Cooking for “Eat for North Korea”

I was asked by an organization called Crossing Borders to be one of the chefs cooking for a fundraising event in Chicago called, “Eat for North Korea.”  They expected about 200 people to show up and 100% of the ticket sales would go directly towards providing aid to the North Korean refugees living in China.  I think the concept that people were going to be eating for the starving people in North Korea was the perfect ironic marketing tool…so kudos Crossing Borders for coming up with that title!

Crossing Borders - Eat for North Korea Event | ChefJulieYoon.com
Crossing Borders - Eat for North Korea Event | ChefJulieYoon.com

Grilled Shrimp with “Oksusu” Puree (Corn Puree made with Korean chili and sesame oil)

It was a fantastic event.  It was raining pretty hard that day and it was on a weeknight, so I don’t think as many people ended up coming out as originally expected, but Crossing Borders was still able to raise a good chunk of change, and those who did come out, left more aware, full, and happy.

Crossing Borders - Eat for North Korea Event | ChefJulieYoon.com

Kimchi Pork Belly Lettuce Cup with Denjang Vinaigrette

The food for the night was supposed to be provided by a generous Korean restaurant called Dak Wings and little ol’ me!  EEEK…say what?  I knew I couldn’t handle this much volume on my own, so I recruited our friend Chef James Park to help me develop the menu, and we went in as a team.

Crossing Borders - Eat for North Korea Event | ChefJulieYoon.com

We came up with 3 different dishes which we called, “New American-Korean Cuisine.”  We also received assistance from Chef Dan Song on the night of the event, and we were thankful for the extra pair of hands.

Crossing Borders - Eat for North Korea Event | ChefJulieYoon.com

“Bibimbop” (Black rice, braised short ribs, assorted vegetables, and gochujang sauce)

I’ll be honest and say that the timing of this event was a little crazy because we were so busy with our own work, but through the grace of God, we still managed to get ALL our work done and I came out of this experience unscathed…a little tired, but alright.  You can watch our experience of preparing for this amazing event in our VIDEO below:

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Chicken Koftas with Couscous

Couscous is a summertime secret weapon of mine because all you have to do is add it to hot liquid, cover tightly, and boom… instant side dish!  And what goes better with couscous than koftas and cucumbers? Hehe. I love the alliteration.  In it’s simplest form, a kofta is basically a spice filled flavor-bomb meatball or meat patty.  Sometimes they’re on a skewer and referred to as kofta kebab.  Many different countries have their own versions of them, but they all start with some sort of ground meat and seasonings.  They’re not something I grew up eating, but I formed a true appreciation for them when I lived in New York.

Chicken Koftas CousCous | ChefJulieYoon.com

My version uses ground chicken instead of traditional lamb, beef, or pork because I wanted to keep things a little lighter for the summer.  The minced up onion in the mixture keeps them moist and tender.  But even if you do overcook them a tad and they dry out on you, that’s why you have the cucumber yogurt sauce.

Chicken Koftas CousCous | ChefJulieYoon.com

Cumin is my spice of choice.  I’ve grown to appreciate cumin over the years and realize it’s a nice “yum… what is that” seasoning.  Honestly, half the time I eat something and it’s so delicious beyond words, there’s usually cumin involved.  It’s what makes tacos addicting and chili so comforting.

Chicken Koftas CousCous | ChefJulieYoon.com

But what I love most about this dish is that all the flavors are balanced with each other and every bite feels like you’re discovering something new.  It’s hearty enough to make you feel like you had a substantial dinner, but somehow light at the same time.  You can see how I pull this pretty plate together in EPISODE 7 of Bits & Pieces SEASON 3 below:

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Chicken Koftas with Couscous : Behind the Scenes

I think this is my favorite Behind the Scenes video yet. I really liked how it came out this time.  We switched up our filming style a bit and instead of narrating what we were doing, we decided to SHOW how it REALLY is for us to film together.  We chose to “ignore” the camera recording us so you could watch us interact with each other while working.  I guess it’s my way of letting you be a “fly on our wall,” so you can observe us in our natural state.

Behind The Scenes - Chicken Koftas CousCous | ChefJulieYoon.com

I will say, it was a little more difficult being intentional about setting up all our shots so you could see our every move.  It’s not easy essentially filming two different videos at once.  But in the end, I’m really glad that you get to see how it’s really like for us to film our show.

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Korean Spicy Kimchi Noodles

I’m pretty beat right now. I feel like I walked through a car wash.  I’m definitely no spring chicken anymore!  Yesterday, I was busy preparing and plating food for a great event in Chicago called “Eat for North Korea,” so if I met you there, hi!  And if I looked busy and unfriendly, it’s because we were just trying to get the food out as fast as we could.  Now my body aches and I feel like a zombie, so if this blog entry doesn’t make sense, forgive me! Read more

Korean Spicy Kimchi Noodles : Behind The Scenes

I know that some of you have been begging me for Korean recipe videos for a while now…so here you go!  The timing of this episode is pretty fitting because I’ll be cooking for a fundraiser event called, “Eat for North Korea,” where I’ll be making Korean-inspired dishes for 200 people.  So things have been a little hectic around here this week and we apologize if we’re not getting back to your emails and comments.

Behind The Scenes Korean Spicy Kimchi Noodles | ChefJulieYoon.com

This episode all began with a lonely leftover jar of kimchi sitting in my fridge.  I looked around at what else I already had on hand, and my Korean Spicy Kimchi Noodles episode was born!

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