Kimcheese Tomato Scrambled Eggs

There was a complete hole-in-the-wall Korean diner in Rogers Park, the super-diverse, northernmost neighborhood of Chicago we used to live in years ago. The place was run by a Korean grandmother who would take your order, scurry back into the open kitchen and emerge with your delicious food 10 minutes later. A storefront joint with a slightly awkward vibe that’s not too uncommon among tiny, homey, one-person operations, the diner served up some junky-good Korean breakfast with a generous portion of weird charm on the side.

kimcheese scrambled eggs with tomatoes

We went to the diner only once. It was partially because of that awkwardness, felt particularly acutely when there’s no other customer to share in the atmosphere; it was partially because the food could have been better. I think I had a kimchee-cheese-sausage scrambled eggs, and Flaneur had a bulgogi scrambled eggs. Both were good, but not wow-worthy. I seem to remember melting American cheese and mysteriously soft sausage in my dish, and nothing about Flaneur’s.

The thing is, this kind of egg dishes with Korean flavors mixed in are pretty easy to make at home. (And at home, you’d be in control of how much awkwardness you want to serve on the side. :P) This morning, I made some scrambled eggs with kimchee, cheddar cheese and tomatoes (hence the “kimcheese scrambled eggs” title), and it was more kick-ass than the one I remember from the diner, if I may say so!

Breakfast today:

  • Kimcheese scrambled eggs with tomatoes
  • Pumpernickel bagel with cocoa tahini spread
  • Watermelon

(And OMG, the place is still around!)

Forgotten Cabbage Love, or Why Cabbage for Breakfast Is Awesome

You know, cabbage for breakfast is awesome. This post is an ode to that.

Sometimes–actually, pretty often–I forget how much I love cabbage. I’d go without having one in the fridge for months at a time, if not years. I think the size of the head is a deterrent for our two-people household, but it shouldn’t be, as cabbages last forever. It’s pretty weird that I so rarely have cabbages on hand.

I picked up a head about a month ago after, oh, I don’t know, maybe 3 years of not buying one, and since then, I’ve been re-hooked by the cabbage. I’ve been using them in stir-fries, warm and cold salads, in okonomiyaki, in ramen and for breakfast, as I did this morning.

why cabbage for breakfast is awesome

Cooked, cabbages have such a distinct sweet flavor that goes awesomely with smoked meats and eggs, which makes them a pretty good breakfast ingredient. They cook fast, too, which is another plus. I suppose you could add to the list of “o cabbage, let me count the ways,” if you cared about such things, that they are full of dietary fibers, low in calories, and chock full of vitamins C and K, but these things matter less to me. The bottom line: Cabbages are delicious quickly sauteéd and mixed into scrambled eggs.

Oh, and cabbages haven’t been discovered by culinary “trendsetters” (ugh), so they are cheap, unlike those bags of baby kale! 😛

Breakfast this morning:

  • Scrambled eggs of unrequited cabbage love (with sausage and carrots)
  • Cinnamon raisin toasts
  • White nectarine (very meh…)

Writing this, I’m suddenly craving cabbage rolls–I guess I should visit Polka Dot soon!

Thai Coconut Cilantro Eggs

Damn, this was delicious, if I may say so myself. I had a big bunch of cilantro that I had to use up relatively quickly, and whipped up this Thai coconut cilantro eggs randomly, and it turned out to be a bomb, a delicious one. (In reality, I wouldn’t call it authentically Thai–vaguely Southeast Asian is more like it. I’m calling it Thai for the sake of a concise blog title. Forgive me, o the people of Thailand!)

Thai coconut cilantro eggs

Thai Coconut Cilantro Eggs Recipe

We have one egg each for breakfast, so this serves the two of us. If you like more eggs per person, I’m sure you can just double/triple the recipe.

