Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Compact magnetic spice rack for your fridge

My collection of GneissSpice jars, attached via the magnetic lids to my refrigerator door.
Many Korean kitchens are really small, especially in Seoul. Kitchen storage space is very precious.

I found a shop on that offers a decorative yet functional solution to that dilemma. GneissSpice is based in Brooklyn, N.Y., and specializes in kitchen and bathroom space savers, as well as gift sets.

The shop offers spice sets for Moroccan, Mexican or Thai cooking. Because I love Korean food, I requested a custom set of Korean spice jars, labeled for gochugaru (red pepper powder), curry powder, garlic flakes, ginger powder, mugwort, onion flakes, black pepper, sea salt, white sesame seeds and black sesame seeds. You could also add white pepper. I filled them with my own spices after I received the bottles in the mail.

If you are requesting a custom herb and spice blend, simply pick your choices at checkout. All of the herbs and spices on the GneissSpice site are organic. The magnets inside the lids are surprisingly strong and is able to hold my heavy sea salt on the fridge securely.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Confucius Day: Sept. 29

Confucius was born in China on Oct. 18, 551 B.C. He was a younger contemporary of the prophet Jeremiah (circa 628-528 B.C.) and Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha (circa 563 483 B.C.).

Confucius' philosophies molded Korean culture for over a millennium. This influence reached its zenith during the Chosun dynasty (A.D. 1392-1910), where it had an overreaching influence on Korean law, ethics as well as life-cycle rituals such as marriage and funeral rites.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Korean pears in the U.S.: An expensive taste of Korea

As many of you who watch my cooking videos and have have started to read this blog know, I love Korean pears. You also probably know of my antipathy for the American-grown versions as well. Even the Asian pears at grocery stores such as Trader Joe's and most of the farmers' markets don't have nearly the flavor of these Korean beauties.

I was so happy when my Korean grocer (who knows me by name but never calls me by it) got his new shipment of Shingo pears directly from Korea this past week. I was so happy, I bought a box rather than one or two at at time like I usually do. The box cost $27.99 for seven pears, which according to the currency exchange on Sept. 27, was 33,207 won.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

'Noodles hot in North Korea' - Radio Free Asia

Chusok is coming to Korea soon and it's the time of year when Koreans give one another gift baskets of fruits, beef and other high-quality (read expensive items) to celebrate one of the most popular holidays of the Korean calendar. Imagine my surprise when I read this in a Sept. 22 Radio Free Asia article:
North Koreans are consuming increasing quantities of brand-name instant noodles, and the three-minute fast food packages are among the hottest gifts at this year's traditional harvest festival, or Chuseok.

Top brand on the menu for harvest gifts this year is Shin Ramyun, made by South Korean food manufacturer Nong Shim in the northeastern Chinese city of Shenyang.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sept. 26 is National Pancake Day

Pancakes are one of those bread-like recipes you can find in nearly every cultural tradition. American and European style pancakes are usually on the sweet side, with abundant use of sugar, syrup, cheese, etc. The batter also usually includes either regular milk or buttermilk. They are usually served with either jam, jelly, or a sugar syrup for dipping. Even though they are eaten for breakfast, they would probably be better suited for dessert.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Koreans and eating leftovers

Koreans do not have a culture of eating leftovers, however with the increasing amount of food waste clogging up their landfills, the Korean government has spent the past 10-plus years encouraging Korean families to eat leftovers — rather than throw them in the trash — to save landfill space.

I found this British website that has a lot of helpful recipes using leftovers. Lovefood/Hatewaste features recipes for leftover rice, peppers, sweet potatoes, and other foods common to Korean cuisine (even if the recipes are not Korean or Korean-style).

The best Korean recipe for using up leftovers is bibimbap.  The word bibimbap means "mixed-up rice."  After you put small servings of bean sprouts, kimchi, mushrooms, spinach, zucchini and a fried egg into your bowl and mix it up with some gochujang, you will have the best tasting leftovers in your neighborhood.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Korea-inspired Etsy favorites

I shop on quite often, especially for one of a kind gifts for friends. It's one of the best places to find unique items including clothing, artwork, household items and jewelry. Here are some Korean and Korean-inspired items I found on

I do not have a shop on Etsy so I will not be making any money if you decide to buy one of the items listed here.

Update: September 24, 2009. The two notecards listed here have sold so I added two more stores to keep balance in the force, so to speak. 
September 25, 2009. The maedup necklace is no longer posted so I replaced its spot with another notecard. 
Update October 14, 2009. I made a photo of the page on September 30, 2009 and posted that so this is no longer a dynamic link.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Bae Yong Joon's dipping into making Kimchi--OSEN

OSEN reports that Bae Yong Joon's soon to be released book called Traveling to Find the Beauty of Korea will include two of his favorite Korean recipes.

One of the recipes is for a version of Kimchi jeon (kimchi pancake), which includes squid. The other recipe is for a banchan called Oisobagi (stuffed cucumber kimchi), which Bae's mother gave him.

