Noooo I am not in a Grinch mood, just being silly. I have much to do, some traveling, and so many other things going on.
I have made a major decision in my life. I am having gastric bypass. After a year and a half of working out in the gym, making eating adjustments, a sugar addiction, and a metabolic syndrome diagnosis (not losing much weight) it is time to do something drastic.
Two of my friends here in New Jersey have gone through it and have successfully kept the weight off. But if any of you have gone through it and want to share with me you can email me at email@example.com.
Check out this site I follow. Her vegan eating and photography (she has a lot of blogs) inspires me. Pearl Pirie @ Eaten Up! is a published poet in Canada and keeps a log of her daily outings and prepared in home meals.
Photo above is also taken by Pearl. The red illuminates a continuous heat of the grilled potatoes.
Merry Christmas and a Happy 2012 New Year to you all!
The Moroccan lamb chops are coming. these are goat cheese croutons. Yes big ones!
I decided to host the next wine tasting, and our theme was Bourdeaux. Lamb goes well with this wine and the locally raised lamb I chose would need to be served alone. Well, a small amount of basic home made mashed potatoes would hold it up, with a drizzle of sauce.
The beginning dish would be a salad of roasted golden beets with goat cheese medallions.
The lamb is dressed in a marinade of olive oil, ground spicy mustard; then dipped in crushed pistachio, garlic, Moroccan seasonings and finished off by a pan sauteed. Let them rest and serve.
Don't forget to let the chops sit for half hour before cooking for a perfect medium rare state. I often let a steak or meat period sit out for a half hour or so before cooking. It helps keep the meat cook to temp as need be.
You should chase this down with a good Syrah or Bourdeaux.
I didn't bother cleaning these chops up because I was in a hurry, and guest were coming soon. The last time we had dinner with our AWS friends, the men commented they would use their hands to eat the lamb chops. So I figured as an informal meal any meat still on these bones would be enjoyed. Have extra napkins on hand.
I like my stews and soups all year long, so finding it in many variances was a good thing in Korea.
Soup or 'guk' are a common part of any Korean meal. Unlike other cultures, in Korean culture, soup is served as part of the main course rather than at the beginning or the end of the meal, as an accompaniment to rice along with other banchan. Soups known as guk are often made with meats, shellfish and vegetables. Soups can be made into more formal soups known as tang, often served as the main dish of the meal. Jjigae or 'stew' are a thicker, heavier seasoned parts of the meal.
My routine was a dip of rice, then into the jjigae.
The top photo is a seafood jjigae called- Tojangguk are seasoned with doenjang (soybean paste). Common ingredients for tojang guk include seafood such as clams, dried anchovies, and shrimp. For a spicier soup, gochujang is added.
The middle photo is a Malgeunguk, they are flavored with ganjang (Korean soy sauce). Small amounts of long boiled meat may be added to the soup, or seafood both fresh and dried may be added, or vegetables may be the main component for the clear soup.
This bottom photo is of a Sundubu jjigae. It is a soybean paste and tofu stew. If you like a soup that is more than fifty percent soft tofu, or a vegan, then you will like this. I began asking for it with less tofu. I did get strange looks, but I was put off by so much soft tofu. The last two photos do look alike, but they are different.
Stews are referred to as jjigae, and are often a shared side dish. Jjigae is often both cooked and served in the glazed earthenware pot (ttukbaegi) in which it is cooked. The most common version of this stew is doenjang jjigae, which is a stew of soybean paste, with many variations; common ingredients include vegetables, saltwater or freshwater fish, and tofu. The stew often changes with the seasons and which ingredients are available. Other common varieties of jjigae contain kimchi (kimchi jjigae) or tofu (sundubu jjigae). (Information from Wikipedia- and from my son's Korean friend- Cindy Lee)
With my family touring Korea we often had versions of sushi and local students would say the trend started in their country. I am not totally sure, nor an expert, and what we had was not what you have had in America. It looked like Japanese sushi, but a variation.
Most of it is served with a spicy red past, sometimes wasabi was siting in your side dish waiting for soy sauce, and always with their own fermented sauce (made in jars), which is lighter and not as salty.
