Posts Tagged ‘Martial Arts’

So from the comment to my last blog entry you can see that there is a demand for specific recipes.  I am not a native Korean cook, and I won’t make any claims about the authenticity of my recipes.  I am only going to tell you how I I have learned to make this from Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim.  She sometimes teaches about food and food preparation right at her school, Jung SuWon, or in more depth and detail, at the Self Discovery programs. 

For the freshly made rice – I use a rice cooker.  Simply go by the instructions that come with the cooker.  Get a cooker the size you need – if you have a big family, get a big pot.  If it’s just you, get the smallest one.  Fresh cooked rice is always a lot better!  Once you are familiar with the basics, try adding some brown rice and beans, barley, are some of the possibilities. 

For the radish soup, start with some soup meat.  First, slice the meat or cut into small pieces.  For each person, about 1/4  cup is plenty.  Boil it in some salted water, enough to cover the meat.  Boil only until the dirty foam comes up, then rinse.  For most recipes that involve meat, I treat the meat this way.  Grandmaster Kim explains that this pulls out all the pollutants, antibiotics and other things that aren’t good for you.

Put the meat in water, add coarsley chopped garlic, dried anchovies, and sliced Korean Radish.  These are the big, plump, white radishes.  Cook until radishes are tender, then add salt and pepper and a touch of Korean Soy sauce.  You can also add a spoon of finely chopped green onions for the final touch. 

As for the fried fish, I like to use the smaller King fish, available in Korean stores.  You can of course use other fish, but this and mackerel seems to be the more authentic ones.  Ask the store person to clean the fish for you – they usually do that free of charge.  At home, make 3 shallow incisions on the top of the fish, then coat it with flour seasoned with salt and pepper.  You can then fry the fish in a pan, on both sides, which will take about 15 – 25 minutes depending on the size of the fish. 

Or, you could put the fish on aluminum foil, and put some crushed garlic and soy sauce on the fish, close the foil and bake in a pre-heated oven at 375.  Again, the timing depends on the size of the fish. 

To serve and enjoy your Korean breakfast, you would put some kim chi (of course you picked up a jar when you purchased the fish, right? ) in a little bowl, then you take some rice in a bowl, and some soup, and arrange the fish nicely on a plate.  Eye appeal is important at the Korean table, and Grandmaster Kim also emphasizes that in order for your body to enjoy the meal, it should look nice and inviting. 

So go ahead and start your day with a delicious, light, yet satisfying meal!  And by the way, this tastes good any time of day, too!

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A couple of friends called me to remind me that while it’s nice getting so many dinner and a couple of dessert ideas from my blog, I haven’t said anything about breakfast or lunch yet.

Well, number one, I haven’t been blogging for that long, so give me a break please!  And for number two – my philosophy about breakfast is – its the first meal of the day, and whatever you happen to eat first you call it breakfast!  How did we ever come up with the rule that you should have cereal or some eggs in some form for breakfast!  As long as it’s nutritious and balanced, anything goes!

My mother, on the other hand, had different ideas.  When I grew up, I got my birthday cake in the morning!  Her idea was that if you have to “sin” in the food consumption department, it should be first thing in the morning so that you got all day to make up for it – eat healthy stuff, work out – in short, make up for the hunk of cake you just had.   Cake after dinner?  Dessert after dinner?  Never!  It just turns into fat instantly!

So, what should I tell you?  I asked Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim, of course, what an acceptable breakfast would be.  It turns out that I wasn’t too far off.  As long as the food is fresh, nutritious, and well balanced – go for it!  She recommended I try a Korean breakfast.

I remember a few years ago I was in Korea, and in the hotel they had three breakfast options:  Continental breakfast, American Style, and Korean.  Of course I ordered the Korean breakfast.  In came a tray, and the smell was overwhelmingly good and appetizing.  I received a small bowl of radish soup, very light and very good, a bowl of fresh steamed rice, cooked to perfection, sauteed fish, and of course, various kim chees.  (For those not knowing:  Kim chee is the Korean version of very spicy pickled cabbage.  Stay in tune, I’ll blog about that very soon!)

