One Last Korean Feast for the Closing Ceremonies

Just over two weeks ago, I shared the Korean dinner I made for the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics…tonight I made another special meal for the Closing Ceremonies. I used the same cookbook, and we tried two new foods…Sundubu-jjigae (spicy soft tofu stew) and Gaji-namul (steamed eggplant). Once again, I got to work with some new ingredients and cooking methods.

One of the ingredients in the stew was kimchi, so we had that as a side dish again, along with short-grain rice. I even found Jinro, a brand of soju (a distilled beverage), for the adults in the house! I strained my stew because I wanted to make sure I found one of the eggs, but everybody else enjoyed it as soup like you’re supposed to.

I left the gold and silver table linens we used at our tea party on the table, to complete our Olympic look:

When I was researching Korean food and culture, I discovered that we know as Moon Pies in America are quite popular in Korea. I managed to find Choco-Pies made by the Orion Confectionary Company, a South Korean confectioner!

This meal was even more foreign to us than the one I made for the Opening Ceremonies. It was also quite popular, but I will confess…I didn’t like the stew! I’m glad the children enjoyed it, though, and I really liked the experience of making something new and special as we say goodbye to the Olympics!

Tasty Tuesday–Pan-Asia Supermarket

I’ve been cooking quite a few new Asian recipes since the beginning of the year, so I thought I’d do something different with Tasty Tuesday today, and share a glimpse into a store we’ve been frequenting a lot lately–the Pan-Asia Supermarket on Manchester Rd. in Manchester, MO.

It’s a big store!

It can be a little intimidating to shop there, because so many of the items for sale are unknown to me, but the helpful way the sections are divided up makes it easier to figure out where to start.

The have tons of fresh fish options, in addition to other kinds of meat:

And a large produce section, which stocks some familiar items, and some that are very, very different!

There are all kinds of other interesting things everywhere you look:

We’ve shopped at Pan-Asia quite a few times now, so I feel like I have a better understanding of how to approach my list, but I definitely see something new every time I walk through the door!

A Taste of Asia to Celebrate the Lunar New Year

When I was planning our special meals to celebrate the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, I realized that the Lunar New Year was going to fall right in the middle of the festivities. China is probably the first country that comes to mind when you think of Lunar New Year celebrations, but Korea, Vietnam, and several other Asian countries also observe this holiday. I also discovered that while it no longer is, it also used to be on Japan’s calendar, too. With that information in mind, I decided to make not just a Korean meal, but a whole “Taste of Asia!”

I did most of the cooking from scratch. I made shrimp egg rolls (which I’ve done once before) and Japanese pork gyoza, as well as more of the Korean fried tofu we enjoyed last week, and some light Vietnamese shrimp spring rolls. We also bought a package of frozen pork buns from the Asian market, and I used my bamboo steamer for the first time to prepare those. And Ryan went out and bought some crab rangoon from our favorite Chinese restaurant…they make them so well, there was no way I was going to bother trying to replicate them at home!

It was a nice selection of foods, from a good variety of Asian countries!

I even tried some Japanese sake for the first time:

I confess…I didn’t make any of the dessert from scratch. But we found two varieties of mochi (red bean and green tea) at the Asian market, and I bought a bag of fortune cookies, as well:

This was another fun meal, and gave us all the opportunity to try some new things. I’m planning one more big Korean dinner before the end of the Olympics, so stay tuned!

A Korean Feast for the Opening Ceremonies

The Opening Ceremonies of any Olympics are always reason for a feast!

I have been so excited all week, because I have been planning a Korean dinner to celebrate PyeongChang 2018. I spent a lot of time looking through the Korean cookbook I purchased just for this occasion, and choosing the things I wanted to cook for our Korean feast. When I finally came up with the menu, I realized there were quite a few ingredients in the meal that were new to us:

I had fun cooking all of the various components of our dinner…especially those that required me to work on my wok skills:

We had sweet potato starch noodles with stir-fried vegetables and beef (japchae), panfried tofu with spicy seasoning sauce (dububuchim-yangnyeomjang), and kimchi. I made everything except the kimchi, and originally, I had planned to make that, too, but I think I’ve watched too much Food Network, and it scared me a little!

It was a delicious dinner, and to my surprise, everyone enjoyed the tofu, which was probably the most foreign item on the menu!

For dessert, I had planned to make panfried sweet rice cakes with edible flowers (hwajeon) to go with the pear punch (baesuk) that has been steeping in the fridge all week. When I couldn’t find the necessary edible flowers, I bought a package of Korean rice cookies instead. But then Ladybug and I decided that mint leaves might work instead of the flowers, and you know what? They were delicious!

