Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Check Out My Grill while I Wrap

Okay, so I may have fibbed earlier. I am in fact once again writing about a Korean recipe. I know I promised that the next recipe it would not be Korean, but it could not be helped. However, before I go any further into the details of the my latest cooking venture, I feel I should at least explain why there is such a prevalence of Korean food recipes in this blog.

The thing is, I LOVE Korean food. I was exposed to it through my father, who got hooked on it himself during his business travels to Asia. He decided to share this culinary treat with my mother and I by taking us to a Korean restaurant near our home. We both enjoyed it so much that it became a habitual outing. So now after going with my parents to a Korean restaurant once a week for the last few years, I have became completely and utterly hooked.

So why am I blogging about cooking Korean food if I go to eat it once a week? Well, here is where the problem comes in. I recently moved to a city in which I cannot find a good authentic Korean restaurant. I am essentially in withdrawal and am therefore attempting to satisfy my cravings by learning to cook it myself.

I will also be posting about non-Korean food soon. I tried a good Scottish cauliflower and cheddar cheese soup recently as well as a simple and delicious German bratwurst. I, however, failed to take pictures of these two endeavors. I will therefore have to make them again and document it (Which really is not a chore at all considering just how yummy both were). Keep an eye out for them in the near future. In the meantime, please pardon my obsession.

Today’s recipe of the day is Korean Grilled Beef. Now, there are some gadgets I used that everyone may not own or have handy around the house. In fact, I borrowed my parents’ tabletop grill that they purchased in a Korean market (can you see how the obsession runs in the family?). It is a really fun gadget and if you can find one, I recommend it. It’s a fun way to have dinner with your family or friends. You can cook together while you eat, drink, and are merry.

Now, while this meal is a simple one to make, you do have to prepare several different portions: the grilled beef, the Spicy hot pepper dipping sauce, the seasoned green onion salad, and some vegetables to munch on while you grill.

The beef is quick and easy to prepare. Buy steak, such as a Rib eye and cut it into approximately 1 inch square pieces. Place these pieces in a small bowl and combine them with salt, pepper, and sesame oil. Make sure you mix them well. This can be done a few minutes before you grill (no need to marinade). Then, before you place your seasoned meet on the grill, get the rest of the portions ready.

Now you will also need to prepare the lettuce for the lettuce wraps. This is really simple (and you could even have your friends or family members who are not so handy in the kitchen help with this). Simply, remove each individual piece of lettuce from the head of lettuce and rinse under water. Then, place it on a paper towel and pat dry. You can arrange all the individual whole leaves of lettuce in a bowl for easy access.

In order to make the Hot Pepper Dipping Sauce combine hot pepper paste, bean paste, sugar, chopped garlic, one chopped green onion, and sesame oil in a small bowl. Really, it is about as easy as possible to do. Plus, It is really tasty, especially if you like spicy! We could not stop eating it. Chop up some vegetables such as carrots and cucumbers to dip in this sauce. Cucumber goes especially well with this. Be warned though, it is highly addictive.

Next, comes the Seasoned Green Onion Salad. Slice the green onions into thinner lengthwise portions and then chop again into smaller pieces. Place these pieces into a strainer and rinse with running water. Be sure to drain before placing them in a medium size bowl. Once the green onions are dry and in a bowl, add soy sauce, hot pepper powder, sugar, sesame seeds, and sesame oil. The very last step is to mix it well.

Now you are ready for the grill! Placed all the various bowls on the table while warming up the grill.

Once the grill is hot, place the meat and some peeled garlic cloves on the grill top. When the meat is cooked, grab a piece of lettuce and place the meet, garlic, green onion salad, and some of the dipping sauce in the center of the lettuce leave and wrap it up!

Well, that’s pretty much it. I highly recommend this easy, delicious dish you eat with your hands. It is quickly becoming a family favorite. Especially since you sit around the grill placed on the table and make the wraps together. Fun and tasty!

(Need more details on how to make this? check out this great site:

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Eggs and Pacakes, Take Two!

So the other day I decided to reattempt the Zucchini pancakes to see if I could improve them. Along with them I decided to make a rolled egg omelette (again both Korean, next time I will do a different country). I am happy to report that the Zucchini pancakes came out even better this time and I have a few pictures to share of it as well!

I tried making a few smaller pancakes rather than the one large one and that worked wonderfully. This really is becoming a fast favorite in my book (If anyone wants the recipes just let me know!).

Then came the rolled omelette. Now this is yummy and not hard to make, although you do have to be patient. So, if you aren't, just be warned it might not be for you.

