I spend most of my days doing things I'm good at. I'm good at getting breakfast together and kids out the door (albeit not always as smoothly as I would like, but I get the job done) and I'm good at cooking good and nutritious foods for my family and then posting, what I would like to think are helpful blog posts so that others can cook. I'm good at making coffee and I'm good at updating on facebook. I'd like to even venture to say that I'm good at driving. I get the kids safely around our small town all in one piece. I'm good at these things.
This week however, I tried to do something I am not good at. What I mean by not good at is this - I absolutely stink. I am teaching myself how to sew. I am learning how to sew. I'm struggling with the sewing thing and it is for sure one of the more humbling experiences of my life. I will never consider the shorts that I toss on the floor so irreverently as an inconsequential piece of clothing again, because sewing is HARD. It surely doesn't help that two of my friends have beautiful crafty blogs and both are excellent at sewing. (See their work here and here.) In fact those two same friends insisted that I could pick up sewing and I would like it and I would be eventually good at it. They promised me it was easy and encouraged me along the way, trying to help me troubleshoot.
But the first tries at sewing were not that successful for me. To the point where I really got frustrated. I spend most of my day doing things I'm good at, like drinking coffee and to do something hard was simply mind-boggling and blinding. My sewing machine kept on getting tangled, I couldn't cut a straight line, I couldn't sew a straight seam, and everything that I did had to be done more than once. And I was humbled. And humiliated. As I sat in front of my sewing machine, with the manual (written in Spanish) trying to figure out what was going wrong, I thought to myself, this is TOO hard and not worth it. I considered re-selling the machine because clearly I wasn't cut out for it and it was too hard to do.
In the end, after several long excruciating hours, I managed to complete a small project. I didn't complete it all on my own however as Mom-in-law came to the rescue and helped me finish the edges, which I felt ill-equipped to do on my own. She did graciously compliment me on my work, saying that for a first project it was excellent. I think her own expert touch at the end is what helped it come together, but no matter. I'll take the compliment and keep it in my purse to whip out the next time I struggle at the sewing machine.
After all the struggle, it really made me want to sit and do something that I could do - and well. I can make food. I can think of something that I want to make, and I can execute it with a decent success rate. Don't let the blog fool you -there are failures that happen in my kitchen - I just don't publicize them. However, my success rate IS higher than the failure rate so I thought I'd go back to what I know better, cooking.
And the project was a Korean burrito an idea that has been brewing in my head since friends SS and CY told me that they had had one from a Korean taco/burrito truck and that it wasn't good. They both said to me, "You could do one that is so much better." And it really made me want to make one that was good. It did require quite a bit of thinking and two rounds of edits but now I'm happy with it. I'm especially grateful that the burrito doesn't require any sewing (although the aluminum foil wrapped around it really does help keep it together.)
You will need to plan ahead as you want to marinate the meat for at least 8 hours, if not overnight, but I know that this will make a great party meal.
Serves 4 (but easily expandable...make your own burrito bar.)
1 lb Korean marinated flank steak, cooked and rested.
1 head of romaine lettuce (or any other lettuce) shredded
3 scallions cut thinly
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
2 cucumbers chopped
The vegetables can be left separately (if you anticipate picky eaters who don't like certain greens like cilantro or cucumber) or you can just toss it all together.
2 tablespoons sambal oelek
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sesame seed
Mix all ingredients in a bowl to combine. Set aside until needed.
Kimchee Fried Rice
1 cup kimchee finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 cups cooked white rice
Heat a fry pan over medium heat. Add vegetable oil, kimchee, ginger and garlic, and cook until kimchee is softened and translucent. Time will vary on this based on the ripeness of the kimchee, but anywhere between 4-8 minutes. Add sesame oil and cooked white rice and continue mixing until the kimchee is evenly distributed through the rice and the rice is colored pink. Set aside. (cover to keep warm if necessary.)
Tortillas (burrito sized)
Kimchee Fried Rice
Cooked Flank, sliced across the grain
Shredded cheddar cheese
On a plain tortilla lay a small mound of kimchee fried rice, about 1/2 a cup. Lay on top of it a layer of sliced flank steak.
Sprinkle cheese on top.
Top with mixed greens.
Finish with spicy sauce.
Good luck wrapping! (I found it useful to rely on a piece of tin foil to help. If you do a party of burritos, have cut up tin foil ready to go to facilitate wrapping the burrito.)
Wrapping in foil helps keep it together
Sambal Oelek - available at your local Asian supermarket. In a good grocery store with a good Asian products aisle, you'll find it there as well.