Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Oeufs en Cocotte avec la Ciboulette et L'oignon Vert

Baked Eggs with Chives and Green Onions

2 Large Eggs
pat of butter
a pinch of salt & pepper
1 tsp heavy cream
1 green onion, sliced
6-7 chives, sliced

Generously butter a small ramekin or other small baking dish and place it in a bain marie. Break both eggs being careful not to break the yolk. Sprinkle with course sea salt and cracked pepper. Gently add the cream. For effect you can pour the cream onto a spoon aroung the yolks so the yolks can still be seen (I did not do this). Add the green onion and chives. For soft cooked yolks bake at 375 for 16 minutes. For fully cooked yolks bake at 425 for 20 minutes.
This did not take long to make, but it was very good. Very good.

Speaking of things French, I have been listening to CDs in the car to learn French and Spanish. I've learned quite a bit of Spanish, but the French is more slow going. I can ask where Saint Jack Street is, and I can ask if you speak French. I can also quote the line of a song from the 70's that has nothing to do with the CDs I'm listening to, but I digress.

I found a great webpage for people who want to learn another language. It is I also like to use which is kind of the same thing as Google Translate. I have looked for a good French text to speech narrator, and I found one that I like called Natural Reader. I just use the free demo on their homepage. I like it because you can adjust the speed of the narrator. There are other free demos online that you don't have to download, but this is the only one that I could find where I could adjust the speed of the speaker.

Au revoir et bon appétit!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Chocolate Berry Pavlova

There is a dessert called Pavlova that I have wanted to make. It is named after a Russian ballerina named Anna Pavlova. It is made of a meringue base that is crispy on the outside, but light and fluffy on the inside.

Whenever I've seen Pavlovas, they've been crazy tall, and now I understand why. The meringue kind of settles, and the flavor is so light, it will get lost in the cream or whatever you decide to fill it with. My Pavlova base was too short. Next time I will double the recipe and make it nice and tall.

If you decide to try making this, I recommend putting the meringue on a Silpat so that you can easily remove it and put it on a serving plate. For the Pavlova I used the egg whites that I had leftover from making the Hollandaise sauce for the Eggs Benedict. I whipped the egg whites together with some sugar and about 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar. I whipped it to high peaks, and then I spread it in a circle, lifting the edges higher than the center. I put it in the oven at 250 deg F for an hour and then I turned the over off and opened the oven door to let the meringue "dry out".

I filled it with whipped cream (heavy whipping cream whipped tight with powdered sugar and vanilla extract), and then I topped it with raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries. With just that, it was pretty as a picture, but I wanted to go over the top a bit. I made a syrup with Amarena cherry juice, marashino cherry juice, and a little bit of strawberry syrup. I dusted on a little bit of grated dark chocolate before I took some pictures. I had a lot of chocolate shavings left, so I dumped it all on and took more pictures. The extra chocolate made a difference in taste, and it was very good. Puddleglum and the boys all liked it a lot, but what's not to like- fresh berries, whipped cream, good chocolate, cherry sauce, and creamy meringue? It's an instant winner. I think it would have been better if I had made more meringue. Visually, I think the presentation would be even better if I made the filling and the meringue different colors so that you can see both layers. So next time I am going to double the meringue recipe and put some color in either the meringue or the cream.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Salmon Eggs Benedict

I love eggs. They are so versatile, and I consider them comfort food. I like them every which way, but my favorite is probably poached; although I've taken a liking to three minute egg cups. When we visited my sister in Austin, she took us to the Original Pancake House where I had their version of Egg's Benedict which is made with a sausage patty instead of ham, and has a mushroom sauce that is so yummy. When I worked at Vargo's, we served traditional Eggs Benedict on their Sunday brunch menu. I wanted to make Eggs Benedict, but I wanted to make something special, so I decided to make Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon.

Everyone makes poaching eggs sound so difficult. It's not. If you have a very fresh egg, it's easier, but even if you don't have fresh eggs, it can still be done. Just add some vinegar to the water- maybe a couple of tablespoons. Bring the water up to a good boil, and then keep it at a gentle, simmering boil. I break my eggs into individual small ramekins, and then a gently drop them in. After I put them in, I set my timer to two minutes. At two minutes I lift them out with a skimmer, and put them on a couple of layers of paper towels.

