Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Seoul's around the bend

I'm starting to enjoy this place, this whole Mass deal. Kicking it with some wonderful people, sharing my time with brilliant souls...I'm pumped, more than excited, but I wouldn't mind having a few extra days or weeks here. I want to feel things out, get to strengthen these friendships more.

And spend more time with Binger. I've been working so much and not hanging out with him as much....and I can't bring him with me to Seoul. )O:
photo taken by VeganBeats
I wish I could bring my baby with me....

Seoul, by the way, is 3 days away...

Friday, September 24, 2010

Other eats from mom! (엄마)

photo taken by VeganBeats
Above is bibim myun (비빔면), spicey buckwheat noodles with mixed veggies and gochujang ( 고추장) Korean hot sauce!!

photo taken by VeganBeats
What's above is lotus root with thick cuts of seaweed, different texture, very tasty, comforting really....I will work on getting the recipe, I remember my mom whipping it up quickly..but I didn't pay attention.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Screaming Females

Their newest album is Castle Talk...pick it up
image from

This is the video for their single "I Don't Mind It"  from their newest album.
 There's a punk aspect to them, the edgey voice of Marissa Paternoster rolls over you with ease while going through you with curiosity.The energy from drummer Jarrett Dougherty is just right, you can tell the guy's got talent, but unlike a lot of drummer, he doesn't overthrow the rest of the band members. King Mike and his bass parallels well with Marissa. The music has a lot going on, everything ties well together, but it's approachable and understandable, there's an simplicity to'll find a little Ramones influence here and there....sigh*
 I can't believe it's taken me this long to stumble upon this band...
picture from

Brisky Brussels with some Spice*!~

This is a warming winter dish that during the college times I whipped up

Brussels sprouts are in season November to mid-February, and in Vermont they were everywhere. I tend to always go for whatever produce is in season...I kind of feel like a dinosaur eating these tiny cabbages, rampaging on some farm...anyways...

What you need: (I apologize in advance, I didn't do much measuring in College)
*about half a pound of Brussels sprouts of a package Brussels sprouts (Trader Joe's microwave packs)
*1-3 cloves garlic chopped (love me some garlic)
*1/4th-1/2 block tofu (silken or firm) and cubed
*some sesame oil
*a little olive/veggie oil
*curry powder (up to you how much)
*1-3 tablespoon soy sauce or bragg's liquid aminos...or tamari
*1/3 cup water

What you're going to do:
1. prepare the brussels sprouts by either boiling or steaming them
2. While steaming, heat up some sesame oil in a fry pan and saute the garlic at medium high
3. Pat the tofu as dry as you can and add to the frypan
4. Once the Brussels are bright green, cut then into fourths and add to the fry pan
5. cook everything for about 3 minutes then add the soy sauce (of whatever you're using)
6. After about 2 minutes, add the water and curry powder
7. Heat off most of the water and eat it alone, on a bed of lettuce, spinach, with rice, with anything really.

This dish is speedy, full of fiber and yummy!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

콩국수 Kongguksu

photo taken by VeganBeats
A great Korean summer dish is kong-guk-su, it's make with soy milk, some salt, cucumber, and rice vermicelli noodles. Very simple, superbly flavorful!
What you need:
*1 cup dried soy beans (can be more like 3+ cups)
*ice cubes
*1 cucumber (sliced thinly into strips~save the cucumber juice though!)
*thin vermicelli rice noodles (as much as you want..)
*salt, adjusted to your taste
*black sesame seeds

What to do:
1. soak the soy beans overnight, drain them then put in pot, remove the casings
2.Boil the beans for 15 minutes or so
3. Rinse the boiled beans in cold water, cool down, and remove more skins...MAKE SURE THE SKINS ARE GONE!
4. Put 1 cup of the clean soybeans into the blender and blend until very fine and liquid. skins are removed.
5. Add 2 trp of Salt and blend more...get this to as liquidy as possible.
6. Pour the soup into bowls and add ice cubes into each bowl
7. Boil some water and once the water is boiling add the noodles.
8. While the noodles are cooking, slice up the cucumber and place all of it into a bowl. 
9. Once the noodles are cooked, rinse with cold water, you want these noodles to be cold.
10. Put the cold noodles into the soup and add 2+ Tbs of the cucumber on top of the noodles. Sprinkle on some black sesame seeds and divide the cucumber juice between all the bowls!

