Kimchi fried rice

I’ve decided to start a new category called “food” and my first inclusion is one of my favorite Korean dishes – “Kimchi Fried Rice“. Actually, I want to spend a little more time preparing some of my favorite dishes from Asia as a way to rekindle some of the memories of my time there and I figured I should include them in the blog as well.

To make Kimchi Fried Rice, you obviously must start with kimchi and rice. You’ll want to choose a sliced cabbage kimchi, the level of spiciness really depends on what you can handle. For your rice, the key is to use rice that has been sitting in the rice cooker for a day or two. You don’t want to use freshly cooked rice. This goes for any fried rice recipe.

For a fairly large single serving, I heated the pan to about 375 degrees and added about a tablespoon of cooking oil. After heating the oil, I added about one cup of kimchi and a cup and a half of rice, stirred it until most of the rice absorbed the kimchi’s reddish color, then added about two ounces of diced Spam. That’s right, Spam. Koreans have been eating Spam since American soldiers passed out cans of it during the Korean War and they love it. And I love it too … at least in my kimchi fried rice. However, you can easily substitute ham, tuna fish, pork, chicken, or beef if it suits you.

I stirred in the Spam for a couple of minutes before adding a small dollop of red pepper paste, or “gochu jjang” (actually, this is the first time that I added this paste and it is not normally included, but I quite liked the flavor). After thoroughly stirring in the pepper paste, I added a teaspoon of sesame seed oil. Again, some vigorous stirring and voila – I had this beautiful meal before me.

Kimchi Fried RiceTo me, this was enough flavor, but you could also add other vegetables like onions, peppers, carrots, or zucchini if you wish.

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Exercise and My Physical and Mental Health

Just finished another walk – 2.2 miles this time. I started taking these walks a few days ago as a way to tackle my poor physical health (re: Mr. Tubby), but I’m discovering that they’re having a more immediate positive impact on my *mental* health. As I stroll through residential streets, the sights, sounds, and smells of Spokane suburbia are like a bellow to the embers of America that I’m moderately surprised to discover still existed in my soul. Big, blue skies. Expansive parks (with softball fields!). Freshly cut grass. The sound of a soft wind blowing through the pine trees. Dumb adolescents talking about dumb, summer-vacation things (like a dumb, adolescent Scott once did). Lawn mowers and edgers. The scent of pine needles and bark and freshly-lit Kingsford briquettes (though not all at once, mind you).

Yes, a couple of more kinks have been unlocked in my complicated soul … and I’m glad to be home in the U.S.Spokane Valley 01 Spokane Valley 02

4th of July Look

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One of the great things about being back in the States is watching my daughter participate in a variety of “first” experiences for her. For example, this was Maia’s first 4th of July in the U.S. and she loved pointing out all of the American flags she saw as we drove down the street. “Look, Papa! There’s another American flag!” She called the outfit she is wearing in the photo her “American flag clothes”.

After posing for the above photo, Maia, her grandmother, and I drove over to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho for the resort town’s fireworks show.

DSC_1907This photo notwithstanding, I actually thought the fireworks were a bit of a disappointment … especially considering the bumper-to-bumper traffic we had to endure for about ten miles on the trip back home. Next year, if I’m still in this part of the country, I’ll know that we should take part in the entire day’s activities (parade, festival, fireworks) to make it worthwhile.

Maia ended up being frightened by the loud explosions, which is the primary observance that I’ll take from this day. It jarred a memory from way back in my own childhood – a time when a three- or four-year-old Scott was also put off by the booms of exploding rockets. In fact, I’d say it now qualifies as the earliest life experience that I can recall.