I was conceived in South Korea.

I don’t know the details of my conception — and I’m quite fine with that — but in 1979 my mom and dad were stationed at Taegu Air Force Base in South Korea, and love was in the air … along with fragrant kimchi, burning kerosene, and pit toilets. I don’t often get the opportunity to share this bit of Tricia trivia, so I thought I’d take advantage of this blog post about my recent toe-dip into two Korean mainstays: kimchi and bulgogi. And my birthday, which is of course directly tied to my conception, is coming up in nine days. So, there’s that.
I’ve been exploring fermentation, and thought I’d try out kimchi, since it’s something I’m familiar with and fond of. Turns out it’s really easy to do and satisfying, too. You can tweak it however you like. For instance, I love ginger, so my kimchi has substantial bits of ginger amongst the cabbage, bok choy, onions and garlic-pepper sauce. For several days my house smelled very ripe — so much so that I had to offer an explanation when I had guests: “It’s the kimchi, I promise.”
To go along with the kimchi, I made a batch of bastardized bulgogi. “Bastardized” because bulgogi means “fire meat,” and I used a slow cooker. I uncovered some Downing Family Farms beef stew meat from the depths of my freezer and used this recipe as a guide for the marinade. After six hours in the slow cooker on the low setting, the meat was tender and flavorful and produced a delicious broth that I used to wilt amaranth greens and drizzle on couscous.
Sweat dripping down my face from the fiery kimchi and fiery July evening made my cold, frothy beer taste even better.

kimchi
bulgogi, kimchi, amaranth, couscous

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