Holy schmoly today was a nice day! The weather was gorgeous, with absolutely clear skies and mild temperatures, I sat in a cab on the way to my boss's house with a bag full of groceries and enjoyed the beautiful colours on the trees and the hazy looking mountains in the the distance. I once again had the unbelievable sense of being reminded that I was in Korea, which is silly, since I've been overseas almost 4 years now. Yet I keep having that feeling, "Yo, check it out, you're far away from home."
I arrived at Karen's house and we set about cooking class. There were some fairly major screw-ups, namely that I forgot the printed out recipes for 3 of the dishes at home (the 4th, chicken cordon blue - my mom's best, is committed to memory.) No matter, I know how to make all the stuff. First up, we made shepherd's pie. The pie was a bit bland for my liking, and Karen had bought beef cream soup mix, instead of beef broth ~ so it was interesting. Good, though. Karen and I both agreed it would be better with some more spice. As it was, it was heavy on the veg (carrots, onions, and corn) and light on the meat. I had bought the biggest package of Australian ground beef available, for 6,000 won, and it was not very much at all. Next was a spinach quiche with a rice crust. It turned perfect looking. The mishap here was I forgot to include garlic in the spinach and onion sautee, but oh well. Karen liked the 'nurungji' (toasted rice) aspect of the quiche, but isn't a big fan of spinach I found out.
With the first 2 dishes complete, we sat down to lunch, and sampled them along with Karen's mom's excellent kimchi and slices of tofu, a crispy spicy Korean seasoned salad of cucumbers, onions, and carrots, and doenjang jjigae (bean paste stew.) Yummilicious!
*borrowed from the 'net.' Karen's looked much more delicious than this, all salty and hot, did you know it's even better when made from the pasty water you get when washing rice?
After some conversation and coffee and the sun setting, we started in on the last 2 dishes. I forgot the cream in my fridge for the chicken cordon blue, and we used milk instead, but it didn't work out very well. The dish really does need cream. The chicken was good (though Karen didn't like the swiss cheese) but the sauce wasn't thick enough and had a few globs of gelatinous undisolved corn starch. Ick. I intend to make it proper, like, in the next week or two and give it to Karen to show her what it should taste like. The baked cod with broccoli was nice and simple and tasty. It, too, could have used more seasoning. Using a can of soup to cook is a bit - something - but tasty and convenient nonetheless. I wonder if the fact that all these Western dishes tasted just a bit bland is a testament to all the spicy Korean food I usually eat, or just that my sense of taste is off because I've got a bit of a cold.
While preparing the chicken we realized Karen didn't have a wine opener, so I jammed the cork inward with a screwdriver. So after adding the appropriate amount to the dish, we had to drink up the wine. We finished the bottle and I started drinking some cold beer as we sampled the two completed dishes. Karen's pretty sister showed up and ate a plate with a bit of everything, and seemed to really like it!
It really was a fun day, and I continue to realize that my boss is someone I'd be friends with. She's only a month older than I, and is really a great person. We're having the opportunity to get to know each other so much better because her husband has been working in other countries for the past few months. When he's here, she doesn't have time to hang out. He'll be back home for a bit in a couple weeks. I had a dream the other night that he was back, and looked exactly the same, except all his hair had turned white. I don't know what that's supposed to mean.
This post is long enough, so I'm going to save a little story for tomorrow. Or a little later. I ended up drinking about 2 litres of beer and half a bottle of wine, so typing is a pain in the ass right now!
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