I was recently given a Crock-Pot from a coworker leaving the country and spent a few good hours sitting and staring at the thing on the kitchen table. I’d used a slow cooker before, but never to any great effect. I’ll admit that I can be impatient at times, and I may have, at one point, not given a slow-braised fennel and lamb shank recipe the oven time it deserved. Since then, however, I’ve decided that Korea would be the turning of a new leaf and that I would learn to embrace the Crock-Pot.
We’re spoiled when it comes to seafood in this country. Things that would normally cost an arm and a leg back home are practically given away in Korea. Mussels have been a favorite of mine since I was a kid and something I usually associate with special occasions. A steaming bowl of fresh mussels bathed in white wine, garlic and parsley is a classic that highlights the shellfish in all its glory.
Apples and pork go together like makgeolli and pajeon. Or something like that. All I really know is that apples are in season and street vendors are practically throwing them at us. We should take the hint and start celebrating the beginning of fall by eating them.
Any night of the week, Jacoby’s Burger in Haebangchon will be packed. Jacoby’s is famous. People drive expensive sports cars from distant parts to try the tall, messy burgers. So we didn’t go there for our nine-restaurant burger-tasting mission. Instead, we tried lesser-known places in Itaewon, Gyeongnidan and Haebangchon. Our goal: to find the gems, and test the reputations of established places. Chris Holland – a Canadian home chef – and Read Urban and Paloma Julian – our regular food columnists – served as judges for the mission. We tried a cheeseburger at each restaurant, along with one of each of the restaurant’s specialties. We did discover a few gems, and a few less-than-gems.
Summer in Seoul is marked by several important things: melon pops overflowing from ice cream freezers, sitting in plastic Family Mart chairs drinking bad beer, and mul naengmyeon for lunch. We are driven from our sticky, unairconditioned apartments out into the real world only to try and find relief from the heat and humidity.
Last month I outlined a recipe for making a foolproof risotto. If you tried your hand at the techniques and realized how easy it is, I think it is time to take your skills to the next level. This month we are going to fry that risotto. Deep-frying food scares off many new home cooks. Maybe it is the mess it creates, or the fear of 350-degree oil splashing everywhere. I will tell you now that with a bit of planning and attention to safety, you can avoid both and create a safe, clean cooking environment.
Everyone loves a root beer float. That is a fact. We might not indulge in them too often now, but I remember the Friday nights as a kid: rented movies, delivery pizza, and the hope of a root beer float to finish off the night. It was a special treat because my parents didn't keep much soda in the house. Some people might be more familiar with the black cow or the Coke float, but my heart will always lie with the root beer float. Whichever beverage you prefer, the ice cream float is a thing to marvel at.
I’ve never visited Spain, but it has been on my travel list for a long time. The closest I’ve come is a wedge of Manchego cheese and a bottle of Tempranillo. Spanish food holds that charm of good cheese, cured meats, and great wine. I'm afraid that I wouldn't leave if I ever visited. Spain is a long way from Seoul, but whenever I go to the local market and see the large stalks of green onions bundled together, soil still clinging to their roots, I am reminded of a travel program I once saw about Catalonia.