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After all the things that’s occurred over the previous 15 months, Alice Choi is selecting to take a look at the positives — and cooking at residence has been one in every of them. For purely sensible causes, it is sensible! Alice is the blogger behind Hip Foodie Mom, which noticed a growth in readers this previous yr when extra individuals had been discovering their approach round their residence kitchens than ever earlier than. (She’s additionally a member of the Kitchn Collective, a workforce of meals writers and fogeys.)
Alice and her household additionally not too long ago moved into a brand new home in Pennsylvania outdoors of Philadelphia, the place she obtained to design her dream kitchen — it’s the place she spends a majority of her time growing recipes and cooking for her household. On prime of all of it, Alice obtained to spend extra time at residence together with her two daughters and husband, making viral TikTok recipes and the Korean meals that she grew up consuming. In an unsure time, cooking was each a necessity but in addition an outlet.
We caught up with Alice in her brand-new kitchen to speak about her yr caught inside, the thrill of H-Mart, and the recipes that obtained her and her household via this yr.
Weeknight Cooking Questions for Alice
What have the previous 15 months been like for you and your loved ones?
It was powerful however so far as the constructive goes, it was been good being residence with the youngsters. My husband and I’ve two women: a 10-year-old and a 13-year-old. We’re all related extra and having meals collectively, making do. That was the brilliant spot. Oh, and we not too long ago moved into a brand new home in Pennsylvania! I used to be capable of construct a stunning kitchen that I like with an island that we congregate round. We actually are spending quite a lot of time within the kitchen.
Greater than common?
It’s humorous as a result of I usually prepare dinner loads — cooking and testing recipes is my job. However I used to be undoubtedly baking much more and cooking consolation meals like bread, pizza, pasta, and quite a lot of sweets. Additionally, as a result of the youngsters had been residence, we would have liked to maintain ourselves busy. They obtained me into TikTok, so we did all of the viral recipes — Dalgona coffee, feta pasta, “nature’s cereal” (berries and pom seeds in coconut water that Lizzo posted about). We additionally made that King Arthur Flour skillet pizza about 20 occasions. (I believe that can stick.)
What do you do once you’re in a cooking funk?
I undoubtedly nonetheless have these days (or weeks!). We’d order takeout, which is nice every so often. For households with youngsters, on a traditional college day all you’d have to fret about is breakfast, packed lunch, and dinner. Now it’s breakfast, snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner. It takes a toll. My 13-year-old took a category in school the place she realized to prepare dinner, which was useful on days once I simply didn’t need to do it!
How do you usually grocery store?
I cooked far more pantry meals this yr, as a result of I didn’t need to depart the home as a lot. However I additionally actually began to care extra about supporting native companies and farmers markets. One vibrant factor about shifting to Pennsylvania is that there’s an H-Mart right here. I like to recommend that at any time when anybody cooks Asian meals, that they go to an Asian grocery retailer. Try an H-Mart or a smaller mom-and-pop retailer. Even when you don’t have one, now you should purchase quite a lot of Asian pantry staples on-line.
Has something main modified about the best way you prepare dinner?
I’ve taken a step again to take a look at myself within the meals running a blog world and the way I establish myself. Hip Foodie Mother is all about straightforward, approachable weeknight recipes for you and your loved ones, however I need to embrace extra Asian meals as properly.
As a Korean American mom, I do actually really feel strongly about instructing my youngsters prepare dinner Korean dishes. During the last yr, I’ve been cooking far more Korean meals. Particularly now with all the things occurring inside the AAPI neighborhood, I really feel strongly that I need to educate my youngsters extra about their heritage and background. I need my youngsters to be proud about who they’re.
A Week of Dinners from Alice Choi
Lemony Pesto Pasta with Asparagus
I like this recipe as a result of it’s tremendous straightforward. It incorporates pesto (which I like to make when I’ve leftover greens which are about to go dangerous), and asparagus. I roast the asparagus, chop it up, and add it in. I’ve additionally taken it to a different stage and made asparagus pesto. It’s not the prettiest factor on the earth, as you may think about, however we find it irresistible. It’s an effective way to provide my youngsters greens. Plus, the cheese and the nuts are at all times interchangeable; I’ve used almonds and walnuts as a substitute of pine nuts, and Pecorino as a substitute of Parmesan. I attempt to preserve it meatless, however you may add protein too.
My youngsters and I’ve made this at the least 5 or 6 occasions over this previous yr. It’s a enjoyable exercise for us as a result of it truly is a labor of affection. I like getting my youngsters concerned as a result of I need them to know make it. Once they’re older and out on their very own, they will make it for themselves and educate their buddies how, and move it on to their youngsters.
The standard protein for Kimbap is bulgogi. (You may as well use tofu or egg.) I like to purchase the pre-seasoned veggies already made at H-Mart or a Korean grocery retailer if I need to save a while. As a result of it’s so time-intensive, I make loads so I’ve leftovers and I could make bibimbap the following day. It’s like having two meals in a single.
I really feel like we’ve salmon at the least each different week as a result of it’s good for you. I like this recipe due to the spicy citrus dressing. It has slightly gochujang, which supplies it slightly kick. The dressing can also be nice on salads — tremendous versatile.
Air Fryer Hen Katsu with Rice
I’ve had an air fryer for just a few years now, however I undoubtedly used it greater than ever this previous yr. This recipe took place as a result of so many readers requested that I put up extra air fryer recipes. The great thing about the air fryer is that you just use little to no oil, however it will get your meals crispy with out deep-frying.
I believe my favourite factor to do in spring and summer season is prepare dinner rice noodles, a easy sauce, and throw on uncooked veggies. You get this freshness, crunch, and texture. I attempt to incorporate in-season greens, toss it along with a super-simple and lightweight dressing, and add slightly warmth. I’m a sauce fanatic — generally all you really want is a scrumptious sauce.