Monthly Archives: January 2012

Between a Rock and Terrible Pictures


This my friends, is a rather blurry photo of my Korean stone dolsot bowl filled with some bim bim bap. Bim bim bap is the name of the dish and when served in a dolsot it’s called Dolsot bim bim bap. It’s blurry because the bowl had been sitting in a 500° oven for an hour and I had only my cell phone handy and those yellow things you see on top are egg yolks. Everything is cooking fast in the hot bowl… no time to get a better camera.

Cooking with the dolsot is easy. Cook some rice (we always do short-grain brown in our house). Make a variety of small korean/asian type items (whatever is around) to go on top. Think bbq tofu or seitan (the meat eaters would have ground beef or bbq pork but we won’t go there) and slightly pickled or stir-fried vegetables. An egg yolk per a person is traditional and hoisin sauce can be delightful. The only definite requirement is Korean gochujang pepper paste. You cannot substitute for this.

So, you take your dolsot and put it in the oven at 500°. You start a pot of rice. You cook your veggies and/or tofu. You separate your egg yolks. Your rice is probably done about an hour after you started your oven. Take out the dolsot, drizzle in some sesame oil and brush around with a silicon or pastry brush. Transfer the cooked rice into the dolsot. Lay the various toppings in attractive wedges around the dolsot leaving the center clear.  Add a big dollop of gochujang, another of hoisin if you want it. Add the egg yolks in the center. Top with seaweed or sesame seeds if you desire. Allow to sit for a few minutes to allow the rice to get crispy on the bottom (one of the main characteristics of the dolsot). Then, break the eggs with your chopsticks and stir everything together allowing the egg yolks to cook in big streaks along the stone bowl edges (the other main characteristic of the dolsot). Everything cooks together and you serve yourself out of the dolsot. Top with kimchi.

Clean the dolsot by scouring it with kosher salt and a kitchen towl when warm to remove food particles and then rub the inside with vegetable oil. If prepping a new dolsot season it with vegetable oil after heating in a hot oven much like seasoning a cast iron skillet.

Last night we stir-fried sesame-garlic kale from the garden (it lives! in January!), did a slight BBQ on some water chesnuts with some date syrup (hey, it was around and I like it) and some gochujang. We had some leftover pickled shredded daikon and carrot from the asian market that I bought for bahn mi sandwiches over a week ago and it had to go, so into the dolsot it went. Stirred together and I think this was one of P.’s more favorite Asian meals. He’s an Italian guy at heart and I’m just a California gal.

For more info and much better pictures see this informative blog post:

You really can’t buy a dolsot online (and shipping on the heavy stone would be HELL). I picked mine up for about $20 at an Asian market. It has a matching lid and is worth the trouble of maintaining it. Which is not much.

Holiday cheer? I mean pasta.

I suppose these might be seasonal.

P. and I are working on our pasta-making super-team. I make the dough, he rolls the pasta. If it’s a filled pasta I fill and cut it while he keeps rolling. Then we cook the pasta while I cook whatever the pasta is going in. Supposedly he cleans the kitchen and feeds the cats while it finishes cooking. Supposedly a bottle of wine is opened and poured at some point during this process too. There is no arguing over someone rolling pasta too fast or filling pasta too slow or anything like that.

The major problem of course is that if the original dough is a bust it can be a major problem. Entire dinner explodes problem (no dinner). Our fail safe plan is that we don’t cry, we just order pizza, but it’s harder than usual not to cry over handmade pasta.

I tried to make this pasta once before. I had visions of vivid purple pasta filled with bright green filling. It would be a lurid but cheerful combination and let’s face it, the weather is pretty grey. I found a Martha recipe where she grinds up an assortment of veggies and puts them into an assortment of pastas before moving onto things like turtle-pasta, hamster-pasta…. nevermind. If Martha can do it I can try to do it too.

I bought a giant beet at the farm market. I baked it until it was mush, I pureed it in my food processor…. and it was only pink! I tried to make the dough. Not only was my dough a bust (not enough flour, waaaaay too soft and sticky) but because my beet was pink and not purple my soft dough turned into an odd fleshy wrinkly mass, especially as it settled into folds caused by the saran wrap. It was oddly cadaver like. I needed Dr. Frankenstein to come along and bring life into it. P. tried hard to work enough flour into it but I’m surprised he didn’t kill our pasta machine. The flesh ball went into the trash.

This time I got plain old supermarket beets and they were plenty purple. I added plenty of flour to the dough and it all worked out. Though it turns out, well, you boil beet pasta and it just turns pink anyway. Bust-a-thon for this one. Pretty while it lasted though.

The pasta itself is agnolotti; a sort of rustic ravioli. I was very sick of the ravioli press and angnolotti are super-trendy at places like, oh, The French Laundry these days. Pretty easy and no fancy equipment needed, just a pastry cutter.

The filling is a standard mixture of greens and ricotta from the food processor and is remarkable only because the greens are turnip greens (my Encyclopedia of Pasta says this is traditional for Sardinian agnolotti as opposed to agnolotti from other places in Italy which can be filled with a variety of things up to and including donkey meat, which is not an acceptable item in our household) and because I used the rest of the turnip in the actual pasta dish. Going for a nose-to tail use of the turnip!

Anyway, I keep getting asked if this blog is still alive. See the problem? There’s too much information.

Want some pictures?