Kimchi Fried Rice with Shiitake Mushrooms

When I think of my time in South Korea, the aroma of kimchi, perilla, sesame oil and steamed rice come to mind. I taught cooking to elementary level students there for six years, which brought so much joy and so much growth on a personal level. This recipe wouldn’t normally be called kimchi fried rice or “kimchi bokkeum bap”, instead the kids would playfully call it something like it “sseulegi bap” - Roughly translated to “mixed rice” or more bluntly, “trash rice.” Basically, rice fried with whatever you have on hand. It’s great because you cook everything in one pan and if you have leftover rice which is essential, it’s a breeze to throw together. I often serve it to friends and family who have never tried Korean flavors but are curious about it. They are more accepting of a dish like this as opposed to hitting them with heavily fermented dishes off the bat.

Top it with an egg to make it extra special.

Top it with an egg to make it extra special.

Ingredients:
Serves 2

1 shallot, finely minced
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon ginger paste
4 rashers uncured bacon, chopped (Use turkey bacon or omit completely if you prefer)
1 cup kimchi
1/2 cup kimchi juice (from the jar)
2 cups sliced golden oak shiitake mushrooms
4 cups day-old rice
1 cup lacinato kale or spinach, chopped
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Optional to serve: Dried and salted laver & olive oil fried eggs.

Guidelines:

Bring a large wok or skillet to medium heat. Add shallot, garlic, ginger, bacon and kimchi all at once and sauté for 5 minutes until bacon fat has rendered and shallots are translucent. The kimchi would’ve crisped up a little around the edges because of the bacon fat - Wait until this stage for maximum flavor.

Deglaze the pan with kimchi juice, scraping off any crispy bits stuck at the bottom of of pan. Adjust heat to medium-high then add rice and mushrooms. Cook for 5-8 minutes until rice takes on some color and dries up a little. Then add kale or spinach (any greens will do), sesame seeds and finish with sesame oil. Season to taste and serve.

Easy Scallops with Haricots Verts & Prosciutto

Can you believe, I've never cooked with scallops before today! Years of living in South Korea where they are abundant, and I never had the desire to pick them up from market. Even so I found them extremely easy to prepare today and chose to serve them with seasonal haricots verts (fancy name for French thin green beans), crispy proscuitto (Green beans and prosciutto - You just gotta have them together) and a simple brown butter pan sauce with capers and lemon. 

I had gotten a box of fresh fish from a seafood subscription company a week ago, and thought why not give it a go! They are a sustainable seafood choice and best of all, take a very short time to cook. Hope you enjoy this easy and keto friendly recipe for one :) Double and adjust as you see fit!

Scallops.JPG

Ingredients:

4 large sea scallops, side muscles removed and patted dry.
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons grass-fed butter, divided
1 cup haricots verts (about 4 oz)
1 slice prosciutto
1 tablespoon capers, packed in brine, drained
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Method:

Bring a small pot with salted water to a low boil. Place a steaming rack on top and add haricots verts. Steam for 5 minutes or until desired doneness - I like mine still crunchy.

While the haricots verts cook, bring skillet with 1 tablespoon of butter to medium-high heat. Season the scallops on both sides with salt, pepper and garlic powder and them place them in your skillet. They should sizzle as they hit the pan. Cook without moving them for 2-3 minutes and flip to sear the other side for the exact same time. Remove scallops from the pan and add the prosciutto to crisp it up. This should only take 2 minutes. Once it's crispy remove it and set aside. Add remaining tablespoon of butter and capers plus lemon juice to the same skillet. Simmer and stir then turn the heat off. 

The steamed haricots verts should be done by now. Plate them, place the crispy proscuitto on top followed by the scallops. Pour pan sauce over everything and enjoy! I did add some chopped chives to mine which added a lovely bit of extra freshness. 

Dale