Ah, the thrill of the unknown.
Much like my life post August 2016, this dinner is a mystery!
Total number of Korean dinners I’ve cooked (before this one): 0. Big ol’ Bulbul egg.
This was a Blue Apron recipe meant to bring Average Joe Box-a-Roni out of their culinary comfort zone. This is a benefit that Blue Apron offers over competing home-meal delivery services; if you want to branch out and try new ingredients and tastes, Blue Apron is going to have what you’re looking for. If you appreciate planning and have specific dietary preferences, you’ll probably do better with one of the other services.
The Korean Rice Cakes, “tteok”, arrived in a tight vacuum-sealed package along with the other main ingredients: eggplant, summer squash, and long beans. The cooking steps of this recipe made me laugh a bit, because it required each ingredient to cook in the pan separate from one another. Why? I don’t really know for sure. Would it have made a difference to combine the eggplant, squash and beans all in the same pan?
It was interesting to see how each different vegetable cooks. The eggplant absolutely soaked up every last bit of the olive oil, whereas it seemed like the beans repelled them. It might have worked better to steam the beans, as they ended up a bit tough and chewy.
Speaking of chewy, the texture of the rice cakes were a complete surprise. Before being immersed in a boiling pot of water, they had the consistency of a wafer, but after soaking for 3 minutes they came out all jiggly and gelatinous! Pretty neat transformation. Oh, and protip, try not to pour in the desiccant packet from the rice cakes into a pot of boiling water.
Now I’m curious what happens when you put one of those in the microwave…
Anyway, the sauce was a blend of rice vinegar, sesame oil, and a savory soy glaze that had the consistency of shampoo. I was proud of myself for substituting the leftover pot water from the boiled rice cakes by filling the small bottle of glaze to get the rest of the sticky sauce out. Just like when you are down to that last bit of shampoo and you need to make it go as far as possible.
This was pretty good. I liked the flavor of the sauce and when topped with the scallions, thai basil, and cashews, the flavors became complex and interesting. If I could be so bold and figure out a way to improve on this recipe, I would add even more cashews than Blue Apron sent and take away some of the ginger. The children picked at it like little birds. I think they were still full from a large lunch today, so I wasn’t going to force anything on them. The meal itself was very filling, even for two adults.
Another one for the blog history books – blistory books? Only THREE MORE DINNERS TO 40! We’re in the homestretch!