Enjoy the summer dish!!
photo taken by VeganBeats

Friday, September 17, 2010

호박전 (hobakjeon), 감자볶음 (Gamja bokkeum), and 시금치나물 (Sigeumchi namul)

What are we making?

Hobakjeon (zucchini pancakes)호박전
This is a light dish that my mom still makes for my family all the time. It’s light, flavorful, so easy to make and literally three ingredients. They’re light and crispy and remind me of being a kid whenever the smell and sounds fill my house.
photo taken by Andre Malerba
-1 zucchini (I like a lot, so one big one for me!)
-1-2 T salt
-1 cup flour
-1 cup water
-Oil for frying

*Slice the zucchini thinly into disks, then cut them into matchsticks.
*Put the matchsticks into a bowl and add the salt, mix a bit and let it sit for ten minutes of so, you want the zucchini to be soft and pliable.
*While waiting for the zucchini, mix the flour and water, you can do more, but always keep it in a 1:1 ratio.
*Rinse the zucchini, and ring it out, literally try to get as much of the salt out, rinse and drain repeatedly.
*Add the zucchini to the batter and mix thoroughly.
*Set a fry pan on medium heat and add a splash of oil.
*When the oil is heated add a spoonful of the batter to the oil, you can adjust how large you want these guys, I do a three-inch diameter.
*When the edges of the pancake start to look clear or iridescent flip the pancakes, you want them to be crispy and light brown in color.
*Do this until the batter is done and serve immediately, they’re best hot and crispy!

Gamja bokkeum (potatoes with soy sauce) 감자볶음
This is another super simple dish with loads of flavors. It’s got tenderness to it and fills you up pretty well. It’s got undertones of garlic, the sweetness of the onion, softness of the potatoes, and is really just a delight for the taste buds and body. You can use any potato really, and it can be adjusted to how many people you are looking to feed, this is about 1-3 servings. (One if you’re really hungry)
photo taken by Andre Malerba
-2 to 3 medium size potatoes
-1 med to large onion
-2 cloves of garlic
-2 to 2.5 T soy sauce
-1 T sugar
-1/2 C water (may need a bit more)
-Oil for frying
-Sesame seeds (optional)
-Sesame oil (optional)

*Peel the potatoes (optional) and cut them into 1-inch dices.
*Rinse the potatoes to remove some of the starch.
*Cut half of the onion into bit size pieces (you can add more if you like onion, I do)
*Heat a pan and add 1 to 2 T of oil, add the potatoes.
*Add the two cloves of minced garlic and sauté until the potatoes look a bit translucent. Then add the onion.
*Add the ½ cup of water to the pan, the 2 to 2.5 T of soy sauce, and 1 T of sugar, mix away.
*Simmer over medium heat and continue mixing, you don’t want it to get stuck to the bottom of the pan, and you may need to add more water. Make sure the potatoes are cooked through.
*Add sesame seeds and sesame oil to garnish if you want.

Sigeumchi namul (spinach sides) 시금치나물
My brother and I used to LOVE pop eye when we were young, my mom would make this dish so that we could feel strong and tough and all that. Turns out it’s super healthy for you, full of iron, fiber, and layers of flavor, it’s a bit salty but the sauce is great for all sorts of foods. You can eat this with rice if you would like!

photo taken by Andre Malerba

-Bunch of spinach (a pound or more)
-2 T soy sauce
-1 T sesame oil
-1 T sesame seeds
-2 cloves of garlic
-2 ts sugar

*Blanch the spinach for about 30 seconds in boiling water, remove and rinse it in cold water. Squeeze the spinach gently to remove as much of the water as possible.
*Mince the garlic and mix the remaining ingredients all together.
*Mix the spinach and the sauce all together by hands and garnish with sesame seeds if you wish.

