Return of the Blog (and Kimchi Stew)

I am back from vacation, and I picked up an awesome husband and some olive oil from Spain! Seriously, the wedding and honeymoon were amazing – thanks to everyone!

I of course was inspired by many things that I saw and ate while in Spain (tasting menu at Lasarte in Barcelona was a highlight, as were the fresh figs, vast array of seafood, and cured meats I’d never heard of). I returned and immediately made raviolis (with my new ravioli attachment for my mixer!). I am cooking for a beer tasting dinner this weekend (wine-braised pork shoulder with roasted potatoes and then butternut squash ravioli with miso-ginger butter and chives) and then making a special bday dinner for my mom next weekend. All this fancy cooking has made me realize how much I love really adventurous cooking, “special occasion” cooking.

To that end, I’ve decided to start the Underground Supper Club. For me, it will be an opportunity to stretch my culinary creativity beyond what I normally do. For diners, it will be an opportunity to get a great meal at a fair price and hopefully be surprised and delighted and sometimes shocked.

My partner asked, “why not just have more dinner parties.” Well, for me, when I invite someone into my house, I want them to be totally comfortable. If that means that I make fairly simple food because that is what they like, then that’s what I do. At dinner parties, I might make a dish or two that are a bit “out there” creatively, but I mostly stick to crowd pleasers, trying to make sure that there is something for everyone. With the supper club, I’d want people to attend knowing that they were in for a “food adventure.” I would feel free to take more risks, and my diners would be prepared to try something new.

More to come on this idea….but in the mean time – I’ve been making a lot of kimchi stew (kimchi cheegae, I think) – and it’s a recipe simple enough and delicious enough to be worth sharing.
Kimchi Stew

– 2 cups well fermented kimchi (if you’ve made it yourself – see “In A Pickle” for a recipe on this blog – it should be at least a month old)
– 4 cups broth (I’ve used chicken broth as well as homemade broth made from pork bones, the traditional Korean recipe has pieces of pork belly in it, but that’s optional)
– salt and vinegar to taste

Bring all ingredients to a boil and let simmer for at least 30 minutes. This is the basic, bare bones recipe – I have also added chopped onion, kale, extra garlic and jalapenos for heat, and even an egg added at the end for some body. So great on these cold winter evenings.

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