We had a really fun time trying out some very new-to-us Korean foods, and not only did I love cooking some new foods,  I was pleased with how much everyone enjoyed the things I made. We have a few other fun foods to try during the Olympics…I hope they’re as popular as tonight’s dinner!

My First Foray into Japanese Cooking

For Christmas, I bought Ryan a Japanese cookbook, with the promise I would cook the things he found interesting. My first chance came tonight, for his early birthday celebration.

Some of the ingredients were familiar to me, but there was also a whole lot of new stuff in the dinner prep!

For his birthday dinner, Ryan picked pork gyoza with a spicy dipping sauce plus pork tonkatsu sandwiches, served with shredded cabbage, Bulldog sauce, and Kewpie mayo. We also found Japanese Sapporo beer to go with the meal:

There is definitely a learning curve to both the cooking and the timing of the dishes (not to mention the clean-up, which was super fun with our dishwasher out of commission!), but everything tasted great, so I think it was a pretty successful first attempt!

2017-18 School Year–Week Sixteen

Whew…what a week! But we’re pretty much done until after the New Year!

Our regular religion lessons were sidelined for most of the week, as we spent extra time learning about Santa Lucia on her commemoration day, as well as a brief study of the Feast of Dedication since Hanukkah began this week. We even got to read from the Apocrypha, which isn’t totally unheard of around here, but is a bit unusual.

In math, Turkey and Bunny learned how to find the volume of cones, spheres, and pyramids. Ladybug got to use a protractor for the very first time this week, and she was very excited about it! Chickadee kept working on addition, and also practiced with a calendar a bit.

Turkey and Bunny were very relieved to finish up the chapter on the cell in science, and they both did a great job on the test. I think they’re very excited to have a break from such serious learning for a few weeks…it’s been a bit overwhelming.

We finished reading Ramona Quimby, Age 8 this week. Chickadee begged me to start reading the next book, but I told her we need to wait until after Christmas. We also started Kirsten’s Surprise this week, we’re still reading through A Christmas Carol, and we’re trying to read through some of our other Christmas books, as well, so Ramona (and our regular literature) will just have to wait.

We also got to do some fun stuff this week. In addition to learning about Hanukkah, and getting to play the dreidel game, we went to Belleville’s Cathedral of St. Peter to see their display of nativity scenes from around the world (including a somewhat controversial hipster nativity). It’s been three years since we last got to go, and we discovered that the nativities were mostly different this time! We also got to take a shift as Salvation Army Bell Ringers through a Thrivent service opportunity, which was a lot of fun, and something I’ve always wanted to do!

We are going to do a few fun things next week, including our yearly ornament project, the viewing of some more productions of the Nutcracker, and finishing A Christmas Carol. But that’s all easy stuff, so really, we’re on vacation already!

A Platinum Tea

For several years, I have been planning this Very Special Tea Party…one to celebrate the Platinum Wedding Anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. We had the tea party on November 10th, because even I’m not crazy enough to try to pull off an event like this Thanksgiving Week, but I wanted to wait until today, their actual anniversary, to share it. I think this may be the prettiest tea party we have ever had!

I wanted to go with a platinum (silver) and white theme for the table. Our china fit the bill perfectly, and I was able to find an inexpensive silver tablecloth (which I’ve wanted for a long time, anyway), to use as a runner on top of our white tablecloth. I added seven candles, (including a pretty grey-colored Yankee Candle) one for each decade of their marriage, as our centerpiece. The addition of my wedding tiara and a double strand of “pearls” completed the look.

The tea of choice was about as classic as it gets: Earl Grey.

We had four kinds of finger sandwiches: roast beef with horseradish and arugula on white bread, coronation chicken on wheat, cucumber and cream cheese on cocktail rye, and heart-shaped lobster salad on wheat:

I added in a few other savory choices: deviled eggs and Red Leicester cheese.

And the sweets. Grape Jell-O, lemon cake slices, chocolate chip scones (in the shape of a double heart!), and the pièce de résistance, a biscuit cake made with McVitie’s Digestives.

Everything was so beautiful!

It was also a delicious meal!

I don’t know if this was our “best” tea party ever (although I do think it was the loveliest), but it may have been the one that was the most meaningful to me. I am so thankful for the beautiful example of Christian marriage and faithfulness The Queen and Prince Philip have modeled and made look so effortless through all of the changes of the last 70 years.

I will leave you with two quotes: One from Prince Philip in a letter he wrote shortly after the wedding, and the second from The Queen on the occasion of their Golden Wedding Anniversary:

“Lilibet is the only ‘thing’ in the world which is absolutely real to me and my ambition is to weld the two of us into a new combined existence that will not only be able to withstand the shocks directed at us but will also have a positive existence for the good.” Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh

“He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim or we shall ever know.” Queen Elizabeth II