Saturday, January 01, 2011

Saturday, December 25th - Korean Christmas with the Folks

Mini KimcheeQuiche
Last Saturday was Christmas with D's family.  This Saturday was with mine.  There were many points of distinction and commonality.  Thankfully, moreso this year than recent years.  Mom ceded to not making a Turkey this year. 

In Canada, Turkey is quite often the Christmas meal of choice more so than Roast or Ham.  Mom picked up the habit from our cousins who used to eat alot more 'western' food growing up than we did.  It naturally appealled to her since she has a propensity for drama and presentation.  It used to make sense when we would have an extended family meal but she continued to grow the size of her bird order despite the shrinking attendance at our table.  So for the past few years we had had an immediate family meal on Christmas with a boyfriend or two at the table and then have a bigger meal at the cousins.  That said, despite the five of us plus a couple of guests, less the couple of vegetarians, mom did not let that deter her from buying a 20 pound bird.  I know at my age I should let things go but I really can't when it comes to food waste.  You see there are two things you should know about mom, she does not like to serve leftovers and she doesn't really like Turkey in large quantities.  It works okay for Korean food because she'll often eat our dinner leftover for lunch the next day but not Turkey and she'll have already cooked something else before someone can get to the Turkey and the bread to eke out a sandwich.  20lbs should feed like three times the number of people at our table.  It drives me to complete madness.  We argue alot over it, I am not embarassed to say.  She thinks a smaller turkey looks less 'special', like an everyday roast chicken.  Grrrrrrr!

Vegetarian Japchae
Without my intervention this year, she decided with all the partners in Toronto this year, that she would do a Korean meal with the cousins over to ours.  Hallelujiah!  It did not mean that the volume of edibles was less in the end but the Turkey fiasco was sidestepped and the leftovers would be eaten or taken by our guests. 

Salmon Sprout Rolls and Avocado
Mom had planned a few appetisers and I added one that I thought up in a moment of Korean creativity.  You know, though, despite the years of living here, mom hasn't quite grasped the idea of courses.  If you have gone to a proper Korean restaurant where they serve you like 2 dozen banchan with your main, you'll know that they go for the overflowing abundant single table rather than cleared cycles.  So D was confused when mom's appetisers didn't make the rounds in the living room with mine.  Of course mom was equally confused why we handed her Salmon and Sprout Rolls, with Avocadoes on the side, before dinner.  We left her Tempura Prawns and Mini Korean Seafood Pancakes for the table though since well, mom cooked those last (even though they were starters :^P). She reluctantly bought the tempura at the Korean market because she wanted to be somewhat sensible.  Though she kettle cooked them over her gas hotpot stove because she doesn't believe deep fryers are effective and it was probably still a fair bit of work.

Mini Korean Seafood Pancake and Shrimp Tempura

My fusion add to the appetisers:

Mini Kimchee Quiche - cooked
Mini Kimchee Quiche

24 mini Tart Shells, defrosted

4 Eggs
1/2 c Milk
1/2 c Cream or Half and Half  (or all Milk)
1 1/2 T Flour
1/2-1 c Shredded Cheese (any Mild Melting Cheese)

1/2 c Kimchee, finely chopped (try to avoid the spines of the Cabbage)
2 T Korean Chives, finely chopped (or regular chives)

Preheat the oven to 425.  Place all the shells on a single baking sheet.  Dock the bottoms by poking the bottoms gently with a fork 3 or 4 times with a fork.  Place in the middle of the oven for 7 minutes.

Remove and let cool slightly on the baking sheet.  Reduce the oven to 330F.

In a large bowl or even better a huge measuring cup to facilitate pouring, beat the Eggs, Milk and Cream.  Slowly add the flour to avoid lumps.  Don't worry, they're unavoidable.  Just do your best. 

Place 1t of Kimchee on the bottom of each tart.  Add 1/2 t to 1 teaspoon of Cheese on top.  Fill the tarts with the Egg mixture.  Sprinkle the top with the Chives.

Bake in the Oven for 30-35 minutes.  Rotating the baking sheet halfway so the tarts in the front spend some time in the back of the oven.  Serve warm.  They were YUMMO!  I wouldn't make a full sized Quiche with this but it made an interesting appetiser.


