Friday, March 16, 2007

Ethnic food, a thank you, and a serious matter

First I will start with the serious matter. Following is an excerpt from a statement by Al Gore, which I received in an e-mail notification from

"On March 21st, I will testify before Congress on the immediate action that needs to be taken to end the climate crisis. At the hearing, I will deliver the 294,374 messages you signed, demonstrating that hundreds of thousands of people share my sense of urgency.

"If an additional 55,626 people sign our message, it will be as though 350,000 of us are there at the hearing expressing our determination to convince Congress to act. Having served in the House and Senate, I can tell you that members of these committees would find this to be a meaningful and impressive show of support.

"There are only 5 days left before the hearings begin, so please do not pass up this opportunity to join in showing the broad public support we need in order to solve the climate crisis."

If you want to sign, just follow this link. I don't know how much it will help, but it certainly can't hurt, right?

On to the food:

Just a simple hummus wrap made with a simple hummus. I used my standard hummus ingredients (tahini, lemon juice, garlic, etc.) but this time I added about 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin for an extra kick. For the wrap, I found that I like using my vegetable peeler to cut long, broad shavings of carrot--it's better than dicing it up. I don't like big chunks of raw carrot.

Bob has a friend named Sean who is a Korean exchange student, whom Bob meets with on a regular basis as sort of an American "mentor." Recently Sean said he has really been missing Korean food--but he lives in the dorms and is on the meal plan and doesn't really have much opportunity to cook. So Bob invited him over for a somewhat Korean meal. I say somewhat, because Bob and I know zero about Korean cuisine. With the help of a fellow blogger who has had some recent success with Korean cooking, we came up with a few ideas. The problem when Sean came over last night, though, was that Bob and I had just gotten home from Atlanta on an errand, and we were pressed for time. So we made a couple of simple things. Sean will be here again on Sunday, and we'll pull together something a little more elaborate then.

We started with just a bowl of steamed rice and some nori strips. You just take the nori strip and pinch a bit of rice with it, almost like ad hoc sushi rolls.

This is kamja bokum, fried red pepper potatoes. Unfortunately we didn't have a red bell pepper, so in the interest of time we subbed a green one. But the spices included red pepper, soy sauce, and sesame seeds, and it came together really nicely and really quickly. Sean said that it was very similar to the way his mother makes it, which Bob and I gladly accepted as a compliment since we really had no idea what it should taste like. It was very tasty, and it's always rewarding to cook something new. The plan for Sunday's meal is really exciting, and it involves Napa cabbage. So stay tuned!

Today we had a double date lunch scheduled with two of our dearest friends. There is a restaurant in town called Thai of Athens, which we have been hoping to try for quite some time, so we met there for lunch.

Bob and I each ordered a green tea; that's mine that you see in the foreground, in the pretty pot. In the background are some fried chips, which we dipped in a hot mustard and a sweet sauce.

Vegan tofu soup came with our vegetarian entrées.

Bob ordered the House Thai with sueyu. It had a sweet, tangy sauce and was quite delicious, with broccoli and snow peas and water chestnuts.

I ordered the Green Curry with tofu. It consisted of green beans, peppers, and other veggies in a sauce of green curry paste and coconut milk. Very, very spicy, but delicious.

This is not ethnic food, but it's cool. Our blender has been nearing the end of its life ever since we got it, second-hand. It just doesn't have much power anymore, and occasionally it doesn't work at all. Well, Bob's grandmother took me completely by surprise with a late birthday gift of some cash, so I used it to replace our old blender with a Magic Bullet blender! We've been playing with it nonstop over the past several days--it's amazing how it just whips together a smoothie in no time. It makes a really great frozen coffee drink too.

Finally, my thank you. When I named my blog Eden in the Kitchen, I did not anticipate a representative of Eden Foods stumbling across it and contacting me. But that's what happened. She offered me a spare copy of one of her favorite cookbooks, The Splendid Grain by Rebecca Wood. I gladly accepted--and today it arrived, along with an array of Eden Organics goodies! So, thank you Sue of Eden Foods--your very kind gesture certainly made my day.

Dried wakame, apple-flavored dried cranberries, and three boxes of whole grain pasta: udon noodles, kamut elbows, and spelt ziti rigati. And not only the whole grains cookbook, but a copy of The New Soy Cookbook by Lorna Sass. Not to mention a booklet of recipes and coupons for Eden products. It certainly made my last day of spring break (not counting the weekend, of course) a good one.


Don't Get Mad Get Vegan! said...

mmmm, i'm a big fan of using the peeler on carrots m'self.

thanks for the info, and how great of Sue at Eden foods! what a beautiful array of yumminess!

thos potatoes look amazing, btw.

scottishvegan said...

