seoul, spirit

Just another weblog

pizza with homemade dough and cheese

leave a comment »

ricottaWhat is better than magic? Homemade ricotta. Two quarts of milk in a stainless steel pot, heated until almost boiling, slug of vinegar, done! First I tried using lemon juice and it wasn’t really working. The vinegar reacted instantaneously. I bought a very fine mesh steamer, set it over a bowl, and ladled on the curds. I was left with two cups of extremely delicious ricotta. What to do?


Maybe pizza isn’t the first thing that comes to mind, but living in the Land of the Morning Calm is living in the Land of the Minimal Cheese. I found a tiny and flavorless hunk of cheddar for $9. Pizza cheese comes exclusively in a bag. Actually “pizza cheese” is probably ok. But I wanted to try my ricotta!

Sign of the apocalypse: “pizza two ways”


For dough, I decided to use this recipe from Smitten Kitchen instead of the one I linked to from Peter Reinhart or 101 Cookbooks, mostly because I didn’t want to wait overnight. Consulting the advice (also from Smitten Kitchen) about grill pans, I stretched my dough into an imperfect rectangle, stuck it on the oiled grill pan, and stretched it some more to fit the pan. Even so, the dough was uneven. But delicious! After two minutes I brushed the top with oil, flipped it over, and assembled my pre-cooked and warm toppings. First a layer of caramelized onions. Then, half with a sliced tomato grilled with oregano and basil. The other half received a fig grilled in a bit of honey. Finally, ricotta everywhere. I swear this was before reading today’s New York Times recipe about a caramelized onion and fig tart with rosemary and stilton. But here is a more delicious version of fig pizza that I used for inspiration: fig and prosciutto pizza with walnuts, rosemary, and ricotta. If only I could find/make prosciutto and rosemary! Also, my pizza was much GREENER than it should have been, apparently. But what to do when you grab the last box of figs of summer and the skin is already broken? The figgy taste was absolutely present though.

(Do you ever get that feeling where, you know, you’re on the internet and you look around and everyone is making their own ricotta? That is how I felt yesterday. I read so very many different ricotta recipes that I was a little bit intimidated. Then I realized that chemistry is chemistry and that ricotta merely consisted of milk, acid, and heat. In addition to the recipes I linked to the other day, this from Eggs on Sunday is a good guide… even though my ricotta didn’t look anything like the picture.)


Written by clace

September 30, 2009 at 4:44 am

tomorrow i’m making pizza

with one comment

so tonight i’m making dough. here is how to make dough. here is a good explanation of how to make pizza in a grill pan, plus the nice idea of eggplant and olive pizza. here is something extremely complicated, but i would like to try that sauce.

and here are all of the pizzas i want to remember:

Written by clace

September 27, 2009 at 3:05 pm

Sweet Potatoes stirred with a heart attack

leave a comment »

Even though this dish didn’t look elegant, I shouldn’t have been surprised that it was delicious. Sweet potatoes, caramelized onions, cheddar, and egg: there was no way to go wrong. I don’t have an oven or a real grill, so I wasn’t quite sure how to make sweet potatoes. I need not have worried. Grilling them, in rounds, on my grill pan with some olive oil and dried basil was perfect. I occasionally threw half-cups of water to unstick the pan and work in some steaming action. After removing the rounds from the grill, I stuck them in a skillet with caramelized onions (which I made yesterday) and some chunks of cheddar. After this all heated up, I poured in a half cup of water which reduced the cheddar completely to liquid. It was too watery so I decided to thicken it by scrambling an egg with the whole mess.

I like replacing potatoes with sweet potatoes, because I don’t particularly like dessert-y sweet potato dishes. I will try this more.

Written by clace

September 27, 2009 at 7:51 am

Posted in Sweet Potato

hey students what sound does a cow make?

with one comment

When I lived in Serbia this summer I barely ate anything aside from plums and dairy products. My host family had four cows but only one was producing milk at the moment. The 11-person household, including myself and another WWOOFer, was so large that we had to eat in shifts, yet that one cow produced more milk than we could handle. A typical breakfast or dinner consisted of bread, jam, shaved bits of dried meat, and: swiss cheese, soft cheese, herbed soft cheese, milk, sourmilk, butter, young butter, clotted cream, and yogurt.

This is basically what all my meals aspire to now. In Korea, yogurt is a little too expensive ($5 for 750 mL) for me to drink regularly, so I have decided to make my own dairy products. Cheese is a must because very little cheese is sold here. One day when I craved apples with cheddar I had to buy a packet of Kraft singles!

Yogurt: WikiHow

Labneh: WikiHow

Ricotta: Mock from ZenKimchi101 CookbooksWikiHow

Written by clace

September 27, 2009 at 6:46 am

Penne with a Puree

leave a comment »

In the back of my mind I knew it wasn’t a good sign that there is basically only one pasta-with-eggplant recipe on the internet. It comes from some Food Network host who I had never heard of before. But… I now have both a grill and a blender, and I was craving pasta. Yesterday I visited the old woman kitty-corner to my workplace for the third time. She recognized me and before I could say anything, she rose and grabbed a couple of eggplants that were sitting away from the main pile. Just for me?! I also bought cucumbers, green onions, and sweet potatoes, for a total of $1.50.

