Sunday, November 27, 2011
But wouldn't it be even cooler if you birthday just happened to coincide with Thanksgiving? No way! It does?! Let's make a Thanksgiving meal except without the dead bird and all that jiggly-booty-inducing stuffing which the reason for eating, even as I get older, still remains an utter mystery.
Thanksgiving in Korea (Chuseok) does not include a dead bird. It does, however, typically involve a 3-day celebration and a much-needed break from work. What's not great about that? And you say there's a giant, spicy, noodletastic meal at the end of days and days of binge drinking?!??
We gotta make that happen.
The Uprising presents a Chuseok meal of epic proportions, and fabulous breeding ground for delicious revelry the likes of which you've rarely seen. There are noodles with veggies and a CRAPLOAD of garlic, teeny little savory scallion pancakes, wilted spinach, rice, and kimchi (spicy spicy spicy fermented cabbage), all of which you'll get to drown in a sauce that'll make you swoon.
Oh. And then there's cake.
Pajeon (Scallion Pancakes)
Sigumchi Namul (Wilted Spinach)
Kimchi (Spicy Fermented Cabbage)
Alli's Lemon Coconut Cake
Scroll down and try not to drool!
Sweet tater noodles. Those are noodles, made with sweet potatoes and water. So weird. SO COOL. They look a little like seaweed and taste like victory, but don't let the texture turn you away! They're not what you're used to. Get over it. These are deeeeeeelicious and totally worth a trip to your local Asian grocery.
Japchae is just this: sweet potato noodles with a boatload 'o veggies. Bitchin'.
Learn from our mistake. Cut them before you attempt to add them to boiling water.
While your water is heating up, grab your cutting board, a pile of vegetables, and go crazy. The more, the merrier. Get creative and use whatever ya want! Slice and dice:
1 red pepper
1 bunch of scallions
1 package white button mushrooms (or not, if 'shrooms aren't your thing)
2-10 cloves garlic (seriously, go nuts)
Doesn't it look pretty? This garlic picture is like porn.
Once everything is sliced, heat up a giant skillet and add in a generous dash of light-colored oil (now's not the time for olive oil). Sautee your mushrooms first, cooking only until they're soft. STOP BEFORE THEY TURN MUSHY AND BROWN because seriously, mushrooms cooked like that are the reason people don't like mushrooms. Change up the status quo, will ya? When the mushrooms are nearly done, add in all the garlic and cook for just a flash (less than a minute), then dump everything into a bowl and return the pan to the stove. Now, add a bit more oil and sautee all your other veggies until they're slightly softened. Then, dump them in the bowl, right on top of that scintillating pile of garlic and shrooms. The veggies are gonna hang out there for a bit, so feel free to set them aside.
Your water should be boiling by now, so drop in your noodles. Cook them for just a few minutes, 4 or 5, until they're soft and translucent. I know, right?!?! Aren't they cool?
Drain 'em like a pro, shake out the extra water, and toss 'em in with your veggies. Add a dash of soy sauce (but not too much...a delicious sauce is on the way) and stir everything up. Voila! Japchae!
Easy and unassuming, these little babies are the world's most surprising showstoppers. Who knew that of all the lovely things we were tucking into, scallion pancakes dipped in sauce would be the faves?
They're laughably simple...literally regular 'ol vegan pancake batter (sans sweetener) with scallions stirred in. It's hilarious!
Actually, the secret's in the sauce, which you'll want to make a lot of (it's perfect over everything you're making for this meal, except the cake....maybe). Whip this concoction together before you throw together the 'cakes, just to give it some time to meld. In a small bowl, whisk together:
1 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup clear vinegar or mirin
1/4 cup light-colored oil
1 tbs agave or maple syrup
3-4 scallions, thinly sliced
2-10 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tbs sesame seeds, toasted (you can buy them pre-toasted if you want)
Stir it together. Smell it. Set it aside. Try not to freak out.
Heat up your griddle or nonstick pan over medium heat and get another bowl for your pancake batter. Stir together:
1 1/4 cup flour (these would be easy to make gluten-free)
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbs canola oil
1 1/2 cup unsweetened soy or rice milk
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced (more or less to taste)
*Notice. You're not adding salt. The dipping sauce will take care of that.*
Now, cook 'em like you would regular pancakes! Surprise! Ladle some batter into your hot pan and cook for 5 minutes, then flip and cook for another 3 minutes or until the 'cake is brown and nice. Cut into wedges and serve with the fab sauce.
People will love you.
Are you ready for this? It's complicated.
