Tuesday, January 01, 2013

New Year's Eve Party

One of my great pleasures is that of preparing food for people I love and enjoying it with them. There were 21 of us enjoying appetizers and dinner and dessert last night: neighbors from down the street, parents of one of Sheri's classmates, friends from decades ago, our small group, another family we know from church.

There was sushi from Suruki Supermarket—51 pieces (including six rolls) for $48.25, an incredible deal and (to my unsophisticated palate) delicious.

But that's not mainly what I mean by "prepare"—and neither is the antipasto pack from Costco®. And neither is cooking too much rice in the rice cooker. Let me start with

Shoyu chicken, sorta

… a variation on this recipe.
About 6½ hours before suppertime, mix
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup shoyu (soy sauce)
  • 1½ cup water
  • 2 tsp or so minced ginger
    (or fresh if you prefer; we have minced garlic in a jar)
  • a similar amount of garlic (not sure if I did this or just thought about it)
  • 2/3 cup vinegar (omitted from the food.com recipe)
and pour into crockpot or stock pot set over medium heat.
Optional: lightly brown in oil; alternately, just drop into the pot from the packages:
  • 15-18 chicken drumsticks and
  • a similar amount of chicken thigh meat
If you brown the chicken, you'll probably need to do it in shifts. In any case, add chicken to the stock pot. Reduce heat.
Slice thinly:
  • ½–1 bunch thinly sliced green onions
and add to the stockpot.
Simmer 5-6 hours.

Korean-style grilled beef (not really 불고기)

So I went to Whole Foods to get meat from a humanely raised cow or bull. I saw a boneless cross rib roast, about 5 pounds, and asked them to slice it for me. "We can cut it by hand, but we don't have a meat slicer," the butcher said. Well, it's a first-world problem. I don't have a machine for slicing meat, either, but I do have sharp knives. I cut it thinly, stacking the pieces in a 4-quart Pyrex® mixing bowl. Since this cow ate mostly grass, I figured it would need a little tenderizing, so I poured a little cooking sherry over the stack and a little between. And a little soy sauce. OK, now let me try to recreate the "recipe" such as it was:
  • ~½ cup soy sauce
  • ~4 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • a similar amount of vegetable oil (if I remembered)
  • garlic? (6 cloves would not be excessive, but I think I forgot the garlic altogether)
  • 1 Tbsp. toasted crushed sesame seeds (you could certainly use more)
  • ~½ bunch green onions, sliced/chopped/whatever
  • ~5 lbs. thinly sliced beef
    (How thin? I had about 40 pieces, not all of which were perfect slices.)
in a marinating dish like this one, with at least a little of the marinade between each piece.
Let soak an hour or more if you can, turning occasionally.
Grill over charcoal.

Spinach nah-mool (sorta)

I keep qualifying these names because they're like movies whose plots were "inspired by a true story." Here's what we did for the spinach.
Boil very briefly, then cool:
  • 2 lbs. fresh spinach
  • ~½ cup soy sauce
  • ~¼ cup vegetable oil (if I remembered)
  • ~4 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • (I probably forgot the garlic again.)
  • 1 Tbsp. toasted crushed sesame seeds (you could certainly use more)
  • ~½ bunch green onions, sliced/chopped/whatever
Mix all marinade ingredients.
At least an hour before suppertime, but probably not the day before, add about half of it to the spinach, and mix well. Let it sit in refrigerator for 30-60 minutes, and taste it. If it's bland, add a little more of the marinade.
Serve with steamed rice (brown rice if you're health-conscious) and kimchi/kim chee.

Cho jang

I didn't serve this last night, but I wanted to write down what I remembered from last time.
  • 1 Tbsp. go chu jang (hot pepper paste)
  • 1 Tbsp. white sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. white vinegar
Whisk all ingredients together. And that's all there is to it.

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