Saturday, December 29, 2007


Wikepedia defines Bibambap as ".....a popular Korean dish. The word literally means "mixed rice" or "mixed meal". (It is also sometimes spelled "bibimba" or "bibimbop").

Bibimbap is served as a bowl of warm white rice topped with namul (sautéed and seasoned vegetables), beef, a fried egg, and gochujang (chile pepper paste). The ingredients are stirred together thoroughly just before eating. It can be served either cold or hot.

Vegetables commonly used in bibimbap include julienned cucumber, zucchini, mu (daikon), mushrooms, doraji (bellflower root), and laver, as well as spinach, soybean sprouts, and gosari (bracken fern stems). Dubu (tofu), either plain or sautéed, or a leaf of lettuce may be added, or chicken or seafood may be substituted for beef. For visual appeal, the vegetables are placed so that adjacent colors complement each other. Many areas of Korea typically serve a vegetarian version of the dish which may well be the more traditional alternative.

A variation of this dish, dolsot bibimbap ("dolsot" meaning "stone pot"), is served in a very hot stone bowl, in which a raw egg is cooked against the sides of the bowl. The bowl is so hot, that anything that touches it, sizzles for minutes. Before the rice is placed in the bowl, the bottom of the bowl is coated with sesame oil, making the layer of the rice touching the bowl golden brown and crispy."

Well, today my son Tony and I decided to prepare this dish for dinner (actually he did all the cooking). We headed to a well known Japanese supermarket in Torrance and our journey began. We learned a lot today and I wish I had taken notes. For starters, today is a very busy day for purchasing exotic ingredients which go into making traditional Japanese New Year's foods. This supermarket was packed. We didn't get the hint from the packed parking lot. This was fun. Luckily we found a parking space and had the good fortune to traverse the supermarket aisles with another very helpful shopper who helped us navigate ingredients and described why people had certain items in their carts. How out of place we must have looked amongst this crowd. One shopper actually asked who was going to do the cooking. I understood as I was obviously along for the ride and considering Tony is a 23 year black guy traveling with his middle aged mom. Who knew he was a culinary student who had a clue about what he was about to prepare.

We opted to make our Bibambap with bok choy, napa cabbage, Kobe style beef, cucmumber, yellow squash, geeen onions, shitake mushrooms, carrots, turnips, soybean sprouts and snowpeas. As a side dish Tony opted to prepare pork cutlets coated with panko bread crumbs.

We did look for a ceramic pot to bring to high temps but decided my wok shaped cast iron skillet might do the job. We did get to temp but the searing action we were looking for was missed a opportunity.

All in all the dish turned out fantastic. Wish we had a couple more eggs to top and mix in. We decided not to mix everything before serving in order to allow everyone to add their own chile pepper paste to taste. This presentation served 7 adults with few leftovers.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Dinner At My House

Chrstimas Dinner Menu (Flickr Photo Set)

Smoked Turkey (basted with butter and mojo criollo sauce)

Rib roast (Montreal Rub)

Salmon (Olive oil, salt and pepper- missed photo opportunity)
Gravy (from turkey drippings)
Mac and Cheese
Brussel Sprouts
Country Greens (Three ways- no meat, smoked turkey or ham hock
Hasselback Potatoes
Corn Pudding
Dressing (Boxed with additional trinity)
Monkey Bread (kneaded in Kitchen Aid cut into pices dipped in butter and baked in deep pan or bundt type pan)
Cornbread (corn meal box recipe- subtituted butter for vegetable oil)
Red Velvet Cake
Cheese Cake Assortment
Pound Cake
Berry Cobbler

Doggie Treat for ziggy and Wendi- Aspic of turkey gizzard, liver and heart)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Smoked Salmon Log- Holiday Party Appetizer

G and I received a gift of canned smoked salmon from our good friend Ron. Immediately we thought about making a special appetizer from a recipe given to me by Cousin Mildred in Philadelphia- Salmon Log. The below recipe calls for an 8oz can of red salmon but I found that 8 oz of smoked salmon or even smoked yellow tail works very well also.

Salmon Log

8 oz red salmon
8 oz(1 pkg) cream cheese
2 tsp finely chopped onion or shallots
1 T lemon juice
1 tsp creamed horseradish
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 C chopped (coarse)nuts
1/2 C Chopped fresh parsely

Combine salmon, cream cheese, onion, lemon juice, horseradich and salt. Form into a log shape. Mix parsely and nuts together. Press parsely/nuts over all sides of log. Wrap in plastic wrap and further shape into log. You can then also wrap again in aluminum foil and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Tamales - Soul Fusion Style

Last year I was fortunate to be able to attend a tamale party. I swore that for 2007 I would start a new tradition and make tamales for my family and friends a holiday event.

There is so much love, friendship and holiday cheer exemplified by the simple task of wrapping tamales. Sure all the work is in the prep but when you are in the company of people you enjoy being around, it doesn't seem burdensome. Even more satisying is that there is a bounty of tamales to share with others at work, neighbors, friends and family.

I spent a few hours on the internet checking recipes, prep, ingredients and techniques. What were my conclusions? Well, there is a diversity of styles and the only limiting step is your own creativity. There is no wrong way to make a tamales as long as the end result is what you like. I decided to combine what I know with what I like. You don't have to look far to figure out what that might be.

I decided to make a traditional tamales using smoked pork butt versus braised pork with seasonings and spices. The rest of my post documents my venture into the world of tamales done Soul Fusion style. The smokey flavor of the pork combined with the rich traditional red chile sauce and masa harina prep made for a very good tamales which did result in a successful must repeat, dang that taste great tamales.

Smoking pork butt

Pork butts have reached temp

Pork ready to pull and chop

Corn husks soaking

Pork seasoning and spices
Pork ready for tamales

Masa prep

Big Mista making tamales


Saturday, December 08, 2007

Christmas Cookies- Snowflakes Are In For 2007

I have quite a few cookie cutters including Christmas designs. One continuing theme for holidays which kept popping up was the snowflake. As it would be, I had a couple of cutters which I could adapt to a snowflake but none which really shouted "Snowflake". I don't need very much prompting to get me to purchase anything related to kitchen gadgets so voila, I now have three more cookie cutters- two snowflakes and one bell.

Much of my time this week (except for those hours spent at my day job) has been doing what I love to do- decorating sugar cookies. I stuck with my No Fail Sugar Cookie recipe. Why change it is a great recipe. I cut out primarily snowflakes but also added a few snowmen, Christmas trees and Christmas bells.

I was very happy with all the designs except for the Christmas bells. For some reason the red royal icing didn't cooperate with me and the result was ok but not great. The snowflakes were wonderful. You can see more of the collection at my Flickr site.

Last year I used the decorated sugar cookies as ornaments on my Christmas tree.

I stored some of the cookies from that 2006 tree in an airtight container. I was amazed when I opened the jar today and found the cookies looked just like they did last year. Now I wouldn't eat a one year old cookie, but as an ornament it is really nice. How versatile that no fail recipe is. My 2007 Christmas tree is decorated with a combination of last year's ornaments and this year's designs.

Visit FoodBlogga for an array of Christmas Cookies submitted to the Eat Christmas Cookies 2007 Event.

FoodTV Cookie Gallery

FoodTV Cookie Gallery 2