Category Archives: mains

Korean Kimchi Pancake (Kimchi-jeon) Version 2

This adaptation of the last Korean pancake post may be considered heresy by fans of the authentic version, but I think it’s a great improvement in texture.

Korean Kimchi Pancake Version 2 – makes a single large 6 inch pancake (or two 4 inch diameter pancakes)

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt (optional)
1 tbsp water
1 large egg
2-3 green onion tops, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup quick kimchi

1 tbsp vegetable oil, for frying the pancake

Preheat a large cast iron frying pan over medium heat.

In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt with a fork. Add the egg and water, using the fork to break up the egg and moisten the dry ingredients. Add the kimchi and green onion tops and combine briefly.

Add the oil to the frying pan and give it a quick swirl so as to coat the bottom of the pan.

Turn out the pancake batter into the middle of the frying pan and pat out into a circle about 1/2 inch thick. Fry until bubbles start to break through to the top of the pancake and the edges are dry, two or three minutes should be enough. Using a spatula, carefully turn the pancake over and continue frying until the bottom is browned, and the pancake is cooked through, another minute or so.

Transfer onto a flat serving plate and cut into 1-inch squares.

Serve with the dipping sauce from the previous Korean pancake post.

Unlike the previously posted pancake which I found ‘gummy’, this one was fluffy and tender, like a regular pancake, while still retaining the flavour and crunchy texture of the kimchi-jeon.

Advertisements

Korean Kimchi Pancake (Kimchi-jeon)

This savoury pancake is usually made with chopped fermented kimchi, but I chose to use my home made quick ‘kimchi’ instead. Kimchi-jeon is similar to another savoury cabbage pancake I make and love … Japanese okonomiyaki … in many ways. It’s also similar to the Chinese green onion/scallion pancake that I’ve made.

Since I’ve never tasted the real deal, I’m not sure what the pancake SHOULD taste like, or the general texture desired. I incorporated elements from the various recipes found on line into one cohesive recipe, for my first attempt, and posted it below. Variations are found in the type of flour used (just all purpose or all purpose and rice flour) and in the inclusion of egg. In the vegan version, the only liquid used is water. I have even seen versions in which crumbled tofu or ground meat (pork) may be incorporated into the batter. In the latter case, leftover cooked ground meat may be used or the raw meat may be added directly to the batter, which then needs to be cooked a bit longer, in order to cook the meat through.

Other variations are in the size of the pancake made. Smaller, individual pancakes are more convenient if one wishes to freeze some away. For a family, a single larger pancake maybe be served in the pan it was fried in and eaten ‘pull-apart’ style. Or it may be cut into wedges or squares and served ‘appetizer’ style. A dipping sauce, similar to that used for pot stickers, is often used.

Korean Kimchi Pancake – I thought it was delicious if somewhat ‘gummy’ in texture, like the green onion pancake, even hot out of  the pan. I don’t know if that’s the way it’s supposed to be. I’m thinking of adding some baking powder to the pancake next time, as is done with the okonomiyaki, so it puffs up more.

Korean Kimchi Pancake (Kimchi-jeon) – makes two 4 inch pancakes

1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup water (reserve 1 tbsp water to add at the end if needed)
1 1/2 tbsp kimchi ‘juice’**
1/2 cup quick ‘kimchi’
2-3 green onion tops, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 green onion top, thinly sliced on the diagonal, for garnish

1-2 tbsp vegetable oil, for frying the pancake

Since the ‘kimchi’ that I made earlier was fairly dry, I made a kimchi ‘juice’ to incorporate into the batter for the pancakes.

Mise en place for the pancakes

Briefly whisk together the flour, water and kimchi juice. Fold in the kimchi and green onion tops. If the batter seems very thick, add the reserved tablespoon of water and stir through gently just until mixed in. (Stirring too long will develop gluten and may make your pancake tough.) Add additional water if needed, one tablespoon at a time.

Place a large cast iron frying pan on the stove and preheat at medium/medium-high. Add one tablespoon vegetable oil to the pan and, when hot, ladle about 1/4 cup of the pancake batter in a small mound on the pan, patting out to about 4 inches in diameter. Depending on the size of your pan, you should be able to fit 3-4 pancakes into the pan at a time. (If you’re not confident about cooking so many pancakes at one time, feel free to make them individually, adjusting the heat level as needed.)

When the pancakes seem almost totally set, flip over to the other side and cook until the second side is set. Then flip again, and finish cooking the first side for another minute. (NOTE: You want SOME charring but you don’t want to burn your pancakes. The sugar in the batter contributes to that charring. Start your pancakes on medium heat if you know your pan heats quickly and retains the heat. You can always turn it up a bit or cook the pancakes longer, if needed.)

