Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Dinner (Korean Style)

Pictured: Turkey, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Cucumbers, Sashimi, Seaweed, Soju, Red Pepper Paste Sauce, Banana Cream Pie.

Not Pictured: 3 Kinds of Kimchi, Korean Pears, Rice

Something for the Holidays

During the last week or so, I was contemplating whether I was going to sell pies. And if so, if it would be at a steady demand. I tried it out with a few friends and it's turning out alright! So, with that being said, I guess I'm officially announcing that I will be selling banana cream pies for the holidays!

And as I told many of you, I'm not doing it for profit. All the proceeds I collect will go towards a donation to Toys For Tots!

I'd figure that taking money for myself is a bit selfish, especially during the holiday season. So why not help out kids who are less fortunate and might not get a single item for Christmas? It's an amazing organization and I would love to help out.

The cost of the pie is $13. It's costs $8 to make and $5 for the donation. And if you like, you can leave an additional amount for charity as well.

So call me or message me if you would like one! I can make them anytime (so far) so feel free to ask!

Toys For Tots Website

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I am writing after what it seemed like a marathon in the kitchen. I knocked out six pies for people tomorrow. It was really fun to make such a large quantity and also a learning experience on how to run things better. I got a bit of a system going now.

I also purchased a hand mixer which saved my life today. If I were to hand-whisk the cream, I would have shot myself....

Goodnight y'all. I hope everyone enjoys pie!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thao w/ the Get Down Stay Down

I hit up the Glasshouse in Pomona CA, for a little band called Thao with the Get Down Stay Down.

I gotta sat, it was worth the drive out there. The performance was very upbeat and the crowd was very into it. The photos I took give Thao no justice as she was ripping that guitar apart.

Check out their music below!

Bag of Hammers

Friday, November 20, 2009

Chocolate Cream Pie

One of the books in the prize bag from the pie contest was a tiny little book called, "The Lost Art of Pie Making Made Easy".

It's a really fascinating book. Not only is it a cookbook, but it gives a little background in the realm of pies in the United States. One thing it mentioned in the book was that back in the 1920's, there was a Kentucky superstition that if a woman ate the tip of the pie first, she would be destined to be an old maid. Hey, I believe it.

But in my quest to further my baking technique, I decided to try one of the pies they have in it: Chocolate Cream Pie. OOooOOooOoooooo....

Ingredients Listed For Filling:
2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup flour
1 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1tsp vanilla
1tbs butter
3 baking chocolate squares
(oh by the way, if you're going to follow this recipe, I'd advise you read whole entry first)

Let's start with the crust. I decided to use a Nilla Wafer Crust with this one. I'd figure it would go best with flavor of the chocolate cream. It needs 1 1/2 cup ground up with 3/4 stick of melted unsalted butter, and 2 tbs of sugar.

Nilla Wafers being grinded

End Result

Butter and sugar mixed and put into a pie pan

For the filling: Heat the milk in a double boiler. Mix the flour and sugar together and whisk into the milk. You'll start to see it thicken up a bit. Once if gets a bit thick, take a half cup of the milk mixture and whisk in the eggs yolks. Then add that back to the rest of the mixture.

Once it get really thick (like pudding) take it off the heat and add the vanilla, butter, and chocolate. And you'll get something like this.

I let it rest for a little bit put into the pie crust.

Finally the whipped cream. I've done this about a million times for I can practically do it with my eyes closed now. But since I don't have a hand mixer, I'm always screwed using only a whisk. And trust me, it freaking sucks....

But basically, I use 1 cup of heavy whipping cream, 1tbs of vanilla, 1tbs of sugar (powdered sugar is best). Start with whisking the cream in a chilled bowl. As whisk like no tomorrow. It might feel like you're doing absolutely nothing, and you'd want the world to end for the first 5 minutes but it will thickened up eventually. If you have stiff peaks (or as soon as you can hold the bowl upside down without the cream falling out), add the vanilla and sugar. And Bam! Whipped Cream! I then added to the pie.

Looks pretty good huh?

The verdict? It's not bad! The crust came out great, as did the whipped cream. I would have tweaked the filling recipe a bit though. Next time I'm going to drop the sugar down to 3/4 cup. Also, I think I left it on the burner a little too long. It got a bit too thick and it wasn't as creamy in the end as I would have hoped. But all in all, not bad for first try! Sure does look good in the picture right?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Daily Food Snapshot

King Taco's Carne Asada Taco w/ Red Sauce and Al Pastor Burrito

Read my review on King Taco here
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Daily Food Snapshot

I really want to update this blog as much as I can, even if it's for something small. So, I'm going start a daily picture of something I had the chance of eating recently titled, "Daily Food Snapshot". What better way to start it off than Los Toros Bean Dip! Ohhhhhhhh how I love thee!!!

