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!

“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!

A good caprese salad is an amazing thing in the summer. However, when you can elevate it by slow roasting the tomatoes (even better if you have a small plant going like I do and it’s going through a late summer resurgence), and adding a pan-seared oven finished steak to the mix, you have what I’m pretty damn sure is the perfect salad. 

Steak Caprese Salad
Lasts 4 to 5 lunches as a side

Ingredients

  • 1 lb pan-seared, oven finished steak
  • olive oil
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 package of mozzarella pearls, drained
  • salt and pepper
  • basil leaves in whatever amount you prefer, torn

Take your pint of cherry tomatoes, half them, drizzle olive oil over them, and roast for two hours in your oven at 225 degrees, until wrinkled at the edges. Make your steak following the directions linked either before or right after the tomatoes are done roasting.  Let it rest, and slice it thin, and each thin slice in half vertically.

Combine the roasted cherry tomatoes and mozzarella pearls first, tossing to combine; keep all of the tomato juices that come from the roasted tomatoes, it makes a great dressing for this. Then, toss in the steak slices, and the basil to finish, and enjoy your awesome salad.

This takes a bit of leg work to prep, but man, I cannot detail the level to which it is worth it, on all fronts. Also, god bless the beginnings of the holiday sales at grocery stores – steaks were $7/lb (as opposed to the normal $12). 

Be careful when you’re making the balsamic caramel, as it can burn if you let it reduce too far/fast (happened with my first .5 c of wine). The steaks ended up marinating for longer than intended, due to the phone deciding to not recognize that it had a sim card in it and ensuing hijinx, but I can’t say that it hurt the final steaks. 

This recipe will be split into two sections – one for the balsamic caramel, and one for the pan-seared oven-finished steaks.

Pan-Seared, Oven-Finished Steaks with Balsamic Caramel
Makes however many steaks you have on hand

Balsamic Caramel Sauce

  • .5 c red wine (original recommends Rainwater Madiera, I went with Cupcake Winery’s Red Velvet)
  • 1 c balsamic vinegar
  • 2 t dark brown sugar

In a small pot, heat and simmer your red wine over medium heat until it’s reduced to appx 1 T.  Add your balsamic vinegar and simmer until the mixture has reduced to about .25 c, is thick and syrupy, and there are larger bubbles forming on the surface.  When reducing both, be careful, as there’s a point where they’ve reduced so much that they can burn.  As soon as the balsamic has reduced, remove from heat, whisk in the dark brown sugar, and pour into a small container.

Pan-Seared, Oven-Finished Steaks

  • steaks
  • balsamic vinegar
  • soy sauce
  • dark brown sugar

Mix your balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, and dark brown sugar together (I did this very approximately, and can say the balsamic:soy:sugar ratio was about 3 T: 2T: 1T) in whatever container you use for marinating (bag, shallow dish, etc), and put your steaks in. Marinate at room temperature for up to 2 hours (if you go longer, stick it in the fridge). 

When you’re ready to cook your steaks, heat some olive oil in a pan over high heat, and preheat your oven to 450 (mine was at 425).  Line a baking sheet with foil.  

Season your steaks with salt and pepper, and sear for 1.5 to 2 minutes on each side, removing them to the sheet as soon as they’re done.  Then, pop the steaks in the oven for five minutes.  Five minutes at 450 (425, mine runs hot) gives you the perfect rare doneness, and even caramelizes the fat a bit.

Remove your steak to a plate, drizzle the balsamic caramel on it, and nom the fuck out.