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 – 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!