K is for… Korea; Reunification On My Plate

Flag of South Korea

Ok ok so Korea is not technically a country, but cut me a little slack here as I’m currently filled with the Olympic spirit.

Seriously I am certified Olympics nerd. I love every single thing about the Olympics. The pomp and circumstance, the citizens of the world coming together, the spirit of competition. I DVR every bit of it, grab the kleenex to get me through the wonderful personal stories and cheer for favorites and underdogs alike. I also have a strict “make no plans during the opening ceremonies policy,” so this past Friday night I settled in with a bottle of wine, my mock soy sauce and a everything I would need to make Haemul Pajeon.

I am addicted to Mama O’s Kimchi!

It was a lovely evening. David Beckham was in a suit. On a boat. With the wind blowing through his hair….  Oh err, sorry we were talking about the opening ceremonies and my Korean (but seriously how good did he look in that suit.)

I had expected my head to explode from excitement being that I am both a total Olympics nerd and a huge anglophile, but like most people I found these opening ceremonies a bit disappointing except for the part with David Beckham in a suit on a b… ooohh there I go again, sorry!

They weren’t bad, just a bit underwhelming. Still the part I look forward to most, the parade of nations, was as joyous and heartwarming as ever. My favorite’s are the countries that have one or two athletes. Can you even imagine the pride and excitement? I’m sure for these athletes just being there is a victory in itself and I contend that even the lowest ranked Olympian in any sport is still a thousand times better than myself and pretty much anyone reading this blog at their particular sport.


Frying away

Haemul Pajeon

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cloves garlic; crushed
  • Salt to taste
  • Mixed seafood (I used about 10 shrimp cut in half lengthwise a 6 jumbo scallops cut in to bite sized pieces)
  • 1 cup scallions; green parts only, sliced in about one inch sections
  • Vegetable oil for cooking
  • Dipping sauce (recipe follows)

In a mixing bowl combine flour, water, eggs, garlic and sauce. Gently fold in seafood.

Heat a bit of the oil in a medium frying pan over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, scatter some of the scallions in the pan and cook one minute.

Ladle some of the batter over the scallions, covering them completely and allow to cook until the underside is browned and firm enough to flip; about 5 minutes depending on the thickness of your pancake.

Use two spatulas to flip that pancake and cook 5 more minutes.

Cut in to wedges and serve with dipping sauce, rice and kimchi.

Yield 3-5 pancakes depending on how big you make them

Dipping Sauce

  • 2 teaspoons mock soy sauce (or real if you can have it)
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Hot red pepper of chili flakes to taste


This is one of those recipes that could definitely be an “A” with a little tweaking. It was tasty and I liked the texture a lot, but I wish I’d used more scallions and more garlic to give it more flavor. Also next time I’d like to make them a bit thinner. I could, however, just drink shots of that dipping sauce. YUM!

Perfect Olympic meal. I had left over brown rice so that’s what I had long with some kimchi. I forgot to put the dipping sauce in the picture.

J is for… Japan; All You Need is An Ice Cube Tray

Japanese Flag

Like all other Asian food establishments, it’s nearly impossible for me to eat at a Japanese restaurant, what with all that sesame and soy, but I’ve actually had Sushi before. Back when I was living in Boston I had one of those tiny little original Whole Foods (I think it may have been the first on the East Coast) right near my apartment and I frequented it often. I got to know one on the Sushi chefs there and he started making me Alli-allergy-approved salmon rolls. He rolled cooked salmon (I’ve tried raw fish several times and it’s not my thing), cucumbers and carrots in a layer of nori and rice on a clean work surface free of sesame seeds. I skipped the non-Alli-allergy-friendly soy sauce and enjoyed a bit of wasabi and pickled ginger, which I could eat a bucket full of, as accompaniments.