There were two 'Mains' though they were indistinguishable in volume from the 'sides'. Chap-jae (or Japchae, the "J" is somewhere between the J and Ch sound) and Slo Stewed Korean Short Ribs. Mom made the Chap-jae without meat though traditionally it contains bits of fried beef.  Chap-jae is Beanthread Vermicelli noodles fried in a slighly sweet sauce made from Soy, Brown Sugar and Sesame Oil.  The cooked noodles are fried in the sauce then tossed with the shredded vegetables, Mushrooms, Oyster Mushrooms, Bell Peppers, Steamed Spinach, Onions, and Carrots.  Yum! We eat it with rice which I've never questions but I guess could be odd. 

Kalbi Chim
If you're familiar with Kalbi, as most are, then you know the general flavours involved in the Slow Stewed Korean Short Ribs or Kalbi Chim.  Except, the Ribs are not sliced thin, length or crosswise.  They are stewed in the slightly looser marinade and lots of good Red Wine for 4 hours.  This was the traditional way before the 'recent' use of BBQ in the last century.  Mom cooked them with Carrots and Moo (Turnip).  It was a hit with the carnivores and it smelled heavenly. 

Mom really cannot seem to grasp the concept of portioning.  She made each individual dish as if it were the only dish. There was a Seafood Slaw Salad which she mixed in a bowl the size of an infants bath tub.  No joke.  It's one of those large steel bowls that you use to make 'smaller' batches of Kimchee, so 2 ft in diameter and 1 ft deep.   I was exasperated but at least there wasn't a car sized Turkey to argue over.  There was Shrimp, Squid and Krabstick mixed with Shredded Cabbage, Carrots and Green Onions in a Wasabi and Rice Wine Vinegar Dressing.  She cut the Wasabi with regular Mustard so as not to overwhelm.  It was 70% Seafood to 30% Vegetables and I thought she could have made it 30/70 the other way.  I would have left out the Squid as well.   It's not a typical Korean dish but it was quite nice and refreshing. 

Bechu Kimchee
There was Kimchees of course but that will be another post.  V, my sister, had her German boyfriend try Kimchee for the first time.  We made sure it wasn't a very spicy piece.

The rice.  Mom has been adding beans to our simple steamed rice for many years to add a bit of protein.  Nowadays at ours, you will never find plain white Rice unless she is making Sushi or Kimbap.  Steamed Rice will always have a bean, tonight it was shelled Kong (Edamame), a bit of Quinoa and Wild Rice.  And the Rice it self is Jasmine.  Jasmine has a lower Glycemic Index.  This concoction is everpresent on our table.  It's why I never feel quite satisfied with a meal without a starch.  I'm a bit better about it but it is hard.

For dessert was an array of Rice Cake (Dhuk) and Slice Melons and Korean Pears. 

We drank some Argento Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon.  Oh as well, V, my sister made some Mulled Wine.  Some folks prefer beer with Korean food so we had some Steam Whistle which Dad loves. 

A typical, diverse Canadian Christmas at ours.  Always an arguement or three but that's probably pretty typical as well.  Merry Christmas!

8 Leave a / Read COMMENTs:

Torviewtoronto said...

lovely meal

Angela said...

Beautiful. I love the kimchi quiche idea, and this all looks amazing. So glad she skipped the turkey!

Belinda @zomppa said...

Now I really need to have some Korean food today! Those quiches are brilliant!!! Holiday meals can be tricky, but you managed a wonderful harmonization!

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

What a fantastic Korean feast!

adorasbox said...

What an exciting, enticing array of food you had. We had turkey :(
Korean food is just so yummo. Like that kimchi quiche idea.

Amy Bakes Everything said...

Love the kimchi quiche! We had a ham. Like we do every year. Can I come to your Christmas next year?

Unknown said...

I sometimes tease my FIL and tell him that one of these Thankgivings, I'm going to sneak into his kitchen and smear dakkalbi sauce all over his turkey before he bakes it. :)

Could that be a Korean Thanksgiving? ; )

Kooky Girl said...

Wow ! What a fantastic feast and so many recipes that I have not seen before. Yummo !