Read my review on Los Toros here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Post Pie Experience

Wow! I can't believe all the stuff that's been happening just from one "humble" pie (pun intended).

My name came out in the LA Times Food Blog as well as LAist! Maybe I'm missing some other forms of print, but it's been really crazy!

I've also met a handful of new friends who are even more passionate and talented in baking than I'll ever be. It's true! They are all about the baking! It's awesome!

A friend even asked me if I was going to sell my pies now. At first, I kind of laughed. "Who the hell would want to buy my pies? Yeah, I won a ribbon and all but is anyone but a handful of people really going to buy it? And I only have one good pie so far!"

I thought long and hard about it. And maybe it could work out, maybe not. But I'm really contemplating if I should do it.

If I did, I really want it mean something. I don't want to do it purely for profit. It would be nice to have a little cash on the side (who wouldn't). But I feel in my gut that it's not the right thing to do, especially during the upcoming holidays.

So that is why, if I really do this, 100% of the profits (minus the cost), from my pies will go towards a charity. 'Tis the season of giving so why not? I'd feel so much better knowing that the money I raise goes to a good cause, rather than me spending it on something lame on myself.

I'll be sure to make my decision soon. I really have to figure out the scale of the thing. The amount of demand, the cost, the pricing, THE TIME, everything! Plus, I need to learn how to make new pies! It's a big challenge, but it might be worth it in the end.

I don't want to get all religious but if this is a calling from God, maybe some good will come out of it.

-Dan Hong

Sunday, November 15, 2009

First Entry/Pie Bake-Off

Hello and welcome to my first blog on blogger! Decided on a whim to start this out considering I finally gave up xanga and I have sudden urges to blog about me life. So here I am. As similar with my previous blog, anything interesting that goes on with my life will be entered here.

And what better way to start it off by talking about pie!

I know I've told a lot of my friends that I placed 2nd in a Pie Contest (NOT A EATING CONTEST) this past Saturday, but I just can't believe it. Amongst the many many different kinds of pies, my humble little Banana Cream Pie came out as one of the best! Needless to say, I am very very honored.

Considering I really do not bake much, this is how my pie came to be. My work had a Chicken Wing contest and I decided to make a Banana Cream Pie, which I made once before, for everyone to eat. Long story short, it ended up winning the chicken wing contest. Well, technically I didn't win because I told them I shouldn't considering it wasn't chicken, but I had enough votes to put me through. And after that, I made it a few more times for other small occasions.

When I had heard KCRW was throwing a Pie Bake-Off, I had to jump on it! I really wanted to see if my pie was really that good, or if my friends were just being really nice. Mine was entered in the "Cream/Chiffon" Category.
The Pie I Entered

During the event, I was really nervous when the judges were eating my pie. My preliminary judge was Elizabeth Belkind, Executive Pastry Chef/Owner of Cake Monkey. She seemed to enjoy it a lot!
Elizabeth Belkind

After I made the Top 5, I could have just passed out right there. I was super excited to make it that far. The next round of judging began. This time, all the judges had a taste of my pie!

All the judges

Right before they announced the winners in the cream category, I felt really excited, but more nervous. It was great to be in the Top 5, but I really wanted to see if it could go even further. When they announced the 3rd best pie was #5 (my number is 15), I thought to myself that it was over. I was shooting for 3rd and I was thinking mine's wasn't good enough. But when they called the 2nd place pie was #15, I was super excited! I honestly don't remember much because it was so surreal and everything was a big blur. But after all said and done, I, an extremely casual baker whose only good dessert is banana cream pie (so far), had won second place at a major pie contest.

Me with my Ribbon

My pie won 2nd in the Cream Category!

1st place Marni Landes and her mom (Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Banana Pie)
I can honestly say her pie really deserved 1st place. It was that amazing!

Fellow 2nd place finisher in the savory category Zoe Jarocki (Mushroom Pie)

KCRW's Good Food Host Evan Kleiman
She's definitely my hero!

I just want to say a BIG thank you to all my family and friends, especially Sean and Amy who showed up, for wishing me good luck on this. I worked really hard on this pie and it was really an honor earning this ribbon. I also want to thank KCRW and Good Food for making this event happen. I had a blast doing this and maybe this might be a turning point in my hobby of baking....

Just needs some guidance from others.