The Holidays are coming and before our carb levels spike up for Thanksgiving, let’s get one more time super healthy with this California Bibimbap by Selina Lee of Sky Creatives.
Instagram is a great source of inspiration; we know that; so when we stumbled upon Selina’s feed, we would regularly go back to drool over her Korean delicacies. She is a blogger behind the food blog, Sky Creatives, and regular host of food workshops. Her already Bay Area famous, Banchan ( means Korean side dishes) Workshop, brings together everyone who’s interested in learning all about Korean cooking and ingredients. If you want to be up to date, you should sign up here.
This Saturday, Nov 5th, Selina will be hosting a bibimbap workshop in Oakland. This one is for free, and you can sign up here.
We met Selina and a few weeks ago and wanted to know what’s always in her fridge, what Korean ingredients should we have in our kitchen pantry and what’s her best kept California secret. And yes, she also shares a yummy, healthy California Bibimbap recipe with us. Read on… And follow Selina on Instagram.
From Graphic Designer to Food Blogger…How did you get here? Tell us a bit about your journey?
I started my blog SkyCreatives in 2014 as a way for me to freely express my creative thinking process. It was a place for me to explore, brainstorm and share. Working for a large corporation did not give me the same type of creative outlet that I needed. At first, I was writing about anything from design inspirations to travels, parenting, and food. Beginning of this year, I decided to focus on sharing my passion for cooking, entertaining ideas and food stories that we all have and like to talk about. I still have my day job but I’m able to do this at my own pace, and I love it.
How did #BanchanWorkshop come to be? Tell us a bit about it.
It’s interesting how I became a food blogger when I didn’t have much interest in food or cooking. I grew up watching my mother and grandmother cook in the kitchen daily, but I never thought about it as something I would enjoy doing. Cooking was not enjoyable and at times stressful trying to plan what’s for dinner. I wanted to find ways to get me cooking more. So I invited few of my friends to cook together, share ideas and feast what we end up making. It was so much fun. Since Korean food has been a huge part of who I am, I decided to share everything I know about Korean food. I called it Banchan Workshop. Banchan means Korean side dishes. It’s usually served along with rice and soup (or stew), and it’s part of the daily home meal in a Korean household. I’ve hosted six workshops so far, each of them unique and memorable to me. You would think to be a host for workshops mean you are knowledgeable and experienced enough to teach someone how to do something. But in return, I’ve learned so much along the way. It’s really all about bringing people with similar interest to learn from each other, and it’s always fun when there is some cooking and feasting involved.
We cannot get enough of your Korean specialties we see on Instagram. What does making food and sharing it with others means to you?
The type of food that I love to cook and eat are the ones that bring back memories. I realized that I cook a lot based on memory. It’s nostalgic thing for me. I love food that is simple and warming; I love food that is affordable and accessible. I love food that brings back memories and creates new ones. I enjoy exploring traditional dishes and learning about the history and story behind them. Every cuisine has its history and culture. I’m happy to learn more about mine and share it with others. It’s like sharing my culture and who I am through food.
5 things always in your fridge?
Lemon, Fresh Fruits, Green Onion, Tofu, Kimchi
And 5 Korean ingredients every home cook should have in their kitchen pantry?
Gochujang (Korean Chili Paste), Gochugaru (Korean Chili Powder), Soy Sauce, Sesame Oil, Toasted Sesame Seeds
What food trend or ingredient is overrated in your opinion?
To me, there is no such thing as an overrated food trend. I love them all and wish we had more food trends. I never get sick of seeing variations of avocado toast on my Instagram feed. It gets my curiosity going, and I am more open to trying new food.
Cook to impress. What dish is super simple to make but will always wow the guests?
I recently made Mille-Feuille Nabe for a dinner guest, and he was totally impressed. It’s a French-Japanese inspired dish. Think of shabu-shabu presented and served in a most beautiful way. It does not give in on the taste either, especially if you make your own citrus ponzu sauce! I’m working on this recipe to share on my blog soon so stay tuned.
Best healthy road trip snack?
Dark chocolate and dry fruits!
Always add __some homemade stocks (instead of water)__ to __your soups and stews, even sauces__. It will add a depth of flavor.