That is so sweet of you to make Korean food for your friend. The potatoes look really good. I love the pink mug for your tea at the Thai place…I am a fan of pretty much everything pink :) That green curry looks really, really green! And very tasty! That is so cool that Eden Foods sent you free stuff! Perhaps I should change the name of my blog to Green & Black’s and keep my fingers crossed… :)

Tiffany said...

That's so nice of you guys to cook some Korean food for your friend. My sister in law is Korean and I wanted to share with you a wonderful vegan meal she makes for us called Bibimbap. It's basically bowls of bean sprouts, spinach, shitake mushrooms, carrots, zucchini and any other veggies you want. Some are sauteed and marinated in sesame oil and soy sauce depending on how you'd like them prepared. Then you serve them on rice with chili garlic sauce and soy sauce. It's a nice meal for many people because you can make your plate exactly as you want it. It's so delicious!

theONLYtania said...

That is so nice what you guys did for Sean! Jeez, I can't imagine being sooo far from home.. by myself! Some comfort food would definitely help.

Oh man! I'm so jealous of your Magic Bullet! Hehe. And wow.. that's really lucky of you about Eden Foods. Everybody keeps getting free food haha.. that Lightlife thing too.

vko said...

I'm sure Sean must have been so touched by you both cooking korean food for him, especially since you've never had it. Looks like it went really well. I love korean food- it's all so tasty & spicy & just so damn yummy- if you are ever in NYC, there are quite a few amazing korean resturants and a vegan one as well!

What a nice way to celebrate the end of your spring break- with a box of great stuff. Those cookbooks look like they are chock full of good things. Well, glad you had a nice break!

laura jesser said...

DGMGV, I can't believe I didn't think of using the peeler until now...

Scottish vegan, I am a big fan of pink too--it's so happy. LOL--I think you should change your blog's name to Green & Black's just to find out what kind of traffic you will get!

Tiffany, thank you so much for stopping by and for sharing the bibimbap recipe! I'm sure we will try it for Sean.

Tania, I was sad that the Lightlife thing skipped me... but I can't complain! You're right, it would be hard to be halfway across the world from home, and in a country that you don't know the language...

VKO, I would really, really love to go to NYC. Between your blog and the other NY blogs, I have gotten completely jealous of the selection of veg restaurants that are available there!

Jackie said...

The kamja bokum sounds wonderful. I must give it a my pototoes.

I stopped using cumin in my hummus as it gives me hiccups for some weird reason. The wraps look great.

Midwest Vegan said...

How cool that Eden Foods sent you such a nice basket. All your food looks great -- I'm sure it was a blessing for your friend to get a home-cooked Korean meal. I would have never thought to make vegan Korean.

madeinalaska said...

ya! I am so glad everything turned out so well! I love trying new flavors. You guys are so sweet for giving sean a tast of home.
Love the wrap too.. I could just live off of those!

Beata said...

That's so cool that you got a bunch of free stuff!

I've been wondering about the magic bullet. It looks fun! Maybe now I have to splurge on one.

Vivacious Vegan said...

I loved my Magic Bullet for about 1 year or so but I think the blade is wearing down (I don't suppose it helps that I have used it 1-2 times a day) and now it doesn't seem to work as good. I'm so sad.

Just caught up on your blog and I'm in your same boat. Busy busy! Your meals out (both to Thai of Athens and to The Grit) look so wonderful. You've also been making some really great things. Glad to hear you're finding some new breakfast foods as well.

Ok, that mocha chocolate pie looks so yummy and easy. I am definitely going to try this because I just so happen to have all the ingredients. YUMMERS!

springsandwells said...

Wow Laura!
How did it take me so long to see these last two giant, wonderful posts!!??

You know what's fun? I was just sitting down to my computer, and I thought "I wonder what Laura's up to!" - like an old friend. :)

And you've been up to all sorts of stuff! I like the peeler tip - I think I'll try that with my carrots. I know what you mean about the big chunks of carrots. I often grate them, but the long peels are much more elegant!

It's so nice to you to make Korean food for your friend! He must have been so grateful. Does he know how to cook anything? Maybe he could give you a Korean cooking lesson!

Also, that's so super cool of Eden Foods to send you a cookbook and so many goodies!! Hoorah! What a fun suprise. I hope you enjoy them.

love Amey

Urban Vegan said...

I signed the petition--thanks for poitning it out!

The Korean food looks fab...and so does the food at your Thai restaurant.

What a nice stash from Eden foods....with all the yummy food you cook, I can see why they sent your the package.

Melody said...

I signed that petition a while back.. I am so glad that people are FINALLY waking up.. uugghh it makes me crazy thinking of how our world is being hurt on a daily basis..

I love that you made Korean food for your friend... how wonderful.. it has to be so hard to be in a different country, especially as a young person. I'm glad you were able to give him a taste of home.

How cool about the Eden foods package!!

Veg-a-Nut said...

That is so cool! It was really nice for them to recognize your blog. Congrats. Enjoy all the goodies for sure.

aTxVegn said...

