Friday, January 6, 2012

Soybean Sprout Soup (Kong Namul Guk)

I made my first batch of Soybean Sprout Soup for lunch today. I have been inspired to cook more Korean dishes this year and experiment with new recipes from my new cookbook, The Kimchi Chronicles. For Christmas this year, I received two copies (what are the odds?) of this lovely cookbook, one from my husband and son and one from my friend. I have been keeping my nose stuffed in this cookbook, reading about different Korean dishes and making a list of which ones I want to make. I went to the Korean market yesterday to get some more ingredients, so I could make Korean spicy braised chicken from The Kimchi Chronicles (hopefully, it will turn out ok). 

This is a new year and of course, the "diet" has to start! I hate using the word "diet," because everyone is on a diet (a diet is what composes your daily food intake!). What's more accurate is to say that I need to watch what I eat and eat healthier food. I am trying to cut out/reduce refined sugars (or, at least I am trying to significantly limit my sweets intake overall) and "bad carbs" like white bread. Anyone who knows me, knows that I would rather have something savory over something sweet anyway! (i.e., I'd rather have an egg roll or dumpling as a treat vs. a piece of cake, so cutting out sweets won't be that hard). I do need to eat more fruits and vegetables though and I need to exercise more regularly. 

Anyway, back to the soup...

I made this soybean sprout soup today because I wanted something light, quick and easy. It was so easy and satisfying! It is very cold in my house, so I have been craving soup a lot these days. I am officially addicted to this soup. My friend made it for me one time and I loved it, but I never had the courage to try to make it on my own. Today, I mustered up the courage to try to make it, since I had just purchased soybean sprouts at the Korean market. I probably ate more than a serving, as seen by this huge bowl, but it was my lunch and I skipped the rice to cut down on carbs. The soybean sprout soup was satisfying and warming, and the broth (which wasn't spicy at all, even though it has a little red pepper powder) filled up my tummy in no time! I figured if I got hungry in two hours, I could have a light snack (which is what I need to do anyway, space out more light snacks throughout the day, instead of having three big meals). 

I cannot take credit for this soup, so I would like to thank Aeri's Kitchen for sharing this recipe for Soybean Sprout Soup. Aeri provides a very detailed, step-by-step video for how to make this soybean sprout soup, so I studied her video and read the instructions several times before I attempted to make it. My goal is to incorporate more Korean dishes into my diet, so this soybean sprout soup marks the beginning of my journey to learn more Korean recipes. I am going to use Aeri's website and my new cookbook as my guides. Aeri makes Korean food very accessible to her audience and makes it less intimidating to tackle these Korean recipes. Since I don't eat beef, I will just have to try to adapt some of the beef recipes and swap out the beef for ground turkey or chicken or just make it vegetarian. I love Aeri's website and I am very grateful that she shares Korean recipes for everyone to try. The soup turned out so yummy! The only thing I didn't have on hand was "soup soy sauce," so I just used regular soy sauce. The next time I go to the Korean market, I will pick up a bottle of soup soy sauce and make this recipe again and see if I notice a difference. But I was very pleased with how it turned out, regardless of the substitution.

Thank you so much, Aeri, for your help!

Thursday, January 5, 2012


My son wrote a book about trains over winter break and made the sweetest dedication page (without my knowledge or help, he created this): "To my mom who loves me." He also included the copyright date, which he loves to do with all his books. He is definitely a better writer than I was at that age!

I have to say that the dedication in his book was the sweetest and best Christmas gift!

This is just one of the inumerable, precious moments of motherhood that overflow my heart with love and gratitude. I can't complain about anything when I have such and loving and thoughtful son.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Montparnesse Gallery and Gifts: Featuring a NEW Artist, Anton Barte January 6, 2012

Monparnasse Gallery and Gifts is featuring a new artist this week! Known as "First Friday," Montparnasse Gallery and Gifts hosts art openings with various artists every first Friday of the month (hence the name!).

If you'll be in Maryland this week, go check out Montparnasse Gallery and Gifts at 22760 Washington Steet, Leonardtown, MD 20650. At Montparnasse Gallery and Gifts, you will discover a new artist, Anton Barte. He will be displaying some of his photography, which is also for sale, on Friday, January 6, 2012 from 5pm-8pm.

Not only is Anton Barte a wonderful and creative photographer, he is also a dear friend and fellow Korean-adoptee. I hope you check out his artwork and if you fall in love with one of his pieces, show your support and purchase one of his framed photographs. Anton Barte explores the world of macro flower photography and he very excited to share his work with you at Montparnasse Gallery and Gifts. Go meet Anton Barte at Montparnasse Gallery and Gifts this Friday, January 6th and talk to him about his passion, photography!

Check out Anton Barte Photography for a glimpse of his ever-growing portfolio.

Other artists on display this Friday, January 6th at Montparnasse Gallery and Gifts include: Beverly Jackson, Lee Anne Shontere, Monica Richards, Candy Cummings, George Stolt, Callie Badorrek, Mark Boneham, and Joi Ames. Special Musical Guest: Alex Holden.

For more information e-mail:

Congratulations, Anton Barte! I wish I could go see your artwork in the gallery! I will be thinking of you this Friday. Good Luck and have fun!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Ohgane Korean BBQ Restaurant

Today my friend took me out to a Korean buffet lunch at Ohgane Korean BBQ Restaurant at 3915 Broadway, Oakland, CA  94611. It was a great way to kick off the new year with good company and good food! We enjoyed a wide variety of Korean and non-Korean food at the buffet and piled our plates high with excitement! I got to taste a bunch of new Korean dishes including two new soups. I was in food heaven! I was not ashamed to go back for more...I had to take advantage of all this Korean food at my fingertips, especially since this was the first time I've ever been to a Korean buffet. 

I have to admit that the food was definitely on par with what you would expect from a buffet--it wasn't as good as it would have been if it were ordered fresh, but it was still a good, quick way to eat a lot of different dishes without having to order all of it individually. (My friend's cooking is way better and tastier than this buffet sampler, but it was still worth going to try all the food at Ohgane). Even I could tell that this food was toned down quite a bit in spiciness for an average consumer to enjoy. Nevertheless, the buffet was memorable and it is a good way to introduce several Korean dishes at once. (I can handle some spice and this food was not spicy at all.)

This daikon soup with noodles was so simple, yet so delicious and not as spicy at it appears. The noodles had a nice texture and chew to them and the daikon was tender and mild in flavor, completely different from the crunchy, pickled variety.

At the end of our meal, the waitress gave us a beautiful calendar for 2012 (free)! It is filled with gorgeous photos of Korean dishes and some background information about the food. Also, there are short translations of Korean phrases, so you can learn some Korean as well! I just noticed that they also cleverly included restaurant coupons for free items throughout the year! How sweet and ingenious--that is reason enough to go back and try more items on their menu!

I don't know how long they will be handing out free calendars, but we sure lucked out this year with this freebie! Now I know to go back next January to get another free calendar (if they offer that promotion again).

The Korean buffet turned out to be a great way to sample a ton of different dishes at once. I absolutely loved it and I can't wait to go back again!

Happy New Year!