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This is my favourite food on earth, hands down.

The first time I had doenjang jigae was at the only (at that time) Japanese/Korean restaurant in the area where I grew up, Tokyo Seoul. My best friend and I were proto-weeaboos: more music for me than anime or manga, more video games for both of us than anything else, but still annoying little whitebread wannabe Asians. As such, we demanded Japanese food whenever possible, and when our parents were especially generous, they took us to Tokyo Seoul.

Although Japanese food took up the bulk of the menu, Korean soups, stews, noodles, and appetizers also made an appearance. For about a year, I was entranced by the “spicy tofu soup” advertised on the Korean side of the menu, but didn’t have the nerve to order it- what if it had fish or pork or something else in it that was really, really gross?

One day, though, I got up the courage to ask. Yes, there were small clams in it, but they could leave those out. The broth was okay. The waitress warned me that it was spicy- was that okay?

Uh, yeah!

Every single spoonful was astonishing. Although I didn’t yet have the tolerance for spice that I do now, necessitating constant spoonfuls from my rice bowl, I ate the whole sumbitch. And I repeated the experiment whenever I could. And then I realized there was a kimchi version, and my Grinch-y heart grew two sizes that day!

I make no claims for authenticity in this recipe, since it’s usually made with pork and, at least when I ordered it in Japan, small clams and the occasional shrimp. But doenjang jigae is a family dish, and every household has their own recipe, so here’s mine.

A note about kimchi: Kimchi is traditionally prepared with small shrimp and other fishy things in the fermenting stage. You can easily buy vegan kimchi at health food stores- even here in Nowhere, MT, I can find three different kinds- two at the health food store, and one at Albertson’s! It’s also very easy to make your own (recipe for that soon, still working on my first batch.) The issue I have with vegetarian kimchi is that it goes bad more quickly, so if you get a gallon jug of it, be prepared to add kimchi to everything you eat (I wouldn’t have any complaints!).

If you do not like kimchi, feel free to leave it out and add a touch more gochujang or kochukaru (the Korean chili pepper powder used in kimchi creation). By the way, my mom hates kimchi, but she LOVES this soup.

A note about the soy and sauce products: Doenjang can be substituted with white miso. Also, Wikipedia says better than I could that “While traditional homemade doenjang is made with soybeans and brine only, many factory-made variants of doenjang contain a fair amount of wheat flour just like most factory-made soy sauce does. Some current makers also add fermented, dried, and ground anchovies to accentuate the doenjang’s savory flavor.” So check the label! And if you can’t find nutritional info in English and you’re shopping at a Korean market, for goodness’ sake, get someone who works there to look for allergens on the label. It’s okay, don’t be shy.

Gochujang, which is a major component of this dish, can potentially have both wheat flour and sugar/other sweeteners in it. Again, check the label. If I had to use something else in place of gochujang, I would just lay on the kochukaru and add a touch of honey.

This recipe is completely vegan, if you don’t add butter or fish sauce and if you check the aforementioned ingredients for non-vegetarian allergens. You cannot make it soy-free.

KIMCHI DOEJANG JIGAE

Makes roughly six bowls of soup.

INGREDIENTS:

2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean chili paste)

1 tablespoon doenjang (or white miso)

1 tablespoon mirin (can be substituted with sake or vodka)

2 cups water or vegetable broth (there’s plenty of salt in this, so use low or no sodium broth, if you can)

14 oz/400 grams cabbage kimchi (feel free to add more!)

4 cloves garlic

1 onion, halved and then sliced

1 tablespoon soy sauce

a dash of fish sauce (optional)

a dash of rice vinegar

400 grams of extra-firm tofu

1 zucchini, halved and sliced

2 tablespoons butter (optional)

2 scallions, chopped

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1 tablespoon olive oil (or a more neutral oil. I use olive oil for everything.)

1. Saute the onions and garlic in the mixed oils until the onions start becoming translucent.

2. Add broth, doenjang, gochujang, vinegar, fish sauce, mirin, and soy sauce.

3. Immediately after putting in wet ingredients, add kimchi, tofu, and zucchini.

4. Simmer covered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Add butter and stir in until melted.

6. Serve topped with scallions, alone or alongside a bowl of white rice.

I HATE YOUR CARB PROBLEMS: Rice, rice, baby. Also, put some sliced potatoes in with the wet ingredients!

I HATE YOUR VEGETARIAN FACE: Pork it up! Cook your pork with the onions and garlic (I think…)

I HATE YOUR BUTT: Whatever, loser, my butt is amazing.

 

Calories 129.0
  Total Fat 5.8 g
  Saturated Fat 2.0 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat 1.5 g
  Monounsaturated Fat 1.3 g
  Cholesterol 6.6 mg
  Sodium 1,257.7 mg
  Potassium 186.9 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 11.6 g
  Dietary Fiber 2.9 g
  Sugars 5.2 g
  Protein 6.4 g
  Vitamin A 37.1 %
  Vitamin B-12 0.1 %
  Vitamin B-6 4.2 %
  Vitamin C 8.4 %
  Vitamin E 0.5 %
  Calcium 11.8 %
  Copper 6.1 %
  Folate 5.8 %
  Iron 6.6 %
  Magnesium 10.0 %
  Manganese 25.4 %
  Niacin 2.0 %
  Pantothenic Acid     1.0 %
  Phosphorus     9.0 %
  Riboflavin 2.7 %
  Selenium 7.1 %
  Thiamin 3.0 %
  Zinc 3.9 %

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This is sort of an odd chili. In fact, I’m only calling it “chili” because it’s a stew with Mexican spices.

It may not be authentic, but it sure is delicious. Feel free to add more veggies to this or to twist the spicing- it was mostly a way to use up veggies I had on hand!

BUTTERNUT SQUASH CHILI

Makes roughly 7 bowls

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cubed butternut squash

1/2 onion

10 cloves of garlic

1 can red kidney beans, black beans, or soybeans (or 400g beans not-from-a-can.)

2 cans diced tomatoes

1 cup broth, water, or tomato juice

1 tbsp chili powder

2 tsp cumin

2 bay leaves

1 tsp cinnamon

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tbps chipotle powder OR 2-3 dried chipotle peppers, broken up

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup sundried tomatoes

Cayenne pepper (optional)

Tabasco (optional)

Salt and pepper (to taste)

1. Combine cubed squash, onions, and garlic. Cook in olive oil until squash becomes slightly tender.

2. Add beans, broth, spices, and canned tomatoes.

3. QUICK METHOD: Cook until squash becomes soft and you can cut it with a fork, stirring often.

NOT-SO-QUICK METHOD: Bring to simmer for ten minutes, then turn heat to lowest setting, cover, and cook for up to two hours, stirring occasionally.

4. Top with shredded cheese.

 

CARNIVORES: I plopped some chicken in this for my husband, and he claims it went very well.

VEGANS: Skip the cheese and you’ll be fine.

FUCK YOUR CARB PROBLEMS: Rude! Also, serve over brown rice or with tortilla chips.

LOW CARB SUPERHEROES: Serve over cauli-rice, replace beans with soybeans or ground meat.

 

  • Calories: 115.1
  • Total Fat: 0.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
  • Sodium: 270.5 mg
  • Total Carbs: 25.7 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 7.9 g
  • Protein: 4.9 g

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The following recipe comes from the Something Awful Forums; which is the best thing on the internet. Their Goons With Spoons subforum is a great place for both amateur and professional cooks to ask questions and share ideas, and there’s literally no culinary query that goes unanswered. Also has an Iron Chef competition.

Make this recipe for when you have people over, or when you need a lot of leftovers. And use fresh ginger, dammit!

PEANUT-SQUASH STEW, thanks to SA goon EVG for posting the original

MAKES FIFTY THOUSAND SERVINGS

1 cup peanut butter

1 butternut squash (or other winter squash), peeled, cored, and cut into cubes

1 can tomatoes (not whole, but not sauce)

12 oz tomato juice (I have used V8 juice in this recipe with good results, but I’ve also forgotten the juice component altogether and used water or broth sparingly to thin it out.)

