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Between a Rock and Terrible Pictures

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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:

http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-korean-dolsot-bibimbap-with-vegetables-and-tofu-164939

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.

The Garden

It's amazing how so much work looks so unimpressive.

So P. and I have been involved in this major garden building project. These are (obviously) raised garden beds, each 4x4ft. Last year we had 3 of them in the grass. This year we added 2 more and P. very much wanted the addition of this gravel. He claims that he hated mowing around the beds, but I suspect that he had some secret desire to make the side yard look like a city roof garden.

Here is the work that has been done so far this year, sadly mostly done by P. due to my travel and work schedule:

– Built 2 new boxes

– Tore out grass at location of boxes and inserted boxes

– covered grass with weed sheet

– covered weed sheet with 2 yards of gravel

– filled boxes with 1 yard of soil

– plants purchased at farm market

– plants planted

– bunny resistant fence stapled all the way around the existing privacy fence

– sunflowers, nasturtiums, and morning glories planted around the fence (not yet visible)

– front area for herb garden cleared

– herbs planted

– tomato cages in

– purchase of picnic table from Craigslist

– purchase of quarry tiles and leveling sand

– watering

– purchase and planting of additional tomatoes

Here is the work that is yet to be done:

– front part of bunny fence installation. Requires some sort of crazy posts and I’m not sure what. Ask P. for more details.

– removal of sod/grass for picnic table patio, fill with sand, place stones, place picnic table

– selection of and installation of some sort of sunshade for picnic table

– more watering

– weeding

Anyone want to come over this weekend and help me get this picnic table patio installed? I really don’t think it will take that long?

You always root for Peter Rabbit as a kid, until it's your garden. We have GOT to get the rest of the bunny fence up before they discover our bumper strawberry crop!