Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Korean sweet and spicy sesame potatoes

Korean sweet and spicy sesame potatoes

Lets just be honest, it should come as no surprise that I would come up with a recipe for yet another Korean themed dish.  I was thrilled with this one, simply because I literally woke up for the day with the whole recipe on my mind.  I was able to go downstairs and execute it with no trouble at all.
I am thrilled with the results!  I love them hot, and actually love them better cold.  They get an almost candy like tacky shell on them.  The flavor, oh mercy, it is so good.  It is sweet at the first introduction to your mouth, as you chew, a delightful heat creeps in and mingles with the sweet.  A nutty undertone from the sesame seeds add the final pop to this delicious potato candy.

Steamed broccoli or wilted, seared mustard greens would be a great accompaniment to this dish.  You could also put in the fridge and make cold, then serve on a huge salad.  It really is just that good.


1 lb. baby potatoes, steamed or boiled, and sliced in half
1/2 yellow onion, peeled and sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 heaping tablespoon Korean gochujang (hot pepper paste)

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

In a small bowl, combine the maple syrup and gochujang, mix well (until smooth and blended)

Place a large saute pan on the stove, over medium heat.  Let heat up for about a minute.  Add the onions and garlic.  Saute for about 2 minutes, until the onions start to wilt.

After 2 minutes of stirring, add the maple syrup blend.

Add the cooked potatoes.

Stir well to cover well.  Continue to stir and cook for about 10 minutes.  You want to cook until the syrup gets very thick and sticky.

Add the sesame seeds, and stir well to coat.  Cook for another 2 minutes.

****A NOTE OF CAUTION!****  This stuff is hot, very hot.  Do not try and eat out of the pan, otherwise you will have a blister on your lips and tongue.  Allow to cool for about 10 minutes.  
You can serve it after that.  As stated above, you can serve with some steamed greens.  Or, let them cool completely, and put in a glass container, cover and into the fridge for a few hours.  Everything gets sticky and so delicious.
As I was eating this tonight, I thought that this would be really good with firm tofu too!  Be creative, and enjoy this recipe.

Asian zucchini noodles

Asian zucchini noodles 

I just picked up a new veggie noodle maker, and thought that I had better try it out.  I was so happy with the ease of use.  I have a hand held maker, and it was good, but it failed when I wanted to make carrots and other hard veggies.  If anyone is interested, this is it below, and it was purchased at Wal-Mart for $20 bucks.  

I would really suggest making the investment.  I can see many uses for this, especially if you are trying to cut back on pasta.  Even if you are not, it is a great tool to have in the kitchen.
I have been wanting to make a new Asian themed sauce, and had an idea.  So I thought this was a good time to try the noodles and see how it all tasted together.

Now, you could really put anything you wanted in this, or even use regular noodles.  I will provide the recipe exactly how I made it, so you can recreate the dish as I made it.

Ingredients for sauce (make first, and set aside)

1/2 cup aquafaba (chickpea liquid)
1 Tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon mirin
1 Tablespoon agave nectar or maple syrup
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon crushed, fresh garlic
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon sriracha 
1 tablespoon rice flour

Mix together well with a whisk, and set aside.  

Main dish ingredients:

1/2 medium yellow onion, peeled and sliced thinly (half moon shape)
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced into thin slices

1 large carrot, grated or spiral cut
2 cups sliced mushrooms

1 large, or 2 medium zucchini, washed and noodled (spiral cut) or use regular Asian style noodles.  (you will need to pre-boil them and rinse well in cold water)
1/2 cup frozen peas
4 stalks green onion, sliced thin
sesame seeds to garnish

Place a large, nonstick wok or saute pan over medium high heat.  Let heat up for about a minute.

When the pan is heated up, add the onions.  Stir fry for about 2 minutes, or until they start to color and wilt a bit.

After 2 minutes, add the carrots and bell pepper.  Stir fry another 2-3 minutes, or until they are starting to soften.

After 2-3 minutes, add the mushrooms, and continue to stir fry.  If anything sticks, you can add some water, about a tablespoon at a time. Stir fry for about 2 minutes, or until the mushrooms start wilting and giving off liquid.

Add the zucchini noodles (or regular noodles if using) and with tongs, mix into the veggies.  Mix well and continue to stir fry for a couple minutes, until the zucchini noodles start to wilt just a bit (2-3 minutes)

Add your green peas and green onions and stir fry for another minute.  

Whisk your sauce one more time, and add to the zucchini noodle mix.  Mix into the veggies well.  It will start to thicken almost right away.  Stir fry for about 1 minute, making sure to coat everything well.  