1. Bowl some water.
2. Drop in 1 pound of fresh spinach.
3. Wait 20 seconds.
4. Drain spinach.
5. Serve with the pajeon dipping sauce, since you made extra. Wink.
Kimchi is fermented cabbage. Weirded out? Don't be. It's delicious and chock full of fiber and probiotic bugs for your tummy. In fact, it's been called one of the world's healthiest foods! And Koreans eat it allllll the time! So wipe that "it looks weird" gaze off your face, that furrowed brow, that worried stare. Kimchi is heaven.
As with many ancient and/or traditional foods (like borscht and split pea soup), kimchi recipes are as diverse as the families they come from. The one I tried is as simple as it can be, basically just cabbage soaked in salt and smothered with hot pepper. It takes a while and involves a pair of gloves, but it's worth it!
The ingredient list is short.
1 head cabbage, green or red
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup hot chili powder (or kochukaru, if you want to make a trip to an Asian grocery)
Slice up the cabbage into bite-sized bits and don't freak if they're not perfect...we're going for a rustic effect here, folks. Put them in a bowl and stir in the salt, then cover it with plastic wrap and let it hang out on the counter. The cabbage will wilt and create its own liquid! Huzzah!
After about an hour has passed, rinse the cabbage a squeeze out the water once or twice (more rinsing=less salty kimchi). You may have to let it wilt for a bit longer if your cabbage seems to be making more and more liquid, which was my problem, most definitely. Certain cabbages will have more water than others, but one thing's for sure...you don't want to start stirring in the spicy pepper until the cabbage has fully completed the wilting process. Trust me on this. Apparently many kimchi-makers make this easier by pressing the cabbage into the bottom of a colander a few times, a piece of info that would've been more useful to me yesterday. But not for you! I fudged up so you don't have to!
ALLI'S LEMON COCONUT CAKE
Alli: "This cake is so freakin' rich it doesn't need frosting."
Me: Quiet skepticism and a quizzical gaze followed by, "Really?"
Totally. This cake is more like pound cake. Like, pound down your esophagus pound cake, mindfully if you can, but without self-reproach if you fail (this one time). It's so good.
Preheat your oven to 350 and grease a bundt pan if you have one. Or if you borrowed one from Alli. If not, use whatever you have on hand, but be sure to grease fairly liberally. The picture above represents an oopsie-turned-genius move that involved smashing the bits stuck to the pan into a cup, upturning it in the center, and sprinkling it with powdered sugar. We don't stress around here.
In a large bowl, combine:
1 2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup canola oil
1 14oz. can coconut milk (not the beverage)
1/4 cup soy or rice milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tbs lemon zest (about 3 lemons worth)
Stir until combined, then add:
3 cups flour (whole wheat is a no-go)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
Stir. Not too much. Pour it into your prepared pan and bake. Let it go for an hour in you're using a bundt, less for an oblong cake pan or loaf pan. Just keep an eye on it would ya? Sheesh.
When the cake is done, let it cool for about 10 minutes before you attempt to flip it. See photograph above for inspiration. If you don't succeed in getting it completely out, grab your powdered sugar and go to town. If you're a superhero and happen to shake out a perfect cake, you should add powered sugar anyway. But you're still cool.
(recipe inspired by and adapted from Veganomicon, of course)
at 1:12 PM
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
...thoroughly enjoy my summer CSA box and wish it would last forever.
...make and eat and LOVE a vegan pizza at least twice a week.
...discover an affinity for Miller's Gin. TRY IT.
...travel back to Missoula and wallow in misery when I'm forced to leave again.
...research, develop, and deploy a whole new life plan and begin a countdown to February.
...miss The Uprising like I'd miss a foot or a kidney or a bottle of gin that I emptied. SO MUCH.
Like, so much.
The urge to write, like most creative pursuits, ebbs and flows. Comes and goes. But you know what really makes it go? A full time job. Yeah, yeah...the money is nice and all that, but after a day of computerthiscomputerthat-look-at-a-screen and try not to vomit, writing was the absolute LAST thing I could think of. Finishing a day in a lil cubicle is cause for a party, and not a "let's cook!" one. More like a "let's drink!" one.
Not all is lost. Pursuits like The Uprising last a lifetime. Things are ch-ch-ch-ch-changin' around here though, and I hope you'll stay along for the ride! It is one of my ultimate goals in life to make time for all things, work and running and writing stories and reading books about Catherine the Great and cooking eggplant and asparagus with hollandaise (so vegan, so amazing). To that end, during this slight lull in working due to that silly Thanksgiving holiday, I've scheduled a GIANT feast to celebrate my friend Matt's birthday! It's Korean. Korean Thanksgiving. For a birthday party. How 'bout it?
at 12:11 PM