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Cook Korean, A Comic Book with Recipes by Robin Ha, has to be the only cookbook on my shelf that I wanted purely for visual reasons.

Oh, wait.  I just remembered that I have Modernist Cuisine at Home.  Oops.

Ok, it’s the second cooking I’ve ever wanted just for the pretty.  lol!

Anyway, the book is focused on Korean home cooking.  Nothing looks terribly intimidating, and there’s a good variety recipes.  There’s a fairly typical looking recipe for easy kimchi (mak kimchi).  But then, I was surprised to see chayote pickle (chayote jangachi) a few pages later.  Chayote is one of my favorite vegetables, and I have never thought to swap it with another vegetable in a Korean recipe before.

Some recipes that I don’t think are in my other books are:

Acorn jelly salad (dotorimuk)
Braised daiko with saury (mu kkongchi jorim)
Seaweed soup with beef (sogogi miyeokguk)
Hand-pulled dough soup with potatoes (gamja sujebi)

A lot of the fun, though, is in the illustrations.  They are ridiculously cute.

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You can find a video preview of the cookbook I made here:

Whee!

A post shared by @awesomesauceeats on

 

Anyway, I tried my hand at one of the recipes.  I decided to go easy since I didn’t really have time to spend at the grocery store.  In this case, I went with the book’s steamed Asian eggplant (gaji namul) recipe.  The only major substitution I made was to use small hot house eggplants than Asian eggplants.  (Again, this was due to time constraints.)  I even used some of the sauce as a dumpling dipping sauce.

Overall, I really liked this recipe.  I also liked the simplicity of the sauce.  I’ve made other sauces from Asian cookbooks, like Momofuku’s octo vinaigrette, but the combination of flavor and ease of this one might very well make it my favorite.  

I eventually modified the recipe to cut out the sugar.  It wasn’t a lot of sugar to begin with, but I still preferred to swap it out.

 

All-purpose Asian dipping sauce (good for dumplings and vegetables)

– freshly grated ginger to taste
– one part sesame oil
– one part mirin
– two parts soy sauce
– small handful of chopped scallions (optional)

Whisk everything together, and use however you wish!

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(There’s no way to make steamed eggplants look fabulous. *sigh*)

Overall cookbook impression?  I love it!  Obviously, you can’t fully judge a book based on visuals and on one recipe, but I’d be more than happy to cook from it over and over again.

 

Disclaimer – I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.  I’m not getting paid for this post.  But for the record, I had been planning on buying this book long before.  I’m a sucker for cute things.

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  1.  This post is not sponsored in anyway.
  2. You must be able to travel to Harvard Square in Cambridge, MA.

I was killing some time the other day, and meandered around the cookbook section of The Coop, the official book store of Harvard University.  Believe it or not, I got bored.  For fun, I walked over to the sale section which is just one room over.  Most of the time, there isn’t anything I want.

This time, there still wasn’t anything I wanted… but that’s only because I already owned it.  The Coop had several copies of The Big-Flavor Grill: No-Marinade, No-Hassle Recipes for Delicious Steaks, Chicken, Ribs, Chops, Vegetables, Shrimp, and Fish for about $8.  I bought this book, written by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby, back in 2014.  I could read it all day because it appeals to me that much.  Seeing it on the shelf reminded me that I should cook from it before the weather turns cold.

Honestly though, I can make a lot of the recipes indoors sans grill.  The appeal of this book is in all the sauce and condiment recipes.

I love this book so much that I want to buy a copy of it just to gift to someone.

Alas, no one I know is addicted to cookbooks as I am.

But if you are or you like to grill, head over to the Coop.  You can thank me later.

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It’s hard to see, but the radishes in my dongchimi had some color change.  Everything smelled fine, but I wasn’t convinced so I didn’t eat it.

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Both photos were after I drained out the liquid.  Before I drained it, it looked like this:

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That’s a lot of life going on in there.

I haven’t had the energy to buy the ingredients again.  But I still wanted to work on some fermentation so I decided to try my hand at amazake.

Amazake is a drink made from sticky rice and koji grains.  Koji are rice grains that have been inoculated with the bacteria you would use to make miso soup and other Japanese fermented products.  Amazake, like yogurt, needs a certain temperature range to ferment.  It was the primary reason why I never bothered to make it.

Last week, it occurred to me that I had access to a couple of sous vide products which could make DIY amazake possible in my house.  So, it’s currently doing its thing in a slow cooker hooked up to a Codlo device.

This is what determination looks like:

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It’s not the most thought-out set-up, but that’s what I get for not planning ahead.  What you see is a 3qt sauce pan (with the rice and koji) set into a 4.5 qt oval slow cooker.  The sauce pan was too tall, and the handle was in the way.  So, I resorted to covering it with aluminum foil.

I am ridiculous, I know.

This also won’t be done until about 10pm because cooking the rice and then cooling it took me longer than I had anticipated.

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First of all, I may or may not be addicted to dongchimi right now.  (Dongchimi is a radish kimchi that lacks the red color from gochugaru, Korean chili flakes.  It’s a fairly mild kimchi and a great gateway drug into Korean fermented foods.)

Second of all, a friend of mine expressed an interest in a special event at a local restaurant called the Feast to Celebrate the Debut of Koreatown: A Cookbook.  Per the event page:

The Kirkland Tap and Trotter is excited to welcome Chef Deuki Hong and writer Matt Rodbard to The Kirkland Tap & Trotter for a one-night-only event celebrating the soju-slamming, pepper-pounding, kimchi-everything adventure that is Koreatown: A Cookbook (Clarkson Potter/Publishers; on sale February 16, 2016). For two years, co-authors Hong and Rodbard gathered recipes, stories, in-the-moment photos, and thoughtful interviews from Korean American neighborhoods all across the country to comprise their portrait of a culture in Koreatown. With a penchant for global comfort foods, killer wood grill to complement the flavors of Korean barbeque, and convivial atmosphere, Kirkland is the ideal place to kick-off the cookbook tour.

