Foodblogging: Portabella Bulgogi

It’s still January, which means we’re still pescetarian in our house.  Do you know how hard it is to find meatless Korean food?  You pretty much have to make it up as you go along.

I’ve made bulgogi with seitan before.  It’s pretty good but your seitan has to have good flavor to begin with and I just haven’t found the right recipe for it yet.  So here are some action shots of the portabella bulgogi and various banchan I made last night:

 Simmering away in the skillet.  If I were to do this over the only thing I would change would be to sear the ‘shrooms in oil before adding the rest of the sauce.  It was still amazing this way.

 Clockwise from 1:00: bulgogi, rice, homemade daikon kimchi, regular kimchi, potato (I make them very simply by boiling them in water, soy sauce, and sugar), sigeumchi namul (spinach side dish), and kongnamul muchim (bean sprout side dish).
The recipe for the bulgogi sauce can be found in my last Monday Meal Plan.  I don’t remember the last time I used a recipe to make bulgogi sauce.  I thought this one was a little on the sweet side so I added more soy sauce.  Usually I just kind of wing it.
Speaking of wings, if I start eating meat again I’m going to break out the deep fryer and make bulgogi chicken wings.

Foodblogging: Pescado Encocado and Coborns Delivers

I tried out this pescado encocado recipe last night.  I even did the fancy rice mold thing.  But I was super distracted by an irate, whiny child so I managed to overcook the fish and completely forget about the cilantro (you can see it in the bag in the background by the lime).  But it was good anyway.

After I marinated the fish I couldn’t bear to throw all that lime/orange/garlic goodness out.  So I simmered black beans and corn in it and had that as a side because I wasn’t able to get plantains delivered through our grocery service.
Oh my, doesn’t that just sound fancy — our grocery service.  But seriously, we useCoborns Delivers because it’s amazing and the prices are reasonable and the $5 delivery fee is totally worth not dealing with all the degenerates at the grocery store.
Tangent alert
That reminds me, I have a long overdue story to tell about how amazingly awesome Coborns Delivers is.  It was the weekend of the first big Twin Cities blizzard and I had put in a grocery order on Friday for delivery on Saturday.  We were pretty much down to the bare pantry shelves at this point.  This was during our Great Bad Period of 2010 and was shortly after the Great Refrigerator Fiasco of 2010.  So the blizzard happened and the state of Minnesota pretty much shut down that weekend.  Saturday came and went, and no groceries arrived.  We got an email saying the roads were shut down and Coborns couldn’t do any more that day.  Fair enough.  But Sunday also came and went and no groceries arrived.
I was scraping and scrounging around trying to come up with meals.  We had no eggs, no milk, no bread, very little flour.  Husband had to make the trek out to the store to get the essentials so we didn’t have to resort to plain pasta and freezerburnt whatever from the chest freezer.  So that was more money spent out of our razor thin budget that we really didn’t have.
I posted to the Coborns Delivers Facebook page wondering what the hell was going on with our order.  I sent a disappointed email to their customer service address.  I basically asked why on earth the canceled Saturday orders didn’t take precedence over Sunday’s orders.
Monday arrived and we were going down to visit Husband’s family for one reason or another and I was at home just waiting for Husband and Lily to pick me up.  Our groceries had shown up that day (hooray!) and I had just enough time to put them away.  Husband and called and said he was on the way.  I opened the front door to look for our truck coming down the road and there was a man standing there with two very large gift baskets.  I think I may have said, “Uh, you’re not my husband.”
He introduced himself as the general manager of Coborns Delivers.  He apologized that they somehow had a wrong phone number for us on their end of the system even though it was correct on my end.  They had tried to call at some point but obviously never got through and by the time they realized what the problem was I had already emailed.  So he left us with the large, expensive gift baskets and he stuffed our grocery totes into his small car and went on his merry way.  I was left standing there dumbfounded and in awe of such stunning customer service.
Coborns is employee owned and it shows.  Any time you have to speak to a customer service person it’s like talking to a family member.  The delivery drivers always appear to be in a great mood and are always willing to help you get your groceries into the house.  Our last driver even managed to chip out a pile of totes from beside our garage that I was sure were going to be there until spring.
So that’s why I will gladly pay $5 per delivery.  This has been my completely unsolicited product endorsement of the day.
And by the way, I just noticed that if you’re interested in trying it you can get $20 off your first order of $70+ if I refer you.  And I get a $20 credit — yay!  So leave me a comment with your email if you want.

Foodblogging: Szechuan Eggplant and Tofu

his is a recipe from Moosewood.  It came together really fast.  I’m happy every time I get to take our glorious oldschool steel wok out of the cabinet.

Ooh, I used a full-spectrum lamp to photograph this one.  Marvel at my rice grains.

The verdict: it was all right.  I think I would make some changes next time even if it would mean more fiddling and more cooking time.  I would fry the tofu for a bit to get some texture on it.  I wouldn’t cook the eggplant quite so long.  It’s a fine line between mushy and tender and I crossed it.  I’d like to see some more color in there too.  Red bell pepper would be a very welcome addition.  Maybe a whole szechuan pepper thrown in there for flavor too.  The 3 tablespoons of cornstarch was a bit of overkill too, and let to a slightly pasty mouthfeel and dulled the flavor.  Vegetable broth instead of water would bring a lot more to the party.  The cilantro was key to the whole thing though.  Without it this dish would be a total flop.

It’s always strange when the garnish carries a whole meal.

I’m eating it for lunch so we’ll see how it holds up on the second day.