The last few weeks it's been all about the rice in the Hastings - Brown home. It started on the Korean New Year when Jeff made tteok guk (Korean rice cake soup with brisket). The rice cakes are more like a noodle that you slice and add to the soup just prior to serving. The soup is made with a beef brisket and is very spicy with just the right amount of heat. So tasty that we didn't get any photographs. You can find the recipe here. We didn't have any dashida, so Jeff substituted a little kimchi. Kimchi has become a staple in this house. Our three favorites are the typical cabbage kimchi, scallion kimchi, and cucumber kimchi. If you don't like the hot cabbage type, you should give the cucumber a try. It's an excellent balance of heat with the cool cucumber.
Next on the "must make" list was onigiri, Japanese rice balls. These are made with a short grain rice and the fillings can vary. Hitomi Shibata provided me with the basic recipe for this version. She had made onigiri for an event at STARworks Ceramics, and they were fabulous. These were filled with age (fried tofu), lotus root, and carrots. They are served at room temperature and you can pick them up and eat them with your hands. Mine were not as pretty as Hitomi's, I need a little more practice! Next time I am going to try filling them with a little salmon.
Last night we moved on to Italian cuisine. Since I had a bag of short grain rice left from the onigiri (we usually only have jasmine) I decided it was time to make risotto. I love it and had never made it before. The box kind doesn't count and doesn't taste like the real deal. For one thing it is usually too salty. I followed a recipe that I found online. I pretty much stuck to it and it was perfect. It went great with the $2.98 bargain steak that I found at Food Lion on Friday. They had a whole bunch of beef marked down. I imagine it was because of the storm. They were cleaned out of dairy products and bread but I guess the meat wasn't purchased and they wanted to get rid of it quickly. It was one of the best steaks we have had in awhile and Jeff grilled it to perfection (hurray for good weather!).
Now you have read all about my rice obsession, along with talk of tofu and beef. I wouldn't want pork to feel left out...
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