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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Kimchi Cakes

I was super pleased with the results on this one. Think about it...kimchi? Cakes? It's a hard combination to top. So these have great texture and flavor. they're a good addition to a Korean meal, or about any meal where you want a little splash of spice. You can also serve them in whole cakes or in small pieces as a starter.

Kimchi Cakes:

2/3 cup flour
1/3 cup water
1 cup kimchi, diced fine

Mix the ingredients, then pour into an oiled pan on medium-high heat. Cook about 3 minutes per side, watching for that nice golden color.

You'll want to add a bit of oil to the pan every so often so you get that nice color and the cakes don't stick.


~ Brock

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Mandu (Korean Dumplings) with Spicy Citrus Dipping Sauce

I love dumplings. I could eat dumplings pretty often. There are so many variations, so many styles. For this one, I made Korean dumplings or Mandu. They were great and I made a Spicy Citrus Dipping Sauce to match.


I purchased sweet rice dumpling wrappers, but you can choose any wrapper you like. Take a chance and try different types, different brands.

Fry up 1 onion (finely diced) for a couple minutes, then add 1 pound ground beef. You want this on medium heat, so as not to brown. Press 5 cloves garlic through a press, add some soy sauce, pepper, a bit of hoisin sauce, and salt. Stir and low-fry for a couple of minutes. Add to a large mixing bowl. Add finely chopped cabbage. Minced green onion. Finely chopped bean sprouts. Typical Mandu also uses tofu, but I didn't feel like using it, so I didn't. Mix all this well.

Get a small bowl of water, set aside. Scoop spoonful of mixture into middle of wrapper, then wipe a finger of water around the edge. Fold it over and crimp closed. Set aside until ready to fry up.

To cook - heat 3 Tbs oil on medium-high. Pan fry Mandu about 3 minutes per side. Serve with dipping sauce.

Spicy Citrus Dipping Sauce:

Juice of 1/2 lime, with a bit of zest
Some vinegar
Some soy sauce
Some sugar
Some chili oil

You'll have to experiment with the proportions, because it's all about preference.


~ Brock

Korean Side Dishes

You can't really have Korean food, or for that matter, any Asian food, without sides. So, with Galbi and Bo Samm, along with traditional napa kimchi and radish kimchi (I didn't make either), I threw together some sides.

Spicy Potatoes:

Peal 1-2 white potatoes, shred with large-hole cheese grater, then rinse off starch. Place those in a mixing bowl, add a Tbs of rice vinegar, a dash of sesame oil, then a Tbs of Korean Hot Bean Paste (Gochujang). Mix well, place in a bowl and into the fridge for at least 2 hours before use.

Pickled Cucumbers:

Peal and slice 4 or more Persian or Japanese cucumbers (hot house or standard ones will also work, but I used Persian for this recipe). Meanwhile, bring 1 cup water to a simmer, off heat, add in 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 4 Tbs sugar, and 1 Tbs kosher salt. Mix well, and pour over cucumbers. Mix those well and into the fridge for at least 2 hours before use.

Soy-Sweet Potatoes:

Peel and cube 4 white potatoes. Rinse off starch. Heat (medium) 2 Tbs oil in pan and add 1 small onion, finely diced. Cook 3 minutes. Add potatoes. After 3 more minutes, squeeze 3-4 cloves garlic through a press, and stir for another minute. Add 1/2 water, 2-3 Tbs soy sauce and 1/4 sugar. Stir and cover, cooking for about 15 minutes. You want them cooked, but not soft...still firm. Remove and drain. Empty into container and taste. You want the sweet and salty. Add more sugar or salt to taste, then into the fridge for at least 2 hours before use.

Enjoy with meat!

~ Brock

Monday, June 14, 2010

Cucumber Cups with Shrimp, Korean Pear and Sake Vinaigrette

I don't know why the one photo won't correct the rotation, but get the picture!

First, peel a few large cucumbers, then cut them into 1 1/2" pieces. Then you're going to scoop out the center of each one, but leaving a bottom layer on each one. You also want to ensure you get as close to the outside wall as possible, because a thick cucumber isn't as pleasant as a paper-thin cup.

Now when I do this dish again, I'm going to pickle the cucumbers before I use them. They were good as-is, but would be much better with a nice season on them.

Meanwhile, boil a handful of shrimp, then cool and dice. Peel and dice a Korean pear. Set aside. Mince some napa kimchi, set aside. Mince some green onion, set aside.

Make your sake vinaigrette- Mix 1/2 cup sake, 1/4 rice vinegar, 2-3 Tbs sugar, a dash of sesame oil, and press 2 cloves garlic into the mixture. Shake well and use this to season your dish.

