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.

And, after-

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

Wild-Mushroom Bundles

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie topped with Parsnip Purée

Cranberry-Apple Crumble Pie

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.

Filed under: feast  friends  lunch  thanksgiving 








떡볶이  (tukbokgi).  Or ddukbokki.  (Or whatever.  I really hate writing out Korean words in Roman alphabet..  sorry.  But it’s so easy for you to learn.)  The yellow pancake looking thing is my new favorite dish:  butternut squash pancakes.  I learned in from Maangchi’s video, and added some scallions, garlic, and ground black pepper to adjust to my taste.

The initial reaction I received from the ladies in the picture can be roughly translated to something in between , “I’ve never had 떡볶이 like this before.” and, “what the hell kind of a 떡볶이 is this?!”

For those unfamiliar, it’s not normally that colorful of a dish.  It’s just orange-ish red, with way less veggies.  It should look more like this:

This is the more proper version we made on our previous full-moon 떡볶이 get together, with the ramen, oden, and the whole thing.  I get the relaxed, warm feeling just looking at the pictures from that night.  In fact, I am convinced that one will find very few Korean people who cannot feel that warm, nostalgic sentiment when talking about this dish.  It’s the ultimate after school snack, and it’s probably the meal that many people had during their first time ever dining out “only with friends” experience.  Thinking back, I feel a little guilty for perhaps ruining the essence of  떡볶이 by making massive changes for my fellow aficionadas.  But I think the real spirit of it is being chatty and overeating together, and we got that part down for sure.

But I had my own reasons for hippifying the street fast food supreme. The night before, I had went to the Lubalin exhibition opening at the Cooper Union, and afterward, conveniently ended up at Song 7.2, the soju bar/ Korean fast food place in the East Village where 75% of the food menu consists of empty carbohydrates, and the other 25%, deep-fried empty carbs.  We had already planned our tukboki gathering days in advance.  So that night, after devouring my plate of fried sea weed wrapped glass noodles drenched in more traditional tukboki sauce with my pumpkin soju, I realized that should respect the message from my body urging me to not repeat this two days in a row.  That is how the tukboki turned out purple and orange.

The main adjustments that took place in this version is the amount of rice cake vs. vegetables (red cabbage, carrots, onions, garlic, butternut squash, and mushrooms), the sea weed broth, and the substitution of tofu shirataki noodles in place of ramyun noodles.  Ramyun is generally my favorite part about home made tukboki, so this was a bit of a risky experiment.  My verdict:   Ramyun can never really be replaced, but shirataki noodles are acceptable, especially counting in the lack of bloated feeling afterward.  But the dashima, and the 3 different kinds of mushrooms I used really made the dish.

And this made me feel a bit like a real adult.  There was a time when I didn’t care what the hell was in the red sauce.  I just wanted it to be spicy with just the right amount of sweet.  The biggest worry I had was to not get the sauce all over my shirt.  I still worry about that, but I am worried more about the consequences of my intake.  I considered Coca Cola to be ultimate accompaniment, but now I opt for Chianti.

It turned it into something completely different than what tukboki should have been, but I liked it regardless.  I am growing up, slowly, and it’s just fine with me.

Filed under: korean  squash  roots  lunch 








Oven roasted delicata squash and mushrooms, with kale dressed in tahini sauce

"Left over special" continues-

I think that I have expressed numerous times in one way or another that this Halloween weekend was unusually pleasant, but I left out the highlight.  Sunday morning after the Samhain festivities, I woke up to the smell of garlic and thyme roasting in olive oil.  It was already lunch time, and my guilt-tripping-Matt-into-cooking-for-me-after-the-master-cleanser had finally paid off.

He had oven roasted delicata squash and mushrooms, with loads of garlic and fresh thyme.  He even toasted pumpkin seeds to sprinkle!  With just the right amount of salt and pepper, it could have been the best thing he’s ever made for me.  And the kale with tahini sauce was great too.  Obviously, I was very pleased.

By the following evening, we only had just enough of the squash left for one person, and in the bottom of the baking dish was a little too much garlic and thyme infused oil to just wash away.  In an attempt to make this last as long as possible, I turned it into a pasta dish.  It was fantastic.  I do succeed at times, thanks to other people’s hard work.

