Comfort Food: Galbi Jjim (Braised Short-ribs)

This is a recipe for Korean braised beef short-ribs… my way. My mother used to make this for me with the proper accoutrements (ginko, chestnuts, dried mushrooms, and Korean radish), but I was delirious, compliments of my cold, at the supermarket so I made do when I got home with a random assortment of food items. The recipe itself is pretty straightforward, but it is important to properly prep the short-ribs before braising them with the sauce and vegetables, otherwise your dish will been extremely greasy because of the heavy marbling in the beef.

Galbi Jjim

  • 2 pounds of bone-in beef short-ribs
  • 1 1/2 cups of filtered water
  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh chopped garlic
  • 1 small sliced onion
  • 1 teaspoon of brown sugar
  • 1 small bunch of sliced green onion
  • 2 King Oyster mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 red potatoes, cubed
  • 2 carrots, 1 inch slices
  1. Cut the short-ribs, one bone per piece.
  2. Place the short-ribs into a large pot, with the bone vertical. Fill the pot with cold water and allow the beef to soak for 1 hour. Change the water three to four times.
  3. Change the water in the pot one final time, and bring the pot of ribs and water to a rolling boil
  4. Simmer the ribs for 15 minutes
  5. During this time, whisk the water, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, and white onion into a bowl.
  6. Remove the ribs with tongs and place on a clean dish. (I also rinsed the ribs under cool water once more to remove a little extra fat)
  7. Pour the remaining liquid into a heat-proof bowl*(because of the high fat content, flushing the liquid down the sink will clog your drain. Instead, let the liquid cool and the fat to float to the service. Discard the fat in the trash. The remaining poaching liquid is beef stock that you can either keep for another dish, or discard. I kept it and put it in my beef stew I made the following morning)
  8. Clean out your pot, and then place the ribs back inside of the pot.
  9. Add the soy sauce mixture, and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes
  10. In the mean time, slice the potato, carrot, green onion, mushroom (and really any other vegetable that you want to add, just make sure it’s a sturdy vegetable that will hold up after simmer for an hour).
  11. Add the vegetables to the pot, and using a spoon drizzle some of the liquid over the vegetables
  12. Cover tightly and simmer over low heat for 1 hour. (DO NOT OPEN THE LID OF THE POT FOR ONE HOUR)
  13. Check the beef after 1 hour by sliding a knife into the meat. If your knife slides in the meat easily, the dish is ready. If the meat resists, then cover and simmer for another 15 to 30 minutes.
  14. Serve with steamed rice :)

Notes on this recipe:

  • This is not a traditional Galbi Jjim recipe… at all
  • Use a heavy pot, like a Le Creuset, with an equally heavy lid
  • Do NOT open the lid of the pot while the meat is simmering, the steam that forms inside of the pot is essential in allowing the meat to cook evenly.
  • Be sure to use LOW heat to ensure your braise doesn’t burn and that you have even cooking
  • Two pounds of short-ribs is enough for two to three people
  • Left-overs keep well for up to 3 days (That’s how long mine stayed in my fridge before I devoured it, I’m sure it’s good for up to a week, but I can’t guarantee past 3 days).

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Fresh Chickpeas

 

I woke up on Friday with a horrible cold, but one of my dear friends took me to the Korean supermarket to perk me up. Nothing like spending a little money and buying food to cheer me up!

I bought a plethora of my favorite things (recipes for those to come soon), but I spotted these in the produce section. Fresh chickpeas! I walked by the first time, but I couldn’t resist buying one bag because I needed to know what those mushy little yellow things from the can look like in real life.

This little bag was only $2.56 and I got about two cups of chickpeas, once I had shelled the whole bunch. The little shells are velvety on the outside and shiny smooth on the inside. The chickpeas come in one or two per pod and vary in size. Raw they taste similar to raw green beans and have a delicious crunch. I haven’t tried cooking them yet, but I’ll update you on what they taste like then.

:)

Arugula, Clam, Corn and Tomato Pasta

What a mouthful to say! But even more delicious!

