Kimchi Jjigae and Bangs

I got bangs!

Yay, bangs!

Yay, bangs!

Can you tell how excited I am about my bangs? See, I think bangs automatically make you look super sweet and innocent, and I need that because this is my usual expression:

Care to repeat that?

In my next book you will be slowly torn apart by hamsters.

Since I work in the wedding industry, I probably shouldn’t look like I am plotting my next kill. . . so here’s to Bangs: When you need to hide your slightly deranged face.

Aaanywho, last night I cooked an old favorite dish of mine: Kimchi Jjigae. Kimchi Jjigae is a Korean stew made with, what else, kimchi. The main reason I love cooking it, aside from the fact that it’s frikkin’ delicious, is that it’s one of those dishes that taste like you’ve slaved away in the kitchen for hours, but is disgustingly simple to make.

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Kimchi Jjigae Recipe

Ingredients:

– 2 to 3 cups of kimchi, depending on how kimchi-y you like your soup

– 300 g pork belly/shoulder, cut into bite-size pieces. I had leftover pork loin, so I used that instead. You could probably use chicken or beef as well, or leave out the meat altogether and make it a vegetarian dish.  No kimchi jjigae police is going to knock down your door and arrest you, probably.

– 1 to 2 tbsp gochujang, depending how spicy you want it

– 1 to 2 tsp sugar

– a bunch of scallions, chopped into 2-inch long pieces

– 1 package firm tofu, cut into bite-sized cubes

– 1 egg

– salt to taste

Directions:

1. Put kimchi, gochujang, scallions, and sugar into pot. If you’re using a fatty cut of meat like pork belleh/shoulder or chicken thigh, put the meat in as well. Since I used loin, I put the meat in about 10 min before serving so I didn’t overcook it. Add enough water to cover 2/3 of the mix and boil for 30 minutes.

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2. Add tofu (and lean meat if you’re using that) and salt to taste and boil for a further 10 min.

3. Turn off the heat, crack egg into the pot and stir in quickly.

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4. Ladle into bowls and garnish with sliced scallions. Shamelessly accept praise and keep mum about how brainless the recipe actually was.

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*Note: You can always add in odds and ends to the stew. I had leftover mushrooms lying about, so I sliced them up and added them to the dish, and they worked really well. Traditional kimchi jjigae recipes don’t usually use eggs, but I like how the egg makes the broth all thick and silky. I’ve also made this with bacon, which worked beautifully. It’s pretty much a fool-proof dish that’s perfect for winter. . . or a rainy English summer.

 

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Quickie Post: Homemade Guac on Fried Egg

*Note: This recipe has been stamped with the Slhuang Seal of Approval. BOOYAH.

Hm, I feel like I need to come up with more creative post titles, but never mind. . . this is probably the easiest recipe I’ve posted here. I’m kinda hesitating posting it because it’s so easy to do it’ll make me look duh. But whatever, it’s so effing delicious there is no excuse to not make it. (I’m looking at yew, slhuang!)

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Ingredients:

– 1 avocado, mushed-up

– 1/2 lime, juiced

– 3 cherry tomatoes, diced

– a small handful of cilantro, diced

– scallions (as much as you like), sliced

– 1 egg

– salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Mix everything except the egg up. Divide guac into two piles.

2. Put a non-stick frying pan on medium heat. When pan is hot, crack the egg and immediately turn heat down to low.

3. Season egg with salt and pepper. Snack on one guac pile while you wait for the egg to cook. I like my yolk runny. . . which means by the time I finish the guac pile I set aside, the egg’s usually good to go.

002Yea. . . this was scarfed down in a very unladylike manner. And since it’s a cloudy Sunday afternoon, I am curling up on the couch with a well-loved Pratchett book and a mug of Chai tea and dozing off. . . hope you guys are having a good weekend!

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Badassery and Turkey Fajitas

Last night, Mike and I went to see Monsters University, which was really cute. The movie, I mean, not us. Anyway, we had the bad luck of sitting behind two really annoying high school girls. Throughout the movie, they alternated between talking to each other, talking on their cell phones, going “RAWR!” at each other and giggling, and standing up. Seriously, who stands up and stretches in the middle of a damn movie? I ignored it until she started banging on her armrest like a caveman.

