Batter Licker

September 2, 2011

bibimbap (korean mixed vegetable and brown rice salad with spicy-sweet chili pepper paste)

A three-day weekend is upon (most of) us, and this time around, that means Jay and I will be attending no less than 5 different get-togethers with family and friends. We certainly get our socializing on.

For once, I don’t think I will be cooking for any one of them. (If I am, no one has told me yet, although they could very well be operating under the general assumption that, where meal-time events are involved, I tend to come bearing the fruits of my kitchen labor. I should probably hit the market tomorrow just in case.) But if I find out that someone would like me to contribute a dish, I would be delighted to throw together this version of bibimbap, mostly because it can be thrown together quite quickly while still delivering an unexpectedly flavorful result. Especially for something that is essentially a mixed veggies and rice salad.

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In my favorite Korean restaurants, bibimbap is served in an extremely hot stone bowl, coated with just a bit of sesame oil that causes the cooked rice to develop a delicious toasted crispiness around the edges. But the beauty of this dish is that everything can be prepared in advanced, and it will still function equally well at room temperature or slightly chilled, making it well-suited for potlucks and barbecues but more interesting than the starchy side dishes typical of those types of events.

This time around, I cooked up some brown rice, then tossed grated zucchini and carrots in toasted sesame oil for a 2-minute saute. Arrange the zucchini, carrots, cucumber, and kimchi (and meat, if you choose to use some – and it would be a wonderful use for leftovers from one of the inevitable barbecues happening this weekend) in colorful patches over the brown rice for a presentation that’s much more beautiful than the haphazard mess I threw down for an impromptu dinner. Plop a few fried eggs on top – one for each person.

But please, for the love of visual appeal, let guests individually douse their bibimbap in the spicy-sweet gochujang (Korean chili paste) for less of a bloody roadkill appearance than what I did here while under extreme duress due to threats coming from my growling tummy. (more…)

August 27, 2011

breakfast padrón pepper poppers

Jay left for the East Coast earlier this week. Why anyone would want to travel to a coast that features the weatherly pleasures of both earthquakes and hurricanes – and in the same week! – is beyond me.

(In all seriousness, I hope everyone back East is okay. Also, maybe it’s time to consider moving to California.)

But it hasn’t been the worst experience to come home, exhausted, and throw together such genius dinner plans as “an abundance of lightly salted, raw dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes” that would normally induce Jay to fast for the evening; and “sauteed broccoli with microwave-zapped potato à la mode,” where “à la mode” refers to a giant scoop of Greek yogurt atop the potato but also to a scoop of baklava Greek yogurt ice cream enjoyed while watching Project Runway.

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His absence also left me unsupervised and unhurried at the farmers market this morning. $40 and more than a weeks’ worth of produce later, I meandered homeward with nectarines, Early Girl and Green Zebra tomatoes, basil, Napa cabbage, pink-speckled cauliflower, onions, summer squash, figs, and a handful of pimientos de Padrón in tow.

I had wanted to try the Padrón peppers since their seasonal debut about a month ago, but staved off the urge because Jay is not particularly keen on peppers. But because he was still away and I was feeling a bit sad (whoever said 4 days of alone time is phenomenal lied, or hasn’t dated Jay, or hasn’t been part of the goofy fun the fiance and I have been having for the past 10 years), I decided it was time to pick some peppers, and whip up something new and fun for my first meal of the weekend.

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Having craved jalapeno poppers for the past week but realizing it was still not quite 10 a.m., I set about on a mission to create a breakfast-appropriate popper. (I add peppers to my eggs all the time and love chile rellenos, so I’m surprised I hadn’t thought of stuffing peppers with eggs, onion and cheese sooner.) (I also like parentheses.)

Now that you’re on board, let’s get to some rebellious popper-making … (more…)

May 26, 2011

green garlic pestoed asparagus “noodles” with poached egg

After whipping up a spontaneous batch of Green Garlic Walnut Pesto in less than five minutes, I found myself adding it to everything I could think of. Smearing a knifeful onto bruschetta; mixing a forkful into scrambled eggs; tossing a heaping spoonful into pasta. As I’ve admitted before, I’m a garlic fiend.

Peering into my fridge to find another pestoed possibility, a friendly bouquet of asparagus waved back at me, and I contemplated a twist on the traditional asparagus with poached egg.


Vegetable peeler in hand, I scraped away at the elegant asparagus stalks and reduced them to noodle-like strands. Halfway through, I wondered whether I had gone completely mad and destroyed a perfectly beautiful spring vegetable. But it was a bit too late to turn back. (more…)

September 3, 2010

healthy mexican-style egg salad

Filed under: eggs,veggies — Tags: , , , , , — Kristen @ 12:28 pm

Back when I was a teeny bopper, I lived in a town so small that I actually looked forward to going to Fresno for a few weeks each summer to visit my aunt and uncle. You see, besides acting as the home of my fabulously fun aunt, Fresno had Ross, Marshalls, and Safeway, while Atascadero had only K-Mart and Food-For-Less.

While visiting, my aunt would take me on bargain-shopping sprees at Marshalls and put me to work at my uncle’s doctor’s office. And every day around 11:30 a.m., it was time to order lunch from the deli around the corner. I could have any sandwich I wanted. It was incredible. It was decadent … to a twelve year-old whose limited world experience told her that eating a sandwich not prepared at home but rather prepared professionally at a deli was just plain fancy.

But I always chose an egg salad sandwich. Something about that deli’s egg salad was truly transcendent compared to a ho-hum turkey sandwich, and I wasn’t yet adventurous enough to appreciate an Italian sandwich. So, being a loyal gal (and a big fan of mushy foods), I stuck with the reliable egg salad.

While I still enjoy a good egg salad, it hasn’t been the same for me since discovering how much mayonnaise goes into it. And frankly, after about two bites, the standard egg-mayo mash-up is rather bland for my ever-so-slightly more refined adult taste. (more…)

May 14, 2010

fried rice

Filed under: chicken/turkey,eggs,rice,veggies — Tags: , , , , , — Kristen @ 12:47 pm

It’s been an I-don’t-really-feel-like-cooking kind of week. Even after making a special trip to the grocery store yesterday to buy a few simple ingredients for the night’s dinner, I was thisclose to ordering take-out.

And after last Friday’s fabulous 9-course tasting menu birthday dinner at The Ritz (thanks, Jay!), who could blame me for being in a bit of a cooking slump? When am I ever going to have sashimi, quail egg, abalone, veal, lobster, quail, and foie gras again during a single meal? On the other hand, if I ate like that on a more frequent basis, I’d only be able to eat twice a week – that’s how full (and satisfied!) I felt afterward.

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After feeling full all of last weekend, this week has been a week of relatively simple eating. Smoothies for breakfast, salads for lunch, and easy-to-put-together dinners. I’ve been loading everything with fresh produce, and fried rice – despite its greasy-sounding name – is no exception.

Did you know that fried rice can be delicious comfort food without being overly oiled-up and unfresh? It can also be loaded with your choice of fresh veggies, (more…)

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