The last 24 hours has been a parade of ingredients that are new to me. I have had my first taste of:
and I loved them all.
Gochujang is Korean hot pepper paste, made with miso and hot chiles. It has a smoky, red chile peppery flavor, with just enough heat to let you know it means business, but it doesn’t mean to cause you pain. Unless you eat it out of the container straight. Then it might sting a bit. I am completely in love with gochujang, both its flavor and its color. It is one of the most beautiful foods I have ever encountered.
The black rice is not that different from white rice, except it’s black.
To prepare this rice, I simmered it with large pieces of ginger, to extract the ginger flavor without the burn. Topped with toasted coconut flakes, it struck just the right balance of flavor and texture next to the stir-fry. Lemongrass was an optional ingredient, and because I couldn’t find it, I didn’t use it, but now I may be curious enough to look harder next time.
Dessert was Spicy Orange Hazelnut Chocolate Bark. Just look at it. What’s not to love? If you ask The Husband, he will say, “The orange. That’s what.” He does not care for the combination of orange and chocolate. I find this bark quite tasty. So I’m perfectly happy to eat it all by myself.
Breakfast this morning was truly uncharted territory for me: Chia Pudding with Dried Apricots and Pineapple.
If you are having trouble spotting the dried apricots, it’s because they’re unsulfured and very dark in color. This was lightly sweetened by agave nectar, and satisfying. It looks odd, but it doesn’t taste odd. I have ideas on this for dessert usage. The chia seeds soak in liquid overnight and swell up into the funny little blobs you see in the picture, as well as thickening the liquid they are in. They don’t have much flavor of their own, so they’d be a blank canvas for whatever you want to soak them in. Agave nectar is like a thin, light honey sort of sweetener. I liked its lightness. I could see using it in place of honey in salad dressings, and drizzled over oatmeal.
Lunch basically rocked my world.
The salad greens and leftover stir-fry were tossed in Kimchi Miso Dressing, which I made by pureeing kimchi, miso, silken tofu, oil, and rice vinegar in a blender.
First, kimchi-wow. It has a slightly funky odor, but not as funky as fish sauce, and its flavor is bright and pickled. Don’t let what people say about kimchi’s funkiness steer you away from it, like I did. You want to eat kimchi, trust me, and you really, really, want to make this dressing. I hadn’t done anything with silken tofu before either, because it’s always been presented to me as a substitute for something I didn’t want a substitute for: creamy dairy products or mayonnaise. Well, it’s an alternative worth trying on its own merits. The dressing was smooth, creamy, and silky, and coated the greens so nicely, I tasted just the right amount in every bite. The dressing’s flavor is marvelous, too, with just the right level of saltiness and acidity. I want to put it on a sandwich.
This afternoon’s snack was Quick Miso Soup, pretty straightforward, and nothing to write home about, especially after the salad for lunch. But it is just what it needs to be: quick and satisfying.
So, another day of cleansing in the books. This adventure has been worth it, just for the discovery of gochujang and kimchi. One more week or so to go. See you tomorrow.