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/8 cup milk (Coconut milk might be great in this!)
  • A splash of nam pla or nuoc mam (Any fish sauce from Southeast Asia. I used maybe 1/2 teaspoon of a nuoc mam I had on hand.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • Oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (however much you want, really)
  • 1 Roma tomato, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon coconut flakes (I like the Bob’s Red Mill version–the flakes are big and they are unsweetened, which makes them super versatile.)
  1. Beat the eggs and milk in a bowl. Add the fish sauce and sugar, and combine well.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan on medium high.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and add the tomato pieces. Sauteé for a minute or two, then add the coconut flakes and cilantro.
  4. When the coconut flakes start browning and cilantro wilting, pour in the egg mixture and scramble.
  5. The dish is done when the eggs are set to your liking.

I didn’t have white peppercorns in the pepper mill, so I didn’t use that, but it would be a good addition, too. And next up on my Thai breakfast series? This. I don’t remember ever having yam khai dao, a salad of fried eggs and aromatics, when I lived there, but I may have been too young to remember it. And it sounds absolutely delicious and refreshing on a steamy morning. I have to try it soon!

Breakfast this morning:

  • Thai coconut cilantro eggs with tomato
  • Pumpkin toast
  • Watermelon

Sausage & Cole Slow Breakfast

I did something different this morning: Skipping eggs for breakfast!

This doesn’t happen very often, what with my general need for protein in breakfast and eggs being one of the easiest, seemingly least unhealthy sources of protein. But eggs every morning does get old, and I needed a change.

I unearthed a packet of Japanese kilobits (WTF, Autocorrect!? I typed kurobuta, not kilobits!) sausages from the freezer, which I fried up, and paired them with some leftover corn cole slow, bulked up with sliced (and salted-then-squeezed-for-crunchiness) Persian cucumbers. Quick and delicious, and crucially, different!

Breakfast this morning:

  • Cinnamon raisin toasts
  • Japanese sausages
  • Rather cucumber-heavy cole slow

Okonomiyaki Breakfast Semi-Fail

Both Flaneur and I love okonomiyaki, the doughy, eggy Japanese pancake stuffed with cabbage and most anything, then topped with sweet Worcestershire-like sauce, mayo, bonito flakes, nori flakes and pickled ginger. It’s usually a lunch or dinner item in my family, but ingredient-wise, okonomiyaki is pretty breakfast-friendly.

okonomiyaki breakfast

The other day, I fried up a giant specimen for breakfast and shared it with Flaneur, who was visibly happy to find an okonomiayki on his breakfast plate. Given that this was an unplanned breakfast, I didn’t have cabbage on hand, so I improvised with peppers, grape tomatoes, bacon and Vermont smoked cheddar (from Sugarbush Farm). It was perfectly serviceable, but I learned a lesson: Okonomiyaki needs cabbage, no matter what. Somehow, without the cabbage, the texture gets a little too doughy/pancake-like, which is not quite right for okonomiyaki.

I know better for next time.

Breakfast a while ago:

  • Okonomiyaki breakfast (grape tomatoes, pepper, smoked cheddar, bacon, bonito & nori flakes, mayo, okonomi sauce, pickled ginger)
  • I’m sure we had some fruits, but I don’t remember exactly what anymore.

Caramelized Soy-Butter Corn Eggs

A summer izakaya staple in Japan is soy-butter corn, plump corn kernels sautéed in butter and seasoned with soy sauce. As the soy sauce hits the hot skillet, it gets slightly caramelized and its umami and aroma intensify, coating the sweet corn with an amazing grill-like awesomeness. It’s a second best thing to getting corn on the cob, grilled on charcoal and brushed with soy sauce from a stand at night festivals.

caramelized soy-butter corn eggs

Yesterday, while I was making dinner, Flaneur diligently dislodged the kernels off two boiled ears of corn. A handful of them found themselves in soy-butter corn eggs this morning. I sautéed halved grape tomatoes and corn kernels in butter, splashed them with soy sauce (maybe a teaspoon?) and black pepper, and poured in the eggs.