My son dragged us down the street from his apartment to have what he kept calling Kimbab. The spelling is different that what we were hearing as he said the name, Gimbab (G is the 'K' sound, and bab or bap is always rice).
Basically it is Bibimbap wrapped up in Gim, or as we know it Nori aka dried sea weed. They brush it with sesame oil after rolling it. The photo above shows Gimbab, often spelled Gimpap, made by the woman here.
Around the coastal towns haedobop is eaten in a bowl like it's cousin dish bibimbop. All the ingredients found in sushi or maki rolls, but on top of the rice. Usually fish or the 'hae' is the last ingredient topped off with minced garlic and a spicy fermented paste called gochujang.
Like bibimbop you stir the ingredients together adding more spicy red paste (looks like ketchup, and sweet). We had this in Jeonju, just outside of Busan near King Moonmo's sea side burial place. They often us tilapia, which is kept in fish tanks, and very fresh. You literally watch each restaurant cut the fish up on the spot..
This was my favorite the whole trip. Why, because of the fresh greens and salad, rice was served on the side. Many times Korean dishes like barbeque were served with lettuces and ggaenip leaves for wrapping, so this was a nice change. Most all dishes are served with banchan or side dishes, most often variances of kimchi and other pickled dishes. Each restaurant uses their own recipe for these sides, and I found some to be very spicy, but good.
Korean rolls (or kimbab) above in photo of woman rolling, are much more robust than Japanese rolls. The ingredients are usually fully cooked, the rice is either unseasoned, or seasoned with sesame oil/seeds. The ingredients will include all sorts of things like pickled daikon, fried or steamed egg, seasoned meat, sauteed julienned vegetables such as carrrots, mushrooms, fish cakes. Very hearty fare. It is tasty, but very different than Japanese maki. They are served with kimchi and soup or 'jjigae' or guk. A spicy red paste broth with seaweed and thinly sliced onion and zucchini, and most often has soft tofu as an ingredient, lots of it known as Sundubu jjigae. They have many varieties of soup, which I enjoyed.
Below is a version of bibimbop where the egg is cooked on the side of a hot bowl. Next to it is the spicy paste. We had this in Jeonju for dinner- known as a popular bibimbap eating experience.
Traveling to Korea can be a bit of a food shock. Most Korean restaurant menus do not have English translations, so you might want to learn some Hangul, Korean. It helped my son has been there a while and translated as we went. There are western restaurants, but most have their own versions of our food, even chains like On The Border. Which I found the salsa my son brought us did not taste at all like what I know here. I found adjusting to their food a bit harder than other countries we have traveled.
I have all the pies baked, cranberry, pumpkin and banana breads baked, and more to load up in the car for our long drive tonight, and I wanted to throw a hello your way.
Hubby's mom had sever back problems now, so all the women in the family get assigned one cooking job to contribute for the large meal. He has seven other siblings that may or may not appear around a rather large table. We also stay over at his step mom's house the following day and I cook. She does not cook, so it is a treat for her when we come.
Hubby and I wish you the best of what you desire for the day!
I love my family- my hubby and son in the photo above. BTW I may not look like it (not a great choice of blouse to wear) but I am in the best shape physically I have been in years. Exercising three or four times a week, eating right, lots of walking in Korea, and I got my test results back from my physical and blood work, the best number I have had in six years. Lower than ever. The weight is slowly coming off, but I did what the doctor asked for my own health.
While trying Soju Bombs at a local Korean restaurant, we oreded this dish- Stir Fried Squid. I have grown to love squid outside of calamari platters, mostly fried. I even had the honor of cleaning and preparing them for the restaurant I worked here in Princeton. Hubby and my son often have eaten it in sushi restaurants, and on occasion myself. We definitely enjoyed this- Stir Fried Squid Strips or Ojingeochae Bokkeum.
There are great Korean blogs featuring this recipe.
I read how Koreans like chewy seafood dishes, like Abalone and how they even leave the center of fish filets in for a more chewy experience. Live octopus is another menu item you see in Korea, which we try fresh on Jeju Island. Still squirming. I know ewww.