Oven baked autumn squash pasta with pumpkin sauce

1/2 or more of cubed delicata squash, and mushrooms, baked in garlic, fresh thyme, and olive oil until the squash is softened
a package of fusilli (this texture rules for holding on the thick sauce) or other kinds of pasta
2 or more cloves of garlic
2 scallions, chopped
1/4 or more of a red onion, chopped
1/2 cup of soymilk
1/3 cup of pumpkin purée  (save the rest for pancakes!)
1/2 cup of bread crumbs
a handful of sun dried tomatoes, chopped
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Under cook the pasta, until it’s softened but not quite al dente.

Make the sauce by combining the pumpkin purée, soymilk, garlic and onions, and salt and pepper.

Mix the well-drained pasta, pumpkin sauce, and the sun dried tomatoes in a well-oiled baking dish.

Sprinkle the top with bread crumbs, and bake for 20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

Serves 4-6

Filed under: autumn  brunch  lunch  pasta  squash  friends 








I made a heaping portion of pasta for a last minute dinner party of 3, using all the vegetables I could find in the fridge.  Major players were obscene amount of garlic cloves, olive oil, sundried tomato, lots of black pepper, toasted pine nuts, and basil from the garden.

After 20 minutes of prepping, cooking, and cleaning, I covered the pan with aluminum foil and walked over to the location.

Appetizer: arugula salad with tofu with lots of ground black pepper

Main: pasta, potato salad with dill, and zucchini tian with tomato sauce

Dessert;  vanilla coconut milk ice cream with Anarchy in a Jar raspberry topping and cookie crumbs.

+ wine, smokes, kitties, and chats through out the meal with favorite people= life not so tragic.

Next morning I mixed the pasta and the zucchini tian for the lunch box.

Filed under: friends  lunch  pasta  leftover 








Strangely, I haven’t thought about bulgogi since I stopped eating meat 12+ years ago. It’s probably largely due to the fact that this is so much about the quality and the texture of the meat unlike something that still tempts me after all these years like KFC chicken which is all about the crust which is not even really the part of the chicken.

I recently decided to treat bulgogi like KFC-  away from the meat.  (But of course, with a bit more respect.  Please don’t get mad Korean people)   Because bulgogi sauce is too good to be forgotten.  I had it with kimchi stew, and packed the rest for lunch the next day with leftover rice.

One big misconception about bulgogi is that it’s a type of barbecue dish.  While I am sure it’s great grilled, traditionally, it should be more like a stew, with a lot of simmering.  I made mine a little more dry than it should be which might explain whey it looks a bit dry.  I didn’t know any better.

Aside from the whole no beef part, this recipe below is pretty authentic/ basic.  Nothing crazy here.

Mushroom Bul-Seitan (a.k.a. Vegetarian Bulgogi)

1 pack (about 1 lb) of seitan- sliced

For the sauce
1/2 yellow onion-blended- blended
1/2 pear (preferably Korean)- blended
1 1/2 cup filtered water
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp chungju, soju, white wine, or mirin
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp crushed/chopped garlic
ground black pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients for the sauce, and marinate seitan for up to 6 hours in the fridge.

When it’s ready to cook, prepare the following vegetables:

1 lb mix of different kinds of mushrooms
2 scallions- julienned thin
1 onion- julienned thin
1 or less carrot- julienned thin

In a heated pan, start cooking the marinated seitan in medium-high heat.  When about 1/2 of the liquid have simmer away, add the vegetables, and cook in high heat, for about 5 more minutes.

Serves 4-6

Filed under: kimchi  korean  lunch  leftover  seitan 








Left over special Pt. I

A couple of weeks ago, I made a pretty big meal for Ben’s birthday and reaped the benefits of not having to cook for the rest of the week.  Here’s the acorn squash in the day light which I packed for our lunch to take to work the following day, and the day after.

With the extra stuffing of fresh corn and leeks kept in the tupperware uncooked, I literally whipped up a simple dish of instant polenta and quick greens with field roast the following day before heading to the Guggenheim’s 50th anniversary event.

Lucy insisted on having her polenta with our kimchi, noting that any savory starch dish goes well with it.  Having savored my share of oatmeal with soy sauce and sesame oil like a Korean rice porridge in the past, I couldn’t really argue.