It was one of the best breakfasts I ever had.  Light, yet satifsying, and I didn’t feel hungry for several hours.  It’s something you’d want to have before going to Jung SuWon, especially before a testing, when you need good nutrition without being weighed down.

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I love a simple, roasted, moist chicken.  The only thing is, who has the time to “babysit” a chicken while it’s in the oven?  Especially for dinner, when you are off at Jung SuWon training, working up an appetite.  And, what do you do to prevent this chicken from drying out? 

I asked Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim about this and here is her “secret.”  First, you put the chicken in a roasting pan.  Then, you cut up some very cold butter into 1/4 inch thick slices (works best actually if you cut the butter in slices, then freeze it, then use it).  Have some crushed garlic on hand, as well as some fresh sprigs of rosemary, salt and pepper.  With your hands, gently lift the skin away from the breast of the chicken, and put in the slices of butter, crushed garlic that you have mixed with salt and pepper, and some of the rosemary.  So in effect, you are putting all this UNDER the skin.  In addition, put a little of the salt, pepper and garlic paste on the outside of the chicken.  Pour some good white wine into the pan, about 2 inches high, add a couple handful mushrooms. Put some rosemary into the chicken cavity, along with some garlic.  Now cover it all up very tightly either with a lid or with aluminum foil, put in preheated oven, 350 degrees.  Since I usually get a couple large sized chickens for this, it takes about 2 hours to cook them. 

So you got plenty of time to come home after class, take off the lid or foil, and let the chicken brown and crispy, which will take about 15 – minutes.  You will enjoy a wonderfully moist and delicious chicken!  The butter, and the steam created through the wine, will ensure that the chicken doesn’t dry out. 

If you have a timer, you can set it before you leave, just in case you end up in a class where we sparr longer than we expect…….

To make it really easy on yourself, start the rice cooker before you go, and voila!  When you come home you got a nice dinner ready – add a salad and you’ll be all set. 

PS: should you have an leftovers – which is doubtful – they are most excellent in a chicken salad the next day!  Or add the leftover to the pasta salad in the recipe I posted earlier.

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Sometimes it’s simplicity that hits the spot like nothing else.  I had an eye opening experience the other day.  I had prepared a bunch of hot dogs with all the trimmings, nice big kosher hot dogs, to keep things healthy, with lots of lettuce, veggies and stuff.

I had also made a very simple casserole, like I grew up with when we were really really poor.  I’ll give you the approximate recipe in a minute.  The amazing thing was, the casserole was gone almost immediately, and my family and guests raved about it.  I had a pile of hot dogs left over.  I was shocked.  I had thought no way was anyone going to eat the casserole and everyone would devour the hot dogs.  But to my utter surprise, there wasn’t so much as a single maccaroni left in that pan, not even one stuck in the corner. 


Whow!  See when I grew up we ate it out of necessity since the meat had to stretch for 4 people.  We couldn’t even have meatloaf because it would have required too much meat!  But those noodle casseroles were it! 

Anyhow, I was thinking about what Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim says about food preparation.  I know I might have quoted it already, but with this situation, it just stuck out….

“When you prepare your food, the energy you put into the process will affect the quality of the outcome.  Was your food prepared with love and care and the will to nourish?  Or was it prepared with feelings of anger and resentment, anxiety and hurry?  When you eat food prepared either way, it will have a nourishing quality that corresponds to the energy and intent of the preparer”. (The Silent Master, page 72)

So here is how I make maccaroni/ground beef casserole:

Cook the maccaroni, leaving them quite “al dente”.  You can use any shape noodles, if you want to be traditional use the elbow maccaroni you would use for salad. 

