Founded by couple Angela Hong and Nick Crofoot, Born With Seoul introduces gochujang to Kansas City as a ready-made condiment. Pronounced go-choo-jahng, the condiment is a staple in Korean kitchens much like soy sauce, ketchup or salsa is commonly found in other households. Gochujang is normally sold as a red chili-based paste that must be combined with other ingredients at home to make a sauce or dip. As a result, each household has their own version based on personal taste.
Hong and Crofoot made the commitment to devise a ready-made version of the condiment that they could use right out of the bottle. Born With Seoul is their new line of gochujang available online and select local shops. Read more about the development of this condiment at Recommended Daily. As Korean food grows in popularity and accessibility, such as the proliferation of kimchi on menus in Kansas City area restaurants, gochujang is a condiment that may find broad-based appeal among food-lovers seeking authentic, bold ethnic flavor.
Also, catch Born With Seoul and numerous other local vendors at Craft, a food, beverage, music and arts festival taking place at Crown Center Plaza on October 3-4.
NKC Dog takes the humble hot dog to a new level of flavor. Located in the former Clay’s Curbside Grill, NKC Dog uses premium meats, buns and ingredients to prepare gourmet hot dogs and sausages. Fancier than the franks you’re used to at the ballpark or grilling out, the folks at NKC Dog add flair without getting too foo foo about their food.
For more background on how they started, hop over to Recommended Daily to read my story. Meanwhile, feast your eyes on a few of NKC Dog’s delicious offerings. The Heaven and Hell Dog is a crazy combination of ingredients including sriracha sauce, cream cheese and fried onions. It’s a juxtaposition of texture, hot and cool flavor, and street food meets fancy food.
The Reuben Dog is an instant favorite, rivaling the classic reuben sandwich with similar ingredients in a new format. For traditionalists, it’s hard to go wrong with a Chicago Dog served with celery salt, nuclear relish and all the trimmings.
The transition from summer to autumn is evident at the City Market. Summer berries, tomatoes and corn are mostly absent, replaced by pumpkins, eggplant, bell pepper, chili peppers and late season greens. I also spotted squash blossom but resisted buying them.
Today I left the apartment with seven dollars in bills as my budget. It’s amazing how tight-fisted and selective you can be with a set budget versus just ringing up a cart of groceries at the supermarket. I made those seven bucks stretch pretty well even though I’ll supplement the purchases with a run to the store for other goods.
I bought some long beans aka string beans or snake beans that will be stir-fried with beef, red curry paste, Thai basil and garlic and served with rice.
This water spinach (above), also called Chinese spinach and water morning glory, will be stir-fried with garlic and shrimp and served with rice. It can also be steamed as a side dish with soup or tempura-battered and fried.
Below, I’ll likely slice and saute this summer squash with onion as a side dish. I love the striping that reminds me of watermelon rinds.
I’ll use some of the ginger and saute it with Asian pear in butter for a light dessert. The remaining ginger will be used in a stir-fry with pork, onion and garlic.
I spotted this red-stemmed plant at several Asian farm stands. It was labeled as Asian sorrel, sour leaf and gongura at different tables. The latter is a word used by Telugu, people mainly from the states of Andhra Pradesh, India, where the leafy green is typically pickled. Known as rau chua in Vietnam, sorrel is a tart-tasting herb that is eaten raw as an accompaniment to spring rolls and soups. French sorrel is used in sauces with fish as well as in soups and purees, tucked into an omelette or stuffed in fish. I skipped the sorrel this week but might experiment with it next week if still available at the market.
Fresh chestnuts still in their prickly husk were another find at the market. Of the Earth Farm Distillery had a basket of chestnuts at their stand. I may buy them later in the season. Instead, I opted to by a bottle of blackberry liqueur made from blackberries sourced from the Mule Barn Berry Patch in Lathrop. Sarah from Of the Earth passed out a sample. One sip made a convincing argument to splurge on the liqueur. Slightly sweet with a kick from the 20% alcohol by volume, the blackberry liqueur will be enjoyed as an after-dinner sipper or perhaps added to fruit compote and served over ice cream. Of the Earth also makes and sells fruit-flavored brandy, eau de vie, rye whiskey and grappa.
When I returned home, I was eager to eat some of the fresh produce and herbs I had purchased including an heirloom tomato, a remind that summer has passed. I made crostini, using rosemary focaccia from Bloom Baking Co., topped with blistered strips of yellow bell pepper that I bought at the market earlier in the week, sliced Cherokee purple tomato, Thai basil and a bit of sweetened goat cheese from Borgman’s Dairy Farm. Light, colorful and full of flavor, this dish hit the spot.
What’s the difference between white cardamom and green cardamom, I wondered?
Now that I’ve settled into my new River Market home, I have re-established routines like food shopping and cooking. I have also taken stock of my pantry, including the over-stuffed plastic bin of spices I have accumulated over the years. While digging around in my bin, I pulled out small bags of green cardamom and white cardamom. I prefer buying whole spices for use in cooking, grinding or shaving them into powder if need be.
Green cardamom seed pods are oval-shaped like pepitas. The hard outer shell is easily cracked and reveals dark seeds encased in a thin, papery skin. As a spice, the whole seed initially tastes sweet and finishes with peppery and bitter notes. The bold aroma is woodsy, resinous and sharp when the spice is dried. The scent softens into a warm, inviting perfume when cooked.
Whole green cardamom is an aromatic spice well-suited for use in autumn and winter foods and beverages. I use it year-round with cinnamon sticks, black peppercorns, fresh ginger, clove and other spices to make a strong brew of chai. When I get bored of drinking iced or hot green or black tea, homemade chai offers an added kick of flavor and aroma. After brewing, I like to extract the whole softened green cardamom pods, suck out the rich chai flavors and chew on the softened seeds. Cardamom is apparently good for digestion.
Green cardamom is used often in Indian cooking. I add whole cardamom to sweetened rice pudding or a vanilla crème Anglaise for dessert once in a while. It can also be used with curry, lentils, duck, chicken, rice and squash as well as breads and desserts.
The bag of white cardamom seed pods in the bin went untouched until my recent move. I bought it on a whim while shopping at Kim Long located a couple blocks east of the City Market. White cardamom, it turns out, is simply bleached green cardamom. The type I purchased was round rather than oval and didn’t resemble green cardamom at all. The short, stubby pods also contained brown seeds encased in thin skin. The aroma and flavor isn’t nearly as pungent as the green variety. I found the taste to be more bitter, peppery and harshly concentrated with little sweetness when I ate it straight. It also has a slightly more medicinal menthol aroma.
I’ll experiment with making different test batches of chai using green and white cardamom separately, but suspect that I’ll probably wind up combining them for future use and just stick with green cardamom in the future.
Black cardamom, which I have resisted purchasing, has a smoky flavor and aroma that comes from the drying method as I have learned from some quick online research. Rather than sweet dishes, this version of the spice is better suited to meaty dishes and stews, or even in Vietnamese pho.