Though I overslept by something like 45 minutes, this caramelized soy-butter corn eggs was quick enough to get us fed and out the door on time. Hooray! … Gee, I think I’m tired.

(Disclosure: I do normally get up a lot earlier than I absolutely have to, so oversleeping is not a huge deal unless I really go overboard. I just hate feeling rushed in the morning and worrying that I might not make it on time.)

Breakfast this morning:

  • Soy-butter corn eggs with grape tomatoes (scallions would be nice, too…)
  • Pumpkin-sesame toast
  • Apple (crisp pink)

Mexican Chorizo Scrambled Eggs

I love chorizo, here the aromatic and spicy Mexican sausage of dubious composition, not its firmer, drier Spanish cousin. My first introduction to the sausage was the one from a neighborhood grocery store that Flaneur used to frequent back in Chicago. (He lived in a heavily Mexican neighborhood.)

Orange and gleaming, it looked dubious in the butcher’s refrigerated case, and it still looked dubious cooked in the pan. The texture didn’t disappoint–it was dubious. I mean, what’s that weird tendony thing? And how come it seems so… I don’t know, gut-like and pasty at the same time? But it tasted good, nice and aromatic. It’s better not to think about what’s in these things, really. At least that’s what I decided, because, you know, I like the chorizo flavor, if not the texture.

The chorizo scrambled eggs today sport some leftover from a torta I had for dinner. I like using chorizo to spice up breakfast eggs but I don’t do it often enough–I need to find a good purveyor in our NYC stomping ground. I’m sure there are good ones in Corona, but that’s a little out of the way for me.

Mexican chorizo scrambled eggs


Breakfast this morning:

  • Chorizo scrambled eggs with shallot, Cubanelle pepper and cilantro
  • Pane di Casa toast
  • Strawberries

After a drenching storm on Monday, the last few days have been a respite from the sticky heat that had enveloped the city. I’m feeling a little more energetic. Not only did I clean all the breakfast dishes and wipe down the counter (which has become a habit now–my mom would be amazed to hear that), I even boiled corn before heading out for work! One of them will be in a cole slow for dinner; the other one, I’m planning to use in a corn fried rice for dinner tomorrow.

If low humidity and moderate temperature makes this big of a difference, maybe I should decamp to a highland city like Boulder. Hmm.

Pear Cream Cheese Danish from Paris Baguette

A breakfast of no aspirations: a pear cream cheese danish from Paris Baguette, plus a supermarket potato salad (gasp) and a guilty nod to “healthy,” a few grape tomatoes excavated from the veggie basket in the fridge.

pear cream cheese danish from Paris Baguette

My weekend was shot, with a strategy case paper due this evening, so this is all I could manage. (I’m done, though–yay!) I spent a huge amount of time and brain energy on it because I rather enjoyed the project, but yeah, I’m exhausted. It’s surprising how tired I feel, considering that I haven’t had much physical exertion in the last 3 days or so. (Well, actually, I’m wrong: I did manage to put in some gym time on Saturday, but I know that’s not why I’m so tired this morning.) I definitely need to work on my body so that its tiredness level will catch up with my mental exhaustion.

The potato salad, to which I added a chopped-up boiled egg plus extra salt and pepper, was kinda disappointing, even with the additions. It was lacking something, I don’t know what. I’m generally not too fond of salads made with American mayonnaise, so this may be just another manifestation of that preference. Kewpie rocks! (Googling for a good Kewpie reference in English, I learned that there’s a freakin’ recipe to make Kewpie mayonnaise. Not for the sloth in me, but wow, I guess I’m covered if I ever move to a place without ready access to a Japanese grocery. Good to know.)

Anyway. Breakfast today:

  • Pear cream cheese danish
  • Potato-egg salad & grape tomatoes
  • Strawberries

Actually, the pear cream cheese danish, which appeared to be a new item at Paris Baguette, was also disappointing. Not much pear flavor in the caramelized pear topping, and the danish part was surprisingly meh, considering that they are one of the best chain bakeries in my opinion for flaky, buttery pastries. I guess I’ll be sticking to my favorite, the sweet potato pasty.

