Korean Barbecue Chicken

Korean Barbecue Chicken

Korean Barbecue Chicken

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I love Korean barbecue, what’s not to love?  Grilled meat, pickled and fermented veggies…mmmh it’s a veritable umami bomb on a plate.  The fermented veggies alone are enough to get me into the door of a Korean restaurant.  I love banchan, savory sprouts, kimchi, cucumber kimchi, and daikon radish make the heaviness of the barbecued meats lighter.  I remember my first experience eating Korean food.  The week of my wedding my best friend suggested that we go to a Korean bath spa together.  She said it would be a great mini break for me to table the stress of planning a wedding, and at the same time get my skin nice and polished for the wedding.  I happily agreed, we had gone to many a spa together throughout our friendship, so why not make another happy memory with my best friend before I sailed off into wedded bliss, I thought.  The day before our appointments my best friend called to say that something came up at work and she could not join me, but she insisted that I go alone because I needed to destress, so I did.  The spa was unlike any other spa I had ever been to. After checking in, I was led on a guided tour of the steam rooms, jade rooms, and showers.  Everyone within the walls, except for the technicians, was completely naked and Asian.  I stuck out like a sore thumb.   First of all, I wasn’t at all prepared to be completely naked in front of anyone other than a technician. At all the spa’s  that I had ever been to everyone wore something, be it a robe, or bathing suit, but not this spa.  I also was not prepared to leave without having had my body polish.  I had read the Yelp reviews and this place was the best!  I wanted to sparkle and shine at my wedding and the only thing standing in the way of that happening was me getting naked, so I did.  I was sitting in the sauna with three women, and they could sense my unease.  They were so kind, they chatted me up, and when I felt comfortable one of them asked me how I found out about the spa.  I told them and they laughed.  I’m guessing that the spa didn’t get very many non-Asian patrons, which is too bad, nakedness aside, it was a great spa. The spa lacked the more polished elegance of a Burke Williams, but what it lacked in elegance, it made up for it other areas, namely the food area.  After getting my scrub, and detoxing in the sauna, I walked over to the jade rooms, and just beyond that was a bar and the scent coming from the bar was intoxicating.  The bar/restaurant had a full menu of soups with fermented and pickled veggies, JACKPOT! I grabbed a folded robe from a pedestal near the entrance into the bar–you didn’t think they would make us eat naked did you?–and sat down to a deliciously healthy meal.  If only all spa’s included this kind of service.  That was my first experience eating Korean food, and since then I’ve fallen in love with it.  This recipe is my take on chicken Korean barbecue.  I have to say that this chicken is delicious!  Better than the chicken that I’ve had at most restaurants that I’ve been to.  This recipe requires Gochujang–a spicy fermented chili paste. You may need to venture into an Asian market for the Gochujang.  I purchased a jar at my local Whole Foods, they had several varieties of it, I chose a garlic Gochujang.

 

Here’s what you need:

Ingredients:

1lb of boneless skinless organic chicken thighs, cut each thigh into 3 or 4 pieces

1.5 tablespoons of Gochujang

2 teaspoons of sugar–can sub with maple sugar or syrup

1 teaspoon of garlic grated

3 green onions chopped finely both whites and green parts

1 teaspoon of grated ginger

2 teaspoons of sesame oil

1 teaspoon of olive or grapeseed oil

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

sea salt to taste

Directions: Season the chicken with sea salt and set aside.

To a large mixing bowl or medium size bake pan add the remaining ingredients,

combine and mix well,

then toss in the chicken, tossing to coat the chicken completely in the marinade.

Cover with foil and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking.  Grill the chicken on a hot grill, 5-7 minutes on each side, serve and enjoy!

 

 

Berbere Spiced Lentil Stew (MISR WOT)

Berbere Spiced Lentil Stew

Berbere Spiced Lentil Stew

 