Filed under: lunch  leftover  corn 








Sunday lunch that Matt made while I was on the Master Cleanse

There are certain things that I just never consider in my diet.  Fortunately, Matt seems to be happy with the most things I choose to cook, but some of those that I leave out are things that he really likes.  Pierogi and okra are prime examples.  I like both just fine when done right, especially Matt’s mom’s fried okra, but usually, they’re not on my shopping list.

I’ve recently completed a 10 day master cleanse, and it bothered no one except for the person who is directly affected by my diet choice, Matt.  He might like to cook even more than I do, but some how I became the primary cook in our house.  Maybe over the years he’s become accustom to having dinner “served” after coming home from work, or maybe he just enjoys sitting in the kitchen table with me, but whatever the reason, he wasn’t so thrilled with my withdrawal from the kitchen.  I told him “Now you can make all the stuff that I don’t usually like”, in an attempt to encourage him.

But when he started sautéing chunks of garlic and red onions, it was me who became irritated.  He added the fresh kale that we had picked up from the green market, and five-grain tempeh with liquid smoke, and that’s when I almost lost it.

While I was sitting across the dining table sipping my lemonade while my friends enjoy their non-liquid, non-citrus based meals (a.k.a. poison!), they would tell me that they would never be able to do it, even if they wanted to because they enjoyed eating too much. On the contrary, I thought, that’s precisely how I am able to go through with it. Maple syrup is my favorite sweetener. It makes me think of the forests of Vermont and autumn leaves. And lemon is so refreshing.  I was on the fast track of Lose Weight, Have More Energy, & Be Happier in 10 Days, when Matt stated polluting my senses with the deadly delicious scent.  Even the pierogis looked tempting, and usually I find them to be too heavy.

In the end, my some what desperate attempt to believe in diet magic prevailed.  To settle, I just snapped some pictures, and gave him dirty looks.  I stuck to my refreshing lemon drink, although on the last day, I decided that I couldn’t take any more sweet and tart, and resorted to tea and water.  Afterward, I did feel a bit lighter, and ready to welcome the feasting season with open arms, which is really, all I really wanted.

Now that I am off the cleanse, Matt, please feel free try to lure me into eating pierogi again.

Filed under: friends  lunch  tempeh  greens 






Days that I want 콩나물국 (soy bean sprout soup) include rainy days, days I don’t feel like getting out of bed, simply crappy days, and pretty much all other days.  I have talked about bean sprouts before, but I am making another note, because really, it’s only recently that I have started to cook with soybean sprouts, and the possibilities are seemingly endless.  My mom used to make me the soup when I was sick, with a lot of red pepper flakes.  It’s something I’d never ask for.  In fact, I don’t know if I have ever met anyone who would name a mung bean sprout dish as their favorite.  But like the best things in life, you will never get sick of it.  When done right, its flavors are minimal yet complex and homey, and it doesn’t stand out, but it accompanies everything perfectly.
Wash and pick through a generous amount of soybean sprouts, and boil it so that some of the sprouts can be used for the soup, and the rest for banchan. Too much water will take away the distict flavor of the sprouts.  And sudden change in the temperature and the steam will bring out a weird fishy flavor, so it’s best to either keep the lid on the whole time with low heat, or leave it completely off for the entire duration.  This will make more sence once you start cooking.  

My dear garlic press finally broke, after 5 years or so and I have yet to replace it.  For now, I am sticking to my mom’s favorite method which is to crush the cloves with the back of the knife.  A lot of people use anchovies or oysters to enhance the flavor of the base, but for the soup, I like it plain, without anything else.  I love the flavor of the sprouted bean, and a bit of garlic.  So the image above are the most important ingredients of today’s menu.
I found this lady Maangchi’s site a while ago, and I absolutely love her videos. If you like quirkly, experienced ladies, or have any interest in Korean cooking at all, her site is a must.  And I guess my thing really is to just show pictures and make little notes for myself, which isn’t the most helpful to everyone.  So I will just refer you to her video on how to make bean sprout soup!  Like I said, the fish-y things can be left out or substituted with kelp.




And here are my two bean sprout dishes.  The soup, and the muchim.

I am guessing that soy bean sprouts has some protein, but as a vegetarian, I try to maximize my intake of protein and calcium with every meal.  Pan-fried tofu is a fast and fool-proof way, and this is how most Korean people eat tofu at home.  We don’t always do all that crazy fancy stuff that you see in American vegetarian restaurants.  All you need is oil to grease the pan, and salt to taste.