I was immediately intrigued, and did some digging around.

It turned out that I had this book available to me to review.  OH HAPPY DAY!

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This cookbook is definitely Korean American in flair.  Some recipes are traditional (ie. baechu kimchi* and kongguksu*) and some are not (ie. kimchi triple-cream grilled cheese and Korean fried broccoli).  But it still provides a great sample of Korean dishes.  I think recipes for all the most popular dishes are here: jjampong*, jjajangmyeon*, and gamjatang*.

I also love how the Korean names, hangul, and English translations are listed for every recipe.

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(That makes a lot of dongchimi.  I’m also unsure about the use of soda for serving.)

The photos are pretty gorgeous, and interviews with Korean Americans across the U.S. are a nice addition.  There are definitely recipes that I want to make.  The first one might be the kalbi meatballs because kalbi is always a good reason.

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Long story short – I feel inspired and this book has a permanent home on my bookshelf.  I hope to have a follow up post in the near future, so I can let you know how a recipe went.

Reference:

baechu kimchi =  napa cabbage kimchi
kongguksu = soy milk noodle soup
jjampong = spicy seafood noodle soup
jjajangmyeon = black bean noodles
gamjatang = spicy pork neck and potato stew

 

Disclaimer – I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.  I’m not getting paid for this post.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/feast-to-celebrate-the-debut-of-koreatown-a-cookbook-tickets-20933491637?aff=ebrowse

http://koreatowncookbook.com/

(note – the official cookbook website has 3 recipes available)

P.S. Completely unrelated to Koreatown, I made the octo vinaigrette from Lucky Peach 101 Easy Asian Recipes book.  I used it as a dipping sauce for a hot pot night with friends.  If I remember correctly, I didn’t use the full amount of garlic but it was still plenty garlicy.  And I got compliments.

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Deacon Giles was fully operational and open on weekends to the public at the end of October, but I didn’t have a chance to visit them again until today.  Everything looked great.  I could not be happier for founders Ian and Jesse.

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There were glasses on the table with aromatic samples of the herbs and spices that went into the gin.  I’m not sure if I can remember them all, but I remember: juniper, lemon peel, orange peel, cardamom pods, angelica root, rosehips, and mace.

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Above:  The “Chief Alchemist” pouring tasting samples to guests.

Deacon Giles rum and gin are slowly making their way into Greater Boston.  So far, they have a decent distribution around the North Shore area.

If you ever visit Salem, MA, I highly recommend visiting the distillery too!

Reference Link:
http://www.deacongiles.com/

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I was in Dutchess County, New York, this past weekend.  Do you know what that means?

Dinner at Another Fork in the Road!

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Our menu for the evening – but the chicken under a brick had been replaced by fried chicken.  And now that I think about it, I think the kimchi brussel sprouts were unavailable.  I think it was more of a kimchi sauce that was on the plate.  Something had been sold out – maybe the rabbit meatballs?

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The cauliflower appetizer.  I only tasted a little bit of it because I am anti-cilantro, but what I tasted of it was very good.

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The kale and mussel toast.  OMG!  So good!

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The scallops platter was not mine, but I think it was the best of the entrees at our table.  I think I’m probably biased toward any plate with perfectly cooked scallops.

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The fried chicken was superb!  The sauce was spicy and very red, so I think it might have had gochujang in it.  The scallion pancake was a floppy disappointment though.  I guess I can’t have it all.

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The duck and soba soup was mine.  The broth and the duck were delicious.  Yes, that is cilantro you see.  Yes, I picked it all off.  In my defense, cilantro was not mentioned in the menu description for this dish.  The soba noodles were oddly a little bitter?  I wonder if they had been dressed in sauce before being added to the soup.

If for some weird reason you’re in Red Hook, NY, or elsewhere in Dutchess County, I still recommend having a meal here.

Reference Link:
https://www.facebook.com/anotherforkintheroad/

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Alternate title = “Am I the only one who does this?”

So, most of the time, my drink of choice is genmai-cha (Japanese green tea with toasted rice) or mugi-cha (roasted barley tea).  No sweetener, no milk.  Unadulterated tea.  Even when I do drink black teas, I still tend to drink them plain.  I’m very fond of drinking Irish Breakfast or Orange Pekoe black.

Now, I have nothing against milk teas.  In fact, I love hitting up a Taiwanese styled tea shop on occasion for sweet milk tea.  (No boba though, it’s too filling.)  (And I don’t go too often.  Even when requesting reduced sugar, it’s still a lot of calories.)  It’s more than I seldom satisfied with any milk tea that I prepare at home.  I know a few people so love black tea with sweetened condensed milk, but there’s something in the mouth-feel texture I don’t like.  If just milk is added, it just dilutes the tea flavor.  I’ve tried heating the milk and letting it be part of the steeping, but it feels like such a hassle.

A couple of months ago, I realized that I had an opened bag of dry milk that was going to go bad if I didn’t use it up.  (I couldn’t even remember which recipe I had originally used it for.)  It led to much searching on the internet for ideas for use, which eventually led me to this:

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I like this combo so much so that I used up the bag, and then went and bought a new bag of dry milk.  Right now, It’s part of my weekend morning routine**.  (Mornings of national holidays also apply.)  I think I use about 2 teaspoons per cup of black tea, but that’s just my preference.

How do you like your tea?

** = oh, I should pack up some and bring it to work

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