It's 2015. Happy New Year!
Did you make any resolutions? Set new goals?
Now that we're a few days in, I'm still reflecting on what I'd like to accomplish this year. I don't think there is any need to hurry when it comes to making plans that will be realistic yet challenging for the remainder of the year.
My athletic goal, however, was already carved out for me the first day of 2015 when I was recruited by my husband, Marc, to join his RowPro virtual rowing team.
During the winter, enveloped by monochromatic days (lately, when I step outside, it always feels like it's about 4:30 p.m., whether the actual time is 8 a.m. or 1 p.m.) we go a little stir crazy and often end up with big, hopeful goals revolving around athletics and fitness. Marc also happens to be training for his third IronMan race in the summer and rowing is a great way to cross train during the cold and wet weather.
With this rowing challenge, each member of our team logs his or her daily workout and our team mileage is tallied up. We've each been assigned individual goals.
Mine is 50,000 meters per week.
Why yes, I did have to ask Marc to repeat that number again right after he told me. I hemmed and hawed for a few seconds, said I quit the team then changed my mind again and announced that I would rejoin it, which meant agreeing to the 50,000.
For some people, that kind of distance on the ergometer (indoor rowing machine) is easy, but for me, it's a challenge.
This is especially true given that I suffered an injury last April while picking up a very heavy bag of groceries and could not do any on- or off-water rowing from then until October when after much physical therapy and an eventual shot of cortisone in my forearm, the problem improved.
Now that I am getting all this rowing in, I figure I should be allowed to devour heaps of my favorite carb-laden dish. Right? No way am I going on any detox juice cleanse when I have serious working out to do.
Kimchi pasta is beloved in our home as well as those of all our extended family and friends. Over the years, we've slowly brought increasing numbers of devotees into the fold. I haven't met anyone yet who doesn't taste this dish made from spaghetti, red kimchi, onion, and heavy cream and immediately fall in gah-gah love. It's a funky yet comforting umami explosion with each bite.
The combination might sound a little weird to those who so far have been deprived of it. Trust me, though. Once you try it, your palate will be longing for more.
I first tasted this dish about five lifetimes ago at my brother Warren's friend's restaurant, a little place on La Brea Avenue in L.A. I don't remember the name of it, just that it was a favorite hang out of a bunch of Korean art school kids and that there was a basketball hoop out back.
Warren started making this dish and the rest of us went crazy for it. Over time, each of us have added our own personal touches. Warren always includes some kind of seafood such as langostino or bay scallops.
My favorite addition is wild Oregon shrimp, whose brininess goes perfectly with the assertive yet creamy sauce. But, I don't include it unless my husband isn't eating since he's allergic to shellfish.
Start the new year right and make this right now! Cheers!
3/4 lb. spaghetti
1/2 cups red kimchi (I use napa cabbage kimchi)*, homemade or store bought
1 small yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon gochujang paste
1 teaspoon bonito shavings, optional
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup heavy cream
8-12 oz. of cleaned seafood (fresh or frozen) such as small bay scallops or wild shrimp
1/4 cup cooking liquid from the boiled pasta
2 tablespoons sesame oil
Japanese rice seasoning (fumi furikake)
For the pasta, place a large pot of salted water on high heat to boil. Note: The sauce comes together very quickly, so you want to be ready to add in the cooked pasta fairly soon after the sauce is finished.
Chop kimchi into small pieces, set aside (including any liquid that comes out of the kimchi). Peel and halve onion, slicing thinly. Peel and mince garlic.
Over medium heat, place butter in large pan. Once it has melted, add onions. Cook until they begin to soften, for about 7-8 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute, until fragrant. Add gochujang and work it into the onion mixture. Cook for 3 more minutes. Add bonito shavings, if using, and stir. Add kimchi and its liquid, stirring to combine. Add wine and turn heat up to medium-high, allowing liquid to mostly evaporate (about 5 minutes). Turn heat down to medium.
If using seafood, add now and cook until seafood is warmed through and still tender.
Now is also an ideal time to add the spaghetti to the boiling, salted water. Cook it until it is al dente
Add cream. Allow to cook for another 2-3 minutes, until the cream thickens slightly. Turn heat to low. (If your spaghetti needs additional time, you can turn the heat off until you are ready to add it to the sauce.)
Drain spaghetti, remembering to set aside a bit of the liquid. Immediately add spaghetti to the sauce pan. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil over the pasta and sauce, then combine. Add cooking liquid from the spaghetti to your liking (you may or may not need the entire amount) and combine again.
Serve kimchi pasta in individual bowls or on plates garnished with additional drizzles of sesame oil and a generous scattering of Japanese rice seasoning.
*Red kimchi, as opposed to the mild white variety, includes gochugaru, Korean chili flakes that give the kimchi its heat and distinctive red color.