kruizing with kikukat

Monday, June 23, 2014

Won Bok Salad

I'm finally ready to begin my vacation!

We managed to survive the 4-day workshop so now I'm just waiting for my stipend.  I hope it will come by Fall Intersession.  Actually, the workshop itself was palatable, and the characters at the workshop made the time go by faster.  We sat according to schools, and I was totally amused by one of my colleagues who used the post-its (courtesy of the district) to fashion a doll-figure.  And of course, the same colleague who always shows up late for work  showed up late for most of the workshop, arriving late in the morning and arriving back late after lunch.  Arriving late after lunch was puzzling since this was one of the few workshops I attended recently which actually provided lunch for participants (at no additional cost to the participants).  What I'm getting at is there was no real need to leave the premises for lunch, even for vegetarians, as the workshop organizers were very accommodating to non-carnivores, providing a vegetarian option daily. 

Lunch being provided was a most generous gesture, but I was appalled by the behavior of some of the other attendees.  When the workshop ended for the day, instead of making for the door, they made a beeline for the leftover lunch area and grabbed what they could carry.  One dude I know, on his way out, suggested I go grab a styrofoam container (like the 2 he had in his hand).  I told him, "no, thank you".   I glanced at the food area and saw hands grabbing for the remaining containers.  Why do people do such things?  By that time, the food had been sitting out over 3 hours, and for me, that is several hours too long for comfort.  My fear of eating rotten food shifted into overdrive.  Gross!

One of the workshop presenters, who arrived a day later than scheduled, was from Missouri, and now I'm wondering if people from Missouri have a tendency to talk fast.  A former coworker was from Missouri, and she spoke a mile-a-minute too.  Another coworker deemed her speech pattern as "not even pausing to take a breath".  My pal GP grew up in the state just south of Missouri and his speech was like maple syrup. . .smooth and slow.  Does the Mason-Dixon line have an impact on speech speed?  Anyway, having to listen to a fast talker, no matter where they are from, is grueling.  And perhaps that's why I came home exhausted on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th days. 

Speaking of the characters at the workshop, I think a former coworker put a curse on me with the evil eye.  Yeah, I saw her giving me stink eye throughout the workshop, even going so far as to talk shit about me to another colleague.  #whatevers #getalife #yourbossisontoyou  After 4 days, my back, neck, and shoulder were killing me.  I used Aleve to dull the pain, but I gave in and gave Sai Fon a call.  After an hour-plus of near-death pain on Friday, I was finally able to move without too much agony.  It's been 3 days since the session with Sai Fon, and I'm much better now.  

And sometime during the 4 days I spent cooped up in the workshop, the weather underwent a change and it became summer!  We enjoyed several days of 90 degree water temperature (my swimming threshold is 87 degrees).  It was nice to splash around in the afternoon after sitting all day.  I'm hoping Mr. Sun sticks around for a while.  D2 has a few friends coming over tomorrow so it would be nice if they could enjoy the water.

Thanks to the warmer weather, I am ready to have salads for dinner!  I made this for a leisurely dinner on Saturday.  I prepped the ingredients for this salad on Friday, so it was easy to throw together after a late afternoon swim.  I've brought this salad to potlucks because it was easy to keep the ingredients separated until serving time.  I've eaten several versions of this salad, and it makes a tremendous difference when the noodles are toasted.  The noodles stay crispier longer and have a nice, slightly nutty flavor.  It is important to not toss the salad too far ahead of serving, as the noodles will get soggy after a while.

click on recipe title for printable recipe

     1/4 c mayonnaise
     1 1/2 tbsp sugar
     2 tbsp rice or white vinegar
     2 tbsp vegetable oil
     1/2 tbsp sesame oil
     1/4 tsp black pepper
     2 tbsp butter
     1 pkg instant ramen (doesn't matter what flavor)
     2 tbsp sesame seeds
     1/2 won bok (nappa) (about 1 lb)
     2 stalks green onion, sliced thin

Whisk together mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar, oils, and pepper.  Cover and keep chilled until ready to serve.  Open package of instant ramen and remove seasoning packet (save for another use).  Crush ramen into small pieces.  In a skillet, melt butter.  Add ramen and sesame seeds.  Stir constantly until ramen is golden.  Remove from skillet and place on a plate to cool.  Slice won bok in 1/4" pieces.  Just before serving, toss with green onion in a large bowl.  Add dressing and ramen mixture.  Toss well.  Serve immediately.

This amount serves 2-4 people.

I grew up eating "won bok", but I realize others may call this particular cabbage by alternate names.  Many local Japanese people will call it "makina" or "nappa".  Perhaps a more proper term is "hakusai".  Supermarkets will also use "Chinese cabbage".  Some cookbooks refer to this is "celery cabbage".  Unlike regular cabbage which is globular (except for the type sold at Costco, which is flat...another mystery), won bok is an elongated, giant bullet shape.  The leaves are light green and curly, and the stem is white.  This is the same cabbage we use in batayaki  and potstickers.

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