Entertaining

I had friends over this afternoon for a mini house warming so I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies to add to the aroma of the house and a pitcher of banana grape smoothie to neutralize the 99 degree weather. Next month I’m going to throw a bigger party so I’ll show you the real dishes then.

The First Bowl

Welcome to Mimi’s grand opening. I made my own Western version of Bibim Naengmyon (or Bibimbap).

First I washed two bundles of home grown xiao bai cai. This is a type of small loose-leaf Chinese cabbage that my dad grows in the backyard – the backyard that used to be my backyard too until two weeks ago. Xiao bai cai can typically be harvested 3-4 weeks after sowing, making it an ideal garden variety edible green. Alternatively, this type of lettuce should be readily available at your local Asian market.

Next I boiled the bai cai along with a few handfuls of mung bean sprouts. The sprouts are crunchy with just the slightest hint of sweetness, although when boiled it looses its texture. The reason I boil them is to make them easier to eat (they’re kind of long and pokey otherwise) and the heat releases a protein that isn’t available when consumed raw. I chose to add mushrooms to the pot as well.

While the pot boils, take care of your noodles. You can grind your own noodles from a pasta maker or, if you simply don’t have the time, prepackaged wet noodles aren’t unbearable. Bring the desired amount to a boil for a few minutes and rinse it in cold water before letting it sit at the bottom of the bowl. This prevents the noodles from sticking to one another – a messy, unaesthetic result if done incorrectly!

Next drain the now boiled vegetables, add your choice of meat while it’s still hot and steamy, and arrange the toppings over the oodles of noddles in a practical manner.

You’re almost done. Make an egg (or two) sunny side up with just a slightly runny yolk. Arrange it over the noodles and add Bi Bim Bap sauce to taste. The sauce is a seasoned red pepper paste that is popular is many Korean dishes and it too should be readily available at your local Asian market.

Once your guest sees this appetizingly arranged meal and s/he is ready to eat, s/he will mix all the ingredients together. At this time the bibimbap paste will disperse evenly among the elements in the bowl and the sunny side up egg yolk will spill open and do the same. Please enjoy.