Monday, February 23, 2009

Korean BBQ at Home

Inspired by my husband's recent business trip to Korea, I decided to try my hand at some Korean food. Also, I was curious to see how this Korean steak compared to my family's tried and true recipe. It's called Korean-style Bulgogi (Jon and Kate + 8, anyone?). This sauce was definitely spicier which was yummy (I even cut down on the spice that the recipe called for - good thing!) and the meat had a good flavor even though it was not marinated. Usually, we'll never grill anything unless it's marinated but this sauce really coated the meat. I also like how the scallions were added at the end instead of marinating with the meat so they were wilty. Other than that, I think I like this recipe from Cuisine at Home and my original recipe equally as well - both yummy, just different.
adapted from Cuisine at Home
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup rice vinegar
4 tbsp. soy sauce
4 tbsp. fresh ginger, minced (I had bought some and then couldn't find it so I used 3-4 tsp. ground ginger and it was fine)
2 tbsp. garlic, minced
3 tsp. toasted sesame oil
1 tsp. sambal (spicy chile paste)
1 tbsp. water
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 flank steak, cut into strips (The original recipe called for rib-eyes but I had this on hand.)
Salt and pepper
Sliced scallions
Toasted sesame seeds
Preheat grill to high. Simmer sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, and sambal together in a small saucepan over high heat. Combine water and cornstarch in a small boal, then whisk into the sauce. Return mixture to a boil and simmer 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside.
Season steak with salt and pepper; grill meat until done. Toss in sauce. If desired, set some aside for dipping. We just tossed it in all the sauce. Garnish with sesame seeds and scallions. Serve with vermicelli and vegetables.
Sesame Rice Vermicelli
4 oz. dry rice vermicelli
2 tbsp. scallions, thinly sliced
1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
Prepare vermicelli according to package instructions and cool. Toss with remaining ingredients.
Spicy Pickled Vegetables
2 tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. sambal
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup carrots, sliced into matchsticks (There was supposed to be a radish too but I didn't have it so I just increased the amount of carrots. If you have both, do 1/3 cup of each.)
1/2 cup cucumber, seeded, sliced into half-moons
Whisk ingredients until sugar and salt dissolve. Pour marinade over vegetables is a resealable plastic bag and refrigerate 1 hour. Don't leave them any longer than this or they'll get too soft and very spicy. Drain in a colander before serving.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Banana Bars with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

I discovered My Kitchen Cafe from my friend Camie's blog and I am already hooked. Everything looks yummy over at her blog! I had a bunch of dead bananas and thought that this looked like a great change of pace from banana bread. The frosting is seriously to die for!!
Frosted Banana Bars
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (I used 3)
Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 15x10-inch baking dish or jelly-roll pan or one 9x13 pan and an additional 8x8 pan. In mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then stir in the sour cream and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl; stir into the batter. Finally, mix in the banana. Spread evenly into the prepared pan(s). Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (mine took 30) until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow bars to cool completely before frosting.
Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting
1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 cup confectioners' (or white) sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
In a large bowl combine cream cheese, sugar, salt and vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. Set aside. In another medium bowl, beat whipped cream until stiff peaks form. Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture.
Store in the refrigerator.

Roasted Pork and Potatoes

This roasted pork is from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food (which is one of my favorite places to go for recipes) but I did a bit of my own thing. I was looking over the instructions for the spice rub and realized it was very similar to a spice rub that my friend Lisa McGee gave me for Christmas (she gave me 4 different ones in these cute containers with recipes - great idea!) and so I decided to use that instead. The original recipe called for pairing the pork with a black-eyed pea salad but I had potatoes so I used those instead.

Roasted Pork

1 tbsp. paprika
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
2 pork tenderloins (10 to 12 oz. each) - I only used one because it was just me and Patrick!
1 tbsp. vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 450. In a small bowl, combine spices. Place the pork on a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet; rub with oil. Sprinkle all over with the spice mixture, patting in gently. Roast until an instant-read thermometer registers 150, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool slightly before slicing.

Lisa's All-Purpose Spice Rub

1/3 cup coarse salt
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 paprika
2 tbsp. ground black pepper
2 tbsp. dried oregano
2 tbsp. dried thyme leaves
1 tbsp. cayenne pepper (optional)

Can be stored in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

This is totally my go-to recipe for potatoes. So easy and so yummy! You can use any kind of small potatoes - I like red new potatoes or Yukon Gold. The original recipe comes from Real Simple. If I don't have fresh garlic, I use Lawry's garlic salt with parsley in place of the garlic and salt. It's still very tasty this way.

Roasted Potatoes

1 1/2 lbs. red new potatoes, quartered (you can really use any amount - just adjust roasting time)

1/4 cup olive oil

2 cloves garlic, smashed

Kosher salt and pepper

Heat oven to 400. On a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet, toss the potatoes, oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer and roast, tossing occasionally, until golden brown and crisp, about 30-45 minutes.

These can also go in the oven at 450 with the pork, just watch them to make sure they don't get too brown.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Homemade Marshmallows

I was browsing through all of my holiday stuff that I tear out of magazines looking for a good idea for a teacher gift for the boys to take to school on Valentine's Day and I came across these homemade marshmallows. They reminded me of my friend Kimberlee Beifuss in Camarillo who was the queen of treats. She used to make these all the time and even taught us how at an Enrichment night but I had never made them on my own. Today's the day I thought!
Homemade Marshmallows
Confectioners' sugar
2 packets unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
Spray an 8" square baking pan with vegetable cooking spray. Dust heavily with confectioners' sugar. In a mixing bowl, sprinkle gelatin over 1/3 cup cold water and let set for 10 minutes.
In a saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, salt and 1/3 cup water. Bring to a boil to dissolve sugar, then boil 4 minutes more.

With mixer on low speed, pour hot sugar syrup into gelatin. Continue beating until completely mixed. Turn mixer to high and beat 10 to 15 minutes more, until mixture has doubled in volume and is completely white. Beat in vanilla.

Spread mixture in the prepared pan. Wet hands to smooth top. Let set 3 hours or overnight. Turn onto a cutting board dusted with confectioners' sugar. Cut into squares with a sharp knife. Toss with confectioners' sugar to coat all sticky sides. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Overall an easy recipe, meaning not labor-intensive but super messy!! Confectioners' sugar, scooping sticky marshmallow out of the mixer and into the pan - you get the idea. But really pretty and really yummy! The boys said they tasted like vanilla ice cream that wasn't cold.