To plate, place a cucumber shell, and scoop a bit of shrimp with a bit of pear, then push down inside. Top with a small mound of kimchi, then some green onions. Pour some vinaigrette over. You can also sprinkle some black sesame seeds on top for effect.


~ Brock

Another Round of Galbi

I won't bore you with the same recipe twice, so check it out here. This was for my son- one of his favorite dishes.

I had this with my Bo Samm, and I'll be honest, I am torn on which I prefer. The beef is always amazing, but the pork...slooooooow roooooasted....that's hard to beat.

Let me know which you prefer.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder (Bo Samm)

When I was younger, I wasn't allowed to eat pork. Unclean. But then my God cleansed it and now I eat it at will ;).

Although the concept of a slow-roasted pig is nothing new, I got the idea for this particular dish from reading Momofuku. A wonderful book from author and chef, David Chang. But let's back up a bit...

My son is about to turn 6. We fed him everything when he was a baby, but very little of it stuck. Now, he's pretty much a mac-n-cheese, pizza, chicken nuggets kid. But, the one area where I'm really proud to say "it stuck" is with Asian cuisine. Specifically, my son can down the greatest Taiwanese food, Japanese- yes, and Korean - aaaah yeaaaah. Galbi (bbq short ribs) is one his favorites. And, since beef = growth (he's like 85% in height rankings, 15% in weight), I don't hesitate when he wants it.

But, I'm a little selfish when it comes to food, and if I need to make Galbi, you can guarantee I'm gonna cook up a feast. We were going to have 9-11 adults and 2-4 kids, so I needed massive amounts of meat. Galbi - done. Onto the pork.

It's quite simple, really. Sugar, brown sugar, and salt. That's all you need- that and a nice cut of pork. Maybe butt (which is what Momofuku calls for), but I opted for a shoulder just had my name on it. Marbled with fat, perfect size (5 pounds), and excellent color behind the glass.

Bo Samm:

1 5lb pork shoulder with plenty of good marbling of fat
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup brown sugar

Mix your dry ingredients, then rub them all over the pork. Rub it good. Rub it real good. Put this into a ziplock and into the fridge for at least 6 hours, but overnight is apparently fine.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Put the pork in a baking dish, small enough to fit it tight, but make sure you have a decent height on the lip, because once the fat renders, you don't want it overflowing. Put the pork in the dish, without excess liquid from bag. Roast for 6 hours, basting with the juices at least once per hour. After 4 hours, flip the roast and sprinkle some brown sugar on top.

Remove from oven and shred. Set aside to eat with lettuce, spicy bean paste, kimchi, etc.


~ Brock

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Playing With Meat

We've all wondered it at some point or another, haven't we? I mean, what are the rules, anyway? Meat-wise, I mean.

Well, for starters, get fresh meat. That's a no-brainer, you'd think, but I can tell you from experience there are some stores that don't follow this logic and some shoppers who don't seem to notice/care. For instance, when your meat smells rancid, chances are, it is. Bloody- yes. 'Meaty'- yes. Should it smell like a rodent, a fish, poop, or gasoline? No. Those are not indigenous smells.

And if it smells ok, what about the color? Do this - go buy a cheap steak from 3 different grocery stores. Take it home, slice each one down the middle and look at the insides. Anything resembling tree rings with various shades of red, purple, brown and black? The longer meat sits, the longer the liquids (blood, water, etc.) penetrate and permeate. And oxygen? Yep, if impacts your meat as well. Granted, you may always see a slight bit of color saturation when you slice through a raw cut of beef, what you don't want to see is red surrounding purple surrounding black/brown. Get it fresh.

Now here's an interesting question I get all the time: what's the best way to cook a steak? Trust me, it's not my lawyer instincts when I tell you, "it depends." The reason why, is because the "best" way to cook a steak depends on your goals, your anticipated meal, your available cookware, etc., etc., etc. For instance, I can cook a steak on a gas grill for 45 minutes or I can cook it in 8 minutes. Same cut, same spices - totally different result. Also totally different styles. Not that you can't match a Chimichurri sauce with either, but knowing a bit about real Argentinian cooking, you'd probably go with the long and low grill (and it wouldn't be gas if you had a choice). But what if you wanted to go with a nice red wine sauce? Well, the grill doesn't lend itself to a pan sauce because there's no pan. So, you'd need to opt for a pan fried steak.

But is the question really about the best way to cook a steak? Or, is it the best manner (i.e., slow, fast, high-heat, low heat, etc.) to cook a steak once you've chosen a certain method (i.e., grill, pan, etc.). I mean, honestly, do you ever ask yourself whether a pan fried steak is better than a outdoor grilled steak? Not that there's not a difference (there is), but it's not really the right question, is it? I can cook an awesome pan steak. I can also cook an awesome grill steak. I can also cook a piece of crap steak in either.

