Month: October 2011


Sweet Pumpkin Porridge with Rice balls & Red beans

While I don’t typically dive into steaming hot bowls of sweet pumpkin soup, I just might make an exception today. And, if I did, I just might use one of those rice balls as a floaty. No judgments, please. I just like pumpkin a whole lot. The unusual thing about this soup is not how sweet it is, or even the fact that there’s rice balls in it (that’s not much different than a dumpling) – it’s that there’s a scoop of sweet red beans lurking at the bottom of the bowl, waiting for the unsuspecting diner to slurp and nibble and glump. Glump? Sure. That’s exactly what sweet red beans are like. In the best possible way, of course. So, let’s take ourselves deep into the heart of Korea. Perhaps on the first snowfall, when freezing freckles of snow just barely stick to the ground. It’s the best time to saddle up to a bowl of sweet pumpkin soup. Recipe inspired by Aeri’s Kitchen. Serves 6 Ingredients: 5 cups of steamed pumpkin (from a 3-5 lb pumpkin) 5 …

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Rolled Egg Omelet w/ Kimchi | Gyeran Mali

On chilly fall mornings I like to roll up in my thick downy comforter, cozy and warm. I know that the second I stick my nose out it’ll turn into an icicle, so I don’t. I keep it tucked and cozy. I would lay there for hours, if Ava would let me. I’m like a human burrito. Or … ahem… a human… omelet. You see, I like to think of this rolled omelet as an egg comforter. Even better? A heart-shaped egg comforter. Welcome to Cozy Town. Nothing wrong with that. In fact, I think everyone should have at least one heart-shaped egg comforter in life. So today I’m making yours. You can season the omelet with anything you like, but today we’re going totally Korean and making it with kimchi. Think of it as a spicy blast of embroidery for your omelet comforter. (This totally makes sense in my world.) Makes 1 Rolled omelet Ingredients: 6 eggs 2 Tbsp finely chopped kimchi sesame oil Method: Hitch a ride to the nearest farmer … … …

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Menu: North Korea

Yesterday, during Ava’s nap, I planted 16 plants (15 of which were mums), cleaned out my bathroom cabinet, and painted my toenails. I worked up such an appetite, I finished off the rest of our Korean Sweet Pumpkin Porridge. By the end of it, the yard, my feet, and my belly were sparkling with happy color. I also got a couple of entries to our Gingerbread for Peace contest (check out the gallery and vote for your favorites). All in all, a pretty great day. Bottom line – some days just bloom. What sounds good to you? Rolled Egg Omelet with Kimchi (Gyeran mali) [recipe] This is not just any omelet. Nope. This is the mac daddy – a rolled omelet. Once you learn the technique you’ll be wondering why you didn’t think of it first. P.S. This particular rolled omelet is salty and shrimpy thanks to a spoonful of chopped kimchi. Sweet Pumpkin porridge with rice balls & red beans [recipe] Bite cold weather back with this sweet, warming porridge. The pumpkin is the …

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Tomb of King Tongmyong, North Korea. Photo by Kok Leng Yeo.

About the food of North Korea

While I’m not a huge meat eater, I never met a burger I didn’t like. Especially if it has cheese on top. Case in point: I loved the Aussie Burger we made for our Australian Global Table. This bad boy was loaded up with a fried egg, pickled beets, and a large slice of ooey gooey cheddar. It was all good. Still… the very Shakespearean question is whether or not I would still like a burger if it was called something else… if a burger, like a rose, is just as sweet by any other name. Turns out, in North Korea, it is. In this chilly, isolated country lives a burger chain called “Samtaesong” where the burgers are not called burgers but instead dubbed “minced beef and bread.” (Thanks to reader Brian for pointing this New York Times article out, as well as his list of other North Korean restaurants – dog meat, anyone?). Customers line up to enjoy the minced beef and bread just as heartily as anyone else, despite the rather technical, straight-forward name. Would you? Of course, while …

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Monday Meal Review: South Korea

THE SCENE: My Wake Up Call I almost didn’t have anyone over for our South Korean Global Table. I was living in funk town and not sure I’d be great company. I tried to climb out of my shell – I went for a sunshiny walk and even put a smile on my face. “Fake it til you make it” says Joy the Baker. Sage advice. Still – I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: I’m a pretty shy gal. I like people and people like me, but I’m not very good at cultivating friendships – at making best friends. The last time I did it with any lasting success was in college. Something about being thrown into a stressful environment together practically guarantees lifelong friendship. To be honest, I don’t usually worry about it. I hang out with people now and then. We laugh. But at the end of the day, I spend most of my time with my wonderful husband and daughter. I go to bed happy. Last year, though, I had …

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Quick Kimchi

Makes 1 quart Do you know a picky eater? Are you a picky eater? Even I have my moments… I’m here to warn you that kimchi is one of those dishes – a Mount Everest for some culinary Adventurers and a potential moon landing for our beloved but stubbornly picky eaters. Here’s why: Kimchi is fermented, pickled, fishy, spicy, and totally funky.  It can take months and months to make, fermented in large vats with such delicacies as raw oysters or fish chunks. Astonishingly, the end result shouldn’t be overly fishy but mildly sweet and sometimes spicy, although there’s a little residual zing from the fermenting. Lest you run away in fear, let me assure you – two entire countries – North and South Korea – eat kimchi with giddy enthusiasm some people reserve for birthday cake… so I say go for it. Expand your mind. Buckle up. Enjoy the ride. This Kimchi recipe is quick and simple. It’ll get your feet wet in the world of fermented cabbage. The entire process takes no more than …

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Korean Saute Sauce & Marinade