First I grilled some eggplant rounds with sliced tomatoes and walnuts. Then that stuff was pureed with cinnamon, mint, basil, and two bunches of greens I found at my amazing by-the-leaf supermarket greens department. One smelled like dead people but tasted fresh and peppery. The other looked like parsley but tasted like rot. Maybe I shouldn’t have put them in. Also, pasta water from my penne.

One good thing was how the puree clumped up inside the penne. Now I understand that penne and rigatoni are good for carrying sauces. The stuff wasn’t inedible, but it wasn’t good in any real sense. The parts with lots of Parmesan were good but Parmesan is like gold here so I couldn’t use a lot.

I did save the day food-wise by making a batch of caramelized onions. I noticed one onion was rotting so decided to do some preventative work. 3 onions, oil on the bottom, pat of butter and salt on the top, and a bit of ginger sliced up throughout. This was really fun and oh my goodness the onions are delectable. I used this recipe.

Soon I will try to make pasta.

Written by clace

September 26, 2009 at 6:42 am

Honey-Stewed Eggplant with Sriracha and Parsley

leave a comment »

I found the honey underneath big jars of “tea” with flavors like Honey Citrus, Honey Pear Quince, and I suspect Yuzu. These all sound so delicious and I will buy them soon when I have enough money. But I didn’t have enough money today, barely $10 to get honey and a snack for my students. Last week they blockaded me, paper cup of coffee in hand, demanding hot chocolate. I didn’t know how to sneak five cups of hot chocolate from the fourth floor to the second so instead I bought two very small containers of caramel corn for about a dollar, and they were overjoyed.

Honey and eggplant, wow. From Mark Bittman’s recipe and The Traveler’s Lunchbag I knew that I was lacking breadcrumbs, lemon, cilantro, cumin, and cayenne. So after browning four eggplants’ worth of half-moons I threw in some tangerine juice, sriracha, salt, mint, and parsley. Later I glopped some honey down— too much— and filled the pan with water. Forgot the garlic and ginger, and could have used much less honey. For some reason I was very tempted to use milk… as in milk and honey… but I didn’t. After I finished I peeled a banana and used it to clean up all the extra honey sauce on my plate.

I ate another delicious thing today. It involved a pork chop, breaded with truly massive shards of bread that gave the appearance of sharkskin. Koreans are good at frying food I think. But the pork chop was only on the side! The main thing was a bamboo tray with two balls of tightly wound buckwheat noodles. I held chopsticks in my right hand and scissors in the left, and my book with my elbow. I am reading Kingsley Amis’ “Everyday Drinking”, which is very funny because in Korea his standards are unattainable. Each little clump of noodles, cleanly snipped away from the mass, gets dipped into a broth smelling of soy sauce. Except it’s not a hot broth, it’s an ICY broth, with actual chunks of shaved ice. There were some other things on the side, like green onions and horseradish and sesame seeds ground at the table with a mortar and pestle, but I didn’t need them today.

Written by clace

September 25, 2009 at 2:39 pm

Posted in Dining Out, Eggplant

eggplant curriculum

leave a comment »

Rigatoni with Eggplant Puree
Broiled Eggplant with Capers and Mint (can’t broil, can’t caper)
Thai Vegetable and Smoky Eggplant Salad
Chinese Noodle Salad with Roasted Eggplant

“The aubergines were slow- baked for six hours, brought to the table whole, and skinned in front of us. They took out the flesh, crisscrossed the aubergines with two knives, and then added whipped cream with hazelnuts, lemon, sweet pepper, oil, feta cheese, salt and pepper. Incredible.” This.

Eggplant Fries
Chinese Eggplant with Garlic and Ginger Sauce
Eggplant and Goat Cheese spirals using homemade goat cheese
Sichuan Eggplant (here’s one)
Baingan Bartha (here’s one)
Baingan Kachri
Baba Ghanoush (here’s one) (and more)
Mark Bittman’s Microwaved Honey-Sweetened Eggplant (no microwave)

slice up one eggplant, beat one egg and dip the slices in the beaten egg, then deep-fry them a couple minutes. Then take them off the heat, beat up one more egg together with a couple chopped scallions and some fish sauce, and then pour that into a frying pan for about a minute, stirring it around as if you were making scrambled eggs — but before it starts setting, add the eggplant slices back. And then from that point you treat it like a pancake — letting it cook on one side, then you flip the whole mess over with a spatula and cook on the other side.” Ask Metafilter

Iraqi-Jewish Eggplant Sandwich
Azerbajani Eggplant Rolls
Eggplant Curry with Apples, Fennel, and Cumin
Grilled Eggplant Salad with Yogurt
Spiced Eggplant Salad
Melanzane al cioccolato (“the eggplant dessert that is prepared during August in towns along the Amalfi coast”)
and more eggplant dessert (herehere)
Eggplant Stewed in Honey and Spices
Eggplant-Ricotta Ravioli
Afghani Spicy Eggplant with Mint
Fish-Flavored Eggplant
Eggplant recipes from all around the world!

Written by clace

September 23, 2009 at 10:37 pm

Posted in Eggplant, Long lists