Beef & Kimchi Korean Stew With Potatoes & Zucchini: How To Host A Korean Feast At Home

This past Sunday my friends Jenn and Cat came over to hang out and cook (and of course eat) Korean food in my condo. It was SO much fun.

If you love Korean food, but are intimidated by cooking it at home, I have the perfect plan of action for you.

You want to keep the menu pretty simple and buy a few things already prepared.

1) Buy banchan and dessert: Jenn brought kimchi, seaweed salad, kimchi cucumbers, fried anchovies, and seasoned sesame leaves. For dessert (which we actually snacked on while cooking), we had rice balls filled with sesame seeds. I've never had these sweets and really liked them!

2) For the main course I chose a kimchi and beef stew made in a pressure cooker! More on it below.

3) While the main course was in the pressure cooker, we whipped up simple scallion and shrimp pancakes. Luckily, Cat was more than happy to cook them (I get a bit scared of hot sizzling oil).

4) To drink, have iced tea and rose on hand!

My entire condo smelled like oil, but it was so worth it! The pancakes were crispy on the edges and took only a few minutes to cook. For the dipping sauce, we combined soy sauce and rice wine vinegar with a bit of Korean chili flakes.

Beef & Kimchi Korean Stew With Potatoes & Zucchini: How To Host A Korean Feast At Home
Serves 6
Adapted from Two Sleevers

In my version of the stew, we used fresh mushrooms instead of dried, and added peppers, potatoes and zucchini. If you can't find Korean peppers and zucchini, use regular ones. Cat bought produce from an Asian market and that's how they were labeled there.

2 cups kimchi
1 pound stew beef cubes
1 small onion, chopped
8 ounces sliced shitake mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ginger powder (I did not have fresh ginger)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Korean chili powder
1 tablespoon gochujang
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 cups water
4 Korean peppers, sliced (or use 1 green bell pepper)
2 Russet potatoes, peeled, cubed
3 Korean zucchini, cut into large dice
1 cup diced firm tofu
rice to serve
scallions, chopped

1. Put all the ingredients (other than potatoes, zucchini, tofu, rice, and scallions) into a pressure cooker. Set for 15 minutes.
2. Release the pressure. Add potatoes. Set for 5 more minutes.
3. Release the pressure. Add zucchini. Set for 3 minutes.
4. Release the pressure. Add tofu. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
5. Serve the stew over rice garnished with scallions.

Talk about comfort food!!! The stew wasn't overly spicy, but had so much flavor from the kimchi and the vegetables and the beef. I added a bit of kimchi and kimchi juice to my portion before eating it. The addition of potatoes was so good: who doesn't like meat and potatoes!?

The stew makes about 6 portions and is great for leftovers!

This rose is so refreshing, has a pretty label, and is under $10!

Here's to more cooking adventures with friends!


Weekend Inspiration: Flower Power

Weekend is almost here! I want to remind you once again to treat yourself to some flowers! Find your own sunshine!

Earlier this week I bought a miniature sunflower plant at Whole Foods for only $2.99!! That's cheaper than a fancy coffee, will last longer, and will bring you so much joy. Plus, no calories ;)


Meatless Monday: Cold Borsch

What is better on a hot summer day than cold soup? Of course I can think of a few things, but a bowl of Cold Borsch is not only beautiful, low calorie, and satisfying, but is also nutritious, can be made a few days ahead, and is quite versatile.

I wrote about making Cold Borsch a while back, but made a variation on that recipe yesterday in honor of my dad because he's the king of borsch!

I started the night before by cooking peeled and diced beets in plenty of salted water. I separately cooked a few diced potatoes in salted water.

Once the vegetables and the liquids were cool, I drained the potatoes and added them to the cooked beets and the beet liquid.

The next day, I added Greek Yogurt, diced cucumbers, diced red onion, and plenty of chopped dill to the soup. 

I used Greek yogurt instead of buttermilk, because I already had it in my refrigerator. If you use buttermilk, you'll probably have plenty of leftovers. Don't worry: I have plenty of recipes for you that include buttermilk. Everything from appetizers, to main courses, to dessert!

You can also add hard boiled eggs, radishes, other herbs such as basil, and wilted spinach!


Quick & Easy Ground Lamb With Zucchini & Corn

I'm back from vacation in Seattle with a Quick & Easy Ground Lamb With Zucchini & Corn Recipe. My friends from Superior Farms challenged me to create a quick healthy weeknight dinner recipe using ground lamb and provided a stipend for ingredients.

Given that the temperatures are rising and the summer produce is starting to show up, I wanted to make a recipe that took minutes to make and featured some of my favorite summer produce: corn and tomatoes!

Quick & Easy Ground Lamb With Zucchini & Corn
Serves 4

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound ground lamb
1 large zucchini, diced
kernels from 2 ears of corn
salt & pepper to taste
4 whole wheat pita (the ones I found had 130 calories each)
1/3 cup crumbled feta
1/3 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped dill
hot sauce to taste

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add ground lamb and saute on medium heat for 5 minutes.
2. Pour out most of the fat.
3. Add zucchini and corn, season with salt and pepper, and saute for 15 minutes.
4. Toast pitas (in the oven or directly on the gas flame or in a cast iron skillet).
5. Serve a quarter of lamb mixture topped with a quarter of feta, tomatoes and dill, drizzled with as much of hot sauce as you like.
6. This can be eaten with the cut up pita OR you can cut the pita in half and make pita pockets.

This dish had a lot of flavor but did not feel heavy. You can serve this mixture on a bed of salad greens or on top of cubed and roasted sweet potato or use it to make stuffed peppers.