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Apr. 9th, 2011

The last couple of days has seen some relatively decadent breakfasts happening. I used the last of my deliciously rich roasted chicken broth in a big pot of congee, flavoured liberally with julienned ginger and rice wine, with plenty of century egg on top. My schedule has meant that any sliver of nutrition I can get between work is helpful, and a big bowl of congee on hand with a side of very well-pickled kimchee is welcome food. There have been a fair amount of hours where even a cup of tea would take too much time.

With kimchee, I've come to the conclusion that less is more. I've tried a variety of different recipes at this point. The ones calling for some kind of seafood or seafood extract are really just too pungent for me, and get in the way of the fresh, vaguely sour-spicy flavour I prefer. There is no replacement for Korean chilli powder. Anything else just doesn't have the same floral bouquet. I think it's a little bit like the smell of Szechuan pepper that way.

Today, I made rice balls for the first time in a while. My nose is congested, so I couldn't smell the vinegar I put in them. Seth said the whole kitchen smelled vinegary afterwards. They tasted good, not as good as Little Spot Cafe's. I tried using salt water to season my hands and the moulds, which helped add flavour to the onigiri. Since I haven't been able to run out for seaweed sheets, or canned salmon, which the husband prefers in his rice balls (I prefer pickled seaweed), I used canned tuna instead. I wonder if the rice needed even more salting during cooking? I will have to rely on the moulds when using extra salt during the shaping process. Salt really makes the allergies on my fingers sting, and I find that gloves really make it hard for me to maneuver around basic kitchen tasks.

We have not had very many decent home-cooked meals in a few weeks. This is very much my fault. Since I've spent the last month effectively working nights and weekends, the time I've had to prepare food in advance or in the evenings kind of took a hit. I did get to try a Turkish yogurt and mint soup recipe earlier this week. Turkish yogurt soup, possibly through cultural influences from elsewhere in the Mediterranean, is like a less lemony version of Greek Avgolemono with butter and yoghurt on top of the eggs as thickener. The result is a very rich chicken and rice soup, with emulsified egg and yogurt that is only slightly balanced by the butter-sauteed mint and paprika. Based on what videos I've seen of Istanbul's cuisine, I take it the Turkish are quite fond of rich, creamy foods in general. The recipes I've seen for this soup call for dried mint, which I find, particularly the kinds favoured by Middle Eastern/Persian grocery stores, pretty vegetal, almost a little grassy. I used fresh mint, which lent the soup a brighter flavour overall. I haven't had much practice with paprika, which I have always found quite smoky, but buttering it does temper and round out the flavour. I think I may need to experiment more with it, possibly in eggs. I would probably make the yogurt soup again, but with less or no egg, and more meats and veggies inside. One variation I saw even involved chickpeas.

I still have the pack of dried bracken I want to rehydrate for either a stewed dish or Korean bracken pancakes this weekend. With any luck, I won't be working (too much?), so I'll have time to hoard stocks. There's also a tea and spice cookie I want to try making, and this utterly lemony tart that involves actually blending a whole lemon into the custard.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
markfinn
Apr. 9th, 2011 02:52 pm (UTC)
Note of Appreciation
I don't know that I've ever actually mentioned this before, and just in case I haven't...

While you and I have some sizable differences in overall tastes in food, I appreciate and enjoy your "food porn" posts more than you can possibly believe, and have had my own tastes in food significantly expanded by the descriptions, depictions and recipes you share.

Thank you.
vampyrichamster
Apr. 10th, 2011 01:34 am (UTC)
Re: Note of Appreciation
Aww. That is quite sweet of you. I like to share the food thoughts, and I'm glad people like these thoughts. Hopefully, you have discovered something in your own pretty darn unique location worth the tastiness and sharing.
markfinn
Apr. 11th, 2011 05:24 am (UTC)
Re: Note of Appreciation
I just received the most gloriously fragrant package in the post. The aromas are just beyond description in their mouth-wateringlyness...

And then there are the recipes. I am currently at work, and considering pulling a sickie just to get home to try some out.

Thankyouthankyouthankyou!
vampyrichamster
Apr. 11th, 2011 07:20 am (UTC)
Re: Note of Appreciation
Oh, my goodness! It arrived early. Were all the bags intact? I'd seriously considered taping off the tops over the ziplocs, but thought that might be a bit much.

Glad it got there. Wow. My handwriting being what it is, let me know if there's any text that you can't make out.
niqusore
Apr. 10th, 2011 01:44 pm (UTC)
Hi there, awesome site. I thought the topics you posted on were very interesting

vampyrichamster
Apr. 10th, 2011 06:56 pm (UTC)
Hi there. Thanks for the kind thoughts. Glad you like it.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )