gathered on a sleepless autumn night-
(img via 101cookbooks)
(img via tofufortwo)
(img via 101cookbooks)
(img via 101cookbooks)
I started out to make a list of recipes to try in the future, but then I immediately got bored, so this is it for now. Food blogs are hard to navigate. I’m only citing two sources. 101cookbooks, because all recipe blogs should be like 101 cookbooks, and Tofu for Two, because it’s the only really original food blog I’ve come across, and they should update. Also, Ina Garten should have a blog.
It’s despicably hot. In an attempt to reduce generating any more heat, I’ve been avoiding many things including leaving on the light, and turning on the stove and the rice cooker. Baking is out of question.
This leaves very little options for food, but luckily, some of my favorite things only needs boiling water for heat. This year, the noodle party continues, but since I’ve ran out of my giant bag of miyeok (wakakame) from Korea a few days ago I’ve been making super quick pasta dishes. It’s my version of American college kids making ramen, so I don’t even feel like it counts as cooking. Thinking back, I’m having a hard time remembering the last time I cooked something. I think it was for a birthday lunch for Chris in late spring.
I wanted to make a proper birthday food for him, so I had him over with my favorite neighbors.
The miyeok soup actually turned out decently. Everything else was also super quick, and the bowl of peas belong to Luka. Having a giant bag of miyeok might take up a lot of room in the freezer, but it is a worthy investment for a lazy person like myself.
While my kitchen has been staying fairly clean, the garden however, has been filled with activities.
I’ve managed to transplant all the seedlings to the ground, or containers. Sometime last year I started buying big tin cans of olive oil so that I can use it as planters. After rust proofing, I planted some goji berry seedlings and covered the top with some rocks I picked up from the beach.
I got this crazy basil from Silver Heights Farm stand at the Union Square market. It smells and tastes a lot like Thai basil, but much better looking. I hope it produces a lot of seeds.
While considering options for additional containers, a stack of old skate decks in the house grabbed my attention. The diamond shaped was determined by the sun, rather than my aesthetic preference, so consequently, I’m less than thrilled. But I’m hoping that I’ll get to plant enough wild flowers around the edges to make it blend in better. We also sprinkled some grass seeds. And where ever we dig, we keep finding these bricks all over the place.
I have a feeling that the “lawn” will always have some bald spots, but at least now we can have super cute visitors roaming around a little more freely! These pictures are from mid May. Now the grasses are so long, still with patchy spots, resembling comb-overs on rainy days.
On the same spot in the dirt where Luka was sitting in spring, the wild flowers started growing, along with more weeds than I’m excited about. I’m just happy that something is growing at all.
I started growing corn as a wild experiment. It seems healthy so far, although I failed to spread them out. Another round of fertilization is in order- along with never ending weeding, transplanting, moving a container away from a shady spot, staking, mulching, but taking care of slugs before than so that they don’t get too comfortable under the mulch, and so on and on and on.
I’ve heard about some people who consider gardening to be a relaxing activity. I really would like to understand them.
Part III of the summer recap: Mattfolio.
Everything in the pictures above has collard greens in them. In the last few years of my life its become a staple, but prior to that, I had never even heard of it. So to follow up with the past couple of notes, obviously, this is another major component in our summer dining aside from the noodles. Another essential-
Corn meal! It’s called ‘grits’ I learned. Not ‘polenta.’
With okra- another thing I had never ate at home in the past, along with the aforementioned collard greens and cornmeal.
I never imagined this. I never thought that I’d be treated to such exotic fares on the regz, and that I’d find myself living a bucolic life in the outer borough. But one day, I met a boy who is the total opposite of me. He was the first boy I met who seemed to really like to cook although I thought his food tasted a bit too hippie co-op at first. I’m not sure if I just learned to like it, or he’s improved over the years. Whichever the case may be, these days I’m just thankful. Thankful that I can do absolutely nothing, and be treated to this-
and my favorite-
Fried green tomatoes. Apparently, not just a movie title. So here it is- greatest hits of Matt’s summer creations, and with this, I’m wrapping up the summer recap. Thanks for another a lot-more-than- bearable-summer, Matt, 수현언니, and dear friends.