200g tofu, sliced or diced

1 cup cilantro

5-6 cloves of garlic

3 TBSP ginger

1/2 onion

Thyme

Red pepper flakes/cayenne (optional)

Black pepper

Olive oil

Oregano

1. Get your squash all naked and spread wide open. Awww, yeah.

2. Cut it into bite-sized (or smaller) cubes. (This part should not be sexy.)

3. Saute squash chunks in olive oil, along with tofu, red pepper, onions, ginger, and garlic. Cook until squash starts to soften, ~10-15 minutes.

4. Add juice, tomatoes, salt (to taste), and other spices. Simmer until squash is tender (~5-10 minutes).

5. Add cilantro, then peanut butter.

6. Stir peanut butter in until mixture becomes orangey in colour. Continue to simmer until stew reaches required thickness- I find that it’s a fine thickness shortly after the peanut butter is added, but your mileage may vary.

7. Serve in a variety of ways, as follows:

INTERESTED-IN-CARBS PARTIES: Rice, either white or brown.

LOW-CARB CHAMPIONS: Shredded chicken.

LOW-CARB VEGETARIANS WHO ARE INSANE PEOPLE LIKE MYSELF: Nothing! It’s very good on its own. Or cauli-rice.

CRAZY PEOPLE: AAA batteries.

This stew is great for a few days in the fridge, and it reheats well. Perfect for lunches. It’s also vegan and incredibly kid-friendly. Feel free to put some dark leafy greens like spinach or kale in it. This is FILLING AS HELL. Trust me, I really don’t recommend adding the rice at all. I’ve also used lovage in this recipe instead of cilantro (my husband is bad at herbs) and it was surprisingly good, so feel free to switch out the cilantro if you don’t like it.

NUTRITIONAL INFO:

  • Servings Per Recipe: 7
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 371.0
  • Total Fat: 28.0 g
  • Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
  • Sodium: 133.0 mg
  • Total Carbs: 24.2 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 4.4 g
  • Protein: 11.6 g

Here’s the link to the original thread, and an ACTUALLY RELATED PICTURE which I did not take:

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Disclaimer: Not low-carb, don’t know how to make it low-carb, don’t rightly give a damn! It’s delicious.

From Serious Eats:

INGREDIENTS:

Makes 2-4 servings

2  cups arborio rice

6-7 tomatoes, cut into chunks

olive oil

salt

pepper

Fresh mozzarella (adjust this based on how much you’d like. We used roughly 100 grams.)

garlic

1 onion

Basil

Thyme

1 bay leaf

Oregano

About 2 pounds vegetable stock (EDIT 10/28/12: I have no idea why I wrote “pounds” here. It is a liquid. The amount of stock you need actually seems to vary; the original recipe called for tow cups, but I ended up needing much more, for some reason. Just have two or three cups heated and ready to go, then supplement with hot water or more stock if necessary.)

2 tbs butter

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Toss tomatoes and chopped garlic with olive oil and a dash of salt. Put in oven, preheated to 350 F, and roast for roughly 30 minutes, turning the tomatoes every 10 minutes or so.

2. Put roasted tomatoes and all juices into a strainer or like-minded piece of kitchen equipment, and strain until you have a puree. Save the remaining skins and seeds; you can use them as a pasta or salad topping- or for my Beans and Green Casserole.

3. Simmer the vegetable stock and spices.

4. Melt butter over medium heat and add the onions. Cook until translucent.

5. Add 1 cup of rice to the onions and stir until coated in fat. Wait until the rice turns translucent, then add 1 cup of vegetable stock. Cook until absorbed. Add the second cup, and subsequent broth.

6. Here’s where it gets tricky: although I only used two cups of dry rice, I ended up needing more than my two pounds if stock. Stretch things with water if necessary, and season if you feel the dish’s flavour is being watered down too much.

