Sunday, March 27, 2011

tofu salad with radish and sprouts

Tofu making is my recent passion. Some people might say it is not worthy to spend so much time just to eat a block of tofu but I found it very pleasant, even therapeutic. 
freshly made warm tofu is delicate and fragile
I just don't want to disturb its purity
tofu is subtly sweet,
smokiness of bonito flakes add a new demention to it

1 block salad quality tofu
3 radishes/paper-thinly sliced
a handful micro greens or any kinds of sprouts you like
1 tsp freshly ground sesame seeds
2-3 Tbsp ponzu dressing (store bought one is fine)
a touch of sesame oil
a half handful bonito flakes
good quality sea salt

Mix ponzu dressing with sesame oil. Spoon or cut tofu to smaller portions on a serving plate. Layer with the sprouts, radish slices and drizzle with ponzu sauce mixture. Lightly season with sea salt. Top the salad with bonito flakes and sesame seeds.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

forked blood orange ice

About this time of year always brings me great joy as blood oranges come into season. I especially like their mysteriously intense flavor with  hints of raspberry and grape. Making blood orange sorbet couldn't be more simple; juice blood oranges and sweeten with agave nectar. Sweeten to taste just a little bit beyond your preference if you were going to drink the sweetened juice as when the liquid is made into ice, it'll become less sweet. Freeze the sweetened blood orange juice using an ice cream maker. Fork blood orange ice to serve.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

pork belly ssam party at Hyunju's house

Hyunju had promised us the unlimited refill of pork belly on her Bo-Ssam party invitation, and the promise was kept well.

lettuce-pork belly ssam with pickled radish, scallion salad, ssam-jang(fermented soy bean paste) and jalapeno 
aged kimchi -pork belly ssam

pickled radish-pork belly ssam

Hyosun's pickled radish tasted sweet, sour and clean 
simple scallion salad 
aged kimchi was brought by Eunsung,
 was rinsed, dried and grilled with pork belly fat until caramelized
Mis en scene
kimchi is being cooked on the side 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

finger lickin' good Korean fried chicken

Koreans consume enormous amount of this specific kind of fried chickens, yang-nyum chicken, during World Cup Soccer seasons. People usually get together and order fried chicken. The chicken vendors deliver the chicken to your house no matter where you live. While cheering up our team in front of TV, we drink beer and eat fried chicken with radish pickles. It's all sticky, gooey and messy. However, I don't think there is a better way than using fingers to eat this chicken. Well, it's definitely finger licking good! It happens sometimes that delivery guys end up joining the crowd in your house to catch up on the game. 

The chicken is fried twice to achieve extra crispness in this recipe. 

to marinade chicken
ingredients (for 4-6 people)
3 lbs chicken wings, drum sticks
1 Tbsp  ground ginger
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/4 rice wine
2 Tbsp soy suace
salt and pepper

Rinse the chicken and marinade the chicken with all the ingredients above for 3 hours.

7 Tbsp ketchup
4 Tbsp corn syrup
3 Tbsp suagr
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp mayo
1 Tbsp gochujang (Korean chili paste)
1 Tbsp gochugaru (Korean chili powder)
1 Tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp minced garlic
3 dried red chilies/ crushed with fingers
extra amount of hot sauce of your choice (optional)

In a frying pan, mix in all the ingredients together. Cook for a minute over low heat. Keep it warm.

to fry chicken
canola oil  (fill up at least 2 inches in the frying pot)
frying flour (available in Asian market / substitutable with1 cup of potato starch mixed with 1 cup of flour)
freshly toasted peanuts/crumbled

In a heavy frying pot , heat oil to 325 F. Drain the chicken from marinade and coat lightly with the frying flour (you don't have to use up all the frying flour). Fry the chicken on several batches until it is light golden-brown. Drain the fried chicken on the rack set over paper bags (or tray). Increase the oil temperature to 350 F, fry the chicken again to make it extra crispy, until the color turns deep golden brown. Quickly toss the fried chicken into the sauce, working on  several batches. Generously sprinkle peanut on top.

