I grew up eating Korean food.  And Filipino food, and Chinese, Mexican, Italian… While my father had a bit of a midwestern opinion about certain foods, my mom – the consummate Californian – embraced it all with a flair that could only have come out of the 1960’s.  Filipino neighbors across the street had me eating Lumpia and Adobo before I could spell them.  And we were eating Chinese food at Kwan’s on Geary Street when there were only three kids in the family. (Numbers four and five were born in 1957.)

For years I lived up the street from a great Koren restaurant.  First time I walked in, I was a bit intimidated with the menu.  The waitress, sensing my discomfort, asked if I would trust her.  I said YES – and what a dinner I had.  From then on, I never ordered from the menu, I just said “Dinner for two” (or three, or four) and food would magically appear.  Magic, indeed.

While I have cooked a fair amount of Asian foods in my life, I have never really cooked a lot of Korean.  No particular reason, other than  bazillion condiments to prepare, and I always had immediate access to a really good Korean restaurant.

That was then, this is now.

Out here in my white-bread Philadelphia suburb, ethnic food of any stripe is difficult to find.  Restaurants tend to be a bit more upscale (read expensive) or national chains, which I tend to avoid at all costs.  (I generally don’t care for cookie-cutter food.)

So, I tend to cook a lot at home.  It’s good, because i eat healthier, but bad, because I cook for 12 when there’s only two of us.  Healthy+big portions+quitting smoking=weight gain.  Yeah, I’m getting fat.

Which really has nothing to do with tonight’s meal.  A Korean-inspired beef.  “Inspired” because it was about as authentically-Korean as I am, but it did have those great flavors.

I took some thin-sliced beef and marinated it in a pseudo-Bulgogi marinade:

  • soy sauce
  • sugar
  • rice wine
  • white vinegar
  • sesame oil
  • garlic
  • leeks
  • sesame seeds
  • cayenne pepper
  • black pepper

Into a zip-lock it went.  Onto the grill.  Onto the plate.  Into my tummy.

I had a bunch of mushrooms in the ‘fridge that needed cooking, so I sauteed them in a bit of butter, soy sauce, a splash of fish sauce. garlic, a splash of rice wine…  they wre great!

And simple white rice to round it all out.

Now to find some good kim chee!