So, earlier in 2015, I received a large amount of frozen steaks from my mom and her boyfriend, as a result of an auction they won. They mostly lived in the freezer for a good long time, and I was trying to figure out what the hell to make with them, as the amount of steak I had was, shall we say, slightly excessive to my norms.

And then I came across this recipe, and given that I was on a kalbi kick at the time, decided to give it a try. It was the right choice.

Simple, quick, and a good meat preparation. You can’t get too much better than that.

Korean Style Steak
Makes however much steak you want it to. 

Ingredients

  • 3 T sugar
  • 6 T soy sauce
  • 2 T vegetable oil (or other mild cooking oil), plus more for the grill pan
  • 2 T sesame oil
  • 1 T fresh ginger, grated
  • 5 cloves garlic, grated or minced (whichever you prefer, I went crushed)
  • 1 small shallot, minced (I think I skipped this, it was long enough ago that I honestly don’t remember)
  • sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • (recipe recommends 2 lbs hangar, skirt, or flap steak, I used whatever steak this was that I had in the freezer)
  • (scallions, sliced, and sesame seeds for serving, again, pretty sure I skipped this and just put it over a bowl of white rice)

In a large shallow bowl (large enough to fit your steak eventually), stir together the sugar, soy sauce, vegetable oil, sesame oil, grated ginger, garlic, shallot, sea salt, and pepper together until the sugar has dissolved. Add the steak, turn to coat with the marinade, and let sit at room temperature for about fifteen minutes. I marinated mine in the fridge overnight, I’m pretty sure.

If it’s not the dead of winter and you have access to a grill, heat up your grill. If not, heat up a grill pan on the stove. Either way, heat till medium-hot.

Lightly brush a paper towel with vegetable oil, and then rub that over the rack or pan using tongs. Transfer the steak to the grill area, and discard the leftover marinade. Grill it on each side until done to your liking (five minutes or so a side gets you medium rare, depending on how thick the steak is – adjust over or under according to your tastes). Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let it rest for five minutes.

Slice the steak thin, at an angle against the grain, and top with the sesame seeds and sliced scallion if you so choose, or put it over a bowl of rice from the rice cooker for a kinda donburi, do whatever you want!

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“You begin to suspect your bowl is a portal to the meat dimension… In order to finish this bowl, you must have Understanding of your limits, Knowledge to control your pace, Courage to face this unrelenting tide of beef, and Diligence to persevere against this colossal challenge." 

So, one of the things you can do to raise your stats in Persona 4 is to take the Aiya Bottomless Beef Bowl Challenge. On rainy days, you go to the Chinese restaurant, and for 3000 yen (~$30), you get a huge ass beef bowl that you have to try to finish. You can’t actually finish the beef bowl until you have all five stats maxed out (and then it’s free), so typically when you do it, you get three of four random stats increased, which is super useful in game. 

This is basically a combination of two existing recipes (Pixelated Provisions, and the now defunct Gourmet Gaming), but I like the end result I got better than the other two recipes. (I’ll likely include the onions on another run through, but I mostly just wanted the meat, egg, and rice for this.)

I’m thinking of trying something similar with reverse engineering recipes from the Odin Sphere remake, so any tag suggestions for this kind of thing would be great!

Aiya Bottomless Beef Bowl

Ingredients

  • Steak, sliced thin (note: I got chuck steak for this, about a pound and a half, and that lasted for two servings; get something reasonably priced that you can get in large quantities)
  • 3 T mirin
  • 3 T sake
  • 3 T sugar
  • 9 T aged dark soy sauce
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated
  • 3 T grated ginger
  • rice 
  • egg

Whisk together your mirin, sake, sugar, and soy sauce. Take your steak, slice it thin to your taste (you can see the approximate size I got from my photos), and marinate in the mirin/sake/sugar/soy sauce mix in the fridge. I let mine sit covered in the fridge for the better part of a day; you should marinate it for a minimum of fifteen minutes. 

About an hour out from when you’re looking to eat, toss together your rice according to its instructions in your rice cooker, and let it do its thing. 

Fifteen minutes out from when you’re looking to eat, take a large pan, heat it to medium high, and add the sesame oil. Take your grated ginger and garlic, and fry for about two minutes tops, until fragrant. Then, take your steak and marinade, and cook for about ten minutes, until your steak is browned on all sides (see difference between pics 4 and 5). 

As your steak gets close to being done, heat a small pan and a dash of olive oil over high, and fry your egg until you get your desired doneness (I like having a sunny side up with a runny yolk). 

Scoop out your rice, add a bunch of the steak, and then drop the egg on top, and open your portal to the meat dimension!

Wanting some takeout, but not feeling like spending the money? Have a kitchen decently stocked with ingredients for Asian cooking, or a cheap Asian grocery store within an easy walk? Then go with this recipe. All I really had to do for this recipe was throw a thing of rice in the rice cooker the day before, and spend maybe a half hour tops getting everything going the day of. Simple, quick, and makes a regular shitton (though I might have to double the recipe next time as the boything really liked it). 

Ginger Fried Rice
Lasted two of us one meal and a bit leftover, will probably double next time

Ingredients

  • 4 c day-old cooked rice
  • .5 c peanut oil
  • 2 T minced garlic 
  • 2 T minced ginger (mine was grated, as I freeze mine) 
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1 large leek, white and light green bits sliced thin
  • egg, if you want one on yours (do the thing if you do eggs, it’s great)
  • sesame oil 
  • soy sauce (I used the aged soy that I have from ) 

First, your rice. If you have leftover rice from other takeout that’s still good, use that. Otherwise, do what I did – throw a bunch of rice in your rice cooker the day before, cook it, and keep the warm function off. 