Friday, March 18, 2011

chicken Dak-gal-bi at Bokyung's house

I ate very decent Dak-gal-bi at Bokyung's house. The sweetness of yam makes good counter-balnace to the spicy chicken. It was so spicy that we needed lots of napkins.
layering the flavors
yam, cabbage, spicy chicken...
then onions, scallions, rice cakes ,wild sesame leaves and gim (Korean dried seaweed)
to finish, we fried plentyof rice with the left over sauce in the pan with chopped kimchi and more wild sesame leaves

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Passion fruit ice cream

I think passion fruits and chocolates are match made in heaven.

passion fruit ice cream is tangy, custardy and slightly flowerly
dark chocolate ice cream is rich and intense

2 parts of passion fruit ice cream ad 1 part of dark chocolate ice cream make good proportion

I also sandwiched passion fruit ice cream
with chocolate macarons shells
I found eating this is quite messy job, but somebody's gotta do it.... ;-)

Passion fruit ice cream
ingredients (the recipe is improvised from Francois payard's basic ice cream base)
6 egg yolks
2 cups of half and half
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup passion fruit puree

Prepare ice bath in a big bowl. In a small pot, reduce passion fruit puree to measure 1/2 cup. In another pot, heat half and half until just about to boil. While heating half and half, beat egg yolks with sugar until the color becomes pale yellow, using a hand mixer. Slowly and steadily pour the half and half to the egg mixture, whisking all the time. Put the mixture back to the pot and cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until the thermometer reaches 175 F. Cool down the ice cream base immediately in the ice bath. Freeze the mixture according to the unit's instruction.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Bee-jee hot pot with pork belly

After straining soy milk from cooked soy bean-water, you will get some white grainy stuff. That is called Bee-jee (aka Okara, the picture can be found here). Bee-jee is known as a nutritious (rich in protein and fiber) and delicious ingredient. We can use Bee-jee in many ways, from savory dishes to desserts. It is well kept frozen in the refrigerator. So if you have left over Bee-jee, don't throw them away.
Bee-Jee Jjigye (hot pot) is a popular way to enjoy Bee-jee in Korea. It is very comforting and hearty soup. The nutty flavor of Bee-jee tastes delicious in the dish. It also adds wonderful texture to the soup.

Korean rarely leaves any room in the hot pot
it is the law to fill the hot pot all the way up
and it has to be boiling and bubbling hot when it is served

a hidden treasure
a softly cooked egg

to make one individual hot-pot (you can multiply the recipe)

1/2 cup Bee-jee
1 cup water
1/4 cup thinly sliced pork belly (sam-gyup-sal)
1 Tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp gochugaru (Korean red pepper powder)
1/2 tsp salted shrimp
1 egg
1 scallion/sliced
red chili/sliced
salt to taste

to marinade pork belly
1/2 tsp chopped garlic
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp mirin (cooking rice wine)
some freshly ground black pepper

Marinade pork belly for a few minutes. While the pork is being marinaded, heat the sesame oil in a small pot (preferably earthenware). When oil is hot, add gochugaru and keep the heat very low, being careful not to burn gochugaru, stirring for 10 seconds or until gochugaru smells fragrant. Add marinaded pork belly, fry in the gochugaru oil for a few minutes over medium-high heat. Then pour water and bring it up to a boil. Season with salted shrimp first then check the flavor. If you need more salt, add some. Break an egg into the boiling hot pot. Add scallion and red chili on top. Cook for 3 minutes until egg is cooked slftly and serve with rice.

home-made Tofu

I grew up eating tofu from the street vendors in Korea. It was warm, pure and fragrant. Now, even in Korea, it's getting rare and rarer to find freshly made tofu. Although we can get a lot of varieties of good tofus in supermarkets, but not like freshly made kind. It doesn't have soul....
as always, my first attempt was lucky
the tofu was soft, creamy and fragrant