Stir Fried Squid Strips and pasta right out of the skillet is one of my recommendations if you get to travel to Seoul. Seafood taken right out of the outside tanks feet from your table, kind of cool, and you'll know it's fresh.
My Korean Kitchen offers up a recipe for packages of dried squid you can pick up in Asian stores. When we were on the coast of Jeonju, we witness a woman cleaning and drying them for this process. Most markets there sell them in this condition, ready to take home. They will keep for months this way. You simply soak them, clean them, and cut them into pieces, or vise versa. Here is a post showing you how to cut up the squid- Korean Recipes. It is also a great site for recipes with some explanation.
Just outside of Geonju, Korea, off the coast you can see the rows and rows of drying squid. Cool experience firsthand.
No I'm not talking about starting another war with an Asian country. But if you have enough of these you might get into some big trouble. I figure it is the weekend, so why not introduce a Korean drink to celebrate my return home.
What is Soju?
Soju- is a distilled beverage native to Korea. Its taste is comparable to vodka, though often slightly sweeter due to sugars added in the manufacturing process, and more commonly consumed neat. Soju has been mostly made from rice, but much of it is made from starch like potatoes, wheat, barley, sweet potatoes, or even tapioca.
To me it does taste more like vodka, but sweet? I am not sure where that came from.
First you order a bottle of Soju, coke, and a rather large beer...because these guys think they are something they begin showing off...
By the sound of my son and his friend Jeff's enthusiasm in having a drinking night out, I insisted we order food to coat the stomach. What kind of food? Beer food, fried chicken (Koreans love their fried chicken) and shrimp, with a side of french fries- okay, basically you are loading calories on with fried food.
Hubby ordered skillet squid, well that is what I called it...it is really Ojingeochae (Stir Fried Dried Squid Strips with a side of pasta, and another post).
Eating Fried Chicken is another story my son explains; it consist of eating parts you might not want, so I stuck to eating shrimp and fries. Meet Jeff, he just married a Korean girl, a beautiful one at that named Cindy. He kindly demonstrates creating a Soju bomb...
1) first you pour the shots of coke and soju in their own separate glasses...
2) then you layer them on top of each other in beer mug...seems vaguely familiar, like something I had in St. Louis with an old friend, but he used Red Bull.
3) then you slowly pour the beer over the layered shots until it is full...
4) You will need to find a few volunteers to drink them as Jeff pours more...one volunteer leads the group into a night of laughs and more eating experiences...oh, but I have to drink first...
After my rather slow drinking, everyone else had beat me to the finish.
Confession: I did not do it in one shot like they were attempting. I never was much of a party'rowser, or did I even begin drinking until I was almost 34. I also would have preferred the coke to be a Pepsi. I just don't like the taste of coke, I'm a proud Pepsi rebel.
How many Soju Bombs does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Apparently there is no right answer, but if you drink too many you will end up across the street at a Korean Kimchi Pancake House eating spicy and more greasy food like this...
It tasted better than this looks (a side affect of soju bombs, forgetting to take first initial photos). Nice and spicy with the right amount of crisp, something I would make at home.
Pajeon, p’ajon, pajon, pa jun, pageon, jeon…I’ve seen so many variations on the name that I just decided to go with calling them Korean Pancakes. They are also specific restaurants that serve them late night (after drinking) in an area called Hongdae.
PS- I do not advise or condone over eating or over drinking at all (one or two at the most), and pregnant women should never drink alcoholic drinks.
Walking everywhere helps, plus add water times ten. I am not a real beer drinker, so the Cass brand was like Coors light to me, blech!
Don't you just love going out into the world and discovering food you might have not otherwise tried?
I do. Its was makes my world go around. Korea has been a very different food experience for us the past month.
But even in the states when hubby travels to Arizona for work at least once or twice a year we can still bring home something new. This time it was from a local northern Phoenix store called Phoenix Urban Market, an indoor open market.
