Ushering in summer: Bulgogi on the porch

(I’m in Italy right now, but I thought I’d leave you with an entry or two while I’m gone!)

We eat on our narrow but lovely little porch almost every night during the summer, so we were delighted when the weather first warmed up enough for us to dig out the cushions and dust off the table and chairs. To celebrate, I made bulgogi, the unbelievably tasty Korean barbecued beef that you can cook on your own tabletop griddle at Korean BBQ restaurants.

After grocery shopping in the afternoon, I started by making a batch of daikon radish pickles, which were fine but a bit bland.

daikon

The daikon I got from th CSA was less carrot-shaped and much fatter. Different varieties, I guess! Aren’t the patterns in the slices pretty?

daikon slices

I used a basic marinade recipe from AllRecipes, spiked with plenty of sesame (seeds and oil) and soy. The real trick to recipes like this is to freeze your meat for about an hour before slicing it. That makes it to easy to slice nice thin pieces without the meat mushing all over the place. Remember to cut against the grain. (I used sirloin tips, I think.)

sliced steak

I marinated the meat for a couple hours, and when dinner time rolled around I cooked some sushi rice and dished out kimchi and the daikon pickles:

I also washed a bunch of lettuce leaves for wrapping.

The meat was a snap to cook because it was sliced so thin. From this:

to this:

took about two minutes for each batch, on a hot grill. I piled up the meat on a plate, squeezed all the various dishes onto our porch table, and we got to the messy business of wrapping our little rolls, starting with a base of rice, then meat, then the pickles and kimchi:

I’m hungry as I write this, so let’s take another look at that luscious, flavorful meat:

It was a perfect kickoff to summer, lit by the pale glimmer of our new Ikea solar string lights and washed down with gin and lemonade! I’m dying to go do some research at Koreana and make note of more of the little bowls of pickles that they bring over–there are usually about 20 and they are my favorite part. Great, now I’m starving.

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