Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Korean munchies (the yucky and the yummy) ~ sauted bundaegi and hodu gwaja

So I ended up cooking the can of bundaegi. I decided to sauté them. All I did was season with salt and pepper, and sauté, -very simple. Not knowing how it tastes made it a bit of a challenge to decide on what to season it with and how to prepare and cook it. I only have a slight idea of how it tastes based on what I have heard from others and from the smell. They say that the majority of the taste is in the smell. But then again, some items taste way different than they smell. So I was still clueless on how this disgusting can of worms tasted.  

I asked several people if they wanted some bundaegi. But nobody wanted any. I guess I don’t really have any bundaegi lovers around me. Then I figured that maybe my parents would eat them. They actually didn’t care either way, but they said okay.
Like I said, all I did was season with salt and pepper. I wasn’t even sure if it had a salty taste to it already or if it even needed any more salt added. I gave an unseasoned, un-sautéd piece to my mom to try so she can tell me if it’s already salty or not. She said it wasn’t. “What does it taste like?” I asked her.

“Like a bug,” mom answered. She said it was not good or bad, just buglike.
So this is how it looks drained from all that disgusting liquid. Does it look any more appetizing out of the liquid?

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Bundaegi (silkworm pupa) - a popular Korean street food

What are some of the grossest things you guys have ever eaten? I like to keep an open mind when it comes to food, but with certain things, I just can’t help but to be closed minded. Call me uptight, stubborn, whatever you will. But I just can’t bring myself to eat what I consider beyond GROSS. I realize that there is a chance that I may end up actually liking that beyond GROSS item that I am so closed minded to try if I just give it a chance. Well, I will have to pass on food items like ummm BUGS. I recently came across a can of bundaegi and had to pass.

I first heard about bundaegi (silkworms) when I was in Korea. I still remember, a few girls were having a conversation about this little “delicacy”. One of the girls was a Korean American (like me) that was visiting Korea. She talked about how she had her first bundaegi experience while she was there. She was curious and was  talked into trying it. She neither liked nor disliked it. The other girl was a Korean living in Korea. We will call her KIK (Korean in Korea) lol. When the topic of bundaegi came up, KIK nearly had to wipe her drool from her chin. She went on about how totally yummy it was, how the flavors and textures were incredibly fabulous. I still remember her saying, “I am craving bundaegi soooo bad right now (in Korean),” as she wiped her drool.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The progress with my book..

In case anyone has been wondering, the project of writing my book has been going along pretty well. I am about halfway into the story so far. I can say that I like the direction the story is heading into. As I have mentioned, I am a story teller without a blueprint when it comes to novel writing. Each scene is a new discovery of what’s going to happen next. For instance, I don’t think I could have created the exact antagonist that I wanted until I had X number of pages written already. And the antagonist is really a girl that you will love to hate.  

Going forward from the scene of the excerpt that I shared in a previous post, Tiffany goes into a state of shock after hearing her dad’s news about the fall of the Hansel empire. She finds herself trialing through a denial, self-loathing, and depression period. The drowning period becomes necessary for her to deal with reality. She drowns in sorrow until she reaches the bottom and there’s nowhere to go but up. Tiffany soon realizes that her only options are to either stay drowned where it is bleak and lonely or to make an effort to rise above, -or die trying. Tragedy and hardship build character. And we see Tiffany grow from a spoiled, helpless princess brat to a woman overcome with determination. BUT at the same time, she still has the princess syndrome in her that she can’t fully grow out of. It’s who she is. And sometimes it seems to get the best of her. It’s almost like a battle of the two alter egos of the old spoiled Tiffany and the strong, humble, independent Tiffany that she is trying so hard to become.

Okay, now for the juicy stuff!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Little Tokyo - Dinner at Fickle and Hello Kitty love

A couple of weeks ago, I was in the mood for Japanese food and ended up in Little Tokyo. The plan was to eat sushi or ramen…or whatever other Japanese food that I came across that tickled my fancy. That was the plan. BUT I ended up eating something totally different. I ended up eating at Fickle, a casual American restaurant.  

