At first, I thought that Santa was playing a trick on me – had I been too naughty this year? Then I suspected my dear husband, who has been wishing for a new computer lo these many months. Finally I chalked it up to bad luck, and the short but happy half-lives of motherboards.
What this has to do with you, dear readers, is that it’s taken us several weeks to recover from the rebuild. (You don’t realize just how many programs you run on a daily basis until you have to reinstall ALL of them). Fortunately, no data were lost; some files just went missing for a while. Like the pictures I took of our Vigila feast. (And upon review, I realize once again that I am a lousy food photographer. Trust me, this all tasted better than it looks). So here you go:
First course, mushrooms stuffed with a mixture of crabmeat, goat cheese, and some panko (Japanese breadcrumbs).
Second course, crabcakes on a bed of baby greens dressed with a Balsamic vinaigrette.
Third course, Korean seafood pancake.
And that’s where the photos end, possibly because I’d had too much wine and couldn’t find the camera, but more likely because, as I mentioned in a previous comment, we got full. I made two of the pancakes and, unbeknownst to me, the Men of the Family had stopped off at a local watering hole for a game of pool and Hearty Appetizers while my sis-in-law and I were out for a nice sushi luncheon. So after we ate up the pierogies, I went ahead and made the seafood stew but we didn’t actually eat it until lunchtime the next day.
After all that food, even the dog was too full for seafood stew.
But more on That Pancake. Oh, how we love the pancake! I’ve made it four or five more times since Christmas Eve – we just can’t get enough of it. I’ve had it at restaurants, and it was good, but it tastes even better when it’s hot right out of the skillet. So get thee to an H-Mart, pick up some mix and try it for yourself. (Of course, you don’t need to buy Korean pancake mix. There are plenty of recipes out there on the ‘net that you can try instead).
Even though most recipes don’t direct you to cook the veggies and/or seafood first, I’m still to chicken to try it that way. So I use cooked, frozen shrimps and whatnot (thaw and drain them well) and saute the veggies until soft. When I have fresh seafood I saute it first, then take it out of the pan before cooking the veggies so the seafood won’t overcook.
I posted a quick version of this before, but because you know I love to be wordy, I’m gonna post it again! With even more instructions!!
Korean Seafood pancake (makes 12” pancake, serves 2 for dinner or 4-8 as an appetizer)
¾ cup water
1 cup Korean panckae mix
2-3 tablespoons of oil
1 generous cup of miscellaneous cooked seafood, left whole or cut into bite-sized pieces: shrimp, scallops, shelled clams or mussels, langoustines, fish, calamari, etc.
1-2 tablespoons finely chopped onion or shallot
About 1/3 cup of carrot and/or bell peppers (any color), sliced into thin strips about 3” long
About 1/3 cup of sliced scallions
About 1 cup of finely sliced Napa or regular cabbage, or red cabbage, optional
¼ to ½ cup garlic chives, cut into 1” sections, optional
1 clove of garlic minced (skip it if you are using garlic chives)
Since I’m usually making more than one pancake, I like to have all the veggies arranged in little piles on a large plate. I combine the seafood in a small bowl and mix it all together. Call it the lazy cook’s mise en place.
Place the egg and water in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Add the pancake mix and stir well until the batter is smooth. Get out a large cookie sheet that has one side without a raised edge that you can use to flip the pancake (you can also use the backside of a sheet that has a raised rim all around, or a pizza pan).
Heat a nonstick, 12” skillet over medium high-heat. Add the oil and onion, carrots and peppers; saute for a few minutes until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the scallions and optional cabbage and chives, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage wilts. Stir in the garlic and seafood and distribute the ingredients evenly around the pan.
Use a rubber spatula to scrape the pancake batter out of the bowl and into the pan, covering the ingredients completely. If your spatula is also heat-proof, use it to gently wiggle the ingredients a bit so that the batter gets under everything.
Reduce the heat to medium and wait. Let the pancake cook until the top is no longer shiny and “wet” in appearance, about 10 minutes. Shake the pan gently and make sure that the pancake slides about freely; if it doesn’t, lift up the edges gently with a spatula and drizzle a little more oil underneath, then let it cook for a couple more minutes.
Put on a pair of oven mitts and get the cookie sheet ready. (If you have a gas stove, either turn off the flame or do the flipping over the table). Slide the pancake out onto the cookies sheet, then turn the skillet upside-down over the pancake. Put your oven-mitted hand in the middle of the skillet, your other oven-mitted hand on the cookie sheet, press your hands together and flip the whole thing over. Take the cookies sheet off the top and hope for the best. (If the pancake has ripped, push it back into place with a spatula).
Return the skillet to the stove and cook a few more minutes over medium heat. Slide it out onto a large serving platter or cutting board, cut into wedges and serve with your favorite dipping sauce.