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Korean Veggie Tempura Recipe

finaltempura

Korean Veggie Tempura. It’s great for after a night of drinking. Or not drinking, really, everyone should have these in their lives every once in a while. And today was our every once in a while. I just made these today. Yum!

And are these different from Japanese Veggie Tempura? Yes, and not just because the person making it is Korean or Japanese. Korean Veggie Tempura is always fried in “bunches” of veggies, as opposed to Japanese Veggie Tempura, which is usually fried in individual veggie pieces. And with Japanese Tempura, you’ll notice, it’s usually served fried in panko breadcrumbs. We’re using a batter, and not breadcrumbs, in this recipe. We Koreans love our batter! And this particular recipe is from my mother’s kitchen, therefore my kitchen now.

If you’re new to, or just plain scared of deep frying, just be sure to keep water away from your frying oil. Most frying “accidents” happen because of wayward water in the form of droplets or splashed making their way into frying oil. Not pretty.

But fear not deep frying, just use extra precaution!

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INGREDIENTS FOR BATTER:

2 cups flour

1½ cups cold water

2 eggs

3 tablespoons potato starch (or corn starch if that’s what’s handy)

Salt / pepper

OTHER INGREDIENTS:

2 carrots (peeled, sliced in French fry strips)

2 potatoes (peeled, sliced in French fry strips)

1 large onion (sliced)

½ pound string beans (ends cut)

Vegetable oil for frying

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DIRECTIONS:

1. Prepare all your vegetables and set aside.

PreppedVeggies

2. If you are using a deep fryer, you can pre-heat now.

~ My mother never believed in too many “machines” in our kitchen, so she always used an old fashioned frying pan for frying. A big ass one.

3. If you also choose to use a frying pan, be sure to heat the pan over a medium-high first before adding your frying oil. Fill your pan two-thirds full of oil, leaving yourself some room in the pan so there’s no overflow of hot oil later while you’re mid-fry. Leave your oil to heat over the medium-high flame.

~ It’s important not to mess with your heat source during frying aka leave your flame medium-high the entire frying time. Changing temperatures will result in creepy fried foods neither crispy nor chewy just creepy.

4. While your oil is heating, make your batter. Toss your flour, cold water, eggs and starch, a dash of salt and pepper, and get your whisk on!

~ I’ve mentioned this in my Korean Pajeon / Pancake Recipe, but in case you’re wondering, the starch will give the fried batter texture and chewiness (as opposed to pancake batter texture).

5. When your oil is hot (you can test by dropping a little batter into the pan…the drop should fall to the bottom of the pan and then rise right away on its way to death by frying) add your veggies to the batter.

VeggiesInBatter6. Using a large serving spoon as support, pile on to the spoon a couple of pieces of each veggie. Just imagine what your perfect bite would be, and be sure to have the proportion of the potato and onion, carrot and string beans in each piece of tempura you fry.

OnePieceIf you’re not comfortable with using a pair of chopsticks to grab your veggies like I did, feel free to use what works for you. You’ll need to be comfortable deep frying with whichever tool you use, so you make less mess and more edible food. 

7. Add your spoonful of batter and veggies straight into the hot oil. It should begin frying just like this:

FirstPiece

8. Don’t rush. Rushing results in splatters of oil and batter and a miserable you. Take your time, just keep track of your tempura pieces so you know which have been frying longer than others.

~ The coloring of the tempura pieces as they fry will be the best indicator of which have been frying longer than others.

BeforeAfter

9. When your tempura pieces are golden brown remove each piece one by one gently shaking as much oil off them as possible before throwing them in a paper towel-lined colander for further draining.

~ If you cut one of the tempura pieces down the middle you will see this cross section (crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside and perfectly fried veggies):

Draining

~ Be sure to then remove all the little itty-bitty fried droplets of batter at this point, so they don’t burn during the second round of frying.

FriedBits

10. Serve up your Korean Veggie Tempura with your favorite dipping sauce. Of course, if you’d like, you can prepare in advance the sauce you see here in the photo.

finaltempuraEnjoy! And please let me know if you share my love for frying. I’d love to hear that some of you have tried this recipe!

