This day is shaping up to be a very good Friday, and it's not even brunch hour. The air is cool, gently filling my living room and curling around the flowers and tree branches littering the space. Los Angeles offers just enough of the seasons to make you grateful for the moment but not so much to make you bitter. Perpetual contentment.
Above you see last night's dinner: Seafood soondubu jjigae. It's one of my favorite Korean comfort foods--hot, spicy, flavored with meat and vegetables, never too heavy. Jjigae (JEE-geh) is the Korean word for stew, and there are endless types: Doenjang jjigae (fermented soybean) and kimchi jjigae are two you may already know. The double j means the letter should explode from your tongue--a hard sound, not the flabby j in jam. Soondubu (SOON-doo-boo) is soft tofu, available in Korean (and maybe Chinese) grocery stores. It differs from silken tofu, though you can use silken tofu as a substitute.
I'm not posting a recipe at this time because, being a perfectionist, I wasn't satisfied with the result. The flavor was very good, almost right, but I think I added too much water. So let the photo whet your appetite until I get it right. When I do, a recipe will follow!
In the meantime, what are your weekend plans?
Aside from work, of which I should speak far less, I'm looking forward to getting out of my apartment and reading in a cafe. I know it rings cliche, but much time has passed since the last time I found myself lingering over coffee in a semi-public space.
Also, I'm excited to start testing some recipes for Steamy Kitchen! Yes, you read correctly. Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen is coming out with her second cookbook, full of healthful, easy, Asian recipes. Somehow I was one of the lucky fifty chosen to help test as many of these recipes as I can between now and March 20. I've scanned them all; they look no more difficult than your average weeknight dinner, and more, they sound delicious. Check back here for photos (though, of course, to find the recipes, you'll have to buy the cookbook).
I waver in the murky grey* between cuisine purist and American melting pot, but I do think there is value in simplified versions of a cuisine. They introduce you to new flavors in an accessible way, and should you feel so inclined, you can always try the truer recipes later.
Enough of that tangent. I hope you have a great weekend. Get out and enjoy the sunshine! Or if you're in one of those places with snow and low temperatures, go outside and feel your nose burn.
* Grey: Imagine me in elementary school. With only a partly English speaking household and a school that was militant about "correct" everything (grammar, syntax, punctuation, you name it), I found much joy and escape in Roald Dahl's children's books. You can say I was obsessed. For better or for worse, this was happening during my formative years, and not long after I had learned English. Being a blank slate, I absorbed everything. Like "grey." It wasn't until high school, when a teacher marked me down a point for spelling gray incorrectly, that I learned my language wasn't entirely American. Is that really what it was all about?