For more information, go to: 한국 최고의 스포츠 엔터테인먼트 전문 미디어 OSEN

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Kimchi on Foodista

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Snooth wine pairing recommendation: Spicy chicken and pinot gris

There are three signs that fall is coming:
  1. The sight of green leaves turning various shades of red, orange and yellow
  2. The dropping temperatures. 
  3. Most important in the culinary world, "tailgating" season. 
Tailgating is, according to Wikipedia:
In North America, a tailgate party is a social event held on and around the open tailgate of a vehicle. Tailgating often involves consuming alcoholic beverages and grilling food. Tailgate parties usually occur in the parking lots at stadiums and arenas before, and occasionally after or during, sporting events and rock concerts.

Imagine acres and acres of cooks and chefs — mostly men — grilling and cooking food. If you're a single woman and love sports but hate cooking, a tailgate party might be a good place to find yourself a gourmet chef in the rough.

One of the quintessential tailgating recipes is chicken wings. I say, the spicier the better.

What do the wine experts at Snooth recommend drinking with your spicy chicken wings? Pinot Gris tops their list. It is a white wine marketed under several names — including Pinot Grigio and Ruländer — depending on the country where it is grown. I also heard one person call it "pinot gringo," which is interesting because gringo in Spanish means the same thing. All three terms mean "white."  The good thing about Pinot Gris is it's flavorful yet doesn't have a lot of tannin. You don't want a high-tannin wine to clash with the bold Korean flavor of these wings.

For more information on picking out the best wine to match your favorite dishes, go to Snooth | Grilled Chicken and Pinot Gris. You will find their non-Korean recipe for chicken wings and from there you can explore Snooth's collection of wine reviews and food pairings.

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Chicken Wing on Foodista

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Rosh Hashanah in Korea?: Koreans drooling over California Pomegranates

Lotte Mart employees hold up this year’s first shipment of pomegranates from California August 24, 2009 at the store’s Seoul Station branch in downtown Seoul. The abundant sunlight and low rainfall in the American state produce pomegranates known to be extra sweet. (YONHAP photo)
Researchers at Kikkoman Corporation in Noda Japan discovered that pomegranates are high in ellagic acid, which is an anti-oxidant found to protect skin against sun damage. Either eat 1/2 cup of seeds or drink a cup of pomegranate juice to get the skin-loving effects.

Here's a recipe you can use with your pomegranates, for the new fruit of the new season. Just in time for Rosh Hashanah! L'Shanah Tovah!

Fox News: Oddball college course making maple syrup

From Alfred University website
Alfred University was founded in 1836 by liberal, independent thinkers who placed high value on education for all citizens. Today, the University has retained and built upon the strong values of its founders, developing as an institution of national and international renown that is responsive to the needs of contemporary society while remaining consistent with the spirit of its origins.
Alfred University is the second oldest co-educational college in the United States and one of the earliest nineteenth century colleges to have enrolled African American and Native American students.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Inspiration for the Korean potato salad video

When I make a YouTube video, the food is the most important ingredient. That's one of the reasons I take so long between videos. I'm always working on recipes, perfecting them until I am ready to present them to the world.

Then I write the script, determining camera angles, scenes, etc. One of the last things I think about is clothing. However, just before I'm ready to shoot a video, clothing does become an issue — not to wear the same thing twice. It's a woman thing.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Asian Food Pyramid: Can an Asian diet be low carb?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) developed the Food Pyramid as a visual tool to help Americans eat a well-balanced, nutritious diet. This interpretation of a healthy diet is very heavy on the consumption of grains such as white bread (or pseudo wheat bread), pasta and white rice as the primary source of carbohydrates in the diet.

There are deep scientific flaws in the standardized U.S. Food Pyramid, according to the Harvard University School of Public Health. One of the chief complaints raised in the Harvard report was bias.
The problem was that these efforts, while generally good intentioned, have been quite flawed at actually showing people what makes up a healthy diet. Why? Their recommendations have often been based on out-of-date science and influenced by people with business interests in their messages.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Celebrity chefs get cooking in Santa Rosa - The Press Democrat

Dinner: Impossible chef Robert Irvine (Food Network Canada)
In what appears to be an "I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine for charity's sake" arrangement, Dinner: Impossible TV chef Robert Irvine and Santa Rosa, Calif., celebrity Guy Fieri, got together to create a fundraiser feast for the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Santa Rosa on Sept. 10. The show will air later this year on the Food Network, which hosts shows for both Irvine and Fieri.

What was on the menu? We won't know until the show airs sometime during the winter holidays. According to the article, Chef Irvine didn't even know what he was going to make.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Gujeolpan (구절판) nine treasures rollup

Many people have this idea that all Korean food is hot, bold, spicy and heavy with the aroma of sesame seed oil, garlic and ginger. Take the time to study Korean royal cuisine, you will find that it's well-balanced, heavy on the vegetables and always aesthetically pleasing.