Always dishing,

Jun

To Dip or Not To Dip Sauce Recipe

FinishedSauce

To dip or not to dip sauce, is it ever really a question?! Dip!!!

There’s nothing more disappointing than getting “dippable” food served with a sad dipping sauce. I’m going to share with you a tried and true Korean dipping sauce that I grew up on. And the exact combination of ingredients in this sauce will have everyone begging you to tell them, “What’s in this?” because it’s happened to me countless times.

I told momz I’d be sharing this recipe and she was thrilled, and even blushed (from what I could see on Skype):

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INGREDIENTS:

¼ cup soy sauce

½ tbsp white or rice vinegar (whichever you have handy)

2 tsp sugar

2 tsp Korean Red Pepper Flakes

1 teaspoon Korean Dashida Beef Stock

1 tsp sesame oil

1 stalk scallion (chopped)

1 clove garlic, (crushed and/or minced)

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DIRECTIONS:

1. In a small mixing bowl, add everything but your soy sauce and vinegar. I always do this so I know I’m not forgetting anything (don’t judge, my brain is not the same since having a baby).

Pre-sauce

2. Add your soy sauce and vinegar and mix everything in your bowl with love, taste and adjust as needed, and serve!

FinishedSauce

 

~ This sauce is amazing with all kinds of favorite fried Asian starters, and also with Korean Pajeon / Korean Pancake (recipe here). You can also use as a marinade, or over a pan-fried fish even. But I use it strictly as a dipping sauce, because it’s an unwritten rule of mine never to use dipping sauces as marinade. But don’t me. Do what you wish!

I hope many of you will try this and report back. Your tummies will thank me.

Always dishing,

Jun

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Spicy Ass Korean Pork

SpicyKoreanPork

Spicy Ass Korean Pork. Unofficially this is what we’re calling it.

Officially, the dish is called “Jeyook Bokkeum (제육볶음). “Jeyook”/ 제육 means “pork” and “Bokkeum” / 볶음 means stir-fry, so in Korean this dish is literally translated as Pork Stir-fry. Misleading, really, because there’s no mention of the spice involved! And by spice, I mean the kind of heat you feel moving through your digestive system the next day, hopefully in “private”.

But believe me when I say it’s worth it, especially if you’re a fan of spicy food to begin with. Every Korean household has their different way of preparing this dish, but the spicy bottom-line is:

No pain, no gain, so let’s put your grown-up palette to the test!

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INGREDIENTS:

1 pound pork belly (any cut works, really)

2 stalks of scallion (chopped in thirds)

1 carrot (thinly sliced)

½ large onion (thinly sliced)

½ cup warm water

4-6 tablespoons Korean Chili Paste

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon ginger (minced)

2 cloves garlic (minced)

2 tablespoon olive / vegetable oil

~

DIRECTIONS:

1. Prepare all your vegetables and set aside.

VeggiesForSpicyPork

~ Keep in mind carrots should be sliced as uniformly as possible but they don’t need to be perfect. The pork is the star in this dish, which is also what ginger is for. Ginger is a natural meat tenderizer (has an enzyme that breaks down protein, perfect for stir-frying meat!)

2. Grab a large mixing bowl of your choice and pour your warm water in it, along with your Korean Chili Paste. Work the chili paste with a wooden spoon to ensure it melts and there are no chunks.

ChiliPasteWater

~ After soy sauce, Korean Chili Paste is the next biggest staple in Korean cooking.

ChiliPasteAndPork

3. Add the sugar, soy sauce, ginger and garlic to your bowl and mix thoroughly. (If you opted out of the water, then add everything together for the marinade and mix thoroughly.) Set aside.

This marinade is also great with chicken and seafood, not so much beef though.

4. Take your pork belly and slice into bite-sized pieces. If you end up going with pork shoulder or loin, do the same. If you have a Korean supermarket nearby, you will see they sell very thinly-sliced pork specifically for this dish. But as long as you have a good cut of pork with some marbling aka fat, you’ll be fine!

SlicedPorkBelly

5. Add the pork to your mixing bowl of marinade. It should look both stunning and scary like this:

SpicyPorkYou can make larger quantities and freeze portions for future meals. I usually prepare enough for three meals in double storage bags. Without the carrots, onion and scallion. So easy!

