How to make the perfect omelette

I love omelettes!  They are delicious, healthy and the perfect way to use up random veggies, meat and cheese that you might have lingering in your fridge.  You can eat them for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  I learned how to make a perfect one from Jamie Oliver, although I must confess that mine are not as beautiful as his.

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Baked tortilla chips for your hummus

You’re perhaps wondering what you can use to scoop up that delicious homemade hummus of yours.  A good option is homemade brown bread, but if that’s too much work for you, there’s an even easier solution: baked tortilla chips.

It’s really quite simple.  Just go to Costco and get the jumbo bag of tortillas (or you can buy them at the local mart as well usually, but they’re quite expensive).   Then, cut them up into triangles and lightly brush them with olive oil.  Add some salt, or another spice or two if you’re feeling adventurous.  Something like cumin is good for hummus.  Then bake in the oven on medium heat until crisp.  Check frequently because it’s quite easy to burn them.  You can store them for a few days in an airtight container, but make sure you let them cool first.

(image from Whatthecraft)

tortilla chips

Shopping at the Local Marts and Markets

I know a lot of the expats in Korea  are quite devoted to Costco and Homeplus, but it’s actually quite expensive to shop there all the time, especially Costco.  That place is kind of dangerous because the quantities are so big and if you live alone, you just don’t need that much food and you’ll probably end up not eating or throwing out some of it.  Plus, it’s really tempting to buy junk food from back home just because it’s familiar.

What’s my strategy?  Check out the local marts.  They won’t have things like import wine, cheese or nice cuts of meat like steak, but they will have all the basics that you need including fruit/veg/milk, etc and often for cheaper than the bigger marts.

Then I shop at the local 5-day market for things like fresh whole chickens, banchan (Korean side dishes), kimchi, fruit and vegetables.  They’re perfect for buying whatever is in season like strawberries or watermelons (which I cut up and freeze to use in my breakfast smoothies).

Then, I keep a list for the big stuff that I need like cheese, wine, pasta sauce, oil, meat, laundry detergent, etc. and I’ll go to the Homeplus around once/month to stock up.

Coffee at Home

You’ll find that coffee in the coffee shops here in Korea is generally quite expensive as compared to North America, especially at the big chains.  You can get cheap coffee at places like McDonalds or Lotteria, but it usually won’t come with things that you think are obvious, such as milk or sugar!  It’s usually just easier to make it yourself at home.  To do that, just get yourself  a coffee maker on Gmarket  for around 25 000 Won and it’s easy enough to find coffee filters at any of the supermarkets.  It’s quite easy to register on Gmarket and shipping is often free but  you’ll need some basic Korean language skills to do this though.

Next step is to head over to the most fabulous Iherb and get yourself some organic and ethical fair-trade coffee.  My 2 favorites are: The Breakfast Blend and The Rainforest Blend.  You can buy both of them ground, or not but in my opinion, it’s way better to grind the beans yourself.  You can buy a good quality, but cheap grinder at Costco, or check around on Gmarket.

Eggs and Spinach on Toast

Eggs and Spinach on ToastThis is one of my favorite weekend breakfast meals.  It’s delicious, pretty easy to make and quite healthy.  It’s ideal for after you go to Costco and you have good cheese and bread.  Here are the ingredients:

From IherbFresh Ground Black Pepper, Basil

From the Organic Box (Wwoof CSA), Costco, or the regular supermarket: Cheddar cheese, good bread (add on with the organic box), eggs, garlic, onion, spinach, salt, oil

It will take about 15 minutes to make.  Toast the bread and put the piece of cheese on top.  Fry up the onion and garlic in a bit of oil.  Add the spinach, salt, pepper and basil and cook until the spinach is just wilted.  Put on top of the toast and then fry up an egg or two (I like mine easy-over).  Enjoy with your hands if brave, or a fork and knife it not!

 

Healthy Breakfast on the Go

Although, it’s not really “cooking,” I try to eat a green smoothie at least 5 days/week.  It’s an amazing way to start the day off right with a plethora of fruit and veg.  I blend up the following in my blender ( a cheap one that I bought off an expat who was leaving for $5 about 7 years ago):

From Iherb

Greens Organic-Green Superfood Powder

Pumpkin Seeds (alternates with almonds and walnuts)

Almond Milk (sometimes I use yogurt)

Oatmeal

From Costco or Homeplus

Fruit-whatever is on sale or in season-blueberries, strawberries, bananas, kiwis, watermelon, peaches, etc

Cucumber

From my organic box

Green leafy vegetables, usually spinach but I’ve also tried lots of other stuff too and with decent results.  Just avoid the bitter ones.

Tips:

1. Make sure you process the fruit/veg first before you put it in the freezer (ie: cucumbers and strawberries.  Cut off the stems, get them into manageable chunks)

2. You can put more leafy greens in than you think.  You’ll get used to the taste.

3. Add water to get it to blend well.  A little almond milk or yogurt goes a long way.

4. If you have a long day and it will be a while until lunch, add extra nuts/oatmeal so that you’ll stay full longer.

photo (1)

 

 

 

Welcome to Home Cooking in Korea

It really is easy to cook delicious meals at home in Korea, even Western style ones if you know where to look for ingredients.  It ends up being much cheaper and healthier than eating out all the time.  My secrets are:

1. Gmarket– anything and everything can be found here, including convection ovens.

2. Iherb– this is the site for all things healthy, and vegan or vegetarian in Korea.  Plus, you can find a few hard to find treats like organic chocolate or Salt & Vinegar chips.

3. Costco–  This should be your go to source for meat, cheese, wine and processed Western food.  And, they have outrageously delicious food in their food-court.

4. Wwoof Csa– Who doesn’t love organic food delivered straight to your door?  I sure do.  It comes once/week and contains all the vegetables and eggs that I need for the week.  Healthy eating at a good price.

Follow the blog for recipes, meal ideas and fabulous ingredients finds.