Koreafornian Cooking in 2010
2010 was a year of major progress. I became a key contributor to two major Korean food and culture new media sites and wrote an article for a culinary arts magazine.
I started 2010 as a new editor at ZenKimchi Food Journal, covering the Korean food scene in the San Francisco Bay area with restaurant reviews, videos and recipes.
I’m also a Nanoomi.net partner, submitting blog posts as a part of a “community of writers, translators and Korea-enthusiasts who have come together to share with the world, the deep and diverse ecology of the Korean blogosphere.” Nanoomi is a part of Tatter and Media, a blog marketing and syndication company. It has a “family” of about 200 of Korea’s brightest “power bloggers,” joining forces with nearly 40 of Korea’s best ex-pat bloggers to create a community that will explain the “good, bad and the weird” of Korea to the world.
The year ended with my first freelance writing assignment, an article on Korean breakfast culture for foodservice trade magazine Plate. My piece will be in the January–February 2011 edition, which focuses on Korean food.
The following are some of my favorite Koreafornian Cooking posts of 2010.
2009 recipes Korean Gingered Pear Sauce and Kkaenip Pesto recipes kept Foodbuzz and 5 Star Foodie Culinary Adventures buzzing in early 2010.
|Gingered Pear Sauce, especially when using a Korean pear grown grown on native soil, matches well in any recipe that calls for applesauce.
(Jeff Quackenbush photo)
My first recipe of the year was Korean Black Garlic Linguini.
Reality TV show MasterChef, a British and Australian show re-created for American TV and starring chef Gordon Ramsey, had a call for contestants. I applied but wasn’t chosen.
My first Korean restaurant review was of a San Francisco food court location for Sorabol, a chain with about a dozen California sites. Because it was a 60-mile trip to the restaurant, I dragged along my family to help craft an honest review after sampling a number of dishes on one trip. The Cocobang review was another.
The month ended with a fun recipe for Yujacha Hamantaschen in time for celebration of Purim.
You can’t have March without St. Patrick’s Day. I had fun with Koreafornian St. Pat’s dinner, featuring Corned Beef and Kimchi.
I posted my favorite recipe for Chuncheon Dakkalbi. Koreafornian Cooking started in 2007 with a video about kimchi pizza with dakkalbi sauce instead of a tomato-based sauce common on kimchi pizzas in Korea.
Also this month, I crossed San Francisco Bay by ferry to review Stone Korean Kitchen, located across the street from the Ferry Building.
I responded to Top Chef alumni Kevin Gillespie’s anti-Korean food tirade. Some might think I take Korean food too seriously, but I do have a lot of fun learning classic Korean recipes as well as creating Korea-inspired recipes, such as Kimchi Grilled Cheese Sandwich and Kimchi Matzah Ball Soup.
My first cocktail recipe was Lemon Soju. It isn’t carbonated but has a strong lemon flavor. MarxFoods.com, which provided the semi-analgesic Szechuan button flowers, enjoyed the recipe enough to post it on the company blog.
|The dark color of the lemon soju is from the brown sugar. I didn’t have any white sugar in the house to make simple syrup.
(Jeff Quackenbush photo)
After the 12 takes on tteokbokki, I posted more recipe series. Korean fusion compound butters were quick, no-cooking concoctions.
One of my most popular recipes of 2010 was the Korean bakery staple Saeng Cream Cake. Variations also are popular in China and Japan.
Koreafornian Cooking reviews of Korean food products targeted to the U.S. mainstream started with a look at frozen meals sold through Costco Wholesale. This month, there was a review of Annie Chun’s new Korean Sweet Chili Noodle Bowl.
I finally got my hands on some Annie Chun’s new squeeze-bottle Gochujang to review. I bribed several of my friends to help with the assessment by giving them each a bottle. One of those reports unexpectedly included a recipe.
During the dog days each July, Korean media start discussions about whether Koreans should eat dog meat. On this side of the Pacific, that question is settled. There’s an animal rights group that stages a protest in front of the Korean consulate in San Francisco every year. This year, I decided to go down there and check them out. I didn’t realize until the the protesters were packing up that my former Hebrew teacher was one of the protesters wearing a dog mask.
|Some folks on Twitter complained that the slogan “Don’t wok the dog” was racist.
(Tammy Quackenbush photo)
The Northern California/Southern California battle of the Korean taco led to dueling recipes inspired by San Francisco’s Namu restaurant and LA’s Kogi taco truck.
Hallyu star Bae Yong Joon published The Search for Korea’s Beauty in Korean and Japanese in 2009. I didn’t want to wait for the English version to start exploring the recipes in the book, so I painstakingly undertook my own translation of the Kalbi Steak recipe and produced a video demonstration. The English version was published in December 2010. I happily found my translation was accurate.
The next restaurant review was of Brother’s Korean restaurant, one of San Francisco’s oldest Korean restaurants. It’s one of the few Korean restaurants in the San Francisco Bay area that offers grill-it-yourself Korean barbecue.
My video review of the 2nd Annual Eat Real Festival in Oakland, Calif., featured demonstrations of making Chinese pulled noodles and kimchi as well as sampling Korean taco truck cuisine from Seoul on Wheels and Mogo BBQ.
“Have you ever seen anybody use old kimchi juice as a starter?” Such a simple question sent me on a quest to learn about using kimchi juice from a prior batch of kimchi to make the next one, sourdough-style.
For Jeroxie’s International Incident Eggs Party, I adapted a fun Korean breakfast sandwich simply called Egg Toast. The post also caught the attention of an American culinary arts magazine publisher.
|Hey, even my cat likes egg toast!|
I went off the Korean food path with a post about the surprising tastiness of Lodi, Calif., zinfandel wines from an informal tasting event. It was difficult for me, a resident of Sonoma County, one of the world’s premier zinfandel-growing regions, to admit that Lodi can make a good wine.
Honey Cuisine Sushi and BBQ in Rohnert Park, Calif., could have easily slid under the radar because the restaurant isn’t described as a Korean restaurant. The extensive sushi menu and well-grounded Korean barbecue and traditional favorites draw an eclectic college crowd.
My husband enjoyed the repeated tests of the Pul-bbang recipe. The photos printed in the post were from two different trials of the recipe. Since I posted this pul-bbang recipe with the classic red bean paste stuffing, other fillings don’t compare to the red bean paste.
|One of the perks of being the photographer, according to my husband, is the samples.
(Jeff Quackenbush photo)
One really can’t control how much exposure a video or post will get without a substantial public platform or publicity budget. Of all the videos I’ve posted on the YouTube channel for Koreafornian Cooking, I never would have thought that my 12 Days of Tteok – Beyond Koreafornian Cooking, would “go viral.” It is just a video slideshow of 12 tteokbokki dishes with music and a voiceover tracks. I didn’t think the link would be passed around the Net more than videos that took a lot more work.
Kosher food in Korea started out from a question posted on Seoul Eats about what’s involved with certifying a restaurant as kosher. I interviewed Rabbi Osher Litzman of Chabad of Korea for details.
The most recent video, “Making kimchi with local ingredients,” was recorded before Thanksgiving but wasn’t posted until mid-December. Because there is access to so many different kinds of chilis and peppers in the U.S., we have a plethora of options to mix and match those peppers into kimchi paste to our tastes.