Although the holiday season has passed, and now we all are revealing in the year that started out as a giant binary joke (see: 01.01.11), I still feel like I’ve been running around with a purpose. From weekends filled with new found adventures, to keeping dinner plan promises, to planning my next month, it has been all-in-all hectic. I’ve made my best efforts to relax, take a few deep breaths, and coincidentally slow my life down a bit, but I haven’t been able to record those precious moments of inner peace (see: I am a neo-hippy, if that has been lost in the posts in between now and then).
And despite my best efforts to fully describe all that a 20-something can do in the culinary and travel world, this little ditty might be a bit short. Nonetheless, I have two inspired culinary moments that I needed to share on behalf of 20-somethings everywhere. The first is a breakfast that I made at night. Last night, to be exact.
Coming home from a long day at work, I lusted for nothing other than a fiction podcast, my yoga mat, and some banana bread. Luckily all three were at my disposal. I had been neglecting the first two for some time now, and needed to sweep the tangible and proverbial dust off my refuges. The latter – the bananas – were a recent find on the soon-to-be-trashed section of the grocery store. Browning, squishy, and perfect for banana bread.
My only hang-up was the lack of toaster. See, my toaster oven is not actually my own. Rather, it’s on a semi-loan based program where I borrow it from a good friend here, and in return I bring some of the fruits of my labor to her the following day. Unfortunately, she required her own toaster oven a weekend ago, so I was left with banana bread batter – maxed out with four bananas – and no baking device. So what do I take to? The stove top. There’s no hint of sarcasm here, dear reader, my backcountry culinary tricks made their way to my Seoul-based apartment. Sitting over extremely low heat, covered with a larger pan, this bread was cooking surprisingly evenly. Every five minutes or so, I would flip the bread to make sure the outsides cooked to a crisp crust while the insides stayed nice and gooey. All of this was soundtracked by Don DeLillo’s short story “Baader-Meinhof.”
What came of the experiment was what normally happens to my banana breads: it was gooey, crispy crusted, dense, and amazingly delicious. I guess there are other descriptive words to articulately tell you what it was like, or I could say: The bread is nearly gone, and it’s been only one day. I recommend this banana bread giant pancake to any in need of a baked good in a country without an oven.
The other culinary breakthrough comes at you, again, straight off that beloved shelf in the grocery store where the produce is on reduce because it’s about to kick the bucket. This time, I give you lettuce, green onions, and jalapeno peppers.
This dish was a quick-witted flick of the wrist. I had lettuce I needed to eat, and produce I needed to cook, so I thought back to the summer days when I’d grill something up, and throw it right on a bed of lettuce to have the two words combine in some freakishly healthy and savory dish. And yet again, I sat at my desk today on lunch break, scarfing down this Korean-inspired salad.
See: sautéed onions, garlic, salt, pepper, crisp green onions, baby bok choy, and jalapenos all simmered with red pepper strands.
See: a bed of fresh lettuce
See: a gochujan dressing, whipped up fresh with extra pepper.
The holidays will slow down soon enough. And when they do, boy do I have some meals to tell you. Think wintery drinks. Think sweet coated mornings. Think hot hands and cold noses. Get ready, 2011.