Kimchi ‘juice’ – makes about 1/3 cup of juice

2 tbsp fish sauce
3 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
1-2 tbsp gochujang (hotness level 3) **
pinch or two of ginger powder
pinch or two of garlic powder

** For my first attempt, I only added 1 tbsp of the gochujang to the juice. It was pretty spicy but tasty. I wouldn’t add more.

Whisk together and use as needed. The excess may be poured over the remaining quick ‘kimchi’.

Dipping Sauce

1 tsp Asian chili sauce, Sriracha or sambal oelek**
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil (reduced to 1/2 tsp)
1/2 tsp sugar (if using dark soy sauce, as I did, omit the sugar)
1/2 tsp rice wine vinegar

** What I used

Mix together until the sugar dissolves. Taste. If needed add more vinegar, soy sauce or sugar. Sprinkle some sliced green onions and/or sesame seeds on top … just to make it look pretty. 🙂

Quick Coleslaw “Kimchi” and Korean Kimchi BBQ Burger

I’m open to trying new foods but some items hit all my food no-nos. This is because I have texture issues … as well as some taste and odour ones … so most kinds of pickles make me shudder. (On a side note, I love ‘pickled’ ginger or gari with sushi. How weird is that?)

Kimchi is one such dish for a number of reasons.

However, in the interest of experimentation, as well as economy, I wanted to see whether I could recreate some of the features of kimchi starting with a base of a commercial coleslaw mix instead of the usual Napa cabbage.

I recently came home with a new container of gochujang or Korean chili paste, which I decided to use instead of the traditional gochugaru or Korean red pepper flakes, to make the kimchi.

It’s only my second purchase and a different brand than the one I’ve used before, since the store where I bought it didn’t have the brand I had first tried. Incidentally, I was told (by the Japanese owner/cashier of the grocery store, I bought it at) to transfer the paste from the plastic tub it comes in into a clean glass jar which could be tightly sealed and kept in the fridge, to preserve freshness for as long as possible. I’m also going to portion part of the paste into 1 tbsp amounts, wrap them individually in food wrap, place into a freezer bag and freeze.

The recipe I used was found here but I made some changes:  substituted shredded coleslaw mix in place of the cabbage, used gochujang in place of the Sriracha chili sauce, omitted the radish completely and the only carrot was what was already included in the mix.

Coleslaw salted (1/4 cup of water and 1 tbsp of coarse sea salt for 1/4 lb/227 gm of coleslaw), let sit for 1 hr and then drained and squeezed dry. About 1/2 cup of salted water came off the coleslaw at this point. The salted coleslaw was then rinsed several times, drained and squeezed dry again and combined with the gochujang mixture and refrigerated.

Quick Coleslaw “Kimchi”

Korean Kimchi BBQ Burger

Korean Kimchi BBQ Burger for One

1 bbq’d burger
1 toasted hamburger bun**
2-3 tbsp quick kimchi

** I used my home made sweet potato bun

Spread the top and bottom of the hamburger bun with butter or margarine and toast in a pre-heated grill pan over medium heat for 2 -3 minutes or until golden brown. In the same heated pan, fry the kimchi until it’s heated through and a bit crispy.

Spread the spicy mayo (recipe below) on the top and bottom of the hamburger bun. Top with the bbq’d burger and crispy kimchi.

Serve immediately

Spicy mayonnaise – enough for one burger

1 tbsp mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
1/2 tsp gochujang

Mix well, taste, and add more mayo or gochujang depending on hotness level desired.

Asparagus and Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo with Greek Yogurt

Work’s been good this past month so I was feeling a bit ‘spendy’ when I went grocery shopping.

My grocery list had ONE item on it … MILK … but I ended up spending $60 on various extras including a box of ice cream drumsticks. (SO bad … but it was a PROMO sale.)

I decided to skip replenishing my stock of potatoes so meals in the week ahead are going to feature pasta and rice side dishes. I was going to start with a chicken Alfredo. Unfortunately, it turned out that that carton of whipping cream that I was sure I had in the back of the fridge … wasn’t there.

Substitution time.

A fast search on the net and I ran across a recipe for an Alfredo sauce using Greek yogurt. I also added a couple of ounces of cream cheese and, of course, Parmesan cheese, to the sauce.

Greek yogurt … I had strained it previously because I wanted a nice thick yogurt for something else, so I had to add more pasta water than expected to thin it down enough for the recipe below.

The result was delicious, and I didn’t miss the whipping cream at all.

