Fresh Tuna with Soy-Ginger Glaze and Avocados

Dear Children, 

Your Aunt Janice brought a whole, frozen Albacore tuna from Seattle packed in her luggage.  This is such a Korean thing! Your aunts and grandma have traveled cross country with their bags packed with frozen fish of all types, dried squid, anchovies, seaweed, even kimchi, you name it!   When her luggage did not arrive at the Savannah Airport with her, we were more concerned about the fish than her clothes and make up.  Thankfully, the tuna was still quite frozen when we finally got the bag.  It made Grandma so happy to have some fresh tuna sashimi and we devoured rest with this yummy soy-ginger glaze, topped with avocados!  


ps- heat the cast iron skillet to a smoking point and sear the tuna steaks on both sides for a few minutes and leave the center medium rare.  Sushi grade tuna like this shouldn't be cooked all the way. 

Fresh Tuna with Soy-Ginger Glaze and Avocados 

Soy-Ginger Glaze:

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1/2 jalapeno, sliced
2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, grated
2 limes, juiced (about 4 tablespoons or 1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoon olive oil
Pinch sugar

For the tuna steak:

2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb of  sushi-quality tuna, cut into steaks
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 ripe avocado, halved, peeled, pitted, and sliced
Extra cilantro for garnish

In a mixing bowl, combine the cilantro, jalapeños, ginger, garlic, lime juice, soy sauce, sugar, salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Stir the ingredients together until well incorporated. Place a skillet over medium-high heat and coat with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season the tuna generously with salt and pepper. Lay the tuna in the hot oil and sear for 1 minute on each side to form a slight crust. Take steaks out and let them rest.

Pour soy-ginger mixture into the pan and cook for about a minute. Take the pan off the heat.  Put tuna steaks back in the pan.  Top with diced avocado and cilantro leaves.  Serve with rice.


Big Bon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Dear Children,

These are dad's favorite chocolate chip cookies.  After 24 years of marriage, he still argues with me that milk chocolate chips are better than semi-sweet.  And walnuts, he loves walnuts!  No other nuts will do!

Hope you can share this with your children's children someday.  


ps- always use a digital scale to measure out baking ingredients.  It's better than measuring by volume and your baked goods will always be consistent.  Purchase scales that can measure both in grams and ounces.  

This recipe will make about 4 dozens cookies

Big Bon Chocolate Chip Cookies 

3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (150 grams) packed dark brown sugar
1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
2 1/4 cups (281 grams) all-purpose, unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 package (12 ounces) milk chocolate or semi sweet chips (2 cups)

Heat oven to 375ºF.
With a hand mixer, lightly beat sugars, butter, vanilla and egg in large bowl.
Fold in flour, baking soda and salt (dough will be stiff).
Stir in nuts and chocolate chips.
Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light brown (centers will be soft).
Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet. Cool on wire rack.


Oven Baked Fish Two Ways

When I am in a panic mode trying to get a quick, light dinner for my hungry family for 6, I resort to these baked fish recipes; prep to serving in one hour.   

1 ½ lbs. firm fish fillets (Cod, Swai, Tilapia works great)
1 cup salsa
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar Cheese
½ cup coarsely crushed tortilla chips
1 avocado peeled, pitted and slices
¼ cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease one 8X12 baking dish Lay fillets side by side in the prepared baking dish. Pour the salsa over the top and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Top with crushed chips. Bake uncovered in the preheated oven for 15 minutes or until fish is opaque and flakes with a fork. Serve topped with avocado and sour cream

6 fish fillets (Any white fish, such as Cod, Swai, Tilapia, Triple Tail)
1 stick butter
¼ cup chopped green onions
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts, drained and sliced
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place each fillet on a large square of heavy duty aluminum foil. Melt the better in a medium saucepan over medium heat add green onions and parsley and sauté until tender. Stir in garlic. Add the lemon zest, juice, artichoke hearts, salt and cayenne and cook a few minutes until heated through. Crimp foil around the fish to hold sauce. Pour equal amounts of sauce mixture over the fillet. Close the foil around the fish. Bake in preheated oven for 12 – 15 minutes.


Chicken ala King

I had no earthly idea what Chicken ala King was until I had to photograph it.  No idea, and I'm Asian.   


1/4 cup butter, cubed
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup half & half or heavy whipping cream
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
1 cup frozen garden peas
1 can (4 ounces) mushrooms, drained or 1 cup fresh mushrooms sliced
1 jar (2 ounces) diced pimientos, drained
Puff Pastry Shell Cups
In a large saucepan, melt butter; stir in flour and salt until smooth. Add the broth and cream; bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in the chicken, mushrooms, peas and pimientos; heat through. Serve over puff pastry shells.


Conchiglie Pasta with Chicken, Saffron, and Green Olives

Say "Conchiglie" five times really fast.  Yeah, my thoughts exactly.