Defrosted

~ I recommend letting the marinade work its magic with the pork for at least three hours, best over-night, if you can.

6. Pre-heat your wok / stir-fy pan over a medium-high flame, then add your oil, and let your oil heat as well.

7. Pour your pork and marinade into your hot pan and stir-fry for 7-10 minutes. Then add your carrots and onions and stir-fry for another 7-10 minutes. Add your scallion last, turning the flame off when the scallion begins to wilt.

8. Serve with rice (white or brown, though my weakness is white rice). If you have some romaine lettuce, you may want to try a delicious wrap of lettuce and a spoonful of rice and some of the pork. Heaven!

SpicyKoreanPork

 

Enjoy!

Always dishing,

Jun

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How To Attend Burlesque

Lady Flo and Davy

I’ve been to quite a few strip clubs and even a few underground massage parlors, in the name of research and curiosity of course. But burlesque theater I’ve only experienced twice, and only in Ghent in the last few years. Once with Hotel Jarretelle, during the annual summer Festival of Ghent.

Hotel Jarretelle

And once just last night, at Burlesque Follies.

Burlesque Follies

Simply put, burlesque performances cater to more than just the average horny guy at a strip club. The burlesque audience, is quite full of women, female patrons who feel more at home in a burlesque theater than they do at a “titty bar”. Not to say you don’t get to see the all-mighty titty at burlesque shows, you most certainly do. Instant sexual gratification is easier to find and I am a fan of it myself, however burlesque fulfills needs different than what a strip club or free porn or hand job do.

Burlesque gets you to the nudity through teasing, through story and music and comedy all dressed up in incredible corsets and costumes and nipple pasties!

~ ~ ~

How To Attend Burlesque

1. Do go with the right person. Invite someone who will appreciate eroticism and comedy on the same stage. If it happens to be your significant other you are lucky, whether gay or straight. Variety is the spice of sex life, and there’s much to be learned by everyone in the ways of tease and attire.

2. Do dress up. It is customary when attending a burlesque show, to have fun in everything including your attire. Think vintage and glamour and details. Men can throw on suspenders, wing tips or saddle shoes, think old gangsters. And women, think pin-up goddess and Dita Von Teese. Those attending burlesque are the least to judge, only admire the attention to details in the outfits of those around them.

3. Do make noise. Burlesque takes catcalling to another level, and makes it a part of the very interactive evening. The ladies of the nights require noise from their audience, after all that is how appreciation is shown. I personally love it when my husband catcalls me on an average day, and so the artists on stage must be catcalled. Both men and women should do it behind closed doors more often.

4. Don’t stress. Whether about dress, or the fact that you’re attending something around sex. Burlesque is about more than just sex it’s about before and after sex, and all the sexual thoughts in between too.

~ ~ ~

So last night, my husband Davy surprised me with tickets to a burlesque evening for Valentine’s Day. “Do go with the right person” was covered. We were one of very many different looking and living couples, but there were also single, straight and gay people, in pairs and groups. The common thread was that we were all there to indulge in voyeurism as an art form.

“Do dress up” was covered. Mostly. Davy meant to say “Dress 50s” and not 60s, to me, to serve as a clue as to where we were headed last evening.

Definitely More 60s

I should have bought a clue when he’d put suspenders and shiny loafers on, but nevertheless I ended up looking quite mod 60s, not knowing I should be looking 50s burlesque. Oh well. I still stood out. Don’t stress remember?

And “Do make noise” was more than covered, as we followed the lead of the lovely ladies on stage. Whistling and howling is a sign of a good show. Sometimes there’s the occasional obnoxious or drunk shit-head (Hence the “Do go with the right person” tip) who doesn’t belong there. And last night, there was one in the house, but that is really the fault of woman who brought him there in the first place.

“Don’t stress” is one of the easiest things you can do if you let go. And letting go is something I’m lucky enough to do as often as I please, because Davy is the same way. And despite feigning embarrassment when the exquisite Lady Flo came into the audience and straight to him, Davy blushed yet still had the foresight to put his hat on before she continued.

And we have this photo to remember, better, this passing Valentine. Much cooler because of the hat, no?

Lady Flo and DavyHat or no hat, get yourself to some burlesque!