Maybe one day I will learn to cut perfect squares of tofu.

Days that I want 콩나물국 (soy bean sprout soup) include rainy days, days I don’t feel like getting out of bed, simply crappy days, and pretty much all other days.  I have talked about bean sprouts before, but I am making another note, because really, it’s only recently that I have started to cook with soybean sprouts, and the possibilities are seemingly endless.  My mom used to make me the soup when I was sick, with a lot of red pepper flakes.  It’s something I’d never ask for.  In fact, I don’t know if I have ever met anyone who would name a mung bean sprout dish as their favorite.  But like the best things in life, you will never get sick of it.  When done right, its flavors are minimal yet complex and homey, and it doesn’t stand out, but it accompanies everything perfectly.

Wash and pick through a generous amount of soybean sprouts, and boil it so that some of the sprouts can be used for the soup, and the rest for banchan. Too much water will take away the distict flavor of the sprouts.  And sudden change in the temperature and the steam will bring out a weird fishy flavor, so it’s best to either keep the lid on the whole time with low heat, or leave it completely off for the entire duration.  This will make more sence once you start cooking. 

My dear garlic press finally broke, after 5 years or so and I have yet to replace it.  For now, I am sticking to my mom’s favorite method which is to crush the cloves with the back of the knife.  A lot of people use anchovies or oysters to enhance the flavor of the base, but for the soup, I like it plain, without anything else.  I love the flavor of the sprouted bean, and a bit of garlic.  So the image above are the most important ingredients of today’s menu.

I found this lady Maangchi’s site a while ago, and I absolutely love her videos. If you like quirkly, experienced ladies, or have any interest in Korean cooking at all, her site is a must.  And I guess my thing really is to just show pictures and make little notes for myself, which isn’t the most helpful to everyone.  So I will just refer you to her video on how to make bean sprout soup!  Like I said, the fish-y things can be left out or substituted with kelp.

And here are my two bean sprout dishes. The soup, and the muchim.

IMG_2425

I am guessing that soy bean sprouts has some protein, but as a vegetarian, I try to maximize my intake of protein and calcium with every meal.  Pan-fried tofu is a fast and fool-proof way, and this is how most Korean people eat tofu at home.  We don’t always do all that crazy fancy stuff that you see in American vegetarian restaurants.  All you need is oil to grease the pan, and salt to taste.

Maybe one day I will learn to cut perfect squares of tofu.

Filed under: bean sprout  dinner  korean  lunch  soup  tofu  rice 






Canned canellini beans + capers + good olive oil + crushed garlic + cherry tomatoes + s&p.  Great on salad, great on toast.  No cooking required.  Don’t be stingy with the olive oil.

Canned canellini beans + capers + good olive oil + crushed garlic + cherry tomatoes + s&p. Great on salad, great on toast. No cooking required.  Don’t be stingy with the olive oil.

IMG_1746

IMG_1750

Filed under: a meal for one  lunch  salad  beans 






Accompaniments for not-quite-stale bread

I take after both of my parents. But when it came to food, I have always assumed that I was more like my father. I can’t tell you what he liked to snack on, or what his favorite food was, but I think that he loved to eat like I do. My mother on the other hand, sees food as a necessity. The pleasure of it is only supplementary. Her nutritionally balanced meals take 3 times a day in moderate portions with no seconds servings, or snacks in between. She also happens to be picky and difficult to please, even though she’s too polite to ever not compliment whatever is offered to her. So at home, she would only cook things that are beneficial in some how, in a minimal way (or at least as minimal as possible in Korean cooking) using carefully selected ingredients.

Since the passing of my dear grandmother a few days ago, I’ve been thinking often about my mother, and our relationship. The more I age, the more of my mother I am seeing myself in unpredictable ways, and this time, I was looking into this extra hippie- looking plate I’ve concocted.

03_23_09_b

I wanted to finish off the loaf of bread before it went stale, and I wanted something hardy to go with it. Sweet potatoes were readily available, so before I even made up my mind on what to make of them, I chopped and boiled them. I’ve wanted to make a marinated tempeh dish since I saw this delicious picture on 101 cookbooks back in January. I improvised by making the sweet potatoes and the tempeh made into a single dish.

