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Bulgogi (Grilled Korean Beef)

19 Aug

I’ve made this recipe a few times but have never written about it – I figure it’s time to finally share!  While bulgogi isn’t something I normally order at a Korean restaurant, I do love making it at home.  It’s also an easy crowd-pleaser when you have people over.  The marinade can handle more meat than the recipe calls for, so if say you wanted to make two pounds of bulgogi, just multiple the marinade ingredients by 1.5x!  Here is the original recipe from New York Times:

INGREDIENTS:

  • pound well-marbled, boneless sirloin, tenderloin or skirt steak
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 1 cup peeled, chopped ripe Asian or Bosc pear  (I’ve also used an apple in a pinch!)
  • ¾ cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 2 TSBP soy sauce
  • 1 TSBP roasted sesame oil
  • 1 TSBP light brown sugar or honey
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ sliced white onion and 5 white mushrooms (optional)
  • ½ tsp sesame seeds, toasted

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Wrap beef in plastic wrap or butcher paper and place in freezer for 1 to 2 hours to firm up.
  2. Cut beef across the grain into thin slices. If cooking in a skillet, slices should be less than 1/8 inch thick; do not worry if they are a bit ragged. If cooking on the grill, uniform slices, 1/8-inch thick, are best.  As an alternative, you can purchase pre-sliced meat from the Japanese or Korean market.  For this particular post, I used some beautifully marbled thinly sliced Prime Beef Shabu-Shabu Style Chuckroll from Mitsuwa and it worked perfectly after a couple of trims (they come in long thin strips).

    With Sliced Prime Beef Chuckroll

  3. In a food processor, combine garlic, pear, onion and ginger and process until very smooth and creamy, about 1 minute.

    Bulgogi Marinade

  4. In a bowl or sealable plastic bag, combine steak, marinade, scallion, soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar and pepper and mix well. Cover or seal, then refrigerate at least 30 minutes or overnight.
  5. If using a cast-iron grill pan or large skillet, heat over high heat. Add all the meat and its juices to the pan. Cook, stirring constantly, until most (but not all) of the liquid has evaporated and the meat begins to brown around the edges.

    Added Sliced Onions and Mushrooms

TO SERVE:

  •  Whole, fluffy lettuce leaves for wrapping, such as green leaf, oak leaf or romaine; and whole perilla leaves (optional)
  •  Any or all of the following: hot cooked short-grain rice; long green hot peppers, sliced crosswise into 1-inch chunks; small peeled garlic cloves; carrot and cucumber spears or sticks, 1 to 2 inches long
  •  Korean Barbecue Sauce (Ssamjang, see recipe)

The great thing about this recipe is that you still get the sweet-and-savory flavor of bulgogi without added sugar.  We served this with sprouted brown rice (only 1/3 cup per meal, thanks to the GD), kale sauteed with garlic and sesame, steamed broccoli, and plenty of MSG-free kimchi.

Bulgogi (Grilled Korean Beef)

I haven’t made panchan (Korean side dishes) from scratch before, but there are SO many of them and one recipe makes far too much to eat for just one meal (or a couple meals if there are leftovers).  I learned my lesson from the batch of Pickled Daikon and Carrot which we STILL are trying to get through.  The thought of driving to Koreatown just to pick-up some sides was too much to bear, but luckily Lissette had tipped me off last month about a little Korean market hidden in the valley.  I picked up japchae and a plethora of mixed panchan to top off our meal.  Thanks again for the tip, LG!

Bulgogi (Grilled Korean Beef)

Lemongrass Chicken

7 Aug

As this crazy summer heat wears on, I’ve found myself really wanting Vietnamese food.  Maybe not so much a hot bowl of pho, but a nice rice noodle (bún) bowl is so refreshing on hot days.  I love the many fresh herbs and cold vegetables (fresh and pickled together!) that compliment deliciously grilled meats and cold rice noodles.  Nong La is my go-to for a nice pork bún bowl, and their egg rolls are to die for.  I don’t dare try and recreate their pork bowl, but I did find a nice recipe for a lemongrass chicken on the interwebs.   Here’s the recipe as adapted from Bon Appetit.  BA’s original recipe calls for chicken breasts which you have to pound to eliminate dryness, but I used chicken thighs since they tend to have more flavor and frankly are much harder to dry out.

Lemongrass, Shallot, Lime, Garlic, Fish Sauce

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 lemongrass stalks, tough outer layers removed, chopped
  • 1 medium shallot, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp light brown sugar
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Lime wedges (for serving)

    Ready for a Whirl

DIRECTIONS:
  1. Process lemongrass, shallot, garlic, lime juice, fish sauce, brown sugar, and red pepper flakes in a food processor to a fine paste.

    Lemongrass Marinade

  2. Season chicken with salt and pepper and place in a resealable plastic bag or container. Add lemongrass mixture; chill at least 30 minutes (or up to 2 days ahead).