Leaning over, I said in my sternest voice, “Can you stop doing that please.”

When she turned around and glared at me, I did this: (Minus the “hur hur” bit. That came later.)

stopit

Apparently, my scary face. . . isn’t. She immediately went back to banging on her armrest, at which point I kicked her chair. She turned around again and snapped, “Can you not kick my chair??” to which I snapped back, “Can you stop being noisy??” We glared at each other for a few seconds, and then. . . she backed off. That’s right, people.

Me > Two high school girls.

There are no words to describe how badass I felt. I wanted to beat my chest and roar, “THIS IS SPARTA!!!” But I didn’t, because I’m classy like that. Also I was too busy sweating, trembling, and hiding my face in Mike’s arm. But for that one minute, I was a GLADIATOR. Woe befall those who dare cross my path!

*ahem* Aaanywho. Turkey fajitas! Fajitas are awesome because 1. They’re like an explosion of yum, and 2. If you order them at a restaurant, you can pronounce “fajitas” the way Seth McFarlane does and watch the waiter’s reaction.

Recipe for Turkey Fajitas

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Ingredients:

– 500g boneless, skinless turkey (I used leg meat, but you could be all lame and healthy and go for breast. You could also use chicken or beef.), sliced into strips.

– 1 onion, sliced

– 2 bell peppers, sliced

– 2 limes, juiced

– a good pinch (using all five fingertips) of paprika

– an equally large pinch of cumin (I still don’t have cumin, so I used Jamaican jerk rub)

– 1 jalapeno, finely minced (seeded or not, it’s up to you)

– salt and pepper

Directions:

1. If you have a griddle plan, get it screaming hot. How hot is “screaming hot”? This hot:

chris

Phwoar.

If you’re like me and don’t have a griddle pan, a regular frying pan would do.

2. While your pan’s heating up, mix all of the ingredients except for half of the lime juice in a bowl. Once the pan is hot enough, fry the crap out of them.

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My pan’s not big enough to fit everything, so I cooked the meat and veg separately. Stop judging me.

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3. Fry until meat’s cooked through and the onions are caramelized. Pour the remaining lime juice over it. Set aside and try not to eat all of it while you make the salsa.

Salsa ingredients:

– 250 g cherry tomatoes, diced

– 1 clove garlic, minced

– 1/4 red onion, minced

– 1 jalapeno, minced

– 1 lime, juiced

– 1 small handful (like a baby’s grip) coriander, chopped

– Salt and pepper

Directions:

. . . Do you really need directions? *looks at you with judgy eyes*

You can serve your fajitas with as many toppings as you want. Guac, sour cream (or yogurt), and cheese would work just fine. I served mine with fresh lettuce and a nice sprinkling of mature cheddar and it was good enough that Mike and I fought each other for every last bite.

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O little packet of deliciousness, throw yourself into my open maw!

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Thai Beef Larb

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Larb. It’s such a weird little word. Every time I hear it my first association is “lard”, which is ironic since Larb’s actually such a light dish with fresh, clean flavors. It really is the perfect summer food.

When I came across a recipe for Thai Larb Chicken some time ago, I knew I had to try it. I used beef instead of chicken because ground beef totally kicks ground chicken’s ass, and because we’d had lettuce cups two nights in a row, I served the Larb on a bed of red cabbage salad instead.

Recipe for my bastardized Larb salad:

(*Note: I use rough measurements because holy crap, I can’t be bothered to measure when I cook. Also, rather than adhering strictly to recipes, I believe that you should cook to your own taste whenever possible.)

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Ingredients:

For the salad:

-1/2 a red cabbage, finely shredded

-1/4 red onion, finely sliced

-Coriander, finely chopped

Salad Dressing:

-2 limes, juiced

-A good slosh of fish sauce

-As much minced garlic as you want (I put in 2 cloves…most recipes call for one)

-Chili, finely minced (Most recipes call for Thai bird’s eye chili, but I’m kind of a wuss, so I used a jalapeno instead, and left the seeds in. It really depends on how spicy you like your salad to be.)

-1/4 red onion, finely chopped

-A slosh of white wine vinegar

-1 to 2 tsp brown sugar

Directions:

-Mix everything up.

