Friday, January 2, 2009

Dduk bok-ki!

My first day of Christmas vacation from work, I made a quick trip to Knoxville to take some of my daughter's gifts to her, before she left to spend the holiday in Virginia. I thought it would be a good time for Jenny, a friend of mine from work, to ride along...I had been promising to take her to a really good Korean restaurant, and she could try the type of food her son ate while he was stationed in Korea for 15 months.

My daughter ordered dduk bok-kee, which are little firm sticks made out of rice flour, and cooked in a very spicy sauce. Jenny & I both tried one--interesting! I hated to try more, and get too carried away with someone else's appetizer. But over the next week, with just ordinary local food, man, I was wanting something spicy and exotic, and kept thinking I'd REALLY like some of that "Korean comfort food".

I found the links my daughter had sent, read several different recipes, watchd a video, then on my next trip to a large internation market, I picked up the "Rice Sticks", and to get the fermented chili paste that I needed. For Bi-bim-bop, I have a chili paste in a glass jar, but was told it was different, and I needed one in a plastic tub. Luckily, while in the Korean isle at K&S Market, there was a Korean lady there, and I asked her which of the brands/types I should get, and she was very friendly, showed me which one, and then gave me cooking tips!

For my first attempt, I used the recipe that was on the video, EXCEPT I did NOT use the dried fish that she used for her broth. I had some dried seaweed in my cabinet, that I use for miso soup, and simmered that. Of course, you could just skip that, because unless you are a real expert, you are not going to notice. it does not seem to warm up as well, the rice sticks are not as tender, so next time I will make smaller batches. Also, this basic sauce, once cooked down, would be very good over rice, with some very firm tofu and vegetables in it. But be prepared, it IS hot, and we both agreed that the more you ate, the hotter it got. Very good winter warming food!

This is the recipe that I followed:

They give a range of 4 to 6 tablespoons of the paste...I used 4, and a small sprinkling of the red pepper flakes. That is PLENTY! Try that before you get brave and use more! Let me know if you try it!
P.S. For some reason, all my photos made the red pepper sauce looked like it was glowing nuclear waste! But really wasn't quite that "bright". Another thing I would do different is add more green onions to the dish, maybe garnish with a few more at the end of cooking.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's Invention

I had three different black-eyed pea recipes printed out to pick from for today; I just had to decide which one to prepare! But the last two days I had been helping my husband work at our building site until dark, and did not make it to the store (which is probably a good thing, I'd be afraid to be seen out in public after being out in the cold all day, and wood shavings in my hair).

But gosh...I had no canned black eyed peas to just warm up, and I have NEVER, that I can remember, missed having the traditional Southern black-eyed pea meal for January 1st. I brought a pound of them to a boil, and let sit an hour or so. I had some vegetarian ham seasoning, and put in the pot--I thought I'd just have them plain, and do something with the rest of them later.

But I kept coming up with ideas, which were ingredients I had purchased for the other recipes I was *going* to make.....2 tbsp. veggie ham seasoning...1/2 onion, diced.....a sprinkling of Chipotle chili powder, with it's wonderful smokey scent....1 fresh jalapeno, finely diced....2 cloves of garlic, minced....then 2 small stalks of celery, thinly sliced, a regular sized can of fire roasted diced tomatoes, and freshly ground black pepper. I had to REALLY watch it the last little bit, when it became thick...the beans needed to simmer a bit more, but I was reluctant to add more liquid, so I stirred frequently so that I didn't have a repeat of my last black-eyed pea cooking attempt!

I served this with Jasmine rice to my husband, and warned him it was an experiment (and assuring him that the celery leaf for garnish was NOT cilantro!) ...he said, "That was really, really good!" So, I decided I had better write this one down, since he liked it so well. (I did, too). Next time, hopefully I can put it in the crockpot, I think it does a better job of cooking beans thoroughly (which only works if you plan ahead of time, like I failed to do yesterday!).

I think it will be even better tomorrow. I think it would also be good to throw some okra in there.