That was 7 years ago and I’ve missed sushi ever since so when I was ready to make a recipe for the letter “J,” Japanese Sushi seemed a logical choice. Then “J” got closer and I started thinking about logistics. “Do I really want to buy a Sushi mat? How often would I really use it? What if I just made Chirashizushi, Sushi bowls, they’re legit Japanese, I know I looked it up. But that’s just too easy and boring, right? Maybe I should look up some Jamaican recipes…”

And so the inner monologue went until a few weeks ago when I stumbled on a recipe for mock soy sauce that people claimed tasted like the real thing and I reeeally reeeally wanted to make Sushi! Still the logistical problems remained so I did what anyone would do in 2012, I took to Wikipedia and looked up the various types of Sushi. My best bet seemed Oshizushi or box sushi, a specialty in Osaka where the ingredients are placed on the bottom of a box, rice is placed on top and then the whole thing is pressed together firmly, unmolded, cut in to squares and served. Oshizushi Seemed like the best bet, but where to get the box? Then it occurred to me; ice cube tray sushi.

Silicon trays work best

Using an ice cube tray to make sushi was something I’d heard about awhile ago and filed somewhere in the back of my mind (a scary, messy, disorganized space; I assure you!). I’d seen the idea in several places touted as a way to get kids to try Sushi* and I just adored it (kids in the kitchen yeah!), but I realized there was no reason I couldn’t use an ice cube tray too. Ok, ok so it’s not really authentic, but I’ve been really good up until now so cut me a little slack!

I had a hard time deciding on toppings because I wanted to at least keep that part authentic, but sushi has become so ubiqutes these days that it’s hard to tell what’s authentically Japanese and what’s not at this point so I kept it simple. I decided on thinly sliced cucumber, thin Japanese omelette and salmon roe. The roe was a bit of a splurge, but once in a while you just have to!

I followed Alton Brown’s recipe for making Sushi Rice which could not have been easier. I put a slice of cucumber in each square of the tray, followed buy a few strips of omelette, another piece of cucumber and then the rice and packed everything down firmly and unmolded them on to a plate and topped them with the roe. Of course there was wasabi, pickled ginger and mock soy sauce on the side too. And…

It. Was. Amazing!!


I’m sorry that there’s not really a recipe with this, but it’s really more of a technique then a recipe. I will so so soooo be making this again with a variety of different ingredients, authentic and otherwise. The only change I’d make is that I think I’ll just mold the rice in the trays and then stack everything else on top. Some of the toppings slipped off a bit after unmolding and I realized it’s really only necessary to mold the rice.

PS- *For anyone saying, “Kids won’t eat Sushi, they only eat chicken fingers,” go visit my friend Erin’s blog and ask her what her beautiful daughter eats!

Erin- I fully expect Katherine to be eating ice cube tray Sushi some time in the next few years.

Broiled Fish with Grapefruit Salsa

I worked out a lot this week. I worked out a lot last week too. Working out sucks which is why I try to avoid it as much as possible. I truly believe that every single person who claims to love working out must be lying. Sitting on my couch watching trashy reality tv = fun; working out = not fun. I (grudgingly) work out because it’s good for me, not because I enjoy it.

Anyway for some odd reason that even I myself haven’t figured out, I’ve gone from the absolute bare minimum of working out to working out almost every day for the past 2.5 weeks which in turn has left me tired. As much as I hate working out, even I can admit that it’s the good kind of tired, but tired none the less.

I was craving a meal that was light, fresh and bright and was inspired to make some simple broiled fish, in this case Arctic Char, with a grapefruit salsa. This was super simple to make and took very little time and was perfect for my workout weary body.

I did almost nothing to the fish, so there’s no real recipe there, but I did want to share this awesome trick I got from my friend Heather. I used to broil my fish in individual packets, but the last time I was at Heather’s she cooked up some salmon and placed all the filets on one piece of foil and folded it in on three sides, creating a packet with no top. She then loosely placed another piece of foil on top to cover the fish. That way you can easily check the fish for doneness without having to pull apart a packet and without risking steam burns.

