Saving a decanter

Was just about to chuck decanter in the bin and then I found your page. You are a decanter-saver. It looks like new. Thanks!!!!

Braised Mackerel 

Braised Mackerel

Something new!  I’ve never had mackerel before so this is pretty exciting for me :) Fish is one of those things I only cook in one way, baking.  It’s usually pretty expensive so I don’t want to screw it up! and I can control the internal temperature and seasonings fairly well while baking.  I love fish in soups but since it’s pricey, it almost feels like waste, it’s like taking a beef tenderloin and pot roasting it! Ugh….I shutter to think…But to further educate myself, I should try this braising technique on fish, and it’s mackerel, I got 3 whole ones for under $9, so I won’t feel completely terrible if it turns out bad.  

Not only have I not cooked with mackerel, I’ve never purchased a whole fish before.  So cleaning and gutting it should be interesting.  Here goes…

+3 Mackerels
+1/2 cup soy sauce
+2 T sugar
+1/4 cup hot pepper flakes
+1/3 cup garlic, minced
+1 T ginger, minced 
+Korean radish cut into 2x2x1” pieces (I used the daikon from my homemade kimchi) 
+1 onion sliced
+3 green onions cut into 1” pieces
+7 red chilies (I used dried) 
—recipe compliments of maangchi.com 

1.  Prep fish by removing head, tail, fins and cuts.  Cut the fish across into 2” pieces, rinse with cold water and set aside.

2.  Combine soy sauce, sugar, hot pepper flakes, garlic and ginger in a small bowl and mix well. Set aside.  

3.  Place the daikon at the bottom of a pan, spreading evenly.  Then layer the onion evenly, and top with the mackerel.

4.  Pour the soy sauce mixture on top of the mackerel along with 1 cup of water.  Close lid and boil over high heat for 20 minutes.

5.  Make a well in the center of the pot for the broth to gather and baste the fish several times.  

6.  Add the green onion and the chilies.

7.  Reduce to a simmer, close lid and cook 30-40 minutes, or until the daikon is cooked thoroughly and has absorbed most of the broth.  

8.  Repeat step five and baste repeatedly.  Serve with rice and kimchi.  

How it turned out:

Hands down my favorite Korean dish thus far.  I’m lovin’ this one pot cooking thing! So easy, flavorful, and the aroma will perfume your house :) I was really worried about all the bones, so when I first cut up the fish, I tried to filet it and get all the bones out, but there were WAY too many and if I cut around them I’d be wasting most of the meat.  So I just said screw it and sliced it up the recommended way.  And there’s a reason why it’s like that.  The flesh just peeled right off the bones without hassle! And the bones stayed connected to the spine of the fish so there weren’t any runaway bones.  It was awesome.  I will definitely make this again!  Maybe even try it with other types of fish, or maybe but a cut of fish without the bones :) 

Kimchi Jjigae

Soup season is just around the corner and I would always embrace this time of the year because it got me to go to more tofu houses!  Kimchi stew is supposed to be a year-around soup to most Koreans, but unlike them, I don’t do soups when it’s warm out, so like pho, I reserve this dish for fall and winter! In the past I would always pester by friend about how to make this, but too bad for me, it was one of the Korean dishes she didn’t know how to do! Ugh…good thing Google exists! 

+1/2 lb pork belly
+4-5 cups chopped kimchi
+1 T sugar
+1 t hot pepper flakes
+1 T hot pepper paste
+1 onion, sliced
+1/2 cup green onions, rough chop
+half a package of tofu, I used the whole package (soft)
+sesame oil
+water

1.  In a pot, put in the kimchi and some of its juices.

2.  Add the onion, hot pepper paste, hot pepper flakes, sugar, green onions, and pork belly.

3.  Pour enough water to submerge ingredients.  Close lid and boil for 25-30 minutes (first 10 minutes on high, next 20 over medium heat).

4.  Add tofu and boil for 5 minutes, drizzle with sesame oil right before serving.  

How it turned out:

I can’t believe how easy this soup is to make! You boil kimchi! Period.  Well okay, not period, but all you do is throw all the ingredients in a pot and cook.  Everything should be this easy! Well…if everything was…I’d be out of a career…

So, the first day it sort of just tasted like spicy cabbage water…and after thinking about what steps I took to make this…it made sense.  But the next couple of days after the flavors melded, it got a little tastier.  Still didn’t compare to actual tofu houses…what’s their secret!

I would say that it was definitely the pork belly that made this dish for me! I was able to see past the cabbage water and gaze deep into the belly of the pig….sorry, I got lost in the thought of it…

Next time:

As much as I love the pork belly in the soup, I don’t know if I’d keep it…it’s dangerous how much I like it, and sadly, it’s a strip of fat :( I guess if I wanna be healthy I could substitute chicken or fish…or just more tofu…ugh…curse my need to be healthy!

The second thing is the spiciness.  As much of a spice wuss as I am, there wasn’t nearly enough zing to it! So I’d probably start by doubling the paste and the flakes and take it from there.  

Third, I think I’ll try a broth instead of water, maybe that’ll give it some more umf!