As a kid growing up, I loved snowstorms. There was something beautiful about the quiet silence that descended after the lush blanket of white snow had just wrapped itself around everything. Snow days in particular were wonderful, you’d wake up with the bright sun shining through the window but know that the beautiful white wall of snow was keeping you home with your mom. My mom once told me that she loved snow days as much as we did, because she got to spend a little extra time with us. My mom would make us delicious breakfasts and in the deepest snows would take us on adventures. Once we went sledding down a huge abandoned ski slope, and another time we went to McDonald’s and sat warming our feet on the car heater eating french fries and ice cream. So, it’s no wonder that I have a wonderfully soft spot for snowstorms and snow days.

Today, after 5 inches of slushy snow descended on the city, my classes were canceled. (Yesterday’s too after 1 inch of snow!) I’ve realized that in this part of the country… snow is considered an apocalyptic event. I went to undergrad where classes were canceled once (and that was because nearly FOUR FEET of snow fell in a single night), so I laugh a little whenever I get a snow day and there are mere inches of snow on the ground.

Since there is snow on the ground and people are swarming the grocery stores, I stayed home with my little muchkin and made a pasta of what I had on hand.

Arugula, Clam, Corn and Tomato Pasta (Snowy day pasta!), Kaprise Kitchen Original

  • 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat pasta shells
  • 2 handful of baby arugula
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup of canned clams
  • 1/4 cup of frozen sweet corn
  • 1/2 cup of sliced grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of white wine (preferably dry)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon of basil
  • 1 pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 dash of Worchestire sauce
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  1. This makes enough for 2 people
  2. Boil salted water and cook pasta until al dente
  3. In a sauce pan, heat the olive oil and saute the onions until lightly brown
  4. Add the tomatoes and corn, and stir until the moisture has been released from the tomatoes
  5. Add the white wine, basil, nutmeg, red pepper and Worchestire sauce and heat until bubbly
  6. Add the clams and simmer for 2 minutes
  7. Remove the sauce from the heat and quickly stir in the minced garlic
  8. Drain your pasta and divide into two bowls
  9. Top the hot pasta with a handful of arugula and then top with a heart scoop of the sauce

This recipe from start to finish took me less than 15 minutes and I ate the piping hot pasta sitting on my windowsill with some warm tea.

Notes on this recipe

  • Baby spinach, steamed kale or any other green would be great in this pasta – I personally like the peppery taste of the arugula more than the sweeter and milder greens at the market now
  • I added a sprinkle of Parmesan because I do not pepper or salt my food, but feel free to add a sprinkle of salt and pepper to the sauce for some oomph in addition to some cheese
  • I used a very dry Mediterranean house wine for the sauce, but feel free to use a sweeter wine with spinach so the acidity doesn’t over power the greens.

 

 

17 Degrees

After spending a week in Florida, with my furry jacket stuffed in my suitcase and dancing down the streets in flats and running outside in the sunshine, I’m feeling down. I want to go back and pick up another bushel of blood oranges and walk on the beach with the sand squishing in my toes while the red juice runs down my chin. I want to put that $15 bikini I fished out of a clearance bin back on and roll around on the sand.

Not to mention the start of classes. EWWW. I’m happy to be back in my cozy apartment with my fluffy little munchkin, but  this morning when the thermometer read 17 degrees… I was blue. 17 degrees is even too cold for a cold weather running junkie like me. My little dog was thrilled, it’s not wonder, because she was born wearing a cashmere sweater… but me? I was born cashmere-less.

Anyway, this general ennui has spread… I’m sitting in the library leafing through Income Tax law and looking through pictures from last week. The sun! The sand! The beautiful hotel!

Normally when I am stuck inside I resort to baking, rolling out jam tarts and baking mounds of chocolate cupcakes. This time? I have  rolled like a taco in my blankets and watching itunes movies on repeat. I didn’t even finish unpacking from Florida yet! And this morning? I realized the puff pastry I was defrosting on Friday was still on the counter in a floopy and gloopy mess. I realized this morning, as I chucked this goopy mess, that I must need a new spark. And inspiration.

