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A perfect Saturday July 23, 2006

Posted by merp in Champaign-Urbana, Food, Gardening, Life, Pisco!.

This was the high point of a perfect Saturday with Aaron.

Getting up early for puppy class was the only imperfection, but Pisco was very, very good. This one is “Rally Obedience,” which teaches your dog a whole lot of pointless skills like right-angle turns and spirals – the real point, of course, is continuing to work on good communication with your dog and, especially in P’s case, requiring him to sit and be polite in an environment full of other dogs and exciting people. There are at most 2 dogs on the obedience course at a time, so the rest of the time, the dogs have to sit in a row and wait. Pisco didn’t whine or complain at all about that this time. Did all the maneuvers very well. Didn’t attempt to bite anyone, even though Diane, the volunteer from his first two puppy classes was there for the first time. She was amazed at how big he’s gotten – and how good!

The most perfect aspect of the day was the weather: high of 76, dewpoint at 60, after a couple weeks with both figures in the upper 90s. It was skipping and dancing time! Metaphorically.

Farmer’s Market after dog school, of course, yielding fresh peaches, organic bicolor sweetcorn, green beans picked that morning, etc. And Matt Turino fiddling and clogging. He is getting good.

An afternoon back massage from Aaron worked out the week’s tension, followed by some mundane but practical errands. We stopped at the vegetable garden and weeded a little. It’s looking beautiful. Cucumbers are rolling in (very flavorful), greens are on their way out (but we’re planting some more) beans and squash are blooming. Last week we strung up an elaborate support structure for the tomatoes, and should have our first harvest in a week or two. The first 2 chile peppers were ready this week–haven’t tried one yet.

Then the barbecuing. Aaron had been wanting to try bulgogi on the grill since last week (when we bought the beef from Stan) but it had been too hot.

The weather Saturday was perfect for grilling and eating outside, with a citronella candle, under the spreading something-tree (which is being eaten alive by Japanese beetles, but never mind).

I made a simple marinade for the eggplant (farmer mkt, of course): sesame oil, soy sauce, Korean crushed chiles, sugar, Chinese black vinegar, and a dash of ginseng-infused bek se ju. It was tasty, but actually could have been stronger. On the other hand, the fresh, juicy flavor of the eggplant was allowed to shine through this way.

Bulgogi, “Fire meat,” the famous Korean BBQ beef, is of course very easy to make. You can see Aaron, top, enjoying the process. We did get slightly the wrong cut of meat this time, but it worked fine. One traditional way to eat it is as “sambap”: lettuce leaf, rice (steamed to perfection in my beautiful, new, birthday, Zojirushi fuzzy logic rice cooker from Aaron!), kochujang (chile paste), bulgogi.

All with some ginger-spicy fresh kimchi from Green Onion, the Korean deli in Champaign.

For dessert, Aaron had soaked some peach chunks in amaretto. We had them grilled with creme-brulee flavored Haagen-Dazs (not grilled). The peach-infused amaretto was amazing, too.

Altogether YUM.


1. Ashley - July 23, 2006

Oooh, rally obedience. That is something to which I aspire–but I think it’s a total pipe dream.

Bulgogi is not a pinpe deam at all, though, and I think you’ve just solved my what’s for dinner tonight?” dilemma–thanks!

2. David Virshup - July 23, 2006

I’m getting hungry just looking at it – where do you post your recipe?

3. merp - July 25, 2006

Glad to be of service, Ashley. The bulgogi recipe doesn’t stand for much variation (before it becomes something other than bulgogi), so just about any recipe on the internet or in a cookbook is liable to have the right ingredients (like this one: http://recipes.epicurean.com/recipe/13816/bulgogi.html — I’ve never tried the kiwi addition). But we’re still in the process of perfecting our method here. We’ll get back to you on that.

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