Spices, Spreads, and Spring

As the weather warms and brightens and my schedule slowly starts to fill, as the runs start to get longer, and my time in the kitchen starts to wane, I can’t help from thinking about springtime at College. Out of the two semesters, the spring semester always seemed to be the better of the two – filled with warm weather, bright skies, smiles, and picnics on the lawn while attempting to finish that reading you’ve been putting off for a few days now, that paper that shouldn’t take too long, and, well, what seemed like a million other things.

Some of my favorite things to eat while reclining on the soft beds of green grass that were always a bit too green… were a bubbly kombucha, curry turkey salad, humus, and ginger chews.

Here in Korea, finding kombucha isn’t the easiest of things. Actually, in my eight months of weak searching I have yet to find any. I rarely, if ever, cook meat, so anything with turkey is out of the picture. But hummus. Ginger. Those things are doable.

So adapt I do, as we all do. Ginger is super easy to cook with and extremely versatile but for some reason I’ve been not including it in recent meals. But that all changed as the season did too. Equipped with tofu, onions, garlic, ginger, mushrooms, eggs, a spicy-sweet red sauce, and greens, I set out to pit two wildly different spices: garlic and ginger: against each other in a battle royal that ended up just being a balanced lunch. Sigh, where’s the drama in lunches anymore? In one corner sits the garlicy-spicy tofu and onions with hints of sesame oil over greens. In the other sat the eggplant, ginger, and eggs. The result? Two complimentary flavors sitting on one plate ready to satisfy.

And Hummus, well hummus is just plain simple to make. I didn’t think so, especially here in Korea, but in fact, it’s no big deal. The most difficult thing to find were the Chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans). But a simple trip into foreigner town aka Itaewon, lead me to the Foreigner’s Food market, and there were stacks upon stacks of dried garbanzo beans. I should have realized seeing as there are Middle Eastern and Indian Restaurants for days in that part of town. Tahini wasn’t easy either, until Katie – the friend that listened to Tehcno all night long in the Moscow airport and who is now galavanting all around Scandinavia with plates full of cheese and wine in her hand at all time… opened my world up by saying “You know, tahini is just ground sesame seeds. And what is prevalent here in Korea? Sesame seeds.” Boom. Done. Explosion. I now can have hummus any time. Perfect.

So no, no more Kombucha at the moment. And Turkey? Well, I’ve been vegetarian for a little while now, so Turkey isn’t even something I think about .  But gingered eggs and mushrooms? Homemade hummus? Dare I say it — better than the food I was having at college. Now only if I could find myself a little patch of lawn to sit on here in Seoul that wasn’t half way up a craggy mountain…


One thought on “Spices, Spreads, and Spring

  1. I live in Seoul too. But kombucha is everywhere!
    And also cheap.
    If there’s no konbucha near you, then you should pay a visit department store.
    The other day, I saw 5000won for 2! (@ lotte)

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