Friday, August 15, 2008

Summer slips through with noodles - Kong Cold noodle in Soybean milk

Korean Summer is intense; the air is thick with heat and humidity, I felt as if walking in the water.
One thing my mother often makes during the summer is Kong Guksu, noodle in soy milk.
Each family has different way of doing it. Some family mix sesame, peanut or pine nut for flavor. I am use to just plane soybean milk with cucumber on top.
You can do it with plane soybean milk. It may be a bit of stretch for non-Korean that eating noodle in soy milk, but remember pasta in cream sauce? It is same concept. :)

I did it in traditional way; sock and boil soy beans, ground it as silky as possible and add salt & pepper. The process takes a bit long, but it is wonderful meditation for me.

The short cut for making broth is blend a table spoon of peanut butter, salt & pepper to your taste with plane cold soy milk in blender. Add cooked and chilled wheat noodle of your choice.

I didn't like this rather bland noodle. My taste was too young to appreciate it. Suddenly, after 30 and some more years, I discover it as if it is new food! Some times, good things take time to be appreciated.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Peang-ee & Aehobak Namool, Enoki mushiroom and Zucchini

I have an obsession; 'I gotta have it NOW' kind of thing; the thing that some girls can't resist; precious pretty vegetables!
I wonder who dare to say no to this lovely thing.

It is hard to avoid. Whenever I see new kind of vegetable or new form of known ones, I have to have it! This time it was baby zucchini. This precious little darlings are too good to miss.
But what can I do with it other than grilling to show-off its lovely shape and tenderness?

I wrapped around it with another my favorite, Peang-ee (AKA Enoki).
Baby zucchini has perfect width to wrap around delicate enoki mushroom.
Usual way I would cook Peang-ee and Aehobak Namool is slice zucchini in half moon shape and sautee it little bit with garlic, ginger, soy sauce and sesame oil for about 5 min or so, add enoki, turn off the heat, put a rid on the pan and wait for another 5-6 min. But I decide to make it little bit more elaborate.

Slice zucchini as thin as possible with Vegetable peeler and wrap it around enoki mushroom which trimmed in same length. Arraigned it on the oven safe plate and baked it in the oven for 7 - 10 min (more traditional way would be steamed in steamer but I choose little short cut).

Some times, arranging food in a little bit different way can result in big delight.

3 Baby zucchini, one bundle of enoki mushroom
half clove of garlic, 1/2 t fresh ginger, 1 t of sesame oil, 1 T of soy sauce, 1 T of Water or rice wine (or just white wine)

1. Preheat oven 380F.
2. Trim Enoki into about 3 inch in length. (the rest of edible part you can use it in miso soup or omelet.)
3. Slice zucchini as thin as possible with Vegetable peeler and wrap it around enoki mushroom. Wrap it as tight as you can since enoki shurinks after cooking. Arraigned it on the oven safe plate.
4. Mix grated garlic, grated ginger, say sauce and water. Spoon the sauce over the arranged zucchini and mushroom.
5. Baked it in the oven for 7 - 10 min with rid on.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Pure and Simple - HongHap Tang, Mussels soup

This would be food in its simplest form.
Pure water and mussels or clam, little bit of rice wine, salt and pepper, few green onion, and that's it. Fresh clam or mussels does not need anything else. The sweetness from fresh shellfish is sublime. If anything else is added, it would ruin the delicate flavour.

I was about seven or so. My baby brother about five. As soon as we hear the sound of mussel vendor, we ran to our nanny, begging her to buy a big pot full of steamed mussels. For us, a hot summer day treat was piping hot steamed mussels with little bit of broth. A bit unusual taste for a child, but I came from far south part of Korea, where was (and still is) various kinds of shellfish for every season. I was more used to eat fresh steamed clams, mussels and other shellfish for snack than candy.

I find Koreans, including me, are a bit of soup enthusiast. Boiled food has something that gets us going. The comfort I feel from hot broth is indescribable. Many often consider clear soup is poor food. It has nothing but watery broth. But sometimes, that is the whole point. The calming sensation is somewhat like taking warm beath.

for one person

1/4 lb mussel, 1 1/2 cup of cold water, 1 T rice wine, salt, pepper, and fresh green onion or chive

Clean mussel and place them in rice wind, pepper and 1 1/2 cup of cold water. Boil till all mussels are open. Season it with salt and garnish it with green onion or chive.

You can use small clam (vongola) instead of mussel.