Monday, September 15, 2014

recipe tryouts: korean pajeon

I've been thinking of making an instagram account for random photos of food I take. I guess that's the thing to do? But mostly I want a place to collate the random photos of food I take on a weekly basis but never get around to making blog posts about (or simply choose not to post because of not having anything interesting to say about them). So, I might do that!

But here's another recipe tryout in the meantime.

>> Korean pajeon

I watch a lot of cooking-related channels on YouTube, and most of them aren't in any way paleo/primal or low carb. But they do have delicious-looking visuals, and sometimes they inspire me to try primal versions of their recipes. Also they're just entertaining (Cooking With Dog is the best). One recipe I've long admired from afar that I've never tried is that of Korean pajeon. Pajeon is a pretty simple green onion pancake recipe and it looks utterly delicious (I LOVE any and all onions).

There are a couple videos I used as inspiration, the first from Eat Your Kimchi:

This recipe was the first time I'd seen it, and I think it's notable for the inclusion of the egg.

But I mostly took direction from this recipe (which is essentially the same recipe, but using a slightly different technique):

(Skip to about 1:50 to get to the cooking part.) I thought her method was more interesting, as she basically fried up the onions in the oil for a minute or so before pouring on the batter. That was the method I decided to go with.

As for the batter, both recipes call for 1/2 cup flour and water. My alteration (well, more like completely fundamental change) was to use a batter of 2 beaten eggs plus a couple tablespoons of almond flour (plus the salt). It did end up a bit more eggy in texture (though it didn't actually taste very eggy) than pancakey this way, and I might alter the recipe in the future. Perhaps 1 egg, almond flour, and some water? 

But despite its slightly less traditional texture, the pajeon came out amazing. 

onion punch in the face!

In the true spirit of impulse cooking and lack of preparation, I didn't have the right kind of green onions on hand. Though from what I can glean, it really doesn't matter. What's inside are a mix of leeks which I sliced up real thin, and Mexican green onions (without the bulbs). I chopped up a chili pepper for the top because I love spiciness, and on the side I threw together a quick ginger soy sauce and wasabi for dipping and OMG. Chris was speechless, I was speechless. These things are truly as delicious as I always suspected. 

I still want to try to tweak the batter into something a bit crispier but even if I don't, think is amazing the way it is. And is a super cheap snack to make. It would also be a good breakfast as long as you don't have any important meetings that day. (Onion breath like whaaaat.)

Friday, September 5, 2014

recipe tryouts: mustard chicken & crunchy green beans

Oops, it's been a long time since I made a post.

The past month+ has been the peak of summer, and when it's about 800 million degrees outside every day spending a lot of time in the kitchen isn't too appealing. But recently I've been getting back on the horse.

I've discovered I get bored pretty quickly doing the same things over and over. So I am constantly looking up new recipes for inspiration. It's amazing how often my food comes out nothing like the photos and descriptions from the various blog posts I pull the recipes from. I've learned that there is great wisdom to be had in reading all of the comments on a recipe post before attempting to do a recipe myself. In any case, trying out other people's recipes can be a crapshoot in my opinion. So I think I'm going to try a new thing where I blog once a month with my experience with a recipe or two. Because maybe that will force me to update more, haha.

This week's recipe(s):

>> The Pioneer Woman - chicken with mustard cream sauce

I had some chicken breast chilling in the fridge, and my usual answer to dealing with chicken breast is just to throw some spices on it and throw it in the oven. And then eat it. Fine, but super boring. So after forty-five minutes of searching through Googled results for "paleo chicken breast recipe", I came across this one. It's not from a paleo source, but there's nothing terribly offensive in the ingredients and I changed up a couple anyway. But it sounded so delicious (mmm, mustard) that I had to give it a go.

My chicken breasts were apparently extraordinarily huge. I cut one in half and cooked them up, and they were still super thick. They looked like two regular sized chicken breasts in the end. DISAPPOINTED. I really wanted the thin chicken like in the picture. So the second breast I cut into three pieces, and that worked better. Frying up the chicken was surprisingly easy. Except for all the hot grease spitting in my face. That was less fun. No reward without risk though.

I made some modifications to the sauce - namely, I omitted the alcohol (mostly I just didn't have anything suitable), instead of heavy whipping cream I used sour cream (because that's what was in the fridge), and instead of chicken broth (which I didn't have) I just used some water and threw in some vaguely chicken broth-appropriate herbs like thyme and sage. (I'm sure it's not obvious at all I looked for a recipe immediately before cooking dinner. Planning ahead? What's that?)

The sauce came out looking different, and was thicker thanks to the sour cream, but I liked that actually. Overall, the flavor was amazing. I love mustard! (Did I mention that already?) And the thin fried chicken was super moist and delicious. I think I've definitely found my new go-to way to cooking up chicken breast.

Verdict: A+++ would make again

>> random forum thread - Crunchy Green Beans

I wanted crunchy green beans. What I had was a bag of frozen green beans. After some googling, I arrived at this recipe. Seemed easy enough. I just defrosted the frozen green beans a bit first, then followed the instructions, my only change being I tossed them with coconut oil.

It went.. okay. A few of them got a bit blackened and I just left those stuck to the foil. The rest were a mix of somewhat crunchy and just kinda-dry. The texture was fine, it was mostly the flavor that was less than awesome. They all ended up with a slight bitter taste to them. I'm not sure if it was the green beans or the parmesan cheese that was contributing to the bitterness. In either case, it was just a meh result.

Fresh green beans would probably work better for this.

Verdict: C, might attempt it again when enough time has passed and I convince myself I can do it better

my finished products. plus salad. because salad.