Over the years I have gotten more discerning about my cookbook purchases. I've purged old cookbooks and resisted buying ones that I was unsure that I would ever cook from. In fact, I had decided I had enough cookbooks and could get by with the good, old internet. Then I came across Ruth Reichl's newest cookbook/memoir, My Kitchen Year. It was listed on several best books of 2015, so on a whim, I used my Barnes and Noble gift card to buy the book. I figured if nothing else, it would be a good read, having enjoyed Reichl's other memoirs a great deal.
It has quickly become a trusted and true source. I've made four or five recipes from it already and have been thrilled with all but one of them, which is pretty good success rate. She has a mixture of vegetarian and meat based, international flavors and totally US fare. There is equal number complicated with fancy ingredients as simple mostly pantry ingredients. It was totally worth the buy, from both a literary (the memoir is about the year after Gourmet ceased to exist) and a cooking standpoint.
Thursdays are our current crazy days--three kids in three different directions over the same time frame. From when Isaac leaves at 5:10 for gymnastics to 7:15 when Madeleine returns from piano, we are all over the place. It makes a meal difficult when I arrive home from school at 4:15. I've deemed Thursdays leftover or sandwich night. Until this recipe came along. I had the meal ready in less than hour and it was equally good reheated at 7:15 when kids were eating a second supper as the first time around. Plus, it felt so special.
I found a kimchi I loved at Whole Foods. I am sure it's not terribly authentic, but both Curtis and I love it (I love it so much I put it directly onto rice and just eat kimchi and rice). I am thrilled to find a brand I like. Kimchi is a fermented, spicy Korean side/condiment. When it is made correctly, it contains lots of helpful fermented bacteria that makes for a healthier gut (like in yogurt, sauerkraut, probiotics). The brand I found is WildBrine. Kimchi quickly has found itself a permanent home in my fridge.
This serves 5-6.
Bulgogi Lettuce Wraps
from My Kitchen Year by Ruth Reichl
6 T soy sauce
1 1/2 T sesame oil
3 t sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch fresh ginger, grated
1 bunch scallions, minced
1 1/2 lbs skirt or hanger steak, partially frozen and sliced thinly across the grain
1 head Boston lettuce
cooked white rice
chili garlic sauce or Sriracha
toasted sesame seeds
Combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, garlic, ginger, and scallions. Stir in the sliced steak and marinade 15 minutes to an hour (I did just 15 minutes because I was pressed for time).
Heat a wok with a bit of oil. Drain the steak and add just the steak to the wok (discard the marinade). Sear the meat for 3-4 minutes or until it is cooked.
To serve, take a lettuce leaf and gently lay some cooked with meat in the middle. Top with kimchi, Sriracha, toasted sesame seeds, scallions, or sliced onions (pretty much anything you want). Wrap the lettuce around it (John calls it tacos), and eat with your fingers if the lettuce leaf holds together. Serve with a side of rice. Of course, you can do as my kids did and put a little rice directly into the lettuce leaf as well. The leaf probably won't hold together to use your fingers with it, but it's just as tasty if you eat it with a fork and knife.