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Korean Pajeon / Pancake Recipe

FinishedKoreanPajeon

Korean Pajeon (“pah-juhn”).

This dish, considered more a snack food or starter, is not only easy but a staple growing up in any Korean household. And once you’ve mastered the recipe, it will probably become a staple in your household.

The recipe calls for “Chinese chives” (Gao Choi in Chinese, Puchu in Korean). Chinese chives are stronger in taste than the chives you may be used to on your baked potatoes. The leaves of Chinese chives are flat and cook very quickly. Be sure to use within 3 days as they are particularly fragile little fuckers.

ChineseChives

This past summer we planted our own Chinese chives in our vegetable garden, and so this recipe was used and somewhat abused. Though nobody in particular complained.

~ If you can’t find the chives, no worries. You can always substitute them with thinly sliced bell peppers or grated carrots or diced zucchini or any veggie really, so I can shut up.  Mixed seafood works incredibly well too.

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INGREDIENTS FOR BATTER:

2 cups flour

1½ cups cold water

2 eggs

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

Salt / pepper

OTHER INGREDIENTS:

1 bunch Chinese chives

Vegetable oil

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DIRECTIONS:

1. Wash and pat-dry your Chinese chives (or other ingredients if you’re not going the chives route). Then chop into 1-2 inch pieces and set aside.

WashChineseChives

2. Whisk together your flour, water, eggs, starch and salt/pepper in a large mixing bowl until smooth. The consistency should be just a little thicker than regular pancake batter. The added starch should help, but if you need to go ahead and add a little flour or water to get to the right consistency.

3. Set your frying pan or skillet over a medium flame then add two tablespoons of oil when you think the the pan is sufficiently heated.

4. Add your chopped Chinese chives to the batter mix.

BatterWithChineseChives

5. Using a soup ladle, pour in enough of the batter to just cover the surface of the pan.

~ The thinner the pancake, the crispier it will be. The perfect bite is crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Try not to have too heavy a hand when pouring the batter into the pan.

6. Let cook for 5-7 minutes, checking after 5 minutes to see if the bottom has browned. Once browned, flip with a spatula.

FlippedPancake7. Cook the flipped side for another 5-7 minutes, again checking after 5 minutes to be sure there’s no burning but just beautiful browning.

~ This recipe should yield two pancakes and most likely your second pancake will turn out better looking than your first. Practice makes perfect.

8. Slice up your pancakes into bite-sized or pizza-sliced pieces, whatever size you’re in the mood to put into your mouth. Serve with dipping sauce and enjoy!

FinishedKoreanPajeonI have never personally met anyone who didn’t fall in love with Korean Pajeon, so do let me know if you are the first. I may just faint. Or call you a liar.

If you’d like the perfect dipping sauce to go with this, you can find it here.

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Always dishing,

Jun

 

Creamed Mushrooms Recipe

simmeringcreamymushroom

I’m writing this recipe while listening to The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir sing The Battle Hymn of the Republic. Simply incredible.

Today is Monday, January 21, 2013. The day of The Presidential Inauguration, falling on Martin Luther King Day. And it’s the day my little Noah has turned 10 months old. Just another day to some people yet so much more, to others.

For me, a day of living in the present in Belgium and writing about creamed mushrooms while watching CNN, and staying connected to America.

But I have a confession. I used to fear cream sauces. Fear making them, not eating them, because there has never been a cream sauce I did not devour. Growing up in a Korean home, dairy was not presented to me readily. Yet, I do not have the lactose intolerance so many of my fellow Koreans suffer through. And so I overcame my fear of creating homemade cream sauces and stopped buying the pre-made stuff or eating out anytime I wanted a decadent cream-based sauce.

INGREDIENTS:

½  pound Oyster mushrooms

½ pound White Button mushrooms

1 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon butter

2 teaspoons sugar

salt / pepper

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DIRECTIONS:

1. Shake out any dirt or residue from the Oyster mushrooms, and brush / wipe clean each White Button mushroom.

~ If you can help it, don’t wash mushrooms. They soak up water like sponges and the flavor of the mushrooms will be compromised. And we don’t want to put those poor mushrooms in a compromising position, do we? A swift dry cleaning of your freshly purchased mushrooms should suffice.

2. Tear the Oyster mushrooms, by hand, into half inch strips. Slice, with a sharpened knife so as to not bruise, the White Button mushrooms into half-inch pieces. I chose these two types of mushrooms because they were fresh from the farmers market, but really, you can use your favorites for this recipe.

3. In a frying pan/skillet, heat your butter over a medium flame and then add mushrooms to pan. Stir and cook for 6-8 minutes, until slightly softened and “tan”-looking.

If you keep the flame on medium and stir the entire time, there shouldn’t be too much “mushroom liquid” in the pan. If there is just pour it off, and return the pan to the flame.

sauteedmushroom

4. Add the flour, over the mushrooms, while stirring. Wooden spoons work best for mushrooms and pan alike. Scratches to the bottom of your pans will hurt your wallet in the long run.

flouredmushroom

5. Your mushrooms should look coated and a little doughy. Add the cream and sugar and salt/pepper to your pan, each slowly while stirring the mushrooms.

~ By adding the cream to the flour, as opposed to the other way around, you will avoid floury clumps in your sauce. I’ve tried it the other way around and find that adding flour first then cream yields a smoother sauce.

addedflourandcream

6. Leave the pan on the medium flame until the mixture simmers, stir with your wooden spoon, until you achieve the thickness in the sauce you desire.

simmeringcreamymushroom8. Serve and enjoy. I use this dish as a side to whatever meat or fish entree I’m serving. This particular day, it accompanied steak and potatoes.

