes?

Aloha, Nate

Okinawan Sweet Potato

Fall is the season for harvesting sweet potatoes. I’m not just talking about the yellow and the orange sweet potatoes you normally see showing up in pies and casseroles. There is also the Okinawan sweet potato, which is purple like a yam but has almost none of that stringy fiber or gritty mouthfeel.

We picked up these Okinawan sweet potatoes for a good price, about a doller per pound at the Asian grocery these days. Just wrap in foil and bake until cooked through. I love the amazing purple color and the delicate, sweet flavor. There is nothing that can compare.

You can eat them plain like this or mash them up to make haupia sweet potato pie or use them as a filling for spiral pastries (that’s another post).

Have you had these beautiful and delicious sweet potatoes before? Try them!

Aloha, Nate

Secret Garden Korean Restaurant (Sunnyvale)

I love Korean food. Growing up in Hawaii, we had our favorite Korean restaurants (Gina’s comes to mind) to get our fix of meat jun, bbq chicken, and kal bi. Here in the Bay Area, there is a high concentration of Korean restaurants in the Sunnyvale / Santa Clara area. Too many to try all by ourselves, so we asked some of our Korean friends to recommend a place to go for lunch.

They recommended Secret Garden Korean Restaurant. It’s in a little strip mall in Sunnyvale on El Camino Real near Lawrence Expressway, across from the Starving Musician shop. When we arrived at 12:30, there wasn’t much of a crowd and we were seated right away.

Typical of Korean restaurants, they loaded our table up with pan chan (side dishes). Here is the won bok kim chee. This wasn’t sharp or overly salty like others I’ve had. It’s definitely been fermenting for a while – the won bok cabbage is quite soft. I also liked their daikon kim chee.

Annie ordered the Soon Dubu Jigae, a tofu hot pot. It comes to the table boiling hot. There’s pieces of pork mixed in with the soft tofu and green onions. The dish was really wonderful – I loved the bonito flavor in the broth. It wasn’t too light or too heavy – just perfectly balanced.

For the kids, we got the fried mackerel fillets. It’s not like the normal grilled mackerel you get at Japanese restaurants. This one looked like it was breaded in rice flour and then deep fried. The crust was crispy but yielded to a spoon to reveal moist white flesh. The fish was fishy as mackerel should be but not masked by salt. The kids were not the only ones who enjoyed this dish ;-)

I got a bi bim naeng myun. Thin, chewy buckwheat noodles (different from Japanese soba-style noodles) served cold and mixed with julienned slices of radish and cucumber, thin slices of Korean pear, a couple of slices of beef, and half a boiled egg, swimming in a sweet and tangy Korean chili sauce. It’s not as spicy as it looks, though I did start to sweat a little. I almost didn’t want to let Annie have some of my dish.

This was the best Korean food I’ve had in a while and, while the prices are slightly higher than what we’re used to, the quality and flavor are worth coming back for.

Any favorite Korean restaurants in your neighborhood?

Aloha, Nate

About Us

My Photo Annie is mistress of the kitchen while Nate is the master of the grill and smoker. We cook the homestyle Asian and Hawaiian foods of our younger days while also exploring the wider worlds of Western foods.

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