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Jjim-Dak: Korean Vegetable Chicken Stew Whether it’s a pot-au-feu from France, a goulash from Hungary, or a moqueca from Brazil, stews from around the world warm the tummy and soothe the soul. From a cookbook that contains recipes from the best Korean restaurants in Los Angeles, comes this easy to make Korean stew. This fiery and fragrant stew will definitely spice up your stew repertoire!

Jjim-Dak – Korean Vegetable Chicken Stew
Discovering Korean Cuisine, edited by Allisa Park

INGREDIENTS
1½ pounds chicken, cleaned and chopped into 2-inch pieces
1 potato, cut into 1-inch slices crosswise
3½ cups water
5 scallions, halved lengthwise and then cut into 4-inch pieces
1/2 large onion, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
1/4 carrot, peeled and cut diagonally into 1/4-inch pieces
1 jalapeño chile, cut into 1/4-inch rounds
1/4 red bell pepper, seeded, cut into 1/4-inch strips
5  leaves spinach, cut into 2-inch pieces
3 ounces Korean sweet potato vermicelli (dang myun), soaked in warm water for 1 hour
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon red pepper powder
1 tablespoon Korean hot pepper paste (gochujang)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon mirin
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1/4 pack enoki mushrooms, roots trimmed
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

DIRECTIONS
1. Soak sweet potato vermicelli in warm water.

2. In a large pot (or wok), combine chicken, potato, water, minced garlic, soy sauce, red pepper powder, hot pepper paste, sugar and mirin.

3. Boil over high heat for about 20 minutes with the lid on (or until chicken is fully cooked).

4. Remove the lid and add corn syrup, scallions, onion, carrot, jalapeño chile, and red bell pepper. Quickly mix together and continue cooking for another 5 minutes.

5. Add spinach and prepared sweet potato vermicelli on top and put the lid on (do not mix in). Heat for an additional 2 minutes and then remove from heat.

6. Open the lid and gently mix, then transfer to a serving plate.

7. Put the enoki mushrooms on top and sprinkle on sesame seeds to garnish.

Serving size: 2

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. Korean Ingredients Sweet potato vermicelli and the Korean hot pepper paste (gochujang) can be purchased at most Asian markets or ordered online. Here’s a link to a listing of online stores that carry Korean ingredients.

2. Because it didn’t make sense to use just a quarter of a carrot and because I like a lot of vegetables in my stews, I used a whole carrot.

3. I had baby spinach leaves on hand, so I didn’t need to cut them into 2-inch pieces. I used a large handful.

4. In step 3 of the directions, I turned the temperature down to medium, because it had reached a rapid boil. I wanted more time for the flavors to mingle and I didn’t want to overcook the chicken.

5. Not having authentic Korean red pepper powder, I substituted ground red pepper (cayenne pepper). 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper seemed like a lot of heat to me (along with the jalapeño chile and the Korean hot pepper paste), so I cut it back to 1/2 tablespoon. The recipe still had quite a bit of kick. I’m not sure what the heat difference or flavor difference is between cayenne pepper and Korean red pepper powder, but I’ll try it with the authentic red pepper powder the next time I make it. I’d also recommend adding any heat element to taste.

6. I researched enoki mushrooms and found differing opinions on their preparation. Mushroom growers said to just cut off the root end, but some online “experts” said to run it under water and then cut off the root end. The Korean cookbook said, “Sold in plastic bag. Chop off the roots without removing the bag and discard,” so I ultimately followed the cookbook’s instructions.

7. I buy pre-toasted sesame seeds that I keep in my freezer. Before using, I quickly re-toast the needed amount. Toasting sesame seeds brings out their flavor. To toast sesame seeds, put them in a small sauté/frying pan over medium to medium-high heat. Stir constantly until they are a light golden brown. Pour them on a plate to cool.

8. Although this dish contains sweet potato noodles, I served it with rice. I wanted the rice to soak up every last bit of the delicious sauce!

ENJOY!

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Thanksgiving has come and gone in a flurry of cooking and activity. My jeans are noticeably resisting the call to stretch an additional half-inch and my refrigerator shelves sag with container after container of leftovers. That’s what a week’s worth of gluttony will do. Now that my folks and my kids are gone, I’m back to simpler and healthier cooking. Last night I made this easy vegetarian minestrone soup – just the thing my body craved. Here’s Todd Wilbur’s, the king of copy cat recipes, version of Olive Garden’s Minestrone Soup.