Always dishing,

Jun

Simple Veggie Stir Fry Recipe

ClockwiseVeggies

Stir and fry, two things I love to do in the kitchen. Put them together and you have enough combinations to rival Bubba’s shrimp list from Forrest Gump. Today we’re doing Veggie Stir Fry, but there’s Shrimp Stir Fry, Beef Stir Fry, Pork Stir Fry, Stir Fry Noodles, Stir Fry Tofu, really so many sweet and savory and spicy combinations.

But what is the difference between a good stir-fry and a WTF did you do to this stir-fry? It’s a question of the order in which the ingredients were added into the wok, or stir-fry pan. Meat, always first and sauce always last and in between you have to respect the order in which each vegetable takes to cook, properly. So you get maximum nutrients and texture, and not just a salty mushy forkful of what used to be perfectly brilliant veggies.

Just like you wouldn’t expect all men or women to warm up with the same foreplay or in the same time, harder vegetables like broccoli and carrots take longer to cook than let’s say mushroom and scallion. If you don’t respect the order, then you get undercooked and overcooked everything. And no texture in your mouth.

I’m glad I got that out. And medium flame, all the way, or your vegetables will think it is in a sauna and not in a wok where they belong. It’s Goldiflames, where the flame too low will make your vegetables shrivel in it’s own pool of veggie sweat and flame too high will burn their pour souls. You don’t want to hurt vegetables do you?

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Simple Veggie Stir Fry Recipe (Vegetables in clockwise cooking order starting  at 12 o’clock)

ClockwiseVeggies

INGREDIENTS:

½ pound broccoli (trimmed and a little bigger than bite-sized rounds)

1 red bell pepper (thinly sliced)

½ an onion (thinly sliced)

1 clove garlic (thinly sliced)

1 stalk scallion (thinly chopped), to throw on top at the end

1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon Oyster Sauce OR Teriyaki, fish sauce, etc.

1 teaspoon sugar

salt/pepper

~ I personally swear by Oyster Sauce It’s what my mother used growing up. Not strong at all but adds some fullness to everything, brings it together. Unless you have a seafood allergy, then it’s a no-no.

Oyster Sauce

~ And If you’re new to scallion there’s an easy prep step, in this Home Alone Udon Noodle Soup recipe.

~ ~ ~

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat your wok or stir-fry pan over a medium flame, erring on the side of high just to be safe. When it’s hot, add your oil. Heat the oil.

2. Toss in your broccoli and stir every other minute for three minutes, cooking as evenly as you can.

BroccoliFirst

3. Add your sliced peppers and cook for two minutes, stirring once.

BroccoliThenPeppers

~ If you are comfortable with tossing your veggies in your wok with a few strong flicks of the wrist, go ahead. I believe that works best for even cooking, but a good long wooden spoon or a pair of wooden chopsticks work too. Be kind to your pans, and also try not to bruise the vegetables during stir fry.

4. Add your onions, and stir fry until the onions start looking translucent.

PreSauceVeggies

5. This is where you’re going to add your sauce. Whatever sauce it is that you decide to use. In this recipe it’s a combination of the soy sauce and oyster sauce, sugar, salt and pepper. But whatever you have handy that is stir-fry worthy works too.

6. Leave the veggies and sauces on the flame for a few minutes, until you are ready to get them in your mouth, and serve.

~ On this particular evening, I actually went with a Thai red curry sauce with catfish prepared in a skillet, with white rice. But you really can go a lot of places with this very Simple Veggie Stir Fry Recipe. Just respect the order of the vegetables you are using, whether it’s three or six, and you’ll be fine!

CatfishAndRedCurryVeggies

Enjoy!

Always dishing,

Jun

 

 

 

 

Christmas Confession

hors d'oeuvres

I have a confession. It’s something I’ve been keeping to myself since Christmas…

I was in charge of appetizers / hors d’oeuvres at our family gathering this past Christmas Eve, like I was the year before. And because we had vegetarians “in the house”, I had to be sure all my starters were of the anti-meat kind. As a meat-lover myself, I’ll be the first to admit I never had a very good vegetarian menu to offer. I do now.

