Emporiyum + Happy Friday

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Last weekend I went to the Emporiyum in DC. It was an event that featured a sort of food market with purveyors from all over the country. Held in the Maurice Electrical Warehouse just down the block from one of my favorite places in DC, Union Market, ticket holders filed into the warehouse and walked around to each vendor’s table, tasting samples as they followed the line of tables. You could also buy any of the items you sampled and also buy dishes from any of the restaurants featured there. There was ramen from Toki Underground, chocolate bars from the Mast Brothers, and past from Sfoglini. After a while the crowds were a bit overwhelming so we headed to Union Market to get some Rappahannock Oysters and pork buns from a Toki Underground pop up.

I’m excited to see what they do for the next Emporiyum scheduled for April 2015 but I hope they do something about crowd control!

Here are some links from around the web:

The New York Times posted an article on my favorite neighborhood in Richmond, Virginia- Church Hill.

Amanda McClements, the owner of Salt and Sundry, a lovely shop selling home goods and food finds in Union Market (and now 14th Street) posted a list of holiday and hostess gifts on the Etsy blog.

I love this video featuring Molly Yeh out on her farm in the Midwest making lefse with her fiancé’s family. Don’t know what lefse is? I didn’t either but I learned a lot from this video.

Laura over at Blogging Over Thyme is celebrating brussels sprouts this week. I looove crispy greens and these fried brussels sprout leaves with lemon and chili flakes looked amazing.

Miso Brown Butter Grits

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When I attended Fire, Flour and Fork a few weekends ago, I discovered many new food products in their tasting tent. One of my favorite things in that tent was grits from Woodson’s Mill. These are not your instant grits sold in packets in the grocery store. These are stone-ground grits made from the best local corn they can find. Based in Lowesville, Virginia, Woodson’s Mill is a historic business, a working mill since 1794! Their grits are minimally processed and all natural with no preservatives (you have to keep them in the fridge or freezer to keep them fresh longer). They’re freshly ground and you can tell when you taste them. They cook up in 15 minutes and are the creamiest, tastiest, corniest grits I’ve ever had.  I was so surprised when they said they added just a touch of butter and cheese to the giant crockpot of grits they were serving us out of. They were so flavorful without any special add ins.

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I bought a bag of their grits right then and there and have been eating them for breakfast with a just a smudge of butter, salt and pepper. If you’d like to try Woodson’s grits out you can visit their site and order them or look up their list of retailers that carry their products.Recently though I thought of how I could dress them up a little in a unique way. I thought of miso and brown butter. When I first tasted them together I said, “whoa” out loud in my kitchen. The flavor is amazing- nutty, caramelized and addictive. It’s like savory caramel, if that makes any sense at all.

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This recipe is just for one serving but you can easily double it or triple it to make a big pot for a crowd. For a large single serving I used a half cup of dry grits which made a little less than two cups of cooked grits. The miso brown butter is just a tablespoon of butter cooked until brown and nutty with white miso whisked in. Topped with freshly ground black pepper and chives it’s a simple but flavorful dish.

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Miso Brown Butter Grits
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups of water
  • large pinch of salt
  • ½ cup of grits
  • 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon of white miso
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of minced chives
Instructions
  1. Bring water and salt to a boil. Whisk in the grits and lower the temperature to a low simmer and cover. Stir frequently and cook at a low simmer for about 15 minutes until fully cooked or cook according to package instructions.
  2. While the grits are simmering, melt butter in a small saucepan or butter warmer over medium heat, swirling constantly until you seen brown bits at the bottom of the pan, about three or four minutes. Be careful not to let it burn!
  3. Take the butter off the heat and whisk in miso paste until well combined.
  4. Pour grits into a bowl, top with miso brown butter, a few grinds of black pepper and minced chives. Stir and enjoy.

 

Kimchi Fried Cauliflower Rice

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A few weeks ago I tried cauliflower fried rice for the first time. I was a bit skeptical at first; cauliflower is no real substitute for rice. I grew up on rice, eating it often in my Korean home with a stew, vegetable sides and kimchi- always kimchi.  And while this certainly isn’t comparable to actual rice, it is a nice stand alone dish featuring cauliflower. In Korea we throw some cold, leftover rice into a pan with some oil, old kimchi, chili paste and either scramble an egg into it or put an egg on top. It’s a fast and easy way to use up leftovers. I decided to merge these two ideas together to make a Korean variation on a trendy dish.