What you need to do is master a method and manner of cooking a piece of meat. That's what I did.

Pick a cut of steak and pick a method (i.e., grill or pan). Start with a basic dry rub (salt, pepper, garlic, paprika is a nice one). Now practice and learn your grill, learn your fire. Where are the hot spots. Can I sear in one area and not in another? Does the meat cook at a different rate if I have multiple pieces on the fire? Should I open or close the lid? Smoke or none? These are all questions you should answer for yourself - after you've tried them all.

And here are a few tips along the way:

1. Never put meat straight out of the fridge and onto a fire. Let your meat come up to room temperature first.

2. Never cut your meat while it's cooking. You lose moisture and your meat gets tough and overcooked.

3. Never cut your meat as soon as it's done cooking. Let it rest at least 5 minutes, but closer to 10 for best results. I don't know the scientific description, but as you wait, the juices flow back into the meat causing a juicier result.

4. Don't sear your meat by burning it to black.

That's 4 rules. 4! Yet, I see many, many, many would-be home cooks break all 4 rules all the time and wonder why their meat tastes like crap. And these rules apply to a good old steak a hamburger...whatever.

Think about it, is it you? Do you take your steak home from the store, rub it with spices, put it in the fridge. Hours later, you light the grill and as soon as it's hot, you pull the steak right out the fridge and onto the grill? Then, about 7 minutes later when smoke billows out, you flip it, only to discover it's charred, burnt and black. Then, 1 minute later, you grab a steak knife, slicing into your meat to determine if it's done? The juices and blood flow out, so you think it's undercooked. You leave it on another 4-5 minutes to be sure, but by that time, you think it needs another flip to seal the hole you cut? So, you flip it for good measure. Now you've cooked your steak about what? 15 minutes? You hoped it would be medium or medium-well, but it's black, dry and way overcooked.

Here's a perfect steak. Take it out of the fridge. Season it with a dry rub and a bit of olive oil. Leave it out on a plate out of the fridge. Heat your grill to medium-high (I use a 5 burner grill and I turn on the right 2 and leave the left 3 off. I put my steak mid way between the front and the back of the grill in between burners 1 and 2). When the steak has been out of the fridge between 30-60 minutes, I grill it for 4 minutes, then flip it and cook another 4-5 minutes, depending on the thickness. I let it rest slightly covered in foil for about 10-15 minutes, then slice against the grain. That's perfection. 8 minutes to cook a steak. If you cook 15, that's WAY too long.

Alright, enough about meat. Go explore.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Red Chili Shredded Pork

I did not take a picture - what a mistake. Not that it would capture the beauty, or even could. I take most pics with my iPhone, but when it comes to shredded meat dishes (like my Mole), it isn't pretty. It's the taste that's pretty..the texture, the aroma, the experience. But that's why cookbooks with pictures sell, isn't it? I mean, look at Williams-Sonoma cookbooks. Beautiful pictures, but the recipes suck. At least all the ones I've tried. Then I have these Russian, Greek and Spanish cookbooks - no pictures. Some have some hand drawings, but nothing photographic. You try those - any of those - and they taste amazing. Imagine that while you imagine making this recipe.

Well, I put this together for a Memorial Day get together. I was supposed to make chili...this kind of fits that category, but not really. Well, it turns out I had family in town and didn't make it to the store to get what I needed for chili. What I did have was everything for this. So here we go.

Red Chili Shredded Pork:

Preheat oven to 325.

Start with a 3-4 pound pork shoulder. There was plenty of fat on this one, and I chose not to trim it. I felt the length of the braise would render that fat real nice into the meat...I was right. Cut the pork into large chunks, maybe 2" squares. Salt, pepper and New Mexico Chili these bad boys all around and set aside. Chop two onions, 1 red bell pepper, and 6-8 red chilis. Set aside.

Heat about 2 Tbs olive oil in dutch oven. Fry half the meat until browned on all sides - about 10 minutes. Put in a bowl and do the same to the other half of the pork. Remove to bowl, then drop in onions, red bell peppers and red peppers. Fry up about 5 minutes. Add back in pork and accumulated juices and mix well.

Pour in 1 tall can of good beer. I'm not a beer drinker and I have no idea what "good" beer is, but my neighbor gladly slipped me a Coors and that worked just fine. Pour it in, bring to a boil while adding - 3 Tbs Pasilla ground chili, salt, pepper, 6 cloves garlic through a press, 2 bay leaves, juice of 1 lime (and spent lime), ground cumin and coriander.

Put this in the oven for 2.5-3 hours. Bring it out, shred the pork with a fork (this will take almost no work at all). Put it back in the oven and turn off the heat. Let it sit in another 30 minutes until you're ready to eat. It's damn good.


~ Brock