One of the hardest parts about giving up six main food groups and items for baby A (she has protein digestion issues so I’m not eating dairy, wheat, eggs, fish, soy or peanuts) is finding quick, easy weeknight meals. Through a lot of trial and error, J and I have learned that some meals that look easy aren’t and some that look time-consuming are actually simple. This is a simple one. We’d put off making Lamb Tagine with Potatoes and Chickpeas from Williams Sonoma because it looked complicated. We were throughly surprised to learn it was easy and perfect for a busy weeknight.
I LOVE this dish. It’s flavorful and warming and just delicious. It’s as good cold as it is right from the stove.
We made these the other night for dinner and they were amazing. J and I fell in love with the Kogi Korean BBQ tacos at Garbo’s Grill in Key West this summer. This recipe from Food for My Family is really close and with a few tweaks, we won’t have to trek to Key West every time we crave this dish.
3 pounds flank-style beef short ribs (We actually used about 2 pounds of short ribs because they were on sale!)
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup mirin
1/4 cup sesame oil
6 cloves garlic (we used a bit more than six cloves)
2 teaspoons fresh peeled ginger (we used grated)
3 cups Napa cabbage, chopped (we shredded it)
1 cup daikon, diced into matchsticks (in case you’re wondering, like I was, this is a root vegetable and kind of tastes like a radish)
1 cup bean sprouts (If you can’t find this, don’t worry we left the out and it still tasted great!)
6 scallions, diced
3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon sriracha or chili pepper sauce (or more if you like it spicy!)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
10-15 yellow corn tortillas (we used flour because it was what we had on hand)
Begin by cutting off excess fat from the short ribs. You can also remove the membrane under the bone side of the rib. (We just removed the bones because we were hungry and in a hurry.) Place in a zip-top bag.
In a food processor, blend together soy sauce, brown sugar, mirin, sesame oil, garlic, scallions and ginger. Reserve 1/2 cup of sauce and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Pour the rest of the sauce over the short ribs, ensuring all ribs are covered. Seal tightly and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Longer is better, but you should let them marinate for at least 3 hours.
To prepare the slaw: Place shredded Napa cabbage, shredded daikon (use your food processor, otherwise you’ll be cutting forever!), spouts, scallions and cilantro together in a medium to large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, soy sauce, mirin and sriracha. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Pour dressing over vegetables and toss to coat. Store covered in the fridge until ready to serve.
The original recipe called for reducing the extra marinade ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick. Place in a serving bowl to drizzle on tacos. We thought this made it too salty. Next time, we won’t reduce it. But this is what it looks like reduced.
Heat a pan over high heat. (Or like the original recipe suggests, heat a grill to at least 550 degrees). The intent here is to flash cook the meat while simultaneously caramelizing the marinade. Place your short ribs on the grill. Cook for three minutes and flip. Cook an additional three minutes, wrap in foil and set aside.
Cut short ribs into strips, avoiding the bones. Assemble your Korean tacos: tortilla, barbecued short ribs, a drizzle of Korean barbecue sauce, Napa cabbage slaw and extra sriracha to match your tastes. Serve immediately.
My opinion: It was so good, I didn’t get a photo of the completed dish. Next time!
The more J and I cook at home, the more we find amazing recipes of meals we once thought were super complicated and therefore only available in a restaurant. Pho is one of those dishes. With the complexly deep flavors and food coma inducing warmth, we were sure we couldn’t make it in our own kitchen. We were so wrong. J found this recipe from Sarcastic Cooking (love!) and it was dead on. We adjusted a few things to our taste and suggest you do too.
Ingredients For the Broth:
2 Tablespoons Canola Oil (we used vegetable)
2 Yellow Onions, halved (we ended up quartering them)
1, 3-inch Piece of Fresh Ginger, halved (we left this whole but kind of crushed to infuse more flavor)
2 Cloves Garlic (we used minced)
4 Quarts Low-Sodium Beef Stock
In a tea ball we put: 1 Cinnamon Stick (broken), 3 Star Anise Pieces, 3 Whole Cloves
⅓ Cup Fish Sauce
3 Tablespoons Packed Light Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
Button mushrooms (we used about a cup sliced)
If you do not want to invest in cinnamon sticks, star anise, and cloves, some stores sell pho seasoning packs. But it’s worth it to have your own, plus, with a tea ball removing it is simple!
