Korean Beef Short Ribs (Galbi or Kalbi)

Korean Beef Short Ribs (Galbi or Kalbi)

The best way to get invited (and hopefully re-invited) to cottages and pool parties is probably to bring meat and by meat, I mean specifically, these Korean beef short ribs called galbi or kalbi. Take it from a culture that specializes in grilled meats – these ribs are the perfect combination of salty, sweet and jam-packed with flavour.

galbi ingredients

onion mixture

These ribs were actually super easy to make using only a handful of ingredients. Everything in the marinade had a huge flavour hit and the ribs really benefited from marinating overnight. Time really broke down the meat and infused the meat with all that tasty flavour from the garlic, onions, and ginger. I’ve experimented with many variations of these ingredients and proportions (with pear, no pear, etc.) and finally got it right just in time to share with my family for Canada Day. This one is based off a great blog called Maangchi that features authentic Korean recipes.

ribs layer 1

ribs in marinade

We don’t have a cottage, or a pool, or even a BBQ. But my parents have a gorgeous backyard that feels like a secret garden, plus a huge BBQ grill, and my dog Pucci, so it’s the closest thing we’ve got to a summer getaway. Plus my mom’s an amazing cook and my dad has the greatest grilling skills in all the land.

dad with bbq chicken

My dad =BBQ king

Pucci on patio chair

My dog = poser

mom's garden 1

Mom’s garden = gorgeous and lush

See how pretty my parent’s garden is? They spend a lot of time and love in that garden and it totally shows. My mom is an artist and you can see it her green thumb. Back to the ribs though. My dad gave me the low down on how they’re done – high heat at first then lower the heat to medium. Brush the grill with oil and add the meat and cook until you see the blood. That’s when it’s time to flip – be sure to rotate the meat from the hot spots so they cook evenly.

ribs on bbq done

We make galbi at home on our grill pan and they still turn out great, just a bit more wet and saucy than on a BBQ grill. So if you are BBQ-less like us, a frying pan will still do the trick. Or you can do what we did and bring them over to your loved ones’ house with a grill and share them. Sharing is caring – happy summer y’all.

galbi ribs table

Canada Day dinner at my moms: Indian spiced chicken, kale salad, shrimp skewers, grilled zucchini, Korean galbi ribs, and eggplant curry. Not shown, is the onion rice.

Korean Beef Short Ribs (Galbi or Kalbi)

The best way to get invited (and hopefully re-invited) to cottages and pool parties is probably to bring meat and by meat, I mean specifically, these Korean beef short ribs called galbi or kalbi. Take it from a culture that specializes in grilled meats - these ribs are the perfect combination of salty, sweet and jam-packed with flavour.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian
Diet: Gluten Free
Keyword: corn-free, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, kid-friendly, meat, mom, nut-free
Servings: 4
Author: ness

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 pounds beef short ribs (cut 1/4" to 3/8" thick)
  • 1 large onion
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 1 thumb sized piece ginger
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup gluten-free tamari soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Canola or grapeseed oil for grilling
  • Chopped green onions and sesame seeds for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Trim the ribs of any excess fat. In a blender or food processor, combine onion, garlic and ginger and puree into a paste. Combine with tamari soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, pepper, and water. Stir to combine.
  • In a large deep sided plate, add a thin layer of the marinade. Add a single layer of ribs and cover with more marinade. Continue until all ribs are in dish and pour any remaining marinade over top. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  • Preheat grill pan or BBQ to high heat. When hot, reduce heat to medium and lightly brush with oil. Add a single layer of ribs. Cook for a few minutes or until blood starts to show on top. Flip and cook for a couple more minutes. Remove from heat and garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.
Recipe aadapted from Maangchi.
Watermelon Feta Salad

Watermelon Feta Salad

A beautiful red and white salad perfect for celebrating Canada Day.  It’s super fast – just cut up some watermelon, slice some red onions, and chop parsley.  Crumble some Greek feta cheese over top and drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar.  It’s refreshing and the salty cheese, sharp onions, tangy vinegar all balance the sweetness of the watermelon perfectly.  Happy summer!

WATERMELON FETA SALAD

A beautiful red and white salad perfect for celebrating Canada Day.
Course: Appetizer, Dessert, Salad, Side Dish
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Keyword: cheese, egg-free, fast, fruits, kid-friendly, nut-free
Author: ness

INGREDIENTS

  • Watermelon
  • Some red onions (sliced)
  • Parsley (chopped)
  • Greek feta cheese (crumbled)

INSTRUCTIONS

  • It's super fast - just cut up some watermelon, slice some red onions, and chop parsley. Crumble some Greek feta cheese over top and drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar. It's refreshing and the salty cheese, sharp onions, tangy vinegar all balance the sweetness of the watermelon perfectly.
Easy Perfectly Cooked Bacon