    Ready for Marinating!

  3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Remove chicken from marinade, scraping off excess (this is important!), and cook until golden brown, 5-7 minutes; turn and cook until cooked through, about 2 minutes longer.  You can also throw these on a grill if you can stand the heat!
  4. Serve chicken with lime wedges for squeezing over.

NOTE: If you’re doing whole-30, you can substitute the brown sugar for orange juice.  However, the nice thing about the sugar is that it will make sure you get a nice char on the chicken once you cook it.

Kevin and I recently discovered GABA sprouted brown rice (unpolished brown rice that has been allowed to germinate to improve the flavor and texture and increase levels of nutrients such as γ-aminobutyric acid), and we LOVE it despite the longer preparation requirements.  To maximize the nutrient factor and flavor to the meal, I sliced and sauteed a leek in a wee bit of soy sauce and tossed it with a batch of GABA rice in chicken broth in lieu of traditional rice vermicelli noodles.  Together the lemongrass chicken, Pickled Daikon and Carrot, freshly shredded lettuce, Persian cucumber, cilantro, green onion, and crushed toasted peanuts (oops, not pictured), it was the perfectly balanced healthy dinner!

Lemongrass Chicken

Instagram Lately – Holiday Delectables

3 Jan

I have been posting a ton of recipes made in our new kitchen lately, and have been hit or miss with including links to the recipes, so here they all are!

My round-up from Thanksgiving this year:

 

This year, instead of using all chicken apple sausage, I used half hot Italian and half chicken apple sausage to try and balance the sweetness of the cornbread.

Butternut Squash Soup with Scallops and Garlicky Swiss Chard

Butternut Squash Soup with Scallops and Garlicky Swiss Chard

I made the soup this time without the apple, and double the carrots and celery.

And here’s my December round-up:

Erica's Birthday Cupcakes - Chocolate Stout Cupcake with Salted Caramel Frosting

Erica’s Birthday Cupcakes – Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting

I used the cupcake recipe from the Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes.  Being the practical baker that I am, I didn’t want to buy a whole 6-pack of Guinness since we’re not Guinness drinkers at home. So I bought a bottle of Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout, which worked great except I didn’t realize the bottle was 9% ABV which is over twice what Guinness is.  The cupcake was a teensy bit more beer flavored than the Guinness Cupake usually is, but it still tasted fine.  I used the frosting recipe from the Samoas Cupcakes, and added 1 cup extra powdered sugar to thick it a bit. Since I wasn’t dipping the cupcake in coconut flakes, I wanted to make the frosting a bit more substantial. It still wasn’t thick enough to pipe but it was delicious nonetheless.

 

Lamb Burgers

7 Jul

In celebration of the long Fourth of July weekend, Kevin and I decided (albeit at the last minute) to make some good ol’ fashioned American hamburgers. I’m not sure if we went to the market at the exact twilight of ground meat outage and replenishment, but we somehow managed to go to a spot where they were completely out of ground beef, turkey, chicken, and bison.  Bison (our latest obsession; posts to come later) was what we really wanted for our burgers, but we somehow resigned to ground lamb. Not that anything is wrong with lamb, but it wasn’t exactly what eating at Murica’s birthday party is all about.

I found a recipe on Food & Wine and tailored it to serve the two of us, while also including a bit more zing by upping the herbs-to-meat ratio.  See the recipe as adapted below:

INGREDIENTS:

Lamb Burgers for two:

  • 3/4 lb ground lamb
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 1 garlic glove, minced
  • 1/2 T mint, finely chopped
  • 1/2 T flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 T dill, finely chopped (pull leaves only, don’t use thick stems)
  • Kosher salt and finely ground black pepper
  • 2 whole wheat pita bread (or hamburger bun if you prefer)
  • 2-3 leaves romaine lettuce
  • 4 paper-thin onion slices

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a medium bowl, lightly knead the ground lamb with the onion, garlic, mint, parsley and 1 scant teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Shape the meat into patties about 1/2 inch thick, and transfer them to a plate lined with plastic wrap. Lightly brush the burgers with olive oil.

    Herbalicious Lamb Patties

    Herbalicious Lamb Patties

  2. Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil on medium heat, and cook the lamb patties for about 6 minutes on each side. You can also grill the lamb burgers for about 12 minutes, turning once, for medium meat. I was worried about overcooking the lamb, so I stuck a meat thermometer into the patty and cooked til it hit about 140 degrees for medium rare. The patty will continue to cook another 5 degrees once you take it off the pan too.
  3. Set the burgers on the pita breads and top them with the lettuce, tomato, onion and a spoonful of Yogurt-Cucumber Sauce. Fold the pitas over the burgers and serve right away, passing the remaining yogurt sauce alongside.

