most of the times, i dont do recipes. i mean, i borrow from this recipe and that recipe all the time and i love to learn new things while replicating a dish i learned from a cookbook..... but ill be honest, my favorite part of cooking is taking the skills, techniques and ideas ive learned and evolving and applying them to a dish im making on the fly.
i like to open the frig and see whats in there and make something from it, based on ideas and techniques ive used for hundreds of other dishes.
because of my heritage and because the biggest cooking influence ive had is my mother, of course it shows in my cooking. its gonna be "asiany". theres no doubt about that. this entry is gonna be a bit asiany.
another favorite part of cooking is when i go grocery shopping and i find an item so interesting i have to buy it. most of the time, i will have no idea what to do with it. sometimes, i catch myself just staring at it on the counter in my kitchen....
"now why the hell did i buy this? what am i gonna do with this? well at least my dog will eat it if its bad... ooo i should walk her. shes getting kinda fat. maybe i should feed her a low fat diet. i wonder if she thinks in korean...."
anyways. so i buy some random item that catches my eye and i make do. i let that initial interest evolve into an idea. i take all the different techniques ive learned, go thtough the steps in my mind and shape that item into a final product. i might not know how it will turn out, and i will admit, sometimes its REALLY REALLY BAD..... but i will say, over the years, the number of really bad dishes have slowly decreased! yay!
"ok, so i know if i build a simple foundation of flavor around this ingredient, i can highlight the texture of it with this cooking technique"
"ok, so this kinda looks and smells and taste like chinese chives, maybe i can substitute it in my chive pancake batter"
different thought processes take place. different scenarios play through my mind.... but this is all part of the fun.
the other day, while at berkeley bowl, i saw they had yuba. not just any yuba either hodo beanery yuba.
yuba is basically a byproduct when you make tofu. its the skin that forms along the top of the tofu. i think its all sorts of delicious, and when a place like hodo, who are crafters of some of the best tofu out there, makes this.... its simply divine.
i brought it home and realized, i never cooked yuba. what the hell am i supposed to do with it?
yuba is tofu skin, folded up. it kinda reminds me of tomago.
hey it also reminds me of kalguk soo before you cut it.
hey maybe i should use it like a noodle!
slice in half, the 1/4" sections
hmmm. well this is the first time im cooking with it, so i should bring out the flavor of it. simple dish.
its asiany, so lets do asiany simple. some sesame oil, some green onions, hey, theres some left over garlic greens, some black sesame seeds...
ok, maybe thats a bit too simple. lets add a bit of oyster sauce. that always goes good in everything! hmm some garlic, salt and pepper... ok this should do.
now i can just put this sliced yuba right in, but hrm..... ima blanch it real quick, it will help break apart all the individual pieces anyways.
ok, strain, then add to the hot pan... ooo a splash of good ponzu should top it off right.
TADA a new dish, inspired by a new ingredient i found, built on a foundation of previous experiences with food.. ever evolving..... i think next time around, i will do a few things different if i was to make this dish, like topping it off with fresh green onions instead of letting it cook. or better yet make a whole new dish! maybe a nice brothy one....