All of these BEAUTIFUL photos were taken by the talented and wonderful Andre Malerba. I will post his site and work up soon. And I am sure he will be mentioned in this blog often!!

Thanks Andre!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Indie Music...!!!*!~

Just got home from a 14 hour shift...

And with a lot of new music flowing in my ears. While at work I have had the glorious opportunity to check out articles, recent album reviews, new coming bands, etc. I feel like I haven't been that invested in the music scene in far too long and with my work schedule I barely get a chance to go to any shows...and with Korea in the works...I doubt I'll really get a show opp anytime soon, let alone a weekend.

Being into Wilco lately I'll start with the main man Jeff Tweedy, before forming Wilco he was in a band called Uncle Tupelo. He and lead man Jay Farrar started to have a rather negative relationship and the band ultimately broke up, after only making four albums. Jeff Tweedy was able to convince the rest of the band to stick with him and they made Wilco. Anyways, Uncle Tupelo is pretty good, a bit more twangy but you can tell that Jeff is involved.

Saddle creek Records puts out some GREAT bands, at least in my eyes and to my ears. Bright eyes, Cursive, and now I've just introduced myself to Land of Talk. I started listening to their new album, Cloak and Cipher because of the Providence Phoenix and Boston Phoenix, great resources around my area for music. Anyways, I saw Saddle Creek penned next to them and I had to give a listen, it's a bit indie rock, and well, classic saddle creek energy. The song "Goaltime Exposure" is great though, it catches you. Here is the review on their album.

I'll stop after this band, I have a lot more, but I don't want to take up too much reading or listening time, three bands too check out, not too overwhelming right?
Alright, so band numero do you feel about Vampire Weekend? A bunch of preppy cute Indie guys with dancey fun tunes, I enjoy them. I can't help but sing along and want to drive by the beach with the sun beating on me while the winds rushes through my hair...There's something about them, maybe it's the memories I associate with them. The laughter filled rooms of my family crew with joints jostling between all of us at the end of the semester, or day really. I hear them, I think of my crew...anyways, a new testament to this type of music.

The Walkmen, their most recent album is Lisbon, and these guys are great! They bring an obscure and warming twist, Vampire Weekend is the band you can introduce your parents to, The Walkmen is the crew you might run out your door to meet with, never for parent's eyes to see. They're indie (of course) but edgy, talented, and majorly improved from their other albums. I enjoyed this album, it was a darker dance...give a listen. And again, here is their album review from Phoenix.

I've stumbled on many many more bands, but I'll keep it Indie themed today...which may be a trend for a bit. But soon I'll have some more earful pleasures.

I have seven hours until my next shift..


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Quick Curry*!~

Endlessly working, Pulling sixty and eighty hour weeks, and it's been for so long now that anything less feels like too much time. I haven't slept in my home for over a week (always overnights) and I really don't mind, except that I live out of a bag. will happen soon.
I got a job offer, I'm on the fence as to whether or not I should take it. I wouldn't be located in Seoul, but about forty minutes away. The area is beautiful though, a lot like Burlington. Things to do but a lot of nature things to invest in. There's some great hiking trails, it's very bike friendly..I'm liking the idea, but I want something different, something I am not used to, and haven't yet experienced...which would be a city city.

Anyways...I've been calling to easy go-to's in terms of cooking, Curry!!
photo taken by VeganBeats
Really really simple, more than speedy, a multi-flavored complex dish in under ten minutes, seriously!

