Monday, August 31, 2015

A Foreigner in a Korean Kitchen

This has been a really relaxing weekend for us. We decided to stay in Jinyeong and stay at home and relax. We are typically go, go, go on the weekends and end up feeling really tired and spending a lot of won.

So, we decided to take it easy this weekend. Consequently, staying at home I got into a cooking frenzy! I haven't done a lot of cooking lately and this weekend was a great exception. Cooking here can be discouraging as my kitchen is really small and western ingredients are hard to come by and extremely expensive in Jinyeong. Saturday we took a hike to the Jinyeong lookout and had a picnic of gimbap and mini bananas. It was really really hot outside and the hike was a great workout. A lot had changed at the lookout since our last hike. It was much greener and prettier than the last time we were there. It was quiet! Quiet, peace, serenity, solitude, these things don't happen too often here so Steve and I relished in the opportunity to occupy the pagoda at the top of the mountain and just sit in silence. It was wonderful. We returned home and I had these food and drink ideas in my head. I wanted to make baked brie and I wanted to make sangria. I also wanted to try and perfect a chicken and mushroom in white wine sauce that I had made a week earlier. So, I ventured to Home Plus Express in search of my ingredients. It proved to be a frustrating shopping experience. It is hard to find the things that you are looking for in Korea and they are often not exactly what you want or overpriced. I couldn't find honey for my brie and the french white wine was out of stock. There were no strawberries or raspberries for sale and the mushrooms that I wanted were out of stock. So I bought other mushrooms, chicken, brie, and red wine, and left. I stopped at a street vendor to buy some delicious looking raspberries. I only had won 10,000 left in cash and the berries were won 13,000! I was shocked at the price after I figured out how much it cost through gesturing. I went to Paris Baguette to buy a baguette and they didn't have the small jars of jam that they usually have. I was annoyed at this point, but as stubborn as I am I decided to go to GSmart. You see, once I get an idea in my head, I will pursue it and I really wanted this meal and sangria to come together for our relaxing Saturday evening. At GSmart I found crazy expensive honey for won 15,000 and passed it up. I bought a large jar of strawberry jam for the brie and found french white wine. I bought a half of a watermelon for the sangria and left feeling like I could complete the meal. At home, I baked the brie in the crockpot with a layer of jam on top. I made the sangria to chill in the fridge. I toasted the baguette slices and we devoured the brie. It was so delicious as this is the first "real cheese" we have had here. It was a rare and special treat that we really enjoyed. Afterward, I made my chicken and mushrooms in white wine sauce and it was even better than the first time. Watermelon sangria was chilled and we enjoyed it while we watching Amelie. All in all, it turned out to be a successful meal and a  relaxing Saturday.
Sunday has been equally relaxing. My cooking craze continued as I decided that I would try to make flour tortillas today. I went on a search for flour and baking powder and luckily found them easily at Home Plus Express. I spent the better part of the afternoon making the tortillas from scratch(without any measuring cups/spoons or rolling pins I might add). I really enjoyed the process and the finished product was a pleasant surprise. In Korea I have found that sometimes if you really want something you have to be persistent, you can't get discouraged, and sometimes you just have to roll up your sleeves and do it yourself.

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