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Simple Asparagus

In gluten free on September 5, 2011 at 9:53 am

I joined a CSA for the first time this year. It’s been a real learning experience — there are tons of veggies that our local farmers here in the PacNW grow that I’ve never heard of, and definitely did not grow up eating. And the idea of eating a vegetable that is not pickled is a bit of an anathema to a good Korean. But who pickles kale? And each delivery I get is so fresh, that sometimes it seems sacrilegious to do more than give them a light poach — if even that.

 

I remember the first time I ate asparagus — or should I say I remember right after the first time I ate asparagus. You know what I’m talking about — the asparagus pee. Even though I really enjoyed the spears, it wasn’t a vegetable that I learned to seek out. I’d pass it at the farmer’s market and the grocery. But this year, I got bunches and bunches of fresh, beautiful spears from my CSA. I realized I’d have to do something with them.

This is just another one of those throw together recipes — a little of this, and a little of that. To make it into a meal from a side, just add a poached egg on top. In addition to veggies, fruit, and cheese, I’m lucky enough to get farm fresh eggs from my CSA every other week.

Poached Asparagus

  1. Lightly poach asparagus in boiling, salted water.
  2. Drain and plate. Drizzle with good quality olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Squeeze 2-3 tsp of fresh lemon juice (or any good acid — I used balsamic vinaigrette when I don’t have a lemon handy) over asparagus
  4. Shave parmesan cheese over warm asparagus

Garlic Scape-White Bean Dip

In Uncategorized on September 3, 2011 at 9:19 pm

 

Garlic Scapes. What’s not to love? Being Korean, I love anything garlicky, and I can’t believe this summer was the first time that I met this vegetable! I got a delivery of garlic scapes from my CSA, and at first had no idea what the heck they were. They looked like green beans crossed with green onion on steroids.

But once I tasted them, it was like a new chapter in my life. Where have these been my entire life?!  While I might think that there is nothing better than munching in raw garlic scapes, I decided to whip up a batch of garlic scape dip cut with some white beans for my less garlicky loving friends.

Garlic Scape White Bean Dip

1 bunch garlic scapes

1 can of white beans (any type is fine — use dried beans if you have more time)

olive oil, salt and pepper to taste

Crusty bread for dipping

This dip is crazy easy — just whir everything together in a food processor. I added some Parmesan cheese to the mix at the very end as well.

Everything tastes better with bacon

In Bacon on February 27, 2011 at 2:48 pm

I read that our collective love affair with bacon is coming to an end. In fact, some food writers are saying that the whole pork belly-bacon obsession is over, and the new up-and-coming food is Korean. Well, I can’t really say that I wouldn’t love to see Korean food more widely available, but I’m not sure I’m ready to give up the bacon ghost.

I find few recipes that aren’t improved by the judicious addition of bacon. Two of my favorite cookbooks are Peter Berley’s Fresh Food Fast, and The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen. Nearly all of his recipes are excellent, and almost all of them taste better with bacon.

Last month, we planned a road trip to Salt Lake City. Only a 12 hour drive, but too far to go without eating. I generally find highway food dire, and can’t find much to eat, since I stopped eating fast food 10 years ago. So I had to bring snacks to keep us from getting all Donner Party and gnawing on each other.

I found this recipe for Cheddar Jalapeño Scones, and of course thought “that would be better with bacon.”

Cheddar Jalapeño Bacon Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tbs. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

8 tbs. cold butter, diced

½ cup heavy cream

2 eggs

¼ lb. sharp Cheddar cheese, diced

2 small jalapeño pepper, minced

2-4 strips good quality bacon, diced

Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tsp. water)

  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Saute bacon until crisp and brown. Add jalapeño and cook until soft, about 2-3 minutes
  3. Allow bacon-jalapeño mix to cool and then add cheese and 1 tbs of flour
  4. In another bowl, combine the remaining flour, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine
  5. Use fork or pastry cutter and cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal
  6. Whip eggs and cream together and then add to flour-butter mix, stir gently until just combined. Do not overmix
  7. Add bacon, jalapeño, and cheese mix, and stir until just combined
  8. Place mixture on generously floured surface and roll out gently. I used my hands to pat the biscuit dough flat, about 1″ thick
  9. Cut biscuits into triangles and brush with egg wash
  10. Bake on parchment paper for about 25-30 minutes, depending on your oven. My oven runs a bit cold.