As I was slowly enjoying my lunch in complacence, I imagined myself in my mother’s place, cooking for her self, eating alone. Because of the vastly different surroundings that have shaped us respectively, we naturally work with different ingredients, but I imagined that if she was in my place, at my age, right now, maybe she would be enjoying this too.  Finding the orange and white to be a bit too heavy and assembling a last minute salad to go with the whole thing.  And like her, I was doing this out of necessity. This is how I would sustain myself, and I was enjoying it because it was a necessity. And I cook for myself, because like her, I too am picky and somewhat difficult to please.  I don’t know if habits are inherited or learned, but I’m thankful.

03_23_09_a

Pan-Glazed Tempeh with Sweet Potatoes

  • Chop and boil some sweet potatoes.
  • While the potatoes are boiling, mix a small amount of sweet condiment- BBQ sauce, fruit preserve, whatever + grated ginger/garlic/onions + orange juice + soysauce +whateve herbs you like.
  • Cut some tempeh, and check on the sweet potatoes.  The potatoes should be softened, but not mushy.  Take out of the pan, strain and set in cold water.
  • In the pot, heat some oil, and add the tempeh and fry until golden. Pour the sauce mixture and simmer until thickened.  Add the sweet potatoes back in the pot to heat and distribute some of the sauce, and mix in some chopped scallions at the last minute.
Filed under: a meal for one  bread  lunch  tempeh  roots 






Kimchi fried rice? But it’s not fried..

About 15 minutes ago, I started cooking some carrots and parsnips.  Immediately, I got bored, and now they’re just sitting in the pot, overcooked and getting mushier by the minute.  It’s one of those days where I can’t find a hint of excitement and desire for anything, and I’m wishing that I had some left overs to remind my senses of something pleasant from the previous day with minimal effort.  But there’s not even some cold rice in the fridge.  And I’m just going to assume that you don’t know what cold rice can do, which most likely is true, and show you the way:

After a very late night dinner over the weekend, this is what I made the next morning with the left over rice.  It’s 김치볶음밥 (kimchi bokkem bop).  It’s the easiest thing in the world to make.  All you need is some kimchi, left over rice, and whatever else you want.  In my case, a lot of carrots and onions.

Bokkem-bop means “stir-fried rice”, roughly translated, but I kind of hate saying fried rice.  It’s not really fried!  It’s more like, stir-cooked with minimal oil.  That kind of goes against the definition of the description.  Let’s just say there’s no direct translation in English for it, and digress.

This is one of the first things I started cooking for myself, and I never get sick of it.  And it’s only just one of many things that can come out of the neglected leftover rice, but this one is my favorite.  By the way, in Korean idiom, cold rice (찬밥) often describes a neglected person.  In my ideal, I don’t want to neglect anyone, or anything.  Not even cold rice itself.  And certainly not my grumpy, hungry self.  So. I think it’s time for me to pay some attention to the carrots and parsnips.  But first, I’ll leave you with this to try when you’re feeling famished and wretched, or happy and adventurous.

  • Choose the vegetables you want to cook and chop in the same size.
  • In a pan, start cooking the onions with carrots (or other roots) in some butter, or butter substitute like Earth Balance.
  • Lightly squeeze the liquid out of well fermented kimchi and chop, add to the pan.  If you want some protein, or chili paste (고추장), this is the time to add.  I prefer mushrooms.
  • Add the cold rice.  If the rice is too dry from sitting in the fridge, add some kimchi water.  Mix well without breaking the grains with a little bit of sesame oil and chopped scallions.  Top with some gim.
  • Dark beer goes really well with it.
  • Don’t forget to brush your teeth afterwards.
Filed under: a meal for one  korean  lunch  rice  roots  kimchi 






Risotto is warm, soft, and homey, just what I’ve been craving these days.  To make it, all you need to know is 1 part rice, 5 or more part of liquid, and a generous amount of oil.  But what inspired it this time, and perhaps you should take this as a warning to the wackiness that led to this goodness, are these—

3 uncorked bottles of white wine that’s been sitting in the fridge for the past couple or days.
I’ve been doing some impulsive buying I suppose.  I had a bottle opened, and then forgot about it, and bought another one, and about the 3rd…  I have no clue.  But they’re they were.  There were also some leeks and shiitake mushrooms in the fridge.

