A Simple Lunch

Tofu salad and stir-fry

Lately, I’ve been working on some writing that is not for this blog, and it’s been consuming a great deal of my time.  There are days when I’m so busy tapping away at the computer that I almost forget to eat lunch.  Yesterday was one of those days.  I realized it had been hours since breakfast and stumbled into the kitchen, weak-kneed and lightheaded.

After staring into the fridge for a few minutes, ideas for two dishes began to take shape: one would be a bold stir-fry, the other a cool, refreshing salad.

I pulled out some leftover pork belly, a mildly hot green pepper, ginger, half a leek, silken tofu, some miso, and a packet of red pickled ginger.  From the cabinet, I retrieved ground toasted sesame seeds, mirin, sake, shoyu, and sesame oil.  On the counter were garlic and a container of tiny, sweet cherry tomatoes.  I grabbed those, too.

Then I set to work chopping, slicing, mincing, and mixing.

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Two Korean-Inspired Dishes

Gochujang

Gochujang - Korean Chile Paste

Besides the occasional meal at a local Korean restaurant Chicago, my first real exposure to that country’s cuisine was in the test kitchen of Saveur magazine, where I interned this past summer.  In preparation for the October issue, we were testing a variety of recipes for kimchi, all of them made entirely from scratch.  On the roster were the classic baechu (cabbage) kimchi, mild water kimchi (made with daikon, Asian pear, and scallions), spicy daikon kimchi, and stuffed cucumber kimchi.  (You can find recipes for all four on Saveur’s website.)  For the most part, I was in charge of testing the recipe for the cabbage kimchi, which involved chopping and mincing no less than twelve ingredients.  Suffice it to say that by the end of end of my stint, I felt pretty confident about my kimchi-making skills.

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