I started from scratch-making soy milk from dried soy beans
just couldn't wait to drink a glass of hot soy milk
freshly out of the pot
all I needed was a pinch of nice sea salt

weighting down coagulated soy milk to make a block of tofu
I used light weight this time to make soft tofu

I saved some soy milk to make Soondooboo
(free formed silken tofu)
purest salad for the purist
mache and silken tofu salad with yuzu dressing

Bee-jee (aka Okara)
very yummy byproduct of tofu making process
I made some Bee-jee hot pot
for dinner tonight

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Day 3 in California-part 2

second amuse buche in "Meadowood"
salad with shaved ice vinegrette
looked like a flower arrangement,
the shaved ice vinegrette melted in my mouth.

Japanese Horse Mackerel
with winter escabeche, creme fraiche, lovage
I can't verbalize this dish...

CK Farm Egg
with Meadowood garden broccoli, bottarga, agnolotti
egg was cooked sous-vide, so the texture of the egg white and egg yolk was the exact same silkiness - incredible,
the vegetables were crisp and fresh

Green Garlic and Almond Milk soup
with bergamot, celery root sponge, chickweed
it was subtly garlicky and nutty

Andante Dairy Goats Cheese
with Za'atar, yellow raisin, turmeric honey
The goat cheese from Andante was mild, creamy with some tanginess
unique and unusual use of Za'atar
the sweetness from raisins and honey was a perfect counter-balance to the tanginess of the cheese

The dinner in Meadowood was like reading a beautiful poem. I didn't want to miss any subtle nuances or any aspect of a single item on each plate. Sometimes I even closed my eyes, taking time to savor all the flavors as much as I could with all my senses. Even after leaving the Restaurant at Meadowood, memories of the flavors and sometimes unexpected harmonies still linger in my mind, ...

The wine pairings were interesting. The sommelier's (Rohm?) suggestions were "Nuit Blanche" (by BURE Family, Sonoma county 2008) for the CK egg dish; Sauvignon Blanc "Entre Nous" by Kristine Ashe, Oakville 2008) for the Green Garlic and Almond Milk Soup; "Matriarch" (by BOND Estates, Napa Valley 2006) for the Roasted Bavette; "Dada 1" by Dada wines (Hawkes Bay, New Zealand 2007) for the Andante Dairy Goat Cheese; and Reisling "Frogenbeernauslese" (Frog's Leap, Napa Valley 2009) for the dessert. It was a lot of wine. I wished I had an extra stomach for wine like we all know we have for dessert.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Day 3 in California-part 1

simple and elegant

citrus and avocado salad

smoked steelhead salmon, marinated beets, potatoes and horseradish cream

shaved sunchokes and funnel salad with anchovy, garlic and parmesan

a bowl of Churchill-Breneis Orchards Kishu tangerines and Bahri dates

Yes, Chez Panisse was one of the reasons for this trip. It was my absolute favorite place to eat when I used to live in the Bay Area. I believe in food. Like most Koreans, I believe shin-toh-bul-yi which can be translated to: Human and Earth can't be two. We are what we eat and we should eat is what is grown around where we live. Our ancestors were wise enough to emphasize eating local and seasonal for well-being from long time ago. I believe this is similar to Alice Waters' philosophy which has been changing the food culture in America.

Dining again at the Chez Panisse Cafe reminded me once more that sometimes we don't need much more than a handful of fresh produce, a pinch of good sea salt and a spoonful of fragrant olive oil to make an unforgettable dish. I subscribe to the point of view that often less is more. Needless to say, the food at Chez Panisse was beautiful, delicious, honest and simple.

Right before this food journey, I had bought some tangerines at a local store. They tasted like diluted sugar syrup with hardly any flavor or taste of tangerines. It actually made me sad. As I popped a Churchilll-Brenneis Orchards Kishu tangerine segment into my mouth at Chez Panisse, a burst of flavor and essence of everything a tangerine should be flooded my senses. I felt so envious of those who are blessed to live near fresh produce all year around.