eat seasonal

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What I want to have a dinner or What I can cook for a dinner with seasonal ingredients? Whichever I make a decision, it makes a huge different in my shopping basket, and in my wallet. Long winter, most of vegetable are still pricey in our grocery store. Compare the cost of $3 per a Tomato, one head of Napa Cabbage is pretty reasonable price. I believe there are many reasons for eat Seasonal Vegetable. 1 taste is good, 2 higher nutrients, 3 save gas, 4 easy on the wallet, etc. Why don’t we eat seasonal vegetable then. I bought Asian radish (dikon) and made Kimchi. Now I understand better what Korean seasonal food culture tells. It spices up the spring appetite. (ingredients: radish, salt, red pepper, vinegar, garlic and  honey)

kale slaw with tofu

© EunYoung Sebazco

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Kale meets tofu, I will call it is a megafood. Kale provides high levels of a number of essential nutrients and may help to lower your blood pressure. Raw kale contains the higher amount of antioxidants and zinc than cooked kale. Tofu is an excellent source of protein, iron, and calcium. Let’s mix them up and eat raw- You will need only kale, tofu, ginger, salt, sesame oil and sesame seeds (option).

a tiny organic farm

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I have seen my sister-in-law growing radish in a small container. They were sprouted only few inches and she was harvesting them right before serving a meal. oh! that is cool..why don’t I try. I have purchased a sprout master for few years ago which was different than what my sister-in-law had. I ordered Radish seeds and Broccoli seeds. It is really easy to grow and only few days need to harvest. It has given me excitement! Sprouts are excellent tiny vegetables to add a bit of flavor to a salad or sandwich and great natural supplement. AND TASTE GOOD. SO GOOD~

“ Sprouts: Packed With Nutrients. 
The nutritious value of sprouts is remarkable with sprouts containing a greater concentration of vitamins, minerals, proteins, enzymes, phytochemicals, anti-oxidants, nitrosmines, trace minerals, bioflavinoids and chemo-protectants (such as sulphoraphane and isoflavone) which work against toxins, resist cell mutation and invigorate the body’s immune system than at any other point in the plant’s life – even when the plant is fully matured.”

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…

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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?

Fermented Rice Bran Pickles

© EunYoung Sebazco
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One summer’s day, I received an email from one of my Japanese friends, Aya saying, “Nukazuke is ready. Come over”. Nukazuke (糠漬け) is a type of fermented Japanese pickle that uses rice bran powder (nuka). So, I stopped by the next day to pick it up. She has been making it for me the past few months. She handed me a small container with full of pickles and a bag of rice bran powder. I was excited! I have never thought that I was able to make Nukazuke. I thought it would be very difficult to make process. My old Japanese friend, Sakai, had introduced it to me long time ago. When she took the pickles out of her old jar, the pickles were covered with brown crumbs which was different than I was used to seeing. In Korean culture, we make so many different types fermented pickles that most of them are soybean based or red pepper based. So, I was very happy to hear from Aya to remind me of another way to use rice. The more I learn about rice, the more curious I become. Any edible vegetable and fish can be pickled in Nuka. The taste of nuka pickles can be sour and salty. However, the flavor of pickle opens the appetite and after the meal helps digest the meal.

Ingredients
Slightly roasted nuka
Salt
Water
Dried kelp (Kombu)
Chilli
Vegetables (Cucumber, Carrots, Radish, etc)

Directions
1 Mix the salt and roasted nuka powder together in a container.
2 Add water, a little at a time, until you have a fairly dry paste.
3 Submerge kombu (kelp) and chilli in the paste (being careful not to break the chilli and release the seeds), and pat down the surface of the paste until smooth.
4 wipe the excess paste from around the edge with clean damp cloth.
5 Cover with a lid. Keep in a cool and dark place in the kitchen (or refrigerator) . Stir the paste at least twice a day, three times in hot weather.
6 After a week, the paste should be ready to use and have a slightly sour smell to it like sourdough starter does. Remove the chilli and kombu.
7 Place the slightly salted vegetable into the nuka paste.
8 After a week, They will be ready to eat.
* You will need to add nuka powder when you see the moisture on paste or when you place new vegetable or lose the pickle from the nuka paste.