Today is a holiday (buddha's birthday!) and luckily, these guys were holding a temple-style (vegetarian) cooking class. These days, it's hard to leave the house without my aunt telling me to sit down and stuff myself, but knowing I would get to eat the fruits of my labors, I quickly put half of my rice bowl back into the rice cooker while she wasn't looking. Alas, I couldn't do the same with the vat of fish soup she then proceeded to ladle out for me. I tried to explain why I wasn't eating "enough":
Aunt: Where are you going again? What are you learning to cook?
Me: Temple-style food.
Aunt: Well, learn to make delicious food and come back and make it for us!
Cousin: No! She's only learning how to cook vegetables, ick!
But that's the beauty of korean food - there are so many vegetables you don't know what to do with them. Also, my 어학당 friends live far away so I don't get as much non-family adult interaction as I would like. And my cousin spends all her time at hagwon. I also need to make friends with some korean people, because my korean skills are slipping. Will you be my friend?
Here is what we made: Chive salad. I love black sesame seeds. I completely forget to put sesame oil in this, perhaps that's why it never tasted quite right to me. I was pretty distracted during the whole class and forgot to add salt to most of my food. I suppose it wasn't too terrible; the chef-teacher tasted all of our versions and claimed to like mine the best. I don't believe him (I mean, sesame oil makes everything taste delicious and I left it completely OUT, come on!) but what a nice guy. I may have a tiny crush on him.
Bibimbap: Yum. I LOVE gosari (the brown stringy vegetable) and could pretty much just eat rice, gochujang, and sesame oil mixed together any time of day. Just not three times a day. My goodness I could kill for a tamale right now. Wow, I am really all over the place today. I blame the heat. Anyways, the chef made a fermented soybean paste sauce that smelled heavenly and definitely helped the fact that I forgot to salt all my vegetables. My cousin laughed at me the other day because I incorrectly spelled 된장 as 됀장. See? I need more korean friends. Misspelling that is like living next to a McDonald's yet spelling "burger" as "burgur". Where is my brain?
Next up:This is before I added tomato to it. Seriously, adding tomato to 된장찌개 is truly delicious.
After we finished cooking, we got to eat! Unfortunately, I couldn't finish because of the massive breakfast I had already eaten. But it was nice to meet and talk with other people who have 관심 in korean food, and also find it odd that tomatoes and sweet potatoes find their way into desserts here. The folks running the show are the nicest people; once I actually start getting paid I hope to do one of their market tour classes. You should check them out!
Speaking of dessert:
Yum yum yum!
Although this almond chocolate croissant was delicious, this place is nuts expensive. I paid 7000 won for an americano; whenever I pay that much for what ends up being overly watered-down espresso, I feel like somewhere, a fairy just lost its wings.
The man at the counter was extremely helpful however, in helping me choose pastries to take home to my aunt and cousin that would withstand a few hours' travel time in the extreme heat:
70% dark chocolate pot de creme. Deemed "too bitter" by my cousin. I told her my dad considers 85% cocoa chocolate bars a pleasant snack. I think 72% is my limit.
Black sesame-grapefruit and orange-red bean macarons. The man at the counter said "Oh, you like the unusual flavors!" I told him I once tried a foie gras macaron. He said he feels desserts should be vegetarian. That's only because he's never tried my candied bacon chocolate chip cookies.
I'm not making that up. I just never got a chance to blog about them because I ate the entire batch in two days. Well, I gave a few away as well.