The Drop Box.
Making Croissants with Honey Cardamom Butter
My father told me I should just catch the red eye from Kuala Lumpur to Doha to get there as soon as possible . It wasn’t a bad prospect. If anything, you’d remember looking down, misting the windows, watching the lights blurring together with the night sky. New Year’s Eve at 30,000 feet, sitting next to a complete stranger.
Was the year kind to you, I’d ask. And I would listen to their answer. And if the gesture was reciprocated, what would I tell them?
I’ll tell them that it’s been peachy. That I started the year sitting at the opposite side of the physician’s table that I’m used to. That I celebrated my birthday in the “pit”, a high five from an anesthesiology resident. That April fools coincided with the 7th year anniversary of a relationship. That May to August was uneventful, but I’ve second assisted an orthopedic surgery and scrubbed in for a craniotomy. That September brought with it bounties - a first signed contract and a kind offer to contribute to a calendar and cookbook. That December came in with heartbreaks and a revelation. A gamble on a future career path.
I’ll tell them I find resolutions poignant. The truth is it is just as easy to break resolutions as it is to make them, but I’ll leave you with a few words of others that I will strive to live by in the following year;
That much unhappiness has come into the world because of things left unsaid. If you cherish a person, find a way to tell them, and then hope for the best. Parents don’t live forever, fathers have buried their sons. People don’t pine for eternity, so grab your chance.
That when nobody else celebrates you, learn to celebrate yourself. It’s not up to other people to keep you encouraged. Also to never dismiss the achievements of others. We are akin to dew drops hanging precariously on a spider’s web, each movement affecting us and those near.
That people are not always what you want them to be. Sometimes they disappoint you or let you down, but you have to give them a chance first. You can’t just meet someone and expect them to be everything you’re looking for and then be angry when they’re not everything you projected onto them. Sometimes, when you give them a chance, they turn out to be better than you imagined. Different, but better.
Perhaps most of all, though, is the assurance that you deserve to be okay. You deserve to know that a day in which you can just barely get out of bed because you are sad, or sick, or simply not ready to see the outside is not the end of the world. You deserve to know that moments of weakness do not make you fundamentally weak, only fundamentally human. And that sometimes it is okay to be selfish and have things turn out the way you prefer them to.
Which is why I chose to stay a little longer to have these with friends and sister on New Year’s morning, instead of being a chatty stranger up in the air.
SHORTCUT CROISSANTS with HONEY CARDAMOM BUTTER:
[ 1 (13-ounce) packet ready rolled butter puff pastry + 1 egg, beaten + 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature + 1 tablespoon honey + 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom + a pinch of salt ] OPTIONAL: sliced almonds + powdered sugar.
Thaw the puff pastry by leaving it at room temperature for an hour.
To make the honey cardamom butter, mix butter, honey, salt and cardamom to combine in a small bowl. If you wish to, you can shape it into a log with some cling film and refrigerate it until needed.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or sprinkle it with a bit of flour evenly.
Place the croissants on the prepared cookie sheet. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle each top with a bit of sliced almonds if using.
Bake at 425 degrees F for 10-15 mins or until golden brown. Leave to cool for 5 minutes before lightly dusting them with powdered sugar, if using. Serve warm with the honey cardamom butter.
Q:What are you making for new year's?
…I’m not sure yet? I wasn’t planning to make anything but probably something nice and easy. What do you think I should make?
Making Budae Jjigae (부대찌게) / Army Base Stew
It’s been a jjigae kind of week here, with all the downpour. Today is no different. Budae jjigae, or Korean army base stew, was an invention of necessity during and after the Korean war. People made this dish by combining leftover Spam and hot dogs from U.S. Army facilities (hence its other name, “Johnson tang”), and mixed it with whatever else that was available. All the ingredients were combined with water and red pepper seasoning in a large pot and boiled. Essentially, it’s a hot and spicy stew with one packet of ramen and a sliced of processed cheese slapped on top, with the seasoning packet chucked out and chock-filled with pseudo-healthy proteins and vegetables and shared between 2 or 3 people. Not very photogenic, but excellent for the nippy weather (and your wallet) and possibly a good hangover cure.
[ 3 cups low sodium chicken broth + 2 tablespoon gochujang + 2 teaspoon gochugaru + 1 teaspoon sesame oil + 1 teaspoon soy sauce + 2 garlic cloves, minced + 100g minced beef + 3-4 sausages, score lightly and slice into thirds + 150g tofu, sliced + 1 onion, sliced + 1 cup kimchi + 6 mushrooms, sliced + a handful of baby bok choy or other greens you like + a bunch of spring onions, chopped + 1 packet of Korean instant ramen + 1-2 slices of processed cheese + 1 tin baked beans (I’m using kidney beans) ] Note: I didn’t use Spam because there wasn’t a kosher alternative for one here. You can just add more sausages (which I did) if you like.
In a bowl, mix together the gochujang, gochugaru, sesame oil, soy sauce and minced garlic. Add in the minced beef and mix to combine, being careful not to mush up the beef too much.
Bring the chicken broth to a boil in a saucepan.
Arrange other ingredients except cheese and ramen in a wide, flat bottom saucepan, claypot or heatproof casserole dish. Put the gochujang beef mixture on top. Add the prepared soup base to the ingredients and bring stew to a boil over medium heat.
Reduce heat and simmer covered for 10 minutes. Add the ramen (without the seasoning) to the stew. Simmer uncovered for another 3-5 minutes. Add cheese and simmer till cheese melts. Top with a sprinkle of chopped green onions, sesame seeds and a drizzle of sesame oil.
Serve hot with rice (double carbin’ yo) and banchans.
Peter Vronsky - Reprise
Musashi’s Chirashi Bowl. Wow, this was so much fresh sashimi (on top of a bed of perfect rice) all for a good price. Went here with a friend and thankfully, because its break, we didn’t have to wait long before being seated and getting our food. My favorite was the tuna…it just melted in my mouth.
Wednesday is favorite Tumblog day.
Duffy - Distant Dreamer (Instrumental)
Do you know how to cook black bean paste? I dont know where to buy the halal one.
I know it doesn’t say so on the package, but I’m pretty sure all the chunjang (black bean paste) are حلال .The main ingredients are soybeans and flour that are fermented with caramel added before the aging process. Sometimes soy sauce is added too but as far as I know there are no alcohol or meat products in it. I do check for ingredients and alter recipes to make every dish حلال (since I’m a Muslim too) before I post them on the blog.
Hope this helps!