Hollandaise sauce is also not really that difficult. There are several good recipes online. It's basically three things; egg yolks, lemon juice (or white wine vinegar), and melted butter. Yah. Artery clogging. But you don't put much hollandaise on the eggs, and hopefully some of those omega-3s in the salmon will counteract some of that. Anyway, what I did was I whisked the egg yolks in a bowl set over the pan with boiling water for the eggs (do not let the bowl touch the boiling water or you could scramble the yolks). I did not have lemons, but I put a couple of tablespoons of white wine vinegar in with the yolks. You whisk for quite a while until the yolks look thick and have grown in volume. Then you add an entire stick of melted butter (yowza!). I had already melted it, and I had it sitting next to the stove. You need to have everything ready when you make this sauce. Add your butter and whisk, whisk, whisk. If the sauce gets too thick, then whisk in a tablespoon or two of the boiling water. Season with salt and cayenne. You can taste when it is ready. It tastes really yucky if it isn't ready yet.

I have found that the best way to make asparagus is to microwave them. They stay greener this way, and it is harder to overcook them. Just nuke them with some water. We usually sit them in some water in a glass loaf pan. It varies on how long. If you have large asparagus, and you are making an entire "bunch", it can take several minutes. Today I only made seven, and then were very thin. It took like a minute. I just put some butter on them when I plated everything. If I had the money, I would have wrapped them in Jamón ibérico.

On two halves of some english muffins that I bought at MarketStreet I spread a thick layer of cream cheese (why the heck not?). Then I layered the smoked salmon on top of that. I had that ready and waiting for when the eggs were done. I placed the eggs on top of the salmon, and then spooned on the hollandaise sauce. Over that I sprinkled some basil and paprika. I thought the chives looked nice just layed on top. I wanted to put salmon roe on the very top, but it was freakin' sixteen dollars! I had intended to plate this with some red onion, but just forgot to use it until after I had taken all the pictures. I did sprinkle some on before I started eating, and it was yummy that way. All in all, pretty pleased with this one.

Saturday, February 28, 2009


I decided to make some bread today of the "artisan" variety. A couple of years ago I did a post about the no-knead bread recipe that Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery in Manhatten developed. It makes a nice crusty bread that is airy with lots of holes and not dense. I've taken a liking to kneading bread, though, and I don't think far enough ahead to do the eighteen hour rising thing that you do with the no-knead recipe. So lately I've been using some more traditional recipes with good results.

Over the holidays my sister brought some good bread from Austin with rosemary in it, and it was delicious. She brought some fancy cheese and wine with it, and everything went so well together. We have a bunch of pecans, so I made a couple of loaves with pecans and rosemary. It is really good together. Everyone liked it except Jon. He does not like nuts and apparently does not like rosemary either.

I learned some important lessons today. Do not cut your loaf before the second rise. Cut it just before you put it in the oven. The loaf that I crosscut sort of split open in a big way during the second rise. I had to try and pinch everything back together which made it kind of collapse, so I had to let it rise again a little.

A couple of weeks ago I made homemade french bread, and we used it to make french bread pizza. It was a hit. I did learn some things when I made these loaves. The recipe I used says to let the dough rest for ten minutes before shaping into the loaves. The top surface got a little dry during those ten minutes. I should have rolled this in so the more moist side is on the outside. The way I did it left my loaves with some kind of bread measels. It tasted good, and that's the important thing.

French Bread
5 1/4 cups all purpose flour (we use Gold Medal Better for Bread Flour)
2 packages quick rise yeast
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups warm water

In a small bowl mix the yeast and the warm water (and maybe a little sugar) to make sure the yeast is active. In a large bowl mix 2 cups of flour and the salt. Then add your yeast water using a large wooden spoon to mix it together. Start adding the rest of your flour mixing with the wooden spoon, and then eventually mixing it with your hands. Transfer only a floured surface and knead until a nice dough forms. It takes about 8 to ten minutes to have a nice smooth, elastic dough. If you want to make the pecan rosemary bread, at this point mix/knead in two large handfuls of chopped pecans, a tablespoon or so of honey, and a tablespoon or so of rosemary.

Place dough in a large greased bowl and turn once so all sides get some oil on it. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubles- about an hour.

Dump dough onto a floured surface and gently punch down. Divide dough in half and shape into loaves. Place on a baking pan with a light dusting of cornmeal. Cover with a damp kitchen towel. Put in a warm spot and let rise for about 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 425. Place a pan on the lowest rack (you'll use this pan to create steam).

After 45 minutes or so of rising, remove damp towel and score loaves with a sharp knife. Place baking pan in rack in middle of oven. Pour water into the hot pan on the lowest rack. It will immediately sizzle and steam will begin to form. Immediately close the oven door. You can also use a spritzer to spray the loaves and the sides of the oven to create a humid environment.