Ingredients for the Pho:
1, 12-Ounce Package of Bahn Pho or Udon Noodles (Flat Rice Noodles) These ended up being hard to find so we just used glass noodles (thin rice noodles).
1 Pound Flank Steak or charcoal steak
2 Thai Chiles, stems removed and thinly sliced (we left these out)
2 Handfuls Bean Sprouts (fresh is crunchier and we loved it!)
1 Bunch Fresh Cilantro
1 Bunch Fresh Mint
½ White Onion, sliced paper-thin
Sriracha or Chili Garlic Sauce for Serving
Lime Wedges for Serving
Fair warning, these directions look complicated, but really aren’t. Promise. In a large stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, ginger and garlic when the oil just starts to simmer/shimmer. Cook, turning a few times, for about 10 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients, stir and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down to low. Simmer, partially covered, for at least 50 minutes and up to 3 hours if you like a richer flavor. (It is absolutely worth it to let it simmer for 3 hours, do that). After desired taste is reached, strain broth (we didn’t strain the broth, we just removed the tea ball of spices) and add back to the pot. Note: If you are not serving the soup right away, you can store the strained broth in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.
This is the best trick ever: Place the beef into the freezer for at least 15 minutes. This makes it easier to slice. Bring the broth to a slow simmer over low heat. Add rice noodles and cook according to package directions. Once the noodles are cooked, remove pot from heat. Using a very sharp knife, slice the beef as thin as possible. Ladle some broth into a few deep bowls. Add noodles to bowls. Serve Sriracha, bean sprouts, herbs, onions, lime wedges, and beef on the side so each person can add in what they want to their pho.
This makes a lot. Enough for three of us to have two large bowls each and quite a bit left over. It’s in the freezer waiting for one of those cold, rainy late fall days when soup sounds best. I love this dish. I couldn’t eat it fast enough.
We’ve been on a shrimp kick again. Only this time, we’re eating more than just the sriracha shrimp. J bookmarked this recipe on a wonderful recipe finding site, Big Oven. So far almost every thing we’ve made from the site has been delicious. While at first glance this dish may seem time and labor intensive, it isn’t. The key to making it a weeknight meal is to have the ingredients ready to go.
2 pounds jumbo shrimp shelled
5 stalks scallions finely chopped (more works too!)
8 cloves garlic, minced
5 slices ginger root finely chopped (we grated it, it was easier)
2-3 pods dried red chile peppers crushed (in a pinch you can use red pepper flakes)
1/2 cup Ketchup
1 Tbsp cooking sherry (this is a bit salty in my opinion, we usually use regular sherry)
1 Tbsp vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt (if using cooking sherry, omit this!)
4 tablespoons cooking oil (you might need more or less depending on the oil you use. We found with sesame oil, it absorbs fast, but tastes the best!)
cornstarch about 2/3 of a cup should be enough
Put the cornstarch in a zip top gallon sized bag. Dry the shrimp with paper towels and put into the cornstarch bag. Shake. Pour about an inch of cooking oil in the bottom of a wok. Deep fry shrimp in batches until pink and slightly golden. Remove shrimp to a separate plate covered in paper towels. Ladle a bit of oil from the wok to a non-stick skillet. Heat and add scallions, garlic, ginger, and chile pepper mix in the oil until fragrant, about one minute. Pour sauce ingredients into the skillet, stir until bubbly. Return shrimp into the skillet, mix well. Serve over a bed of rice.
This dish is perfect for a hot summer night. It’s delicious and sweet and spicy and a touch sour. We’ve added a diced onion into the scallion mixture and it was wonderful. We’ve added broccoli into the sauce and it was fantastic. This might just be in my top five favorite meals. So good!