Skimming Deep

Searching, traveling, talking, reflecting, and exploring. Read along with me as I continue on my journey through life.

Tag: noodles

Happiness is a Well-Stocked Kitchen

I should be writing cover letters right now, but I just came back from running errands, which is so much more fun.  I feel so accomplished after getting items ticked off my mental checklist.

My refrigerator and pantry are now stocked with more fun things (mind you, both were already pretty well-stocked, but there’s always something more that I am looking to add.  The food world is a treasure trove of endless gems!):

  • fenugreek and thyme – dried spices that I don’t use a lot but have been wanting to use more, along with a bunch of other spices I have acquired.
  • carrots, onions, and potatoes – I always like to have a ready supply of those root veggies.  That way, I’m always ready to make a chicken or beef stock, some homefries on a lazy weekend morning, or the base of a stir-fry.
  • dried shiitake mushrooms – great as additions to various dishes – Korean noodles (jahpchae), Chinese stir fry…  I’m hoping to make a Chinese sticky rice thing with these mushrooms soon.
  • a cantaloupe – I think it’s peak time for cantaloupes and melons out here.  So I’m trying to eat as many as I can before it’s over.  I love eating seasonally– it’s kind of like a fun race against the produce, and sometimes I try to find new ways to work with that ingredient.  But it’s also great just eating it as is.  And of course it tastes soo much better to eat things when they’re in season and grown locally.
  • two kinds of Chinese egg noodles – I love noodles in all forms, and I like making simple noodle dishes for dinner–  stir fried, in a soup, just mixed with a good sauce.

fridgeAnd in addition to stocking my fridge and pantry, I’m also doing some prep work for future cooking.  That’s always fun, too.  My mom says she feels rich after she’s done a lot of food prep to offset future slaving in the kitchen.  I would agree.  Like making a big batch of kimchee or making and freezing a trayful of dumplings or pickling beets or making stock!

I bought some pork rib meat and put it in a Chinese char siu sauce (a reddish, sweet and tangy sauce used for roast pork, especially).  I’ll let it sit overnight and roast it tomorrow or the next day.  Yum!

charsiu pork

I’m also making a beef stock out of bones and stew beef that I got from the meat counter at Berkeley Bowl.  I tossed all that in my stainless steel Dutch oven with water, a few carrots, celery, and an onion to make the stock.  And every so often, I skim off any fat and gunky stuff.  I’ll use the stock in the future to make my favorite Korean soups– yookaejang (a spicy beef soup with lots of scallions), mandu gook (dumpling soup), and seaweed soup.  After I started making my own stock years ago, I couldn’t go back to store bought stock.  It just tastes so much better!

beef stock

And just like that, it’s already 4:30pm. Life is good.  I think I’ll make some egg noodles with oyster sauce and Chinese broccoli for dinner.   I set out some shrimp to thaw, and that can go on top!  Oh wait, that might have to wait till tomorrow– I forgot that in my prepping frenzy, I also put some rice in the rice cooker to be ready by 6:30pm.  Change in plans.  Rice with shrimp and Chinese broccoli!

This is the life of an unemployed food lover!

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Ode to LA Comestibles

Pictures say a thousand words. Well, kind of. You might not know what some of these foods are without captions. And in these pictures, the main single word is YUM.

Korean cold noodle soup from Corner Place. I wish I had gotten a large!! This was delicious.

Earl grey ice from Sweet Crush Ice Bar. The flavoring was so intensely Earl grey, I just kept eating and eating...

Salt ramen with pork belly strips. Amazing broth, amazing pork belly. Great flavors at Santouka Ramen in the Mitsuwa Marketplace

Eight preparations of pork belly laid out on a cool tray. Plain, curry, herbal, spicy, ginseng, miso, and garlic. Oh so good when grilled at the table. My favorites were the plain and spicy.

The grill is tilted down so the grease drips down through the kimchee and bean sprouts. If you want, at the end of the meal, they do a fried rice with the cooked vegetables. We were too full to eat that.

These were the best of the best, as filtered through my cousins' palates. But I am of the opinion that even bad food in LA is not as bad as bad food in Boston. Why is that? Is it that food in LA is just so much better or that food in Boston just is at a lower level? I mean, not all Boston food is bad, but when it comes to Asian food, especially Korean and Japanese food, Boston just doesn't compare to LA.

Thanks to my cousins for cramming all this food into our stomachs! I felt like those poor geese must feel, when being prepared for foie gras!

#26: Sesame Soba and Slowing Down

Another beautiful, lazy Sunday.  And this is my dinner.  Lettuce and radish from my CSA, cucumbers from Costco, eggs from Stop and Shop, and noodles from H-Mart.  Topped with a homemade sesame dressing.  Yum!  But I had  late snack of pita chips and hummus so I didn’t finish my meal.  Anyways, it was an enjoyable meal.

Thought of the day: I rush through things.  Or rather, I do things fast.  Those two aren’t always the same, but sometimes in doing things fast, I realize I’m rushing.

  • I eat fast.  And I mean fast.  I barely breathe while I’m eating.  I’m always the first to finish when eating with friends.  And at the end of any meal, I ALWAYS think, “Wow, I should eat slower.  I don’t think I even tasted what I was eating!”  Literally, every time I eat I think that.
  • I work fast.  This means typing, emailing, writing down things, making agendas and plans, thinking, discussing.  Everything associated with working– it’s done fast.
  • I walk fast.  I’m always ahead of a group when I’m walking with others.  I just can’t help it.
  • I shop fast.  I go into a store (grocery, mall, anything) with a mission, a shopping list, and I just shop until I’m done.  I don’t like to browse, roam the aisles, look for other things to buy.  I. Am. On. A. Mission.  Don’t stop me.
  • I relax fast.  When I get a few hours to relax, I read, surf the web, and generally bounce around from thing to thing because I get distracted.  It’s hard for me to sit for hours and just sit.  But when I do get to do it, it’s great.

There are many reasons that I do this:

  • trying to be efficient and not waste time on “unnecessary things;”
  • wanting to get to whatever’s next (although that’s an unending endeavor because there’s always something next);
  • wanting to get something over with (both good and bad things);
  • thinking about something else so I don’t focus on the task at hand and just go through the motions quickly;
  • feeling pressured that I have to do things one after another or else things will fall apart.

But I want to focus on taking more time to do things.  I think there would be benefits to my own mental health and physical and spiritual well being.

  • I could stop and smell the roses.  Yes, cliche, but so true.  The times that I do stop and take time, I see the beauty in the mundane, like anthills!  I just need to consciously tell myself, “OK, walk slower.  Look around.  Drink in the world around you! Enjoy the food!”
  • I would be less stressed.
  • I would feel less like everything depends on me.  (This is, after all, a totally self-imposed idea that I need to let go of.  The world does NOT revolve around me!)
  • I would remember more of the little things.  I have eaten in some good restaurants but because I eat so fast, I don’t often remember my meals.  Maybe slowing down would help me remember those things.
  • I could have more time to reflect and be in the present moment.

I know this isn’t easy for me. I’ve been living this way at least for the last 10-15, even longer, years.  Life just got faster and faster when I went to college.  And then once technology became ubiquitous in our lives and I started working, it just zoomed at an exponential rate.

I’ve got to slow down.

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