Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Pork Kimchi Burger

I get that kimchi might not be everybody's favorite thing, but I always, always have been a fan, even back before it was cool! Thanks Mom for being different from every other suburban housewife in the 1970's! 

The inspiration for this came out of necessity, we were staying somewhere in a cabin far from home, and I had packed limited ingredients to use for the weekend to put dinner together for the two of us. I always love a challenge!  I had a package of ground pork that I had brought with us, but only had limited other things to work with (I should have planned better- LOL). In full disclosure, we did travel to the Safeway to pick up some kimchi after I shared my idea with my hubby (who insisted we go get it ASAP), but I used what I already had brought with me (hence the simple ingredients!) for the rest.

About two years ago, we were lucky enough to go to Korea, and boy oh boy, did we have a foodie's paradise adventure.  My hubby likes kimchi just as much as I do.  If you are interested, here's a couple travel posts that I wrote to remember the trip!
Korean Adventure, Part 1
Korean Adventure, Part 2- coming soon!

Serves 4

20 oz ground pork
1/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup kimchi, drained (save juice) and chopped fine
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp soy sauce

Kimchi Coleslaw:
4 cups green cabbage, shredded (about 1/2 small head)
1/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup kimchi, drained and chopped coarsely (or more, if desired- I used 1/2 cup)
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
2-3 Tbsp kimchi juice 
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp red pepper garlic paste (optional)

4 Buns
Mayo, if desired

Get two bowls out, one for meat mixture and one for your salad.

Chop your green onions finely, add 1/4 cup to each bowl.  Next, chop your kimchi, adding 1/4 cup to each bowl. Shred your cabbage (or use pre-packaged slaw cabbage mixture), add to the salad bowl. Add the vinegar, sesame oil and a bit of salt. Mix the slaw, let it sit and marinate for 30 minutes before serving.

In the meat bowl, add the ground pork to the bowl with green onions and kimchi that you put in there previously. Add in the pork, red pepper flakes, sesame oil and soy sauce. Make mixture of meat (I use latex gloves and mix by hand), shape into patties and grill for about 10 minutes until done.

Assemble the burgers by putting mayo on the buns, add the patty and a generous amount of slaw. Enjoy right away.

Buns, mayo, patties and slaw= Yum
Note- these are just as good served with a side of coleslaw and not on a bun. We found some Franz low carb buns that are delish, so it was great to have a burger!  

Here's the kimchi, ready for chopping.

Chop it pretty finely

Here it is ready for mixing with the cabbage.

I use latex gloves to mix the meat mixture, and shape the patties.

This is the chili garlic sauce I like

Here's my salad, all ready to go. Let it sit for at least 10-15 minutes before serving so the cabbage softens up a little bit.

Patties are all shaped and ready to go on the grill. I put them on wax paper, as it makes it easier to easily over turn onto the grill without deforming the patties by using a metal spatula.  Just my little trick.

Cook over medium high heat for about 10 minutes.  Try not to over cook, you want these to be juicy!

Sunday, May 31, 2020

South Korea Adventure- One week, many emotions- Part 1

I was dreaming of vacation and looking around for something fun to do for a week's getaway.
Hawaiian flights weren't cheap and any of the hotels I wanted to stay at were over $300 a night. So I started looking on where else we could go for a week's vacation using our airline miles with Alaska Airlines.  That's when I saw that we could fly direct Seattle to Seoul for only 30,000 miles each on a partner, Korean Airlines.  "So how do you feel about spending our vacation in Korea?", I asked my hubby. To my surprise, he was very enthusiastic about it. So I booked it after I also found a 4 star hotel for about $125 per night! 

Seattle to Seoul on Korean Airlines is a direct flight about 11 hours.  It's really not too bad, honestly!  You do seem to "lose" a day crossing the International date line, but don't worry, you get it back when you come home when you have an almost "double day"

I researched online and knew that we really only had enough time to see all the great sites of Seoul and take a deluxe day long trip to the DMZ (demilitarized zone) between South Korea and North Korea, but more on that later in a future post! We when we go back, we definitely want to get to the port town of Bushan.

First, let's talk about all the incredible things you can eat in Korea!  It's a foodie's paradise!!! We had booked a night's food walking tour for our first night.  Since Korea is such a different culture, we will feeling a bit worried about getting around, and knowing what to eat, so figured a food walking tour was the perfect thing to break us in gently.  We visited about 4 different places and experienced a bunch of great food, from a seafood noodle shop, Korean BBQ ans ending with the prerequisite fried chicken and beer!  Koreans love to eat and drink, and share with others, so we felt very welcome and safe everywhere we went. We were so full, we had to roll on back to the hotel...

Our first night in Seoul was very rainy, which made for a fun experience and some beautiful photos glistening in the rain!

A couple days later, we had booked a half day cooking school and market experience.  My hubby and I ended up being the only people in the class and we had such a fun time making an incredible lunch!  Below is the meal that we ate and enjoyed.  Believe me, we didn't need any dinner that night!

Here we are "massaging" some kimchi that we made out of napa cabbage.  Usually, kimchi is fermented and that takes some time, but this was what our instructor called a "summer kimchi salad", it was delicious.

Here we are showing our creations with our instructor. We all sat together (including our assistant cook and our photographer) and enjoyed a fun lunch together. It was such a great way to interact with real Koreans. I highly recommend cooking classes when you travel.

A couple shots of the local marketplace which was huge.  We were the only non-Koreans there. There were some things that I could identify... but not very many.

Our hotel was right near the Myeongdong district which offers a night market with amazing selection of street food. Most nights we wandered the market, trying so many delicious things. Most choices were under the equivalent of $5.

Not sure what these are, but it appeared to be a pastry stuffed with a block of ice cream.

Seafood galore!

The happiest ice cream cone eater... it was about 15 inches high.

Our hotel was within view of Seoul Tower, such a beautiful view from our window in our room. 

It's a great place to go in the late afternoon to see the views and have a meal.  We made sure to have a beer at the top, because, why not? Later on, we realized that my hubby had forgotten his Patagonia backup at Seoul Tower, and it was filled with camera equipment even his "Go-Pro".  We had the hotel call the lost and found for us, and it had been turned in with everything intact!  We had to march back up the hill and wait for the tram to the top again, but we were relieved to get it back.

Here's the view at sunset!

And after sundown, they light up the tower in great colors for a light show.

There are so many beautiful palaces and shrines in Seoul, plus the whole DMZ experience was so great, and there so much more to say. Please stay tuned for Part 2 on that.