1 cup chicken broth
A very generous pinch of saffron threads
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 oz. diced pancetta (found in the deli section)
1 large onion, chopped finely
2 whole chicken legs with thigh attached
1 cup of dry white wine
6 small sprigs fresh thyme
¼ cup pine nuts
½ cup pitted Castelvetrano green olives
Salt and Pepper
A pinch of Cayenne
12 ounces Conchiglie pasta (or small shell-shaped pasta)

Heat the chicken broth in a small saucepan and add the saffron to it. Simmer for 5 minutes and set aside. In a large skillet with a lid, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook for 3-4 minutes or just until it begins to crisp. Add the onion and sauté until tender. Salt and pepper the chicken legs and add them to the skillet. Brown lightly on both sides. Add the wine and thyme and saffron broth. Bring back to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until the chicken is tender. Remove the skillet from the heat. Transfer the chicken to a plate and allow it to cool slightly. Skim any excess fat off the sauce. Debone the chicken and return the meat to the sauce. (At this point, you can cool the sauce and complete just before serving). Stir in pine nuts, olives and cayenne. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, drain and add to the sauce, tossing well.


Strawberry Cake

Better late than never, right? Right.  Happy Belated Valentine's Day. 

This simple recipe is the prettiest cake ever.  

2 cups white sugar
1 small package (3 oz.) of strawberry gelatin
1 cup butter, softened
4 eggs
2 ¾ cup cake flour
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup strawberry puree (use unsweetened frozen strawberries)

½ cup butter, softened
¼ cup strawberry puree
1 pound powdered sugar

Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray three 9 inch round cake pans with baking spray. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and dry strawberry gelatin until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg. Combine flour and baking powder. Add the flour and milk alternately to the batter beginning with flour and ending with flour. Pour into prepared pans. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cook pans on a wire cooling rack for 8-10 minutes. Turn cake out onto a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before icing.

Icing: Using an electric mixer, cream all ingredients together until smooth. 


Raspberry Energy Bar and Cross Country Running

It takes a certain type of young man to run cross country, I think.  Not only does it take a good bit of physical strength and endurance, but mental tenacity while training and running for miles in hot, humid Savannah weather, too.   Under the passionate dedication of Coach MacKay, my two older boys had the amazing opportunity to run on the Savannah Arts Academy team this year. The team won the regional title and will be heading to the State meet in a few weeks.  Go Panthers!

These homemade whole grain raspberry energy bars made with wheat germ, oats, flax seeds and berries are a wonderful nutritious filler before the race.  And they taste wonderful, too!

Raspberry Energy Bar

Cooking oil spray
2 cups whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter, cut into 16 pieces and softened (2 tablespoon divided)
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
3/4 cup sugar-free raspberry jam
3/4 cup fresh raspberries
1 tablespoon lemon juice


Preheat oven to 375° F. Line a 13 x 9-inch pan with foil by spreading two sheets of foil perpendicular to each other over the pan, with extra foil hanging over the edges. Grease the foil with cooking spray.

Whisk the flour, wheat germ, granulated sugar and salt in a large bowl. Beat in 14 tablespoons of butter with an electric mixer on low until the mixture looks like wet sand, about 1½ minutes. Reserve 1¼ cups of the mixture for the topping and put the rest into the pan. Use the bottom of a measuring cup to press it into an even layer. Bake the crust until the edges begin to brown, about 14-18 minutes.

Mix the reserved flour mixture with the oats, nuts, brown sugar and flax seeds. Add the remaining butter and pinch the mixture with your fingers into small clumps. In a separate bowl, lightly smash the raspberries, jam and lemon juice together. Spread the berry mixture over the hot crust and sprinkle the crumb streusel on top.

Bake until golden brown, about 22-25 minutes. Let the bars cool completely in the pan. Remove bars from pan by lifting up the foil edges. Cut into 24 squares.


Barber Vintage Motorcycle Festival 2014

Each October, my family goes wild about our annual family trip to Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. For days leading up to it, my husband and older boys are busy packing up their motorcycles and gear, while my girl and I happily bake and cook our meals ahead to freeze to have in the RV.  For breakfasts, we had Banana-Pumpkin Muffins a few mornings, and other times we had bacon (yes, this can be baked ahead and frozen) and fried eggs. For our dinners we had fried rice, chili, and for our youngest son's 11th birthday dinner, we had Cheese Ravioli and marinara sauce with grilled sausages.  

If you are motorcycle enthusiasts, this trip is a must.  The grounds are immaculate and beautiful, and the Barber Vintage Motorsport Museum is quite spectacular.  For our family, it is a wonderful time not only watching the exciting races but to savor beautiful sunrises, shared meals, and late night talks in the RV with our children.  Looking forward to our next year's trip!  