Remember this? :D
Part II of the summer recap: Non-noodle things.
We went back to Cape Cod for the 4th of July weekend.
We grilled a bunch of stuff, wrapped some sliced potatoes and onions in a tin foil and left with the other stuff on the grill.
The night of the 4th, we roasted marshmellows and watched fireworks. Back in Brooklyn it was HOT, and our diet consisted of things requiring minimal heat/ work like, the noodles. And-
Pasta with fennel and lemon zest
I remembered the time when I cared about writing down recipes, and here’s a very season inappropriate throw back pour vous mes cheries d’amour-
Summer BBQ stuff to put on the communal grill while your p-a friends are grilling animal carcass
in season veggies including but not limited to eggplant, bell peppers, onions, asparagus, different kinds of potatoes, fennel, etc.
salt and pepper to taste
fresh picked herbs- rosemary, thyme, tarragon, dill, etc.
good quality olive oil
Onions, eggplant, fennel, asparagus
Slice the onions/eggplants/fennel sabout 1/2~3/4 inches, leave the asparagus whole, drizzle with oil esp. on the eggplant and put it right on the grill or on a piece of aluminum foil. Season with salt and pepper.
Put it on the grill and rotate when a side burns off black. When all sides are cooked, peel off the skin. Season/slice if desired or eat it whole.
Mushrooms and potatoes (separately or together)
Slice and put on a large sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle with a generous amount of oil, season with salt and pepper and herbs, mix everything well and fold the sides of the foil making a bag. Put the bag on the grill for at least 15 minutes, until it’s cooked. Rotate each time after checking.
Up next, part III of summer recap.
As planned I consumed a lot of noodles over the summer. I also discovered another easy treat that goes perfectly with the noodles. It’s called 부침게 (buchimgae), or the Korean pan cake. I like the images above, because it’s so typical of my summer days- sesame leaves picked from my garden, Lucy slaving away in my kitchen and us eating together.
So the reason I figured this is the perfect time to talk about my summer domestic activities is because I think the best way to start a new season is to reflect on the past.
I am kidding, of course. I just can’t bring myself to think about my shameless gluttony over the Thanksgiving weekend, and I’m actually quite stressed about this upcoming few days, so this I figured, would be the perfect time for summer recap!
Like I said, I ate a lot of noodles.
This is soba with some veggies, and maybe pepper/sesame sauce?
Another soba with different stuff and a different buchimgae- really minimal effort with easy goodness. I really do prefer this self assembling method because everyone can adjust to their own liking.
Yet another one from another time that looks pretty much the same as the one before.
This time with sea weed and different noodles, and with different buchimgae!
Back to soba with fresh made kimchi. And at last, the result of Lucy’s chopping and my mixing on the very top images yielded-
Tada~ Oh wait..
Maybe it was this one.
I don’t think it was this one because it looks like this one is kimchi pancake. But who knows.
Since the days of the noodles and the Korean pancakes, I have discovered that I have a hypersensitivity to gluten. In a way, this is my postmortem tribute to a certain method of lazy cooking that I have exploited to the maximum. As my sensitivity is not as severe as it is for some people, I’m sure I will come back to this at some point, but for now, I have my memories. And for now, I am happily sending my summer staples to the realm in my heart where 12 or so year ago I have sent Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Korean Barbecue- I’ve had enough, I know it’s good, I don’t need it.
Fruits of our feeble labor. My first season ever of backyard gardening is approaching towards the end, and although the outcome was no where close to what I had hoped in the beginning, I am left with an optimistic outlook for the future season, if there will be another. And look, there were even some things to harvest!
When I was first given the key to the back yard garden, I was frightened at its sheer wilderness. It wasn’t beautiful wilderness like the forests that I take an effort to seek out, but it was an overwhelming field of of seemingly uncontrollable common weeds, worms and slugs, along with starved mosquitos that would gather around me like flies to a carcass. Thanks to a couple of trees that provide my windows with lovely views, the garden was mostly shade- perfect for the pests, not so easy for the wild flowers and fresh vegetables that I so longed to grow.