After twenty minutes take baking pan out and rotate. Bake for another twenty minutes. If the tops of the loaves start to get too brown at any point, you can cover the tops with aluminum. Let loaves cool on a wire rack. Do not cut loaves while they are hot. Allow to cool and use a good bread knife to cut the loaves. You could also use the no-knead method of baking in a dutch oven or enamel stock pot.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Back Forest Trifle

Kuidaore is one of the best food blogs that I follow. The latest post looks scrumptious, but then again, everything on this blog looks scrumptious.

From the blog post:

"Crème Chocolat is layered with Kirsch whipped cream, preserved wild sour cherries, and boudoir biscuits laced with Kirsch syrup.

The key is to use good quality cherry eau-de-vie, and good quality preserved cherries. Where the latter is concerned, griottes may be the traditional choice - and I may possibly get stoned by Black Forest Cake purists for saying the following - but my personal absolute favourite preserved cherries to use are Amarena Fabbri. As much as I adore the distinctive and signature blue-and-white packaging, what has me completely sold is what lies within the jar - small, plump, succulent amarena (wild sour black cherries) carefully candied in thick amarena syrup."

I'm drooling...

Bananas Foster a Fourth Way

A while back I did a post called Bananas Foster Three Ways. Well, here is a fourth way, and it looks dee-lish-us. Culinary Concoctions by Peabody is... genius.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Blackbeard's Hot Buttered Rum

I remember who first introduced me to hot buttered rum. Stephanie and I met when we were fourteen at the beginning of ninth grade. She was the new girl in school, and I remember when I first saw her in band. She looked mad and unhappy, but she was very pretty, so she was the talk among all the guys. Of course, all the girls hated her. Somewhere in the middle of the year we became best friends, and we saw eachother through many a tough time.

I started waitressing when I was eighteen. It was my next job after my summer as a security guard. I waitressed for about eight years. I started off working for ARA and Marriott foods doing banquets. Then I got a job at the Peking Chinese Restaurant. I worked for a summer at Griggs in El Paso while I was taking Microbiology and Anatomy & Physiology at UTEP. Stephanie worked for Chelsea Street Pub in El Paso. Back then Chelsea's was still pretty cool. They needed some Christmas help, so Stephanie got me a job while I was home for Christmas. I can't remember where we were or the circumstances, but she made me a hot buttered rum. She used light rum and white sugar. I remember it being almost clear. It's a comfort drink for sure.

When I moved to Houston, I got a job at Vargo's and I moonlighted at the Houston Racquet Club (I just found out this month that Mr. Vargo passed away in August). These jobs lent themselves to discovering other "comfort drinks", but hot buttered rum always held a special place in my heart.

It's a special occassion, so Puddleglum bought a good quality Puerto Rican rum. I decided to create a drink. I'm calling it Blackbeard's Hot Buttered Rum.

Blackbeard's Hot Buttered Rum

1 shot Puerto Rican rum
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 small drop blackstrap molasses
very hot water
1 pat of butter

Mix first four ingredients. Place pat of butter on top. One variation would be to use a black rum like Cruzan Blackstrap Rum, Gosling's Black Seal, or Maui Dark Rum.

Coffee Can Bread and Triple Hot Chocolate

I've been making coffee can bread on occasions for over ten years. I don't make it very often, but I enjoy making it when I can. I think there is something good and wholesome about homemade bread, and I have much respect for people who bake their own bread on a regular basis. The 1987 edition of the Best of Sunset has been one of my all time favorite cookbooks. It has several really good bread recipes. It even gives instructions on how to make your own outdoor adobe oven.

Coffee Can Bread is a batter bread, so it's a dense kind of cakey bread. A couple years ago there was a big thing in the foodie world about no knead bread , which is a technique to make artisan french style bread without all the kneading. You don't do any kneading with this recipe, but it is not at all an artisan bread. If you are looking for that, this is not it. It's still an easy way to make homemade bread, and it makes good sandwich bread, so you could make cute, round sandwiches. I used a Cafe Du Monde chickory coffee can.

For the picture I left the "muffin top" on top of the slices. Kind of reminds me of that Seinfeld episode... "It's not top of the muffin TO YOU..." I pulled out a bunch of things for the boys to put on their bread, but in the end everyone wanted butter and honey. It was good. You can kind of see two faint rings etched into our table. Puddleglum uses these as templates for when he makes pizza dough. We have two pizza pans, large and medium. Puddleglum makes the dough on the table and then transfers them onto the pans. He could probably just eyeball it, but he is kind of picky about his pizza.