Former fellow kitchen slave, Pablo said he could score free food here, so what the hell?! By dinner time, I was too hungry to care where I ate. Japanese food was what I had been craving all day. After walking around on a hot afternoon, I was kind of craving cold soba noodles. And as good as that sounded, free food sounded a little better. I had been in Little Tokyo for a couple of hours just browsing around and texted Pablo when I was ready to eat.
It was so nice outside, so of course, I had to get a table outside. There was an Anime Convention that day, so it was fun to people watch and see them in cute costumes (others, just bizarre). After the fascination of people watching wore out, I was starting to enter the behgo-rage mode. Freaking Pablo was still stuck in traffic. I waited and waited. After waiting for about an hour or so, I said, “screw this. I can’t wait anymore!” And I just had to eat with or without Pablo.

I started with the Molasses Pork Belly, which is served with charred savoy cabbage and Kabocha puree.  I heart pork belly, but refrain from eating it too often or else my cholesterol level would be off the charts.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Old Reflective Journal Entries from my externship

Look what I found! -my weekly journal from my externship. Le Cordon Bleu requires three months of externship at the end of the program. And they had us keep a reflective journal that we had to send in each week, along with our hours worked (signed by our head chef). I'm starting with Week #2 because I can't find the entry for Week #1. I can't find the one for Week #3 either. Do you notice the different tone in my voice as a rookie then, and years later now? I got a good laugh from reading these entries. Most of my entries were longer than required. They only required that the entries be a paragraph minimum. But usually, mine were a little bit longer because we all know that I like to write. I refrained from writing a book each week because that wouldn't have been fair to the other students nor the chef instructors. I am sure the instructors had a ton of journals to skim through and mark off each week. Reading pages and pages of mine wouldn't have been reasonable.

And FYI, I had been at my place of externship for months prior to officially starting my externship hours, so Week #1 wasn't really my first week of being there. But it was the first week when I had to start keeping the journal, the official start of my externship hours.

Week # 2

The chef went on vacation for the week. He left during the week of the actual starting date of my externship. Luckily, I had already started my time there weeks ago, just enough time for him to show me the ropes and for me to get adjusted.

Prior to starting externship, I had two concerns: encountering a chef with a nasty temper and the fear that I’d end up working at a place with no A/C. My apprehensions have been laid to rest and thankfully, the horrid kitchen I imagined did not become a reality.

Perhaps I have been watching too much of the reality shows like Hell's Kitchen that is often over-exaggerated for show. There were times I worried that I'd be working at a kitchen with a chef that would yell things like, "What the f**k is this, you donkeys?! It looks like s**t!" Images of the chef throwing plates on the ground with rage have crossed my mind a time or two. Fortunately, our chef has an easygoing demeanor. I have never seen him yell or curse. The overall aura of the kitchen is quite tame, nothing like the hostile kitchen I had imagined. I have become so accustomed to all the cursing in the kitchen at school. Many of the chef instructors I've had curse like sailors. I guess all the hostility helps prepare some students when they enter a kitchen full of hardcore culinarians that will not tolerate anything but superb ness. One learns to grow a thick face. The brutal insults may make some weaklings cry (as seen on Hell's Kitchen). For others, it only pushes them to get better.

Recently, I started to help out at the grill station a bit during dinner time. I get overheated over there. I have been grilling the proteins for the entrees. So far, I have grilled the filets, chicken and shrimp (for salads). I worried a lot about dealing with the heat in a hot kitchen. I've heard horrendous stories about people working in the kitchen in triple digit weather with no A/C. In the school, the kitchens have no A/C, so I was dying in the summer time last year. If I had to work at the grill all day under such unbearable conditions, I really think I would pass out. I can only tolerate so much heat. There is a certain point when it just becomes torture. But I am glad to say that the air ventilation system in our kitchen makes things appeasable. For now, I would like to work on mastering things at the grill station, a station that is still new to me.