For lots of people ‘comfort food’ is meatloaf and mashed potatoes and mac ‘n’ cheese. Although I am a fan of mac ‘n’ cheese (who isn’t!?) I would politely challenge the assumption that in order to qualify as comfort food, it has to be thick, […]
Lately I’ve been getting the urge more and more to try NEW dishes. Foods that I quite honestly have been scared to make for a very long time. More Vietnamese and Korean and Indian food, perfect french baguettes, deep dish pizza. I’ve started using several new ingredients (red bean paste and lemon grass are my two favorites currently) and I’m loving the learning curve!
Kimchi pancakes have long been on my list of things to try, but I’ve always been intimidated by their complex flavor and chewy-yet-crunchy texture. Also their pronunciation (I don’t even try anymore). The other day though I checked the expiration date on my kimchi and decided I should probably do something with it!!! I tend to buy kimchi in bulk, and then treat it like it lasts forever…and while it does last awhile, forever is a bit of an overstatement.
My got-to with kimchi is a bowl of rice and veggies and tofu covered in sriracha and a dollop of pickled cabbage. Delicious, but I’ve done it a billion times. This was the perfect opportunity to get out of that comfort zone and start trying something new. So I decided to give kimchi pajeon a try.
First off, I was amazed that there are only a few ingredients, the depth of flavor comes almost 100 percent from the kimchi itself, I just upped it a tad with some scallions and thai peppers. (I’ve also made this with 1/4 of shredded leek instead of the scallions. Also delicious!)
I highly recommend using cast iron for this, as it gives a nice crunchy crust and good browning, but if you don’t have it, a non-stick skillet should work good too.
From start to finish I had my ingredients prepped and my pancake sliced and ready to go in less then 20 minutes. While the pancake cooked I tossed together a simple stir fry with leftover veggies, tofu and premade sauce, and dinner was ready just like that! It’s so easy to throw together, and so hands off that this delicious little appetizer could quickly become a weeknight staple, especially if you have some kimchi to use up!
- 1/2 cup All Purpose Flour
- 2/3 cup Potato Startch
- pinch Salt
- 1 Green Onion, sliced thin
- 1 Red Chili (i like thai), sliced thin
- 2/3 cup Napa Cabbage Kimchi, roughly chopped
- 3/4 cup Water
- 1 Tbsp Canola Oil
Whisk together the flour, starch and salt. Stir in the onion and chili.
Stir in the kimchi until well incorporated. Start adding water (you can also use kimchi juice if you have enough). You want to add enough water that you have a good batter that’s not too thick, but not soupy either. I normally find between 2/3 cup and 3/4 is just right.
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Pour in the kimchi batter and use a spatula to spread it to the edges of the pan in an even layer.
Let the pancake cook for 4 – 6 minutes on one side, or until starting to brown. Flip it over and finish cooking the other side until browned. Remove from heat and serve with your favorite dipping sauce!
I first ordered drunken noodles on a whim because I liked the name. Once I got my plate full of sauce-y savory noodles and tasted my first bite, I was hooked. The dish is essentially what it sounds like: a massive plate of spiraling noodles nearly drowning in a tangy sweet/savory/spicy sauce. I’m pretty sure you can’t ACTUALLY get drunk off the sauce like the name suggests the noodles have, but I’d be down to try.
The sauce for these guys can be made a day or two in advance and stored in the fridge. Just give it a good shake before pouring in with the noodles. I use rice noodles in here, and they work absolutely amazing (while keeping the dish gluten free). The one thing to note though is that if they sit in the fridge overnight, although they’ll still TASTE amazing the next day, the will also be melded into a solid chunk of rice noodle that you may need to cut with a knife to eat!!! If you think there’s going to be extras make sure they’re covered in plenty of sauce to keep them from all sticking together in a big noodle-y clump.
I used Bragg’s Coconut Aminos when I made this and then pulled some out before I mixed the tofu in. This way my soy-free son could still eat with me. If you’re not concerned about soy feel free to sub the amino’s for the much more accessible (and cheaper!) soy sauce!