I'd been wanting to make some really thick and rich Mexican chocolate, so I decided to make that tonight as well. I put an Abuelita chocolate "tablet" in a mini food processor to break it up. If you've never used Abuelita or Ibarra Mexican chocolate, you need to know that you have to use a blender or a food processor to break it up. I wanted something super chocolaty, so I then fortified it with some high quality cocoa powder. In a double boiler I melted dark, bitter sweet chocolate chips with a little bit of regular chocolate chips to give a little sweetness (and because I didn't have as much of the more expensive dark chocolate chips left as I thought I did). When the chocolate was melted, I added the Abuelita chocolate and cocoa powder. I heated this for a while to get rid of some of the graininess of the large sugar crystals that comes in the Abuelita chocolate. I slowly added some milk. After that had mixed well, I added some more milk. I didn't want it to be like regular hot chocolate. I wanted it really thick and rich, so I was careful not to "water" it down with too much milk. I really like chili powder in my hot chocolate, so added that as well. Nigella Lawson likes rum in her hot chocolate, so you could add some Captain Morgan's if that's your kind of thing.

Coffee Can Batter Bread (from the Best of Sunset Magazine 1987)

1 pkg quick rise yeast
½ cup warm water (~110deg F)
1/8 tsp ground ginger
3 TBSP sugar
1 ½ cup mild
1 tsp salt
2 TBSP light olive oil
~4 ½ cup Gold Medal Better for Bread Flour
Melted Butter

Sprinkle yeast over the warm water in a large bowl. Stir in ginger and 1 tablespoon sugar. Let stand for about five minutes until bubbly. Stir in remaining sugar, milk, salt, and oil. Beat in 3 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time. Then add remaining flour ½ cup at a time until dough pulls from sides of bowl but is too soft to knead. The book says to use a heavy spoon, but I just used my hands. The dough should stick to your hands because it should be the consistency of a very thick batter. If it feels like you are kneading pizza dough, you’ve added too much flour.

Divide the dough in two. Put each half into a well greased 1-pound coffee can. Put the well greased plastic lids on (you can actually just stick them in the freezer at this point to bake at a later time. Let rise in a warm place until the batter pushes off the lids. Sometimes air pressure will pop the lids off before it’s finished rising. Just put the lids back on. It takes about 45-55 minutes to rise depending on the temperature in your kitchen. Start preheating the oven to 350deg F about thirty minutes in.

After they have finished rising, bake for about 45 minutes on the bottom rack. The tops should be very golden brown when you take them out. Brush the tops with the butter. Let cool on a wire rack for five minutes. Take a butter knife and loosen the bread from the sides and slide the loaf out. Let cool in an upright position on the rack. Serve warm with butter, honey, etc. You can modify this recipe to make English Muffins. If anyone is interested in that modification, just message me.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Pulled Pork Sandwiches and a Failed Attempt at Fried Pickles

The homemade kaiser rolls took a long time, but if you used store bought rolls, this is something you could put in the crock pot in the morning and have ready for dinner. The pork was fall apart tender, and Puddleglum and all the boys kept sampling the pork while I got everything ready.

There are probably a ton of recipes on the internet. I rubbed a pork should blade roast with brown sugar, paprika, onion powder, sea salt, and fresh ground
pepper. I put onion slices, carrots, and celery on the bottom of a crock pot, and put the roast (fat side up) on the vegetables.

You can roast all day on low. After you take your finished roast out, save and freeze the juice in the crock pot for soup stock. We put pan drippings in freezer bags and freeze them flat for easy thawing.

I wanted to give kudos to my friend, Christina. A few years ago she gave me the recipe for roasting a chicken in a crock pot with forty cloves of garlic, and that got me used to roasting meat in a crock pot. We've made that recipe so many times, and it is good every time. The drippings from that recipe make the best soup stock.
The kaiser rolls were tricky. I enjoyed making these, and I felt like it was worth it. If you want to try making these, click HERE to go to an excellent website with instructions and pictures. Instead of poppy seeds, I used sesame seeds since we always have a bunch of those (the boys like rice with soy sauce and sesame oil with sesame seeds sprinkled in). For my oven, the temperature in the instructions was a little high. If you are wondering what those yellow discs are, they are a pickled radish called oshingo. I tried making fried pickles with them (in addition to dill pickles), and it was a complete disaster.