I’m dying to go to __Spain__. I would love to learn about the food and the people that make it.
Tell us your five favorite food spots in Oakland…
Ba-Bite– Favorite Mediterranean food in Oakland. Housemade hummus and chicken shashlik majadera are my favorite.
Fusebox – A unique atmosphere to enjoy some happy hour Korean fusion food.
Brown Sugar Kitchen – Their signature chicken and waffles served piping hot every time. Go on Friday morning to avoid weekend brunchers and wait.
Modern Coffee – Consistently good coffee every time. Both 13th and 19th locations are great. Try their special lattes like lavender latte and burnt cinnamon mocha. It’s a quite a treat.
B-Dama – Yummy Japanese food inside Swan’s Market in Old Oakland. Their Nabe is so good on a rainy day!
If we have only 12 hours in Oakland, what should we do … Where do you take out-of-town friends?
I would take my out-of-town guests to go hiking in the Redwood trails in Oakland Hills, check out unique artisan shops in Temescal Alley, Grab a bite at Friday Farmer’s Market in Old Oakland then walk around Lake Merritt see more of Oakland.
It’s weekend in California….
Saturday or Sunday…
Sunday. We try to keep our Sundays open so we can be spontaneous.
Do you have any weekend traditions…
As a family, we like to sleep in on Sundays and have late breakfast. Kids always ask for pancakes with big breakfast. We also like to plan short day trips (within 2 hours drive) to explore parts of Northern California. We love visiting Guerneville in Sonoma and Carmel by the Beach during summer.
Beach or mountains…
Mountains. I like going for long walks in the woods. It feels like all the noises are muted out and you can hear yourself breathing. I love that feeling.
Just received a copy of In the Company of Women by Grace Bonney. It’s about 100 influential women in the creative field of all ages, race, and background and how they paved their own paths to business and life. I can’t wait to get my nose into it.
Your way to relax…
Since I live so close to the lake, I like to go for a walk. It takes about 45 mins to walk around the entire lake. I usually listen to podcast while I’m walking. My recent favorite podcast I listen to are One Part Podcast with Jessica Murnane, Pardon My French with Garance Doré, Here’s The Thing with Alec Baldwin.
Best kept Oakland secret…
If you are into playing golf, Lake Chabot Golf course has some amazing views. You might be surprised at the reasonable price they offer. Makes me want to pick up playing golf again so that I can be out there and enjoy the view.
What do you love most about California?
Although I was born and spent most of my childhood in Korea, living in California is definitely home to me. I lived here most of my adult life, and I can’t really see myself living anywhere else. California has so much to offer, and I have yet to explore them all. So happy for having California Weekend Magazine so I can plan my future adventures!
California Bibimbap (캘리포니아 비빔밥) – 2 servings
1 cup half brown / half white cooked short grain rice
1 Persian cucumber
¼ cup salmon roe
2 cups mixed baby greens
¼ cup toasted seasoned seaweed (or nori)
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp water
¼ tsp sesame oil
½ tsp wasabi
pinch of sesame seeds
Prepare rice by cooking in a rice cooker or pot. Soaking the rice in warm water for about 30 mins after washing can help rice to cook thoroughly, especially using brown rice. / prepare the sauce by mixing the above ingredients. / cut the avocado into small bite size cubes, cut cucumber in thin matchsticks using mostly the green part. I used a vegetable shredder. Prepare mix baby greens. I used pea shoots and radish shoots, but it can be any baby greens you like (lettuce, spinach, kale.., etc.).
1. Put a skillet over heat with a generous amount of oil to fry the egg. I used vegetable oil. We want to get crispy edges and softly cooked in the middle. While the egg is frying, tilt the pan to corner the egg and oil and keep pouring the oil on the egg yolk using a spoon. Once you get nice crispy edges with a thin layer of egg white on top, set the egg aside on kitchen paper towel.
2. You can now assemble your bibimbap by putting the cooked rice on the bottom and layer/arrange the ingredients the way you want with fried egg on top.
3. Sprinkle toasted seaweeds and serve with sauce. Mix everything before you eat!
-as told to California Weekend
*Images courtesy of SkyCreatives.