What in the world are these seeds? They come from the
Calories 160 Sodium 230 mg
Total Fat 11 g Potassium 0 mg
Saturated 3 g Total Carbs 9 g
Polyunsaturated 0 g Dietary Fiber 8 g
Monounsaturated 0 g Sugars 0 g
Trans 0 g Protein 6 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Vitamin A 6% Calcium 15%
Vitamin C 2% Iron 6%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
YULU Seed of the Bonete Tree A Natural Organic Food Product of the Indigenous Pueblos of the Sierra de la Serpiente in Guerrero, Mexico. (taken from Tiankizco website)
Some sites believe they are from the wild papaya, and until I saw a video and talked with the man who harvests them in May, I also thought the same- Carica Papaya Photo
They are the seeds of a tree in which these large pods are removed and then seeds are removed. They are often roasted and taste like a cross between sunflower seeds and maybe a peanut. A bit chewy and get into the crevices of your teeth, but a healthy organic snack, slated or unsalted.
If you think you can stomach this, please continue...
While in Insidong, an area of Korea, where we walked markets, ate yummy Korean street foods my hubby decided he needed to try some Silk Worm Larva. As you can see they boil or fry them, then serve them up in a cup with a toothpick.
My husband often likes to try weird and strange food as we travel, or even locally. I just document, unless they are chocolate covered. Maybe even bacon. Everything tastes good with chocolate and bacon, right?
Thankfully he only ate a few and decided they were not tasty. They smelled horrendous.
Soon we moved into the honey stuffed bread zone...then I could breathe much easier.
Hope you all had a great Halloween Holiday weekend. It snowed in New Jersey and the temps are rather cool for this time of year, and I'm looking forward to getting back in my own kitchen. My son's space...only one person can even turn from the two burner stove to the sink. But I managed to make us a feast last night.
Winter is not even here and already I have cooked two meals that are reminiscent of a wintery meal. What has gotten into me? (obviously I did this over a month ago)
You just can't help yourself when the market begins offering up different ingredients you have not had in many months. I also bought a new pan, or I should say pot. A stove top dutch oven by calaphon. A few of my other pans have faded way past their usage.
I picked up delicata squash and beef short ribs, and decided this would be a weekend meal.We usually eat heavier dishes like this on Friday or Saturday's.
Even though delicata squash is a winter squash it still belongs to the same species as all types of summer squash (including pattypan squash, zucchini and yellow crookneck squash). I clean the outside, cut off one end of it, place it in a pan or wrapped in foil, and roast it in the oven for a good hour on 350 degree oven. Cut it in half, clean the seeds out and then scoop the meat out into a bowl, or if large enough chop into pieces.
Cover the beef short ribs with seasonings, onion, mustard, salt/pepper to taste and a splash of beef stock. Cook for three to four hours in a 275 degree oven until tender. Take the juice from the ribs, adding other beef stock if needed, and cook farro.
First I saute shallots and a bit of onion in dutch oven, add garlic, and then stock from ribs; (adding more beef stock when needed) add farro and place the short rib bones into pan and cook on medium low for another hour and half. Watch the level of stock, add more if needed, and squash pieces, cook until farro is done.
Summer is officially over since last Friday, but not for many ingredients at the market...
One dish I had not tried to tackle yet, key word yet- seafood carpaccio. We love the beef version, and have had venison in Italy, but for some reason I have not tried fish version at home. Because it's really easy to make!
I infused 1 and 1/2 cups olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter with (1) lemon grass (cleaned and beaten with mallet), sprigs of cilantro, 2 cloves garlic (mash with mallet), tablespoon sea salt and squeeze of half lemon- after heating it to about one hundred and eighty degrees (check with candy thermometer, or butter will burn). Put aside and let the ingredients do their thing. Strain and use as you see fit.
Rub this mixture into the chilled plates. Then cover with the very finely sliced raw monk fish and hake filet and sprinkle the fish with the remaining infused olive oil mixture. Make enough to drizzle on salad mixture as well.
I sliced heirloom tomatoes and artichokes into thin slices as well, placing them on top of fresh mache salad. Place the carpaccio around edges and serve as an appetizer. We were almost too full for the main course, and thought it would be a great entertaining dish for next time.
Place medium pieces of sliced fish in between plastic wrap and gently pound with a mallet. Don't worry if the pieces do not come out perfectly round, and the tenderloin area of the fish is especially fragile. The monk fish worked best, but the hake had the best flavor to me.
