Archive for the Susannah’s Home Category

The Lost Prawns: A Fable

Posted in Destinations, Food for thought, Restaurants, Susannah's Home with tags , on June 11, 2008 by Susannah

In March 2007, Andy and I took a weekend trip to Portland, Oregon. Neither of us had ever been before and we were both pleasantly surprised by the caliber of dining there. My most memorable course was an appetizer of jumbo prawns stuffed with jalapeño cream cheese at a downtown restaurant called the Veritable Quandary. Since then, I’ve not had a chance to return to Portland (yet), but I have craved the shrimp on multiple occasions. Whenever I think of the dish — not quite shrimp cocktail, not quite jalapeño popper, and the perfect blend of seafood, creole spices, decadent cream cheese and crispy breading — my mouth would water. Unfortunately, I was never able to locate a version of it in the Bay Area, nor could I ever find a recipe online: I went to the restaurant website, where the menu no longer listed the dish. I even went so far as to write Bon Appétit, but to no avail.

Finally, a last resort: I emailed the restaurant, asking them about the recipe. Had I made the whole thing up, or had there once been a menu item that was truly that divine?

It turns out I wasn’t imagining things after all; I got an email shortly following my inquiry. “We focus on farm-fresh local ingredients which means we end up changing our menu rather frequently. Unfortunately, we no longer have that particular item on our menu, so the recipe isn’t readily available,” explained the restaurant’s manager, Jason Gerlt. However, he was kind enough to dig up the old recipe and send it to me.

Moral of the story: If you ask for something, you might just get it!

Prawns stuffed with jalapeño cream cheese


Large prawns (half a dozen to a dozen or so)

Flour, for dipping

Panko crumbs, for breading

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 jalapeno, diced small
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper to taste

Pinch of garlic
3 scallions, diced
1/4 cup tomato, diced
2 cups heavy cream


1. Combine all of the filling ingredients until blended.

2. For sauce, briefly sauté the garlic, scallions and tomato. Add the cream and Creole seasoning, simmering until thickened.

3. Devein and butterfly shrimp. Stuff with cream cheese filling. Coat, first with flour, then egg wash, then panko crumbs seasoned with creole seasoning.

4. Deep fry until golden, and serve plated with sauce.

One Hot Mess

Posted in Susannah's Home with tags on May 25, 2008 by Susannah

Last night I prepared one of my all-time favorite Korean dishes, dduk bok-kee. Often served in late-night bars and cafés, this dish is the Korean equivalent of an American comfort food like macaroni and cheese. In Korean, dduk generically refers to a rice cake, a satisfyingly glutinous dumpling that arrives in many shapes. Dduk bok-kee is composed of cylindrical dduk in a spicy hot sauce, often with other elements like onions, fish cakes or beef, and possibly a hard-boiled egg.

Dduk Bok-kee

I first discovered the dish in Beijing while at a bar. A Korean friend had several orders of the dduk bok-kee brought out to us, and from that point on, I was hooked. Dduk bok-kee became my usual order whenever I went to Korean Town in Chicago, but it wasn’t until I got to San Francisco that I realized (thanks to my friend Fumiko) that it is actually rather simple to make at home. Here’s incredibly quick, semi-homemade version.

Semi-homemade Dduk Bok-kee

1 package frozen dduk (found at any Korean supermarket)

1 package dduk bok-kee hot sauce

1 package fish cake (pre-cooked)

Half an onion, sliced

Soak the frozen dduk in cold water for 2 hours. Rinse out water and replace with clean water. Fill water to approximately 1 inch above the dduk resting in the pot. Boil until soft (you will need to pull one piece out to test). The dduk should be soft, gummy, and completely cooked through in the center. Add the fish cake and the onion slices to the boiling mixture until completely heated through, then pour in the hot sauce. Top with hard-boiled egg if desired.

Ping An Mien

Posted in Susannah's Home with tags on January 27, 2008 by Susannah

Ping An Mien

The passing down of family recipes may just be the best illustration of the impact that food has on society. Across all cultures, cherished family recipes are passed down from generation to generation. Sadly, I’ve always felt that my kitchen has been the exception. That is, until I remembered ping an mien.

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Welcome home, honey…dinner’s ready!

Posted in Food for thought, Susannah's Home with tags on December 10, 2007 by Susannah

Disclaimer: I don’t in any way profile myself as a domestic housewife. This disclaimer prefaces the question that I am about to ask:

What should I make Andy for dinner?

He’s in NYC for a yearlong master’s program but will be coming home to our place for the holidays. What courses mark a good “welcome home” dinner? His favorite things in the world are fries and strawberry shortcake, but he pretty much likes anything except oysters.

What I made tonight: Quinoa Tabbouleh

Posted in Recipes, Susannah's Home with tags on December 5, 2007 by Susannah


This is one of my all-time favorite things to make, and I often prepare it when I think I need a “light meal” after I’ve had a couple of fat days. Quinoa, which a grain high in protein content, replaces bulgur wheat, so it’s perfect for vegetarians. You can find the recipe here.