Easy Perfectly Cooked Bacon

Weekend brunch is so over-rated. The line ups alone are enough to kill me. Seriously, I cannot even bear it. I see it all the time – huge lines outside popular brunch spots, folks just waiting around, probably hangry, to get a table. I’ve been guilty of the same thing, waiting sometimes up to an hour during prime brunch time to sit down with friends over coffee and eggs, etc. And all the while, I always thought to myself, damn, with the same money and time I spent waiting for brunch, I could have just MADE brunch. In my PJs.

bacon on foil

Now feeding a crowd can be daunting – I totally get that. I hosted a birthday brunch for my sister this past weekend and I made a lot of different things. I had some hearty eaters coming, 11 adults and 2 kidlets in total, and these included several food allergies/intolerances including nuts, gluten, and sesame. To accommodate, I made a huge spread of sweet and savory dishes so everyone could enjoy a bit of something.

table

The menu included (clockwise from top left): Potato crusted quiche, chocolate chip waffles, mixed berries, croissant BLTs with brie, jalapeno cheddar cornbread waffles, melon kebabs, bacon, and berry stuffed french toast.

For me, I really had to plan ahead and I tried to be as organized as possible, especially to prepare all this in my tiny kitchen. Here’s how it went down:

cheddar waffles

Week Before: I mapped out my menu, figured out my colour theme (black, white, polka dots), and created a shopping list by store and item (i.e. Costco – bacon, cheese,  etc.) and shopped for the groceries and decor during the week after work. I also set the table and got all the cutlery, cups, decor set up a couple of days before. I made the waffles in the evenings and reheated them during the brunch which saved a lot of time.

cupcake

These are the cupcakes I baked for dessert. I used nut-free/gluten-free chocolate cake mix from Kinnikinnick and everyone enjoyed them, especially my niece and nephew who ended up bouncing off the walls afterward.

Night Before: I baked the cupcakes and frosted them the night before and scooped out the melons for the kebabs. I also made the potato crusted quiche and ordered take out for dinner. D was a huge help and his puttering around after me and washing up made the whole process a lot easier.

IMG-20140517-WA0002

Morning of Brunch: I made the french toast filling and pan-fried them before keeping them warm on a baking sheet in the oven at 170 degrees for about 45 minutes. I reheated waffles, put out fruit, assembled sandwiches, and made a lot of bacon.

Whenever I’ve hosted a party, no matter how organized I tried to be, I generally had a bit of a meltdown about 20 minutes before guests arrived. Not this type of meltdown, more like this. This time it was over forgetting to get/make coffee. Oh well, it worked out in the end with my cousin doing a Tim Horton’s run on her way over. Despite my best efforts to be organized, invariably something always goes a little awry where I go a little mental, but thankfully, I tend to calm down once everyone starts to eat. D has also become very skilled at snapping me out of my crazy.

bacon on tray after baking

Brunch can be made a lot easier too by baking the bacon in the oven. You can make tons of it, and it comes out perfectly every time with almost no cleanup. Menu-wise, your guests would probably be happy with a cup of coffee, boatloads of bacon and some simple eggs and toast. I know I would. But probably not as happy as these people.

brunch happy

 

Easy Perfectly Cooked Bacon

Brunch can be made a lot easier too by baking the bacon in the oven. You can make tons of it, and it comes out perfectly every time with almost no cleanup. Menu-wise, your guests would probably be happy with a cup of coffee, boatloads of bacon and some simple eggs and toast. I know I would.
Course: Breakfast, Side Dish
Diet: Gluten Free
Keyword: corn-free, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, kid-friendly, meat, nut-free, paleo, soy-free
Servings: 6 people
Author: ness

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 to 2 pounds bacon

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cover baking sheet with foil for easy clean up. Lay slices of uncooked bacon side by side, close that they are just barely touching but not overlapping. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until cooked to your desired crispiness up, to 20 minutes. Use tongs (or chopsticks) to remove bacon and place on paper towel lined plate to absorb excess fat and serve immediately.
For cleanup, let the oil in tray cool slightly and pour it into a container and refrigerate. To discard, let the fat cool completely and discard in the foil.
For extra crispy bacon, lay a metal cooling rack over the foil and place bacon strips over top before baking.
Recipe adapted from The Kitchn.
Baked Tortilla Chips

Baked Tortilla Chips

I have a food-fession:  I am obsessed with nachos. I spent almost an hour stuck in traffic today talking about food with my carpool and I would say a good chunk of it was about our mutual adoration of nachos. We discussed different kinds of nachos, how to make the perfect nacho, where the best ones in town are etc. And you can’t talk nachos without immediately craving them real bad right?

toritillas on board

Both of us are trying hard to be healthy so we both decided against immediately pulling over to indulge in happy hour nachos. But wait, I think there’s a way to shave a few calories off nachos – bake your own tortilla chips. I know I know, you’re probably thinking ‘who does this stuff?’ and ‘gimme a break, why bake them when you can buy them already made?’ I thought the same thing. Actually it never even occurred to me that you could make your own tortillas without deep-frying them. That is until I saw an episode of Rachael Ray and there she was, baking her own tortilla chips and making it look super easy and healthy.

