Sunday, February 24, 2019

Book Review: The Korean Kimchi Cookbook

Hi bento friends!

I know I've been MIA for awhile but I'm back to check out a few cookbooks for you. The first one is called The Korean Kimchi Cookbook and yup, it's all about making kimchi. This book is chock full of interesting tidbits about the background and history of kimchi, and the recipes vary between long term fermentation and quick pickling methods. Here's the blurb from the publisher:

Kimchi is the newest star on the Asian culinary stage. These kimchi recipes are an appetizing way to add more vegetables with probiotics, vitamins, and enzymes to your healthy diet. 

This delicious Korean superfood is tasty in a surprisingly tangy, spicy, and pungent way! The Korean Kimchi Cookbook is the first Korean cookbook in English to present Korean kimchi recipes in so many different forms. Learn about the alchemy of vegetable fermentation and its health benefits, which include healthy digestion, anti-aging results, lower cholesterol, and a stronger immune system. 

The Korean Kimchi Cookbook features the extensive history and background information about Korean cuisine and the country's fascinating culture, and is perfect for vegans, vegetarians and omnivores alike!

There are 78 flavorful and easy-to-prepare recipes organized by season, including:

  • Fresh Oyster Kimchi
  • Swiss Chard Kimchi
  • Fresh Ginger Pickles
  • Traditional Cabbage Kimchi
This latest edition has been rewritten to make instructions more accessible for the home cook, with all spices, condiments, and vegetables easily found in any Western supermarket. Plus, all recipes are easy enough for anyone new to the world of fermentation—the combinations and possibilities are endless! 

The recipes in this Korean cookbook represent what good food is about: health, quality, simplicity, and the balance of texture and flavor. Become a part of an ancient Korean tradition passed down through the years with The Korean Kimchi Cookbook!

About the Author:
Lee O-Young is a Doctor of Literature and a renowned literary critic. He has served as a director at the Ewha Womans University in the Semiotics Research Center, and has contributed articles and editorials to countless publications. From 1990-1991, he served as Korea's first Minister of Culture. 

Lee Kyou-Tae is a journalist who has written over 100 books. In 1972 he received an Honorary Doctorate in Literature from the University of North Cholla Province. 

Kim Man-Jo is a food industry consultant who has authored six books on the subject of kimchi. She has taught at the Seoul Womens University and Yonsei University, and is presently living in Indonesia where she is founder and CEO of The Sages Institute International, a school of culinary and pastry arts.

The recipes are organized by season, according to the vegetables and seafood that are readily available. Not all of the recipes are spicy; some are like pickles and offer refreshment during hot summer days. If you're like me you love to eat kimchi but never really thought about making it yourself, maybe because it seems difficult or complicated. I found the recipes to be clearly written and easy to follow, though there are some "essential" ingredients that might be a challenge find, such as sweet rice flour and Korean radish. 

For the first recipe I tried, Cool Cubed Radish Kimchi, I substituted Japanese radish (daikon).

This recipe is fairly simple and can be eaten immediately or fermented 3-4 days. The radish is not spicy but rather slightly sweet and tangy with the addition of fresh ginger and garlic. I loved these crunchy cubes and plan to make them again.

The second recipe I tried is Hot and Spicy Spring Kimchi. Red and pungent, this one is similar to the spicy kimchi we are accustomed to eating in restaurants or buying in jars at the market. It utilizes Napa cabbage and calls for anchovy paste, fish sauce, two types of ground chili, garlic and ginger, as well as scallions and mustard greens. As soon as I mixed the paste my mouth was watering.

This one is supposed to ferment for 3-4 weeks but I tried it after 4 days and it was delicious. The cabbage leaves hadn't wilted yet but the paste, which you are meant to layer between the leaves, combines with the water from the presoaked leaves to make a spicy liquid. Can't wait to try it in a few weeks!

There are lots more recipes in this book using other types of vegetables such as bitter dandelion greens, green cabbage, savoy cabbage, cucumbers, carrots, and even some using fish, shellfish, and other seafood. In short, this is a comprehensive collection of kimchi recipes sure to please the kimchi lover. The recipes are not overly complicated, do not call for specialized equipment or vessels, and offer a very good introduction into the so-called secrets of kimchi-making. If you love kimchi and want to experiment in making your own, I suggest giving this book a try!

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Happy Boys' Day Bento!

Happy Boys' Day!

This day is also known as Children's Day, Kodomo No Hi. In Hawaii when I was growing up we celebrated Girls' Day on March 3, and Boys' Day on May 5th. I made TinySprite a Pucca bento on Girls' Day and today I made a little boy with origami kabuto (samurai helmet) and koinobori (carp streamers) to signify strength. Do you know how to fold origami kabuto? It's a fun activity to do with your kids! May all the boy(s) in your life grow up to enjoy a good, happy and healthy childhood!

In our Ecolunchbox Solo Cube: roast pork, polenta, rotini pasta, carrots, tomatoes, Okinawan sweet potato, hard boiled egg, radish, strawberries.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Salmon and Veggie Yumbox Bento

This bento might not look that pretty, but it's full of good stuff. The compartmentalized box is practical for those times when you happen to have a bunch of this and that to pack for lunch. You ever have days like those?

Furikake salmon pasta, veggie hash with celery, bell pepper, and butternut squash, cucumber tomato salad with pickled red onions, strawberries and cottage cheese with granola. A few chocolate raisins finish out this Yumbox. Have a yummy day!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Spring Roll Bento🌸🍱

Here's one to herald spring. Spring rolls! So fun for bento, and delicious at room temperature.

