It's been an adjustment to be back stateside, for sure. The inability so far for me to procure work in my profession has been a struggle, and so I feel like I've been failing at this whole adulting thing. I have been dealing with it the best I can, especially being landlocked in Kansas City. To cope with these self imposed hardships, I have been trying to get out as much as possible, without hemorrhaging money, which isn't the easiest thing to do. Ha, but I do what I can. My brother lives in Denver, and invited me and my other brother out to go camping and hang out. It had been almost a year since I had seen him, and Denver is pretty rad, so I had to go.
We went camping in Lime Creek Canyon, about an hour outside of Vail, Colorado. It was an interesting expedition, trying to take my brother's Toyota Camry on roads not meant for 2-wheel drive cars. But, when we finally made it to the campsite, it was absolutely breathtaking. Our campsite was nestled perfectly by a small river, in the middle of a valley. Best campsite I've ever been to. We were camping midweek, so we were also all alone, which made for excellent night time shenanigans, hooch, and ridiculously massive campfires. And by massive campfires I mean, they were putting whole trees into the fire, like 30 foot long thick enormous trees.
First day there involved day-drinking, then my first outdoor climb (which I wish I could be more proud of), a lot of shenanigans, moonshine, edibles, and one trying to convince us to all drop acid with him. We also figured out that 6 of the 10 people who were there had all graduated from Shawnee Mission South over a 10 year span…uhh, go Raiders?! My brothers and I are always all about the good eats. So, Aaron and I made dinner that night which ended up being delicious, minus the fact that we burned the shit out of the bottom of it. Oh well, that's the fun in cooking over an open flame. Pull-apart cheesy Philly bites/sandwiches, mmmm.
The second day brought hiking, attempting to fish, hammock naps, and me being absolutely devoured by every mosquito in Eagle, Colorado. Being of Korean heritage, my brother Aaron and I decided to make campfire budae jjigae on the second night for the group. Budae Jjigae translates into “army stew” and is a fusion creation that combines traditional Korean spices and soup with processed foods like spam and American cheese. It originates from the Korean War when food was scarce, so it made sense for residents to combine surplus American processed foods into a spicy stew. It is very versatile and you can add almost anything to it, as long as you have the kimchi and base sauce.
Campfire Budae Jjigae (serves approx 10)
2 tbsp Korean chili flakes
3 tbsp rice wine
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp Korean chili paste (Gochujang)
8 cups chicken stock
2 packages of tofu
1 package of hot dogs
2 cans of spam
2 packages of shiitake mushrooms
1 small/medium jar of kimchi
2 large packages of instant ramen noodles
6-8 slices of American cheese
8-10 green onions
Make sure all the solid foods are cut into bite-sized pieces. Then. basically just throw all the ingredients into a couple of pots making sure you get a good mix of both solid food and broth. Save the ramen, eggs, cheese, and green onions. Place the two pots over the campfire and boil for 10 minutes. Next, add the ramen, eggs, and cheese. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add the green onions, stir, and enjoy this savory and spicy stew.
It was a hit! How can you not love spicy, savory Korean stew?
The last two days of the trip were spent in Denver, drinking, eating, and being outdoors. We ended up biking to this neat little riverfest, and got to paddleboard, kayak, and slackline. Of course, with my super smooth and amazing balance skills I fell off the paddleboard three times. However, I can and will say that I am far superior to my bros at slacklining. Finally, there's something that I’m better at than they are. Woop woop! Torchy's tacos, tossing the Frisbee, grueling workouts in the park, and the season finale of Game of Thrones rounded out a short and fun visit to the beautiful state of Colorado. I do hope to see both my bro and Colorado again soon. That’s it for now, until next time.