Being a born and bred city person, I suppose it is natural for me to be drawn to any patch of greenery, and I have dreamt about the rural life since Little House on the Prarie, and the Secret Garden. But the moment that really gave me the desire and the motivation to create my own patch of greenery was 10 years ago, probably after a brunch at Kate’s, when I accidentally stumbled upon the East 6th St. community botanical garden in the East Village. And of course, my natural vision of my garden was something very similar to this.
There are of course, people who find this kind of beauty to be absolutely boring and miserable. My dear sweet man, for one. Unfortunately for him, this is where he often ends up. And these are the reasons.
Everything is so painstakingly planned, and well taken care of. I find the details of the borders especially lovely-
These are the origins of the vision I had engraved in my heart for a long time. But my reality as a rookie without enough time for a real commitment, combined with the limitations of my environment made the challenge even more daunting. Still, I had high hopes. Some images from late spring ~ early summer:
I planted. And then waited. And waited more. And then, I thought perhaps this would help.
Home made green house so bright that the light would leak even after the most secure (or so I thought) sealing. But then shit started popping up!
The first to be harvested were the herbs from the window box, which after 6 years or so of experience, I felt pretty confident about.
Here is one of the first potable I made with my harvests: strawberry lemonade with mint. It was perfect.
And one of the first edibles I made with my harvests: tofu scramble, at the request of my friend, the hostess of a vegan brunch. The tofu scramble wasn’t memorable and I was reminded that I should probably never make tofu scramble ever again, but the waffles and pancakes by Julia were fantastic, and the brunch was lovely.
After the months of laying down stones, shaping the garden and transplanting the seedlings, work happened, and then summer happened. And now it’s fall, and the way it looks now, it’s not ready for its close up, but I learned. I learned that how ever small the back yard, it’s a shit ton of work for one person. I also learned that gardening is kind of like raising a child in a way. When it’s cute and well behaved, everyone wants to spend some time with it, but it’s not something that you can depend on others to help out with when it’s sick, ugly, or awkward. A friend who helps out in the garden is an amazing friend. I feel lucky to have one, or maybe a few more if I count the ones whom I can occasionally trick into coming out to the garden and keep me company. However, unlike a child, garden can be left neglected for months, and do alright on its own. The laisse-faire façon of gardening suits me well, and here are the plants that sort of agree-
5. sesame and shiso
7. most herbs
Right now my garden is doing just- okay. The long awaited breeze of fall and the rain has left my garden infested with slugs, and with all the sunflowers wilted and finished, the flower patches are looking rather sad. But I think I have successfully paved the way for next year. Also, we have a plethora of shiso and sesame leaves, so please, let me know if you want to take some.
이제 여기에 어울리는 제목도 어느정도 결정된것 같기도 하고 (for now at least), 또 이 ‘전원일기’ 에 본격적으로 복귀하는 의미로 처음 올리는건 이번 여름 주식 후보- 모밀 비빔국수.
세상엔 과정과 경험을 가장 중요하다 여기는 사람들이 있고, 물론 나도 그것들의 중요성을 느낀적이 없다할수 없지만 아무래도 단순한 나에게 그보다 더 중요한건 역시 결과 인것 같다. 내가 요리를 시작하게된건 음식의 오색오감의 조화가 신기하거나 궁금해서가 아니라 어릴적 혼자 지내는 시간에 참기름과 간장에 비벼먹던 흰쌀밥에 질려서였다. 지금도 요리를 싫어하는건 아니지만 내가 요리를 하는 결정적 이유는 결국 오로지 금전적인 부담없이 내 본능을 만족시키기 위해서이다. 그런데 요즘은 영 요리할 기분이 나지 않는다. 할일이 산더미처럼 쌓여있는데 요리하는데 몰두하는 시간이 어리석은것같기도 하고 딱히 땅기는 것도 없고.. 그래서 한동안은 토스트 만으로 끼니를 때웠고 빵에 실증이 나면 밥에 여러가지 오일을 겻드는걸로 만족했었다. 포만감을 주는 꼬들꼬들한 잡곡밥에 제데로 담궈진 김치와 트러플 오일을 버물린 맛을 싫어하는 사람이 있다면 참 특이한 사람일 것이라 난 믿는다.