    Lamb Burgers

    Lamb Burgers

In my opinion, you can’t really have a lamb burger with ketchup and mustard, so I looked up a recipe for tzatziki.  The recipe below is also adapted from Food & Wine.  The version I made was chunkier (I upped the cucumber), lessened the amount of yogurt, and added dill and lemon juice.  I had nonfat Fage plain greek yogurt, and it came out on the thicker side. I would recommend a regular, non-Greek yogurt to give it a more “sauce-y” consistency.  This made about 1/2 cup, which is probably more than enough for two people.  I wouldn’t recommend making too much in advantage and eating leftovers, because the lemon juice and salt will pickle the herbs and cucumber.  It’ll taste like a strange creamy dill pickle sauce (I learned the hard way).

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Persian cucumber, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 t kosher salt
  • 1/3 C plain yogurt
  • 1/2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 T finely chopped mint
  • 1 t finely chopped dill
  • 2 lemon wedges’ worth of lemon juice
  • Finely ground black pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Using a melon baller or small spoon, scoop out the seedy center of the cucumber. Dice the cucumber. Squeeze the excess liquid from the cucumber without mashing it (skip if using Greek yogurt).
  2. In a small bowl, using the back of a spoon, mash the garlic with the salt to a paste. Stir in the yogurt, olive oil, mint, dill, and lemon juice. Add the cucumber, season with pepper and serve.
Tzatziki

Tzatziki

We also “needed” a salty component for our burger, so I drummed up a sundried tomato tapenade.  The following will makes about 1/3 cup:  Place 6 pitted kalamata olives and 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes into a food processor and pulse to chop roughly. If you’re using dry sundried tomatoes (I used the ones from Trader Joe’s – my fav!), pour 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil while pulsing the food processor a few more times to combine.  All that being said, the thought of cleaning a food processor after all the chopping/cleaning I’d been doing that day was dreadful, so I chopped everything by hand and then whisked in the olive oil after.

Sundried Tomato Olive Tapenade

Sundried Tomato Olive Tapenade

And that my friends was our big fat Greek Fourth of July meal!  We celebrated 4th of July with Kevin’s mom over the weekend as well, and she made banh mi sandwiches for us and I cobbled together an Italian pasta salad to bring.  It really was a hodge podge of cuisines, but I guess that’s really what eating like an American is all about – celebrating a bit of everything!

Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken Tagine

19 Jul

I am a creature of habit.  I’ve been posting recipes that were inspired by things I’ve eaten at Nook Bistro for years, and I find myself still going there and getting the same thing every time.  I love their butternut squash stew, but don’t love that I can’t make a knock-off of it at home year-round with butternut squash really being a fall/winter squash.  Then, I had chicken tagine for the first time at a work tasting with a catering company that was vying for new business a few years ago.  It had a somewhat similar flavor profile to the butternut squash stew, but the ingredients would allow me to make it year-round  I absolutely fell in love with it (and the caterer!), and have tried a number of different chicken tagine recipes trying to mimic what I had and FINALLY found one.  I’m so happy to finally be sharing it!

Here is the recipe as adapted from A Hint of Honey:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
  • 1 T all-purpose flour
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 2 T honey
  • 4 t ras el hanout
  • 1 t turmeric
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1 t ground coriander
  • up to 1 t cayenne pepper (skip this altogether if you don’t like it spicy!)
  • 1 C low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 6 oz. dried apricots, diced
  • 3 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped for serving (frankly, this is more for aesthetics)
  • cous cous, for serving

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until softened. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the flour, tomato paste, honey, and spices and cook for another minute.

    Waiting for the Liquids

    Waiting for the Liquids

  2. Add the chicken stock and tomatoes and cook for several minutes, making sure to get out any lumps of flour. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  3. Combine the tomato/spice mixture with the chickpeas, apricots, chicken thighs, and carrots in a large slower cooker, mixing well.
  4. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours, or until the meat shreds easily with a fork. Serve over cous cous or rice, topped with fresh cilantro.

Ras el hanout can be purchased online, but I’m not sure where to find it in stores. You can make it from scratch using this recipe, and it’ll yield enough to make this tagine a few times. Make sure to store it in a glass container, because it’ll make your plastic tupperware smell like the mixture forEVER. I use an inexpensive spice jar one from Crate and Barrel (thanks Joyce!!), but a small Pyrex could work too!

Ras El Hanout - from scratch!

Ras El Hanout – from scratch!

This stew is great the day you make it, but Kevin and I both think it tastes better the next day.  I’ve probably made this five or six times in the last year and it never lets us down.

Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken Tagine

Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken Tagine

It also freezes well, and makes a HUGE amount.  Kevin and I use two crockpots to make this one recipe (he has an old school Rival Crock-Pot, and I have a 6-quart Crock-Pot).  If you have anything under an 8.5-quart, you may want to finish step 3 and then divide your recipe in half, freezing the half you’re not cooking today.