I made carrot salad with asian apple pear, pineapples, and dried cranberries. It sounds good, and it was good, but truthfully I didn't feel it was a ton better than the kind of carrot salad that everyone's mom makes with plain old raisins and apples. I asked Puddleglum to pick up some of the good dill pickles in the refrigerated section, and he brought back those long flat sandwich sliced pickles. This was great for the sandwiches, but I actually wanted to make fried pickles. I did try cutting some of the sandwich slices and frying them, but it didn't turn out right. Several people commented about missing fried pickles. If I ever perfect a recipe that tastes like what I remember from Pass the Biscuits, I'll post it. If anyone tries a recipe that is close, please let me know. These were edible, and the batter might have been right, but because they were cut from sandwich slices, they weren't the right texture.

I made homemade barbecue sauce using a recipe from Emeril. It is from this WEBPAGE where he makes pulled pork sandwiches with cole slaw and fried pickles. I didn't use his fried pickle recipe because he fried them whole. I think sliced pickle slices have to work better. Anyway, the barbecue sauce turned out really well. We happened to use the very last bit of ketchup for the recipe, so when I finished mixing it, I just poured it back into the ketchup container so we could just squeeze it onto our sandwiches. We were out of apple cider vinegar, so I used 1/2 a cup of white vinegar and 1/2 a cup of peach flavored grape juice (I know, but this is actually a good substitution). I know it doesn't sound very culinary, but neither do fried pickles. I also didn't have dried crushed red pepper, so I used cayenne pepper instead. It was darn good barbecue sauce.

Emeril's Barbecue Sauce

• 1 cup apple cider vinegar
• 1 cup ketchup
• 3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
• 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
• 1 tablespoon molasses
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

In a bowl, combine all the ingredients and whisk well to dissolve the sugar. Place in a squeeze bottle and dress the pulled pork sandwiches to taste. This recipe is great as a condiment, but for baking or grilling, it is too bland. Add some Worcestershire, onion powder, soy sauce, honey or whatever to taste.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

DBSK Taste vs. Taste

This is 2 of 9 parts. You can watch the other eight by going to Skip ahead to 2:00 to see a neat fish dish being made. I don't get the entire game show. If someone understands the premise, please explain in a comment. I don't get it...

Friday, January 2, 2009

Kimchi Jigae II

I loosely based this on the recipe by Maangchi. You can watch her video for kimchi jigae on Youtube. I changed some things. Kimchi jigae is one of those dishes that can be a little different every time. Greg saw some shitake mushrooms at the grocery store that looked good, so I had those on hand. We also had a red bell pepper that we wound up not using for the Christmas dinner, so I used that too. I bought a 5 pound pork shoulder blade roast that we are having tomorrow, so I cut about half a pound off of it for this soup. Really, I think there are only a few things that you have to have for kimchi jigae- kimchi, gochujang (Korean red pepper paste), water, and onion. You could make a basic soup with just that. It would be simple, but you could do it. Pork would really add to it as would the tofu, sesame oil, and garlic. Maangchi doesn't use egg in her recipe, but my other favorite Youtube Korean cook is aeriskitchen, and she puts egg in her Korean Kimchi Ramon. I tried it, and I liked it.

I don't think this dish photographs well. If I had been thinking about it, I would have sprinkled some green onion on the top to make it look prettier. Well, it is what it is. I must say the end product was delicious. I used firm tofu, but Maangchi likes soft tofu. Also, I've seen many Koreans who slice the tofu in large flat squares not in small cubes like I did. The kimchi that I buy from the Korean store here in town already is coarsely chopped. I did chop some of the larger sections of cabbage into bite sized pieces. In most cooking onion is finely chopped for soup and then sauteed in butter or some kind of oil (except onion soup where the onion is left in rings). Maangchi chops her onion in large strips. Korean cooking is different from what you typically think of. I remember thinking my mom was not very culinary when she boiled soup on the stove, but that is what you do with kimchi jigae. You don't bring it up to a boil, and then turn down the heat to a simmer which is how most cooking is done. You keep it on high heat at a good boil for ten minutes, and then turn it down to medium low, and you still pretty much keep it at a boil.