Serve right away.  This recipe makes two servings (or one really huge serving). It will give you lots of sauce, so you could have some rice with this too, and spoon the leftover sauce on the rice. 
Sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onion if you like.  I just put in a big bowl and went to town eating this.

I hope you give this a try, and you enjoy it as much as I did.  I hope you can try this with zucchini noodles too.  But mostly, the sauce is the star, so give that a try for sure.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

White kimchi (baek kimchi, non-spicy)

White kimchi (baek kimchi, non-spicy)

Well, I have finally taken the time to make a new kind of kimchi.  There are many versions and ways to make kimchi.  You can make it out of many things too.  Each area of Korea has a way of making the national food.
I have always heard of a version that is not spicy.  It is called baek kimchi, and it is amazing. Now I love spicy kimchi, and it will forever be my favorite.  But, I also love to try new things. and can see this being part of my regular Korean menu.  

I will try and make this as easy to follow as possible.  As always, if you have questions, please ask.


2-3 heads of napa cabbage (about 4-6 lbs. Total weight) cut into quarters, and then into bite sized pieces.
1 daikon radish (about 8 inches) peeled and sliced into matchsticks
1 inch nob of ginger
1 large white onion, peeled, one half sliced super thin, the other into chunks
1 bosc pear, peeled and cored
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 medium red bell pepper, cored and sliced thin
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced into 2 inch matchsticks
6 green onions, sliced into 1/2 inch slices
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 cup kosher salt (or coarse sea salt) (don't panic, you will rinse most of this off)
1 cup water

(you will need several jars that have tight fitting lids, and two large bowls)

Cabbage, daikon radish, pear and onion

Cut the cabbage into quarters first

Then cut into bite sized pieces, and put in a very large bowl.  Rinse well and drain, you need the cabbage pieces wet though, so just drain the majority of the water off.
As you put back in the bowl, put a layer down, and put a nice big pinch of salt over the layer.  (I am talking about a good tablespoon to two tablespoons).  Put more cabbage on top of that, and salt again.  Put another layer down and salt until you are out of salt.  Put the remaining salt on top evenly.  Again, don't panic over the amount of salt.  You will wash it off.

Now, mix it around good with your hands.  Really get that salt on every piece of cabbage.  Now cover the bowl lightly with a towel and set aside.  Let sit for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, uncover and mix around with your hands.  You will notice that it is wilting and there is water at the bottom.  This is good.  After mixing well, cover again and let sit another 30 minutes.  

After another 30 minutes, uncover and again mix around.  You will see that your cabbage has reduced in volume by at least half.  Now cover and let sit for 30 minutes more.  While it is sitting, you can start to get the other ingredients ready.  
In a food processor or blender, combine the pear, onion chunks, water (1 cup), soy sauce, garlic and ginger.  Blend until very smooth.

After blending, set aside.  Now you want to cut your veggies (carrots, onion, pepper and daikon radish.  You want them all to be thin matchstick slices (except the green onion, that just slice into 1/2 inch slices) Mix together into a large bowl.  Add the blended mix to this, and mix together well.

Now, you want to rinse and wash your cabbage.  I put a picture of all the water that was leached out of the cabbage below.

Now, you want to wash your cabbage at least 3-4 times.  Fill the bowl with fresh running water, use your hand and really get in there and wash the hell out of the cabbage.  Drain, and do it all over again.  Keep going until you have rinsed at least 3 times. I usually do 4-5 times to get all the salt off.  The salt has pleasantly flavored the cabbage.  After the last rinse, taste a piece, you will be surprised how nice it tastes. 

 After your last rinse, pour into a strainer and let drain for a while.  Press it down and you can even squeeze it  to get all the excess water off.
After it is drained, mix the cabbage and veggie mix together.  Since it is not spicy, you can get your hands in there and really give it a good mix.  Don't be afraid of it, really mix it good.
With your hands, you will now fill your jars.  Really stuff them good.  Push down and fill all the voids.  Leave about an inch at the top of each jar.  When they are all filled, take the remaining liquid in the bowls, and fill the jars to almost the top.
Now with a clean rag, clean the tops of all the jars, and put the lids on just a few twists.  You want the jars to have room to expand as they ferment.  Now, put the jars into a 9x13 pan, and place in a semi warm area of the kitchen to ferment.  I usually ferment for 1 1/2 to 3 days, depending on how warm my kitchen is.  I ended up doing this latest batch for 2 days.
Every day, take a lid off and check to see if they are getting sour.  It will be a happy taste.  You will notice that the bottom of your pan is getting wet.  As the kimchi ferments, it will bubble up and over into the pan.  Its normal and what you want to see.
When your kimchi is done to your liking, clean the jar and close the lid tight. Put into your fridge and keep cold.  
This type of kimchi does not last as long as spicy kimchi.  One month to one and a half months is all.  But, you will eat it before that.  :)
I hope I was clear enough with my instructions.  You can see the instructions for spicy kimchi on this site, just put "kimchi" in the search bar.  


