My son returned from his stint in Korea teaching English with a fierce hunger for their foods. He and Yebyul, his friend made us dinner last week before she moved to NYC to study and work.
Spicy braised chicken (dakbokkeumtang)- can I, where do I, even begin with this dish. It might seem complicated, but they mix all the main ingredients together in a bowl and pour it over the cut up chicken. You can buy all the ingredients at your local Asian store. Don't think you have one? Have you checked? If it requires traveling to another area of town, go; it is worth it!
It is a pot of chicken pieces cooked in a red chili sauce with sweet potatoes, red bliss potatoes, carrots and onions. Serve it over rice. Pancakes on the side are optional. My son's obsession.
Yebyul said it was one of her comfort foods when she is away from her mom. She said she cooked rice in certain kind of machine. I couldn't figure it out for the life of me until we were looking at electronic rice cookers and she pointed at a pressure cooker. I have one of those I told her. She tried to eye the rice, but burned it. Not enough water. I told her. Smile.
She eyes all of her cooking. A sign of a good cook. Not that any of you who use recipes aren't good, but have you thrown a little of this and that in the pot afterward? Try it.
Kimchijeon will be highlighted next...otherwise try this recipe for Dakbokkeumtang
It is a video Yebyul and I watched. You'll laugh. And you'll understand the ingredients.
Our house has enjoyed a Korean student staying with us for the past month. Yebyul Oh is moving to NYC to study and intern and met my son while they were both in Hong Kong. Becoming friends she told him about her stay and he asked if we minded having a house guest for a few days, which turned into three weeks, but she earned her keep by helping around the house. She is not a professional in the kitchen, but she is very creative and loves to try new foods. She can visit any time, because she really loves my fusion cooking!
She gave us the honor of cooking our last meal together. Well, she will visit every now and then, but this was a great opportunity to taste something Korean families make in their homes. A visit to a local Asian market proved to be fruitful. We bought a big box of Korean Pears.
After obtaining all the ingredients for Kimchijeon and Dakbokkeumtang I found them in a discussion with another Korean woman about what chilies to use for the Kimchijeon soy sauce. My son went for the small Thai, which are very hot.
Once home she was busy preparing our Friday night meal...with some help. It was nice to sit back and let them make the mess and clean it all up. All I had to do was sit down at the dinner table. Ahhh...
We don't go into the city as nearly as much as we would like, so when I got the opportunity to be a secret shopper for NYCFA I couldn't refuse. We were going into the city for the weekend and back home on Monday, so it all worked out.
How did this all begin?
It’s became a great entrepreneurialmove for someone who wanted to start a restaurant when credit was tight. Also for consumers because these businesses tend to be very affordable (and) convenient — they come to you. We saw a surge in food trucks a few years ago in NYC and in Hoboken. All over matter of fact.
You can't afford rent in some areas of a city, so these guys do themselves and us a favor. The food truck business process- figure out a short menu that is consumer friendly, lays out nicely, easy to put together, buy a truck, license it for food via the city health department, and find out legal locations to park. Build it and they will come- sound familiar? Of course it can take time and education on the entrepreneurs part before jumping into this... I always joked about it.
In some areas of Dallas, especially the Hispanic neighborhoods , you can find the best taco stands- Portable push carts with hot dogs and tacos and breakfast burritos and ice cream, and some of the best outside of a restaurant, or even your own cocina.
So they have always been around in some form or fashion selling hot dogs to gyros in limited fashion.
Complaints are often lodged against the trucks, because they can cause traffic jams and park illegally even if only for short periods of time. Cities are trying to work with these companies because even they realize what a boost it is to the economy these days.
What does NYCFA do for food trucks?
NYCFA helps spread the word and educate the public by providing a public service message...
Food trucks are great for NYC. They stimulate culinary innovation, draw tourists, provide jobs, and contribute revenue to the city. They offer a valuable service to New Yorkers, help energize the streets, and are an important part of the social fabric of the city.
If you have a food truck in the area you pass and think "Hmmm, I wonder what the food is like?" Just stop and try it sometime. You will be helping out the little guys! This trend has been taking off in other cities besides the north east. We did it! And it was all good.
Above photo- Red Hook Lobster Pound- $16 Lobster Roll
I found it a bit pricey, but it was good. Reminded me of a place in Northfork LI, and similar price.
Kimchi Taco Truck- $4 for beef rib, chicken, and pork tacos with Koren flavor twist...and tasty!
Mexicue- $3.50 for two smoked chicken tacos...very filling and my favorite...
Where can I find these food trucks in NYC? The NYCFA lists the companies which in turn list their whereabouts daily. We found these guys just in front of the new Conrad by Hilton Hotel off 102 North End Avenue. We needed to find a few to review, and what do ya know our hotel listed them outside our hotel. How convenient!
Before leaving for work last week I took the small amount of my Cayenne Vanilla Dry rub (cayenne blackening powder mixed with vanilla sugar- easy to make) I had left and rubbed down some chicken breast, thighs, and frog legs. And then wrapped the pieces in bacon; pieces without skin to ensure a moist out come when grilling; make sure they are all the same size so they cook evenly, placing the frog legs on the cooler section of the grate as you grill.
Makes about 1/4 cup, and the difference between my recipe and a regular blackening is the extra cayenne, but the vanilla sugar will balance that one out.
1 vanilla bean (split and bean pod fully extracted)
1 cup fine pastry sugar
blended in my small chopper until fully combined and sugar should be placed in a dry container until use.
Some sights I read say immerse the bean pod into the sugar and leave, but I feel it does not fully extract the flavor like scraping the bean and mixing the two.
Mix both together a day ahead and use for grilling rub.
I am sure my posts lately have been rubbing it in about my son living with us again, but I have been so happy having him around. He loves to grill, and we do plenty of it when we are together. This rub was a hit with him and hubs.
"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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