Jason, for reasons I am still not completely sure of, had a can of coconut milk at work, which he brought home about two or three weeks ago. Ever since he did, I have been aching to use it in a recipe. Most of the recipes I found that call for coconut milk are curries, you know, really savory and delicious Thai and India food. But, I wanted to keep it sweet to really keep the coconut flavor.
I finally found this recipe and I was in business. Now, I did take pictures, but they didn’t come out nearly as well as I would have liked, so I am not including any this time. But, it came out REALLY good. The recipe actually calls for equal parts coconut milk and regular milk, but I didn’t have enough regular milk at the time, so I used the rest of the coconut milk. We also didn’t have lemons or limes, so I omitted that ingredient. It still tasted great (and still does today after chilling in the fridge).
Just a side note, for those of you who are vegan: You can substitute pretty much any non-dairy (ie rice, soy, coconut) milk for cow’s milk, especially in sweet foods like breads or puddings. I also find that applesauce or mashed bananas work really nicely in place of eggs and sometimes, butter in things like muffins, cookies, or breads. Just be aware that the results are a little less fluffy and a little more…sticky/gummy, but a lot more healthful!
Since posting last Sunday, I’ve been a bit busy. Vowing to get even more recipes under my belt, I started watching a few more YouTube channels like Laura Vitale’s “Laura In the Kitchen.” This stylish foodie specializes in mostly Italian cuisine, and makes it look easy as pie. Last night’s spaghetti alfredo was inspired by her fettuccine alfredo recipe. Let’s back up to last weekend. I mentioned in that post that I had been having issues with baking powder. The two days following Christmas weekend, I had tried to make a batch of scones. I tried two different recipes from two different contributors to the UCC recipe site I use. These two recipes were a total fail. The dough was too moist (think goop), and the scones turned out inedible (too much BP created an overwhelming scent of ammonia/urea). The solution? Change recipe sites. I found this recipe and after a slight modification (substituting ½ part plain yogurt and ½ part milk in place of buttermilk) I finally got a delicious result (and honestly, I would have been happy for bread that just smelled NOT of urine). Finally, my dough was “solid” enough to actually kneed, form into a ball, and roll out (had I opted to roll the dough as the recipe suggests—instead, I pulled off small, golf ball-sized bits, flattened them slightly and placed them on the greased baking sheet about an inch apart). The result was an amazingly buttery scone. Add a bit of blueberry jam and you get YUM!
Last weekend (after posting) I decided to also make us a bit of granola. In my pursuit of recipes, I found this woman on YouTube who provides easy recipes and tips for cooking healthy dishes (skip the lobster one, or you might cry). Rita Heikenfeld posted a nice and easy recipe for maple granola. For this one, you really only need the rolled oats, oil, and maple syrup to get your base, but you can add seeds or nuts to the mix prior to baking and any sort of dried fruit or chocolate afterword. Last weekend’s batch was sans seeds or nuts and only Jason’s half had raisins. This week I will add a bit of walnuts and more raisins.
Yesterday was our monthly Costco run. As expats in SK, we’re not so keen on driving (while pretty easy to get a Korean license as a foreigner, forget about trying to buy a car here, let alone drive it in the amazingness that is Seoul traffic on any given day, at any given time) so, we bus. But, before getting to said bus, we have to prepare (both mentally and physically) for the journey. Before leaving the apartment, we ready our backpacks, Jason lining his with a plastic bag to prevent leaks from any meat we’ll get. We also bring at least three of our five Baggu bags (the most awesome things…ever). From our apartment, it takes roughly 20 minutes to walk to the correct bus stop. Our bus runs maybe every 10-15 minutes, so we wait. Yesterday, as we are leaving the apartment, it begins to snow. By the time our bus get to us, the snow has already begun to stick. Jason is actually happy for this, as it will add a little more resistance to the 2 inch thick ice that has yet to melt from two weeks before. After a 25 minute bus ride, we arrive at Costco. Let the insanity begin.
I’m not sure how many of you have lived in a really large city, but if you have, then you know what I mean when I say that the Yangjae Costco on a Saturday morning is like a mosh-pit of bargain seekers. In a city of around 50 million, it’s bound to be, right? Even with three or four other branches placed around the city. But, I digress. We were only in there for maybe an hour, which is long for us, but I was on a mission to find spices not easily found here in SK (such as granulated onion and garlic, parsley, paprika, oregano, etc) and I found most of those for much cheaper than expected, considering the store near us sells dried bay leaves for about 11,000 won (Costco had them for less than 4,000 won). I was also looking for parmigiano-reggiano (to use in the alfredo sauce), but after finding it for 40,000 won, we passed. We leave Costco, each of us with about 40 pounds on our backs and 10 pounds in the Buggu bags. The trek home seems longer, weighted down with 50 pounds of food each, but eventually we make it.