Thursday, June 30, 2011

Fruity Melon Pops

I just can't seem to find enough ways to make popsicles this year.  Perhaps it is the heat or the age of my angels, but whatever it is, I always seem to have a variety of popsicles in my freezer.  Here is one with the kids favorite fruit right inside.

Fruity Popsicles
1 batch of Agua de Melon or Agua de Sandia
  (Canteloupe or Watermelon Water)
1 banana
1/2 C finely diced pear
1/2 C finely diced banana
popsicle sticks
paper cups

  1. Cut the banana into 1/4 inch thick pieces.
  2. Place a popsicle stick in the center of each piece.
  3. Put banana in the bottom of a small paper cup or other mold with the stick sticking straight up.
  4. Place pieces of finely diced fruit, such as banana or pear, in the mold about 1/4 way up the cup.
  5. Put all of the cups on a metal tray.
  6. Pour Agua de Melon or Agua de Sandia in the cup about 1/4" below the edge.
  7. Put the tray in the freezer and allow to freeze completely, about 6 hours.
  8. When ready to eat, remove from the freezer and allow to sit on the counter for 1 minute.
  9. Holding the popsicle stick, remove the popsicle from the mold and enjoy!

Popsicle molds:  You may also use popsicle molds to make these.  They are sold in many stores and online, especially during the summer months.  They usually cost only a few dollars.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Kalua Pua-a (Kalua Pork)

 Kalua Pua-a is pork is a must for any Hawaiian luau.  Traditionally, a pig would be lowered into a fire pit, covered with Ti leaves and left to smoke for hours.  Since smoking a whole pig in a pit may not be practical for you, here is a simple recipe whose results are pretty close to the real thing!

It all begins with a pork butt and some ti leaves.  Any butcher can help you find a good butt; but, for ti leaves, you may have to search.  Ti leaves are part of the lily family and find many uses in Hawaiian culture.  Your local florist may have Ti leaves but I would be sure that they are food-safe.  Although you won't eat these, they will be in direct contact with your pork.  You can also find dried Ti leaves at your local Chinese or Phillipine grocery.  They are used for wrapping rice and meats for steaming.  If you use the dried leaves, be sure to soak them before placing them on your pork.

I have slightly modified a recipe that I found on the Polynesian Cultural Center's website.  I have added a little liquid smoke to give an authentic feel.  If you cook this dish on a grill, you can use a spray bottle to spritz the meat with liquid smoke or place some wet woodchips in an aluminum foil pouch, poke a few holes in the top and sit in on the coals or grate.  The smoke will gives that luau flavor which makes this dish unique.  Of course, if you are one of those "do it right or die" kind of people, grab a shovel and start digging.  As for me.....I am just going to heat up my oven!

Kalua Pua-a (Kalua Pork)
3lb pork butt
3T course salt (Kosher or Hawaiian)
4 - 8 C water
1T liquid smoke
1 or 4 ti leaves (optional)

In the slow cooker (my preference):
  1. Place butt in the slow cooker.
  2. Rub the meat with salt.
  3. Pour 4 cups water and the liquid smoke in the bottom of the pan.
  4. Place one ti leaf on top of the meat.
  5. Turn cooker to low and cook for 8 hours.
  6. When finished cooking, shred.
  7. Serve the meat and the juices over rice.

In the Oven:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place butt in a roasting pan with at least 3' sides.
  3. Rub the meat with salt.
  4. Pour 8 cups water and the liquid smoke in the bottom of the pan.
  5. Place the ti leaves on top of the meat.
  6. Seal the pan with aluminum foil.
  7. Place the meat in the oven and cook for 2-3 hours, until the meat falls apart.
  8. Remove from oven and shred.
  9. Serve over rice.

    Kitchen Tip:  I found this hot sauce at my local grocery.  It turned out not to really be hot at all but instead, a pleasant mix of sweet and spicy.  Serve this with the Kalua Pua'a for those who would like a little extra umph.  But, beware, this is not allergy safe for everyone.  Read the label.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Liquid Smoke

As I roamed the grocery isle in search of an ingredient for my Kalua Pua'a, a clerk approached me to ask if I need assistance.

"Yes, please," I replied. "Can you tell me where I can find liquid smoke?"

"Uh....  Is that a joke?" he asked.

"No," wondering what kind of joke it could be. "It is an ingredient used to make meat taste smokey without actually smoking it."

The clerk left to talk with a manage and, to his surprise, it is a real ingredient.  The manager said that it is carried in specialty stores (although, I found it in the large chain grocery retail store across the street) and off I went, leaving a puzzled clerk behind.

