Culinary Compromise

A few days ago, I posted about my love affair with food. I mentioned the dilemma facing me; namely, that I intended to go on phase one of the South Beach Diet, a diet that might be incompatible with my intense interest in Korean food. I have reached a compromise with myself that solves the dilemma: I will willingly deviate only slightly from phase one so I can eat Korean food, but the Korean food I eat will be adjusted to minimize the use of ingredients not permitted in phase one.  Here are two recipes for items on tonight’s menu, showing my adjustment in the first one; the second has been adjusted by a sharp reduction in the amount of sugar I’ll use:

Sweet and Spicy Korean Cauliflower


  • 1 medium head of cauliflower, core and outer leaves removed, broken into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1½ tablespoons gochujang
  • 1½ tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1½ teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1½ teaspoons honey or brown sugar
  • 2 scallions, both white and green parts, trimmed and sliced into ¼-inch pieces
  • neutral oil (such as canola or grapeseed) for roasting the cauliflower


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Add the garlic, ginger, gochujang, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and honey or brown sugar to the bowl of a food processor (or blender or stick blender) and puree until smooth.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, toss the cauliflower with neutral oil to coat it. Spread it out in a single layer on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt (use restraint here, you want to season the vegetable, but there’s plenty of saltiness in the sauce).
  3. Roast for 25-30 minutes or until deeply browned. Toss with the sauce in a large bowl. Top with scallions.

Korean-Inspired Tangy & Spicy Napa Cabbage Salad


6 oz. shredded or thinly sliced Napa cabbage
2 radishes


  • 2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • ½ teaspoon white sugar
  • 3 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 4 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp gochujang (Korean chili paste)
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil


  1. Thinly slice the cabbage. Rinse and soak cabbage in water for 2 to 3 mins. Drain the water and air dry while preparing the other ingredients.
  2. Rinse the radishes in cold water and clean/trim the root and stems. Thinly slice them.
  3. Grind the toasted sesame seeds in a mortar until fine. Mix all the dressing ingredients in a bowl.
  4. Serve the desired amount of cabbage and radish on a plate and add the dressing on top.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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