김밥 (Kimbap)

김밥 (Kimbap)

It seems like many cuisines have their own ‘package’ food. Mexican food has burritos, Indian food has samosas, Japanese food has onigiri, Korean food has kimbap. This is a really common food for lunches, for picnics, times when you just need something that can be eaten easily without having to re-heat it or cook anything. It’s really a whole meal in a roll. The name simply means “seaweed rice”, and that’s basically what it is.

This is one of those dishes that can be almost anything you want it to be – it would be simple to make it vegan, vegetarian, or with meat. This recipe uses fried fish cake, but is otherwise vegan. It would be a great way to use up scraps of vegetables you have just sitting in your kitchen, or you can buy things specifically for it and make it special. It’s a good idea to mix flavors, colors and textures so that you really get a great experience not only tasting it, but looking and it and even just chewing it as well.

Ingredients

  • Pickled korean radish (3 long chunks)
  • Pickled burdock root (3 long slices)
  • Fried fish cake (6 long strips)
  • 2 carrots, cut in matchsticks
  • 1 Korean pickled cucumber, cut in matchsticks
  • 1 bunch of spinach, mostly de-stemmed (it’s not necessary to be really careful about de-stemming it)
  • 1 can tuna or tuna salad made with 1 can tuna
  • 2 cups cooked rice (2 cups when measured dry, measured with the rice cup measurement, not the normal cooking cup)
  • 3 sheets seaweed (김)
  • Sesame oil
  • Salt

Directions

  1. First prepare your fillings. The pickled Korean radish can be purchased whole or already cut into long chunks (see the yellow vegetable in the above photo). Same with the burdock root. If you purchase them whole, cut them as seen above. Cut the fish cake into strips, and the cucumber and carrot into matchsticks.
  2. Cook your two cups of rice according to the directions on the package. This should be Korean or Japanese short to medium grain rice.
  3. Once the rice is cooked, drizzle in a small amount of sesame oil, and salt to taste, and mix it well with a fork, chopsticks or a rice paddle. Set the rice aside to cool.
  4. Fill a bowl with cold water, and then in a small pot, bring plain water to boil. Toss in the spinach and let it sit for just one minute, until it is soft.
  5. Remove the spinach from the hot water, and put it in the cold water to stop it from cooking further. Once it has cooled, remove it from the cold water, and squeeze it firmly to remove most of the water.
  6. Toss the spinach with a small amount of sesame oil and salt.
  7. Once the rice has mostly cooled (it can still be warm, but you don’t want it to be wet or steaming much), lay out a sheet of seaweed, and thinly cover it with rice. Try to get the rice as close to the edges as you can.
  8. Lay out the fillings you are putting in perpendicular to your line of sight (parallel with the counter), towards the side of the seaweed closest to you. Don’t put too much in, or it will be difficult to wrap the whole thing around it.
  9. Lift up the edge of the seaweed closest to you, and fold it over the fillings. Tuck in the edge of the seaweed around the fillings tightly so that they are not loose inside the roll. Make sure the whole edge of the seaweed is evenly tucked in.
  10. Finish rolling the seaweed until you get to the end and have a finished roll. Set the roll seam-side down and let sit for a few minutes to solidify.
  11. Either lightly wet your knife, or lightly coat it with sesame oil, and slice the rolls into bite-sized rounds.
  12. That’s it, you’re done! Enjoy!

김밥

김밥

김밥

김밥

김밥

김밥

Eggs in Spicy Minted Tomato Sauce

Eggs simmered in spicy mint tomato sauce with toast.

One of our favorite things to do on weekends is to sleep in late, then get up and cook something delicious, make a pot of coffee, and have a nice, relaxed mid-day before we do anything serious. This weekend we were looking through recipes we wanted to try, and this just happened to only include ingredients we had already in the apartment, so we decided to give it a try. That was a good choice.

This dish is bright and spicy, with some smokiness from the smoked paprika, richness from the eggs, and goes perfectly with dense, toasted bread. Pile it on the toast and eat it like an open-faced sandwich, or serve it beside and dip the bread in. We basically followed this recipe from Food52.com, with the addition of smoked paprika. Serves 2 people with a nice, hearty breakfast – and if you only like a moderate amount of the tomato sauce, you may have enough left over to cook another egg or two in the next day.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
  • One 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • Spicy pepper sauce such as sriracha or tobasco
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Smoked paprika to taste
  • 4 eggs
  • Bread for serving

Directions

  1. In a deep-sided skillet or frying pan with a lid, heat butter and olive oil together over medium heat until hot.
  2. Sauté onions for about 5 minutes until they turn translucent and start to brown and caramelize a bit.
  3.  Add garlic and jalapeño and sauté for about another minute.
  4. Add crushed tomatoes, hot sauce, bay leaf, and smoked paprika.
  5. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a steady simmer and let simmer, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes until sauce thickens.
  6. Stir in the mint.
  7. Using a spoon or spatula, make four small depressions in the sauce, and crack your eggs right into those depressions.
  8. Season the eggs with salt and pepper and then cover the pan to cook the eggs until the whites are solid and the yolks are however you like them.
  9. Once the eggs are done, serve them up with sauce and bread, and dig in!

