Korean Bibim Gooksoo

June 21, 2008

Bibim Gooksoo

Posted by: Y

The other day, one of my co-workers wanted me to go with him to pick up some Korean street food for lunch. This lunch cart was supposed to be located about 5 blocks away from our workplace- lo and behold, when we arrived there, there was no such cart. My co-worker insisted that we get Korean food, so we walked further uptown to get bibim gooksoo at a place he found online. We pretty much ended up walking 11 blocks and two avenues to get this noodle dish (we had to take the subway back to work)! When we got back to our office, we sampled our fare and my co-worker thought the dish was awesome. I, however, was not as impressed- my Korean palate found the dish underseasoned and bland (not worth 10 dollars). Since I was not satisfied with our bibim gooksoo excursion, I decided to make the dish at home this weekend: 

Ingredients:

-1/2 large cucumber (or 1 small one), cut into thin matchsticks
-1 asian pear, cut into small pieces
-1 cup kimchi (at least 1-2 weeks old), cut into small bite-size pieces
-2 tbsp gochujang (korean red pepper paste)
-1 tbsp honey
-2 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
-1 tbsp soy sauce
-1 tbsp brown sugar
-1 tbsp minced garlic 
-1 tbsp sesame oil 
-3 bunches of soba noodles
-2-3 large eggs, hard-boiled 

Directions

1. Cook soba noodles according to package instructions; drain and rinse in cold water.
2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl with soba noodles, and mix thorougly. 
3. Add one hard-boiled egg (sliced in half) on top of each serving, and enjoy!!

(Feeds 2 people- if you want to make it for 3, just cook up a little more soba)

The results were great- this is exactly what I wanted when I trekked uptown for bibim gooksoo. And if you make Korean food often, as I try to, you will have a majority of these ingredients at home (so it’s a very cheap meal)! The asian pear is essential- if you cannot find asian pear, you can substitute it with slices of apple (but it won’t be as awesome as the pear). The pear adds a crisp, refreshing touch to the dish. Perfect for hot summer nights~

P.S. My boyfriend G and I adopted (bought) a new baby today:

 

Gorgeous! The picture of the dish above is thanks to this beauty. I’m not used to photographing food, so I’ll be working on adjusting the settings to take nice pictures for our blog. :) 

Making a Food Budget

June 20, 2008

Posted by: Y

In the beginning of college, I was notorious for using all my money on food (and clothes, of course). My parents gave me $900 a month for living expenses/eating (not including rent, which they paid as well). Needless to say, I was spoiled, but my parents did that because they knew I wouldn’t be able to survive by cooking on my own in NYC. Shamefully, I still found myself short on cash at the end of the month, and lived on ramen for a week (that sounds funny to me thinking about it now, but it was definitely not funny for me then)! I think back and really regret not having saved a majority of the money; I would probably have a lot of money in savings by now.

 I am still working through changing my ways. A couple years ago, I created a personal P&L sheet in Excel so that I would know when I was going to have money coming in and out. This solved the problem of starving the last week of the month. However, I made it so that I could see how much money I had left over (not really tracking how much I spent) and ended up spending all the extra money on clothes and expensive meals. Now that I have to pay for everything on my own (rent taking a big chunk of my paycheck), I really need to make strict guidelines for myself and track my spending. I don’t just want to skim by, I want to put away a substantial amount of money in savings.

Recently, I created a food budget sheet in excel. I used to spend an average of 25-30 dollars a day on food in college. A day!! Now, since I cook more often and only eat out on occasion, I use alot less money. I am slowly weaning myself to using less and less on food, so I haven’t really set a end goal for a food budget. So at the beginning of the week, I’ll take a quick inventory of what I have in the fridge/pantry to make sure I am using up everything that is perishable. Then I make a menu for the week that works around the perishables I want to use up, also scheduling when I will go pick up any more necessary ingredients at the market. This process ensures that I cook at least 5-6 nights a week. So I made my weekly food budget excel sheet in a way that would be easy to carry over to following weeks- nowadays I always get lunch at the cafeteria at work (but I plan on packing lunch in the future) so I just save the receipt and file away in an envelope at home. I also save receipts from the market in the same place, and go through these receipts  every couple days to enter into my food budget worksheet, which looks like this:

 

I set up the sheet so that if I ever have a negative balance at the end of a week, then that amount will be subtracted from the following week’s food budget (no rollovers for extra money left though, that is cheating on the budget)! I think that this way of maintaining a food budget will work really well for me. Hopefully it will help somebody else too~

 

Peanut Butter Cookies

June 18, 2008

       

 Peanut Butter Cookies 

 

 

Posted by: Y

One of the best perks about my job is Summer Fridays- I get half of the Fridays in summer off. So this past Friday, I took the day off and slept in until noon (to my defense, I had worked until 10 the night before and went to bed really late)! And when I woke up, I felt like eating cookies; specifically, peanut butter cookies! As luck would have it, I had all the ingredients to make a scrumptious peanut butter cookie. I adapted a recipe from Simply Recipes, because I didn’t have any baking powder on hand. This is the recipe I created, based on Peanut Butter Cookies on Simply Recipes:

Ingredients:

3/4 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 cup flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 large egg

1/4 tsp salt

Instructions (I did this all with a whisk and rubber spatula; probably could’ve done all the mixing with a big spoon!):

1. Cream the butter for 2 minutes. Add the sugars, cream for 2 more minutes. Mix in the peanut butter and egg. Mix together the dry ingredients – flour, baking soda and salt. Stir into the sugar butter mixture.

2. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

3. Preheat oven to 300°F. Shape dough into 1 1/4 inch balls. Place about 3 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten in crisscross pattern with a fork. Bake until light brown, 13-15 minutes. Cool on baking sheets for a minute; transfer to rack to cool completely. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Delicious! They were gone by the next morning. I always like to adjust recipes to fit my taste (or the contents of my pantry). Don’t be afraid to experiment, but when baking, make sure your proportions are still similar to tried and true recipes.  Mmm just writing about these cookies makes me wanna go home and make them again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction to B

June 16, 2008

Posted by: B

In college, I was able to meet the most wonderful man (E), to whom I’m happily living with (along with our dog, two cats, and snake). When we first moved in together, we found ourselves in the typical routine of eating out all the time, ordering take-out Chinese or pizza, or making the occasional pasta at home. It was no surprise when we both gained a few pounds after eating such terribly bad for you, wonderful tasting food all year long. It also didn’t help our finances much either; as two twenty-somethings we’re not exactly making the big bucks here.

Thus, in my senior year of college I vowed to start cooking in an attempt to salvage our financial situation. In the end, I found myself using cooking & baking as an outlet for creativity, instead of a necessity. I’ve really enjoyed the control cooking allows me – Instead of buying or eating processed food, I make everything myself & thus am able to control what goes in my food. The result is that we are both healthier, weigh less, and have adapted to a more active lifestyle. In the examination of my finances, I also found that we have saved a significant amount of money by cooking at home (we hardly ever eat out nowadays, I’d like to think I cook well enough that he doesn’t miss it!). Now, I find ways to save even more money by cooking – through coupons & stocking up on items when they are on sale. I hope my changes will inspire other people to do the same. As Y said, we both greatly admire other bloggers in the finance/cooking community and hope to share our experiences with others as well. 

Our First Post!

June 15, 2008

Posted by: Y

All throughout college, I have always relied on eating take out. Now that I’ve graduated, I am on my own and short on cash- my old ways do not work for my tight wallet anymore. Living in NYC, eating out can get expensive, fast. I’ve enjoyed all of my culinary adventures over the last four years of going to college in the city, but now I’ve realized that I need to cook more at home and make a real effort to be money-conscious. However, now that I’ve begun to cook more out of necessity, I’ve realized that I really enjoy it and want to continue cultivating my culinary skills.

B and I have been great friends since middle school, and have kept in touch even after parting our ways for college after high school. Now, we find ourselves in a similar predicament: the need to save money while keeping ourselves well-fed on our entry-level salaries. We also share a passion for cooking (and baking), though we are still novices. Naturally, we have both gravitated to personal finance and food blogs for the answers to all our monetary and culinary inquiries.

We hope that this online journal of our experiences, recipes and thoughts will eventually become one of the blogs that others can reach out to for advice, just like the many blogs that we admire. :)