Fettuccine Alfredo with Asparagus and Chicken – serves 4

300 gm fettuccine, linguine or spaghetti pasta
1/2 pound (~230 gm) chicken breast, cubed**
1/2 pound (~230 gm) asparagus stalks, cut into 1 1/2-2 inch pieces

** I had a couple of chicken cutlets that I had prepped and frozen, so I used those.

Cook pasta according to the package directions. Drain in a colander over a bowl. Reserve about a cup of the pasta water for use in the Alfredo sauce below. You’ll start with 1/4 cup but if your sauce tightens up you may need to add more.

NOTE: An easy way to cook your asparagus is to add it to the pot of pasta for the last 3 minutes of cooking time. It will be tender but still have a bit of crunch and retain its green colour.

Greek Yogurt Alfredo Sauce

1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp coarsely ground black pepper (use white pepper if you want a whiter sauce)
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup white wine (or pasta water, vegetable broth or chicken broth; the broth will make the sauce less white)
2 oz (~60 gm) Philadelphia cream cheese, cubed
1 oz (~30 gm, 1/2 cup) shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Greek yogurt

Additional grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Melt the butter and olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the diced chicken and asparagus and sprinkle the salt and pepper over the top. Saute until the chicken is lightly golden and no longer pink inside and the asparagus is tender, but still a bit crunchy. Remove the chicken and asparagus to a small bowl and reserve.

Lower the heat under the saute pan to medium and add the minced garlic. Stir and cook for 1 minute.

Stir in the wine (or pasta water) and scrape the bottom of the pan to bring up the fond (bits of browned chicken and garlic). Whisk in the cubed cream cheese until it melts into a ‘sauce’. You may want to add a bit more pasta water at this point to help. Remove the pan from the heat and let it sit for 2 minutes to cool enough that the yogurt won’t curdle.

Whisk in the yogurt and the grated Parmesan cheese and then return the pan to the stove over medium-low heat. Add the reserved chicken and asparagus and stir constantly until the Parmesan is mostly melted into the sauce, 3-4 minutes. Do not let the sauce come to a simmer or boil as this could cause it to curdle.

Add the cooked pasta to the saute pan and stir so that the sauce will coat the pasta. Add additional pasta water if needed to thin the sauce.

Serve and garnish with additional grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

BBQ’ing for the Week Ahead – Beef and Pork

Meal planning at my house usually involves starting with the protein and figuring out what sides (starches and vegetables) are available and will take the least amount of preparation time. If feeling energetic/creative, I’ll pick a cuisine or flavour based on whatever jars of sauce or spices I’ve got. And I’ve got a good assortment of sauces and bottles of spices and spice blends.

If barbecuing, I let the smokey flavour of the grilled meats star and keep the sides plain.

I went into a bit of a carnivore frenzy on my last visit to the grocery store and came home with a large tray of hot Italian sausages and a family pack tray of lean ground beef.

Since I already had sausages in the freezer (for making a fast meat sauce), I skewered and bbq’d the entire tray. The ground beef were turned into mini meat loaves and four 1/3rd pounder hamburgers, since that’s the size needed to fit into those giant sweet potato hamburger buns I made. I also dug a steak and a package of two pork chops out of the freezer.

Vegetables … well, I picked up a bundle of fresh asparagus since they were on sale. A bit of salt, a drizzle of oil (vegetable or olive) and a few minutes on each side and you’ve got tender but still crisp stalks of delicious asparagus to nibble on.

BBQ: Before and After

Beef

Pork

Most of the meat loaves and burgers went into the freezer for quick future meals. The main portion of the steak was reserved for a steak and mushroom sandwich so supper was the bits trimmed off and some of the grilled asparagus.

One of the mini meat loaves was turned into a wrap with creamy guacamole and a home made flour tortilla

Bacon Wrapped Mini Meat Loaves with Crispy Fried Onions

Shopping the sales at the grocery store is something that I’ve done for years. This week’s flyer had ‘family pack sized trays’ of lean ground beef prominently displayed. I came home with about 1.4 kg of the ground beef and then did some net surfing. Even though Sloppy Joes were tempting, I didn’t have any green peppers which were needed for the recipe I intended to make, so I ended up with third-pounder sized hamburgers for the barbecue and a tray of mini meat loaves.

The recipe I’m posting below has BOTH elements of the two mini meat loaf experiments I made and was inspired by this recipe.

