BiBimBap with Ssamjang Braised Lamb

Lambbibimbap1This past winter I had a love affair with short grain brown rice (preferably mixed with soy sauce and sriracha, topped with an over easy egg and drizzled with sesame oil) – in my look for work, home for breakfast state, I was always looking for something quick and easy to make for breakfast.  Inevitably I ended up with over easy eggs on toast or whip it up quick oatmeal, but one day I decided to make myself some rice – it was less work to put rice in the rice cooker than it was to make oatmeal, and I would love the results.

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This is where my love of Bibimbap sort of originated, this constant rice mixed with soy sauce and sriracha for breakfast topped with a gently fried egg. To make this into bibimbap I would have to change some ingredients and bulk it up, but essentially it was the same thing. GENIUS. So when the American Lamb Board and Boston Chefs emailed me and asked me to make a lamb dish for the Boston Lamb Pro-Am my mind immediately went to Bibimbap, and some delicious slow braised lamb I made this past fall.

lambbibimbap3 lambbibimbap4 Bibimbap literally means mixed rice.  It’s a Korean dish that is rice, meat, spinach, sprouts (I didn’t have those here), carrots, gochujang, and a gently fried egg. I love it. This is one of those dishes that’s going to enter our weekly rotation of meals – it cooks up fast and can easily be tailored to fit one person’s tastes.
lambbibimbap5 If you want to guarantee you can come to see the bloggers (and me, with any luck) and chefs at Lamb Pro-Am grab your tickets today here!

The Condiments

The Condiments

BiBimBap with Ssamjang Braised Lamb
Note: This is all my recipe in the sense that I didn’t need to follow a recipe for this dish, but Bibimbap is a family meal for most, so trying to follow a recipe for it is like trying to follow a recipe for pasta sauce – you make it to your taste. I used this recipe, sort of, to understand better what I needed to put in it. Also, my big sister was a huge help.

Serves 4, each bowl of Bibimbap is a single serving

For the lamb:

  • 2 lbs Lamb, cut into 4 fist sized pieces
  • 3-4 Tbs Fermented Soybean Paste, Ssamjang*
  • 2-3 Tbs toasted sesame oil*
  • Preheat your oven to 300.
  • Rub the ssamjang evenly over the lamb pieces, make sure to get all the nooks and crannies in the meat. It should look almost orange from the ssamjang. Place it in a dutch oven. drizzle the lamb with the sesame oil.
  • Cook the lamb for about 2 hours, turning occasionally so that it can sit in the juices as it cooks. Feel free to reapply ssamjang as needed. Your kitchen should smell awesome at this point.
  • Remove the lamb from the oven when it’s done, it should be light brown throughout and fork tender. Allow the meat to cool for ten minutes. WHen you remove the lamb form the dutch oven reserve the liquid in the dutch oven.
  • Shred the lamb into bite size pieces – I accomplished this by cutting against the grain to make this slices then chopped them coarsely, and I used a fork. These two methods together gave a me a wonderfully tender pulled lamb.
  • Skim some of the fat off the top of the juice in the pan – we’ll use this for sauteing later.
  • Bring the juices in the pan up to a simmer over medium high heat, whisking constantly. After the pan juice simmers add the lamb and gently stir to coat. Set it aside.

FOr the Bibimbap:

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked short grain brown rice, or whatever you have – I like the brown
  • 4-6 oz spinach, just barely steamed
  • 1 tbs soy sauce*
  • 1 tbs toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 2-3 carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly (optional)
  • 4 eggs (worried about eating over easy eggs? Grab some pasteurized ones, I like SafeEggs)
  • toasted sesame seeds
  • scallions, thinly sliced
  • toasted sesame oil
  • Gochujang*, Red Pepper Paste
  • In a medium bowl combine the spinach, soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice vinegar. Toss so that the spinach is evenly coated.
  • Saute the carrot sticks over medium high heat in some of the fat you reserved from the lamb, if you don’t have that sesame oil works just fine here. You want the carrots to be soft but still a little crunchy – no more than a minute of sauteing.
  • Crisp the garlic in some oil – you want it to be crunchy and a bit fried. It’s delicious this way and really does make the bibimbap better.
  • Fry your eggs. To fry eggs for bibimbap the eggs need to be over easy and not brown on the bottoms, it’s much easier to break the egg up when the bottoms aren’t browned. To get this gently cooked egg cook the egg on a pan that is no higher than medium. Once the egg has set put a cover over it – this will help finish the egg without having to overcook it.
  • Assemble your bibimbap in a large bowl.
  • Start by making a mound of rice in the bowl – it doesn’t have to be huge, 1/2 cup is PLENTY of rice here.
  • Beginning at 12 o’clock add the marinated spinach, shredded lamb, and carrots to the bowl – it should look similar to the photo above.
  • Place your gently fried egg on top of the who shebang.
  • Sprinkle the fried garlic slices, sesame seeds, and scallions over the whole thing. Add one tsp of gochujang in a dallop (more if you like things spicy). Gently drizzle sesame oil over the whole thing.
  • Mix it all together, making sure to break up the egg well.
  • Deee-licious.