I got this idea from epicurious of cooking the vegetables separately from the rice so that they don’t melt in to the rice.
Cover a pan with oil on medium heat, and add chopped leeks.  Pour enough soymilk to cover the leeks and cook until it becomes creamy.  Stir to keep the soymilk from sticking to the pan.  Add salt and fresh ground pepper.
As for the mushrooms, toss it on a baking sheet with some salt, pepper, olive oil, and chopped rosemary.  Bake until it’s tender.
For the rice,
On medium heat, add some chopped onions to a generous amount of Earth Balance and olive oil in a pan.  Add a dash of salt.
When the onions are transparent, add about a cup of arborio rice.
Slowly start adding broth, a little at a time, and keep stirring.  Taste to see if you need salt.  Do this until the rice is cooked and creamy, not paste like.
When making risotto, the broth is really important, especially since I won’t be using any cheese.  Knowing this but not thinking, I poured about an entire cup of Côtes du Rhône in the pot.  Immediately, I regretted it, but after tasting it, I decided to go with it, and added a cube of veggie bullion and stirred it in to let it melt and blend.
Still I feared that the result might be too sour-wine-flavored for my dear lover/cohabitant and resident guinea pig.  Luckily I had some dried porcini mushrooms.  So I soaked some in water, and when they were ready, I added the mushroom water to the pot, and mixed in the porcini of course.
All together I added about a couple of cup of vegetable broth, a cup of the mushroom water, 2 cups of white wine, and even some moscato wine.  I swear I wasn’t drunk.
When the rice was just about ready, just a bit of saffron was ready, and it really brought everything together.  With the creamy leeks and mushrooms mixed in, it was perfect for us, perfect for today.
Here’s more proper recipe which this was roughly based on:
Risotto with Leeks, Shiitake Mushrooms, and Truffles from Bon Appétit

Risotto is warm, soft, and homey, just what I’ve been craving these days. To make it, all you need to know is 1 part rice, 5 or more part of liquid, and a generous amount of oil. But what inspired it this time, and perhaps you should take this as a warning to the wackiness that led to this goodness, are these—

3 uncorked bottles of white wine that’s been sitting in the fridge for the past couple or days.

I’ve been doing some impulsive buying I suppose. I had a bottle opened, and then forgot about it, and bought another one, and about the 3rd… I have no clue. But they’re they were. There were also some leeks and shiitake mushrooms in the fridge.

risotto

I got this idea from epicurious of cooking the vegetables separately from the rice so that they don’t melt in to the rice.

  • Cover a pan with oil on medium heat, and add chopped leeks. Pour enough soymilk to cover the leeks and cook until it becomes creamy. Stir to keep the soymilk from sticking to the pan. Add salt and fresh ground pepper.
  • As for the mushrooms, toss it on a baking sheet with some salt, pepper, olive oil, and chopped rosemary. Bake until it’s tender.

For the rice,

  • On medium heat, add some chopped onions to a generous amount of Earth Balance and olive oil in a pan. Add a dash of salt.
  • When the onions are transparent, add about a cup of arborio rice.
  • Slowly start adding broth, a little at a time, and keep stirring. Taste to see if you need salt. Do this until the rice is cooked and creamy, not paste like.

When making risotto, the broth is really important, especially since I won’t be using any cheese. Knowing this but not thinking, I poured about an entire cup of Côtes du Rhône in the pot. Immediately, I regretted it, but after tasting it, I decided to go with it, and added a cube of veggie bullion and stirred it in to let it melt and blend.

Still I feared that the result might be too sour-wine-flavored for my dear lover/cohabitant and resident guinea pig. Luckily I had some dried porcini mushrooms. So I soaked some in water, and when they were ready, I added the mushroom water to the pot, and mixed in the porcini of course.

All together I added about a couple of cup of vegetable broth, a cup of the mushroom water, 2 cups of white wine, and even some moscato wine. I swear I wasn’t drunk.

When the rice was just about ready, just a bit of saffron was ready, and it really brought everything together. With the creamy leeks and mushrooms mixed in, it was perfect for us, perfect for today.