So I have given myself a project. I will post every single Monday and Friday of each week (twice a week!) with recipes, pictures optional. You all can keep me on track.

This is a recipe for bbq chicken that I use frequently when I feel that the massive quantities of buttered bread should be offset by some protein. The removing the skin from the chicken is a bit tedious, but it is well worth it.

BBQ Oven Roasted Drumsticks (a Kaprise Kitchen original and favorite)

  • 6-8 chicken drumsticks, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1/2 cup of bbq sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of Worchestire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon of crumbled lavender
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 teaspoon to 2 teaspoons of whole grain mustard
  • salt/pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Using a pair of kitchen shears, remove the skin from the chicken drumsticks. I slide the tip of the shears under the skin and cut from the meaty part of the chicken to the end of the bone. Then I cut through the little tendon and peel the skin from the meaty section down and over the end of the bone. Then I push back the clear and gelatinous membrane from the chicken before rinsing and patting dry.
  3. Cut two diagonal slices into the meaty part of the drumstick, just until a little before you hit the bone.
  4. Whisk the bbq sauce and ingredients together in a small bowl. Using a basting brush, brush the chicken with  sauce
  5. Reserve any remaining sauce for basting
  6. Lie the chicken in the baking dish with about 1 inch of space on each side.
  7. Bake chicken for 30 minutes, rotating the pan once during cooking and basting with remaining sauce
  8. Raise the temperature to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, and continue baking for another 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is browned and the juice run clear when you prick with a knife.
  9. Let the chicken rest for about 5 minutes before serving

Notes on this recipe:

  • Skinless drumsticks are available for purchase at some groceries, however they normally charge up to 2xs more per pound for skinned chicken. I prefer to do it myself (because I am a control freak) and normally buy about 5-10 pounds of drumsticks, skin the chicken and then store it in freezer bags (4 per bag) for whenever I want to have this dish.
  • I use a specific type of bbq sauce (with a yellow label), but the name escapes me right now… but that one is my favorite. Feel free to use any type of sauce you want… this chicken is just as good with a soy/ginger sauce as it is with bbq sauce.
  • During baking, try not to open the oven more than once to rotate the pan, the high temperature required for this dish is essential in having the chicken cook evenly and brown perfectly.
  • If you prefer a slightly crisper crust on your chicken, sprinkle a little salt on the tops of the chicken, it’ll help crisp up nicely.

Mussels

Today, I landed in Orlando. The weather was sublime… and after taking an overly long drive to enjoy the weather (in other words: missing all of the beautiful weather because we thought the drive would be shorter) I went to dinner at Timpano. They have several different restaurants in other cities, but this is the first one I have been to. The service was great, the ambiance was just cozy enough, and mussels? Phenomenal.

I don’t normally like mussels or any type of sea food that involves using my fingers (like crab legs and lobster… seriously I just can’t ever get that SMELL out of my fingers and it drives me wild), but everyone around us was feasting on these sizzling pans of mussels. Needless to say, I immediately ordered my own piping hot pan. It was wonderful.

The mussels are drizzled in oil, and tossed with a heavy handful of coarse salt. Then they are thrown on a searing hot cast iron pan and brought to your table as they mussels just cook and sprayed with fresh lemon. The mussels are just the right amount of gooey cooked to melt in your mouth and the flavors of charred shell and crispy salt on the shells is just perfect.

Anyway, after swallowing a good dozen of these delicious mussels, I contemplated the application at home. I think with a solid lodge logic (or other cast iron pan) the same result is possible if you can find mussels that are fresh enough to be eaten just toeing the “cooked” line. The key is a lot of salt, a little moisture (maybe a little white wine infused with garlic olive oil will do the trick) and then high… high heat. I think if I were to do this at home, I would broil my pan on high with just a bit of oil until it smokes before tossing the mussels in. Then back into the oven for 5 minutes before slurping them up with some crusty bread. This is clearly my first project once I get back into my kitchen… and buy one of those cast iron pans I’ve been eyeing!