Today's one of those typically unsettled days with a little of everything. Warm and sunny when we woke up, followed by the sudden disappearance of the sun and subsequent black clouds and freezing wind. I'm expecting a downpour at any second. 😂

Luckily it's a fine day for fresh spring rolls. I put rice vermicelli in mine, with lettuce, napa cabbage, shredded carrots, red bell pepper, peapods, and shrimp. I sliced one open to show you, but I'll wrap it back up to keep it from drying out. I made peanut sauce for dipping (made with sun butter instead of peanut to abide by TinySprite's nut-free school rules).

Monday, April 2, 2018

Bento Break: Etsy Shop {All My Dreams}

Hi friends! After a hiatus of a few years, I reopened my etsy shop: All My Dreams. []

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you might remember I crafted and sold origami crane earrings a few years back as part of a benefit for victims of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan. It was a great way to do a little bit towards bringing attention to the disaster relief as a part of a larger effort by the bento community.

Afterwards, I let the shop lapse while I worked on other things, and I only recently remembered about it. I enjoyed my crafty side projects so much I thought I might start up again. Feel free to take a look if you are interested. Oh, and use coupon code 25OFF for 25% off the entire store! Thank you friends! 😊❤

Monday, March 26, 2018

Happy Easter Baby Chick Bento! 🐣🐰

It's not Easter yet, but one of my kids is already on school break. The other one's break is the week after Easter. Seems so late! How about your kids?

So anyway, here's my bento for the occasion. Had to make the baby chick egg, of course! If you do this, try to keep the yolk in the center. It really makes the carving much easier! My yolks were way off center so it was hard to cut neatly through so much white. In fact, the yolk was so low in the first egg I tried that I didn't even reach it at all -_-

Inside our Ecolunchbox Solo Cube: ham-spinach-tomato-enoki-furikake rice onigirazu, Okinawan sweet potato cherry blossoms, sweet baby peppers stuffed with edamame, tomato and berries.

Inside the Eco Dipper: soba, lettuce, hard boiled egg.

Happy Easter, friends!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Chicken and Broccoli Lunchbots Bento

The comfort food of my childhood shows up often in my bentomaking as an adult. How coincidental that chicken and rice is a prime combo for bento. It's delicious hot, cold, or room temp😊❣

Today's Lunchbots Clicks contain: shoyu chicken, broccoli, mushrooms, furikake rice, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, tomatoes.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

First Day of Spring Bento!

First day of Spring and of course it's gray and cloudy outside. So we'll celebrate with a cheerful bento! 

Inside our Yumbox: quartered cheese - tomato - lettuce - avocado toasted sandwiches (skewered because I saw trhe idea in Sarah Michelle Gellar's cookbook "Stirring Up Fun With Food" [I really don't have any affiliation with her or her publisher; I just happened to find a few cute ideas in there]😆), mini peppers stuffed with cottage cheese, sunflower seeds and a bit of granola, cara cara oranges, steamed Okinawan sweet potatoes, corn, radish ladybug, and chocolate raisins.

One nice thing about the cool weather is my sweet violets love it! Mine are the super fragrant pink "Rosina" variety. Happy Spring, friends!

Monday, March 19, 2018

🌱Saladbook For Lunch Bento!🌱

 Getting our greens in early this week! 🌱🌱🌱🥗🥗🥗

I got inspired by all the beautiful grain bowls I saw this weekend flying through my instafeed so decided to pull out the Smart Planet Home Saladbook and pack one of our own. This box is perfect for tossing together whatever your favorite salad fixings might be and making them look appetizing in this shallow round box. It looks like a ton of food but it's really only about an inch deep. What's great is you can go ahead and put the salad dressing on if you like since the lid is leakproof. Nice!
In our Saladbook: quinoa/millet/buckwheat, romaine lettuce, cucumber, red onion, mushroom, corn, tomatoes, egg, kimchi, and a drizzle of homemade oil and balsamic citrus dressing. Instant healthy lunch!❣😊💚🍱🥗🌱

Thursday, March 15, 2018

🍀Happy St. Paddy's Day Bento! 🍀

Green green green!

Happy St. Patrick's Day, you guys! ☘☘☘ It's that green time of year; luckily there are lots of green foods to choose from. Too bad the protein has to deviate from the color scheme but maybe it's better that not EVERYthing is green...
Inside this cute green frog bento: stirfried chicken, baby bok choy and peas, tomato, strawberries, kiwi.

I made shamrock egg rings with green bell peppers (I looked for 4-lobed ones and sliced them about a half inch thick). You can fry the egg directly in the pepper ring and then put a lid on the pan to finish steam cooking. The rest of this Sistema bento contains: pesto spinach pasta, turkey bacon green bean rollups, a cucumber pot of pickled wakame (plus the cucumber balls), blueberries, strawberries and kiwi.

Hope you all have a fantastic St. Paddy's Day weekend! 🍀🍀🍀

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Happy π Day!

We'll celebrate March 14 (3-14) with mini blackberry & raspberry pies in the kids' bento. I made the pies in jar lids, an idea I got from Sarah Michelle Gellar's book "Stirring Up Fun with Food" - they are the perfect teeny size to fit into a bentobox. Hope you guys have a great Ï€ day!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Happy Girls' Day Pucca Bento

March 3 is Hinamatsuri, or Girls' Day in Japan. It's one of my favorite special holidays to commemorate in bento. I've made many, many, many Girls' Day bento in the past few years. This year Pucca stars in her own bento for the occasion, wearing bell pepper kimono and holding a radish fan. She appeared in a Santa suit for a Christmas bento a few years ago; she's so festive, that girl!

I missed making bento these past few months. MisterMan has been packing bento for himself and his sister so I have been taking a break from posting too. I want to keep up my bento chops though, so I will make sure to not be so remiss in the future.

Wishing our girls - and all our children - a healthy and happy year ahead. May their future be as bright as their smiles😊👫🏻