-Sneak bites while you make the Larb and mutter, “Holy crap, I’m a genius.”

For the beef larb:

-500g minced beef

-1/2 red onion (or 1/4 red onion and 2 shallots, if you can be bothered to deal with shallots)

-Garlic, finely minced (I put 2 cloves in because I can never have too much garlic)

-Chili, finely chopped

-1/2 lime

-Another good glug of fish sauce (I went twice round the pan)

-Soy sauce to taste

-A good glug of white wine vinegar (Count 2 mississippis. Am I confusing you yet? Just use everything to taste, dammit.)

-Coriander

-Mint, if you want. I generally hate mint unless it’s in mojitos, so I skipped it. Thai basil would probably work really well here.

Directions:

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-Sautee the beef over medium heat, taking out your general anger by stabbing it with your spatula and breaking it up into teeny weeny pieces. If you’re not angry in general, then continue to the next step.

-When the meat is browned, add the rest of the ingredients except for the lime and coriander. Mix them in, then do 10 jumping jacks. (Seriously, is there a better timing method than jumping jacks?) Turn off the heat, squeeze the lime juice in, and pour the Larb onto the cabbage salad.

-Sprinkle coriander on it and kiss yourself in appreciation.

004Serves umm…3 people, or 2 gluttons.

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Mike gushed a bit between every mouthful, which made me preen a little. Next time I’ll try adding finely sliced lemongrass, crushed peanuts, and more lime. Yet another keeper!

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Carnitas and Cherry Tomato Salsa in Lettuce Cups

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I’ve always equated carnitas to slow-cooked, and therefore, too super frickin’ hard to do. But when a friend of mine linked me this recipe, I decided it looked too easy not to try.

Unfortunately, the store was out of pork shoulder, so I used pork belly instead. Cooking with pork belleh is pretty much a slam dunk. It’s actually humanly impossible to ruin pork belly.001

Is it weird that I like the feel of raw meat? I love rubbing spices and shit into my meats. I didn’t have cumin and was hesitant about buying a bag of it when I don’t usually cook with it, so I substituted by using a Jamaican jerk rub. I also added more paprika and chili powder than the original recipe calls for, because we like things pretty spicy here.002

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After 3 hours in the oven, the pork was actually crispy enough that I didn’t need to slide it back in under the broiler. Maybe I didn’t use enough liquid or something. Either way, it was tender enough that I was able to floff it up with a spoon. A SPOON. Mmm, I like my meats like I like my friends: completely submissive. (*hides from friends*)005

Since Mike and I trying to cut down on carbs, we skipped the tortillas and instead served the carnitas in lettuce cups. I think I actually prefer it this way. The lettuce balanced out the spiciness of the carnitas and added so much freshness to it. It was the perfect summer food. In the winter I might make this again and floff it to simmer in a broth, maybe with beans. Hmmm. Definitely a keeper.

Bircher Muesli

Yay, new food blog!

Recently I’ve been trying to cut down on the amount of carbs I eat. It hasn’t been too difficult cutting carbs out of lunch and dinner, but when it comes to breakfast, I tend to crave something sweet (read: scones and French toast). For a while I tried having omelette for breakfast, which was yummy, but left me feeling somewhat unfulfilled. Then I stumbled upon a compromise: Bircher Muesli.

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The beauty of Bircher Muesli is you can add whatever the hell you want to it. The most basic Bircher Muesli recipe contains:

-Plain yogurt

-Grated green apples

-Oatmeal (I add just enough oatmeal to give the yogurt a bit of texture. If I wasn’t cutting back on carbs, I’d add enough so that a spoon left in the muesli will take a looong time to fall.)

-A slosh of apple or orange juice (Again, I minimized the amount of juice I put into this week’s muesli, because juice is fucking wolf in sheep’s clothing when it comes to carbs.)

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I was lucky enough to find fresh pomegranates at the market today, so this week’s muesli is filled with pom seeds, along with a bit of raisins (yea yea, I know raisins are loaded with sugar. Bite me.) and toasted almonds and walnuts. It wasn’t until I’d mixed the walnuts up with the almonds that I remembered something crucial: I hate walnuts. How the hell did I forget that? Oooh well. Apparently they’re good for you, so mkay walnuts, you get a pass this time.

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Yusss, breakfast.