“Everyday Korean” by Kim Sunee and Seung Hee Lee (Countryman Press, $17), offers bold and modern takes on classic Korean-American fare. Think kimchi bacon mac and cheese and gochujang sour cream. Nothing too difficult or intimidating. Here are two recipes from the book that we want to eat while watching this year’s Winter Olympics, held in Pyeongchang County, South Korea.
Kimchi bacon mac and cheese
Yield: Makes 4 to 6 servings
Kimchi, bacon and cheddar seem like an unlikely trio, but they all come together beautifully. The trick is to saute the kimchi in butter to soften the funk.
4 to 6 slices bacon, diced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
14 ounces kimchi (store-bought is fine), drained and chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 to 3 cups whole or semi-skim milk
1 pound cooked short pasta, such as elbow macaroni, fusilli or penne rigate
Freshly ground black pepper
Dash of hot sauce
8 ounces grated comte or cheddar, or a combination of both
Garnish thinly sliced green onion
Cook the bacon over medium-high heat in a large, oven-safe skillet for about 7 minutes, until the bacon is cooked through and starting to crisp. If there’s more than 3 tablespoons of rendered fat, omit adding the butter. Otherwise, add the butter.
Add the chopped kimchi and saute, stirring occasionally for 5 to 8 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the kimchi, stir, and cook for 1 minute. Add 2 cups of the milk and, stirring constantly, bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring, until the sauce is slightly thickened.
Stir in the cooked pasta, pepper and hot sauce, if using. Add a little more milk if too thick. Turn off the heat and stir in the cheeses. If the mixture is thick, add a little bit more milk. Taste and adjust seasoning as you add more milk. Garnish with green onion and serve.
Extra-crispy baked chicken wings two ways
Yield: Makes 10 servings
So many recipes for “baked” fried wings actually require partial frying. These are truly baked but come out of the oven supercrisp and highly addictive. We like to serve half of the wings with the Sweet and Spicy Wing Sauce and drizzle the other half with warm honey and sesame seeds. Also, you might want to double the sauce recipe; it’s great in place of ketchup for a kicked-up burger, stirred into your favorite barbecue sauce, smeared on a piece of bread when making grilled cheese, or as a dipping sauce for sweet potato fries.
4 1/2 pounds chicken wings, tips discarded, and cut at the joints into flats and drumettes, if desired
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon onion or garlic powder (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Canola oil to grease foil (optional)
Honey, rosemary sprig and toasted sesame seeds for garnish
Place the chicken in a large colander. Rinse under cold water and pat dry. Place the wings on two wire cooling racks set over two baking sheets and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes or, preferably, overnight, uncovered, in the refrigerator.
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine the baking powder, onion or garlic powder, if using, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the dried wings and toss to coat evenly. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil (lightly greased) or parchment paper (no need to grease) and divide the seasoned wings equally between the two baking sheets.
Place two oven racks on the lowest levels of the oven and bake the chicken for 30 minutes. Switch the baking sheets, increase the temperature to 425 degrees Fahrenheit, and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes until golden and extra crispy. There’s no need to turn the chicken, but turn the pans around and switch them from one rack to another for even cooking.
Sweet and Spicy Wing Sauce: Combine 4 tablespoons ketchup, 3 tablespoons gochugaru, 2 to 3 tablespoons gochujang, 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar or cider vinegar, 1 to 2 tablespoons rice syrup (or maple syrup), 1 tablespoon honey or brown sugar, 1 tablespoon apricot or peach preserves, about 1 / 4 cup water, 2 tablespoons minced garlic, and juice from 1 / 2 orange, plus one 1-inch strip of zest in a ?medium-size saucepan over medium heat and bring to a low boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and let simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Taste and add more vinegar or honey, as desired.
When the wings are finished, place half the wings in a large bowl and toss with the sauce; place the sauced wings on one side of a large serving platter. Place the remaining half of (unsauced) wings on the other side of the platter. Lightly warm honey in a small saucepan, immersing the rosemary sprig in the honey, if using. Drizzle over the unsauced side of the wings and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.