*You can find gochujang and ssamjang in the Asian foods section of most supermarkets, they are becoming increasingly common.
*Most supermarkets have soy sauce, go for a good brand here though, you don’t want your bibimbap to suffer because you went for the lame soy sauce, I really like Kikkoman.
*Sesame oil is probably the most hard to find item here; I tend to only go with brands I trust, this one is Kadoya. You should probably hunt it down at an Asian market if possible. Don’t get the supermarket stuff – it’s awful and you will never want to try Korean food again, and that will be so sad for your tastebuds.

I was given the lamb in this post by the American Lamb Board and Boston Chefs News to create a recipe with.  All opinions posted here are truly my own, I was honored to be asked and delighted to create this dish. It’s so good.

Browned Butter Rice Krispy Treats

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I have a confession: I love rice krispy treats. I love them in an unabashed I will gorge myself silly on them if they are in the house kind of way.  I love them in a “these are made with breakfast cereal so they totally count for breakfast” kind of way.
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I’ve been making these little snacks for at least three years, every six months or so I get a hankering and cook up a batch.  It takes ten minutes at the most and you get to have a super classy and delicious dessert/snack/breakfast at the end.  I made these ones with my sister and she took all the pictures for me, I also made her some salted caramel sauce that same night so we got creative with the drizzling.
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Now go grab the ingredients and make these.  They’ll cost you less than $3 and they disappear within twenty four hours. I promise.

Browned Butter Rice Krispy Treats
This recipe is adapted from Flour:Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery and Cafe by Joanne Chang – I love this book, you should too.

  • 9 cups of rice cereal (generic Rice Krispies are totally fine)
  • 1 bag of marshmallows (I use Jet-Puffed Mini Marchmallows becasue they melt better)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 a vanilla bean (optional but it really does make it better)
  • 1/2 tsp coarse kosher salt
  • Lightly grease a 9×13 pan with butter, just to coat. Measure out the rice krispies into a large bowl.
  • Add the butter and the caviar from the vanilla bean (all those seeds inside when you split it) to a medium pot. Melt the butter over medium heat and keep a close eye on it. The butter will go from browned to burnt in about two seconds. Wanna Be a Country Cleaver has a great How To for browned butter over on her blog if you want some pictures and a step-by-step tutorial.
  • Add the marshmallows to the browned butter and stir to combine and melt. This will be a bit sticky and not all of the butter will blend with the marshmallows, that’s ok.
  • Pour the butter/marshmallow/vanilla bean mix over the cereal and stir quickly. The sugars in the marshmallows cool fairly quickly so being well prepared and stirring fast is key here.
  • Press the rice krispy treat mixture into your greased pan. I frequently use a piece of parchment to smooth out the top of my treats without getting my hands messy.
  • Sprinkle your coarse salt on top of the treats. The salt can be added to the cereal if you prefer but I always find that it falls to the bottom of the mixture when that happens.
  • Enjoy with a drizzle of caramel you made for your big sister, because she asked for it and you just couldn’t say no.

Chicken Marsala Ravioli and Mushroom Bake

Note: These pics are not my best.  This dish is just NOT photogenic.

Some days I am lazy and want nothing more than some al dente pasta with butter and salt and pepper for dinner.  This is a regular (if moderately unhealthy) meal in my house.  I am always please by it, BF can make it if i’m not motivated, and it’s more or less fail proof.  When Buitoni contacted me about creating recipes for their delicious new refrigerated pastas I just couldn’t say no.  If I’m buying pasta in the refrigerated section of the grocery store I reach for theirs anyway – having fresh pasta is a great an simple way to fancy up a meal that can be a bit boring (pasta, butter, salt and pepper) or bring something that is awesome anyway to the level of extraordinary.
What I was not expecting was a thoughtful package that contained an ultra-soft bamboo fiber hand towel, an apron, and a cutting board from Vermont all artfully branded with the buitoni logo.  Not to mention the pasta – both bf and I fell in love with the pastas we were sent; a chicken marsala one that tasted of earthy mushrooms and sherry and a lovely butternut squash one that tasted like thanksgiving.
After indulging in each pasta doused in butter (I had to sample them to look for pairing flavors…) I started to plot recipes.  Initially I thought I would end up working with the butternut, it was definitely my preferred flavor, but then I had an idea sort of based on an old episode of The French Chef where Julia Child makes a mushroom lasagna with cream sauce.  I wanted to bake with the Chicken Marsala Ravioli, I wanted those complex flavor layers good mushrooms would give me.  I wanted rich heavy cream and butter.  I wanted cheese.  I wanted to make something for colder months because that’s when I most like stuffed pastas – when it’s cold and I want something hearty, filling, and rich. And that is exactly what this is. It is also great with a salad :)  Also, make sure to read down to the bottom for a fun giveaway!

Chicken Marsala Ravioli and Mushroom Bake

Note: I don’t care for mushrooms and as I ate my second bowl of this I was exclaiming that I couldn’t believe how much I liked it. Just saying.