So I’ve decided that this will be my last post until the summer is over.  Mainly because we’ll be traveling for at least  three weeks in August, and today is Page’s last day in her summer program at school.  We have about a week of lounging around and playing in the back yard before she starts her Spanish immersion summer program.  I want to spend as much time as I can with her, without looking at my phone to do all that blogging requires of me.  I’ll be sure to update my Instagram account with all of my food adventures–as usual.  So if you aren’t following me on Instagram, click on the link to the right to do so.  Now to the recipe. Berbere Chicken was one of the first recipes that I shared on this blog.  It’s one of Page’s favorite chicken dishes–although lately it is getting some strong competition from Sous Vide Chicken Thighs with Thyme and Garlic. She still love this chicken nonetheless. After making the chicken the last time, I was so impressed with the flavors, I wanted to add it to something else, and then it occurred to me how awesome this seasoning would be on lentils, in a soup.  As I walked around my kitchen, grabbing ingredients and  formulating a recipe in my head, lentils, tomatoes–because my garden is overflowing with them, onion, garlic, lemon, and berbere spice, it occurred to me that I had these flavors before in a dish at an Ethiopian restaurant.  Sure enough there was a recipe for a stew by none other than Marcus Samuelson.  While I did not follow his recipe exactly, my own isn’t so far off.  I used some Organic Green French Lentils, which I sprouted.  His recipe and I guess the traditional recipe calls for red lentils. I added some of the preserved lemon salt  I made to my bowl as a finish.  If you haven’t made my preserved lemon salt yet, a little preserved lemon would be awesome with this.

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Ingredients

1 cup of sprouted organic green lentils

1 large tomato chopped

1 small onion, chopped

4 cloves of garlic

2 tablespoons of oil –your choice I used butter

2 tablespoons of berbere spice

1 lemon cut into wedges

3 cups of water

Ingredients for Berbere Spice

Ingredients:
3 Tablespoons of Paprika I used a smoked
1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon of ground ginger
1 tablespoon of cumin seeds or ground cumin
1teaspoon of ground turmeric
1teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of fenugreek powder, or seeds
1 teaspoon of coriander
6 cardmom pods or 1 teaspoon of ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of allspice
1/2 teaspoon of black peppercorns
8 whole cloves

Directions for spice blend:
Place all the spices in a dry cast iron skillet and cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly until toasted about 3-5 minutes. Cool completely  place all ingredients in a spice grinder or blender until finely ground. Transfer to an air tight storage container for up to 3 months.

Directions: Heat the oil along with the onion, and garlic and cook until onion is translucent.

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Add in the lentils and berbere spice.

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Allow the mixture to cook for 2-3 minutes, then add in the tomato,

 

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cook for another minute or two,

 

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then add in the water.  Bring to a boil, then allow the lentils to simmer for 20-30minutes, or until lentils are tender.

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You can serve at this point, by adding the stew to a bowl and squeezing a few lemon wedges over the soup.  I wanted a little more texture, so I blended a quarter of my lentils then added them back into the stew.

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It made the soup thicker and creamier.  Delicious either way!

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DIY Tater Tots–How to Make Homemade Tater Tots

DIY Tater Tots How to Make Homemade Tater Tots

DIY Tater Tots How to Make Homemade Tater Tots

How amazing are potatoes?  I love them in every form.  So does Page.  I have been wanting to do a tater tot for her for a long while now.  They are super easy to make, especially if you have a food processor.  You just throw the potatoes in, and the processor does all the work.  All you have to do is form the tots. If you’re not into forming a few hundred tiny balls of potatoes, this also works as a recipe for hash browns–yes a two for one! I’ve used potato starch in this recipe, but feel free to use all purpose flour if you so choose. You can also substitute almost any potato in this recipe.  Sweet potato tater tots are pretty awesome!

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Ingredients:

2 pounds of potatoes peeled–I used fingerlings and purple

1 tablespoon of potato starch (can sub for any flour you’d like)

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon of onion powder

1 teaspoon of thyme

1 tablespoon of potato starch

1 cup of high heat oil like safflower or grapeseed

sea salt to taste

Directions: Place the potatoes in a pot in cold water–enough to cover them, and bring to a boil–allow to cook for 6-7 minutes,

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then strain and allow to cool to room temperature.

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Once cool, grate with a box grater, or grate in a food processor.  Once grated, wrap the shredded potatoes in cheese cloth and wring out all the water that you can,  transfer to a large bowl, add seasoning, and potato starch, and form tater tots.

 

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TIP: If your dough is sticky wet your fingers, balls will be easier to form. Heat oil in a skillet. Once hot fry tots in batches until brown.

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Transfer to a paper towel lined plate, season with salt and  serve with my recipe for ketchup and enjoy!

