Pajeon (Korean savory pancake) and learning to trust ourSELVES
I hope you are all feeling the sense of Spring on the way, even if the weather itself is not yet there. I can feel the energy shifting from stillness to gentle movement… and it feels good! This week I have a recipe for Vegetable Pajeon, the savory Korean pancake, which is ideal for this time of year when we are working with the last of the winter vegetables and not yet receiving Spring’s bounty. Throw in whatever bits of veg you have and transform it into this crispy delight before your eyes!
This week I am writing about our sense of taste and how we can engage with it far more often then just when we eat. I share a short video on how we can practice building self trust through the act of salting to taste. I hope this sparks some connections for you and gets your juices flowing. I had the honor of teaching a roomful of 16 year olds an embodied cooking practice this week and they were all lit up by the end. I have never seen teenagers so excited about stew before!
I have a few offerings I want to share, for classes and mini retreats as well as a call for you to ask me questions for an advice column I’d like to start here, Open Kitchen. I also share a short tv spot I did with Arts in the City here in New York, an amazing podcast by the folks at meditative story that illustrates what embodied cooking looks like in families, and an article about an inspiring book called Laziness Does Not Exist.
And thank you to those of you who have chosen to become paying subscribers! I appreciate you so much and am working on how I can create some more work just for you. Thank you all for being here in any capacity. It means so much to connect with you.
How do we Engage with Taste to build Self Trust and become better cooks?
When you look at this photograph above, how do you engage with it? First we are looking with our eyes (we will talk about this soon) but then what happens? For many of us—if we listen inward—we can taste it. We may salivate or our tongue may tingle. We are receiving memory and information from our body about things we have tasted that are similar and it stimulates our sense of taste to form something that we really can taste! Our minds are so powerful a memory can be almost as powerful as the lived experience.
Our sense of taste is very sophisticated and what you might notice as you bring your awareness to it, is that it is pleasurable to use it at any time. For eating certainly, but also when you are remembering a taste, and when you are tasting as you cook something. You can trust this pleasurable feeling. Your powerful mind is communicating with you through your sense of taste and letting you know through what is most pleasurable, what will be best for your body.
You might be thinking, “well that may be true for you Leanne, you are a cookbook author! I am just a person who likes grilled cheese sandwiches and coffee, I have no idea what I’m doing.” But the truth is we all have the ability to taste and adjust for our own benefit. The hard part is trusting the information that is there.
For example, when a recipe says “salt to taste” many wonder what that means? And it is as simple as tasting and trusting what your tongue tells you. The difficulty is the mind gets involved and rather than accept this simplicity we hesitate, wondering if we are getting it right and perhaps what another cook would think. See the video below for more on this.
It is normal to second-guess our senses! We are taught throughout our lives to look to the experts for guidance in so many things that we forget we are the experts on our own bodies and what they need. So when we taste for salt, listen and act on the answer given, we build intuition and self trust. And as we build this self trust in small ways, over time, we can rewire our brain so that we have the foundation we need to be secure in ourselves. When we are secure in ourselves we are better able to care for ourselves and better contribute to our community, family and even at work. And as we do this we will naturally begin to create food that tastes great to us, and usually what tastes great to us will taste great to others because while we are unique we are also all the same.
So taste for salt, taste for spice, taste for acidity. You have everything you need within you. And if it doesn’t make sense right away, keep going and you will learn. It is so much simpler than you think, that is the real secret. Trust your taste. Trust the pleasure that is there. It is good.
And please ask me any questions or share anything this sparks. This topic is loaded!
Book one-on-one cooking classes with me!
Feel like you can’t cook or hate cooking, but want to learn this precious skill? Want to just make food without fear, guilt, worry, or frustration? Or simply want to learn how to cook for the first time? Work with me 1-on-1 to address whatever your root issues are and learn the techniques of cooking skills alongside simple emotion regulating skills so you can become the relaxed and easeful cook of your dreams.
I have taught anxious parents, people who think they are too old to learn, total newbies and more to find their way in the kitchen. I promise you are not hopeless.
Book a discovery call with me and see if we should work together. I offer a sliding scale for every budget. We can cook virtually so you can be in your own kitchen or in-person if you are local to New York City.
Join me for a Mini-Retreat this Spring
Need a re-set at this deep winter moment? Feeling like you have to choose either self care or seeing a friend?
Come join me and do it all, Saturday, March 18th for a mini yoga retreat in my home in South Slope Brooklyn. April and May dates are also available. Sign up while you can!
9:30-10: settling in with tea 🍵
10-11:30 meditation and restorative yoga 🧘🏼
11:30-12 Leanne cooks and shares embodied cooking practice.
12-12:30 Eat lunch and chat/share 🥗
12:30-1 final breathing and meditation
Float away into the rest of the dreamy weekend feeling released and connected.
Open Kitchen. Call for submissions!
I am starting an advice column feature here called Open Kitchen. I would love to answer your queries and musings about your experiences with cooking and food in particular, but also mental health, parenting and general life experience.
But to do this I need your help! Please submit your questions through this form. The questions will be anonymous so no need to think twice about anything embarrassing. Remember chances are if you are wondering something or having an experience there are many others who are as well and when you have the courage to ask the question you help all those other people too.
“Clean out the Fridge” Vegetable Pajeon
TL;DR: whisk the dry ingredients then add the vegetables and water. Fry the pajeon in oil and crack an egg into the center. Flip and cook until golden on both sides.
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp corn starch
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 scallions, chopped
2 small carrots, grated
a bit of cabbage, finely chopped
any other vegetables you have, finely chopped
1/2 cup water
oil for the pan
salt, to taste
1 tsp Tamari or soy sauce
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
small dollop of gochujang paste (optional)
sprinkling of sesame seeds
In a mixing bowl whisk together the flour, corn starch, salt and baking powder.
Add in the scallions, carrot, cabbage and any other vegetables along with the water and stir it together with a spoon until there are no floury pockets.
Warm the oil in a large pan on medium heat, then pour in the pajeon mixture, gently pushing it out to the edges of the pan to create a round pancake or something approaching a round pancake. With a spatula, scrape out a hole in the middle of the pancake. Crack the egg into the hole and sprinkle with a bit of salt.
Once the pajeon begins to brown and egg white is cooked, flip the pajeon over and cook on the other side until light golden.
(While the pajeon cooks, stir up the dipping sauce in a small bowl)
Remove the pajeon from the pan and let cool slightly before cutting into strips of triangles.
Twenty One Meals with my Family in Seven Days, by Jai Punjabi
A kind soul shared this amazing podcast episode with me. Jai Punjabi explores cooking with his family in India and discovers that the magic of the delicious food is all in the process of cooking together in this constant communication between body and food and each other. It is pure magic, super meditative and….. totally embodied cooking!
Please take a listen. It is beautiful and relaxing.
I had such a fun time with the folks at Arts in the City shooting this little piece a few months ago. The longer piece will be out soon, but here is a quick clip of me talking about how eating nuts over the sink is actually the best move you can make sometimes.
Lastly, I loved this piece about Devon Price’s new book, Laziness Does not Exist. I still need to hear this message as often as possible. We are so programmed to think that if we are not efficiently making money and keeping to a strict schedule that something is wrong. But it is not true. It is gloriously human just to be. It is the only way to cultivate creativity and connection and all the things we really want in this one precious life.