Paneer Cheese

Paneer is a simple, un-cultured cheese used often in Indian food, and is basically identical to queso blanco. It goes great in curries, or you can slice it or cube it and season it and fry it for a snack, or crumble it and put it on tacos. All you need is a pot, milk, a colander, an acid and some cheesecloth.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 gallon whole milk, non-homogenized and non-ultra-pasteurized
  • 1/4 cup vinegar (apple cider or white), or lemon juice

Directions

  1. Scald the pot and cheesecloth with boiling water.
  2. Pour milk into pot and bring to a foaming boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a slotted spoon (be careful, the milk boils over quite suddenly).
  3. Remove pot from heat, and slowly pour in the vinegar or lemon juice, while stirring gently in one direction.
  4. Continue stirring for 30-60 seconds as curds start to form.
  5. Cover the pot and let sit for about 10 minutes.
  6. Lay the cheesecloth in a colander and place either in the sink or over a large mixing bowl.
  7. Scoop the large curds out of the pot and into the cheesecloth with a slotted spoon.
  8. Pour the rest of the liquid through the cheesecloth, so that the rest of the small bits of curds get filtered out.
  9. Pull the cheesecloth together so that the curds are sitting in the bottom.
  10. Rinse the curds out under cold water, twisting the cheesecloth and lightly pressing the curds to squeeze liquid out.
  11. Tie some kitchen twine to the excess bit of cheesecloth and hang over sink or bowl to drain for about 4-5 hours (less will do if you’re in a pinch).
  12. Take cheese out of cheesecloth and store in your favorite container in the refrigerator until needed for cooking or eating.

Paneer Cheese

Paneer Cheese

Paneer Cheese

Paneer Cheese

Paneer Cheese

Paneer Cheese

Paneer Cheese

Paneer Cheese

Paneer Cheese

Maple Cinnamon French Toast

This weekend we made the now annual feast for my birthday (more on that later). And as per usual for us we had tons of leftovers. One thing we had to use right away was the beautiful fresh french baguette.

Maple Cinnamon French Toast
Maple Cinnamon French Toast

day old french baguette, cut in 1 1/2 inch thick slices
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/8 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon

Maple Cinnamon French Toast
Preheat oven to 375 F

~beat eggs till just scrambled but not frothy
~add in milk and maple syrup and combine
~add sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon and mix completely

Maple Cinnamon French Toast
~Place the baguette slices in a baking dish and pour egg mixture over the bread.
~Let sit for 15 min, turning occasionally to coat and soak up all the egg-y goodness.
~Remove the bread slices and cook each side in a hot buttered skillet or griddle till just golden brown, careful not to burn.
~While the bread slices are browning throw away any left over egg mixture from your baking pan and wipe it out.
~Once your french toast has browned place the slices in the baking dish and finish cooking in the oven for about 10 min.
~The middle of the french toast will finish cooking through and puff slightly.

Maple Cinnamon French Toast
Serve with maple syrup and butter.

Pasta with wild leeks and green garlic

This weekend we went to the Portland Farmers’ Market, and we got some wild leeks and green garlic (which is just very young garlic, including the green shoots). We decided to make a very simple pasta dish with them, so that they were the predominant flavor.

Just roughly chop the leeks and garlic, after removing the roots.

Pasta with wild leeks and green garlic

Sautee them in a skillet with olive oil over medium to medium-high heat until they are just getting soft. Salt and pepper to taste. Remove the skillet from heat and let the leeks and garlic cool a bit. Zest half a lemon into the leeks and garlic and mix it up.

After cooking your pasta, dish up the pasta and top with the leek and garlic mixture. Finish it off with a sprinkling of lemon zest, and then grate some parmesan cheese on top. If you like, you could also drizzle a bit more olive oil over top.

The flavor is fresh, and the oniony-garlicy flavor goes well with the lemon zest. It’s a nice, simple pasta that only takes about 20 minutes to make and is super cheap.

Pasta with wild leeks and green garlic