So, it was the morning of Christmas Eve, and I had just finished making three days worth of baby food for my little Noah. Potatoes, Carrots, Onions and Broccoli Purée with Fresh Herbs.

Babyfood

It’s not the first time I’d tasted Noah’s baby food and thought, “Damn, this is good stuff”. Even my husband Davy will steal a spoonful here or there out of Noah’s little Tupperware at meal time… It’s amazing how good food can be when you remove all the preservatives and salt and other bad adult things.

Baby food really is the purest food that can come out of a kitchen. And that Christmas Eve morning, I decided I was going to serve baby food at the family party. I wanted to see if anyone would notice, let alone enjoy it as much as Davy and I do.

So I took some of Noah’s veggie pureé, added some grated mozzarella cheese, and filled up a bunch of puff pastry cups. In they went in the oven, and seven minutes later with a little fresh parsley for garnish and flavor, and this is what I got:

hors d'oeuvres

And this is what everyone ate, unaware that they were eating baby food, exactly what Noah had eaten a few hours before (minus the mozzarella). They were a hit. I didn’t even tell Davy. And so now my confession’s done.

I actually dare you to do the same thing and see if you get away with it…

Always dishing,

Jun

 

 

Korean Sesame Spinach Recipe

SpinachCloseup

Korean Sesame Spinach. This recipe is a super simple one you can repeat as often as you’d like, as a Korean side dish to a hot bowl of white rice. Yum.

Korean side dishes are called “banchan” (both “A”s pronounced “ah”). And in an average Korean household there are three or more little banchan side dishes, come meal-time, to accompany the rice and main dish.

In an average Korean restaurant, there can be anywhere from three to double-digits of dishes. All “free” and coming with your main dish and rice. You can safely assume that the better the restaurant, the better the banchan will be:

BanchanComparisonI took the photos above at two different Korean restaurants, in New York, who shall remain nameless. You can see just how big the difference is, in what and how much was presented.

So let’s get started on your first of many banchan recipes to come!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

INGREDENTS:

1 pound spinach

1 clove of finely chopped garlic

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon Korean Dashida Beef Stock

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon sesame seeds (optional, to throw on as garnish at the end)

salt/pepper

~ ~ ~

DIRECTIONS:

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil while you prepare your garlic.

2. Blanche your spinach in the boiling water for 10 to 15 seconds (not longer or you’ll get spinach puree in the end) and then remove quickly, and rinse your spinach in cold water.

3. Gently, but firmly, squeeze the spinach to remove most of the water. Grab a mixing bowl of your choice then go ahead and throw in your spinach, garlic, sesame oil, Korean Dashida Beef Stock and sugar. Many people will use soy sauce instead of the Korean Dashida Beef Stock, but my mother always said there was enough soy sauce in our life and always went with the beef stock.

SpinachCloseup

~ I did mention in my Home Alone Udon Noodle Soup Recipe that the Korean Dashida beef stock is more concentrated than regular bouillon cubes we’re used to. So be careful not to be too heavy-handed!

4.  Mix your spinach and ingredients, by hand (yes, more love that way). Get in there into each leaf (try your best) and mix evenly. Add salt/pepper to taste.

5. Serve with rice and whatever else on your menu for the meal. You can throw some sesame seeds on top of each serving of spinach here if you’d like. And it’s recommended that you not reheat spinach (nitrates and all that scary stuff).

~ On this particular day, I went with some Korean Beef Stew and white rice.

KoreanSesameSpinach

Enjoy!

Always dishing,

Jun

Croque Madame Recipe

CroqueMadameCurryKetchup

Let’s get something out of the way first.

Translation

The Croque Monsieur is, essentially, a grilled ham and cheese sandwich. But the Croque Monsieur came first, out of France, and didn’t get to America until later. Take it one step further and throw a fried or poached egg on top and it’s a Croque Madame. All of a sudden it’s a girl sandwich. Which makes sense I suppose. Boy sandwich no eggs, and girl sandwich yes eggs. But it does all sound better in French.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

INGREDIENTS:

2 slices bread

1-2 slices cheese (Gruyère, typically)

1-2 slices ham

1 egg

1 tablespoon softened or spreadable butter

salt/pepper

~ ~ ~

DIRECTIONS:

1. Butter only one side of each slice of your bread.

CroqueMonsieurIngredients

2. Put one slice of your bread, butter-side down into a frying pan / skillet on your stovetop. On the slice of bread, lay a slice of cheese and a slice of ham (repeat if you’d like). Top with your other side of bread, butter-side up. I went with Emmental Cheese and some Spanish ham on this particular day.

