Monday, December 24, 2007

mealy aftermath

The meal at Jang-woong and Bo-hyun's place seemed to go well. Everyone professed satisfaction with the food, though there was the usual friendly carping about it being too rich (especially the fondue and the whipped potatoes, I think). The boeuf bourguignon was, in my opinion, even better than last time (everybody cleaned their plates, so I assume my company agreed). I got a kilogram of stew beef from the Hannam butcher and had him slice the meat thinly. By the time the wine sauce had reduced during the prep phase, the meat was practically falling apart, it was so tender. And this time around, instead of using canned cranberry sauce, I whipped up a mess of my own cranberry sauce to add to the beef (the recipe on which I based my dish can be found here*). The sight of the cranberries, and the texture they added, gave the beef a more Christmasy feel, somehow.

But the real hit was, surprisingly, the whipped potatoes, into which I slipped a teaspoonful of bacon fat this time around.** Lemme tell ya'... it makes a difference. Holy crap, them was some guuuuud potaters. I think the Missus wanted to concentrate on those at the expense of the beef, but politeness prevented her.

No pictures from my camera, alas, though my friends might send some of the photos they took. Speaking of photos-- I showed them the photos I had slapped up on the blog (they got the Photobucket slideshow version so as to avoid offending the Missus with the risqué contents of my sidebar).

JW's and BH's son, Ji-an (his English name is John), is at the stage where he's standing upright and able to walk alongside a piece of furniture as long as he's able to clutch its edge. He's also got a magnificent little laugh that matches his already-grandiose sense of humor. In addition, it turns out he's extremely ticklish. Ha ha! I had fun torturing him with The Claw-- the selfsame clawed hand my father used on us three boys when we were squirming tykes. "The Claw gets all!" Dad would yell... and it did, too. It got everything. We would find ourselves face-up on the floor, staring ceilingward in terror, while The Claw would make its slow and awful descent and our eyes would follow it with that giddy mixture of dread and delight. It would then jab itself into our ribs and tickle us until we were ready to puke from laughing so hard. I recall a lot of screaming and writhing about. Ji-an's response tonight was lot like that when I pulled the Claw on him. What an amazing little kid.

I came away from my nearly 5-hour visit with more in my bag than when I left: BH gave me a bunch of ready-to-cook bulgogi, a huge chunk of cheesecake (much of which will be disappearing tomorrow), some bottled red peppers, a gigantic bar of dark chocolate (I don't normally eat dark chocolate, but I see scads of creamy hot chocolate in my future), a twin set of coffee mugs, a very nice scarf, and even a pair of socks-- Wilson (as in the sports brand), which will replace my dying Omar Sharif socks (don't laugh; Omar Sharif is too a brand).

So here I sit: sated, bloated, replete. Luckily, still able to type. I might not be able to walk and chew gum at the same time, but I can definitely type and digest at the same time.

More later.

*Obviously, this isn't true boeuf bourguignon, but it's damn close. My own variant takes into account my general hatred of onions in Western food. Instead of onions, there's onion powder. What's more, I add three different kinds of mushroom: shiitake, king oyster, and regular old button mushrooms. This necessitates nearly doubling the amount of fluid that goes into the mix, partly because of the brute volume, partly because mushrooms are notorious for their spongelike properties.

**This was in addition to the other naughty ingredients that melded so sensually with the boiled potatoes in my food processor: butter, cream, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and parsley. Lots of cream.


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