Kimchi and Rice

My dad has always wanted a clothes line in our backyard. He is in love with the romantic image of white sheets ruffling in the summer breeze and going to sleep in a bed that smells like fresh air. However, my mom mom requires that this hypothetical clothes line not look “tacky.” Just the other day, Dad finally found one that looks beautiful.
When I moved into my first apartment, there was a clothes line available. It had its pros and cons (pro: don’t have to pay for drying at the laundromat, con: doesn’t work as well when the temperature is below freezing). But no matter the inconveniences, that fresh-air smell kept me coming back for more. So twice a month, I would take a basket of laundry one block over, along with 45 minutes worth of homework. But my attention never stayed on my work. Waiting for the spin cycle to finish, hunger would start to creep on. And this was a pretty sneaky business model. The laundromat was owned by a lovely Korean woman who sold the most delicious kimchi. (For those who have never been so lucky to try this, kimchi is fermented vegetables, specifically cabbage. It’s amazing.) $4 for the kimchi and $3 for 2 washed loads.

Once my chores were over, I would sit at the kitchen table, looking out on my drying sheets, eating a bowl of kimchi and rice. Eat your heart out, Dad. Continue reading

Maidrite

There is a ritual in my house that happened quite on accident and requires someone—me—to initiate it. Like clockwork, every other week I’ll go to the frige and realize that it needs some cleaning out. That rice from four days ago? The left over taco from lunch at your favorite restaurant? The six half-empty jars of dill pickle spears? Does anyone else in the house notice these things? So I yell for some help and inevitably end up clearing out a good portion of the shelves. Ready to be filled with ever more leftovers. Which I find ironic because most things in our house don’t get eaten once they enter the leftover phase. Things like sandwiches, spaghetti sauce, and anything grilled will sit, dejected, on the top shelf. However, there are exceptions to the rule and this is one of them.

Whenever we make maidrites, there is more than enough to go around. Normally a good third ends up in glass containers, waiting to be reheated. But the miraculous thing is, it actually gets eaten! This is one of those rare dishes that we can get the brothers to eat, which is actually too bad because I would be fine not sharing.

This recipe is as easy to make as it is difficult to eat. I suggest a spoon to clean the plate of filling that will unavoidably fall out the back of the sandwich. Continue reading

German Apple Pancake

Around this time last year, I joined the local food coop. Every other week, the inevitable feeling of excitement came as I searched through the order list. Suddenly I became far too ambitious.
“Why of course I want ten pounds of onions. How practical!”
“Fifteen pumpkin pie pumkpins? I’ll roast them all in my free time!”
The biggest order I ever made was ¼ bushel of apples. This rounds out to about 40 smallish apples. That’s a lot. I quickly ran out of things to do with them. Apple tart, apple pastry, apple dumplings, not mention apple sauce and apple fritters, apple cider—I was the Johnny Appleseed of my neighborhood.

Thankfully, just as I was getting desperate, I discovered this recipe. It’s quick, easy, and relatively healthy. I’m finally back to the point where I am buying apples, and this is one of my favorite things to do with them. >

Tuna Patties

I must be honest, in my family, this is not a tuna patty recipe. It is salmon. There are two reasons for this discrepancy. First of all, I had tuna in the pantry. Second, salmon patties and I have a long, sordid history together.When I was young, probably 5 or 6, my mother made salmon patties for dinner. Thus far in my life, I had rarely eaten sea food (this happens when you live in the MidWest), and thus didn’t know what to do with the salmon patty. It tasted too… fishy. It pretended to look like a hamburger, but you couldn’t just smother it in ketchup to mask the taste. So I sat at the table, looking at it. And then my window for action arrived. Mom stepped away from the table for a moment; I sprang up, plate in hand, and headed straight for the garbage can. Depositing my food, I carried my plate back to the table and sat down before Mom came back. I was not as sneaky as I thought I was. When my mother returned, it only took moments to see a too quickly emptied plate and an untouched patty on top of the trash. So she proceeded to tell me a story about a little girl who threw away her salmon patty, which was perfectly good, and the terrible guilt this girl had, and how sorry she felt when she saw other people going hungry. I’m not sure that’s how the story actually ended, I just remember freezing once I realized I had been caught. Since then, me and salmon patties haven’t mixed. I gave them another try, just a few months ago, but their taste, as delicious as it might be, has been ruined.
So tuna it is. Continue reading

Puppy Chow

It rained the other day. I mean, it really rained. Sheets of water came down for hours, and giant puddles formed in the streets. I love a good rainstorm, lighting and all. It makes me think of home and comfort. Rain (in my family) means sitting on the front porch with a bowl of popcorn on your lap, wrapped up in a blanket, with a wet dog continually bumping the rocking chair.

Alas, these past few days I’ve had a pretty aggressive sore throat, so the last thing I wanted was to get a popcorn hull lodged in my esophagus. I needed to make myself a snack for the rain-watching.

Everyone in my family loves puppy chow. You’d have to be crazy not to. Whenever there is a family gathering–graduation, birthday, holiday, vacation–there will be puppy chow. I wouldn’t be surprised if my cousin someday replaces his birthday cake with this sweet. Although, the candles might not work quite as well.

What surprises me most is that puppy chow hasn’t permeated the east coast quite yet. A few of my friends had never heard of it until I made it one day. Someone else tried to eat it as cereal and poured milk on top, resulting in the sweetest breakfast cereal that boy had ever tasted. That concoction might actually taste good, but I’m not sure if I’m up for a breakfast that sweet. I’ll take it plain, and it will be gone in under an hour. Continue reading