Here’s more proper recipe which this was roughly based on:

Risotto with Leeks, Shiitake Mushrooms, and Truffles from Bon Appétit

Filed under: lunch  rice  mushroom 






One of the many things in my abstracted to do list is to read up on different kinds of pastas.  I tend to choose my pasta based on visualization of the result.  Half of a buttercup squash in my fridge was what inspired this one.  I had been planning on making a pasta dish with this little squash all morning, and normally, I would go with lumache pasta.  I’m not sure why exactly but it just always seemed appropriate.  But when I found out that they were flat out of it at the store, I decided to go with gobetti.  I’ve always pictured gobetti with meaty, tomato based sauce, but with its chunky curls and strips, I thought it might be interesting.

Pasta with winter squash is something I started making during our harvest CSA season when we were getting heaps of different kinds of squashes.  Sweet winter squashes can be roasted or boiled and puréed, peeled, chopped and stir fried, or just roasted in halves and scraped.  I wanted the roasted flavor, but didn’t want to wait all day for it to cook.  So I scraped the seeds out with a spoon, cut in thin slices, arranged the slices evenly on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle some salt, and just put it the oven.

While the squash is roasting,
Start cooking the pasta until al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, sweat some pressed/chopped cloves of garlic in a pan with some olive oil and salt.
Add to the pan, capers, shiitake mushrooms, chopped leeks and rosemary, and let it cook.  I pour just a bit of dry white wine if I’m drinking some.
Take out the squash, peel, chop, and add to the pan. 
Add the drained (cooled if needed) pasta to the pan, mix it all in, and add salt to taste.  (I like to add some kind of chopped green, like kale or collard greens at this point, and cook it until it’s slightly softened.)
Mix in a dash of paprika and fresh ground pepper.  Top it with some rosemary and toasted walnuts. 

This dish never fails me, even with a slight variation.   The chewy texture of gobetti, capers, and nuts with the softness of the squash was really great.  Sweet and savory starchy dishes like this one is exactly the reason why I have to make things in small portions.  But then again, this is so simple to prepare that I could always have more with just a little effort.  Well.  There’s one upside of being lazy.

One of the many things in my abstracted to do list is to read up on different kinds of pastas.  I tend to choose my pasta based on visualization of the result.  Half of a buttercup squash in my fridge was what inspired this one.  I had been planning on making a pasta dish with this little squash all morning, and normally, I would go with lumache pasta.  I’m not sure why exactly but it just always seemed appropriate.  But when I found out that they were flat out of it at the store, I decided to go with gobetti.  I’ve always pictured gobetti with meaty, tomato based sauce, but with its chunky curls and strips, I thought it might be interesting.

IMG_0991

Pasta with winter squash is something I started making during our harvest CSA season when we were getting heaps of different kinds of squashes.  Sweet winter squashes can be roasted or boiled and puréed, peeled, chopped and stir fried, or just roasted in halves and scraped.  I wanted the roasted flavor, but didn’t want to wait all day for it to cook.  So I scraped the seeds out with a spoon, cut in thin slices, arranged the slices evenly on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle some salt, and just put it the oven.

IMG_0995

While the squash is roasting,

  • Start cooking the pasta until al dente.
  • While the pasta is cooking, sweat some pressed/chopped cloves of garlic in a pan with some olive oil and salt.
  • Add to the pan, capers, shiitake mushrooms, chopped leeks and rosemary, and let it cook.  I pour just a bit of dry white wine if I’m drinking some.
  • Take out the squash, peel, chop, and add to the pan.
  • Add the drained (cooled if needed) pasta to the pan, mix it all in, and add salt to taste.  (I like to add some kind of chopped green, like kale or collard greens at this point, and cook it until it’s slightly softened.)
  • Mix in a dash of paprika and fresh ground pepper.  Top it with some rosemary and toasted walnuts.
  • IMG_1007

    This dish never fails me, even with a slight variation.   The chewy texture of gobetti, capers, and nuts with the softness of the squash was really great.  Sweet and savory starchy dishes like this one is exactly the reason why I have to make things in small portions.  But then again, this is so simple to prepare that I could always have more with just a little effort.  Well.  There’s one upside of being lazy.