Food Photos featured on Savannah Morning News 

Banana-Pumpkin Muffins

Makes 2 dozen

3 cups all-purpose unbleached flour (15 oz) 
2 cups granulated sugar (14 oz) 
1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon baking soda 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3 eggs 
1 1/4 cups vegetable or canola oil 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
1 (8 ounce) canned pumpkin puree
2 cups mashed ripe banana, about 3
1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped (optional) 
Sugar to sprinkle

1. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, and cinnamon, set aside. 
In a large bowl, beat the eggs, oil, sugar, and vanilla until creamy; stir in pumpkin and bananas. 
With a rubber spatula, fold in the dry ingredients just until moistened.  

2. Spoon batter in muffin tins. Sprinkle tops with chopped walnuts and sugar.

3. Bake at 350 degrees F for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Simple Marinara Sauce 

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, grated
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried pepper flakes
1 (32-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 dried bay leaf
1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

In a large casserole pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, dried oregano, basil and
pepper flakes, and sauté the garlic and herbs until they just begin to sizzle and heat.
Add the crushed tomatoes, bay leaf and grated Parmesan cheese, and simmer uncovered over
low heat until the sauce thickens, about 45 minutes.
Remove and discard the bay leaf. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with good quality store-bought ravioli.  


Cow Girl Chili Recipe and Bloomingdale's First Rodeo

When you are married to a Texas A & M alumnus,  you learn to love rodeos, even when you are a Korean.  And you teach your four children Aggie's yells.  My husband and children were excited for months when they heard about the rodeo coming to our little town of Bloomingdale, Georgia.  Hey, it's a pretty big deal when the city is only 14 square miles with a population of 2,700.  This great event would have never happened if our good neighbor, Mr. Waller of Ottawa Farms , didn't host it.  Thank you so much, Mr. Waller! We had a fantastic time!

Recipe and photos featured in the Savannah Morning News 


2 tablespoons vegetable oil or corn oil
2 medium onions, chopped fine (about 2 cups)
1 colored bell pepper (red, orange, or yellow), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
6 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 tablespoons)
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
2 pounds 85 percent lean ground beef
2 (15-ounce) cans red kidney beans , drained and rinsed
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 can (28 ounces) tomato puree

Kosher salt to taste
2 limes , cut into wedges

1. Heat oil in a large heavy-bottomed non-reactive Dutch oven over medium heat until simmering but not smoking a few minutes. Add onions, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, pepper flakes, oregano, and cayenne; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and beginning to brown, about 5-6 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and add half the beef; cook, breaking up pieces with wooden spoon, until no longer pink and just beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add remaining beef and cook, breaking up pieces with wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 4 minutes.

2. Add beans, tomatoes, tomato puree, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. Remove cover and continue to simmer 1 hour longer, stirring occasionally (if chili begins to stick to bottom of pot, stir in 1/2 cup water and continue to simmer), until beef is tender and chili is dark, rich, and slightly thickened. Adjust seasoning with additional salt. Serve with lime wedges and condiments if desired.

**Slow Cooker Option: At the end of step 1, transfer the cooked beef mixture to a slow cooker; add the rest of the ingredients as directed in step 2. Cook the chili on the high setting for four hours.

**At my church, this recipe is multiplied by 15 and served along with baked potatoes, cornbread and all the fixings!  Great Fall menu for a large crowd!


Happy Mother's Day!

I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. 
They have clung to me all my life.          ~Abraham Lincoln

How do I measure my success as a mother?  By the accomplishments of my children?  By their happiness in this world? 

May I be that mother that my mom was to me.  She prayed for me when I was lost. And I want to do the same for my children, until my last living day.  I will have no greater joy (or success, my words) than to hear that my children walk in truth (3 John 1:4).  


Happy All Hallows' Eve

How are you spending the All Hallows' Eve tonight?   I hope it will be filled with children, friends, and candy.  Here are some quick spooky treats you can take to your party.
Be safe and have fun!

Photos features on Savannah Morning News.  

Pretzel Bones

Recipe by Miss Sophie

 1 bag (7 ounce) of white meltable candy wafers
 36 thin pretzel sticks of various lengths
 72 mini marshmallows (about 1 cup)

 1. Follow the instructions on the candy wafers package to melt ½ of the bag in a wide bowl.
 2. For each bone, press marshmallows onto both ends of a pretzel stick or rod, with the marshmallows’ flat sides parallel to the pretzel.
 3. Dip each pretzel into the melted candy to coat it. Lift it out with a fork, letting the excess drip back into the bowl. Place the bone onto a sheet of waxed paper to set at room temperature.

Strawberry Ghosts 

Recipe by Miss Sophie

15 fresh strawberries
8 ounces white baking chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon shortening
1/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

 1. Wash strawberries and gently pat with paper towels until completely dry.
 2. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt white chocolate and shortening at 50% power; stir until smooth.
 3. Dip strawberries in chocolate mixture; place on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet.
 4. Immediately press chocolate chips into coating for eyes. Freeze 5 minutes.
 5. In microwave, melt remaining chocolate chips; stir until smooth. Transfer melted chocolate to a small sealable freezer bag. Cut a small portion of one of the tips off and use chocolate to draw mouth.
 6. Keep refrigerated until time to serve.