Friday, August 10, 2012

West Plattsburgh becomes KOREA TOWN! remember when I made that kimchi awhile back, and I wondered what I was going to do with it all? As luck would have it, Michelle Guenard (of Michelle's Spicy Kimchi) taught a "Cooking a Kimchi" class this week sponsored by Burlington's City Market and held in the North End at the Sustainability Academy (an elementary school cafeteria...tee hee). So I convinced my friends, Janice and Domenica, to go with me, and we had a DELICIOUS time!

Michelle started with the world's easiest dip: a block of softened cream cheese and a half cup of kimchi, whizzed up in the food processor. That was all there was to it, and it was so tasty! But then I had an idea of what to do with the dip: fill the cavities of baby sweet peppers with it, top with a piece of bacon, and roast in the oven until the bacon is crisp and the peppers are tender. (I tried this out at home, and it was truly scrumptious! See picture here.)

Next, Michelle made some simple--but simply awesome--kimchi fried rice. She started with one cup kimchi cooked for about three minutes, then added about a tablespoon of Korean hot pepper paste (you'll have to hit up the Asian grocery store for this as I did, or substitute any sriracha/sambal oelek/chili garlic sauce/harissa you have on hand) and two cups leftover cooked rice (white or brown). Cook this, stirring most of the time, until hot. Drizzle with sesame oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds and sliced scallions as garnishes. (When I make this, I'll be adding a scrambled egg, too.)

The third dish was my favorite: Bulgogi and Kimchi Lettuce Wraps or (if you use tortillas) Korean Tacos with Easy Dipping Sauce.

The Korean beef (bulgogi) is made with a pound of beef thinly sliced (Michelle prefers chuck) marinated for at least two hours in a couple of tablespoons of soy sauce, three tablespoons of water, a tablespoon each of brown sugar, honey, sesame oil, and toasted sesame seeds, two chopped green onions, four cloves of minced garlic, and a half teaspoon of black pepper. You can grill, broil, or pan fry the meat, then sprinkle with more sesame seeds and green onions for garnish.

Serve the bulgogi with the kimchi fried rice (above) or make lettuce wraps or Korean tacos with the bulgogi, steamed rice, kimchi, and a spoonful of an easy dipping sauce that Michelle makes with a cup of honey, a quarter cup of white vinegar, and sambal oelek to taste. (I tried this at home and preferred it with the honey cut down by half, adding a couple tablespoons of soy sauce, and a big tablespoon of minced garlic.) Here were the Korean tacos that I made tonight at home that my roommate pronounced STUPID GOOD:

Another dish Michelle made with the bulgogi was a quesadilla: a tortilla spread with kimchi dip, topped with bulgogi and a little extra kimchi, and then browned on the griddle. Looks messy, tastes YUMMY!

The last dish was one commonly eaten in Korea, a kimchi stew. You start off by heating two tablespoons of sesame oil in a large pot then add a pound of diced bacon and a little salt and pepper. When the bacon is crisp, drain off some of the fat, and add one chopped onion to the pot along with three cups of kimchi. Pour in enough water to cover, about five or six cups, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the onions and kimchi are soft and the stew has thickened, about 20 minutes.

Stir in one package of tofu (diced), a tablespoon of fish sauce, and three sliced scallions. Thin with water if necessary to reach desired consistency. Cover the pot and simmer for another ten minutes to let the flavors marry. Serve piping hot garnished with shredded nori...unless you hate seaweed as I do. ;-)

*Except for the kimchi dip and the lettuce wrap dipping sauce, most of these dishes were Michelle's adaptations of Maangchi recipes (, but the stew was from The Kimchi Chronicles (

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