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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 452 articles so far, you can find them below.


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

Korean Pancake

Pancakes come in all shapes and sizes. They also come in lots of different flavors – blueberry, banana, etc. But what about pancakes with meat and veggies? I’m not talking about bacon and potatoes on the side, but actual meat and veggies inside the pancake!

Our friends gave us this package of Korean pancake mix. You’re supposed to mix the batter, then add various veggies and meats to the batter before frying. Annie sliced up some bell pepper and green onion, and also added some shrimp to the mix.
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Beggar’s Chicken

Annie’s been meaning to make Beggar’s Chicken for a while. Legend has it that a Chinese beggar stole a chicken and cooked it by wrapping it in clay and tossing it in a fire. The chicken, sealed in the clay, came out moist and tender.

She got this modernized recipe from “At Home with Amy Beh”: Marinate a whole chicken in some salt, pepper, sesame oil, and a little Chinese rice wine. Stir-fry some ginger, carrots and mushrooms and add a sauce made from soy sauce, sugar, cooking wine, salt, thick soy sauce, and sesame oil. Stuff into bird.

Wrap chicken in lotus leaves, aluminum foil, and finally a salt dough. Bake at 200*C for 1 hour, then reduce to 190*C and bake until the dough is dark brown.

Crack the dough and split open the package.

The chicken is very moist, tender, and flavorful. The aroma of the lotus leaves added to the dish. The downside to this is the hard work making the salt dough and wrapping the bird. It may be easier to do in a clay pot.

Aloha, Nate

Foccacia w/ Poached Garlic

After my last foray into breadmaking, I thought I’d take another stab at it so I started looking through “The Bread Bible” for an easy recipe. This one looked interesting. Foccacia, studded with garlic cloves that have been poached in olive oil.

First I separated and peeled one head of garlic, put them in a small saucepan and covered it with olive oil. I poached them over low heat for half an hour before removing them to cool.

The foccacia recipe is a very wet dough and I almost thought I ruined it because it was so gloppy. But with a little more patience (and the right attachment for the KitchenAid), the dough got to the right consistency. I let it rise for 4 hours before pouring it out onto a sheet pan that was greased with the garlic-infused oil. I stretched it out, then studded the garlic cloves into the dough.

It sat for another hour then went into the oven at 475*F for 13 minutes.

I’d say it came out all right for a first attempt. The poached garlic is great – almost sweet. I’ll have to do it again…this time with more garlic! :-p

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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