As many of my readers may know, I have bipolar II disorder. The depression tends to consume me like thick tar and always limits how often and how well I blog or create content. In fact, as I look over my sites stats this evening, I can see a pattern begin to emerge: the more frequently I post on here, the more likely it is that I am working through a hypomanic episode.
My blog is fast becoming my psychological journey tracking journal.
With hypomania I’ll jump from unfinished task to unfinished task, often forgetting where I left things or what I was walking into a room for, which makes it hard to commit to designing a recipe or setting up for a shoot. Soon follows nervous ticks and racing thoughts. These, paired with my chronic OCD means my brain is close to blowing a fuse several times a day for up to a week if I don’t manage and medicate the symptoms, but manage them I do. Of course there is the crippling unwillingness to sleep and some potentially reckless behaviour. Long gone are the days of blowing obscene amounts of cash on trivial things and racking up debts, now it comes in the form of wanting to cut my fringe back in with kitchen scissors at 3am, as I have managed to target bad behaviour through affective CBT techniques. Hypomania is my least favourite thing about bipolar II as I can very easily lose control of myself and, try as I might to mask it, the symptoms only embarrass me and worry others.
Thankfully, this latest episode has got me siphoning my energy into cooking and writing and working on my so-called “personal brand”. Sunday: baked peach cobbler and drafted some recipes for Thanksgiving. Monday: cooked chicken katsu and frantically pitched to a few brands. Tuesday: made Korean tostadas and played around with some Instagram story apps. Today was rather sensible by my usual standards. I had a recipe in mind, set a budget, stuck to buying ingredients I could use again and took steps to calm myself in the store, to talk myself through the rushing and incessant need to get back home before the sun sets and I lose good lighting. Yes, I am that person! So it is with a somewhat calm mind – thanks Xanax- that I can share my recipe for Korean Tostadas.
These are a playful take on my favourite Mexican food, and I love how well the ingredients and textures play off each other. The sharp, zingy pickled ginger adds a welcome flash of colour, but it cuts through the sweetness of the turkey and the creamy dressing. The perfect marriage of these flavor is matched only by the textures- there is a lot of crunch and lashings of smooth.
I use the same ingredients, save for the turkey, to make Korean Beef that I serve with sticky white. With that, I garnish with green (spring) onions and if I’m feeling extravagant, a fried egg.
For the turkey:
1lb GROUND TURKEY
1 cup BROWN SUGAR
4 tbsp LOW SODIUM SOY SAUCE
3 tbsp. SESAME OIL
1 tbsp SESAME SEEDS
1 thumb sized GINGER STEM
For the spicy dressing:
1/2 cup SOUR CREAM
Juice of ONE LIME
1 tbsp SRIRACHA
handful of MINT LEAVES
In a large pan, heat some vegetable oil on a med-high heat then fry the ground turkey until almost done before grating the fresh ginger in. Stir occasionally until browning. In a small bowl, mix the sugar, soy and sesame oil into a thick paste before pouring over the turkey. Reduce the heat and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. When finished, remove from the heat and sprinkle the sesame seeds over the top.
Mix the juice of the lime with the sour cream and sriracha and set aside.
Create your tostadas! Chuck a handful of lettuce on to a tostada, followed by the turkey mix, the sour cream sauce, a few more sesame seeds and chopped mint leaves. Garnish with some pickled ginger and serve.