Clockwise, from left: si gum chi na mul, shredded carrots, ho bak na mul, sook ju na mul, gal bee
There’s no greater treat (or easier meal) than grilled food when company comes calling. Slap some meat over a fire, serve it with a few simple side dishes and copious amounts of alcohol, and you’re guaranteed a good time and satisfaction all around.
But sometimes the burger/hot dog/steak axis wears thin, even early in the grilling season. I’ve had great great burgers/dogs/steaks, but only rarely are they memorable on their own. A kosher dog at Yankee stadium, when Gil and I were dating and he surprised me with a ticket to a Sunday game … totally memorable, but for the company. Steak cooked to perfection by R, my longtime boyfriend in St. Louis … again memorable, but for the secret family marinade I weaseled out of him (and which you won’t get here, dear reader — I made a promise and intend to keep it.).
But I did learn a lot of other things with R during our years together. Apart from the many cautionary lessons (which I choose not to dwell on), he taught me to shoot, something I still love to do whenever I make it out to the sporting clays range. I learned the most basic lessons of fly fishing, but haven’t gone back for years. And I learned a lot about Korean food.
See, R was a Korean cowboy-type from Tulsa, a good ol’ boy and gourmand in equal measure. His family loved entertaining with amazing home-cooked meals, so he learned quite a bit from them. Over the years after we parted ways, I cooked the few dishes I remembered and added my own spin to them, but I wanted more. Sure, I could live the rest of my life without eating the same version of Ja Jang Myun (noodles with soybean paste sauce) ever again, but did I really want to? Nuh-uh.
A few months ago, I finally managed to track down the out-of-print cookbook R had — Korean Cooking for You by Moon Ja Yoon — and have made old favorites many times since. But I can also turn to this cookbook for magnificent grilling recipes and produce something other than the typical cookout fare with minimal effort. So that’s what I did Saturday afternoon.
With the gal bee (short ribs), we had si gum chi na mul (spinach), ho bak na mul (zucchini), sook ju na mul (mung bean sprouts), and some awesomely pungent and fresh kim chi Gil picked up at the market Friday. And to make things super-simple, all of the na muls used the same seasoning ingredients, so it’s easy enough to mix up a big batch and just douse the different dishes at once.
Our weekend guest (Deb, Gil’s ex from college) is a smart girl who knows you can pick up wine anywhere, but a chocolate mousse cake from S&S Cheesecake … I … just … there are no words:
So that was dessert. And yes, we made short work of it:
recipes after the jump
Continue reading “Well, gal bee!”