Friday, April 17, 2009

Cookbook Friday: The Gourmet Cookbook

I'm a bit behind in my blogging lately -- all I can say is that it's been busy, both work-wise, and life-wise, and I haven't had a chance to spend much time in the kitchen.

Fortunately that changed on the weekend, when I made something I've wanted to try for a while: beef short ribs. I turned to The Gourmet Cookbook, which has more than 1,000 recipes for anything and everything, and selected their recipe for Korean short ribs -- also known as kalbi. I've had kalbi in restaurants before and when done right it's fantastic: the sweet and savoury sauce clinging to tender ribs that fall off the bone.

Looking at the title you'd think all the recipes in Gourmet are fussy, but they're not. Sure, it's the first cookbook I reach for when I'm having friends for dinner but that doesn't mean it's a special-occasion-only resource. Most of the recipes are very easy to follow and not intimidating in the least.

The Korean short ribs recipe is the perfect example of this. I followed the recipe pretty much to the letter and the ribs turned out well. They didn't burn, but developed a nice caramelized exterior without going dry.

As a note, I didn't refrigerate the ribs in sugar for four hours before marinating. I added the sugar in with the rest of the marinade ingredients, scored the beef, and marinated for two hours. That was enough to keep the rib meat moist through the cooking process.

Korean Short Ribs
4.5 lbs meaty beef short ribs, cut crosswise into 2.5-inch pieces by the butcher
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Score the meaty side of each short rib.

Stir together sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, scallions, sesame seeds, garlic, ginger and pepper in small bowl. Spoon marinade over ribs, spreading it with your fingers to coat them evenly. Refrigerate, covered, turning ribs once, for two hours.

Preheat broiler. Let ribs stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Broil ribs on rack of broiler pan about 6 inches away from heat, turning once and rotating pan once or twice, until ribs are dark caramel-brown but still slightly pink inside, about 15 minutes total. If ribs begin to turn black, move pan farther away from heat and continue cooking.

Let ribs stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook, Ruth Reichl, Houghton Mifflin, 2004.

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