3. Turn your flame on under the pan, at medium.

~ This is one of just a few times I never pre-heat my pan. I don’t believe it’s necessary. If anything, it’s easier to layer your sandwich without a flame. And the cheese in the sandwich melts just a little better in my opinion, without pre-heating the pan.

FriedEgg

~ It’s up to you if you want to start frying your over-easy-or-medium egg in a separate pan, or wait to use the same one you’re using above for your sandwich. I am rarely in that huge a rush and I prefer making less dirty dishes as possible, so I usually wait until my sandwich is sufficiently toasted on both sides.

4. Once you flip your sandwich sizzling in your pan and have a nice brown crust on both sides, you have a Croque Monsieur already. Throw your egg on top and you have your Croque Madame. My secret to the perfect egg? Cover it! Yes, cover the pan while your egg is frying for a bit. Seriously.

I often throw curry ketchup on top.

CroqueMadameCurryKetchup

Or not. Or with slices of chicken in stead of ham, like in this photo:CroqueMadameWithChicken

Or with two eggs instead of one, sometimes:CroqueMadameTwoEggs

There are so many variations of this sandwich, and really you can make it as complicated as you want or as simple as this recipe. With a Béchamel sauce, or using round or sourdough bread, ham or mystery meat

Whatever your budget or skills set or taste, just enjoy!

Always dishing,

Jun

 

 

Home Alone Udon Noodle Soup Recipe

UdonEnd

Home Alone Udon Noodle Soup, not to say you can’t serve this dish to others. But when I do, I usually add more veggies and sometimes meat. But this recipe is definitely one I break out when I’m eating alone because my husband is working, or until my little Noah is old enough to join me in taking down a bowl of udon soup (Update as of February, 2014: Noah now partakes in Home Alone Udon Noodle Soup!).

Everything you need, except the water, is in this one photo:

AllIngredients

We can also call this “On A Budget Udon Noodle Soup” or “College Dorm Udon Noodle Soup”, really it’s so easy and takes so very little time and money to make. And it’s great for hangovers too.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

INGREDIENTS:

1 pack of udon noodles

2 cups water

2 stalks scallion

1 stalk of lemongrass

1 egg

½ tablespoon Korean Dashida Beef Stock

pepper

~ ~ ~

DIRECTIONS:

1. Prep your scallion and lemongrass. Rinse your scallion and lemongrass under cold water. Cut off a bit from both ends of your scallion and lemongrass and toss in the trash.

2. Cut your scallion up into uniform 2-3 inch pieces. Halve your lemongrass the long way, from one tip to the other, slicing carefully with a sharp knife. Set both your scallion and lemongrass aside.

2. Throw your two cups of water (a little more or less depending on how much broth you like with your noodle soups) into a small pot of choice and toss in your sliced lemongrass. Bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes.

~ If you can’t find or don’t like lemongrass, don’t worry. Just start with water then. You can always try this recipe with lemongrass later.

3. Remove all the lemongrass from your boiling water. While lemongrass provides citrus-y sour and earthy flavor, they are not meant to be eaten as-is. Unless you’re a sadist, in which case, go ahead.

4. Toss in half your Korean Dashida Beef Stock and add more to-taste, to avoid a salt bomb in your pot.

KoreanBeefStock

~ Korean Dashida beef stock is more concentrated than regular bouillon cubes we’re used to. And as such, *warning*, it is high in sodium and also MSG. MSG is not the devil, so don’t freak. Everything in moderation, yes? They usually come in big ass bags (pictured above) but the good news is you can keep a portion in your spice rack and seal the rest up and throw it in the freezer! When my mother came to visit when my little Noah was born, she brought me two whole bags. Love her.

5. Once your broth is a little saltier than you’d like it, which it should be since you’ll be adding bland noodles, add your noodles and scallion and boil for two minutes.

