Snow and Korean Food

Looking out across the street, it seems that I have moved to Boston, or perhaps the arctic circle, and not to Washington DC. The cars are all little igloo mounds of snow, and the only people I see are either wearing cross-country skis or driving 4-wheel drive type cars. We dug the car out yesterday, but it’s completely covered again today. Besides, we can’t risk losing our parking spot, so we’re pretty much “in” indefinitely.

Lucky for us, I had stocked up at the giant asian grocery store a couple weeks ago. The grocery stores have been mostly open, but there’s not much on the shelves and the lines wrap around the entire store. I’ve heard of near-fist fights breaking out in the shopping cart congestion of the canned foods isle.

With the federal government closed, you’d think I would have had more time to blog, but my only excuse is that I was busy cooking! There is a pot of white beans bubbling away in the crock pot right now (with a tasty mixture of onions, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, chili flakes, white wine, tomato paste and bay leaves). I am contemplating an oatmeal Irish soda bread or perhaps some cornbread to go with it.

I made some classic Thai red curry (eggplant, bamboo shoots, carrots, onions, tofu), and we had that for lunch today with some quinoa. Every time I make quinoa, I think “why don’t I make this more often?” It’s just so good, and good for you. I toasted the grains first, to give a nutty flavor, let it cool and washed it like any whole grain, before simmering it for 20 minutes with equal parts water. I threw in a tablespoonful of the tomato paste veggie mixture from the beans for flavor.

Thanks to my trip to the asian grocery, I was able to replenish many of my staple ingredients, allowing me to make a huge batch of kimchi (radish and cabbage) which is now stinking up the fridge (in the best way possible). I also made bibimbap with Chinese mustard greens, carrots, green onions, sautéed mushrooms, baked tofu, and purple cabbage sautéed with rice vinegar. I got some sweet black beans (the chewy soy beans with sesame seeds on them) and hot fish cakes to go along, and it was sooo good. I can’t find my dol sot (the stone bowl used for making the hot version of this dish), sadly, I think I left it in NC.

I also made this great marinated Korean salad, which I of course bastardized to my own tastes and which I will definitely make again. It’s worth posting here, although the recipe is simple, because it is different and addictive – two things I value highly.

Korean Marinated Romaine Salad
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped or torn into bite size pieces
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon Korean red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons black vinegar

Put all ingredients, except lettuce, into a small pot, and bring to a boil. Pour over lettuce, toss to mix, and allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes. Garnish with crushed sesame seeds. I also tossed in some chopped green onion and shredded carrot for color. I found that it needed a bit more salt and vinegar, but the head of lettuce was really big, so just taste and adjust as needed.

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