At the same time, boil some water with minced garlic and salt and boil out the ground beef, for about 2 – 3 minutes, until the meat isn’t pink inside anymore.  drain and rinse well

Chop a medium onion, and sautee in olive oil, add chopped garlic, the beef, and mushrooms if you like.  roast until brown, then add tomato sauce to this.  The plainer the sauce, the more traditional it is… smile.  I personally add a little fresh or dried marjoram to the sauce because that is how my mother used to make it, but you can leave that out.

Mix the noodles with the sauce and put into casserol pan.  I would keep the contents of the pan to about 2 – 3″ and not any higher.  Bake at 350 until a slight crust forms at the top, then, if you like, add a little grated cheese.  I personally never do, but some people crave it. 

Then, take out of oven, and step aside, so that you won’t get run over by the stampede that’s going to hit!

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Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim's special recipe: healthy warrior pizza/before cooking

I really really really love pizza.  I have been thinking about how to make it into something very healthy, and yet still very yummy.  I asked Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim about how I could make something so wonderfully great tasting and yet keep it consistent with healthy eating.  She gave me some wonderful tips and hints (by the way, she is a great cook in her own right) – and here is the outcome.  You won’t feel loaded down after eating it.  In fact you could up and go to a fired up Jung SuWon Class and you would be fine.

And yes, even the dough is home made, and it’s worth it’s effort.  I personally always make plenty of dough and freeze what I am not using, so I can make pizza whenever I want to.

For the dough:

  • 2/3 parts whole wheat flour, 1 part white flour
  • flax seed meal
  • amaranth flour, if you can get it
  • garbanzo beans, or pinto beans, cooked, and mashed to make it liquidy (or blended into liquid)
  • fresh yeast cake if you can get, or 1 envelope regular dried yeast
  • some olive oil
  • dash of salt and pepper

proof the yeast (dissolve the yeast in some warm water, with a little flour and a dab of honey). Once this mixture is bubbly , add your bean liquid and add some water if you need more liquid.  Add the oil at this point.  Add enough flour to make a soft, but non-sticky dough.  Knead thoroughly, cover, and let rise.  This dough will rise slower than other doughs.  When doubled, punch down – at this point you can either freeze the dough, let it rise again, or roll it out into pizza shape. 

While the dough is rising, prepare the toppings.  Preheat the oven to about 400 degrees at this point.  Of course, you can put just about anything and everything on it as topping and chances are, it’ll come out tasting great.  I am just telling you what I put on the pizza that you are seeing on the picture in this blog, and the pizza was great and not a single crumb was left. 

  • cut up big green olives into slivers
  • prepare refried beans or use canned refried beans
  • sautee some coarsely chopped garlic, enough to cover the pizza dough
  • cut up some pastrami and/or corned beef into strips
  • chop up some tomatoes and sautee them in olive oil, until all the liquid is gone.  You can add either basil and/or chopped parsley to this
  • chop and sautee finely cut leeks
  • grate a mixture of swiss cheese and gruyere cheese

Pre-bake the pizza dough until very light brown.  If it forms pockets during baking, make it come down by piercing it with a fork in the pockets. 

Let the pre-baked dough cool off briefly (but you don’t have to).  Cover with a thin layer of refried beans.  Sprinkle the sauteed garlic and leeks evenly over the pizza dough.  Neatly lay out the strips of meat (or use some pre-cooked ground beef) , sprinkle the olives, and spread out the tomatoes.  Cover with cheese and put in the oven. 

Be prepared for some awesome goodness in about 10 minutes!

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Sometimes, like right now, the weather is really really hot, and you don’t feel like cooking – especially after a hard Jung SuWon sparring class.  You are too hot, still sweating, but you want something substantial to eat. 

Devoted Martial Artists, such as Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim, take care of body, mind and spirit.  She teaches that you need to keep your body healthy and happy, so that your soul is excited to live in it! 

So, here is something she taught me how to make, a food that is well balanced and will make you feel good inside and out.

