Friday, January 28, 2011

Win a Fissler Pasta Lifter at Mom's Best Bets!

Between now and Feb. 15th, 2011, you can win a Fissler Pasta Lifter at Mom's Best Bets. Blogger Patrice uses Mom's Best Bets to write about products that contribute to healthy living (with Hawaiian island flair) and gives her readers opportunities to win those products. Check it out!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Galbi jjim. A Korean dish made for cold winter months (even in LA)

There are a few advantages to cold winters. For one thing, it’s an excuse to wear coats, sweaters, scarves and whatnot. As someone who’s not a fan of showing pasty legs in shorts, or wearing t-shirts that’s been soaked through with sweat, I much prefer winter fashion. Cold weather also makes us crave heartier, gut-sticking food, and any reason to eat fatty goodness is right by me. We’ve been pre-conditioned to eat healthier. But every once in a while, eating a dish that’s pretty much fat and salt and protein feels good. And that’s what we want when it’s mind-numbingly cold, something that’ll warm us up and make us feel good. The equivalent of a sweater, if you will. That’s the definition of comfort food.

Except I live in Los Angeles, and today, it was 76-degrees and perpetually sunny. I met my friend for lunch at Lemonade, where I ate salads made out of Italian couscous, and another one made out of fennel and oranges. And all I needed to wear outside was a t-shirt, pants and sunglasses. We have the weather in SoCal, and the lifestyle and diet to match. Meanwhile, in my hometown of Chicago, this week’s temperature forecast read like Lotto numbers: 10 7 9 15 23. Outside of this weekend’s Bears-Packers game, it’s not fun to be in that weather. I don’t really miss it. All I want is an excuse to wear more sweaters and eat fatty foods. Even though it was 65 degrees last night, I still wore a sweater out, and I made this Korean braised short rib dish for dinner. 65 is cold in LA.

Galbi jjim is a braised short ribs dish that is more of a special occasion dish in Korea. It’s rich, unctuous and complex, and it’s the one dish I loved eating growing up in Chicago. The list of ingredients, and the time it takes to cook it, seems long. But making the dish is pretty easy. The components of the dish falls into the following ratio:

1 pound of short ribs+2 cups of soy sauce+1 cup of sugar+sesame oil+aromatics

You can use any variations or ingredients from here. Most of the times, root vegetables like potatoes, carrots and turnips, are added. But I’ve seen recipes that’s all meat.

Before I get started on this recipe, I want to address a concept that is hard for me to accept when it comes to making galbi jjim, and that is parboiling. Almost all galbi jjim recipes will call for the short ribs to either be parboiled, or soaked in cold water for several hours “to remove impurities.” BUT, the impurities, which are fat, blood and gristle, packs a lot of flavors. By parboiling the meat, you get a tough, gray piece of meat that had a lot of flavors leached out. It’s this boiled meat that’s then slowly cooked in flavoring liquid to soften. This is how I was taught to make galbi jjim, and it does work. The slow cooking does get the collagen and fat to eventually relax, and the meat will get tender. Galbi jjim isn’t the spoon-tender braise that a pot roast or osso bucco might be. It’s usually more toothsome, but it’s still tender enough.

But I like being able to cut through braised meat with a spoon, and even if soy sauce turns the meat brown, I hate that so much flavor is cooked away in water. So I usually skip the parboiling process and stick with the Westernized way of braising meat (and betraying my heritage, I know). A Fissler pressure cooker works best for galbi jjims because it technically still parboils the meat, just in a really accelerated time, so the collagen and fat tightens up quickly before relaxing. It’s still not as soft as a traditional braise, per se, but I find it much more tender than parboiled galbi jjim. And you don’t want it too soft. Also, the tendons, which I normally find chewy, melts in your mouth afterward. So here is my version of galbi jjim, adapted for a pressure cooker and done without the parboiling step.

Galbi jjim

1 ½ pound short ribs, cut cross-wised between the bones, with the meats scored to just above the bones

3 cups soy sauce

1 ½ cups sugar (white or brown)

¼ cup sesame oil

3 cloves chopped garlic

1 cup of diced scallions

1 tsp grated ginger

2-3 tsp toasted sesame seeds

I water down the cooking liquid a little, since the meat will absorb more liquid with this technique

1-1 ½ cup water (just to reach the max line on the pressure cooker)

I like my galbi jjim on the sweeter side, so I also add the following two ingredients:

½ Asian pear, grated

¼ cup plum wine

I should also note that I actually ran out of sugar after 1 1/4 cups. To compensate, I threw in a pack of Splenda, 2 tbsp. of honey and for the coup de grace, a 1/4 can of Squirt. It actually turned out OK.

This is optional, but I like them. They taste like pine nuts.

10 gingko nuts

You can go with any root vegetables you want.

1 daikon radish, cut int 1 1/2 “ pieces

2 red potatoes, quartered

2 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1” pieces

salt and pepper

1. 1. Season short ribs. Brown them on all sides over medium-high heat, about 2-3 minutes per side. Reserve.

This step is NOT necessary when parboiling. Browning is usually done for color and to form a crust on the meat (the Maillard reaction). In the case of galbi jjim, color doesn’t matter, but I still like the caramelized crust.

2. 2. Combine all liquids, aromatics and gingko nuts into a large mixing bowl and mix well. Taste and adjust to your liking.

3. 3. Put short ribs in your Fissler pressure cooker and cover with liquid. Cook on the first ring of the indicator for 15 minutes

I should not that you should not do what I did in this picture and throw all the vegetables in with the meat. It turned out way too salty. Hence, the next two steps are different from what I did.

4. 4. Meanwhile, boil all vegetables in salted water for 10 minutes, or until just fork tender.

55. . When the meat is done cooking, release pressure. Throw the vegetables in there and simmer on low for another 15 minutes.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Learn to pressure cook, one recipe at a time!

Beginner Basics: Learn to pressure cook, one recipe at a time!
If you would like to learn how to pressure cook but don’t know where to start, check out the best pressure cooking site on the web:
On January 12th Hip Pressure Cooking will begin a recipe series for those who have been sitting on the fence and waiting for an excuse to start using a pressure cooker.
The 8 recipe series, Beginner Basics, is designed to teach commonly used cooking techniques and accessory use, one recipe at a time. A number of the recipes will preview the Fissler Vitaquick pressure cooker which will be introduced to U.S. consumers later in 2011.
Here is the post announcing the new series:
The step-by-step photos and descriptions will be more detailed than usual. Laura Pazzaglia, from Hip Pressure cooking writes that, “you will feel as if I am standing right next to you in the kitchen helping you to get started on your pressure cooking adventure.”

As the month progresses the cooking techniques and recipes will get just a little more complicated. By the end of the series Laura hopes to have given her followers the confidence to try any recipe on the website!

A new "Beginner Basics" recipe will be published every Tuesday and Friday starting mid-January. Here is the plan, and the recipes and skills that will be taught!

Mashed Potatoes - boiling
Steamy Veggies - steaming
Pasta Sauce- brown, boil and reduce
Bean Salad - the "quick soak" method
Roasted Chicken Pieces - brown, braise, deglaze and reduce
Chicken Stock - make stock or broth
Pot Roast with Veggies - multi cooking, one pot meal
Fruity Steamy Cake - water bath aka bain marie

Don't miss a single recipe lesson, sign up for the newsletter now! It’s free!
Need a pressure cooker? All the recipes in the series can be produced in the fabulous Fissler Blue Point, currently available all over North America!