Where's Wednesday?: Korea in Your Kitchen, Fall in the Wadrobe

ImageThe book of Ecclesiastes holds a special place in my heart as it provided words of great comfort during moments of strife and toil.  "There is a time for everything."  A season for joy, growth, and even passing.  Whenever Fall roams around the corner, I mentally and emotionally prepare myself to "let go" because of my habit to forever cherish memories.  On another note, I anticipate the arrival of Fall because it means returning to fashion classics and basics.  Tweed coats, blazers, black, grey, and simple yet classy jewelry top my Fall Essentials List. You can snag this versatile cosmos cuff for only $21 on JewelMint while the one-day Flash Sale lasts, and although the lovely Aqua Odyssey and Geo Metro necklaces are not on sale, JewelMint offers them at $30.  Personally, I love Satya's Plumage Necklace, available online for $208 at MIKA.  And for those Furla fanatics, MIKA also sells this stunning Plum Cortina Messenger Bag!  If you're a first timer though, MIKA has a $15-off deal that expires 3 days after you register.

ImageNaturally, I associate Fall with not only tweed coats and black basics but with pumpkin and squash as well.  In Korea, people have eaten something called hobak jook (squash porridge), a dish that only nobles and the king could once afford to enjoy, for generations.  Because varying types of porridge exist, not everyone craves a bowl of hobak jook in colder weather or when they fall ill.  I, however, have an affinity for anything related to squash.  For those seeking a healthier, more filling alternative to sodium-heavy soups, this delicacy will do the trick.

Ingredients: 1 Kabocha squash, butternut squash, or acorn squash (I prefer Kabocha but butternut squash works just as well!)* 1/3 ~ 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 tsp salt 2/3 cup ~1 cup sweet rice flour (any Asian market or Whole Foods carries it) 3~4 cups water *If you prefer not going through the hassle of mashing the squash or don't have a blender or food processor at home, then buy 2-3 pounds of pre-cut squash cubes. **If you buy a whole squash, then make sure to cut it open and spoon the seeds out from inside.  You can either keep the sliced pieces in their skin or cut them into cubes.

Rice balls: Mix 2/3 cup of sweet rice flour and 1/4 cup of water together.  When the texture starts becoming sticky and clumpy, begin kneading the rice dough.  Grab half a fistful of the dough and roll it in a ball.  Repeat.

Steps 1. Boil a pot of water until you see bubbles and throw in the cut squash.  Wait until the squash is cooked completely. 2. Option 1: If the skin is already moved, you can use gently mash the soft squash and mix the mashed squash with the boiling water. Option 2: Drain the water and throw the softened squash inside your food processor or blender.  Pour the mix back into pot of boiling water (3-4 cups). 3. In a separate bowl, mix 1/4 cup of water and 3 tbsp of sweet rice flour together. Add more sweet rice flour if necessary. 4. Pour the sweet rice flour mixture into the pumpkin porridge mixture. Stir well. 5. Add the sugar and salt. Taste, taste, taste! I don't like mine too sweet or salty, so adjust the recipe accordingly. Stir well, again. 6. Drop the rice balls inside the porridge and check every few minutes to see whether they are cooked thoroughly.  The rice balls should be firm but soft and chewy.  Make sure they're not oozing like goo. 7. Serve the porridge in a bowl, and you are done! Health perks: abundance in keratin, Vitamin B, Vitamin C

*Note: Please do not overindulge in the rice balls because overloading on these carbs won't be good news for your belly.  I'd say each bowl should have about 5 rice balls.*

Happy Korean Thanksgiving (Chuseok) and Mid-Autumn Festival!

Love, Pristine Christine