Over the course of the week, we shot soda cans with bb guns, got caught in a thunderstorm on the boat, had competitive game nights, watched hay grow (well actually the fields where my uncle is growing/harvesting it), and I got to witness Ryan petting his 1st bull! Upon leaving, even the cows gathered around as the family said their goodbyes! (Seriously...that was weird.)
One highlight was our attempt to make family dinner. Neither one of us cook...like, at all. Peppered with jokes all week about how no one was going to eat our food, Ryan and I were determined to make it happen. We (w/ the gracious help of my sister and niece) ended up with a Korean-themed dinner for the entire family! No one could believe it...including us! We had been tasked with making dinner one of the nights many months before going. So Ryan and I crafted this grand plan of how we were going to make Korean food for the family and even practice several times before going. Ryan wanted their introduction to Korean cuisine to be just right, i.e., we didn't want them to politely opt for hotdogs instead. Mind you, life happens, and none of that actually took place. Our hypothetical menu evolved so many times. Initially, we had planned to make Galbi Jjim (see gorgeous pics and the actual recipe I had chosen to use from Beyond Kimchee.) We went to Cho Dang Gol in NYC, where I tried it out for the 1st time just so I would have something to calibrate ours from. It was even better than what Ryan described, and I was on a mission to bring it to Virginia. I even started thinking about and asking around where I could find the elusive (to me) 'Asian pear' - one of the suggested ingredients.
Well, many weekends passed us by and we never practiced. Soon enough, it was time to leave and all we had packed for our dinner was a recipe book that I had been meaning to use (see previous post) and my 'magic' rice cooker. (I love that thing!) Leaving late and trying to avoid DC traffic, we opted to not pass through Northern Va and therefore missed all of the many Korean markets that had been somewhere in our plan. Ok, we figured, Roanoke is only about an hour away from where we were staying so we would get all our stuff the day of and just go for it. Ha!
On our 'meal day', the goal was to leave somewhat early in the morning so we could get back in time to marinate the meat. So Ryan, my sister, and I hopped in the car to go shopping. Unfortunately, we drove an hour away and couldn't find any Korean markets in Roanoke! We eventually ended up finding two different Asian markets, but the pickings for what we needed were slim. Having extremely limited options, Ryan found a Korean restaurant and went in to ask the owner about Korean store options in the area. It was then confirmed, we were pretty much out of luck. At this point we were forced to make a decision. Do we still try to make an authentic meal from scratch with little to no ingredients OR do we settle and just buy everything from the restaurant and bring it back to the dinner table? We ended up compromising. We made japchae (잡채) FROM SCRATCH (what?! ...and you thought we settled) using Marja's recipe, and we bought the meat (galbi - 갈비 and dak galbi - 닭갈비) and scallion pancakes (pajeon - 파전) from Wonju Korean Restaurant (they were also gracious enough to throw in the banchan - 반찬 - a mix of sides that accompany a meal).
|"Look at you, bringing some culture up in here..." - Words from my uncle after dinner|
|Our view of the lake from the deck|
|The same lake in the distance beyond the tractor...Of note, my grandfather was the 1st to be buried in the family cemetery overlooking this lake.|
|Fun between thunderstorms!|
|Up close and personal. Ryan's 1st bull!|
|What we made: Japchae from Marja's book.|
|My nephews exploring nature. Way too cute not to post!|
|My nephew specifically requested to sit next to Ryan during this particular meal. Ryan taught him how to order and eat clams and how to properly use a knife. I don't think I have even done any of those in my life ever! #Gentlemen'sClub|
|Tehe. Love this face!|
Ryan and I are both now back to the routine of city living, take-out, and regular internet access... but I can't wait to go back!