As for quantities, well, I’ll have to follow the directions of a funny, cute old Jewish cook book I ran across recently:  “you want a lot – you make a lot.  You don’t want so much, you don’t make so much.”

With this in mind, have the following ready:

  1. Thin slices of a beef roast (any leftovers will do, but in a pinch you can use the stuff you get at the store
  2. a good brand spicy mustard
  3. avocado
  4. kosher dill pickles, or any pickles to your liking
  5. cheese, cut into thin strips (this will depend on what you have at home, or what you prefer and come to think of it, usually you only have at home what you want anyhow.. 🙂  )
  6. leaf lettuce

Spread the mustard generously onto the beef slices, add avocado and cheese “sticks”, add thinly cut pickly strips, sprinkle a little vinegar, roll up and serve on a bed of lettuce, and with some (homemade) bread.

You can, of course, vary this quite a bit.  Instead of, or in addition to, the avocado, you can also put in refried beans.  You can cut olives into slices and add, or slices of tomatoes. 

This was just the basic recipe, which in itself is very good and very satisfying.  It will restore and rebuild your muscles, and get your body machine going again.  If you like this, go ahead and start experimenting wtih your favorite ingredients.  I hear it’s really really good with Kim chi…….

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I realize that sometimes, after hard Jung SuWon class, you just got enough energy to cook a little something.  You don’t really want to stop for junk food on the way home.  After all, Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim admonishes us to not put junk into our bodies.  She says, “Don’t treat your body like a garbage disposal!  You don’t put bad gas into your car, why would you want to put bad food into your body?”

So here is here great solution for a quick, easy and very healthy meal when you are halfway starving….

Of course you have good, firm tofu in your refrigerator by now, as a staple.  Drain the tofu, and cut into 1/2 inch slices, and then in half again so you have thin, rectangular slices.  But any shape will do, this is in case you want it to look like the picture above.

Peel a couple of potatoes and cut them into bite sized chunks.  Do the same with carrots, celery, zucchini, broccoli, and mushrooms, but whatever you have on hand will do just fine.

In a frying pan, heat up some olive oil and add some crushed garlic, perhaps a couple of tablespoons of it.   Add the potatoes, and sautee at medium heat until about halfway done, then add the rest of the vegetables.  Add a little water to prevent them from burning. 

At the same time in a seperate pan, also with some olive oil, lightly fry the tofu and set aside.  When the vegetables are just about done, arrange the tofu slices nicely on top of the vegetables and put some tofu sauce on top and add enough to the vegetable mixture as well.  You already know the recipe for this – it was in my first post on this blog!  However, if you don’t want to go back that far, here is the recap:

  • about a handful chopped green onions
  • about a tablespoon chopped garlic
  • about a tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • a little fresh lemon juice (optional)
  • a dab of honey (optional)
  • about a tablespoon ground sesame seeds
  • Naturally fermented soy sauce
  • in a bowl, put the chopped green onions and the rest of the solid ingredients.  Add enough soy sauce to make it into a thick sauce, and spoon over the drained and cut up tofu.

    Now you are ready to sit back and enjoy this healthy, and great tasting dinner.

    If you really want to do yourself a big favor, be prepared!  Cut up tofu and veggies ahead of time, and make up the sauce as well.  When you come home, ravenously hungry, it’ll take you all of 10 minutes to have something really great ready! 

    In Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim’s own words:  Ready any time, any place!

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    Well, although I have a lot more to say on bread, I have to stop for a minute and write about just how hungry I get after a good Jung SuWon class.  Body, Mind, and Spirit all have to work together in perfect harmony, and that takes energy that must be replaced! 

    Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim likes to challenge us and has us work hard!  I hear some people say the harder they work out, the less they feel like eating.  Not me!  The more I work out, the hungrier I get! 