내안의 허기짐이 울부짓고 매사 모든면의 자발성은 어디론지 깜쪽같이 숨어있던 어느날 모밀국수를 삶아 김치, 오이와 파를 썰어 넣고 꾸역꾸역 혼자 먹었다. 세상과 인류가 증오스럽게 느껴지고 혼자 먼 곳으로 사라지고싶은 그런 날에도 마주치면 반가운 사람이 있듯 음식과 미각에도 그런게 있나보다.
There are so many things that I want to remember and ruminate on. There are so many moments that I felt moved and touched in ways big and small, so many that I want to process and share. So many and so much that I don’t know where to begin. Approaching is always the most difficult part. Often I contemplate the approach for so long that the actual event eventually loses significance, and the moment passes without being justified in any way. I don’t know why it seems so much easier for some people. But I guess in a way, all is fair. I’m incredibly good at some things that some others find difficult, like rationalizing, self-entertainment, and working long hours, given the right environment. So I have a hard time taking the first step, making the approach, that sort of things. But I try. And here’s me trying to re-make this small corner of my life where I chronicle certain some-things.
Luckily, I can just go through the photo library of my phone, for now, here, sitting lazily on the couch, so that I can avoid going into my studio, where I will inevitable start getting anxious about work.
The first dish I made after returning to New York earlier this year, after weeks of not cooking as a result of a priority re-assessment. Appropriately, it was quick and easy.
I missed this place a lot while I was away. One of my favorite places in New York.
Sat alone for a bit at the fountain at the Frick.
Was heartbroken to find this. Of all places on Fifth ave! I don’t care much for the culture of consumerism, but this was one place where I could be tempted to get persuaded to think beauty over politics. I went back a few weeks after, a couple of days after the beginning of the closing-out sale to find… not much of anything. My beloved soba tea was long gone. I don’t know where else I can find soba tea in New York. I won’t die without it, but it’ll certainly be missed.
Mike came over and made some delicious Indian dish for us. It tasted more Franco-fied Italian to me, but I enjoyed it thoroughly. I think it was aloo matar.
And then suddenly, my first 2 pregnant friends from my still-teen-times were no longer pregnant, and there were 2 more people I would get to know. They were both very small, and very cute.
My ‘baby’, my seeds arrived.
And these sunflower were given to me. They broke while in transit, and I fear that they were dead. But I planted them deeper, gave them some water and left them to drench in the sun, et voila, RESURRECTION.
Last week, I went to my favorite café to kill time and read before meeting some friends.
The place was empty ‘cept for the boys sitting next to me. Unfortunately, their conversation was extrememly boring, and impossible to block out. But I like what they left behind.
As a Christmas Special entry, I present to you, Gourmet (Magazine)Thanksgiving Update!
Pre-requisite reading: here
Morning dough for the cranberry apple pie, dUn, and into the fridge. It’s been almost a month since this happened, so I can’t remember the details of what I did immediately after this. I most likely went back to sleep, or went to the grocery store to get last minute things. But I remember clearly the previous day, when I bought these colorful carrots at the farmer’s market at end-of-the-day price.
As attractive as they were, the flavor was akin to unspectacular potatoes. As long as they soak up the flavors from the other stuff, they were good enough for shepherd’s pie filling.
After a long morning of chopping and mixing, around midday is a good time to pop a bottle of wine. You can also pour some into whatever you’re making if appropriate.
So the parsnip is boiled and cooling and draining for the top of the shepherd’s pie, and I think some cauliflower and celery root also made it into the mix. Anyway, here is the result-
But this is hours later. After this is assembled, it sat for a long time before going into the oven, while all the other things are being made, like the cranberry apple pie.
Next to the pie is the ginger pear cake that Amanda made, her first vegan cake ever. It was perfect. Matt made candied yams. It’s something southern.
It seems like I’ve been hanging around the kitchen all day, but I only made 3 things. Of course, everyone brought something delicious, so there was enough for everyone. I’m happy to have managed to make all the things I had planned to, and my dear friends showed up. Here’s the menu (from myself, only):
Veganified Gourmet Thanksgiving 2009
By the time we sat down, it was already dark.
My 1st plate.
By the end of the night, people started to show their true selves.