7. Once all the stock and water is added, taste constantly. The rice should be soft, but with a little bite to it.

8. Stir in the tomato puree, and cook a few minutes longer.

9. Add cubed mozzarella cheese. Stir in, then serve immediately. Top with greens if desired.

This was so good that my husband actually ate two servings’ worth. I consider that a freakin’ achievement.

UNRELATED PICTURE:

Image

I have no idea what’s going on here.

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I have no choice. I’m from Upstate NY; I MUST eat a combination of beans and greens at every opportunity.

Our Bountiful Basket this week included a whole whack of collard greens, as well as carrots, celery, and a load of other goodies. To be honest, I thought the collard greens were kale- except I hate kale, so I was pleasantly surprised, after resigning myself to a prickly mouthful of utter shit, to see that I had some real edible greens to work with! (Sorry, kale lovers. I know there are many of you, but I just can’t join your numbers.)

This dish is awesome, if for no other reason than it’s totally customizable. If you haven’t noticed, most of the stuff I post has that quality. I do this on purpose- my husband hates 85% of vegetables, although he’s getting better, I don’t eat meat, he doesn’t eat carbs (and I try to limit my own intake, although not hugely.)

I’ll post my suggestions for customizing this dish after the recipe. By the by, I should say this is based on a recipe from Bistro Katie for a white bean and kale casserole. Enjoy!

(By the way, if you’re a displaced Upstate New York-er like myself, you might enjoy this blog about Upstate cuisine. You would not, however, enjoy my least favourite aunt’s recipe for chicken riggies.)

BEANS AND GREENS CASSEROLE

Serves 2, maybe 4

You need the following:

1 bunch collard greens, kale, or spinach (you could use frozen or canned, if you want, but whyever would one?)

1 carrot

2 ribs of celery

1 diced tomato

Broth of your choice (roughly 1 cup or less)

1 ear of corn, kernels cut off (use frozen or canned here if you like, it’s just corn!)

1 can beans (the original recipe called for white beans, and I did buy some, but the noodlebrain at Albertson’s forgot to put them in my bag! No matter, I used a can of kidney beans and they turned out great. Stick to beans in the “seems legit for something European-tasting” family and you’ll do fine.)

1/2 onion

Garlic (as usual, I insist you use as much garlic as you want. I am Greek and therefore refuse to limit anyone’s garlic consumption.)

Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

Thyme

Rosemary

Paprika

Basil

Dill

Cayenne Pepper

1/2 cup almond flour

1/2 cup grated, shredded, or “shaky” Parmesan cheese (Because I am a ridiculously huge fan of Home Movies [and anything that Brendon Small does], I refer to the kind of Parmesan you buy that resembles sawdust as “shaky cheese.” I buy it at all because my husband insists, even though I normally frown on that sort of thing.)

INSTRUCTIONIFICATION:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Chop the onions, carrot, celery, and garlic, and cook in a bit of olive oil. Get it to the point where things begin to soften, but not to the point where things are fully cooked.

3. In a separate saucepan (if you want to heat it up) or bowl (if you don’t care), combine the broth with the tomato and get to the simmering point (or don’t if you don’t care. This ain’t Nazi Germany, y’all, it’s shizz on a stove.) Add this mixture to the other veggies, and simmer.

4. After veggies are fairly cookified, add the greens. Cook down. This will obviously take longer depending on the age and toughness of the greens involved, but once everything looks bright, wet, and a bit smaller, you’re good.

5. Add beans and spices, then bring to a simmer again.

6. In a separate receptacle, combine the almond flour and parmesan with a couple teaspoons of olive oil.

7. Pour the delightful veggie mixture into an oven-safe casserole dish.

8. Top with almond flour-Parmesan mixture.

9. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

SUBSTITUTIONS:

For normal humans: use breadcrumbs instead of almond flour, and leave off the Parm if you like.

For serious low-carbers: Use soybeans or a meat instead of the other beans. Top solely with cheese if you don’t want to mess around with flour at all. You also can use any oil you prefer to olive oil.

For vegans: Leave the Parm off, and you’ll be just fine.