Bacon Wrapped Mini Meat Loaves – makes 6 mini meatloaves

Mini Meat Loaves

750 gm lean ground beef
1 egg
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp diced, sauteed onions
1 tsp salt
shake or two of garlic powder, if desired
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup seasoned Italian breadcrumbs

6 strips bacon, for wrapping

Topping

1/4 cup ketchup
2 tsp prepared French’s mustard
2 tbsp brown sugar

~1/4 cup fried onions, if desired

Preheat oven to 350 deg Fahrenheit.

Line a baking sheet with a strip of aluminum foil or parchment paper to make clean-up easier.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ingredients for the meat loaves, except for the strips of bacon. Divide the meat mixture evenly into six portions and shape into round or oval patties. Wrap a strip of bacon around each patty so that they meet or just slightly overlap.

In a small bowl, combine the topping ingredients. Spoon a scant tablespoon of the topping onto each patty and place onto the baking sheet.

Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour, or until the topping is bubbly and the bacon wrap is crispy.

If desired, after about 40-45 minutes, remove the baking tray from the oven, sprinkle some of the fried onions on top and return to the oven to finish baking. (Adding the onions at the beginning of the baking is liable to result in burnt onions. Even though I waited until I had baked the patties for 40 minutes … 20 minutes left … the onions were a bit crispier than I would have preferred.)

Bacon Wrapped Mini Meat Loaf – I wasn’t sure how crispy the bacon wrap would get in the allotted baking time, so I didn’t put the topping on a couple of the meat loaves

Topping and Crispy Fried Onion Mini Meat Loaf – The other four meat loaves had both the topping and the fried onion … but no bacon wrap.

Serve with a generous scoop of your favourite creamy mashed potatoes.

The inside of the meat loaf looks a little dry in this picture but it wasn’t

Cauliflower-Rice Pizza Crust

Because Karen, of “Back Road Journal”, posed an interesting question about getting a pizza crust, using cauliflower rice, that was firm enough to pick up … and because I was bored, I decided to attempt a technique and recipe found here.

The recipe was scaled down to accommodate the reality that I only had 300 gm of cauliflower rice in the house. And it was frozen.

It’s possible that using fresh cauliflower, rather than frozen, may give you a drier cauliflower rice preparation to start with, and require less effort to get as much excess water out of your cooked cauliflower as possible. Instead of poaching/steaming the cauliflower, I used the microwave to cook the cauliflower rice directly from frozen.

Pick-upable Crust

Cauliflower Rice Pizza Crust for One – makes 1 16 1/2 cm (6 1/2 inch) diameter pizza crust

300 gm cauli-rice, frozen
1 tbsp beaten egg**
1 tbsp soft goat cheese (chevre) or cream cheese
1-2 pinches of salt
1/4 tsp dry oregano, rubbed between the palms of your hand to a powder

NOTE: One large egg has a volume of about 1/4 cups. Using 1/4 of an egg means that you use about 1 tbsp of well beaten egg.

Place frozen cauli-rice in a microwave safe container with lid. Cook on high for 5 minutes. With a fork break up the cauli-rice, replace the lid, and return to the microwave and cook on high for another 2 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 deg Fahrenheit. Cover a metal baking dish or sheet with a sheet of parchment paper.

Let the cauli-rice cool for 5-10 min until it’s cool enough to handle. Transfer the cauli-rice to a sturdy linen towel and squeeze as much of the liquid as you can out of it. NOTE: I got about 160 ml (2/3 cup) of water out of the cauli-rice.

Transfer the cooled cauli-rice to a bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Mix well.

Transfer the cauli-rice ‘crust’ into the center of the parchment paper and pat out into a 16 1/2 cm (6 1/2 inch) diameter circle. It will be about 5 cm (1/3 inch) thick.

Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until the top is golden brown. With a spatula, flip the ‘crust’ over, in case of sticky areas, and add the toppings.

Crust Top and bottom

Return to the oven and bake 5-7 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the toppings are cooked.

Cut and serve immediately.

BBQ and Mint Chimichurri

I’ve had a beef/steak craving for a while and picked up a couple of rib steaks (cap off), as well as a tray of pork chops, also on sale this week, with a plan to barbecue. Unfortunately, with Friday and Saturday’s rain and thunderstorms, it took a post-supper lull on Saturday before I could finally throw a few things on the grill.

There’s nothing like chimichurri to dress a bbq’d steak or pork chops. I’ve used cilantro, mint and parsley to make it, in the past, but this batch just used mint and parsley. And for a veggie side … steamed artichokes with a chipotle yum yum sauce (leftovers) to dip into. I’ll share the pictures in a separate post

Mint Chimichurri – makes about 2/3 of a cup

2-3 cloves garlic, chopped (about 2 teaspoons)
1 cup fresh mint (spearmint) leaves, packed
1 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves, packed
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp Kosher or coarse sea salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
6 tbsp olive oil**

** I used extra virgin olive oil since that’s all I had.

Place garlic in the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times until finely chopped. Add the mint and parsley leaves and pulse until finely chopped.