  • 2 Packages Buitoni Chicken Marsala Ravioli
  • 1 lb Cremini mushrooms gently cleaned and sliced
  • 4 Tbs butter, separated
  • 2 Tbs flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 tbs brandy
  • 1/4 cup swiss cheese
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (or any other hard cheese)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Preheat the oven to 350. Spray the inside of a medium sized casserole dish with cooking spray
  • In a medium saute pan melt two tbs of butter over med-high heat. Once the butter is fully melted and the pan is hot add the mushrooms. Saute the mushrooms gently until they are a nice golden brown all over, 5-7 mins.
  • Add the ravioli straight from the package to the mushrooms and gently toss everything together so it seems evenly mixed. Put the ravioli and mushrooms in your casserole dish and set it aside.
  • In a medium sized saucepan combine the two tbs of butter and the flour. Stir them until they form a paste then let them simmer for one minute without browning.
  • In a second saucepan (I know a lot of dishes, I’m sorry!) warm your milk to hot but not boiling or simmering. Gently stir the hot milk into the butter/flour roux, in pan 1. This will help prevent clumping. If you add the milk cold (like I usually do) you will have lumps; be okay with the lumps or have the patience to sit by while the whole thing cooks over low heat and you whisk it.
  • Add the brandy and mix well. Once the brandy has incorporated into the base white sauce add the Swiss cheese. Stir to combine and allow the cheese to melt into the sauce, it should take a minute or so.
  • Pour the cheese sauce over the ravioli/mushroom mixture. Top this with the Parmesan.
  • Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, until bubbly and light brown.
  • Remove it from the oven and let it rest for 5-10 mins. This is a perfect meal to make when your partner is dawdly about coming to the table.
  • Enjoy. Eat this with gusto. It’s pasta, that’s how you eat pasta.

 

Now the fun part! Did you see that pretty picture up there? That one with the snazzy apron, sexy cutting board and pretty kitchen towel? You could totally own ALL.THOSE.THINGS. and I will send you four coupons so you can hunt down and try some of this delicious pasta yourself! Just leave me a comment telling me what your favorite way to eat ravioli is. I will give you until July 13th to get your comment in. I like mine with a rugged red sauce if it’s ricotta filled or with a browned butter-sage sauce if it’s butternut squash. :)

Disclaimer: I was provided this pasta and the kitchen goods free of charge in return for this recipe/review. All opinions here are my own, I would (and do) buy this pasta on my own dime in the future.

Small Plates at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar

This post has been brought to you by kathycancook’s very own “BF”, who also sometimes writes in his own blog.

A few weeks back, Kathy was invited to a blogging event at Fleming’s to experience their new small plate menu items. These type of events more-often-than-not fall into the category of “fun, but gastronomically unremarkable” (even more so when the restaurant is a national chain), so I considered passing on this one, but decided to tag along as a plus-one, aiding with pictures and review-related-thinking-activity-things. What I can report back is pleasant surprise. We were treated to a series of dishes, each one vying for my affections by exploiting my different culinary vices. Like children, I could not choose a favorite and had to eat each one multiple times. As such, I’m going to review each dish briefly so as to avoid gross keyboard-unfriendly drooling.
First up on this new lineup is the Filet Mignon Skewers. The skewers were cooked perfectly (rare-medium-rare for-the-win) and was accompanied by “the Sauce”. The Sauce is comprised of two-parts Gorgonzola, one-part bacon, and thirteen-parts jackalope magic. After being the first to taste it, I promptly (and secretly) snuck around the room looking for anything I could dip into it so as to maximize the relocation of whatever Sauce that was present from cold, unfeeling porcelain dishes into my stomach. Assume from this point forward, that all the other dishes I tried were first consumed as they were intended, and then again with gratuitous amounts of the Sauce drizzled all over.
Next came the Sliced Filet Mignon. Let me just re-iterate again here how perfectly this and all the other meat was cooked. My experience has been that most places (including steakhouses) have difficulty hitting that rare-medium-rare sweet-spot – Fleming’s nailed it each and every time (and let’s face it, if you’re eating over-cooked meat, you might as well not bother).
I’m not a huge fan of chops as a finger food, but these lamb chops were delicious and accessible.


Let’s also not forget the seafood offerings. We tried their tempura-breaded lobster, shrimp skewers, Ahi tuna skewers, and scallops. Full disclosure: I am not a seafood fan, save for very few, very specific exceptions. I tried each of these dishes, and was surprised to enjoy each one – they were actually on par with my all-time favorite, steak (which is nearly blasphemy in my book).
We wrapped up with espresso and white chocolate-covered chocolate truffles, which were their own kind of heaven.
I won’t lie, I was surprised by the quality of Fleming’s dishes. While I don’t consider myself a particularly discerning foodie, I recognize the difference between “pretty good” and “fantastic”. If the quality of these dishes are what can be expected at every visit, I’ll be adding Fleming’s to my list of regular places to eat.
Please Note:
We were also treated to red and white variations of wine, though I don’t feel terribly qualified to judge them. I enjoyed them plenty, but wine is one of my regular blind spots. The event was complementary, but as is the norm here at kathycancook, our opinions are our own.

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