A mother-daughter conversation on food and cooking (mostly)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Is This Bacon?

This was today's breakfast.  When I pulled out the bacon, I found that I had bought "reduced-sodium" by mistake:  well, excuse me, but the whole point  of bacon is the salt and fat!  I pouted and cursed myself for a minute, but then I went ahead and cooked it and it wasn't too bad.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Korean Pancake

Over the past year, I've been trying to perfect my own home version of pajeon, the big pancakes one often sees on appetizer menus at Korean restaurants. Some versions have green onions; some have kimchi; some have squid and shrimp.

I bought some Korean pancake mix at the Hyundai Market, hoping that would make things just right. It's a powder -- just add water. I worked my way through the small bag, trying various mixtures and additions, but the resulting pancakes never fluffed up properly.

I also struggled to find the right pan. The pancakes were too big to flip neatly; I'd always make a huge mess of orange batter.

So I switched things up quite a bit, drawing from the Dutch baby method to come up with this recipe. It's eggier than some versions, and it contains only wheat flour, no rice flour. I often make it for a solo dinner.

When I made a version of this out in Arizona, I left out the kimchi, because we were using Russell's amazing homemade kimchi as a condiment. And I used Dad's tender carrots, so I cut them in bigger slices. The nice big pan made it quite thin and fast-cooking. It was part of a lovely family meal: Will made spicy pork and we ate it with Dad's lettuces, some rice, and more things I can't remember. The reason I can't remember is probably that it was preceded by Manhattans made by Russell using his homemade maraschino cherries.

Eva's Korean Pancake

Beat lightly:
2 eggs

Add and mix:
dash sesame oil
2 pinches salt
1/2 cup white flour
some kimchi juice from the jar
enough water to make a thin batter

Toss batter with:
1 carrot, peeled and grated or julienned
2-3 green onions, cut into 1- or 2-inch lengths
some solids from the kimchi jar

Preheat oven to 425.

Heat peanut oil on medium-high in a nonstick, oven-safe pan or a cast iron skillet. Tong the batter-coated vegetables out of the bowl into the pan, distributing them evenly. Pour the rest of the batter over the top. Turn heat down to medium and cook, without stirring, for a few minutes. Transfer to oven and cook for 12-20 minutes, until lightly browned in patches.

Serve with thin dipping sauce made from:

spoonful of sambal
wine or rice vinegar
soy sauce
sesame oil

Cut into squares using pizza cutter or knife.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Grilled Chicken a la Rubber Mallet

We had grilled chicken like this in Portugal, and yesterday Dad and Russell recreated it.

1 medium broiling chicken (3 to 4 pounds), split in half through the breastbone
Red chile flakes
Several cloves of garlic
Juice of one lemon
1 rubber mallet

Pound the chicken with salt, chile flakes, and garlic to flatten slightly, in order to make each half more or less an even thickness.  Squeeze the lemon juice over all and let sit for an hour or so.

Grill indirectly over a hot charcoal and mesquite fire (that is, put a drip pan in the middle and push the hot coals to the side before putting on the chicken) and grill, covered, for one hour, turning every 15 minutes.   Let rest ten minutes or more before serving.