What you need:
*veggies (I used zucchini, cabbage, peas, kale, and dandelion greens)
*1.5-3 T Ottogi Curry (Korean market buy)
*crushed red pepper ~optional...I like heat~
 *pan, I LOVE woks!!
What to do:
1) boil some water OR heat some oil on med-med.high in a pan when hot, (~if you're adding the dried chili peppers, do so now) add veggies, the ones that take longer to cook (cabbage, onions, etc) add first
2) Keep watch of veggies, and add more if you want...zucchini, peas, greens, kale, etc
3) Let everything cook for about 5 minutes then add the curry powder and mix it
4) Let everything cook together for another 5-10 minutes (up to you, with time the curry thickens)
5) Serve it over whatever your heart desires. I did over shredded carrots and romaine.
I served this with some pickled cucumber kimchi! nom nom nom

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Tempura, Eel, and Durian...taste bud sensations*!~

The cookstuff!

The other day I found out my grade for my summer course...98!! So of course, I decided to celebrate with one of my favorite (but smelliest) fruits....the durian.
photo taken by VeganBeats
It's like custard, a pudding like texture but a sweet flavor. I can't quite pinpoint what it tastes like...but the texture beats no other. It's not allowed to eat in public due to it's overpowering smell...but if you can get past that...try it, eat it, savor it. It's hard work to get into too, I was hacking away at this baby for nearly an hour, but the rewards are a plenty.

I also got into a much missed cooking mood, I had all those Chinese veggies I got a while ago, and they needed to be played with. I didn't want those beautiful greens to go bad! My dad was home and I decided on an easy way to get him to join me in some veggie munching...tempura!
I used my Chinese broccoli, carrots, and potato for the veggies, I wish I had more but I was working with what I had.This was pretty easy to put together, but warning when frying anything!!

photo taken by VeganBeats

What you need:
*batter: a 1:1 ratio of flour to water (you can add cornstarch or water chestnut starch for some extra crunch in there!)
*Veggies: anything you want!
*Oil: you can use any really, I used a mixture of olive and cocnut, adds a little subtle aroma and I'd like to think some interesting flavors.
*A deep pan, or something that can hold about an inch of oil.

1) mix the flour and water into a smooth batter.
2) Slice up and cut up whatever veggies you have. I cut the potato into matchsticks, like shoelace fries, and same with the carrots.  I cut the Chinese broccoli up into inch long pieces, and the leaves I roughly chopped.
3) Mix the veggies with your batter and turn the stove top on to medium/ medium high.
4) Put your oil in the pan and wait until it's hot, when it is use tongs or chopsticks to drop in some of the battered veggies.
5) Keep watch of your tempura, when it gets crispy it will look golden, flip over and watch again.
6) Take the tempura out and set on a rack resting on the pan, this way excess oil is reused and there will be more room for more tempura.
7) continue until there's no more veggies left.
Serve with a quick soy sauce or sweet chili sauce.

I also made some Mock Eel! This dish is similar to one of the most popular appetizers served at A Single Pebble, as restaurant I had the pleasure of working at!
Surprisingly I found a HUGE bag of dried shitake mushrooms, and I had this oil in the pan, wasting it is just not an option.

photo taken by VeganBeats
What you'll Need:
*6 ounces of dried shiitake mushrooms
*cornstarch (I like to use water chestnut starch though)
*soy sauce
*oil (I'm still preferring the coconut)
*deep pan, or one that's deep enough to hold 1/2 and inch of oil

1) Soak the mushrooms in cold water for at least 20 minutes. (If it's hot water you lose so much flavor)
2) Drain and press the mushrooms, try to get them as dry as you can.
3) Using scissors, cut the mushrooms into an eel shape by cutting a spiral.
4) Mix the mushrooms with cornstarch, or water chesnut starch. You want the mushrooms covered, but not powdery, a little bit more than dusted.
5) Heat the oil in the pan on high heat (BE CAREFUL!!) and deep fry the mushrooms.
6) When you have fried all the mushrooms, try to have only 1t of oil left int he pan.
7) Add 1T each of chopped ginger and scallion to the oil and stir until it is fragrant.
8) Add some water or vegetable stock, 3T of soy sauce, and 1.5T of sugar.
Reduce the sauce until it starts to bubble and add the mushrooms again.
9) Toss to coat evenly! And Serve as side or alone, it's packs a lot of flavor!
photo taken by VeganBeats
Happy frying...eeeep!