Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Korean spas keep you clean and lean!

Sitting indoors on a breezy gloomy lunch break.  January/February are the months of cold weather and dry skin. All the memories of warm rooms come flooding back.  Oh how I wish I were enjoying a sauna this lunch period. If that's not the case, I can continue to reminisce about them.

I recently read the article How a Korean Spa Can Keep you Lean, Rejuvenated, and Sexy.  Need I say more about the benefits of a spa?  Korean spas are pretty awesome!!  Although I have not been to a spa in over a year since my return from Korea, I can attest to this healthy cleansed feeling you receive after visiting the spa. You don't even need the full scrub to feel clean. Sweating in the salt and coal rooms and cooling in the freezing rooms do wonders for my skin and health. Our bodies are full of toxins and dirt that are not easily washed off in a quick three minute shower.  Cleansing the pores through sweating and other processes has its benefits not only for your body health, but for the look of your skin. You'll be glowing and smiling because of it in no time! Based on this article, it looks like I'll have to head to LA and or do a little more exploring here in San Diego.

There are many other reasons I like the jimjilbang or Korean spa/sauna experience.  Check them out and get a few of your fear-filled questions answered.

Back to work!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Fun with Food: simple kimchi fried rice (김치 볶음밥 )

I was in a bit of frantic rush to make triangle kimbap for my lunch the other day. It was already approaching 3pm and I had a schedule to keep. This was about to become a linner (lunch and dinner) combo. I made rice the night before with my delicious bulgogi (yumm yumm marinated meat) meal and packaged the leftovers into the refrigerator to be used the following day. I wasn't worried if the rice didn't turn out for my kimbap because I bought a fresh bag of rice earlier in the week.  It would be no biggie to heat up a new pot while preparing for the day.  (No rice cooker here folks. I've been house sitting for a week. This is where crafty improv skills come in handy.  Since I could not find a pot cover either, I used another pot to cover the larger pot. It didn't completely seal the rice cooking pot, but we got some decent rice.)

Back to that no-big-deal-because-I-had-more-rice situation. What I failed to clearly think about was my house and pet sitting responsibility to care for cats.  I set the rice on the higher counter top hidden away in the corner. Maybe I just forgot the sly nature of cats.]  Despite my good intentions to keep the house clean, the next morning I woke to a little surprise.  The cats clawed through the bag of rice and you can guess what I was sweeping up for the next several minutes.  so... I open the fridge take out the leftover box of rice and separate the plastic wrap on the seaweed for my triangle kimbap. The spoon goes into the rice and out comes a crumbly mess of rice allover my lovely laver (seaweed).  I guess the missing cover on the pot created an interesting rice consistency and texture.  No sticky rice and no more fresh rice to cook.

Now what?  I pull open the fridge and look in.  Fantastic! There are approximately two servings of kimchi left in a small plastic container. Perfect timing because I've got to clear the fridge of any suspicious (aka interesting ethnic or slightly odorous) items before the home owners return. (They're not Korean or Asian for that matter.) At this point, I'm a hungry hippo. What do you make with old rice and kimchi? Well, kimchi fried rice I tell ya!  Let's do this, I tell myself.  There's a can of tuna sitting on the counter.  What else? It seems we have nothing else, so we'll make do. 
How do you (or I) make kimchi fried rice? Here's a quick and very simple Americanized version of fried rice. 

Some basics you'll need: 
  • your old rice (밥) [1 cup?]*
  • kimchi (김치) [1/2 a cup?]*
  • sesame oil  (참깨 기름)
Some optional add ins:
  • tuna (참치), or
  • bacon, or
  • other meaty source such as chopped up spam
  • other veggies
    • peppers
    • green onion
    • take your pick here. 
*Mix and match. Choose your portions according to total serving size. 

And to top it off the proper way let's add a tasty fried egg. 

Here is a photo story of my scramble to make kimchi fried rice: 

Get your kimchi. Chop it all up. Then heat up your frying pan. Use a dab of sesame oil to prevent food from sticking to the pan.  Toss in the kimchi.  Warm up. Fry. Stir up. Warm up, fry, and stir some more.

Toss in your extras such as tuna, spam, or veggies.  Stir and fry some more. Add your rice.
Fry some more. Add some water and oil to preference if necessary and don't forget to pour the extra kimchi juice in the pan for extra color and spicy flavor!  Pack up your fried rice into a nice little mound and set it aside.
Prepare the pan and fry the egg!

And wallah.  I'll admit I was hungry and although I go for presentation this tasted just fine in my mouth and ravenous belly. Sadly, that's the same egg. Sunny side down.  No worries the sun will come out and shine again tomorrow. :  )

There you have it.  A crazy spin on kimchi fried rice.   The next one will be better, but this one is difficult to beat.  It tasted just fine in the heat of the hungry moment! 

[Photos uploaded from phone with less than 3 megapixel quality. Excuse the quality of the photos please.]

Until next time!