Filed under: lunch  pasta  mushroom  squash 






On our walk to Lucy’s house from mine in the morning of the inauguration, talking about this and that and what we should do for brunch, she mentioned soybean sprout rice at her place.  And so it began.
Soybean sprout rice (콩나물밥) is considered to be the staple low-budget, healthy dish in Korea because its ingredients are inexpensive and the result always reliable.  And for no specific reason, I’ve never tried to make it on my own.  But I’ve spent a plenty of time doing this growing up:

Before starting anything with the soybean sprouts, they must be washed, sorted, and sometimes trimmed, although I’ve heard that the ends of the sprout holds a lot of nutrients.  Let’s say just a handful for 4 servings of rice.
When the sprouts are sorted out remove excess moisture. 
 Put short grain rice in a rice cooker or pot as you normally would, and place the sprouts on top. 
 Pour just a little less water than usual because the bean sprouts will sweat and add more water, and let the rice cooker/pot get to work!
 Prepare the topping while the rice is cooking.  Soysauce + chinese leeks + scallions + red pepper flakes + sesame oil and seeds.
Add crushed laver to top it off.

While Lucy was doing that, I started to prepare for Dwenjang soup.

To make dwenjang soup,
Put dashima or kombu, and onion and garlic in a pot of water and bring to boil. 
 While that’s happening, chop more onions, zucchini, tofu, and potatoes
 Take out the broth materials, and add the chop veggies
 I’ve been putting the dwenjang (fermented soybean past/miso) in the beginning of the soup, but Lucy suggested to put it in last.  That way, it doesn’t over cook, and preserve nutrients.  Just dissolve a spoonful in the broth and let it heat up on medium heat with all the veggies. 
 Keep tasting and add dwenjang to your taste.  Add some pepper paste if you want it spicy.  Keep it on low heat.
 Add some crushed garlic, and enoki mushrooms, cook until its just about to boil and serve topped with radish sprouts.

Finally when the rice and the soup were ready, we served our selves with  banchan and watched the inauguration festivities on CNN.  We’d been waiting so long for this day to come.  :D  (and the rice to cook)

The rice was so delicious, and waiting until the last minute to put the dwenjang paste in the soup made it taste more fresh and refreshing.  I think I’ll stick to this method.

Read more about soybean sprouts here.

On our walk to Lucy’s house from mine in the morning of the inauguration, talking about this and that and what we should do for brunch, she mentioned soybean sprout rice at her place. And so it began.

Soybean sprout rice (콩나물밥) is considered to be the staple low-budget, healthy dish in Korea because its ingredients are inexpensive and the result always reliable. And for no specific reason, I’ve never tried to make it on my own. But I’ve spent a plenty of time doing this growing up:

Before starting anything with the soybean sprouts, they must be washed, sorted, and sometimes trimmed, although I’ve heard that the ends of the sprout holds a lot of nutrients. Let’s say just a handful for 4 servings of rice.

  • When the sprouts are sorted out remove excess moisture.
  • Put short grain rice in a rice cooker or pot as you normally would, and place the sprouts on top.
  • Pour just a little less water than usual because the bean sprouts will sweat and add more water, and let the rice cooker/pot get to work!
  • Prepare the topping while the rice is cooking. Soysauce + chinese leeks + scallions + red pepper flakes + sesame oil and seeds.
  • Add crushed laver to top it off.

While Lucy was doing that, I started to prepare for Dwenjang soup.

To make dwenjang soup,

  • Put dashima or kombu, and onion and garlic in a pot of water and bring to boil.
  • While that’s happening, chop more onions, zucchini, tofu, and potatoes
  • Take out the broth materials, and add the chop veggies
  • I’ve been putting the dwenjang (fermented soybean past/miso) in the beginning of the soup, but Lucy suggested to put it in last. That way, it doesn’t over cook, and preserve nutrients. Just dissolve a spoonful in the broth and let it heat up on medium heat with all the veggies.
  • Keep tasting and add dwenjang to your taste. Add some pepper paste if you want it spicy.  Keep it on low heat.
  • Add some crushed garlic, and enoki mushrooms, cook until its just about to boil and serve topped with radish sprouts.

Finally when the rice and the soup were ready, we served our selves with banchan and watched the inauguration festivities on CNN. We’d been waiting so long for this day to come. :D (and the rice to cook)

The rice was so delicious, and waiting until the last minute to put the dwenjang paste in the soup made it taste more fresh and refreshing.  I think I’ll stick to this method.

IMG_0871

Read more about soybean sprouts here.

Filed under: korean  lunch  friends  rice