Enjoy! and serve with a Gruner Veltliner, or an un-oaked Chardonnay to compliment the texture and acidity of the fish.
Hubby had to go a short distance out of town for his work, I tagged along, we found this really great in the middle of no where Korean restaurant. Great family owned and operated and fantastic food. The selection goes from a few classic Chinese, Chinese-Asian fusion, and Korean Classics.
My advice though, the portion sizes are HUGE, so be careful how much you order. If we had been staying in a hotel with a kitchen, we would have taken the left overs back to reheat.
We ordered Kimchi Pancakes (my recommendation above!), BBQ Squid with mung bean jelly noodles (transparent cellophane noodles, hubby's top choice), and a Pork-Tofu Cabbage Soup with rice, which was good and they also used Kimchi as an ingredient.
As original Korean cuisine goes they bring out about seven side dishes typically called banchan (top photo), often fermented and spicy. Kimchi two ways- Napa and American Cabbage (Kimchi is really spicy!), All Pickled- Chinese Cucumber, Korean 'Dikon like' Radish, and Bean Sprouts (slightly sweet and good).
Everything was so good, and the place is a BYO, and we did! I would return if we have to go back again. They have dishes I have made myself at home like Belgogi (spellings differ- bulgogi, or pulgogi) selections, and Bim Bim Bop (vegetables either with beef, but always with egg on top).
Okay, hubby wanted me to take a photo of the damage we did. We still could have used a few more eating partners to knock it all out. Like I said the portion sizes are huge and prices are very reasonable!
If you really want to do traditional Korean dining, they have this table were you sit on cushions on the floor; it's off to the side when you walk in the front.
Now, for more exciting news... I'm going to Korea (and other countries around, Tokyo) to visit my son for a month!!! So hang onto your Korean hats, I will be posting off the beaten path recipes and restaurant adventures!
Find me on facebook- Elizabeth Akin Stelling, otherwise I will continue a 'Comments Disabled' until further notice,
This is the last bowl of chili left from my latest beef and chili pepper cravings. I can smell it as the bowl is right next to me. If you like chili con carne the way I do, then you can smell that distinct ingredient blend too.
As a child growing up in Texas my father would make homemade chili as often as every or every other week. We would eat this with crumble saltine crackers and chopped onions. Now and again we would have it on top of hot dogs. My father loved chili. Once he learned the recipe for the authentic Chili Queens of San Antonio chili, we all were hooked. Cheese Enchiladas with chili con carne are a favorite too, and often served in Texas Tex-Mex restaurants.
Canned chili just cannot top this recipe. However there was a brand you could find on the shelf every now and then, before Wolf Brand and Hormel began dominating the market that came as close to a homemade version; it was Walker's Red Hot Chile Con Carne, produced in the Austin, Texas area for nearly seventy years. They are also known for chili powders. Does anyone else remember this company or brand?
Here in New Jersey they make a sweet (bell peppers) chili with kidney beans. I refuse to say it is chili, and will not even try it if I see it on a menu.
To get that rich and fatty meaty chili con carne of my youth I make what I call Ribeye Texas Red. Many of my friends here in New Jersey love this recipe. I use two types of dried chilies and fresh tomatoes to make that rich spicy sauce. Cutting up Ribeye could be sacrilegious to a die hard meat eater, which up here in the north east can get expensive. I know at least one blogger (Nibble Me This) who is cringing, because this great grilling steak is being massacred like an old western, but hey don't knock it until you try it!
Just for fun history, here is the Walker's recipe-
Walker's Red Hot Chile Con Carne (1918)
(Tex-Mex Cookbook & History)
1 pound beef -- cut in small pieces
1/4 pound beef suet -- ground fine or lard
2 tablespoons Walker's Mexene
1 medium onion -- minced
In 1918, Walker Austex was producing 45,000 cans of Walker's Red Hot Chile Con Carne (with beans) and 15,000 cans of Mexene Chili Powder a day in their new factory in Austin, Texas. But Walker had already been selling canned Mexican foods for over a quarter century and may have been the first to can chili. Gebhardt's didn't start canning chili (as opposed to making chili powder) until 1911. Walker's 1918 recipe booklet had recipes for "chile huevos" and "chili mac" -- plus something called "combination chili con carne" -- one can chili mixed with one can tomatoes.