SteakPotatoesCreamedMushrooms

 

I don’t know why I ever feared making cream sauces in the past. Perhaps because I never watched my mother make them. But I use cream-based sauces at least twice a week now in my post-life. Hope you’ll try this sauce!

Always dishing,

Jun

Brown Sugar Crusted Pork Chops

BSCPorkchops

Ah, my Brown Sugar Crusted Pork Chops. This recipe has been requested by several of you, and enjoyed by even more in the many years I’ve been serving it up by my hand. Brown and sugar and crusted and pork and chops sound so good together.

And it all starts with two fresh cuts of pork chops.

PorkBladeChops

You can use any cut really, but on this day I went with blade chops out of the freezer. I tend to buy “family size” quantities of pork chops and freeze them in pairs after throwing salt/pepper on both sides.

~ I don’t recommend throwing anything else on meats, in general, before freezing. Salt and pepper work best in my experience. This way, you can grab from the freezer what you need and let the s/p work it’s way in while defrosting. And then you can take it from there and add whatever else you need during the cooking process. 

INGREDIENTS:

2 pork chops

1 tablespoon of olive oil or butter (depending on what your diet allows)

For the rub:

4 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons fine breadcrumbs

4 teaspoons Goya Sazon

2 teaspoons Goya Adobo All Purpose Seasoning with Pepper

2 teaspoons Goya Adobo All Purpose Seasoning with Cumin

2 teaspoon garlic powder

2 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon oregano (fresh or dry)

1/2 teaspoon rosemary (f/d)

1/2 teaspoon basil (f/d)

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DIRECTIONS:

1. Throw your frying pan / skillet on the stove top over medium heat to pre-heat.

2. Combine ALL the dry rub ingredients listed above and, literally, rub everything into your pork chops. Or you can also throw the dry rub and chops into a clean/dry Ziploc-type storage bag and shake it up to coat more evenly. But there’s no big deal or worry about “being even” when it comes to this pork chop dish.

PorkchopsFirstSide

3. Add the olive oil /butter to your pan and swirl for good measure. Leave the flame on medium. And if you’d like, at this point, you can even throw extra brown sugar on top of everything before you throw it in the pan to get a harder crust at the end.

4. Throw the chops in the heated and oiled pan.

~ IF the idea of all this brown sugar is too much for you and your waistline, then halve all the measurements for the dry rub and only coat one side of the pork chops. And then throw the chops down in the pan, dry-rub-side down like this:

onesidedporkchops5. Cover the pan. Yes. Cover it. It doesn’t matter if it’s with a real lid or a sheet of aluminum foil. And you will never have too-dry leathery brown sugar crusted pork chops ever again.

coveredporkchops

6. Pan-fry one side of the pork chops, covered, for 10 minutes and then check the underside of the chops. If there’s anything but a dark brown sugary crust looking back at you, keep them frying a few minutes more.

7. Flip the pork chop to the other side and leave it frying on the pan, still covered, for 8 minutes and then remove the cover. Pan-fry the chops for another 4-5 minutes.

BSCPorkchops

8. Serve with your favorite sides. On this particular day I had fresh yellow string beans (actually called “butter beans” here in Belgium) picked from my garden, and so my side dish of choice was already made.

9. Enjoy!

~ And please do let me know if you try this recipe. I love hearing from you all.

Always dishing,

Jun

Ground Chicken Meatloaf Recipe

photo-25

This is cause for celebration. Not only for ground chicken but for me, as this is my first “Edible” dish here. And I have “Gwen” to thank for writing in to my site, using the “Contact Jun” link found on the homepage, for the recipe:

GwenContact

Keeping in mind most of us have seen a dozen meatloaf recipes already, this one in particular is made with ground chicken and Latino spices and seasoning. Having grown up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, I grew up eating at friends’ houses where the food was always delicious and Dominican. And now that I find myself living in Belgium, I make sure to have everything I need in my pantry to satisfy my cravings for Latino food. Even in my ground chicken meatloaf.

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb ground chicken

1/2 cup fine breadcrumbs

1 egg

1/2 finely chopped onion

1/4 cup ketchup

1/2 tablespoon Goya Sazon

1/2 tablespoon Goya Adobo All Purpose Seasoning with Pepper

1/2 tablespoon Goya Adobo All Purpose Seasoning with Cumin

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon oregano (fresh or dry)

1/2 teaspoon rosemary (fresh or dry)

1/2 teaspoon coriander (fresh or dry)

1/2 teaspoon salt

photo-26

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Combine ALL the ingredients listed in a favorite mixing bowl of your choice, and mix using your hands, because hand-mixing means more love going into the food (invest in some disposable food service gloves if you’re like me and prefer not to get raw meat under your nails, you can find some at this link if you need). And feel free to throw in less/more seasoning and herbs to your taste. After all, this is your meatloaf.

And if you are new to the Goya family of Latino seasonings, here’s what they look like (I’ve also made sure you can click on the linked ingredients above on the list):

GoyaStuff

3. Fill whatever loaf pan you have handy with the meatloaf mixture (I like to use disposable aluminum loaf pans, as I always freeze one for later in the week). I never grease my pans for meatloaf, in general. I find that there’s always enough fat in the meats, for the meatloafs to pull themselves off the sides of the pans.

photo-25

4. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for one 45 minutes. Although I usually don’t cover my meatloafs for baking in the oven, ground chicken meatloaf can look “dried-out” coming out of the oven because there’s less fat compared to other traditional ground meatloaf meats.

5. Remove foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes (you can knock down your oven to 325 degrees if you remember).

6. Serve with your favorite sides. I went with sautéed string beans and mashed potatoes for this particular meal.

photo-22

7. Enjoy!

Always dishing,

Jun