This recipe is for those times when an airplane ticket isn’t in the budget… … When a two week’s vacation won’t fit into the schedule. … When the daydream only gets you halfway to the dream. Splash a little of this sauce in your frying pan – let it dance and sizzle and pop. Serve with bibimbap, if you dare! Welcome to Korea. Makes 3/4 cup Ingredients: 1/2 cup sesame oil soy sauce, to taste 3 cloves garlic, chopped 1 inch ginger, grated 1 green onion, chopped 2 Tbsp sugar 1/2 tsp black pepper salt, to taste Method: Are you ready? Don’t blink or you’ll miss it. Chop the ingredients, give them all a whisk and use as needed. Ta-dah! Enjoy – live the dream! Votes: 0 Rating: 0 You: Rate this recipe! Print Recipe Splash a little of this sauce in your frying pan – let it dance and sizzle and pop. Serve with bibimbap, if you dare! Welcome to Korea.Korean Saute Sauce & Marinade LifestyleGrilling, Quick Food TypeSauces & Dressings Servings Prep Time …

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Today is my late brother’s birthday – he would have been 34 and into who knows what kind of trouble. No joke. I like to think that, if he were here, he’d take a break from his ornery ways and we’d eat this sizzling Korean specialty together. As it cooked in front of us – at the table – we’d celebrate him with big bursts of goofy laughter. Bibimbap is perfect for celebrating superstars – like him. Like you. Sure, there are days when we don’t feel like superstars. When everything seems heavy and ordinary. But that’s when we can look around with fresh eyes – when we can find the sparkle on a mud puddle or see the sensual curves of a gnarly pumpkin. Or when we can make a beautiful meal out of plain, ol’ leftovers (the original purpose of bibimbap). Our endless capacity for optimism and creativity is what makes us superstars. All of us. We just need to tap into it. When was the last time someone told you that you’re a superstar? A bright …

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Menu: South Korea

Oh, Ava, Ava, Ava. You seem so bored. So disinterested. When was the last time you got excited about something you ate?  When was the last time you were 110% focused on the goodness about to go into your belly? When was the last time you unhinged your jaw to make room for delicious food? Oh, nevermind. Ava has the right attitude … it is time to bring a little enthusiasm to mealtime. Friends, open wide for South Korea. Kimchi is your passport to funky town and bibimbap just might change your life. It did mine. What sounds good to you?* Quick, Magical Kimchi [Recipe] Crunchy Napa cabbage goes Korean with a blend of shrimp paste, red chili flakes, ginger, garlic, and green onion. After a couple of days of fermentation, unlock the pungent condiment of choice in Korea. Superstar BiBimBap [Recipe] A party in a bowl – a sizzling hot stone bowl – filled with rice, whipped together with an assortment of banchan (veggie side dishes), egg, and topped with sweet, spicy chili paste. …

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About the food of South Korea

Funny story. In a momentary lapse in brain power (I blame motherhood) … I … I … forgot the alphabet, so we’re doing South Korea before North Korea. Ahem. Maybe not so funny. But, either way, there it is. SO. South Korea. Say hello! Hello. There’s lots of information floating around about South Korea. This mountainous country located at the bottom of the Korean Peninsula is hot, humid, and happenin’. I personally know of seven people that have been to South Korea or are natives. Anthony Bourdain even went there in a particularly entertaining episode of No Reservations. The most distinct characteristic of Korean cooking is how much of it happens at the table. Seriously sizzling fun. For example, there’s Korean hot pot, where a simmering vat of broth is utilized, fondue style, to cook tidbits of deliciousness. Thinly sliced meat can also be grilled at the table before going into lettuce wraps or on top of rice. And there’s bibimbap [Recipe] – a traditional rice and veggie dish (often with meat or fish) that can be assembled …

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Monday Meal Review: Kiribati

THE SCENE I wanted our Kiribati Global Table to go perfectly. I had visions of something out of Norman Rockwell. Loving family, smiles all around, big appetites. My two year-old eating $35/lb lobster and loving it. Yeah, right. “Ava, you want some lobster? It’s like… fish.” “Uhuh” she said. The first bite went in. Is it good? “Uhuh.” Approximately 13.3 seconds later she spit it out. “Weird.” I died a little inside. That teeny bite probably cost $5.50. Okay, maybe only $3.50. As the dinner moved on, Ava never changed her opinion, although she thoroughly enjoyed dipping her rice into the coconut curry. Hey, I’ll take what I can get. As our quiet meal wrapped up, I looked at my husband and daughter, trying to memorize their faces. In the morning, I flew to California for the Homefries retreat with Joy the Baker and her crew. It was my first time away from Miss Ava and while it was only for two nights it was so, so, so, so difficult. Hoping to postpone the inevitable I: – Ate my …

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Sweet Coco Pumpkin with Pandan Leaves

If you’ve been to the grocery store lately you’ve seen it. Mounds and mounds of pumpkins. They’re bright fire orange, forest green, haystack yellow, cloud white, and even sorceress gray. Some are bumpy and some are flat out gnarly. They’re all saying hello, strutting their stuff, hoping you’ll take them home. Every year I take a few more home than the year before. I can’t help it. I like the teeny weeny ones best. The kind Ava can practically palm in her small 2 year-old hand. I also like to grab weird ones I haven’t tried before as well as ones that look a little forlorn and forgotten. What can I say – I love all pumpkins equally. That being said, let’s focus in. Today is all about the Kabocha pumpkin. The skin of these smallish gems are mostly green and with a flare of orange. You’ll find them all over Asia and Oceania, including this week’s Global Table – Kiribati. Technically I think they’re a squash – like butternut. The inside looks just like …

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