You've had some yummy spicy asian food lately! You were sweet to go to all that trouble to make an authentic Korean meal. And what a wonderful gift box - lucky you!

laura jesser said...

Jackie, strange about the hiccups... that hasn't happened to me, but if it does maybe I'll be able to trace the reaction back to the source now.

Midwest vegan, yeah, I did some research on Korean food and apparently it's not often vegan--lots of fish sauce. I forget that stuff like that can sneak its way into Asian dishes sometimes.

Julee, thanks! We could not have done it without your leads. Oh yes, and hummus wraps--I make hummus almost every week because wraps are so simple and healthy and quick.

Beata, splurge! It's so cool!

Crystal, yay! I'm sorry to hear about your Magic Bullet. Maybe you can replace the blade? I should do some research on that. I hope you like the mocha pie!

Amey, how sweet! Even if we're not old friends yet, we will be someday, right? :) Sean said he never cooked at home, so I don't think he really knows how. Maybe we can give him Korean cooking lessons, and then when he goes back home he can write us and inform us of all our mistakes!

Urban vegan, thanks for your comments. I enjoyed my first real experience with Thai food, and now I'm going to learn how to cook it!

Melody, yes! I hate the apathetic attitude that so many people express, and I hope that more and more people start "waking up" at exponential rates before it's too late to do anything about the climate....

Veg-a-nut, thanks! I was excited, and I'm sure I'll enjoy them!

Diann, I am really beginning to love Asian food--and yes, spicy is yummy!

bazu said...

So much good food! I love the look of your Thai food, and those Korean dishes look fab too. I often eat rice with sheets of nori like that. I hope your Sunday Korean cooking goes well- my former roommate ,who was Korean, ate napa cabbage with her dinner almost every night.

And how cool is that about the Eden products! Hmmm... I wonder what brand my blog title sounds like...! ;-)

Candi said...

I just signed the petition and had to thank you for the link!!

Your hummus wrap looks great. I use the peeler too or the mandolin-type thing for strings of veggies for wraps! I am not into huge carrot chunks in a wrap either. :)

Great job on the Korean foods! I love the ad hoc sushi!! And fried potatoes look excellent too, and I'm glad your guest enjoyed it!

Thai of Athens looks like a fun place with that cool tea pot! :) I am envious of that green curry dish!!

YAY for the Magic Bullet! I still LOVE mine so much and use it everyday!

Congrats on being noticed by another Eden! That was sweet of Sue to send those gifts to you! :)

KleoPatra said...

Thanks for the link to the Al Gore place, Laura! So very important.

You got the Magic Bullet! HOW COOL! I have read other bloggers rave... very nice. I think i might have to look into getting one. I'm thrilled that you love yours and got to replace your old one.

Eden Foods are wonderful. that is SO cool of the rep to find you and send you such cool stuff. I love it! So much good stuff. Fantastic.

What a great idea to use a peeler for the veggies. I think that's such a good idea for carrots like you wrote and veggies like zucchini, too.

The meals you had at the Thai place looks scrumptious! Do you like your food really hot that way??? (i'm a total wimp)

Totally nice of Bob to be a mentor of sorts to Sean the Korean exchange student, and how awesome for Sean to know you two to fix him up some food: veg food "from Korea" - or the next best thing! I love that Sean complimented you saying that it was like his mom's. That's a testament to your cooking abilities there. I'll be looking forward to tonight's (Sunday) meal. Wow!

funwithyourfood said...

wow that is so cool about eden foods!
I am a thai food addict. I'm actually eating some right now LOL. :)


laura jesser said...

Bazu, I liked the nori with the rice--it was simple and filling and tasty. I might adopt that habit. Oh, and one of my former roommates is Korean as well--but all I EVER saw her cook or eat was rice. I'm sure she ate other things too...

Candi, your Magic Bullet post was what got me going about the Magic Bullet. I couldn't resist your lovely smoothies!

Kleo, I'm sure the peeler would be perfect for zucchini too--thanks for the idea! And to answer your question, I loooove my food hot, hot, hot. That's one of the reasons why I have found the Asian cuisines to be so appealing!

Teddy, that's funny that you were eating Thai food when you came by. I can see how it would become an addiction--so delicious...

Kati said...

Oh my goodness! First of all, I'm so jealous of your Eden haul! That is probably my favorite food brand. I like how they refused the USDA Organic food label because they didn't feel the standards were high enough (go Eden!). I wonder if someone will send me a big box of veggies one of these days...? (haha)

All your food looks delicious! It was so nice of you to cook up some Korean food for your friend - I bet he really appreciated the effort you made. My parents actually lived in Korea for a year while they were in the army, but I don't think they sampled very much Korean food (unadventurous, they are).

Johanna3 said...

great tip! maybe that way Ana will eat some carrots.
How cool that Eden Foods sent you such a nice basket, great!!!

i love how all the food looks in the posts!