Squid Jerky and Gochujang Sauce

Dried Squid and Gochujang Sauce-11

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

Tomatillo and Avocado Salsa-5

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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Buckwheat Crêpes with Mushrooms, Brie and Thyme

Buckwheat Crêpes with Mushrooms, Brie and Thyme | Ginger & Toasted Sesame

In the past few days the weather has cooled considerably and I’ve need a light jacket in the mornings and evenings when outside. Fall has arrived! Despite having an unseasonably cool summer here in the DC area I’ve eagerly anticipated the first signs of fall. Fall is my favorite season both here and in Korea. Cooler weather, a more relaxed pace of life, my favorite dishes and the leaves changing are all reasons I love fall. In Korea it was a short sigh of relief after the long and stifling monsoon season filled with unbearable humidity and unrelenting rain and a gentle period before the long winter with cutting Siberian gusts coming off the Han River.

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Fresh Tomato and Goat Cheese Mousse Tart + Goodbye Nabi

Fresh Tomato and Goat Cheese Mousse Tart | Ginger & Toasted Sesame

The scorching hot weather of the past week seems to be the last gasp of summer. With it came what I expect to be some of the last tomatoes that will come in my weekly CSA. The tomatoes this season have been truly gorgeous and I think that having invested a share in a farm and seeing the progression week to week has really made me appreciate the seasonality of fruits and vegetables. Every time I make a meal of this produce I think of where it came from, Waterpenny Farm in Rappahannock County, Virginia and all the work and care the farmers took to bring this to my table. It makes me feel grateful and humbled.

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Fire, Flour & Fork – A Gathering For the Food Curious

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Although I do not live in Richmond, VA any more I try to keep myself updated on the restaurant scene there as much as possible through the recommendations of friends, blog posts and Twitter. Through Twitter I found out about a new event to be held in Richmond during the first weekend of November called Fire, Flour & Fork. This event is held over four days and features highly curated dining and culinary events from meals prepared by celebrated chefs from the Richmond region to viewings of films, demonstrations of cooking techniques and the presentation of food products and ingredients. Its mission is not only to educate and inform attendees of all that the Richmond region has to offer in terms of food, but also to raise money for the many non-profit organizations that serve the Richmond community. Each ticketed lunch or dinner has a non-profit beneficiary so are you able to sample the cuisine of central Virginia and also help raise funds for some great causes.

I’m excited to spend this food-filled weekend in Richmond checking out some interesting events, especially on Saturday, November 1st which is slated to have the most attendees. There are four time slots and several sessions to choose from covering a wide range of topics. It took a lot of time to decide which four events I will attend and I went back and forth for a while, asking a few friends which events they’d attend. I’m confident that no matter what events you choose to attend you’ll walk away having learned a lot and with a greater appreciation for the craft of producing great food and drinks.

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Korean Style Skirt Steak + First Blogiversary

Korean Style Skirt Steak-15

Today marks the first anniversary of the start of Ginger and Toasted Sesame. My very first post was published on August 11, 2013. It seems that this past year has flown by so quickly and it’s difficult to remember the place I was in last year. I had moved back home after living in Seoul, Korea for five years and I was dealing with reverse culture shock, a painful and prolonged break up, unemployment and a general sense of feeling utterly lost and directionless.

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