One of the classic Korean meals to come from the Korean palace is called gujeolpan (구절판), or nine treasures roll-up. Gujeolpan is actually the Korean name for the tray, not the meal. But now the tray and the meal are nearly synonymous.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Immigrant women’s dream come true through cooking

Many Westerners, particularly fans of British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, have heard of his restaurant Fifteen. Jamie Oliver's website says,
In 2002, Jamie Oliver combined two ambitions: to open a top class restaurant and to give disadvantaged youngsters the chance to gain professional training that would set them up for an independent, inspired and productive life.

Mr. Oliver wasn't the first to come up with such an idea. In 1999, Seoul's Municipal government set up the Haja Center, also known as the Youth Factory for Alternative Culture. Operation Yori (요리), which means "cooking" in Korean, was one of the social-service organizations incubated at Haja. Operation Yori's original mission was help young people obtain training and marketable work skills as South Korea was recovering from the Asian financial crisis that erupted in 1997.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Young consumers exhibit less demand for fresh vegetables

At-home demand for fresh fruits and vegetables among younger consumers has decreased over the past 20 years, according to a report released by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service released a report in August 2009 (DatelinERS Newsletter, August 2009).

The study focuses on several possible reasons for this decline. One is the ever-growing popularity of convenience foods and prepackaged foods, which have been heavily marketed over the past 50-plus years. Another reason tucked away in the article is that parents no longer take the time to teach their children how to cook for themselves.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Kkaenip Pesto video featured on ZenKimchi Korean Food Journal

Whenever I make a YouTube cooking video or post an item on this blog, I never know who's going to see, comment on or pass it to their family, friends and co-workers. People notice the strangest things.

So you can imagine my surprise when I found out that ZenKimchi Food Journal wrote about my Kkaenip Pesto video: ZenKimchi Korean Food Journal » Blog Archive » Ggaenip Pesto — The Video

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Trend spotting in Dosan Park - INSIDE JoongAng Daily

The Dosan Park neighborhood of Seoul is the current trendsetting neighborhood. When I lived in Korea, all the buzz was about Apgujeong-dong, but not anymore, according to JoonAng Daily.
“More boutiques have opened here recently,” said Kim Hyun-jung, a manager at Gorilla in the Kitchen, the Italian restaurant in the Dosan Park area owned by Bae Yong-joon, a star of the Korean wave, or hallyu. “There are more trendsetters coming to this area, and the shops here are more high-end than those in Apgujeong-dong.”

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Korean wine: Bokbunja joo

If you ask the average person what kind of liquor or spirits Koreans make, the first response is soju. Although soju (소주), a distilled grain beverage with 20 percent to 45 percent alcohol, might be the definitive Korean liquor/spirit, it is not the only liquor product made in Korea.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Small Bites (LA Times): Debbie Lee at Gyenari

Debbie does Gyenari: The judges on "The Next Food Network Star" raved about Debbie Lee's cooking. If you want to find out what the fuss was all about, you might want to try Gyenari in Culver City, which bills itself as an "upscale Korean BBQ destination." Lee, a Los Angeles-based restaurant consultant who made it to the final three of the Food Network competition, has revamped Gyenari's menu. Lee calls her style "Seoul to Soul," in homage to her unconventional upbringing: Her parents were Korean immigrants who settled in the South. Lee was raised on collard greens and fried chicken, and wasn't introduced to Korean food until she was well into her teens. Now, she puts a Korean spin on traditional Southern fare. On the menu at Gyenari: a SeoulTown Po' Boy made with sesame shrimp tempura, cilantro slaw and chile tomatoes; a crispy chile-crusted snapper with soy bean succotash and twice-fried pork belly; and pan-seared pork chops with Fuji apple gravy and kimchee smashed potatoes. 9540 Culver Blvd., Culver City, (310) 838-3131,

Korean "kimchi smashed potatoes," eh? Sounds like a Koreafornian version of colcannon to me. Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish made from mashed potatoes, kale (traditional) or cabbage, butter, salt and pepper. To make it more of a meal rather than a side dish, some people add other ingredients such as boiled ham or Irish bacon. I prefer the vegetarian version with cabbage.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Behind the scenes: Kkaenip Pesto

For every cooking video, I have to come with something new. Not just a new recipe but new clothing, music and script as well.

I purchased the apron I'm wearing in the video at the Sunday Farmers' Market in Windsor, Calif. It's reversible, one side with garlic, the other side is a simple light brown with a garlic pocket. I might wear the reverse side in a future video.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

National Potato Month: Celebrate Korean-style

According to the wild and wacky calendars out there, September is National Potato Month in the U.S.

Before you get out the bagpipes and start singing "Danny Boy," you should know that potatoes are quite popular in Korea as well, particularly in the northern, mountainous areas. That love of potatoes in Korea inspired my videos Korean latkes (potato pancakes, 감자전) and Korean potato salad (감자 샐러드).

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