My friend Lauren beat me to it and discovered this dish—or let’s just call it a dinner strategy—first. (About three years back.)
I’m so glad she shared it with me, because over the years it has become one of our Very Frequent Weeknight Dinners (VFWDs). (Don’t worry, that’s not a thing I actually say.)
In fact, it’s frequent enough to rival bulgogi chicken, ochazuke, and avocado chicken tacos, but probably faster and healthier than any of those, depending on your choice of rice. And feel free to exercise your choice in the matter; the bed of rice is really just a backdrop for the juicy, citrus-doused kale, and the delectable warm, runny egg yolk.
In just the past year or two, I’ve gone from feeling disgusted (slash indifferent) toward cabbage to actually craving it and designing recipes around it.
I blame it on all the delicious cabbage-packed shrimp tacos I’ve been eating in California, which have done what Japan’s cabbage side salads with mayonnaise and corn* could never do: convinced me that cabbage can actually be tempting and tasty!
Since our 80 degree days have persisted into October, we’ve been eating summery salads and as many no-cook (or barely-cook) dinners as we can. In the barely-cook category, I’d been wanting to pair soba noodles and cabbage together for a while, to create something crunchy and refreshing, yet still hearty and substantial.
I even asked Paula if she’d eat a soba noodle salad that had slivered cabbage and pomegranate seeds, but she said no.
If you’ve been following my blog long enough, you’ll know that last summer I signed up for a CSA share. Not really a whole share; a half share that Paula and I split with friends by alternating pick up weeks. A half of a half share. And STILL we were drowning in peppers.
Red heirloom peppers of all sizes and shapes. Orange, yellow, green, and purple peppers. Italian frying peppers (Cubanelles). Sweet peppers and spicy peppers. We couldn’t use them up fast enough. In fact, we didn’t use them up fast enough: some of them went bad!
I had pepper shame.
Then just as the CSA’s summer share was coming to a close, I exchanged a few e-mails with my friend Leah, and she gave me the perfect solution for how I could have used all of those peppers that had wrinkled and rotted under my delinquent supervision.
October already? And the only sign of it in Santa Barbara is the return of the sundowner winds…
Last month I got to visit my family in Wisconsin and remind myself what a real fall feels like.
Crisp, bright, clear days with leaves littering the sidewalks, waiting to be crunched, and a pleasant chill in the air. (Coincidentally a real fall in Wisconsin feels like an average day in Santa Barbara, aside from the crunchy leaves.)
Of course to truly appreciate the glory that is (the 2-3 weeks of) fall in Wisconsin, I would have needed to stay through the summer, sweating and swatting away mosquitoes through all the heat, humidity, and thunderstorms. Instead, I had the luxury of just dropping in and enjoying it a different way: my mom and I went apple picking.
I paraphrased doenjang jjigae as “savory Korean stew” only because I thought “fermented soybean paste soup” might sound a little off-putting. But don’t be put off: this is one of the simplest and most delicious kinds of Korean comfort food there is.
I’ve often described this dish to others as “Korean miso soup,” but it’s so much more than that. The flavor of doenjang (bean paste) that seasons the broth is richer and fuller than miso; it’s perfectly complemented by the heat of kochukaru (chili powder). The warm-to-the-last-bite heat from the ceramic ttukbaegi serving dish is just a bonus.
My three sisters often team up to get me kitchen-related birthday presents. (The kitchen-related part practically goes without saying since I started this blog.)
Last year, they got me an ice cream maker (which I have actually used far more often than this would lead you to believe). In previous years, they’ve also gotten me beautiful sets of dishes, gift certificates for spices, and cookbooks.
This time there was a slight communication break-down, since my younger sister has had a crazy busy summer. While they all took the time to consult Paula and check in about whether I already own the cookbook, Jerusalem (I do), they didn’t get a chance to consult with each other…
So for my birthday this year, I got not one but TWO copies of Plenty.
We love mole in this household. Before we took on the daunting task of making it ourselves, I would always buy the solidified stuff that comes in jars. It would be my go-to dinner whenever we had guests (my go-to breakfast for guests has always been chilaquiles).
One of the first meals I made for Allison’s father and siblings was chicken mole (I was not proud of that meal as I added too much chicken broth and the mole tasted a little diluted, to me at least). I also made chicken mole for Allison’s family friends who visited us from Philadelphia. I even had the privilege of preparing mole, and therefore introducing Mexican food, to a very thankful Japanese friend.
All of these mole meals were from a jar; I’m so ashamed just thinking back on it.