In a medium sized bowl, add the vinegar, salt, and red pepper flakes and stir until the salt has dissolved. Add the mint-parsley mixture and stir until well mixed. Stir in the olive oil.

Transfer to a glass jar, seal and refrigerate. The chimichurri will keep for several days in the refrigerator.

Perfect to serve over steak, lamb or even roasted potatoes!

Steak, potatoes and mint chimichurri – I put the chimichurri on the potatoes for visual contrast though it’s generally served on top of your grilled meat.

Dessert was a couple of large cream puffs filled with chocolate Chantilly cream

Mixed bbq grill – Rib steak, Yukon gold potatoes, a package of hot dogs and a couple of pork chops

Enriched Duck Fat Dough … Hamburger/Slider Buns and Sticky Salted Caramel Walnut Rolls

Last weekend I did a lot of cooking so this weekend was baking time. Between the buns, rolls and pizzas, I’m going to be burning through a bunch of yeast and flour. Instead of using butter, I made a batch of enriched dough using duck fat, eggs and milk. You can use the same enriched ‘brioche style’ dough for various bakes, sweet or savoury.

Half of the dough (~ 2 lbs/ 900 gm) was shaped into eight 60 gm hamburger buns while the rest was rolled out into a rectangle, filled with a home made caramel sauce and chopped walnuts (use pecans if you have them) and sliced into rolls. The only change I made to my basic duck fat dough was to double the sugar content to two tablespoons.

Hamburger/Slider Buns

Each hamburger was made using 125 gm of extra lean ground beef seasoned with salt, pepper and a bit of onion powder. Nothing else … no bread, no milk, no eggs, no Worchestershire sauce. The plastic sour cream lid under the bun in the front left of the picture below was used to shape the raw burger patty. The sliders I made are a bit smaller than the commercial hamburger buns. Next time, I may use a bit more dough for my sliders … maybe up to 75-80 gm. I haven’t decided yet.

Sticky Salted Caramel Walnut Rolls

Dough rolled out to a 16″ by 10″ rectangle, spread with 1/4 cup of salted caramel sauce and about a cup of chopped walnuts, rolled up and cut into 2 inch wide rolls. (I’d probably cut back the nuts to 1/2 cup next time.) Baked at 350 deg F for 30-35 min. Once baked, more caramel sauce was poured over each roll.

While my camera battery was recharging, I couldn’t resist snacking on one of the rolls.

Picspam: Frozen Perogies and Fresh Strawberry Margarita

Making perogies from scratch isn’t as challenging as you’d think.

I’ve made them … once.

And they were delicious.

But sometimes you just don’t have the time or energy to make them so you buy a bag of the frozen ones, especially when they’re on sale.

The default way to serve perogies is boiled, sauteed in butter/olive oil until golden brown

… and then topped with sauteed onions, crispy bacon and sour cream. A sprinkling of thinly sliced green onion for colour (and so you can pretend there’s something fresh and healthy on your plate).

But, you may want to switch things up every once in a while.

Home made or canned chili is a great topping.

Or bolognese. Or a duck ragu. How do you serve YOUR perogies?

And, because my strawberries were getting past the peak of their freshness … I pureed the remainder and made a fresh strawberry margarita. (If my blender was able to grind up ice, I’d have the slushy version of this delicious drink which I first had at the Regal Constellation in Toronto at a Toronto Trek convention.)

Coincidentally, it’s a nice Cinco de Mayo drink if you want something sweet.

Fresh Strawberry Margarita – serves 1

125-150 gm fresh strawberries, washed and hulled
1/4 cup tequila
2 tbsp Cointreau, Triple Sec or Grand Marnier
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp fresh lime juice

Garnish
fresh strawberry and/or lime wedge
coarse salt for rimming glass
coarse sugar for rimming glass

Run a lime wedge around the rim of a tall glass, or a champagne coupe glass. Dip the glass into a shallow bowl with coarse salt (or sugar), to create a decorative rim. Set aside the glass.

Add all of the above ingredients, excepting the garnishes, to a blender and puree. Taste and add more lime juice or honey, to taste. Strain through a coarse strainer to make sure any chunks are gone.

Add a few ice cubes to a shaker, pour the margarita over the top, shake for a minute or two and then strain into the salt rimmed glass. Garnish with a fresh strawberry that you’ve cut a slit into from the base, and/or a lime wedge.