It's been a long time since I've posted anything on this blog but don't take that to mean that our lives have become boring. Quite the opposite.
Because of Heejong's busy schedule, we don't often have the time to cook a nice meal. But when we do, we do it right. Today's post is a conglomeration of some of the things that we have been known to cook.
First, we have our breakfast sandwiches. This was inspired by our visits to Panera Bread not far from our home. We improved on the recipe somewhat.
These sandwiches are easy to make and taste quite good. All you need is some good sourdough bread, which you can buy at most markets in the bakery section, an egg for each sandwich, some bacon to taste, and some jack cheese. The cheese holds everything together once it melts. First, start cooking your bacon (or use the microwave) and fry the eggs. Put the fried egg onto the bread, which you have sliced down the middle. Add bacon and then sprinkle on cheese. Put another piece of bread on top, and pop it in the oven at 400 F for about ten minutes so the cheese can melt. These sandwiches go well with coffee or orange juice. Enjoy.
Another of our favorites is fried pork belly. It would be better if we were able to cook it over an open flame, the way that it is done in a good Korean restaurant, but this is the best we can do for now.
This is another dish that is simple to make. Warm up your griddle to 400 F and put the strips of pork belly on it. Wait until they darken a bit (as above) and turn them over. After another couple of minutes the strips are ready to be taken up.
The biggest problem with frying pork belly is that it is messy. Fat gets everywhere. Our solution has been to place old newspaper around the griddle to keep the fat from getting on the counter. This makes clean up a cinch. Also remember to put some newspaper on the kitchen floor. And always wear an apron.
Serve the pork belly with whatever sides you like. We usually have rice and fruit. Heejong likes to wrap pork belly in lettuce leaves and add some soybean paste. Since pork belly doesn't have a very strong taste on its own (not to me, anyway) it pairs well with most fruits. Add a beer if you're not going anywhere for a while and you have a nice dinner with little prep and fairly easy clean up.
What else is there? Steak!
I grew up on steak. It's in my blood. So is barbecuing. Granted, I'm not great at it, but I get better each attempt.
We start with New York cuts. The first step is to cut off the fat and bones (if any). This leaves nice pieces of fairly lean meat. This also saves time on the table since we don't have to cut off anything that we don't want.
Since we don't marinade our steaks, we sprinkle them with garlic salt, a trick I learned from my dad. This serves to give the meat a bit more flavor without being overpowering.
Some people call this step grilling. I call it barbecuing. The point is that you cook the steak over fire. Real fire. You get nice grill marks that way. The length of time that you cook the steaks depends on how rare you like it, how big the piece is, and how thick it is. I think that these were cooked for something like 4 minutes on a side, but I could be wrong.
And here is the finished product. Again, fruit is a wonderful addition to a steak meal, as well as good bread (wrapped in the foil). You can use whatever vegetables you like. A nice cold beer also hits the spot on a hot summer day.
Something that we haven't made for a while is chicken strips. These are similar to what you might find in a restaurant, but have the advantage of being home cooked.
What you do is take chicken breasts, cut them into strips, and the apply a breading. For us, we first dredge the chicken strips in flour, then in a bath of eggs, and then finally in a coating of Bisquick mixed with pepper (because we love black pepper). The initial flour helps to hold the egg, which holds the Bisquick. After the strips are breaded, they are placed in a pan with hot oil and fried until golden on one side, then flipped. The frying doesn't take very long at all.
As usual, add whatever you like as a side dish. I like to have rice with my chicken, as well as homemade gravy.
Cooking should always be fun. If it's not then you're doing it wrong. To help make sure that cooking stays fun, remember to be safe (aprons, pot holders, etc.) and be respectful of each other in the kitchen. Someday someone will drop something, overcook something, and so on. Let it go and chalk it up to experience. Because no one wants to eat when they're in a bad mood.