I guess in hindsite, Liquid Smoke does sound like something you might use for an "alternative" purpose.  But, Liquid Smoke nothing of the sort and so, just never occurred to me.  In fact, Liquid Smoke is the collected consdensation from smoked wood, usually hickory or mesquite.  In it's purest form, it contains only water and the condensation from the wood.  Liquid Smoke is mixed into recipes, spritzed on foods during grilling, or added to water during a steaming to add a smokey flavor without actually smoking the food. 

ALLERGY ALERT:  Read  your labels.  Not all Liquid Smoke is just water and condensation.  I have seen ingredients such as soy and wheat in many brands.  Carefully read the labels.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Agua de Melon (Canteloupe Water)

In the small kitchen of a quaint house in central Mexico, a tiny, sweet lady gently explains to a clueless American how to make the simplest of drinks.

"Como se lama?" I ask once again, waiting for Maria to slowly tell me how to say the name of the drink.

"Agua de Me-lon!" she yells over the roar of the blender.

For many years, I made this recipe until life took over and I forgot about Mexico.  But, years later with children of my own, I find myself remembering how to make simple dishes like these.  I love to share them and their stories with my angels, as memories of a younger me fill the room.

Agua de Melon (Canteloupe Water)
1 canteloupe
3 C water
1/4 C sugar
  1. Remove the peel and seeds from a canteloupe.
  2. Cut into 1-2 inch pieces.
  3. Place 1/2 of the pieces in a blender.
  4. Add 1 1/2 C water.
  5. Blend on high until the canteloupe is liquid.
  6. Pour this through a strainer into a pitcher.
  7. Repeat Steps 4-6 with the remainder of the watermelon.
  8. Taste the drink and add sugar in small amounts until sweet.
  9. Chill and enjoy!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

How to cut a Pineapple

Many people are afraid to buy whole pineapples because they think that cutting it is a lot of work.  I am here to tell you that it is not. 

Here is how I cut pineapples:

Step1:  Remove the top and bottom of the pineapple.

Step2:  Cut from top to bottom around the edges of the pineapple to remove the peeling.  Do this all the way around the pineapple.

Step3: Go back around the pineapple cutting thin strips to remove any of the peeling or pits that remain.

Step 4: Slice the pineapple shortways if you want pineapple rings. If you want wedges, then slice the pineapple in half lengthwise.

Step5: To form wedges, slice each half lengthwise in half again. If you would like thinner wedges, Cut each half into thirds lengthwise.

Additional Tips: To remove the core from wedges, slice lengthwise along the point of each wedge.  To serve the wedges, slice shortways along each wedge in increments of 1/4 inch or 3 inches. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Grilled Pineapple Wedges

Our angel has only eaten pineapple a few times.  We haven't avoided it; it just isn't a common part of our diet.  The first time our angel ate pineapple, it was a grand slam.  The second time, our angel didn't eat much and was 'itchy".  This has left us wondering, "Is she allergic?"  So, with summer here, we are going throw a wedge on the grill and see what happens. 

Grilled Pineapple Wedges
1 pineapple
1/4 C brown sugar (optional)
  1. Start your grill and allow to thoroughly heat up.
  2. Cut the top and bottom off of the pineapple.
  3. Stand the pineapple upright and slice off the peeling.
  4. Cut the pineapple lengthwise into four, long wedges.
  5. Place the pinapple on a hot grill.
  6. Cook for 3 minutes or until it easily lifts off the grill. 
  7. You want nice clear grill marks on the surface before you turn it.
  8. Turn and cook on the next side for about 3 minutes.
  9. Cook on the final side about 3 minutes, as well.
  10. Remove from the grill.   Each of the sides should now have grill marks.
  11. Serve warm as one long wedge or slice into multiple wedges about 3 inches thick.

Kitchen Tip:  Have you tried basting them with our Citrus-Basil Dressing while cooking?  Omit the brown sugar and brush on a little of our favorite dressing.  For easier basting, simmer the dressing until it has thickened.  Yowza!  It is good!

    Monday, June 20, 2011

    Citrus-Basil Dressing

    This recipe was inspired by a recipe that I found on  The author received a recipe for Pineapple Citrus Chicken with Lime-Basil Glaze while touring the Maui Pineapple farms.  I couldn't resist altering the recipe slightly to form a Dressing which is amazing on salads, gogoma, chicken or just licked right off of your fingers!

    Citrus-Basil Dressing

    1/3 cup fresh orange juice
    2 tbsp fresh lime juice
    1 tbsp minced red onion
    1/2 tsp finely grated lime zest
    1 clove garlic, pressed or finely minced
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/3 cup rice oil
    2 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
    2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
    1/4 C honey
    1. In small bowl, combine orange juice, lime juice, red onion, lime zest, garlic and salt.
    2. Stir to dissolve salt.
    3. Add honey,  2 tablespoons finely chopped basil and 2 tablespoons parsley.
    4. Slowly whisk in rice oil.
    5. Pour over a bowl of salad greens, toss, and top with sliced pineapple.

