Friday, June 18, 2010

Whats been cooking in my kitchaundry room!

Yes, that is a made up word but I thought I'd honor my husband in doing so. His family tend to have the knack for doing so. My husband in particular and even to the degree that I've begun to take them down and create a dictionary of sorts to cataloge the silliness and aid the next sister-in-law that comes along understanding the family terminology.

Obviously my kitchaundry room is a new word I've developed to define the space in my Korean apartment known as a kitchen and a laundry room. There is no space definition between the two they are as one as one can be. Namely my "range" which consist of two burners is directly located above my washer. I often wonder while utilizing the both simultaneously if its a good idea but than I'm halfway through dinner and well this girl and her man gotta eat even if I blow up in the process I'll have died doing something I love.

Over the past few weeks as our food budget has taken a steady downward spiral I realized I'd have to get the absolutely most out of everything we purchased. Its been a steep learning curve here and just when I think I've begun to settle into a routine of grocery shopping for staple items they vanish from the shelves sometime never to be seen until another season.

I grew up in Brasil, we ate seasonally there also but being a sub-tropical climate most fruits and veggies were year round. Korea on the other hand has been frustrating to say the least. I thought I'd learn quickly how to adjust from season to season but the seasons of particular foods here are so fast its easy to miss them all together. Prime example are strawberries. I saw them in the grocery store in early spring and thought oh how wonderful but they were terribly expensive at about 8,000W ($8) for a carton I waited hoping later in the season they'd be cheaper, wrong! They disappeared all together in about a week never to be seen again and of course I've craved them ever since.

There are few items that remain year round in the fresh produce section and they include: cabbage, onions, garlic, green onions, bananas, and potatoes (white, golden, purple, and Korean sweet).

Seasonal items include: watermelon, Korean yellow melons, fresh olives (look like fuzzy green things), corn on the cob (which we discovered was awful ie: cow corn as we called it in Brasil utterly flavorless dense and disgusting) and currently I just purchased some suprisingly delicious Kiwis imported from Chile as many things are, either there of the Phillipines.

I've often had much better luck at purchasing produce off the street directly from farmers. About two weeks ago I couldn't believe my eyes just outside our building was a lady selling fresh sweet shelled peas!!! It made my mouth water instantaneously and I just had to have them. I passed her buy on my way to the grocery store ironically and on my way home purchased about a 1/2 pound for 3,000W. Frankly I didn't care how much they cost just the taste of fresh sweet peas sounded so springy and delicious. That day as I recall I simply had a plate of fresh veggies for lunch, just heavenly after a long cold dreary brown winter. The sad part to this story is that the next day I saw these red net bags on the curb for garbage something made me look closer and on further inspection I discovered they were the pod to the peas I'd boughten the day before. How terribly sad! I would have bought those too and thoroughly enjoyed them but alas Koreans apparently think they are simply a vessel and not to be eaten. I have to mention the thought crossed my mind to snatch the 2 bags (one for myself and one for Casey) wash them up and add them on the dinner menu but alas I think my husband would have passed out knowing what is now on his dinner plate was on a street corner for garbage a few hours earlier.

I've also been doing a fair share of research on Korean recipes. I've had several dishes I've enjoyed but not attempted to make them myself. With loads of time on my hands I figured I've give it a shot. This week it was mandu, Korean dumplings. They have a wide variety of ingredients basically you can put anything you want in them and you steam 'em, pan-fry or deep fry 'em, or put 'em in a soup all delicious but I personally prefer the pan-fried version.

Afer researching and comparing several mandu recipes I, in usual fashion, decided to make my own version. Here are the ingredients I used: ground pork, tofu, onion, garlic, zucchini, carrots, cabbage, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Its quite simple to make but a bit time consuming but the results are sooo worth it!

In process the mix, the wrappers and the bowl of water for sealing them

The final product the ones on the left are for frying or steaming and the ones on the right are for soup. Shapes do not affect flavor but thats just how they do it.

Tonite I made Italian Zucchini Boats mmm a recipe I found on Foodgawker. Casey has got me addicted to food blogs and this is the result, new creative ways to use local produce in a budget-friendly way.

in process...

just coming out of the oven MMM smelled sooo good!

thats all for now!


Carrie Rollins said...

I just love reading your blog! I think it's just so great all the new things that you get to try and the experiences that you're having! I'm so jealous! Reading all this, makes me want to go back on the ship really badly....ahh the excitement of life abroad!

Benjamin + Amy said...

aaah yes life abroad is full of adventures but its definitely not without its difficulties, missing family sooo much right now and our good friends are leaving in 2 weeks so we are quite sad about that. Just the other day Ben + I were talking about how much we've learned here everything from the how to stick to a budget to the dime to how to live in a tuna can and still love each other : )