You start off mixing all the ingredients into a bowl: eggs, chopped onion, salt, sugar, and pepper. Then, warm up olive oil in a pan. Once it heats through, you lower the heat and pour 1/3 of the egg mixture into the pan. You need to try to shape it into a rectangle. The ever perfectionist that I am I tried to get it to be as much in the shape of a rectangle as possible, but perfect it was not. Still, it worked. Once it starts to cook through you are going to flip one side, along the longer edge of the rectangle, in towards the center. As it slowly cooks you keep folding this portion over itself. When you roll be sure that it is sturdy enough before you do (this is where the patience comes in). Otherwise, it is going to break at different portions. It still will be perfectly fine, just not as pretty. As you go folding it in, you have to fill in the opposite side with the remaining egg mixture to keep the rectangular shape. With a spoon, pour the remaining egg mixture to fill in the gaps until you have no mixture left. It looks something like this...

You keep on rolling it until you can no longer roll it any further.

At this point you have to brown all four sides. Be sure to be careful when you are holding it up on its leaner sides so it doesn't fall or break.

Now its time to take it off the heat and let it slightly cool.

Once it is easy to handle, you cut it into smaller pieces that can be arranged on a plate or packed into a lunch case. It's very yummy and nutritious. From what the adorable Korean lady was saying, this is a typical lunch box item for Korean children. I am definitely a fan.

Well that's it for today. No crazy mishaps to report. Next blog I will be doing another country. Any requests? I'm thinking Thailand, China, Germany, Scotland, Ireland, or Morocco.

Oh, and I would also like to thank Me-Ami for her picture taking assistance! :)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Steamed eggs and pancakes...for dinner????

The last few days I have been doing research and gathering recipes. As of right now I have over 130 recipes from 27 different countries. I kind of got all sorts of caught up in the research and didn’t realize how many recipes I had gathered. There are still more countries I am eager to look into, so I am sure the number will continue to grow. I’m going to try to not let it get too out of hand though. There are just so many yummy things I want to try!!!!

Today I started with two Korean recipes I found online. I watched these videos with an adorable Korean lady who demonstrated how to make the recipes. I got so enthralled in the website that I watched video after video for quite a few days, lol. I’m sure everyone in the house was annoyed of hearing her voice after a while (Once or twice “Are you watching that Korean lady again?” could be heard in the background). She is so cute I can’t help liking her though. Especially the segments where she cooks in Halloween costumes (a giant ladybug flipping pancakes anyone?). I can just see myself becoming totally obsessed with her website, lol. Anyway, I chose two of her recipes to try today: Spicy Steamed Eggs and Zucchini Pancakes. Now, don’t get confused. These are not the fluffy pancakes one has for breakfast or brunch with syrup and whipped cream. This is more like a fried zucchini substance in the shape of a pancake (and boy is it yummy!).

The first thing I did was the steamed eggs. It really could not be simpler. You gather all the ingredients and mix them in a bowl. Really, the most labor intensive part of the whole process is cracking open the eggs. Once they are in the bowl, drop in the rest of the ingredients, stir, and your work in pretty much done!

All you have to do is stick it in the microwave for 5 minutes on high and voila! I highly suggest keeping your eyes on the eggs when they steam. I was quite mesmerized. They start to puff up really quickly and grow and grow. Next thing you know you have this fluffy ball in the microwave and as soon as the timer rings...POOF! The egg ball completely disappears into the light, airy deflated egg mixture seen below (next time I will try to take a picture of the egg ball while it's growing).

Then came the Zucchini Pancakes. Now this recipes I am going to have to do a little tweaking with in the future (and the pictures did not come out so well, so I will post more soon). It starts off simple enough with chopping the zucchini into rounds and then later julienne style.

Next, throw it into a bowl and mix together the rest of the ingredients: flour, water, and salt.

According to the recipe, you then plop the zucchini mixture into a hot, oiled pan. You are supposed to make one large pancake. Once the bottom browns you simply flip it.

Now, here is where I came into some difficulty. The pancake was too big for the largest saute pan I had, so what happened? I had a very chubby zucchini pancake which took, and I kid you not, what felt like an eternity to cook and not evenly at that. Not to mention it was a pain in the royal @$* to flip! Next time, I will definitely be making several smaller zucchini pancakes or will be using a larger pan (then hopefully I won’t be cursing at it as I try to flip it in the air. To my defense, I did manage to keep it intact). Nonetheless, it did eventually cook and was quite tasty. The sauce that you make to accompany it is simply divine! I’m going to be craving that for some time.

All in all, today’s culinary adventure was worthwhile and the generous people I tested the recipes on seemed to enjoy it! I will definitely be making the Zucchini pancakes again (more picture to come) very soon.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Are You Being Served?

I am currently in the very enjoyable process of gathering recipe ideas before I get started with the actual cooking. At the suggestion of a very dear loved one I am going to open it up to requests. If anyone has a recipe or type of food they would like to see me try, please comment! :)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

My Travel Lust Saunters into the Kitchen

well...being that there is no trip in the works at the moment, I must divert my need to wander in another direction. So, why not combine my love of food and cooking with my desire to travel?

Since I can't currently get up and travel the world to savor its many delicious treats, I am going to do some exploring in my very own kitchen. I'm setting out to attempt and master recipes from as many countries as I can stomach. By the end, I will hopefully have gathered a collection of my favorite recipes from 'round the globe.