    So yesterday I remembered some good old rib-sticking Austrian food, comforting to body and soul, that my grandma used to make.  I can’t claim it came out as good as hers, but there sure werent’ any leftovers either! Here is an approximate recipe I received from a wonderful Austrian cook who also runs a restaurant there. 

    This delicacy is called Schlipfkrapferl, and is basically the Austrian word for pirogi.  It seems like a whole lot of work, but it really isn’t, and you don’t need a detailed recipe either.  For a detailed recipe, let me see if I get permission to post it….

    You can by some ready made won-ton skins if you want to do a short cut, but don’t expect that same taste.  Noodle dough is really easy to make.  I take some flour, maybe a couple of cups, make a well in the middle, and put in about 2 or so tablespoons of olive oil, some salt, and an egg or two, although it turns out just fine without the eggs too. 

    Knead it all together into a soft, non-sticky dough, knead it well, and then cover it either with an upside down bowl, saran wrap, or whatever to keep it from getting dry on the surface.  Give that a break while you make the filling.  I usually have some cooked potatoes hanging out, just in case…..so I mashed those up, added salt, pepper, parmesan cheese, sauteed some garlic, onions and young spinach and added that to the potato mixture.  Season to taste. 

    Put water into a pan – enough so that the Schlipfkrapferl have a lot of room to swim – add salt and a little olive oil, cover and bring to boiling.

    Now put some flour on a work surface and roll out the noodle dough, fairly thin.  To cut out the dough, I usually take a mug upside down and cut out rounds like that.  But if you prefer triangles, or smaller or bigger rounds…whatever you like is just fine!

    Put filling on the dough, and put a second round on the top, and with a fork, press around the edges and be careful not to let any filling ooze out.  Put these into the boiling water and boil (barely) for about 5 – 10 minutes. 

    Lift them out of the water with a slotted spoon, and arrange on a platter.  If you want to be authentic, grate some cheese on them, and top with some onions that you have browned in butter.  Or, you can put any good spaghetti sauce over them, or simply eat plain as is.  Enjoy!

    If this seems too complicated – tell yourself:  He Can Do, She Can Do, Why Not Me!

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    Ok.  Last time I promised you a bread recipe.  Oh oh! 

    The thing is, I don’t use any recipes for bread.  I throw things in a bowl, mix it all up, let it rise, and bake it!  But, I am a woman of honor and I keep my word.  So here is my most basic bread recipe:
    One piece of advice: don’t bother with fast rising yeast.  If you can get it, use fresh yeast, you know, the cake kind that crumbles…but any regular dried yeast will do.  The problem with fast rising yeast is that the dough might get too dry, or the fast rising will make it smell like booze. 

    Like my Jung SuWon Grandmaster always, says, anything worthwhile in life, you have to work for and you have to be patient with.  One of Dr. Tae Yun Kim’s favorite sayings is “a pregnant woman – no matter how morning sick – can’t have a baby after just 3 months.  She has to wait for 9 months, until the baby is ready.”

    You need to apply the same principle with bread.  Back to the recipe.  Here is my very basic recipe:

    • 1 cake fresh yeast, or 1 envelope dried yeast
    • 1 tablespoon honey
    • 2 or so cups of lukewarm water (depending on how much bread you want to make)
    • as much flour as it takes to make a plieable, smooth dough

    Dissolve the honey in the water.  Crumble in or sprinkle on the yeast, depending on what kind you are using.  Wait a couple of minutes.  Most cook books tell you that you must put this mixture in a draft free, warm place, and that is right.  Just don’t fret if you don’t find such a place.  Yeast dough is pretty indestructible, so relax and enjoy the process. 