tortillas ready to bake

I tried it and hot damn, these things were good. Crispy, crunchy, and super easy, just like she promised. So here’s the recipe for you folks.  Happy nacho eating to all, and to all a good night.

tortilla chips on tray

Baked Tortilla Chips

I think there's a way to shave a few calories off nachos - bake your own tortilla chips. I know I know, you're probably thinking 'who does this stuff?' and 'gimme a break, why bake them when you can buy them already made?' I thought the same thing. Actually it never even occurred to me that you could make your own tortillas without deep-frying them.
Course: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: Mexican
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: corn, dairy-free, fast, kid-friendly, nut-free, soy-free, tacos, tortilla, yeast-free
Servings: 2
Author: ness

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 Day old corn tortilla chips
  • Plain cooking oil
  • Sea salt (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly spray or brush each side of the tortillas with oil. Stack tortillas and cut into eighths. Place wedges in a single layer on baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Sprinkle with salt if desired.
Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray
Steak Bavettes (Flap Steak)

Steak Bavettes (Flap Steak)

For a long time, I thought a good steak meant splurging at a bistro/steakhouse or buying a crazy expensive cut of meat from the butcher. I didn’t really grow up in a steak type of family – we were more a stir-fry beef with broccoli type house. However, I’ve recently discovered a steak cut and recipe that is both amazingly delicious and inexpensive. It’s the bavette cut, or flap steak, that comes from the bottom sirloin butt cut of beef and is typically pretty thin (about 1 inch). It’s very flavourful, and you’ll probably see it on a bistro menu for north of $25 bucks a pop, but now you can make it at home for a fraction of the cost.

Steak bavettes marinating

Gluten-free eating can already be super expensive – I’ve resigned to paying over $6 for my gluten-free bread a long time ago. It now feels normal but in the beginning, I would rage about the insane mark up on GF groceries. The bavette cut is a generally inexpensive cut, so you can get your steak on without breaking the bank.

bavettes with steak spice

The beauty of steak bavettes is their thin, flavourful cut. It’s a tougher cut of meat, but with some marinating, steak spice, and a hot grill pan, you’re set for a tasty meal. Just be warned that this cut is best rare (but not too rare). I personally love my steak medium-rare, and I like it with a simply dressed salad on the side.

The original recipe is from a great cookbook from Garde Manger by TV chef Chuck Hughes, named after his restaurant in Montreal’s Old Port. We went to this place a few years ago and this steak brings back fun memories of listening to DMX, Nirvana, and Cyndi Lauper while watching his tattooed chefs shuck oysters behind the bar. Bon appetit.

Steak Bavettes (Flap Steak) |Freshnessgf.com

Steak Bavettes (Flap Steak)

I've recently discovered a steak cut and recipe that is both amazingly delicious and inexpensive. It's the bavette cut, or flap steak, that comes from the bottom sirloin butt cut of beef and is typically pretty thin (about 1 inch). It's very flavourful, and you'll probably see it on a bistro menu for north of $25 bucks a pop, but now you can make it at home for a fraction of the cost.
Course: Main Course
Diet: Gluten Free
Keyword: corn-free, dairy-free, egg-free, meat, nut-free, soy-free
Servings: 2
Author: ness

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT

  • Cast iron skillet

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 bavette flap steaks (about 1/2 lb each)
  • canola oil for grilling
  • 2 teaspoons steak spice (see recipe below)

Marinade:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary or leaves of 1 fresh rosemary sprig (finely chopped)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme or leaves from 1 fresh thyme sprig (finely chopped)

Steak Spice:

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon chili flakes

INSTRUCTIONS

  • In a large bowl or large plastic resealable bag, combine marinade ingredients and whisk together. Add steaks and turn so they are well coated in marinade. Cover/seal and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.
  • Meanwhile, combine steak spice ingredients in a mortar and pestle and crush. This makes more steak spice than is needed for this recipe - store any extra steak spice in airtight container.
  • Remove steaks from marinade and discard any extra marinade. Pat steaks dry with paper towels and season each side with 1/2 teaspoon of steak spice. Heat a large cast iron skillet to medium high heat and add canola oil.
  • Once pan is hot, add steaks and cook for 4 minutes on one side, and then flip and cook 2 to 3 minutes on the other side. Remove from heat and loosely cover with foil and allow meat to rest for a few minutes before serving.
If you don't have a mortar and pestle, no worries. Just mix the spices together in a small bowl and press spices down with the back of a teaspoon to crush up the spices. Also, you may have to head to your local butcher to find the bavette cut - ideally, they should be about 1" in thickness. 
Recipe adapted from Garde Manger by Chuck Hughes.

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