I mentioned in my last post that I will be visiting my boss's home to do a little cooking. Eva, my Blogging By Mail partner in Belgium, sent me a mix to make some Swedish bread. I don't have an oven to cook said bread, but my boss does, so the plan is to go over to her apartment tomorrow. Unfortunately, I forgot the mix, yeast, and ingredients at school tonight when I left, so there will be no bread baked in my boss's oven. I will still visit though.
My boss, Karen, has asked me to teach her how to make some Western dishes. This has been a long-time planned thing that has never come to fruition until now. I was going to have the co-workers over to my apartment for a little cooking and a meal, but really, that's silly, as I have almost no counter-space to work with, no oven, and not enough dishes to feed everyone on.* Oh, and an anti-social cat. Few Koreans like cats, and my co-workers actually quite hate them.
Anyhow, Karen, in our lesson last week, broached the subject of my teaching her a few meals and I said I was happy to!
I really do love cooking, and the thought of using an actual oven to prepare some dishes I haven't been able to cook in the whole time I've been in Asia seems to cool! There is added pressure, though, in that I'd like it if Karen enjoyed the meals we're going to prepare. So I put some thought and research into choosing some "North American" meals to make. I am limited by the ingredients available in Korea, and also the fact that Karen wants to learn some "quick and easy to prepare" dishes.
So tomorrow we will make 4 things. I wrote out two grocery lists, one that she will have to acquire at her local grocers, and another that I had to venture downtown to get at the larger supermarkets that have a smattering of foreign (and expensive!) items.
Her list included: onions, potatoes, carrots, celery, spinach, broccoli, corn, bread crumbs, salt and pepper, beef broth mix, ham, eggs, milk, white wine, and rice.
Mine included cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese (crap-in-a-can,) Swiss cheese, chicken broth, cream, chicken breasts, ground hamburger and a little ground pork, Campbells cream of broccoli soup, frozen cod fillets, lemons, and nutmeg.
I was surprised to find nutmeg. I was unsuccessful in finding paprika, and learned that having a conversation about finding paprika is doubly confusing because Koreans call bell peppers paprika(s).
Tomorrow, we shall endeavour to create chicken cordon bleu (Karen requested my mom's best recipe, so I'm obliging. My mom's is different, because it's not breaded which makes it, in my opinion, tres more deelish; the sauce in itself is drinkable it's so good) shepherd's pie, spinach quiche with a rice crust, and baked cod with broccoli in soup (a la Campbell's Soup Site.)
It's not gourmet. But it's quick and easy and yummy, which was Karen's request. Actually, maybe for those of you living in Korea, you might want to visit that website to get some quick fixes about changing up your supper repetoire. If you have an oven, great, but even if you don't, there are some interesting skillet suggestions you can try with soup you can find at the larger supermarkets. By the way, can one FIND pork chops here? There are loads of pork products, most sliced right for the sangyepsal style grilling. I don't think I've ever seen a proper thick pork chop. Have you?
Anyhow, I hope the day goes well. I'll let you know. Doubly daunting is the fact that Karen wanted to test out these recipes before her husband, who has been away in Indonesia and Thailand for 3 months, returns next week. She wants to surprise him by "preparing something delicious and unusual," but I have a feeling that he will, like a good Korean man, have a hankering for good Korean cooking once he returns, and will think my (via Karen's) cooking is shite.
I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow and also tell you a side story related to this endeavor!
*Dishes don't seem to be a real barrier to enjoying food. Tonight I halted my last class 15 minutes early so we could all share in a large cake bought by Karen to celebrate Elizabeth's 3rd year anniversary with my school. Elizabeth blew out her 3 candles and cut up the cake into wedges. Then we stuffed the fat pieces into little dixie cups and ate them with chopsticks!