My mom had a refrigerator in the garage that was dedicated to Korean food. I remember being a little afraid of it. I seldom had to open the door, but when I did, it was always with a little trepidation. I remember always being revolted by a bag of dead, dried up little fish. Now I know what they are for, and I even have a bag of my own. They are boiled and dried anchovies. You use them to make dashi (fish stock). I bought them to make dukboki (see my previous note on that) which is a popular street food in Korea. Since I had some, I thought instead of just adding water to the kimchi jigae, that I would make dashi and use that. It did give a very subtle and enjoyable fish flavor to the soup, so if you have it, great. If not, just use water. If you have guests coming over, I would forgo the dashi. It really smells up the house.

Tae obviously didn't like it (haha!). Thumbs up or thumbs down? Big thumbs up! He really liked the tofu. Baby is a brave one. I told him it was very spicy, but he wanted to try it anyway. He said, "Here goes." He liked it! He drank quite a bit of our special family heavily watered down peach flavored white grape juice to cool his mouth, but he did pretty good with it eating about a third of his bowl before giving up. The pork was very tender. I seared the pork pieces before adding the liquid. Maangchi uses pork belly. One time I did not have any pork, but I did have some bacon drippings in the fridge, so I added some to the soup for flavoring.

Once you master kimchi jigae, you can use the concepts in all kinds of dishes. I made this "Asian Leek Soup" when Puddleglum decided to buy some leeks. He was going to make this one particular dish, but then he changed his mind, and then we had all these great leeks. I started the way you would most soups. I put a tablespoon (or two) of butter into a saute pan, then I added the leeks (which I had washed and chopped). I sauted them until they started to get soft. I think we had some store bought chicken broth in the refrigerator or maybe I just added water (I can't remember now- I took a picture to do a blog post, and then I forgot to type everything out). We had some leftover pan drippings from a roast and also some homemade chicken stock in the freezer, so I threw both bags in. I added a little bit of gochujang and some soy sauce, and I think I put in a little brown sugar for some sweetness. Then I broke a couple of eggs into it like aeriskitchen does. When I plated it, I sprinkled some green onion and cilantro on top, and I served it with lime wedges to squeeze over the soup. Puddleglum really liked it, and I made it completely on the fly with ingredients on hand and things that I learned from Maangchi and aeriskitchen.

Puddleglum's Kimchi Jigae

1 TBSP pure sesame oil
1/2 onion chopped into "strips"
3 cloves of garlic finely chopped or minced
1/2 pound pork (I used shoulder blade roast)
2 TBSP red bell pepper chopped
5 shitake mushrooms sliced
3 green onions sliced thin
2 cups kimchi coarsely chopped (pressed down to 2 cups)
1 TBSP sugar
5 cups dashi* (you can just use water)
1 heaping TBPS of gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
1/2 pkg tofu cut into cubes
1-2 eggs
another drizzle of pure sesame oil (make sure it is brown and not the light colored stuff)

In a large saute pan or small stock pot add the 1 TBSP of sesame oil, onion, and garlic. Saute over high heat. After a couple of minutes add the pork. Stir to sear the outside of the pork for maybe a minute, but don't cook through. Add the red bell pepper, the mushrooms, and the green onion. Stir for a minute or two. Add the kimchi. Stir for another minute or so. Add the dashi (or water) and then the sugar *(to make dashi boil 5 cups of water with eight anchovies for several minutes. Remove and discard the anchovies). You may need to add a little more water to the kimchi jigae depending on how big your saute pan or stock pot is and how "liquidy" you want your soup. Boil on high heat covered for about ten minutes. Turn the heat down to medium/medium low and stir a couple of times. Cook for another ten minutes or so stirring occasionally. Add your eggs. You can beat them in a bowl and then slowly pour into the soup in a circle to form strings or you can break the eggs directly into the soup. If you do that, let the whites cook a little first, and then break your yolks and gently stir. Add your tofu. Cover and cook for another five minutes. Uncover and drizzle a little more sesame oil on top and gently stir. I felt like I wanted to add a little soy sauce at this point. Heck. It's my soup. Why not? I added a little soy sauce and gently stirred.

I made a pot of rice so that if the boys did not like it, they could have rice with soy sauce, sesame oil, and sesame seeds. Jax tasted it, and he liked it all right but not enough to have a whole bowl. He had the rice. I wanted to put a big spoonful of rice in my soup, but I chose to abstain to reduce my carb intake. Who am I trying to kid? I ate Pringles today with the boys. I should have had some rice...

One last note here. For kids who are not used to spice, you could reduce the gochujang to 1 tsp instead of 1 heaping TBSP. You could also "rinse" the kimchi in a strainer under the tap to reduce some of the spice before you add it to the pan. This would make it less spicy.