Sunday, October 9, 2011

Learning to Cook (Everything) from Scratch

I have to admit. I am quite proud of myself! I have been looking up how to make all kinds of things from scratch because I can't find them here. For instance, did you know that vanilla extract is really easy to make at home? Google it. You will find that pure vanilla extract can be made with unflavored vodka and a vanilla bean. Awesome! and cheap! Plus, you'll never run out again! Every time the bottle gets low, you just refill the vodka and let it sit. Now I just have to find vanilla beans, but I've heard it can be done, even here in Seoul...
The Italian Dish
One of the other moms here says that she makes homemade ricotta cheese all the time. I haven't gotten brave enough to do that (though I probably will when I get desperate), but I did make refried black beans from scratch last week. I got brave one day and purchased my dried black beans from the back of a truck down the street from us. Then I soaked them over night, and mashed them (with a fork!) in some oil and sauteed garlic and onion. They definitely did not look like the kind of refried beans you get from a can--and therefore my children did not eat their burritos--but the flavor was really good and I enjoyed them. Unfortunately, this was also the night that Eric came home so sick (wish I'd known...I definitely would have saved it for a different night!), so I was the only one who ate my dinner. But, I still have two bags of soaked beans in the freezer ready to be re-fried. Also, I was able to make two or three more burritos with the beans I did cook and put them in the freezer for a night we needed a quick dinner, so Eric was able to enjoy them another night even though his appetite isn't up to par yet. For the recipe, go to Great Refried Beans
Simply Recipes
The other food I'm really excited about is popcorn! Honestly, I wasn't sure I would be eating any popcorn here in Korea. For those of you that really know me, you know that is a huge problem! But, on that first Costco trip, I did see the big box of microwave popcorn. So, I knew that when I was desperate, I'd be able to get my fix. Thankfully, though, I didn't buy it. I saw popcorn kernels in the international section of one of the local grocery stores, so instead, I googled stovetop popcorn and found a great recipe.  Now, I am enjoying delicious popcorn, and if Eric is really lucky, I may even get rid of the hot air popper when we get back to the States!


  1. Cool! Homemade vanilla, awesome!

  2. I have heard you can make mozzarella, too!

  3. I've heard you can make mozzarella, too. Thankfully, we can buy it at Costco!


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