    Kitchen Tip:  Double or even triple this recipe. 
    You'll be glad you did!

    Sunday, June 19, 2011

    Happy Father's Day

    Gift from an Angel

    As Father's Day comes to an end, I reflect on the special moments that my angel shares with Dad.  Their interactions are not the same as with me and that makes the relationship all the more special.  I hope that today was a day filled with special memories.  Happy Father's Day!

    Thursday, June 16, 2011

    Aqua de Sandia (Watermelon Water)

    When the temperatures are soaring, nothing cools you more than a cool fruity beverage.  Today we are making Aqua de Sandia (Watermelon Water).  I learned to make this many years ago in a small Mexican pueblo.  The fruit was ripe and the water was cold; the perfect summer mix!

    Aqua de Sandia (Watermelon Water)
    C watermelon
    C cold water
    T sugar
    1. Cut the watermelon into large pieces; no need to remove the seeds.
    2. Place pieces in a blender.
    3. Add the water.
    4. Blend until liquified.
    5. Taste.
    6. Add sugar one tablespoon at a time until you reach desired sweetness.  Every watermelon is different.  Some may need all of the sugar and some may need none.
    7. Pour in a glass.  Add an umbrella and a straw.
    8. Serve cold.

    Fruity Melon Water:  For added nutrition and appeal, place a few pieces of finely diced fruit like banana and pear in the bottom of the glass before adding the drink.  Serve this with a scooping straw so that guests may enjoy the fruit when they have finished.

    Tuesday, June 14, 2011

    Third Place! How exciting!

    A sincere and special thanks to each of you who voted in the blogging contest.  Your encouragement and comments have always been a blessing to me.  I was just notified of the results; they are as follows:

    Grand Prize:  Jamie Frater
    Second Prize:  kmac1047
    Third Prize:  MarieWebb8, Camille17, AllergicAngel

    WOW!  I am so honored by this.  I feel as though I've just won a Grammy!  Thank you again to each one of you for your continued support.

    The other winning blogs were well done.  I have enjoyed reading them throughout the contest and hope that they will continue to contribute their stories to KoreaTaste.  I believe you will find the winning blog particularly well take a look at the work of these great writers.

    Thursday, June 9, 2011

    Gogoma (Steamed Sweet Potatoes)

    Three years ago, my angel quite eating gogoma (sweeet potatoes) when we discovered a potato allergy. The allergy appeared small in testing but as we observed her reactions, we realized that even touching a potato set off a strong reaction. Well, exciting news! After a blood test returned negative for potato allergies, we have been observing our angel for reactions after eating this versatile tuber and found none. While I will still control how much potato and what kinds of potatoes we eat until I am absolutely confident, I am not sure which potato to cook first! Should I cook french fries, hashbrowns …. or something Korean like KamJa JoLim? Let's steam Gogoma!

    Gogoma, or sweet potatoes, are a relative of the white potato. It has a white or yellowy flesh with white or red skin. In the southern part of the United States, yams are often referred to as sweet potatoes. These yams have an orange flesh with red skin and are not actually a potato, at all. 
    In Korea, gogoma are eaten as a snack in the home or around a campfire. They may be steamed in your kitchen or wrapped in aluminum foil and roasted in a fire. Gogoma make a simple, delicious and nutritional snack.

    Steamed Gogoma

    2 Cups of water
    3 gogoma
    1. Place the water in your steamer and begin to heat on medium heat.
    2. Wash the gogoma and place in your steamer basket.
    3. Place the steamer over the water and cover with a lid.
    4. Allow to steam for 30 minutes to one hour depending on the size of the potatoes.
    5. Once they are soft all the way through, remove from steamer and allow to cool slightly.
    6. Gently rub away the skin and enjoy the soft, sweet flesh.
    7. They potatoes are delicious warm or cold at any time of the day!

    Tuesday, June 7, 2011


    A very special thank you to each one of you who voted for my posts in the contest. I know that many of you experienced difficulties in voting and even took the time to make comments to show your support. I can not thank you enough for that.

    The results of the contest will not be available for another month and there were some very worthy competetors. Whether or not I win, I enjoyed sharing my allergy safe Korean foods with you. Korean food is more than a part of my family's life, it is an expression of who we are. Each recipe is unique and special. That is why I share them with you.

    Thank you, again.   I look forward to the next competition!

    Now.....back to the blog