A fun little note! I am the proud new user of the NEW and very sexy Sony Alpha Nex-5 Camera. As an avid user of my little Sony point-and-shoot that I have had for 5 years (forever and ever!), and a notable disinterested soul of electronics, this might be the first trendy electronic gadget that I am utterly infatuated with… really, it’s out of control.  Can I also mention that it comes in RED?! So cute! (Mine is silver, but I still found myself hugging it to my chest during my flight here).

Links to Click:

A thought on perfection

Today I dropped off 5 pairs of shoes that I had been hoarding for repairs. I get terribly attached to pretty things and when they are in need of repair, I hesitate to hand them over. The repairs I needed were minor but cost me more than a pair of new Charles David shoes. While I don’t mind spending that kind of money on good repairs, I get irritated when I feel that the job could have been better. The new rubber soles attached to my favorite pair of heels was cut slightly wobbly and the new heel caps on my suede boots are ever so slightly different sized from each other. No one would notice at first glance, but I feel the difference and I know. And… it bothers me. I mean really, does using a ruler to make sure the soles are cut straight a huge problem? And really, those heel caps could have just been sanded ever so slightly to be even. And really… a three minute polish job on the BCBG boots wouldn’t kill would it? I am willing to pay the obscene amount of money to have my favorite ponyhair pumps back on my feet, but I just don’t understand why people don’t strive for perfection. The gentleman that fixed my shoes was nice enough, but his work was less than stellar.

I wonder if perhaps that is the best he can do… or perhaps he just doesn’t notice the glaring mistakes I see. Either way, I’m disturbed by the lack of attention to detail. Perfection is in details.

 

Butternut Squash and Onion Gratin

The first time I made gratin, it was a potato gratin. It was layered with gruyere, potatoes and heavy cream. Needless to say, as a measly 8th grader, I was horrified by the smell of the gruyere baking for 3 hours. The entire house smelled pungently of cheese, and I refused to taste the finished dish because to my unsophisticated nose the gratin smelled… ugh! My mother assured me that it was delicious, but I was certain my mom would think anything I made was delicious so I didn’t believe her.

Since, I tried a variety of different gratins, using more or less cream and different types of cheese. I’ve grown to like the delicate layers of vegetables baked until meltingly tender and delicious with a golden crust of cheese. However, my rapidly increasing sized bottom multiplied by the long hours I spend in the library have lead me to believe that a decrease in cheese and cream is necessary. So I developed a lighter and slightly sweeter gratin that uses just enough cream to keep it together and just enough cheese to get a golden crust.

Butternut Squash and Onion Gratin

  • 1 small butternut squash; halved, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • 1 sweet  onion; halved and sliced thinly
  • 1 small bunch of fresh parsley; fined chopped (you may use basil, tarragon, or any other blend of herbs)
  • 1 tablespoon of butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon of whole grain mustard
  • 1 cup of finely shredded Parmesan cheese (or any dry, hard cheese that you like)
  1. Butter baking dish. I used two nested Le Creuset stoneware, one that is 4 by 9 and the other is probably 3 by6.
  2. Whisk cream, salt, mustard, and parsley together
  3. Lay discs of butternut squash flat on the bottom of the dish
  4. Then alternate butternut squash and slices of onion
  5. Using a small spoon, spoon the cream and parsley over the layers and top with cheese
  6. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes until bubbly and delicious

(My final product, obviously, is over baked. I got wrapped up in cleaning my apartment and forgot to check on my gratin. It was still delicious, but I recommend baking with a timer to avoid my mishap)


Happy New Year!

In honor of the new year, my family eats “dduk gook” on the first day of the year. “Dduk gook” is a Korean soup made with rice cake. This year, we decided to add “mandoo” or dumplings to our soup. I am still learning a lot about Korean food and cooking, so those recipes to come later…. however here are some pictures of our homemade “mandoo”