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May 03 2009

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Pictures from past cooking workshops. Above: Korean salad with flower-cut carrots, sea legs, egg threads, shredded carrots, and green onions (served with Chinese mustard dressing).
Below: vegetable soup with homemade herb bread; curry rice with potatoes and peas.
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More pictures from past cooking workshops. Above: in silver tower dish, chong-gol (Korean hotpot) with tofu, meatballs, and vegetables.
Below: tonkatsu (Japanese breaded cutlet) with tonkatsu sauce, white rice, shredded cabbage, and daikon relish.
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Another previous cooking workshop focused on "the art of the garnish." Above: summer-squash gourd birds, radish roses, and carrot blossoms.
May 29

Cooking Workshop - Bibim Rice & Summer Soup

11:00 Corner Gallery Add this event to a calendar application

Bi-bim-bab, or "mixed rice," is a very popular, traditional Korean dish that combines several different ingredients, each marinated separately, with plain white rice. When you are served, you add a bit of hot sauce and a few drops of sesame oil to taste, then mix everything together.  You quickly find that the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts!

The beauty of the dish is that it varies according to the available local ingredients, the time of year, and the cook's personal preferences. So, for example, bi-bim-bab in a mountainous area might contain fiddlehead ferns and taro; near the seashore, it might include seafood; and in east Tennessee, it often contains carrots, spinach, and broccoli stems. It can include meat, eggs, or fish products, or can be entirely vegan.

A popular current variation, tolsit bi-bim-bab, presents the dish in a sizzling stone pot. This is typically available in Korean restaurants in large metropolitan areas, and is quite spectacular.

Summer soup is a very simple, refreshing cold soup that features the tang of vinegar and shredded cucumbers. It is one of the most cooling dishes imaginable!
May 22

Cooking Workshop - Summer Roll & Dumplings

11:00 Corner Gallery Add this event to a calendar application
 Light and healthy, summer rolls are a hot-weather treat that are as refreshing as they are beautiful. The filling of mixed, colorful vegetables, shrimp or pork, and rice vermicelli gleams red, green and white through their translucent rice-wrapper skin. Analogous to spring rolls, summer rolls (gỏi cuốn) differ in that they are fresh -- not cooked at all -- so you taste the freshness of the ingredients in the wrapper. This favorite from Vietnam is one of the healthiest (and lowest-calorie) of appetizers, so you don't have to feel guilty for enjoying them!

And who doesn't like dumplings? Whether you call them jiaotze, gyoza, or mandoo, they're nothing short of delicious. We'll be learning the basics of making basic East Asian dumplings, and a few popular variations -- so that you can branch out, improvise, and tailor the filling to suit your own taste and preference. Boiled, steamed, fried, or served in soup, dumplings are versatile as an appetizer, main course, or snack.
May 15

Cooking Workshop - Sushi & Curry Rice

11:00 Corner Gallery Add this event to a calendar application

Sure, you can just get your ready-made sushi at Kroger's, but what if the sushi-delivery truck breaks down on I-40? What if you leave your storebought sushi in the car for an hour while you attend to errands at the post office on a 90-degree day, and find when you came back that you forgot to park in a shady spot?

And why not make your own sushi? It's fun, it's challenging, and you can wow all your friends by bringing out a tray of your eye-popping creations while saying casually, "I make my own sushi!" Learn beginning, intermediate or advanced nori-rolling techniques, depending on your level of expertise, and learn to customize the fillings to suit your taste and occasion.

Ah, curry rice -- Japanese comfort food. An old standby of Japanese diners of the 60s and 70s, "ka-ri ra-ice" is a soothing concoction of chopped, boiled vegetables (usually including onion, celery, and carrot, but customizable to your taste and the contents of your refrigerator) and sometimes meat, integrally blended with a smooth melange of Japanese-accented turmeric and other spices. It may be a far-removed descendant of its distant ancestors, the venerable Indian curries...but Japanese curry rice still has that je-ne-sais-quoi that cries out, albeit with an undeniably Japanese accent, "I am a curry!"
May 8

Cooking Workshop - Bulgogi & Kimchi

11:00–00:00 Corner Gallery Add this event to a calendar application

Possibly everyone's favorite, this "Korean barbeque" consists of some sort of meat -- usually beef -- cut into thin strips, marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and green onion (and a smidgen of sugar, for those that like theirs on the sweet side), and broiled just to doneness. The technique produces a light, ginger-accented sauce that makes bulgogi perfect with plain steamed rice and a few humble vegetable side dishes.

Having mastered the basics of bulgogi, we will go on to try other variations -- chicken and pork, which often require the addition of Korean hot-pepper paste, kochuchang. Bulgogi is a little like teriyaki, but it's a lot less delicate. Whereas teriyaki politely covers its mouth when it laughs and bows repeatedly, bulgogi unapologetically plants its elbows on the dining table, wears its baseball cap indoors and belches in mixed company. It's got oomph and, dare we say, chutzpah.

Speaking of oomph and chutzpah, this workshop also includes that inimitable Korean side dish immortalized by the TV show "M*A*S*H*": kimchi. We don't have to bury it in the back yard anymore, since most of us have refrigerators, so don't worry about the neighbors mistaking your kimchi jars for land mines.

A kissing cousin to German sauerkraut, this relish, made of salted napa cabbage fermented with ginger, garlic, green onion, and red pepper (with a few more secret ingredients you'll learn only at this workshop), has a distinct aroma that some describe as tantalizing, mouthwatering, pungent, garlicky, or downright odorous. You either love it or, well, don't love it. Be assured that it'll keep the vampires away and put hair on your chest (if you need any). And just watch your Korean acquaintances shake their heads in disbelief when you tell them you make your own kimchi!

Upcoming Cooking Workshops

May 8,   Friday   11-1pm  Bulgogi (beef, pork & chicken) & Kimchi $10.00

May 15, Friday   11-1pm  Sushi  & Curry Rice  $10.00

May 22, Friday   11-1pm  Summer Spring Roll & Dumpling  $10.00

May 29, Friday   11-1pm  Bibim Rice & Summer Soup $10.00
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