Tuesday, December 1, 2009

On to Christmas

Well, Thanksgiving is finally over and we had a great one. I made the entire menu out of Food and Wine magazine. Alsatian Brined turkey with Fig and Almond Stuffing. It was incredible.

My sister in law is a great cook, too and she and I enjoyed cooking a few other things together as well. One of which, bibimbap, I had never eaten. It was simple enough for a quick weeknight menu and really good and satisfying. You can find a video and recipe for it here, although I don't think I will ever make it with ground beef. I conveniently had two rib eye steaks in the freezer which were already marinated in Korean bbq sauce, so we pulled those out and used those instead. Now, after you look at the recipe, ask yourself, "Do I have to make it as elaborately as she did for a simple weeknight dinner?" And what do you think the answer is? Well, no, you can make just a few of the vegetables if you're tired, or lazy, or not as awesome as me and my sister in law. (And to my other sister in law, we love you for reasons other than your cooking. Mostly because we have rarely eaten your cooking and take your word for it that you aren't a cook. Although everything I have ever had that you made was good. Except that once. 'nuff said.) So, what are the key components of bibimbap for those of you who aren't as good as I am at getting to the heart of the recipe? Bean sprouts, lettuce (the recipe calls for spinach, but finely chopped raw lettuce is better), carrots,shitake mushrooms, korean chili paste, sesame oil, and egg. And the fun part is, you can chop everything, lay it out on a platter and let everyone top their own rice and mix, then give them an egg for the top. Everyone gets it just the way they like it, spicy, saucy, mild, lots of veggies, little veggies. Who knows, you might even get your kids to eat something other than a chicken nugget. (That is a completely different post).

So give it a try. I'll let you skip the fernbrake. Just find an asian grocery and get yourself some Korean chili paste and sesame oil and you're good to go.

But since we just had that, tonight I am making a stuffed chicken breasts with fennel and pomagranite sauce and roasted carrots, parsnips, and sweet potatoes. As a matter of fact, it is roasting now in the oven even as I write.

For the vegetables:
Peel and cut carrots, parnips, sweet potatoes, and the leftover fennel from the chicken stuffing, coat it all with olive oil and salt and pepper. Throw it in the oven along with the chicken. It might take a little longer than the chicken, but it should be close.

I posted the recipe for the chicken earlier in the year here, but tonight I used fennel instead of leeks, pomagranite seeds instead of any of the other mentioned fruits, and leftover baguette instead of either foccacia or challah. You need to be flexible, mix it up sometimes, as long as you have a good sense for what will work and what will not. I know several of both kinds of cooks.

Speaking of good cooks, I need to send a shout out to my oldest, (I mean the one I've known the longest, not oldest as in elderly) dearest, friend, Diane. Diane is a great cook. She and I have spent many happy times together cooking when I lived in California,a nd although I don't see her as much as I would like, she is always close to my heart.

My God, can you stand that much sincerity from me? I have to go have a drink before I start singing Kumbye-ya.


Deb said...

You're so funny, June. The Kumbye-ya comment just slayed me.

But the REST of us will have to be the ones drinking before we experience your Kumbye-ya.

The Mendon Foodie said...

My singing is best enjoyed completely snockered. As in totally blotto. Then I sound awesome.

StephanieS said...

Thank you dear June for that shout out to me. I'm getting all inspired to try my hand at cooking again, though no matter how hard I try I'll never compare with you and Irina. Soooo I ain't trying! I'll just visit and drink wine while y'all slave. I should cook "a gumbo" for y'all.