Monday, May 27, 2013

Isaiah's 3rd Birthday

My first friends in Korea's baby had his third birthday this past weekend so I guess he's not a baby anymore.  Now there are two babies in the picture and they're as cute as can be.  Mommy put together a super cute train birthday party and there were lots of little ones running all over the place.  I am very thankful for all the kindness the Lees have shown me over the years.

Fall Soup in Spring

Not too much to say here.  Made a sausage lentil soup and as I was making it I realized it was probably for fall...but it was tasty and hearty.  Made way too much.  Was able to give some away as well as have some for a few days for us.  I've been loving roasting tomatoes...so easy and so good.  The bread was notably delicious and simple.  Recipe here. You won't regret it if you make it.  

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

May 4 Date Night ~ Part 2

Gastronomic experiences in Seoul rarely disappoint.  I loooooove going out to eat and looove hearing of new places.

Two years ago my girlfriends and I went to a restaurant and I remember LOVING the food!  I had always wanted to go back but didn't really know where it was...so a few weekends ago I asked my man if he would take me to find it and he kindly obliged.  

It was a bit farther than we usually go, (across the Han River) and I really didn't know exactly where we were going, but my sixth sense kicked in as we hopped on the back of the motorcycle and took off through the streets of Seoul.  

We finally found the restaurant and it was everything I hoped it would be...maybe even more!  (I don't even know what it's called because even though I can read Korean just fine, I can't make it out with the chosen script font haha.)

We LOVE getting meat!  It's a super common meal in Korea--either beef or pork--grilled to perfection right in front of you.  It can be cooked different ways (you'll see here it's on a big metal (steel? iron?) slab, but our favorite place does it over charcoal briquettes) but it's always delicious!

Each restaurant does the meal differently, but have some of the same basic elements.  This one had by FAR more food than any meat restaurant we usually go to. 

We ordered the Kimchi Samgyepsal 김치삼겹살 (actually I think it was Ogyepsal) which is basically huge strips of bacon (pork) and a ton of Kimchi. (spicy pickled cabbage).  Then they put a bunch of other stuff on the grill like beansprouts mixed with some kind of greens (we call it grass) onion, potato, tofu, garlic, mushrooms, rice cake, and apparently at this place, a random hotdog and pineapple slice. (5th picture down) Then it gets all hot and the juices from the meat run down and it's just so tasty!  

You then cut up the meat and eat it like a taco made with different lettuces, chili/bean paste, and whatever else you want to throw in there (fried Kimchi, garlic, onion...drooool). 

I've become accustomed just to skipping the lettuce all together and eating the meat with some salt soaked in sesame oil.  So good!  Especially with a little fried Kimchi and a soft piece of garlic. 

We ordered the pork at this meal, but you can also order all kinds of beef.  Also, different cuts of pork.  I don't know a whole lot about it though, aside from what we usually get.  

In Korea they always provide lots of side dishes.  I don't remember everything they had here, but apparently there was a crab doused in red stuff because I found a picture of it later on my camera.  We didn't eat that. Definitely only eat about 1-2/6 side dishes usually because we don't know what they are, or they just taste kinda funky.  Worth a shot though.  

The picture next to the crab is Dwenjang Chiggae 된장 찌개 which is Soybean Paste soup.  Not everyone (foreigners) likes the taste but we love it and eat it right up when we can. They brought this one to us as "Service" (free extra stuff) because we ordered extra food. 

Most restaurants have tables and chairs, but a few the only option is to sit on the floor.  Older restaurants?  I'm not sure.  This place was packed, so I think it's an important older/famous restaurant.  We ate on the floor that night, which can get uncomfortable, especially when it's hot.  I don't know how the elderly do it.  But they do. 

Next to the picture of me is cooked rice cake (dduk), garlic, kimchi, and tofu.  It's not the best picture but it's just the best taste combination!  Had to include that.  I luuuv Korean food it will forever be my favorite type of food. 

I'm mad at myself for not remembering what the rice thing is called.  This was probably the most exciting part of the meal!  While at most restaurants we get meat and soup and Kimchi, we don't regularly get this! I don't even know what it is...but it's a bowl of rice mixed with some veggies, maybe some sesame oil, and fish eggs (that's what the little orange things are).  

The waiter will mix up the rice for you and then spread it thin on the plate.  After about 10 minutes it gets nice and crispy.  He comes back and rolls it up and cuts it for you and IT IS SO GOOD!!!!  My man was just looking at these pictures that were up on the computer and commenting on how good the little rice rolls are.  Those in themselves are reason to come back to this place.  I've had this at other restaurants but it was my favorite here. 

Last but not least, they sent us on our way with a free ice cream cone at the door.  This isn't super typical, and a nice treat.  

All in all, it was a GREAT experience and we left feeling very very stuffed.  

Every time we leave a Korean restaurant I blab about how much I love it here and how I don't know how I'll ever go without Korean food.  

I hope to tell you more about different kinds!  

Monday, May 6, 2013

May 4 Date Night ~ Part 1

We've been having a hard time mustering energy to do anything for date night other than go out to eat and watch an episode of something or something equally as lazy.

My man suggested we play miniature golf and since the weather's turning I was way up for it!

We have access to the American Army base because we volunteer at Awana on Monday nights, so we are able to go golfing there...even though there ARE places to go in Korea.

This was our first time here and had a great time!  It was kind of ghetto and the ponds were empty, but it was just us and that was perfect.

I shockingly won...by like 7 strokes...and he was trying, so I'm pleased with myself!  We both even got holes in one!

It was great to get out...but our fun was just beginning!

Tilapia Tacos

I really like cooking, who knew. My man likes the basics and is easy to please so I am pretty confident in my (very limited) skills. I like to experiment and a lot of times it just makes a mess, but I have yet to mess up tilapia! It just is so good no matter what I do to it. I am super thankful for these frozen tilapia filets from Costco!

My man loves tacos (and/or any combination of taco-type food) and while I admit they're good it sounds healthier to me when made with fish.

I looked up a couple of recipes and came up with a spice rub that's a combo from these two sites.  I quadrupled the original recipe so I could quickly use the spice mix next time we make these.

2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. cayenne
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp garlic powder

All you've gotta do is pat the filets dry and rub the spices all over.  I mean all over! (I suppose I should have taken a picture.)  Then cook them up on a skillet with some heated oil (I've been using coconut oil and loving it...), about 3 minutes on each side. (I usually break them in half at the end just to make sure they're done).

Afterwards, put them in the tortilla and shred the fish with a fork.  One filet makes two tacos.  For lunch we had one taco, but for dinner we'll go crazy and have two each.

We like ours with cheese, tomatoes, sour cream, and guacamole (if we have it)...ps, the spice mix works great with some mashed up avocados too!

Try it I promise you'll like it, the fish is so flavorful and light...such a great improvement on ground beef  and packaged seasoning.
Thanks for reading my first attempt at a recipe post!  I usually cook at night but was excited to make a meal during the day on Saturday and was loving the light!  I want to get better at food photography, that's for dang sure. (ok all photography in general...)

The Weekend Was Lovely

It feels so good to be able to say "The Weekend Was Lovely".  Winter lasted forever, and it's still holding on a bit in the wind and the shadows...but Spring is here and any Seoulite will tell you how beautiful Spring is in the city.  Even with all the concrete they somehow manage to life in the cracks.

Saturday was beautiful and we opened the windows and sat in the sun and cooked and worked in peace and it was a true blessing!  I hopped to the store to get some tomatoes and these beauties caught my eye.

I ran back in to get my camera.

After a happy Monday at work, I'm happy to relive the day as I edit and upload these photos here.