Minestrone Soup
Ingredients:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup minced white onion (about 1 small onion)
1/2 cup chopped zucchini
1/2 cup frozen cut Italian green beans
1/4 cup minced celery (about 1/2 stalk)
4 teaspoons minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
4 cups vegetable broth (Swanson is good *note: Do not use chicken broth!*)
2 (15 ounce) cans red kidney beans, drained
2 (15 ounce) cans small white beans or 2 (15 ounce) cans great northern beans, drained
1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup carrot, julienned or shredded
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
3 cups hot water
4 cups fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup small shell pasta

Directions:
1. Heat three tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot.
2. Saute onion, celery, garlic, green beans, and zucchini in the oil for 5 minutes or until onions begin to turn translucent.
3. Add vegetable broth to pot, plus drained tomatoes, beans, carrot, hot water, and spices.
4. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
5. Add spinach leaves and pasta and cook for an additional 20 minutes or until desired consistency.
6. Makes about eight 1 1/2 cup servings.

Linnell’s Notes:
1. I used 1 cup of diced zucchini, because I like more vegetables than normally called for and why waste half of a zucchini?
2. The green beans and spinach I put in long enough to cook through, but just before serving. I wanted them to maintain their fresh green color and not become overcooked.
3. I could not find frozen Italian green beans, so I used plain frozen cut green beans.
4. I added 1/3 cup of chopped celery instead of the 1/4 cup called for.
5. I used store bought shredded carrots. I washed them first and cut off an occasional dark end. Again, I added a little more carrots than called for.
6. Because canned broth contains a lot of sodium, I added only 1 teaspoon of salt figuring I could always add more if needed.
7. I also added 1- 8 ounce can of tomato sauce.
8. Although dried herbs are convenient, I used the fresh thyme and oregano growing in my yard.
9. If I were to make this ahead or for company, I would do everything as indicated except for the addition of the zucchini, green beans, spinach, and pasta. To maintain their color and texture, I would add the vegetables about thirty minutes before serving. To prevent the pasta from getting mushy consider precooking it al dente and then tossing it in long enough to get heated through before serving.

Enjoy!

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Full of gratitude. It’s a reoccurring theme on this blog, as well as a meaningful phrase for one of my dear friends. Because I am grateful to have her in my life and because she’s helped me to rekindle my “spark,” I made her this necklace. With less than one week before Thanksgiving, let’s all make the time to stop what we are doing – planning menus, working, cleaning house, chauffeuring kids, etc. – to reflect on the many things we are grateful for and to show gratitude to everyone in our lives.

#1 – Say Thanks!
Although Thanksgiving is celebrated in the United States and Canada as a harvest festival, the island of Grenada and the city of Leiden in the Netherlands also celebrate a Thanksgiving Day. But why only say thanks once a year? Here are a few different ways to say thanks or thank you in other languages. You never know when this knowledge might come in handy – maybe even the next time you go out to eat!! Click here to see the entire list.

Chinese (Mandarin) – Xie_Xie (shieh shieh)
Chinese (Cantonese) Do jeh (tou yeh) (formal: thanks)
Czech – Dekuji (deh’-ku-yih)
French – merci (mehr-see’)
German – Danke (dahn’-kuh)
Greek – Efharisto (ef-har-ris-tou’)
Hawaiian – Mahalo
Italian – Grazie (grahts’-yeh)
Japanese – Arigato (ah-ree-gah’-toh)
Korean – Kamsa hamaida (kam’-sah hum-nee-dah’ )
Malaysian – Terima Kasih (“Tay ree ma Kaa seh”)
Polish – Dziekuje (dsyehn-koo-yeh)
Russian – Spasiba (spah-see’-boh)
Spanish – Gracias (grah’-syas)
Swedish – Tack (tahkk)
Tahitian – Maururu

#2 – Paper Art
When I create my cards, I enjoy cutting and manipulating pieces of paper, but here is a series of photos that takes paper art to a whole other level!

#3 – Spells
It’s November and everyone is as excited as can be! Not for Thanksgiving necessarily, but for the release of the new Harry Potter film. You’ll be grateful that you know the difference between the Alohomora spell and the Finite Incantatem spell. Brush up on your knowledge with Wikipedia’s Harry Potter Spells before you see the movie!

#4 -What Money Cannot Buy
The Norwegian writer Arne Garborg once wrote this:
It is said that for money you can have everything, but you cannot. You can buy food, but not appetite; medicine, but not health; knowledge, but not wisdom; glitter, but not beauty; fun, but not joy; acquaintances, but not friends; servants, but not faithfulness; leisure, but not peace. You can have the husk of everything, but not the kernel.

Being grateful means being appreciative – for the what, why, where, and who’s we have in life. We’ve all heard that money cannot buy happiness, but that trend of thought does not stop there. To be inspired by others check out this Marc and Angel Hack Life blog post or check out this site which allows people to post their thoughts on what money can’t buy.

#5 – Gratitude
“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” — William Arthur Ward

Be grateful you have a weekend to enjoy!


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