Friday, July 15, 2016

No salt Ketchup

No salt Ketchup

I have made ketchup in the past, and I have just not liked it.  It wasn't so much the consistency, but the taste.
Today, I went to the fridge and found I was out of ketchup.  With a heavy heart, and a pathetic sigh, I decided I would either have to get my shoes on and go to the store, or make my own.  Well, I didn't want to get my shoes on, so guess what?  I now have a new ketchup recipe.  And dammit, it actually tastes good.

So, I am learning that sometimes desperation allows me to write good recipes too!


2 cans (14.5 oz, 411g) no salt added diced tomatoes
4 tablespoons no salt added tomato paste
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons maple syrup (or you could use date syrup, or agave nectar)

In a blender, combine all the above ingredients.

 Blend on high for about a minute, until it is all very smooth.

Pour into a pan, and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes.  You will have to stay close, and stir often, otherwise you will have a very messy stove and burned ketchup.

Remove from pan, and stir again well.  You can strain it if you want, but my blender made it very smooth.
Let it cool a bit, and then pour into whatever jar you want.  Allow to cool for a few hours, and then you can eat.  Shake each time you use to mix well.   It is clean and I really enjoy it.  I hope you will too.  :)

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Creamy Sun Dried Tomato dressing (sos recipe)

Creamy Sun Dried Tomato dressing (sos recipe)

A while back, I was asked to make a salad dressing recipe that didn't contain salt.  I have noticed that there are several people who are trying or living the sos plan (no salt, oil, or sugar)  I said I would make it, and completely let life get in the way, and forgot all about it.  
Well, today my wife took the kids to get a haircut, and I am finally getting to this recipe.  
I was a little intimidated by trying to make a recipe that didn't have salt in it.  Sugar I was good with, that can be take care of with dates (which this recipe did) and oil, well, I haven't used oil in my recipes for a few years now.  But salt was a stumbling block.  As I looked at possible ingredients, I decided I needed a few things with bold flavors to compensate.  I have a bag of sun dried tomatoes from Costco (but you could use water packed too, just make sure no added salt).  I had balsamic vinegar, and I decided that was a good jumping off point.
So I hope you can forgive me for dragging my feet, and I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did.  I didn't know how I would feel about it, but I really like it, almost as much as my mustard dressing. :)


1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes (I measured the dried ones)  go to 1/2 cup if you are using water packed, if using water packed, drian them and then measure)
1 cup boiling water (only needed if you are using dried tomatoes)
1 medium zucchini, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
8 dates (make sure they are seeded) you can use medjool or deglet noor dates
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup aqua faba (liquid from drained chick peas) make sure you get the no salt added or use your own from your homemade beans.
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 clove garlic, smashed
a few grinds of fresh black pepper (optional)

Measure out 1/3 cup of sun dried tomatoes (or 1/2 cup drained water packed)

If you are using dried, combine with 1 cup of boiling water and let soak for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, drain well.  While you are waiting for the tomatoes to soak, peel and chop your zucchini.

Count out your dates and make sure they don't have any seeds. Add the dates, zucchini, garlic, and drained tomatoes to your food processor or high speed blender. 

Pulse a few times to break things down a bit.

Add the lemon juice

Aqua faba

balsamic vinegar

and your pepper if adding.
Now close the lid, and blend on high for about a minute and a half.  It will start to thicken because of the aqua faba. 
If you have a super good blender, all the ingredients should be pulverized and you can skip the next step.  I have a good food processor, but I chose to do this next step anyway.
Pour the mix through a mesh strainer, and with a spatula, strain the mix into a bowl.  It took a little bit of effort, the mix is thick.  But I like a smooth dressing.

Now transfer the mix to a jar, and let it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours to chill.  You can use right away, but it will be very thick.
After a few hours it will calm down and you can just shake it to mix.

Shake before each use, and keep in the fridge.  I hope you enjoy this dressing and it adds a lot of flavor to your salads. :)