International Cuisine – Korean Night

I used to work with a girl who would make Chop Chae for every potluck.  She knew I liked it so much, she would make sure I had some extra to take home.  I miss Sonya and that delicious dish.  It’s time to learn how to make it myself.  Turns out, it’s not so difficult.  It’s probably the easiest thing I’ll make all month.  We happened to get a ton of chanterelle mushrooms from a friend who foraged them.  Most other ingredients were already in my pantry and fridge.  I went to Fubonn for the other ingredients, specifically the sweet potato (or glass) noodles.

It’s a pretty basic Korean stir fry with noodles, beef, mushrooms, carrots, spinach, soy sauce, and sesame sauce.

photo 1 (9) photo 2 (10)It turned out delicious and I will definitely make it again for a healthy and delicious meal.  While at Fubonn, I decided to pick up Korean wine, unsure what makes it distinctively Korean.

photo 3 (11)The first thing you notice is the horrible smell that travels slowly up your nostrils and tells you this is a bad idea.  Unfortunately for me, I don’t listen, and dive right in to a big sip.  It tastes just like it smells.  Like rotten fruit mixed with syrup.  There is about 3/4 of a bottle in my fridge if anyone is interested in what that tastes like.

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International Cuisine – French Day

Now, a few of you might argue that International Cuisine month should be all about me learning how to cook international cuisine.  Well, today I just felt like sitting outside a cafe, riding bikes, enjoying the stillness, and musing about the world… how French is that?  A-huhn-huhn-huhn (that’s how you spell a French laugh.)

Rode my French mixtie Roux down to Belmont.  It’s a beautiful fall day where the leaves are turning, the sun is out, and the weather is just starting to turn.

riding bikes

 

I decide to finally try Suzette, a Creperie with some outdoor seating that makes for some good people watching.  I had a delicious salad, coffee, and crepe filled with harissa, goat cheese, spinach, and salmon.  It was a beautiful meal and even more beautiful day.

photo 3 (10) photo 2 (9)

International Cuisine – Vietnamese Night

I have the distinct privileges of living in a very Asian neighborhood.  The Asian markets Hong Phat and Fubonn are closer than any Safeway or Fred Meyer.  There are more great Thai and Vietnamese restaurants that I can count.  Not only the food, but the culture and diversity in my neighborhood is unmatched.

I decided to take the easy route when I hosted Vietnamese night.  I went to Hong Phat and purchased tons of pre-made savory and sweet pastries.  Trying to get the most non-American ones I could find.

photo 2 (8) photo 3 (9) photo 4 (3)

 

Then I bought all the ingredients to make fresh salad rolls, my absolute favorite!  There are a lot of websites with great recipes and varying ingredients, but here’s a breakdown of what I chose to fill them with: crab, vermicelli noodles, tofu, carrots, cucumber, shrimp, cabbage, mint, and cilantro.  You chop it all up, and wrap it in soaked vermicelli paper wraps.

salad wrap fixings

wrapping salad rolls

 

Next time, I will simplify the ingredients and maybe switch around a few things.  But the start of the show was definitely the fresh mint and cilantro.  Dinner by candlelight doesn’t make for a great photo opportunity.

vietnamese night

 

After filling up on some pastries and salad rolls, I unveiled one last surprise – super weird desserts.  They were bright green and dark brown and slightly gelatinous.

desserts

We remained adventurous and tried each one, although they definitely did not get any better.  The Vietnamese have dinner locked down, but need some help in the dessert department.  Maybe it’s because they sweeten everything with mung beans.  Try some sugar, dudes!  It’s delicious.

International Cuisine – Italian Night

I’ve had a pasta maker for a while, handling it more times to move it from one place to another more so than to actually make pasta.  I even have a ravioli attachment that I haven’t ever used.  Time to change that.

I found an amazing recipe for a simple tomato sauce.  Very simple flavors that simmer in the sauce and are strained at the end.  It slowly cooked down and the flavors developed most of the afternoon before packing it up and taking on the road.  Italian Cuisine month has seen many people volunteer to host parties in exchange for delicious food.  At the behest of the Italian Night host, I also made tiramisu from a recipe online.  This is where it gets tricky. Do you know how many websites claim to have THE BEST TIRAMISU recipe??  I had to narrow it down to one best, but I think I chose wrong, so I won’t be sharing the link.

MMM... mascarponetiramisu

After packing up the tiramisu, sauce, and ingredients, we headed out.  I started rolling out pasta while Casey set up the USnaps booth, which he runs on the weekends.  And, oh yeah.  There was lots of wine.

I mixed up the pasta dough and rolled out some sheets for ravioli and cut some for spaghetti.  I had some solid help too!

mixin dough IMG_1235 IMG_1239

 

I didn’t think the ravioli was going to turn out because the dough kept breaking and leaking the filling.  So we put the ricotta filling on top of the spaghetti noodles and drizzled the sauce on top.  It was delicious!

International Cuisine – Brazil Night

Everyone always asks how I choose what to do. Truth is: I don’t. I’m heavily influenced by the people and things around me. Friends who are into something and want to show it to me. Local events and weather. General time and/or money constraints. So when I sat down at dinner on September 30th with absolutely no idea what I wanted to do for October, I was urged to make a freaking decision already by a pretty amazing man, T-Payn.

I pulled out the Note on my iPhone that I’ve been jotting randomness in for, well forever to see if anything looked interesting. I’ve crossed a lot off my original list already. It’s been almost 3 years! Then I see “international cooking.” It’s social. It’s fun. I can entertain at my new sweet house. I can incorporate T-Payn in my 30 day adventures!

So, Brazil Night. Don’t ask me why I chose Brazil first cus I don’t know. I just did. It sounded interesting. Looked online at staple foods and recipes and found a couple that I thought I could make pretty easily.

Here’s what I made:
Shrimp fritters (acaraje)
Fish stew (Moqueca de Peixe)
Coconut flan (quindim)

A friend brought over cachaca, a Brazilian liquor (which was terrible, but very thoughtful,) we lit a fire outside, and watched the first 20 minutes of The Boys From Brazil on the projector before we realized it had nothing to do with Brazil.

Somehow, none of us managed to capture photos of the dinner. But we did get pictures of dessert.

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