Sunday, September 28, 2008



Seriously, I'm back. I won't be posting quite as often because I'm not cooking quite as much but the blog is far from dead.

Today's post is from Croquet Day. Jorge decided to have a Croquet/BBQ so I pitched in by making kalbi. Kalbi (or McCune-Reischauer is rusty) is a beef dish...marinated flanken style short ribs. I should mention something about the cut of meat. This is not your normal, boxy, rectangular short rib. The cut for this dish is done across the bone. Click here for a picture. You can find this cut of meat in Asian markets. If you don't have an Asian market near you, I'm pretty sure your local grocery store will be able to do it if you place a special order.

Anyhow, the marinade is really, really simple.

1 cup of soy sauce
1 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup of mirin
1 small onion, roughly chopped
1 Asian pear, peeled and roughly chopped (There is an enzyme in the pear which helps tenderize the meat...if you're familiar with short ribs, you already know that they're quite chewy unless properly cooked or otherwise tenderized)
5 Tablespoons of minced garlic
3 tablespoons of dark (use Korean or Japanese) sesame oil
5 lbs of flanken style short ribs, cut 1/4 inch thick
Sesame seeds

Chuck the first 8 ingredients into a food processor or blender. Process. If you don't have a food processor, just grate the onion and Asian pear. It'll take a little more time but the result will be the same. Mix the short ribs into the marinade. Sprinkle in some sesame seeds and mix again. Marinate overnight.

When you are ready to eat, prepare your grill or use your broiler. Remove the meat from the marinade and rub off the excess marinade.

Cook. You'll need to be careful because there's enough sugar in the marinade so that the meat chars at a fairly high rate. However, I think that a bit of char is essential. It helps offset the sweetness of the meat and gives the ribs more character.

The dish is traditionally served in lettuce leaves. Take a lettuce leaf, add a bit of rice and then a piece of the cooked meat. Eat. I usually get some sort of fermented soybean paste whenever I'm in a Korean BBQ joint but I don't know what it's called.

I've seen all sorts of recipes for Kalbi. Ginger is sometimes used. Other times, rice wine vinegar is added. I also like to add some red pepper flake to mine.

For the nerds out there, I'm pretty sure that the enzymes in the pear which help break down the meat are bromelain and papain. Don't quote me on that but I'm pretty sure that I am right.

Time- 5 minutes to marinate the meat. However long it takes to cook.

Food Cost-
Beef- $5.00/lb. $25 bucks for 5 lbs.
Incidentals- 2 bucks. Will feed many, many hungry mouths especially if you do the rice/lettuce thing.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Soon, very soon.

As soon as budget planning season is over, I'll be back with new stuff. Work has been keeping me busy.

Another friend suggested that because I am now very busy working man, my blog should reflect this new condition. So, I'm tossing around an idea of showing people how to cook/plan 5 days worth of food. Just an idea.