Sunday, December 30, 2007

Holiday Food

Christmas came and went, and nary a blog entry was written, even though I finished shopping the night after I wrote my procrastination post predicting gloom and doom. To prepare for that night of furious internet shopping, I made Dduk Bok-kee with a recipe from Slashfood. Now, to be honest, I've been buying these little rice cake things for almost two years now, though I never called them anything but "rice cakes" (even though they bear no resemblance to the styrofoamy nightmares of my grade-school lunches), and I've always cooked them the same way - either dumped in soup or fried in some peanut oil with soy sauce with a healthy few squirts of sriracha or chili-garlic sauce. Although pretty tasteless on their own, they are awesomely chewy with a smooth, meaty texture and easily take on the flavors of whatever you're cooking them in. I had no idea of their place or origin in culinary world, and decided to do some investigating last week since I didn't feel like making soup or my generic fry-dish.

Apparently, in Korean, these rice cakey things are called duk, or dduk (the "dd"sound is one that is beyond my comprehension level, so don't ask me). Us Chinese folks apparently eat them too, but I didn't find a name that I could remember. Lots of Asian-folk eat them around the new year, and in Korea they're served as comfort food in dishes like Dduk Bok-kee, which is what I made. Spicy, sweet, chewy - how can you go wrong? You can go find dduk in the refrigerated section of your local Asian market. I'm itching to make some with fish balls instead of beef, which is apparently another traditional way of serving them.

In other news, I made my grandma biscotti for Christmas, using a recipe from Joy of Cooking(apparently she hasn't touched any of the presents we've bought for her in the last five years or so, so a perishable favorite food seemed like a wiser investment). They turned out surprisingly well, though I found that Joy's recommended bake time of 10 minutes on each side after the initial slicing was waaaay too much, as my little dudes started burning.

A few nights ago I made Cream of Spinach soup from Joy and found it to be pretty lacking. Admittedly, I used frozen spinach and I didn't puree it all the way since I'm not a fan of totally pureed soups (and I wanted to test out the cheap immersion blender I found in my cabinet and it wasn't very... efficient). However, after letting it sit for a few days and then sprinkling a pile of parmesan on it, I have to say it's actually pretty good.

In Christmas news, my family must think I'm an alcoholic because I got wine stoppers and a cocktail shaker. My youngest sister got me a book about cooking seafood, I kidnapped another cookbook from my mom's dollar-bin books cabinet (don't ask), Z's mom got me silicone baking sheets and two more cookbooks, and Z got me The Mixer. I have the best boyfriend ever. Lots of baking to come in 2008!

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