Steamed Pork Buns (찐빵 만두)

In korean on January 14, 2011 at 12:20 pm

What is it about cold and rainy weather that makes me want to make all of my old childhood favorites?  I had a serious craving for steamed pork buns, the kind I used to eat growing up.  We would get a huge order of these from the local ajuma who churned them out by the dozen, flash freeze them, and enjoy them all winter.  We would have regular steamed and fried mandoos on a regular basis, but the jjimbbang mandoo was always a special treat. These mandoo differ from the traditional dumplings because they use a yeast-based dough. They are fluffier and more filling than the normal dumplings you make using wanton wrappers.

Jjinbbang Mandoo

Dough:

3 c AP flour

1 c warm water

1 tsp sugar

2 tbsp olive or other vegetable oil

2 tsp active dry yeast (about one packet)

1/2 tsp salt

  1. Dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and mix well
  3. Knead gently and then set aside in a warm place to rise
  4. When dough has doubled in volume, punch down and then knead again gently
  5. Allow dough to rise for another half hour

Filling

1 lb ground pork

1 tsp soy sauce or fish sauce

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp sesame oil

freshly ground pepper to taste

1 onion, diced

2 carrots, diced

1 c finely chopped green onion

  1. Saute vegetables for a few minutes, until just starting to get soft (they will cook longer while you steam the filled buns, so be careful not to overcook the veggies at this point). Set aside
  2. Cook the pork with sesame oil, fish sauce (or soy sauce) and garlic.
  3. Add the cooked pork to the vegetables and stir to combine.  If there is  a lot of liquid, drain carefully.

Assembly

  1. Roll out dough on generously floured surface
  2. Divide dough into 16 equal pieces
  3. Roll into discs about 5-6 inches across.  If possible, make the edges thinner than the middle
  4. Fill dumplings with about 2-3 tbsp of ground pork /vegetable filling
  5. Bring edges to center, and crimp while going around
  6. Put filled pork bun onto a pre-cut disc of parchment paper.  Or if you’re lazy like me, you can use cupcake liners
  7. Allow buns to rest for 30 minutes
  8. Place buns into steamer, and cook for 20 minutes
  9. Enjoy!

While the pork filling is traditional, this is an easy recipe to make vegetarian.  You can substitute or add in almost any vegetable, including squash, zucchini, potatoes, or mushrooms.  It would also be great with tofu and kimchi.  Normally, I would add some red pepper flakes, but I was sharing these with a friend who doesn’t like spicy food.

Quick and Easy Snack

In gluten free, korean on January 4, 2011 at 7:41 pm

Sometimes I want a taste of home, but am feeling incredibly lazy.  Or more often, am too lazy to drive all the way to the Korean Grocery and just have to make do with whatever ingredients I have lying around the house, or can get at the normal grocery store.  This is my go to meal for days like that.

Soba Noodles with Soy Dressing

It’s not even worth writing out a separate ingredient and instruction list, because this is one of those dishes that you are just supposed to throw together, without much effort:

Put 2 oz of soba noodles in boiling water, and cook until tender (about 6-8 minutes).  Be careful not to overcook, or the noodles will get gummy. Rinse with cold water.  While noodles are cooking, combine  2 tbsp of soy sauce with 1 tbsp of rice wine vinegar and 1 tbsp of roasted sesame oil.  Add noodles to sauce and toss well.  Top with toasted sesame seeds and sliced green onion.  You can add fried tofu, chicken, or any other protein or vegetable to the dish to dress it up.

For anyone who is not familiar with soba noodles, they are Japanese noodles that are made from buckwheat flour.  The beauty of this dish is that it is so simple, and can easily be made gluten free.  Just be careful to buy the soba noodles that are 100% buckwheat; some of the cheaper ones have whole wheat flour mixed in.  You can usually find soba noodles at the American grocery store, they will just be cheaper at the Korean market.