6. Udon noodles only need three minutes of boiling, so make sure you save that last minute for your egg. The egg will bring everything together in perfect harmony. Just crack it open and drop it into your pot. Throw in a dash of pepper if you’d like. Take the pot off the flame after one minute.

AddEgg

Besides its simplicity, this dish is great for those “Home Alone” meals because you can just eat it straight off the stovetop, right in the pot. Sometimes I can’t be bothered with serving myself like a civilized person, and I don’t want to make any more dirty dishes for myself so I scratch the bowl route and slurp my noodle soup right out of the pot!

UdonEnd

~ You know you’ve cooked the egg for one perfect minute, if when you cut into the middle it’s medium-cooked.

Enjoy!

Always dishing,

Jun

Creamy Roasted Belgian Endives Recipe

CreamedAndRoasted

The Belgian Endive, is called Witloof (pronounce “wit-loaf”) here in Belgium. In Dutch, “Wit” means white and “loof” mean leaf, quite literally a “white leaf” vegetable out of the chicory family. They are not only immensely popular items on any Belgian menu, they are symbols of agricultural pride for the country. It’s not always about the Brussels Sprouts.

BelgianEndive

I’d eaten endive on many occasions before moving to Belgium, but never served warm. I’d had it served sliced raw in salads or as whole leaves serving as “cups” for hors d’oeuvres. Only when I moved here did I start eating and serving them regularly as a hot side dish.

There are many ways to serve them hot, but I will share them now roasted and delicious and incredibly simple.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

INGREDIENTS:

4 to 6 endives

1½ cups cream or half-and-half

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon sugar

salt/pepper

~ ~ ~

DIRECTIONS:

1. By the time the endives get to you, they should be remarkably clean and dirt-free, but do rinse them over running water. Then cut three-quarters to an inch off the flat end, and remove the outside leaves just for good measure.

EndivePrep2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

3. Halve your endives and lay them, pointy sides in, in a casserole dish. Using a teaspoon drizzle olive oil over the endives. Sprinkle your salt and pepper and nutmeg over them. Throw them in the oven.

~ The nutmeg will give your dish an earthier and nuttier flavor. If you’re not into earth or nuts, then salt and pepper will suffice.

PreOvenEndives

4.  While your endives are roasting in the oven, get the rest of your ingredients ready. Namely, your cream and butter and flour and sugar/salt/pepper.

CreamSauceIngredients

5. Once your endives have been roasting a good 30-35 minutes, throw your butter in a saucepan over a medium flame. Keep an eye on it so there’s no browning/burning. If there is, toss it and start over. No tears, no regrets, just say goodbye to the poor butter and start over!

6. Once your butter is melted, grab your whisk in your good hand (I’m a righty so I consider my right hand my good one) and throw in the flour with your other hand, whisking the entire time.

~ What you will now have is something called a roux (pronounced “roo”) which is a fancy French word for “melted butter with flour whisked in it over a medium flame”.  No, but really, it’s the basis for all sorts of creamy sauces white or brown and every shade in between. 

Roux~ You will know you did it right if and when you look into your saucepan you see a thick somewhere-between-yellow-and-orange gooey looking liquid. It should be the consistency of glue (sorry for the poor example here).

7. Keeping your whisk handy in your good hand, begin pouring in your cream (or half and half) a little bit at a time, making sure to whisk in between.

CreamInRoux

8. Once all your cream has been mixed in, throw in your sugar and a dash of salt and pepper and simmer. Be sure to continue to whisk, preventing the bottom of the saucepan from thickening and burning.

JustBubbling9. When you see the surface of the sauce bubbling uniformly, or after 3-5 minutes, shut off the flame. Carefully remove your casserole dish of roasted endives and pour the cream sauce over the endives. Then in your casserole dish goes, back in your oven for 10 minutes. They should look something as heavenly as this:

CreamedAndRoasted

~The cream sauce is OPTIONAL by the way, you can serve the endives roasted out of the oven just the way they are.

10. Let sit a few minutes before plating with your main dish.

WithMeatloaf

 

~ I chose on that particular evening to go with meatloaf and mashed potatoes. I’m a huge fan of meatloaf and always looking for new sides to serve with it. Booyah. Creamy Roasted Belgian Endives.

Enjoy!

Always dishing,

Jun