Grapefruit Salsa

  • 1 large grapefruit
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper; finely chopped
  • 2 scallions; finely sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon cilantro; torn
  • A few squeezes of honey to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A drizzle of olive oil

Supreme the grapefruit and then roughly chop the segments. Toss into a bowl. Add jalapeno, scallions, honey, cilantro, salt and pepper. Toss together, taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Serve over fish.

I really love the tang of grapefruit and the heat of the jalapeno, so I add just enough honey to round everything out, but not to add enough to add much sweetness. If you prefer things a little sweeter just add more honey.

I despise (if I could think of a stronger word I would use it) raw onions, but it you like them you could definitely use finely chopped red onions in place of the scallions whcich would add a nice color contrast.

I served this over brown rice.


F is for… Finland; Salmon Soup For the Soul


Finnish flag

It looks like I might be travelling to Finland this summer. I’m really excited about that, but I don’t want to talk about it because I don’t like talking about things before they’re official. The Finns love Hockey and I’m in full on Hockey fever right now (go Rangers!), but I’m way too paranoid of a sports fan to talk too much about it when we’re tied 2-1 in the series so I don’t really want to talk about that either.

Instead I’ll talk about licorice!

I looove licorice. No not those waxy, red, articfial straw shaped things; I mean real licorice or as we Americans call it, usually with disdain, black licorice. I have never understood why it gets such a bad wrap in the States because I love it. I come from a licorice loving family, maybe because my Grandparents are European, and we always fought to see who could get to the black jelly beans fastest.

I’ve spent a lot of time in Northern Europe, having lived in Denmark, and have often joked with my friends there that if I ever visit Helsinki I expect to find the streets paved with candy. Every time I pick up a package of non-chocolate candy anywhere in Europe it seems to be made in Finland which leads me to believe that these people love their candy. Lucky for me all of the strongest and best licorice also seems to come from Finland. Yum! While I love to travel I’m not much of a souvenir hunter due to my general aversion to having “lots of stuff,” but I know that if I make it to Finland this summer I will be returning with bags full of the best licorice I can find (and extra for my Grandma of course!). It may not last as long as some souvenirs, but I’ll smile every time I eat a piece.

In preparation for this possible trip to Finland, it only made sense to visit there, culinarily speaking, for my “F” recipe. Last night I whipped up some Lohikeitto, Finnish Salmon Soup. I only made two real changes from the majority of recipes I saw in my research. First, most recipes just called for water while very few called for fish stock. I’m a big believer in getting as much flavor in things as you can, but, since salmon is a fairly fishy fish, was afraid the fish stock might be too much so I used vegetable stock. The second change was that I didn’t peel the potatoes. I refuse to ever peel small potatoes for any recipe unless it’s absolutely necessary. Not only is it less work, the skins of potatoes have tons of nutrients so you’re getting more health benefits too.


  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium leeks; sliced and thouroughly rinsed
  • 32oz low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 large or 2 small bay leaves
  • 1lb small new potatoes cut in to halves or quarters depending on size
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1lb salmon; skin off, cubed
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lots of fresh dill

Heat olive oil in large pot. Add leeks and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add vegetable broth and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Add potatoes. Bring pot to a medium simmer until potatoes are tender, 10-15 minutes.

Add allspice and salmon and simmer until salmon is cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Turn heat to low and gently stir in cream and milk. Add salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle dill to taste on top.

It ain’t no licorice


 This soup was fine, but nothing special. I admit that I’m pretty neutral about salmon itself. I’ve never really understood it’s popularity, especially among people who don’t eat any other fish. The texture is nice and firm, but the flavor if fairly strong. The soup could’ve used more pepper, but I really don’t think there’s any way to make this dish any more exciting.

Maybe this summer I’ll meet a Finnish chef wh0 will teach me the culinary secrets of the Finns, but until then I don’t think I’ll be making this soup again. Either way I think my trip will be way more exciting than this dish.

Extreme close up

Hyvää Ruokahalua!