 

 

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DIY Concord Grape Soda–How to make Lacto-fermented Concord Grape Soda

Concord Grape Soda--Lacto Fermented Concord Grape Soda

Concord Grape Soda–Lacto Fermented Concord Grape Soda

We took a short break/vacation to take Page up north.  By north I mean northern California.  We live in southern California, and don’t really travel up north often enough, as a matter of fact, my husband would love nothing more than to move up north.  It’s where his roots are, where his soul speaks, and ultimately where I think he’d like us to retire.  Up north people are much more liberal–I would venture to say that the people up north are the prototype for what people in other states consider Californians.  Socially liberal, tree hugging, animal loving, free spirited Californians.  Here in the south, we are still liberal, but much more superficial–I call it the Hollywood effect.  People in the north are street friendly, meaning they stop and talk to you, and are truly interested in getting to know you.  They know their neighbors, talk to them regularly even.  Here in the south, you’d be lucky to see your neighbor once a week, and talk to them once a month.  It’s a very different atmosphere. Everything is so green in the north–in spite of the drought–there are so many farms–yes I said farms–I know the image of our state is one of sunshine and beaches, but we grow a lot of food here in California.  We visited the Muir Woods which Page LOVED! Page really enjoyed San Francisco, she was especially fond of the steep hills. We especially loved the food.  I had so many restaurants on my list of must try restaurants but we only made it to a few.   I really wanted to visit State Bird Provisions, and Bar Tartine,  time just didn’t permit it.  On the road trip up, I brought along my Bar Tartine Techniques & Recipes book.  I came across a recipe for Grape Soda and knew it would be the first thing that I was going to make when we returned home.  Luckily for me, concord grapes just so happen to be in season.  I found them on sale at Whole Foods for $2.99/lb.  Not bad for organic grapes!  Since my ginger bug was active, this was a breeze to make.  If you can find organic grape juice then it will be even more simple, If not take the time to juice the grapes like I did–so worth it!

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Ingredients:

2 cups of organic Concord grape juice

2 cups of water–filtered

1/2 cup of strained lacto soda starter–ginger bug

2-4 tablespoons of sugar–optional

 

Directions: Add the juice, water and lacto starter to a large mason jar.  Make sure the jar is large enough to allow for some head space, cover with cheese cloth and place in a dark area–out of direct sun light.

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Allow to ferment for 3-4 days or until the mixture is slightly foamy and releases bubbles when stirred.  It’s hot here so my mixture was fizzy and bubbly by day 2.

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Transfer the mixture to a flip top bottle or canning jar, making sure to leave at least 1 inch of head space–I’d say 2.5 inches just to be safe.

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Let this stand at room temperature for no more than 24 hours, to allow for pressure/carbonation to build,–my suggestion is that you allow this to carbonate inside of a dark cabinet.

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You do not want to run the risk of an explosion in an open environment–it’s dangerous!  Once carbonated, transfer to a refrigerator.  Once cool, serve over ice and enjoy!  Tip:  If using a glass flip top bottle, place the bottle in a tube sock, and then place that in a closed cabinet.  If the bottle explodes it will confine the damage.

 

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If you like this recipe,try my recipe for Lacto-fermented Strawberry Soda.

 

How to Make a Ginger Bug–How to Make a Lacto-Starter

How to make a Ginger Bug--How to make a Lacto Starter

How to make a Ginger Bug–How to make a Lacto -Starter

So you’re probably wondering what a ginger bug is, and why on earth would I make it!  The short answer is that it’s a culture of good bacteria that is used as a base for homemade lacto fermented sodas.  Much like kefir, kombacha, yogurt, and  other fermented foods like pickles, kimchi, and sauerkraut, the bacteria in lacto fermented sodas provides beneficial bacteria to our guts. I’m not a fan of conventional soda’s for obvious reasons, and I’m so glad to have this as an alternative.  The recipe I used for making this lacto soda starter comes from the book Bar Tartine Techniques & Recipes, get a copy, it’s a great book.  You can use any type of sugar that you like in this recipe, and don’t worry about the sugar, it’s not for you, it’s for the bacteria, and they need it to thrive.   They eat it, and what’s left over is a thing of pure beauty.  One thing you should know about this recipe, is that you have to use organic ginger.  Commercial ginger is radiated, and because of that will not make a successful starter.

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Ingredients

4 cups of filtered water

5 teaspoons of grated  organic ginger

5 teaspoons of organic sugar

Directions: Add the water,

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1 teaspoon of ginger,

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and one teaspoon of sugar, to a large canning jar, or a bowl, stir well,

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cover with cheesecloth and place in a dark corner.