- 1 Tbsp Dried Shitake Mushrooms, ground fine
- 2 tsp Dried Kombu, ground fine
- 1/2 Cup Vegetable Stock
- 1 Tbsp Sriracha
- 1 Tbsp Chili-Garlic Paste
- 2 Cloves Garlic, peeled and minced
- 1/2" cube Ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
- 2 tsp Brown Sugar
- 1/2 lb Extra Wide Pad Thai Rice Noodles, cooked and drained
- 1 Red Bell Pepper, julienned
- 3 Spring Onions, cut on a bias, white and green seperated
- 1/4 Cup Thai Basil, minced
- 1 Block Extra Firm Tofu, cut into 1/2" squares
- Lime Wedges
Put all of the sauce ingredients into a jar or container with a tight fighting lid. Shake vigorously to combine and then refrigerate for at least two hours or up to 48 for best flavor.
Heat 1/4 cup of vegetable oil over medium high heat in a large high sided skillet or wok. Add the tofu cubes and cook, stirring occasionally until all sides are browned.
Add the red peppers and white parts of the onions to the oil and cook for 2 - 3 minutes or until just softened. Add the noodles and sauce and cook, stirring occasionally until sauce is mostly absorbed. Cook longer if you want less sauce, and shorter if you want 'more drunken' noodles.
Turn off the heat and stir in the Thai basil. Garnish wish reserved spring onion greens and lime juice.
Corn was 50 cents a cob at the farmers market this weekend, so you better believe I stocked up!
My all-time favorite way to eat corn is a quick parboil in salted water, and then finishing it on the grill. It’s fast, easy, and can be parboiled in advance so that when dinner time comes the corn can be ready in less than 20 minutes. Add a smear of butter and a generous sprinkle of black pepper, and you’ve got late summer perfection!
Of course that’s not the only way I eat it though! Corn is also amazing in soups, chowders, puddings, breads, salads, sauces and more! I’ve even eaten it in raviolis! This weekend though I decided to try something that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time: a fresh, grilled, corn salsa. I started by throwing a red pepper, two poblano peppers, a jalapeno, and two corn cobs directly on the grill grates (oiled first, of course!)
I let them cook over the a medium flame until the corn kernels started to blacken in places, and the peppers had lots of charred crispy spots. Normally, after cooking like this, I’ll wrap the peppers in plastic so that I can easily slip the skins off. This time though I let them cool without being wrapped. This actually helped to dry them out a bit, which kept my salsa from getting soupy. Leaving the skins on also imparted lots of delicious smoky flavor to my salsa.
Before I added any of the other ingredients to the corn, I used a potato masher to smash some of the kernels in the bowl. I didn’t completely destroy them, but I did crush them down enough so that they released some of their starch. This actually helps with keeping the salsa from getting watery later on, as the starch in corn is a thickener. Some salsas are better a little soupy, this one though I was aiming for a chunky, crunchy pop with every bite. After I finished smashing down the corn I added the rest of my veggies: a seeded tomato, an onion, some cilantro, a dash of chili powder and a squeeze of lime juice.
I call for seeding the tomato in this recipe, as the pulp in the tomato will break down quickly when exposed to acid from the lime, and can make the salsa get runny. There are two basic ways of seeding a tomato. The first involves cutting it into quarters, and then using a sharp knife to cut the pulp from the flesh, leaving nice, flat pieces of tomato that can then be cut into perfect squares. This works great, but it gets rid of a lot more than just the pulp, as you also toss most of the meaty interior of the tomato! The other way, and the one I used for this salsa (since I didn’t need perfect squares) was to cut the tomato in half at it’s equator, and then gently squeeze it. This pushes out all the pulp, while saving all the flesh.
That’s is. Simple, bright salsa, full of grilled veggies and absolutely delicious, whether you’re eating it on chips, pitas – or with a spoon!
- 2 Cobs Corn, shucked
- 2 Poblano Pepper
- 1 Red Pepper
- 1 Jalapeno Pepper
- 1/2 small Red Onion, diced evenly
- 1 large Tomato, seeded and diced evenly (see note above)
- 1/3 cup Cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp Red Chili Powder
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp White Pepper
- 1/2 small lime, juiced
Heat a grill, or a grill pan to medium high heat. Place the corn cobs and peppers over the heat and grill, turning occasionally until corn is bright yellow and has some dark brown/blackened kernels and peppers have charred spots.
Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. After they have cooled, cut the kernels off the corn and place in a large bowl. Cut the peppers into small squares, about 1/4" dice, you want all the pieces to be roughly the same size as the corn kernels.
Smash the corn kernels with the back of a fork, or a potato masher until they are partially crushed and have released some of their juice. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir gently to combine.
Refrigerate Salsa to allow flavors to meld, or serve immediately. It's even better the second day!