When I decided to make Korean/Tex-mex food the first thing I thought of were tacos. They are so easy to load up with any ingredient you like. I settled on pork shoulder for the meat filling along with two different salsas: a red salsa flavored with fresh ginger and sesame seeds and a refreshing cilantro and lime salsa. Then I decided on kimchi, a Korean fermented cabbage and crumbled queso fresco to complete it. The result was a delicious taco loaded with great toppings. The pork was cooked on low heat for about 2 hours which resulted in meat that fell off the bone. The pork was spicy and sweet which went along great with the red salsa and kimchi. The cilantro and lime salsa provided a nice crunch and the lime juice went along nicely with the other fillings. All the flavors worked so well together and I look forward to making this again!
Kimchi is a Korean dish made with fermented Napa Cabbage, Red Pepper, and Garlic. I have heard a lot of good things about Kimchi and I couldn’t wait to try it. The red pepper is a Korean crushed red pepper called gochugaru and can be found in Korean or asian markets. The fish sauce is easy to find and most grocery stores carry it. Kimchi is great as a condiment or a side dish for many different Korean foods. The cabbage needs about a week to ferment and once that’s done you can enjoy it! Kimchi is fairly spicy and has a really unique flavor. The great thing about Kimchi is that the more it ages the better it gets so you can make a large batch and keep it in the refrigerator for about a month.
It has been in my head for a few days to try some tex-mex/Korean fusion dishes. This salsa is a great start because it combines elements of Korean cooking in a standard tomato based salsa. This recipe is anything but standard as the flavors are really dynamic and tasty! It takes a little bit longer to prepare as the tomatoes, jalapenos, and tomatillos roast for about 15 minutes. Gochujang is used in this salsa, giving it a nice spicy/smoky flavor. The garlic, ginger, sesame oil and seeds also provide great flavors in this salsa. After roasting everything, the ingredients are strained and thrown in a food processor or blender to puree.
This is a simple and easy condiment that can go on almost any taco, burrito, or tex-mex dish. The salsa is fresh and clean with just a hint of olive oil. It would go great with chips as well.
Curried bread is a simple yeast bread seasoned with turmeric and aromatic spices. I used a blend of cayenne, ginger, paprika, cinnamon, cumin and turmeric. The turmeric gives the bread its bright yellow color (and will also stain your clothes, counter tops, etc). The bread looks like a normal loaf before cutting into it. After cutting, the beautiful yellow center reveals itself. The bread is light and fluffy and smelled so good when it was baking. It reminded me a lot of the Curried Yogurt Rolls I made recently as it had a similar color and flavor. I chose this bread to go with the Coconut Curry Soup and it tasted great together.
When I made Parmesan and Rosemary Focaccia bread a few days ago I looked at the flat dough and I couldn’t help but think of a pizza crust. I kept thinking about how great it would be to make a pizza out of this bread and load it with tasty toppings. I relayed the idea to John and we brainstormed toppings to go on a focaccia pizza. I thought that real tomatoes instead of a sauce would be better since focaccia is traditionally a sandwich bread. John had the great idea of roasting them in the oven for 20 minutes with olive oil and garlic, giving the tomatoes an almost sun-dried flavor. We also decided that pouring a little mixture of olive oil and balsamic vinegar on the crust would be a great way to infuse the balsamic vinegar into the dough. The crust was then pre-baked to get it nice and crispy. To add some smoky flavor I tossed on some pancetta which was sauteed for a few minutes with garlic. The pancetta is fairly salty so I would recommend not adding any extra salt to this pizza. The pizza turned out really well and I can’t wait to make this again!
Soups and curries are two of my favorite things and I knew I had to give this recipe a try. The flavors remind me a lot of Thai curries since the soup’s base is coconut milk. I used an Indian Garam Masala with Turmeric to give it a spicy, aromatic flavor. I toasted the spices with a few arbol chilies and ground them all together. The soup was really easy to make and all it really requires is a few hours for the ingredients to cook together. The result was a delicious and filling soup with nice coconut and curry flavors. The soup is surprisingly filling due to the rich broth and the high protein foods like chickpeas and lentils. I garnished a bowl with a drop of coconut milk, cilantro and sliced jalapeno. Plain yogurt would work great as a garnish as well. The soup goes well with rice, couscous, quinoa, or bread.
Focaccia bread is great for sandwiches and as a side dish with dinner. This bread is yeast based and, as always, it requires a little more time to prepare. The result however is a tasty, flat(ish) bread that is flavored with rosemary and olive oil. I topped the bread with a little grated parmigiano-reggiano and the cheese got nicely brown and crispy. I dipped the bread in a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil and it worked great as an appetizer.
I was one of the weird kids who actually liked brussel sprouts (and beets and tofu!) For the majority of kids who grew into adulthood never liking brussel sprouts this recipe might change your mind. It’s a simple preparation of tossing the sprouts in olive oil, balsamic vinegar and garlic. The garlic roasts and becomes from fragrant while the balsamic vinegar caramelizes the brussel sprouts. The outside should be a tiny bit crunchy, not soft. The result is savory and delicious. The recipe would work great with pine nuts, walnuts, or parmesan cheese as well.
Crab cakes are delicious on their own and even better on a sandwich. I cooked the crab cakes Louisiana-style with a creole seasoning spice blend and tangy creole mustard. For the sauce I went with a traditional Remoulade which is great on seafood. Remoulade is easy to make and the primary ingredients are mayonnaise, ketchup, horseradish and lemon juice. The flavors of the remoulade were really tasty with the flavors of the crab cake. The buns were buttered and toasted for several minutes on the broil setting in the oven. I served the crab cake on a bun with lettuce and tomato and plenty of the remoulade.