    Once there are bubbles in the mixture, and you smell an intense yeast smell, add the flour and some salt.  Keep adding flour as you are kneading the dough – when the dough hold together and forms a smooth, pliable ball, knead some more.  Then cover it with saran wrap and let it rise.  You could cover it with anything that prevents it from drying out, I prefer the saran since then I can watch the progress.  The dough needs to rise until you have twice as much dough as when you started.  (cook books will tell you “until double in bulk, but to me that sounds just too boring)

    Now punch the dough down – and yes, you really want to punch it at this point.  Knead it a little bit more – add a bit of flour if the dough is too soft, and then shape the dough into whatever you want – loaves, rolls, you can braid it….or put it in pans.   Cover again with the saran wrap, and let rise again, about an hour or until almost doubled. 

    Of course you thought about pre-heating the oven, so now that it’s at about 350 degrees F, you put in your little miracles, and sit back and wait.  Depending on how big the loaves are or the rolls, you’ll bake your creations from 10 minutes (small rolls) to an hour (loaves), but do test frequently.

    From here on, it only gets more fun.  The above was only a very basic homey recipe.  You can use whole wheat flour, either all whole wheat, or partially, and you can mix in nuts, seeds, other flour, cooked oatmeal, and so forth.  Instead of water, you can use milk, soy milk, water in which you have cooked potatoes, and…and….

    If you are new at this, I would recommend sticking to the very basic at first, then go from there.

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    All right, so I wasn’t going to write about bread.  I mean, come on, there are already so many things written about bread and even more recipes than anyone can ever read! 

    But I couldn’t resist.  After I pulled out the last couple of home made loaves of whole wheat bread from the oven…..the aroma, the soft crumb, the butter melting into it, and then the first bite….oh, excuse me, where was I now…..

    Bread of course.  It’s gotten a really bad reputation and people think it’s evil.  My my those carbs are gonna kill you.  If that’s the case, then why did Jesus break bread with the disciples.  Notice he didn’t break a salad, or some soup.  No, it was bread! 

    We also say, “bread of life” – ever heard of the veggies of life?  Anyhow, pardon the digression.  Just couldn’t resist.

    Well, the carbs in bread won’t kill you.  In fact, if you make your bread right, it’s a health blessing for all those that manage to get a piece.  See, I make breads different for different people.  For example, a good friend of mine has diabetes, so I make whole wheat bread, with added bran, some flax seeds, and cooked oatmeal.  Sometimes I add some nuts, or olives, for variety.  To give the yeast a jump start, I add some honey to the starter dough.

    For another friend who is on a high protein diet, but loves bread, I proof the yeast in either milk or soy  milk, and add blended cottage cheese or tofu, or chunks of cheese to the dough. 

    You get the idea.  Bread is not the enemy.  It is the staff of life.  And, if you make it yourself (and why bother eating bread if it comes from a store!) it is what you want it to be.

    One more thing:  don’t worry about all these measurements, and fuss about the yeast.  I have yet to make a batch of bread that didn’t get gobbled up the minute it came out of the oven.  Oh, and those breadmaker gadgets….all right so some people like them – I am not among those.  I mean, why bother?  If I want homemade bread, I don’t want some machine to make it.  I might as well buy the bread in the store. 

    So, now that you know how I feel about bread – you are pobably wondering – ok, so she has a bread fetish – but what does THAT have to do with Jung SuWon?  What does bread have to do with Martial Arts?  Or, with Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim? 

    More than you might think. 

    On a physical level, you develop a lot of strength in your hand and arm muscles in the kneading process.  And believe me, if you have ever made a large amount of whole wheat, or sour dough, or rye bread, you know what I am talking about.  You’ll end up looking like Arnold after a few batches.  Well, maybe not quite….

    Most doughs also benefit from being punched a bit, so go ahead and practice some punches.  Your dough will be grateful! 

    Then on the Ki energy level, think about putting all your good thoughts into the bread, visualize how people will just love it, think how you are going to make them happy, and keep them healthy….

    And!  Ever learned how to do CPR?  Well, practice the heart compression on your bread dough…..

    So, there you have it!  And next time I’ll put down some basic recipes…..pull out your aprons!

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