For Jedi: Use the Force to heat everything to the desired temperature.

As usual, my food pictures suck, so here is a shot of a handsome gentleman:

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If you don’t think Gul Dukat is weirdly attractive, you got problems, son.

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Okay, so these may not be authentic chilaquiles by even a long shot. They’re probably not. But they’re delicious, and at least based on a recipe I found by googling “GIVE ME CHILAQUILES NOW,” so whateversauce. 

I hate California, but I LOVE my new hometown, Missoula. The food is good, the people are nice, and things are CHEAP. Plus, there’s a surprisingly low ratio of hipsters to normal people, despite it being a college town. My favourite restaurant here for breakfast and lunch is a little place called Catalyst (http://www.thecatalystcafe.com/) and it is amazing. Please allow me to enumerate the reasons:

1. Nearly every item on the menu can be made gluten-free and vegan, SIMULTANEOUSLY.

2. The food is just astonishingly good.

3. They display art for sale, and not only is it generally great art, but it actually sells- last time I was there, I saw three painting sell in the space of 45 minutes.

If you are ever in Missoula, MT, you need to check out Catalyst. It’s only open for breakfast and dinner, but it’s amazing. And DEFINITELY try the huckleberry lemonade, if you’re not 100% sugar-free.

In any case, despite living in California for a year, this is the first time I’ve ever gotten to try chilaquiles because EVERYWHERE in CA serves it with meat and flour tortillas. Not so here!

I loved them so much, I HAD to go home and try to make them myself! And I did. So here they are. EAT THEM EAT THEM NOW.

Chilaquiles:

Serves 2-4, depending on appetites

Corn tortillas: Use about 4 for two people. Low-carb tortillas are a perfectly acceptable addition, as are carb-free and crunchy lettuce leaves. Use what suits your dietary needs best. Since we do a restricted, but not zero-carb gluten-free diet, corn tortillas suit us just fine.

Beans: I tend to use red kidney beans, since we got what I think is called a “flat” of them from CostCo. I always use canned beans because I have NEVER been able to get dried ones working for me. I know that’s super-trendy and all, but please, people, be reasonable. Use the beans in the cans if it works best for you. No one needs to be a trendwhore, DAMMIT. 

Er. In any case, I use one can of beans for this. Soybeans would work just fine, for th elow-carbers, but really I think any beans would be good.

Chilies: Thank to Bountiful Baskets, I’ve been using Hatch chilies for everything. Again, use what you prefer.

1 tomato

Half an onion, diced

Garlic- as much as you like, diced. (There is no need to restrain yourself, garlic-wise. All garlic is loved and welcomed and appropriate.)

Cheese: I’ve been using cheddar, but feel free to substitute with cotija or another Mexican cheese.

Dried Chipotles: again, this is debatable. If you want to make a dried chile sauce like I describe here, then yeah. If not, then bloody not!

Cooking oil of your choice

Cumin

Sage

Thyme

Epazote (optional)

 

COOKING DIRECTIONS:

1. If the tortillas are particularly floppy, give them a shallow fry so they get a bit of stiffness to them (optional)

2. Cover dried chiles in enough boiling water to just barely cover them; leave to soak for 15 minutes.

3. Combine beans with spices, onions, garlic, diced tomatoes, and fresh chiles if you’re using them. Either stir-fry these or puree- or do both, which is what I usually do. A neutral oil is a good idea. If you don’t mind raw-ish beans and veg, you don’t need to cook them, but I do suggest at least cooking the beans to softness. I prefer a chunky bean mixture, anyways.

4. Spread shredded lettuce on a plate, topped with the beans mixture.

5. After the chiles are finished soaking, puree them in a blender along with a few cloves of garlic and some salt.

6. Cut the tortillas into strips and cook them for a few minutes in the chile puree, or salsa if you prefer.

7. Plop the tortilla strips and remaining sauce on the beans, then top with cheese, cilantro, and any other Mexican-esque toppings you wish.

8. MAJOR SNARFAGE

 

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