In a large pan, heat .25 c of peanut oil over medium heat, and then add in the minced garlic and ginger, cooking until crisp and lightly browned (see picture 3). Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl or on paper towels, and salt lightly. 

Reduce heat to medium low, add another 2 T of peanut oil, and add in your sliced leeks. Cook them for about 10 minutes, until they’re tender (but not browned; see the difference between pictures 4 and 5). Salt them lightly. 

Then, raise the heat back to medium, and add in your rice. Stir well, and cook until the rice is heated fully through (about eightish minutes), maybe a bit longer if you want the rice to have a bit of color and crunch to it. Pics six and seven are the rice just added to the pan, and after being fully heated. Again, add a small bit of salt. 

If you want to add an egg, heat the remaining peanut oil in a small nonstick pan over high, break an egg into it, and then cook until the whites have just set, but the yolk is still wobbly (call it two minutes). 

Then, scoop out the rice into your serving bowls, drizzle with a bit of sesame and a bigger bit of soy sauce, sprinkle the crisped garlic and ginger over it all, and, if you feel so inclined, put your egg on top, and enjoy!

This, however? This was a HUGE mistake. Pro tip kids: Do not eat salmon you got on sale raw on the second day after you unwrap it. It ends with you throwing up in a Loop restaurant on the way home. Writing the recipe down because maybe I’ll overcome my aversion to it down the road. 

Marinated Salmon Sashimi Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 lb salmon (seriously, make sure it’s sashimi grade or it will end poorly), sliced into thin strips
  • 1 T miso
  • 1 T mirin
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1 t sesame oil
  • pinch shichimi
  • dash lemon juice

Whisk together all of your ingredients except for the lemon juice, pour it over your sliced salmon and toss, and top with a bit of lemon juice. 

This was a great dish to see out what is hopefully the last of the cold winter ugh. The local farmer’s market has a good winter potato mix (which is how I got this lovely roasting potato mix), and the miso I already had in my fridge, so this was pretty cheap and simple to put together.  

Plus, the coating is a pretty good blend of flavors. I ended up doubling the quantities for the coating because I had more potatoes than planned, and I liked the coverage that I got more. If you end up having closer to the original quantity, then I would recommend halving the quantities for the miso, sesame oil, and brown sugar.

Miso Roasted Potatoes and Mushrooms

Ingredients

  • 1 lb roasting potatoes, quartered (mine was a bit closer to 2 lbs, original recipe recommends small new potatoes)
  • 8 oz button mushrooms
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 t minced ginger
  • 6 T white miso
  • 4 T brown sugar
  • 4 T sesame oil
  • (optional: chopped parsley and sesame seeds for garnish)

Preheat your oven to 400. Mix together your garlic cloves, ginger, white miso, brown sugar, and sesame oil with a whisk in a large bowl, and add your mushrooms and potatoes to the bowl and toss to coat them. Transfer your potatoes to a large skillet or baking dish (I used the latter) and roast for a half hour, stirring at least once (If you have closer to 2 lbs of potatoes, throw it in for closer to an hour). Add parsley and sesame seeds if you so choose, but otherwise, enjoy, and spite the cold!

In true Wisconsin fashion, the rest of fall appears to have decided to just fuck off and winter has just decided to show up early. Earlier in the week, we had our first hard frost and some of the leaves on the trees were still green when it happened.  I woke up to a carpet of green leaves covering my entire backyard.

The abrupt drop into cold, plus the rising levels of stress at my current job, mean that it’s time to break out the heavy duty soups, and this is one of them.  I had to table this soup for about a year, cause I associated it with being really sick (like, flu sick), but there’s been enough time to break the association, hopefully. EDIT: NOPE.  Fuck you brain.  Prepping the carrots takes a lot of legwork, but it’s worth it.

I also added a small dash of cinnamon and cardamom at the tail end of this recipe; as far as I can tell, it turned out pretty good, and doesn’t clash/overwhelm the other flavors.

Carrot Soup with Miso and Sesame

Ingredients

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 lbs carrots, peeled and sliced thin
  • 1 large onion (I used half), chopped
  • 7 large garlic cloves, smashed
  • 4 c vegetable stock (get a 32 oz box of it and you’ll be good)
  • 1 T ginger, peeled and grated
  • .25 c white miso paste
  • drizzle of sesame oil

Peel and slice your carrots (this will take a while, I got probably closer to 2.5 lbs from the farmer’s market, and this took the better part of 45 minutes), and follow it up by chopping your onion and smashing your garlic. By the time you start your garlic, heat your olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add your carrots, garlic, and onion, and cook for ten minutes, until your onion is translucent.  Add your vegetable stock and grate the peeled ginger directly into the soup.  Cover, and then bring to a simmer, and simmer for a half hour, until your carrots are fork tender.

Pour your soup into your blender in batches (I did about an equal amount of carrots and stock each time, in two batches), and puree, from low to high. Again, be sure to only fill up your blender about 60% of the way, otherwise, soup will come flying out, and there will be pain and suffering.  Add the pureed soup back to your pot.

Now, the original recipe recommends whisking together the miso paste and a half cup of the soup in a separate bowl. I probably should’ve done this.  Instead, I just added it straight to the soup and stirred vigorously.  The soup still turned out great.  Then add your salt and pepper to season, and stir in your sesame oil!

It was tasting a little on the bland side still at this point, so I added the cinnamon and cardamom to experiment, in very small dashes, and it seemed to warm things up a bit and not clash horribly with the other flavors. Will fully report back on this.