fresh pickling


My pickle season starts. Can’t wait to pack them into the jars. They always surprised me and bring me back season’s memory. Garlic scapes pickling with plum vinegar and my grandma’s homemade soy sauce.


rice companion plant

© EunYoung Sebazco

koshikikari 8.6.14

Duckweeds could be a rice companion plant, a sustainable practice on the small rice paddy!

What the duckweeds do. They clean the water, provide bio-fertilizer, allege control, and limit mosquitoes. These are things that humans are not able to control without adding chemicals. Also, duckweeds contain high amounts of protein, more so than soy bean. Duckweeds are a good food resource in some parts of Asia for both animals and humans. Duckweeds spread quick, colonies of them could cause a problem of oxygen. But, don’t worry, we have a solar air pump and other good friends working together in the water.

Duckweeds call in Korean ” Keguri bap” means ” Bullfrog’s rice”. A lot of time Bullfrogs live in the rice paddies. The duckweeds are extremely dense on the surface of the water that when they swim out of the water, their face is covered with duckweeds. So, it looks like bullfrogs are eating the duckweeds. That’s how we named it? In Korea while the little children are eating rice and if they leave some rice on their face, the parents say ” You have bullfrog’s rice on your face”. I love the sound of word “Keguri bap”.

inspire us

© EunYoung Sebazco

yoshi july

Two of my best friends visited the rice program today. Yoshi Kousaka (Sushi Master) is an executive Chef at Jewel Bako and MiHyun Han, the GM at Don’s Bogam. Chef Yoshi demonstrated how to make Onigiri (rice ball) and fresh Tsukemono (pickled vegetable). Summer camp youths enjoyed the process of making and then tasting. Chef Yoshi and MiHyun have consistently participated since I started the rice project. I believed that dining and cooking with the rice was important to understand why we grow rice all over the world. To see a product truly grow from a seed into a nourishing meal is an important aspect of our program. I cannot thank them enough for what they brought to us, accomplished with us and how much they inspire us.

Korean rice cake soup

I was born in Seoul, Korea.  I remember that my mother and grandmother bought huge amounts of rice cake a few days before New Year and prepared a big pot of tteokguk for New Year’s eve.  After the Korean traditional bow on the New Year, we need to eat the soup to add one-year of age.
photo-from-sempiotteokguk(Korean rice cake soup) is a traditional Korean foods. Garaetteok is the main ingredient  and is made out rice powder and they are sliced up into thin oval shapes. Long waterhose-shaped rice cake; its shape is symbolic wishing for longevity in life. Traditionally, Koreans eat tteokguk in the Lunar New Year’s morning. They believe that they will add one more year to their age with New Year full of good fortune. No one knows for sure exactly why tteokguk became a traditional Lunar New Year’s food. There is one theory that because rice was harvested in the fall and in the olden times, there wasn’t a means of storing it long-term. Thus, making rice cakes was a way of using up the old rice. Old people are so wise.
Prep Time: 10 min.   Cooking Time: 35 min.      Servings: 4-6 Ingredients:
1.5 – 2 lbs rice cakes (Garaetteok)
1/2 lb. ground beef (or anchovy stock)
1 TB minced garlic
4-5 scallions cut in 2″ slices
8-10 cups water
4-5 large sheets of unseasoned seaweed, cut 2”
For garnish: ground beef (cooked with garlic & sesame oil) & egg (cooked flat & cut same size of seaweed)Soy sauce, salt, pepper, sesame oil to tasteDirections
1. Rinse and soak the tteok in a large bowl filled with cold water for 5-10 minutes
2. Cook the beef with minced garlic in a frying pan on medium high heat until fully cooked. No need to add any extra oil. Put a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the cooked ground beef. (or heat the anchovy stock in a pot over medium high heat. Season the soup by adding salt, soy sauce and minced garlic.)
3. Bump up the heat to a boil. Skim off any impurities.
4. Drain the tteok and add to the broth. When the tteok float to the top, they are now cooked and ready to eat.
5.Turn off the heat, sprinkle some black pepper and add sliced green onions.
6. Ladle tteokguk into large bowls and garnish with some beef and egg or cut-up seaweed and sesame oil if you like.

Let’s say, “Saehae Bok Manhi Badeuseyo!” (It means “Happy New Year” in Korea).

Temple food : Korean dishes

When I was little, my grandmother took me to the temple every weekend. It was not fun (or exciting) to sit for the long chanting that lasted hours, but one of my joys was to watch the preparation of lunch and then have a meal with everyone. I still do remember the taste of rice and the fresh vegetable side dishes. It was really fresh. Korean Temple Food has been rooted at the Buddhist temples for about 1,700 years and is designed to support the meditation practice of monks and nuns. It is the simplest food and it is made from natural ingredients with minimum of preparation.

 I attended a lecture about the Korean Temple Food with Venerable Dae Ahn at Korean Society in NYC a few weeks ago. It was very short in time, but a lot of great information about what ingredients we should use, how to cook, or what to eat…


Here, let me talk about rice. (I will save some other time about general Korean Temple food). The rice is the main dish in Korea like Japan or China. These days, many Korean people prefer to have brown rice or brown rice with mult-igrain as the healthy food. But I learned something very interesting from Venerable Dae Ahn. Actually, it does make sense. She said that it is not a good idea to have too much multi-grain because the body needs to work hard to digest. She also said the Korean temple food uses all seasons of vegetables are included with the rice meal. The temple food belief is that seasonal vegetables contain abundant natural nutrients and also matches the physical structure of human beings. We know that having rice and legume (bean) together complete the central amino acid cycle to create the protein; however according to her, beans or multi-grain has to be seasonal as well in temple food. She said that the temple kitchen cooks the rice with millet or green pea in spring, rice with barley in summer, fresh rice in fall and rice with multi-grain in winter (to help strengthen joints). Also, she recommended that when you have a rice meal, you should take the same amount of vegetables to better balance nutrients. So, what would you cook today?