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The next day add one teaspoon of ginger, and one teaspoon of sugar, stir well, cover with the cheesecloth and return to the corner.  Continue to do this for another 3 days.  By the 5th day your ginger bug should be bubbling with action.  By bubbling I mean this:

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The bubbles are not boiling, just a few here and there, but when I moved it with spoon it sizzled.

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Once you get that, your ginger bug is ready to use. If you’re not ready to use it right away, transfer it to a mason jar, cover it, and refrigerate it.  Make sure to feed it once a week with 1 teaspoon of ginger and 1 teaspoon of sugar.  When you’re ready to make soda bring the starter to room temp, feed it with 1 teaspoon of ginger and 1 teaspoon of sugar until it bubbles again, about 3 days.  Stay tuned tomorrow I’ll share my recipe for strawberry soda using this starter–it’s soooooooooooooooo good!

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Miso Butter–How to Make Miso Butter

How to Make Miso Butter

How to Make Miso Butter

Butter is delicious all on its own, I love adding it to sauces, slathering it on piping hot corn on the cob, or a simple piece of toast. There is not much that butter doesn’t improve.  However, miso butter is the younger, prettier, and more sophisticated sibling of butter. It’s everything butter is, but better! I was introduced to miso butter by David Chang after watching a chef series he did.  Frankly, I don’t know why I never tried making miso butter before.  I have had it several times at restaurants, and was always fascinated whenever chefs mentioned using it. I guess it just never occurred to me to try to make it at home–until it did–and now I can’t live without it.  Most chefs recommend using a 2 to 1, or 3 to 1 ratio of butter to miso.  I found my sweet spot is larger on the butter side, so my ratio is more of a 4 to 1. Tomorrow I am going to share one of my absolute favorite ways to use miso butter, until then here is how you make it.

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Prep time: 5 minutes

 

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons of white organic miso

7  tablespoons of grass fed butter–cut into cubes–it makes mixing easier

Directions: To a medium size bowl add the butter,

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Then the miso.

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Using  the back of a large spoon, mix and mash together the butter and miso paste until well combined.

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You’ll know the butter is fully mixed when you no longer see streaks of brown or yellow.

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Once the butter and miso have been well combined, transfer to an air tight container and refrigerate for later use.

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This butter is amazing on almost everything, from steaks to veggies and fish!  See you tomorrow;-)

If you like this recipe try my recipe for How to make Butter or How to brown butter

 

DIY Onion Soup Mix–Copy Cat Lipton’s Onion Soup Mix

 

DIY Onion soup mix

DIY Onion soup mix

There are three seasonings that I can rely on my mom to have in her cupboards at all times: Lawry’s seasoning salt, Lemon pepper, and Lipton’s Onion Soup Mix.  In fact while writing this, I was tempted to call her, and have her take a picture of what is inside her cupboards, just so that you guys could see, but she’s not that technologically savvy.  She barely knows how to get the pictures that I send her of Page through text.  When I was growing up my mom would rent  4-5  movies and make a bunch of snacks for us watch over the course of the weekend.  One of those snacks was a sour cream and onion dip.  She’d take a container of sour cream and mix in a package of the Lipton Onion Soup mix–simple but delicious.  We’d happily nosh on potato chips, celery, and carrot sticks dipped in the onion dip while we watched the latest movie release from Blockbuster video–yes I just dated myself!  Oh the memories!  I haven’t had that dip in years!  I’d say a good 10-12 years, maybe longer.  It’s not something my mom makes any more.  I wanted to make it for me and my hubby, but I didn’t want to buy the Lipton’s seasoning. I had an idea of what was in the seasoning–or at least I thought I did– dried minced onion, onion powder, dried green onion–but to be sure I called my mom and asked her what was on the ingredient list.  Sure enough she had a box in her cupboard and  the ingredient list she read to me was anything but simple. Besides the MSG, onion powder, and cornstarch, there were a list of ingredients that had  nothing to do with onions. So I set out to do what I do best and made my own–without all the added preservatives and coloring.  I used the organic onion powder that I made myself, and added minced onion and a few herbs.  A perfect match! Tastes just like I remember it! Delicious!!

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Makes the equivalent of 1 package of Lipton Onion soup mix

Ingredients:

4 Tablespoons of organic dried minced onion flakes

3 teaspoons of organic onion powder

1 teaspoon of organic dried chives

1 teaspoon of sea salt

1/4 teaspoon of celery salt

Directions: Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl, if you don’t plan on using this right away, transfer it to an air tight container for later use.

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