Monday, January 24, 2011

Root vegetable stir-fry and other dandy rigs

The other day I saw a recipe for a root vegetable stirfry and it blew my mind a little. I'd never thought to do that. What a wicked idea! So I set out to appropriate it. Although Bruce still claims to not like vegetables, there are certain vegetables he likes even less than others, and turnip is one of them. This root vegetable stir-fry had a ton of turnips which he didn't even notice. Carrots, beets, turnips, and parsnips sliced thinly and stir-fried with a sweet and sour sauce (mirin*, soy sauce, lime juice, garlic, ginger, sesame oil).  Turnip, rest your weary battle-worn body. You have prevailed once again! Let it be known that I've always had faith in you. Bruce also hates toasted sesame oil "right up there with mushrooms and onions" and he still liked this which was great.

I decided to make cinnamon rolls out of sugar cookie dough at 1:30 in the morning. I'd been thinking about making these for months. Bruce got leftovers for breakfast. "You're dandy," he told me this morning. "Of all the rigs, you're the dandiest." 

Awww :)

*Mirin is a sweet Japanese rice wine. Hopefully you can easily get it at Asian groceries, or I'll be screwed next time I have to buy this without a discount. It's pretty expensive from a health food store.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Scotian Kimchi Chigae

I have a headcold. I've been working diligently to burn this cold out of my system with fiery foods. I've been making insane hot toddies, employing all sorts of food cures: Garlic, ginger, black pepper, cayenne, sriracha, lemon, honey, shitake mushrooms, miso, sauerkraut, umeboshi plum, licorice, thyme, fennel, a ton of tea and lots of vegetables. Last night, after having to miss one of the two actual workdays of my week where I have to go outside, I really wanted to make sure it didn't hang around and stop me this week. I tried to recall the spiciest dish I've ever eaten, and I fondly remembered the kimchi ramen soup I'd eaten in Korea with my brother. 

Unfortunately, it's almost midnight, and I don't have any kimchi.... But I do have sauerkraut! Kimchi is, put simply, spicy sauerkraut. I'm certainly oversimplifying it here, as there're many special methods to making it, but when you break it down, this is what you've got. I turned to one of my most trusted authorities on Korean cooking, the girls from Crazy Korean Cooking to show me the ropes.

Here's my version:

Scotian Kimchi Chigae

1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
2 lrg. cloves garlic, sliced
1T. minced ginger 
2 c. sauerkraut, chopped, juice reserved
2 carrots, sliced thinly
1 lb. tofu, cubed
2 c. broth (in my case-- homemade shitake/kombu)
3 tsp. gochu  (Korean red pepper powder)
1 bundle of mung bean noodles

In a pot, heat the sesame oil. Add garlic and stir for a minute or so. Add cubed tofu and fry for 4 minutes or so. Add chopped kimchi, gochu powder and mix to combine. Add carrots, ginger and, broth, and some sauerkraut juice. Bring to boil. Cover and lower to a medium-low for 15 minutes or until carrots are tender. If much of the broth has evaporated, add some more sauerkraut juice. Add the mung bean noodles and simmer for a couple of minutes- they only take a couple of minutes to soften. I chopped up the shitakes from my broth and threw 'em in, for extra immune-boosting and flavo(u)r-flav.

While this soup didn't boast the complex flavours of Kimchi Chigae, as the kimchi tends to be left for a long time to ferment with the gochu, kniting the flavours together in a magical way, this soup was certainly awesome in a pinch, and I'm pretty pumped on my hilarious Nova Scotian bastardization  (with all due respect) of this wonderful, medicinal dish. If you're sick and you don't have any sauerkraut, it'll do in a pinch. I noticed my head clear quite a bit last night, but this morning, it's about 80% gone (the congestion, not my head). Pretty amazing. I've only had this cold for a couple of days and now it's practically gone. BURNINATING THE COLLLD!