What Happens to Your Weekend When You Are in Grad School Part-Time

This happens:

This weekend has been completely consumed by a 10-page strategy case paper plus a presentation. I think I’ve been working on this thing for the better part of the last 48 hours. Which means my food intake suffers: I had a salad from a local cafe for dinner last night, and for tonight, I’m eating the leftover salad bulked up with (dying) lettuce and grape tomatoes from the fridge.

It’s delicious and refreshing on a hot summer evening, yes, but it’s just not an ideal Sunday dinner. o_O

The redeeming feature is the beer, a fantastic farmhouse rye ESB from Long Trail. (I think this beer, and the style in general, is thoroughly underappreciated in the US!) Doing homework while drinking is one benefit of being an adult student. 😛

If all this sounds like I’m whining, I am, kind of, but I want to make it clear: I’m totally enjoying this, despite the sacrifices. The case is an interesting one, and I’m having a lot of fun slicing and dicing the information and synthesizing what we’ve learned in class and from all the readings to come up with a bullet proof strategy (well, at least that’s the idea). It’s a blast. Now back to work!

Seasoned Sweet Miso Eggs (with Recipe)

When I went to Kagoshima this spring, the southernmost prefecture on the Kyushu island in Japan, I picked up a jar of pork miso. Renowned for its kurobuta, sweet, juicy Berkshire pork, Kagoshima is serious about its pork products. The pork miso–basically a slightly cooked-down mixture of ground pork, ginger, some root vegetables, sesame sees, peanuts, sugar and miso–served us well as rice topping, stir-fry seasoning and occasional breakfast addition for a couple of months, and I just ran out this morning when I made seasoned sweet miso eggs for breakfast.

seasoned sweet miso eggs

The pork miso was a variation of a super-versatile seasoned sweet miso that I’d made before, and recipes abound. I suspect it’s one of those things that each family has its own recipe, which gets handed down and tweaked through generations, unless I’m totally romanticizing the whole thing. It’s basically miso sweetened with sugar (or mirin, honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, whatever you like) and supported by a few aromatics like ginger, scallions, etc.

Because it’s cooked with oil and contains lots of salt and sugar, it keeps well in the fridge, and makes a fun and versatile marinade, stir-fry seasoning, and so on. Top a piece of chilled sturdy tofu with this stuff, and you have a side dish in less than 20 seconds. Mix it with mayo, and it makes a delicious, vaguely Asian crudité dip. I like to use it in scrambled eggs, too, where it adds an amazing umami depth to the whole dish and goes beautifully with cheese, surprisingly enough.

The version I’d made (and absolutely loved) had a ton of shiso leaves and some subtle kick from a jalapeño. I don’t remember where I got the original recipe from, but here’s my version:

Seasoned Sweet Miso Recipe


  • 1/2 cup yellow miso
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 inch ginger, minced
  • 1-2 bunch shiso leaves, roughly chopped (Totally optional, but recommended. The result is about 87% more delicious.)
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • A bit of ground pork or minced bacon (Totally optional.)
  • About a tablespoon of minced carrot, burdock root or a mixture (Totally optional.)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil


  1. Heat the sesame oil in a small non-stick pot
  2. Add the sesame seeds, jalapeño and ginger. Fry until flagrant, stirring frequently.
  3. If using, add the meaty ingredients and root vegetables. Stir-fry until cooked through.
  4. Add the miso, sugar and shiso leaves. Combine thoroughly and cook, stirring frequently to prevent sticking, for 5 minutes or so until the mixture gains a lustrous look.
  5. Store in a clean jar in the fridge. This should last for a month or so.

As I ran out of the Kagoshima jar, I might be making this one again pretty soon!

Breakfast today:

  • Sweet seasoned miso eggs with Cubanelle peppers and fried tofu
  • Peanut butter toast
  • Watermelon


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