Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Galbi Jjim

In the grand tradition of pretending like I know anything about other countries, I have selected "Korean" as a flavor palate for Saturday's game night fare.

[On a side note, game night= what happens to you when you are a couple. You end up seeking other couples to do activities that involve staying in. An ethnic cooking challenge and elaborate beer tasting menu become your only consolation that you might still be somewhat young/hip or adventurous.]

Galbi Jjim is Korean for tender beef short ribs with a delectable glaze of East Asian flavors.
You see, the Koreans have developed this exotic and mysterious food ritual where they smoke ribs on the grill using a tangy thick brown sauce mainly composed of sugar, onions, salt, and spices.

Image from Grit
It's really weird.

Being a formerly-lifelong vegetarian, my venture into something as ubiquitous as good ol' BBQ is, by necessity, just as anthropological as it is culinary.

Image from Travellious

Sometimes I feel like an outsider even in my own country.

"You've NEVER had barbecue ribs?!"
a girl from Austin, Texas asked me incredulously. About eight months after I had, at the age of 19, literally taken my first bite of chicken ever.

"No, I've never had barbecue. I don't even really know what that is."
My parents were Yankees.
In addition to being raised on Taco Bell Gordita Supremes with beans instead of the meat (you can just imagine the hundreds of confused cashiers), what exposure would I have had to ribs on our northbound drives to visit family?

"What about when you GO to a barbecue?"
I guess barbecuing in Texas is about as popular as, well, barbecuing in Kentucky. Except not at my house.

"At cookouts we always ate Smart Dogs®."

I guess if you have any frame of reference for imitation meat, or even just click on the link for Smart Dogs®, you'll know just how hilarious and preposterous that is.

Being as accidentally mis-cultured as I am, I am somehow more comfortable trying a recipe from the other side of the earth than I would be venturing into the sacred folklore of what is, for the vast majority of folks, a down-home American tradition.

Saying that I'm eating Galbji Jjim or Bulgogi makes me feel as if my totally dense and meaty dinner plate is somehow more sophisticated. I got the ingredient list from NPR, for Buddha's sake.

Fine. It's well established that I am all backwards in life. Let's skip down to the pictures.



Daikon is really, really fun.
With honey and chili paste.


Stewing in the pan with the chili daikon and marinade, then later sprinkled with baby bok choy and chopped leeks
Note: I did not fire up the grill. These ribs were actually braised in the oven for about 3 hours on low heat. The first time I made them I used the crock pot, which is still the fan favorite.
[the photos are blurry because i was eating it so fast!]

Half of the daikon I cubed and braised with the beef and marinade, and the other half I grated into my citrus carrot salad.

Carrot salad
About 3 carrots, 1/2 of a large daikon radish, and a bit of purple cabbage and white onion grated finely, stirred together and seasoned with chopped cilantro, rice vinegar, white sugar, sesame oil and key lime juice.

Tomorrow, maybe we'll tackle this totally enigmatic phenomenon known as "barbecued ribs and cole slaw." Naaawww, I may not be ready for that.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Brefiss: a photographic journey

good morning, food.

let me admire you for a second before i convert you into energy.

(leek and feta cheese omelette)

#nonstick pan;

What's got me up and chopping at 7 a.m.?

don't you just hate it when you've spent almost an hour meandering around grocery aisles, briefly inspecting strange, expensive produce before chucking it in your cart, racking up about $50 worth of groceries for the week, only to realize that you don't have your food stamp card?


What I wanted to announce is, as of Martin Luther King Day, when I stole away from the Americorps "mandatory day of service" (i.e. parade) to go shopping*, there is a new addition to our household!!!
*aside: the parade was actually the shit, minus the self-important OWS protesters trying to make it about them. luckily my mother ingrained in me a love of gospel music, so i didn't even mind the 2-hour tribute to Mahelia Jackson. i clapped my hands like everyone else in there. i freakin love the Doctor.

ANY-WAY... the new addition...
(drumroll please.)

i got a crock pot!

yes, gentlemen and ladies, i became the proud owner of a $10, baby [1.5 qt] slow cooker, which I have contracted to do my bidding for the rest of winter.

Minimal heating /burning yourself; maximum tender, fatty meats to insulate my arteries for the hibernating season.
a-like so.

There it is, already doing all the work for me! (it's so obedient!)

This pork with salt, oil, vinegar, and herbs will have greeted me from work, just in time for me to slip into my sweats and drown my tiny collection of sweet and spicy things with its rendered fat.
this will become delicious bbq sauce in 8 1/2 hours.

Serve along with Kale greens (for heart health).
don't slow cook me! I'm tender and green and the only thing left standing between you and terminal disease!

Note: there is no "After" shot, because I ate it all.
Remind me to make a separate post about my Korean short ribs, because I ate those, too, in about half as much time. Crock on!