Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Beef Kalgobi: Korean Short Ribs

This recipe is courtesy of my cousin, Chi Khanh, aka the other Christine Cao. Its been made by my aunt, who said even her picky kiddo loved it, and my sister, who's hubby scarfed it down. I've made it once so far and it was good, although my local HEB was a little lacking in beef short rib selection. I hope to try it with some Korean style short ribs from the Korean grocery store next time. As my cousin said, "Super easy, so tasty! Even the kids like it, score!". Thanks for the great recipe, Chi Khanh!

Beef Kalgobi:
4 lbs boneless short ribs sliced thin (1/8 inch )
or 5 lbs flanken style short ribs (korean style cut)

1 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 cup minus 2 TB light brown sugar
4 Tb sesame oil
4 Tb rice wine vinegar
4 Tb grated ginger
1 whole head garlic grated
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (can omit if you dont have)

1 bunch green onions chopped
2 Tbs sesame seeds toasted

Put meat in a dutch oven, barely cover (don't drown the meat, cuz you'd be boiling not braising the meat) with the sauce mixture and bake at 325 for 1.5 to 2 hours until meat is tender. If the sauce is too thin, remove the meat, de-fat and reduce on the stovetop until thickened.
Garnish with sesame seeds and onions. Pour sauce over and enjoy.

Really good with thicker short ribs with the bone in. Fancier for a more formal dinner. Just brown the meat on all sides before putting in the oven with the sauce. Cook 3 hours since the cut is thicker.


Before oven

After oven

Best Ever Baked Meatballs

I found this recipe randomly on Pinterest and decided to give it a try for our New Years party. Suffice it to say, it was a hit and disappeared within minutes! The ingredients are easy to have on hand, especially if you have a basil plant. It takes a max of 10 minutes to prepare and 30 minutes to bake. Easy shmeasy and tres yummy. I like to make my meatballs a little smaller then the picture I took (trial and error; Ping Pong sized are the best) and they are great on their own as an appetizer or with spaghetti and sauce.

Best Ever Baked Meatballs
1lb hamburger
2 eggs, beaten with 1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 cup panko or bread crumbs (I use panko)
1 small onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup minced fresh basil

Mix all ingredients with hands. Form into ping pong ball sized meatballs. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, or until a nice crust has formed and meatballs are cooked through.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Easy Classic Crepes

This morning was a lazy Sunday for sure. Reid and I woke up at the crack of 10 am craving something tasty for breakfast. After shooting down suggestions to go out to get breakfast tacos or crepes, I decided to try my hand at making some crepes at home. Reid got me a Blendtec blender for Christmas and its been awesome. We've been making at least one smoothie every day. Nothing like gulping down a pound of fruit or veggies to stave off any not-so-new-years-resolutions-friendly cravings. Anyway, I thought it would be good to try and use the Blendtec for something other than smoothies and so I used it to mix this light batter together. You could probably easily use a whisk instead.

Any filling you crave will work. I made banana and chocolate, strawberry, and butter and sugar filled crepes. The butter and sugar crepes are my favorite. My grandparents live next to Montmartre in Paris so it is always a pleasure to stroll down to the nearby creperie with family for a warm, crispy, delicious crepe. This recipe comes surprisingly close to those crepes and are a breeze to whip up.

2 large eggs
1 tbs butter, melted
1 1/4 c milk
1 c all-purpose flour
2 tbs sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Add all ingredients in blender and blend or use a whisk to combine ingredients until completely smooth. Refrigerate batter for 1 hour. Heat large skillet or crepe pan on medium heat and lightly coat with cooking spray or a pad of butter. Pour about 1/4 cup batter in center of pan and swirl gently to distribute batter in a thin layer. Cook for 1 min or until the top begins to dry out and underneath is slightly golden. Flip and cook an additional 30 seconds while filling with whatever filling you desire. Fold up into quarters and serve immediately.

Butter and sugar: 1-2 pads of butter and 2 tsp sugar
Strawberries: 1/4 cup fresh sliced strawberries. Top finished crepe with fresh whipped cream
Bananas and chocolate: 1/4 cup sliced ripe bananas. Top finished crepe with chocolate sauce
Nutella: 1 tbs nutella

For a savory version, replace the sugar and vanilla with 1/4 tsp salt and 2-4 tbs fresh herbs

No Knead, 4 Ingredient Rustic Bread

My aunt, Co Be, hosted our family Christmas Eve dinner this year at her house. Christmas Eve is always such joyous time for me to be wi family and something I look forward to each year. My whole dad's side of the family gets together for an epic, delicious feast. This year, the menu included hen xao (vietnamese clam salad), shrimp and mayo, baked Brie, assorted cheese, foie gras, hot onion dip, this no knead bread, Osso Bucco, honey ham, zucchini pie, two salads, creamed spinach, mashed potatoes, broccoli casserole, bun bo chay (vegetarian), cheese cake, Che dau (vietnamese mung bean dessert), fruit tart, and John's famous cookies. After dinner, the younger children unwrap their gifts and the adults had a white elephant exchange. It was lots of fun and I'm sad it's already over but at least I got this quick bread recipe to remember it! I also have a new Dutch oven from my aunt to use for this recipe!

I made this earlier this week and I couldn't believe who simple and easy it was. I love making bread, but sometime I just don't have the counter space or energy for kneading. Another great thing about this recipe is that it uses very simple ingredients that most people already have on hand and doesn't require any yeast proofing before-hand. It's a pretty basic recipe and I'm sure it could easily be made into rosemary bread or whatever you desire. I served it with our dinner of spaghetti and baked meatballs Wednesday night. The recipe was originally posted in the New York Times by Mark Bittman here: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/08/dining/08mini.html
The recipe I received from my aunt is a variation that makes it even easier!

3 cups bread flour
1 packet (1/4 oz.) instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Oil, as needed

Combine flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups water and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest about 4 hours at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
Lightly oil a work surface and place dough on it; fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest 30 minutes more.
At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6-to-8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under dough and put it into pot, seam side up. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes.
Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.
Makes 1 large loaf.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Chorizo Stuffed Acorn Squash

I originally made this in the fall, but obviously have had some lag on my blogging. Found this in Real Simple magazine. It was my first time cooking acorn squash and it was so good and perfect for the fall. Reid really loved it, too!

2 acorn squashes (about 1 1/2 pounds each), halved and seeded
1/2 cup bulgur
4 ounces manchego or Cheddar, grated (about 1 cup)
3 ounces cured chorizo, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 head red leaf lettuce, leaves torn (about 6 cups)

Heat oven to 450° F. Place the squash halves cut-side down in a baking dish, add ¼ inch water, cover with foil, and bake until tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the bulgur according to the package directions. In a medium bowl, combine the bulgur, manchego, chorizo, parsley, 1 tablespoon of the oil, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.
Turn the squash halves cut-side up and, dividing evenly, fill with the bulgur mixture. Bake until the filling is warmed through and the manchego is melted, 8 to 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Add the lettuce and toss to combine. Serve with the squash.