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Fire, Flour and Fork 2014

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Last weekend I traveled south to Richmond, Virginia to participate in Fire, Flour and Fork. I had a unique opportunity to attend as a Virginia Blogger and at the last minute I got a media pass so that I could attend Friday as well as Saturday. This meant I could attend twice as many culinary and cultural sessions than I had planned. I saw a demonstration on how to make Crack Pie by Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar, David Guas made us crawfish gravy and biscuits from his restaurant Bayou Bakery (which is right near where I live) and a chiffon cake made with corn and rice flour by Alice Medrich was whipped up in front of us. Not only did we get to listen and watch them cook but we also got to taste what they made.

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Pumpkin Soup with Black Sesame Seeds

Pumpkin and Black Sesame Soup-9

When I first envisioned this soup it had black sesame paste perfectly swirled on the surface, festive and perfectly dressed for Halloween. Of course once you start cooking and putting ingredients together in a pot things don’t always go as you imagined. Sesame paste is a thick, unwieldy thing. Numerous attempts to dilute it with water, oil and coconut milk lead to a milky gray goop- a very unappetizing looking mixture that still tasted and smelled great. Regardless, I think this soup turned out well and I am satisfied instead with the intensely dark speckles of sesame throughout the dish.

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Squid Jerky and Gochujang Sauce

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Okay, I know the title of this post will really terrify a lot of people in the US. Squid jerky? I must have lost it right? But please, give squid jerky  with gochujang sauce a chance! Also, I thought the subject of this post would be ‘spooky’ enough to qualify as a Halloween post. I mean, look at the photos below. Creepy, shriveled up body trailed by tentacles with suckers on them.

I’m not doing a good job of selling this snack to you, am I?

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Tomatillo and Avocado Salsa

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Last weekend I stopped by my parents’ house and took a quick walk through their garden. Despite it being cold and rainy, the herbs were still green and I spotted a few tomatoes still on the vine. I was suddenly reminded that my dad had asked me to pick all the tomatillos that had ripened, heavy in their husks, the plants bowing towards the ground. There were about a dozen in varying sizes, still bright green in the gray and wet day. It was funny they were growing in our North American/Korean hybrid garden since no one in my family recognized what they even were.

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Apple and Cheddar Grilled Cheese

Apple and Cheddar Grilled Cheese-5

I’m sure this is true of any area of the country that grows apples, but I feel like apple picking is an annual ritual here in Virginia that officially marks the end of warm weather. It confirms that we are in the middle of autumn and the quick slide into winter has already begun. When I was a kid, we went apple picking every year. My mom would prepare a picnic the night before, and we’d wake up early the next day and drive west towards the Blue Ridge Mountains. We’d stop at a Cracker Barrel on the way to fuel ourselves for some apple picking and it was really exciting because it was only once a year, like Christmas. We would end up at some orchard my dad read about the in the Washington Post and pick apples. I’m pretty sure I’d get bored of this after about ten minutes but it was okay because there was always warm apple cider. We’d pick enough to fill a few brown paper grocery bags and we’d hit the road again. Next, we would cruise on Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park and take in the changing leaves.

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Fish Shaped Pumpkin Spice Bread

Fish Shaped Pumpkin Spice Bread

Whenever the weather cools and fall is no longer punctuated by unseasonably hot days I think about my favorite Korean street snack, bungeobbang (also spelled bungeoppang). These are sweet, fish shaped treats that are made by street vendors that are reminiscent of waffles filled with sweet red bean paste. My first fall in Seoul, I’d get off the bus going home from the elementary school I taught at and before I crossed the road to get to my apartment building, I’d stop by the street stand on the corner selling these sweet treats. For 1,000 won ($1) I’d get three fish in a paper bag and I’d start munching on them before the crosswalk light changed. They’re best when hot and fresh off the iron since they start getting soggy quickly. A crispy, golden exterior encases a molten hot sweet filling that peeks through the crust.

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Homemade Goat’s Milk Ricotta Cheese

Goat's Milk Ricotta | Ginger and Toasted Sesame

I am crazy about goat cheese. Any type of cheese made from goat’s milk is bound to make a meal complete in my mind. To be honest, some days I come home from work exhausted and all I can muster up the energy for is a cheese snack for dinner. Cheese and crackers- is there anything so basic and satisfying? Give me a side of cornichons and/or olives, too, please. Sometimes I lazily attempt to add some green in there with a sprinkling of herbs or arugula. These days I’m topping it with the last of my CSA tomatoes. 90% of the time the cheese of choice is goat cheese: chevre, gouda, cheddar, even goat’s milk brie! Let’s just say the cheese section of Trader Joe’s is my happy place.

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