My Ribeye Texas Red recipe:
1 lb Ribeye cut into small cubes, or as close as you can get
In a medium hot pot begin sauteing 1 medium yellow onion, small chop
2 or 3 tablespoons oil of your choice, I use olive oil, but authentic recipes call for...
1 tablespoons bacon drippings
Begin browning beef (some recipes say small batches due to moisture being release in large batches, and not browning properly) I use the same pot and brown onions and beef together, your choice.
After onions begin turning translucent and meat is well browned, add 2 tablespoons Oregano 3 mashed cloves of garlic, and chilies (see below), salt/pepper to taste, 2 tablespoons cumin
4 dried ancho peppers (smoked and dried pablano)
4 dried guajillo peppers (drying the marasol)
2 cups boiling water
Reconstitute peppers by adding them to boiling water and letting sit for up to twenty minutes (I often
remove half of the seeds, and always the stems, to cut down on spice for guest).
Puree chilies in a small portion of the water, maybe 4 tablespoons and add them to the pot.
2 pounds of tomato puree (with summer tomatoes in abundance I use fresh, or 'put up' jars in cooler months)
4 cups beef stock, begin with 3 cups and add as it simmers down, if liquid becomes to thick
Simmer for an hour or so, and as I always say, dishes like this always taste better the next days to come, so make it a day ahead.
My recipe complies with Texas law (which prohibits making chili with beans).
I also do not add the Masa Harina which takes the place of tomato paste. I like my chili somewhat liquid, as we always add whole wheat (high fiber) crackers which do the job of thickening quite nicely!
Note: I felt the heat was not up to my liking so I added another 2 chopped reconstituted chilies after tearing them into small pieces. Several friends noted they like seeing the chili skins in the bowl, made them feel it was more authentic.
Want an alternative recipe? Lamb Chili made with my Chai Tea recipe
Maltagliati pasta are flat, roughly cut pieces of pasta produced as random shapes from the scraps of pasta being cut and formed for another variety of pasta. Or it can be pasta that is intentionally cut into a formed shape, similar to a trapezoid or a parallelogram. Maltagliati pasta is often used in minestrone soup or in others recipes as pasta e fagioli.
Often these packages of stray/broken pasta are seen in Italian or gourmet markets and can be quite tasty with a finish of herbs and olive oil. You can also create your own maltagliati after making lasagna or your own pasta at home. This pasta was sold as 'pasta all'uovo' which means 'egg pasta'.
Another Italian goodie which has made its way into my kitchen. My sister visited this past July and we took her into NYC for a few days. While having an eating experience at Eataly-il Pesce we saw quite an array of pasta and fresh foods. I have made this variety before, but not quite such a thin version. You could tell by the crinkled edges they must have been lasagna noodles at one time, but yet they are so thin. They soaked up the flavors of my homemade vodka sauce mixed with wood ear mushrooms. After rinsing the pasta in cold water I tossed in the other ingredients. A great lunch snack before we took a swim.
We picked up fiddle head ferns (which I found odd, since they are usually out of season by then), wood ear mushrooms (often found in hot and sour soup and stir fry's), and farro, orzo, gunaciale, black truffles, Italian cheeses, sauces and many other types of pasta for hubby's eating pleasure!
(wood ear mushrooms sold by the pound at Eataly)
Another wonderful purchase and eating experience from Eataly-
"I experiment with Flavors"...
Elizabeth Stelling, hails from her home state of Texas and has been involved in the food industry via institutional, fast food, B&B's, ethnic eateries and other restaurants since she was fourteen. Now living n New Jersey she has ran her own cafe, teaches culinary classes, runs a small boutique catering and staffing business, restaurant consulting for NJWBO, is a personal chef and shares her love of cooking with local, organic, healthy, and natural ingredients with the community.
Chef E is a member of Slow Food and the American Wine Society, Princeton, New Jersey. She has published written works of poetry and media pieces, as well as ran Open Mics in the Princeton, NJ area.
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