Kimchi Mushroom Risotto & Beef Short Ribs

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Last night was perfect. Seriously. I was feeling blah all day but I had a night in with Yobo. No one needed us but us. We had no other commitments, no homework due the next day, no urgently pressing matters, no conflicts (social or otherwise) that needed to be addressed that night. We walked home together. We talked about how crazy the upcoming election is going to be. Dinner was a salad with pomegranate molasses vinaigrette (yes, incorporating more veggies) and a brick-pressed ham sandwich. But it wasn’t just any ham sandwich: super thinly sliced ham with wild mushroom flecks; brie cheese with truffles; perfect crust on brioche baguette with a thin layer of Kewpie for a nonstick sear. Limbs later intertwined on the couch watching The Imitation Game in HD. And, I didn’t nod off nor fall asleep (this is a BIG deal for me, guys!!!). The movie was really engrossing, well-paced, and thought-provoking and sad. (More on that later.) Then we went to sleep around the same time (another big deal, see previous sentences). Sadly, I didn’t take a picture of my meal, but believe you me, ’twas perfect. It’s the little things.

I wanted to preface this post with a blurb about last night. It has absolutely nothing to do with this post’s recipe, but that’s how I roll…in randomness. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

KIMCHI MUSHROOM RISOTTO & BEEF SHORT RIBS // Serves 3-4

**For the short ribs, I followed this recipe. I think it needed a little more time in the oven because I like my meat fork tender. But they were still pretty yummy.

  • 1/3 cup kimchi, chopped
  • 3/4 cup paella or arborio rice
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1/3 cup button mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/3 cup oyster mushrooms, chopped (or shiitake)
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • handful of scallions
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat a pan with medium heat. Add oil/butter. Sautee kimchee until lightly crispy, about 4 min. Remove from pan. Add oil/butter. Add garlic and sautee until fragrant, about 1 min. Add mushrooms and salt and pepper. Sautee for about 5 minutes. Remove from pan.

Add butter to pan. Add rice and coat with melted butter, toast for about two minutes. Slowly start adding chicken broth, stirring vigorously. And broth, stir, when it looks dry, add more broth. Add broth in half cup increments. This process will take about 10-12 minutes. Add your mushrooms and kimchi. Lower heat and add white wine. Stir. Add cheese. Stir.

Turn off heat and stir again. Serve immediately. Garnish with sliced green onion/scallions.

Enjoy!

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The Friday Feels

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il_570xn-439014654_21asnce upon a time, when I was in 3rd grade, a poem I wrote made it to the main lobby of the building next to the principal’s office. As I proudly showed it off to my mother, she admonished me harshly for having the messiest paper as my moment of genius caused me to scrawl out words and scratch off the ones that I knew I had misspelled. I didn’t have wite-out back then and I didn’t have the patience to hand write it again neatly. Even now, my penmanship is shameful. I start off font-like and I delve into madness.

I consider this little story the Story of My Life. I’m not a patient person. I’m not as impatient as my little sister, but I’m not a calm rock either. I don’t like doing things over, especially if I’m doing things over to fix a mistake. One of my desired superpowers is to get Everything Right The First Time. I would make a terrible scientist or a corporate line cook as I would be forced to partake in repetition and, with the latter, with precision to commit to the same result. Since then, I have always felt guilty for not being perfect. The guilt is so pervasive in me that everything that is not perfect about myself is on a backwards pedestal (hair, weight, luck, etc.) Since then, even though the years have softened my mother into a tofu brain, I will remember her as militant and unbending…even cruel. But this post is about my writing. I have a few more memories of having my writing read to great “acclaim”: Ms. Kelley reading aloud a portion of an essay I wrote that blew her mind with my adolescent insight, and having my idiot classmates whip their heads to look at me in awe; a college classmate in an Advanced Writing Class reading my term paper on the bureaucracy of a pristine wilderness and writing, “This is a PERFECT paper! I wish I could write like you!” in the margins; a college professor cum Life Friend reading my final on how the Terminator movies were an allegory to life and telling me in person that this “was a pleasure to read. One of the reasons why I remember why I love my job.” There are others…

I’m not saying that I have the hidden talent that will award me a future Pulitzer. I’m saying that any smaller criticism against my writing makes me forget these things. In high school, a friend whom I worshiped as an older brother dismissed my emailed stories to him. He was going through the High School Breakup, and the stories weren’t his style, but I took it hard. When I look back now, I should have known that a teenage boy wouldn’t be into thinly disguised stories modeled after our friends with names changed all but for the first letter. A few years ago, I watched a Korean movie called Flower Island that affected me so much that I spent the next morning entirely in bed, writing a novelized adaptation of it. (I did that with Titanic too, thank you very much. I was struck by the fact that at the very end, Old Rose had the diamond all along and she threw it into the ocean. Jack died for nothing.) I nervously showed it to someone, hoping to impress and be praised with the volume and passion with which I wrote in such a flurry, but one of the first things pointed out to me was that my grammar was all over the place, which was probably true, but I hadn’t noticed because of my excitement. I have been terrified to show anyone else my writing since.

You know what though? I don’t think Stephen King cares that Suzy Homemaker or Joe Blow doesn’t like It or Carrie or the Dark Tower novels. He knows life is short, so fuck everyone else. He knows he’s a Storyteller in his belly, and he stokes that fire daily, critics be damned. I am a Storyteller. I love telling stories. I am riveted by them, and I like to turn everything into something that weaves into all the insanity and poignancy of humanity.

This year, I’m going to do my final edit of Electra, and finish the goddamn novel.

Signed,

Not Going to Get Anywhere If I Just Talk About It

[Typewriter image courtesy of Thuy Vanu.]

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If you’re still around, here are some Friday links:

I wish I was this baby. Safe, warm, and content. It also makes me want to learn how to play piano so I could this to a baby.

How amazing is this Adele-inspired sweater?

Gung Hay Fat Choi! Monday is Chinese New Year, and in the TV world, Fresh Off The Boat is going to dedicate an episode to it. I’ll have to tune in to see if they skewer any of our superstitions. Every family celebrates a bit differently. We have the oranges, incense, and big feast, but not the loaded hongpo.

Cute, satirical illustrations.

Enjoy your weekend! I think mine is going to be hella busy…