Korean Beef & Noodles


[ Placeholder picture from “You Gotta Eat Here!” until I get a chance to snap my own. ]

Following the same theme as the last post about watching “YGEH!” and foods features in some of their segments, here is my version of their Korean Beef & Noodles that I made for the husband and myself the other night. I forgot the sugar, and it was sorely missed. The sauce is too acidic without it for my liking. Though, having said that, I’m not a fan of sugar in savoury sauces, so I will probably scale the sugar back to 1 – 2 tablespoons when I make this again. And I will make this again. It’s fast, it’s cheap and it’s easy. This is exactly the kind of dish I love to make after a long day at work, and dinner needs to hit the table in under 40 minutes. (I let meat rest for 30 mins to come up to room temperature before I cook it.)

I think the meat cost me $2.50, the noodles were $1.25 a pack, and the rest of the ingredients added up to, maybe, $2.00? Again, dirt cheap to make. And fast. And packed with flavour. Feel free to add more vegetables if you like to bulk this dish out. I know that’s what I’m planning to do.

Korean Beef & Noodles:
1 TBSP Garlic, minced
1/2 T Ginger, fresh (I used 1/4 T ground)
1/4 C Brown Sugar (I’ll use 1-2 TBSP max)
1/4 C Soy Sauce
3-4 TBSP Sesame Oil
1/4 T Red Chili Flakes

2 TBSP Oil (any nut based oil will work fine)
1/2 C Beef, cut into strips
1 Portabello Mushroom, sliced
1 Carrot, grated
2 Green Onions, rough chopped
S & P
1 Pkg Udon Noodles
Sesame Seeds

1. Mince the garlic and chop or grate the ginger. Place in a large bowl. Over that, pour the sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil and red pepper flakes. Whisk up and set aside.

2. Heat up a pan, and then add the nut based oil to it. When the oil is hot enough, drop in the beef and Portobello slices, and ladle about 1 cup of the sauce over top. Toss and stir to coat the sauce over everything in the pan, and then let everything cook long enough to brown the meat and slightly soften the mushroom. (About 3 minutes.)

3. Add the uncooked udon noodles to the pan, along with the salt + pepper. Stir to coat the noodles before grating the carrot over the pan and adding the rest of the sauce. Cook this all together over med-high heat for another 3 minutes or so (the noodles don’t take long to heat through, so take care not to burn the sticky sauce by leaving them in the pan too long).

4. Plate the mixture into serving dishes, and top each serving with the green onions and sprinkles of sesame seeds.

Lobster Mac & Cheese

LobsterMac&Cheese-3[ Click to embiggen picture of Lobster Mac & Cheese ]

We’re not the kind of people who love to go out to eat much anymore, nor are we the kind that dress up to go out for wine and fine food. Having said that, we are the kind of people who will watch tv shows like “You Gotta Eat Here!” and find new things to cook at home using ingredients neither of us have ever tasted or used, including some more pricey items like good cheeses or truffles. From time to time, mind you. We aren’t the Rockefellers. 🙂

I have been clearing out a backlog of food shows lately and came across one featuring lobster mac & cheese. My husband always stops wherever he is, whatever he’s doing, when his two favourite foods in the whole world are mentioned: lobster, and mac & cheese. So, of course I had to watch the “YGEH!” Déja-Bu segment over and over till I figured out how to make our own version at home, at our own stove, with the ingredients I know I could get my hands on easily. I even studied the recipe published on the tv show’s website.

I scaled down the increments from the originating recipe because I don’t like lobster (that was strictly for the husband), and it’s just the two of us feasting. Two bowls were more than enough for one night. I stored the rest of my Mornay sauce in the fridge to make another bigger batch of baked mac & cheese tomorrow or Monday night. Probably with some chicken and vegetables thrown into it for good measure instead of the lobster.


[ The basic Mac & Cheese using just the Mornay sauce, onions and cilantro. ]

Here’s what I came up with. Play along at home if you like this recipe.

Lobster Mac & Cheese:
(Béchamel + cheese = Mornay Sauce)
1/4 C white or cooking onions, diced
2 oz butter
4 TBSP flour
1 lemongrass stalk (or three lemon rind peels)

3 C whole milk
S & P
2 oz gruyere + 1/8 C parmesan cheeses

2 C cooked pasta
1 TBSP butter
2 oz lobster meat (I used lobster flavoured white/pollack meat)
Drizzles of truffle oil (completely optional if feel you want the full Monty)

1. Start the pasta water so it boils while working on the other ingredients. Whack the lemongrass stalk along the length with the back of a big knife (or, if using a lemon instead, peel three strips of rind off) and set aside.

2. Melt the butter in a stock or sauce pan that can hold up to 5 cups of liquid easily. While that’s melting, dice up the onions. When the butter is bubbling, add the onion dice to the pot and let it cook for 3 minutes before adding the flour. Stir the mixture till it balls up and leaves the side of the pot to form the roux. Pour in 1 cup of milk at a time, whisking the roux into the liquid. Let the milk and roux heat through and thicken up, stirring occasionally so the milk doesn’t scald and burn at the bottom of the pan.

3. Add the pasta to the heavily salted pot when the water hits the boiling stage. Give the noodles a quick stir so they don’t stick or clump to each other as they cook for 8 minutes.

4. When the milk mixture is thickened enough to coat a spoon or spatula, remove the pot from the heat and start to ladle it into another bowl or pot with a mesh strainer sitting over the opening to catch the lemongrass or peels and the onions. Place this strained Bechamel back onto the burner and add the cheeses to the pot. When the cheese is fully melted, a few scoops of this Mornay sauce can then be used in a small to medium sauce pan along with two scoops of cooked pasta. Toss to coat the pasta fully.

5. Let the pasta and sauce simmer on med-low heat while melting butter in another small sauce pan. Add the lobster meat when the butter if fully melted. Toss to coat all of the meat; let it heat through (about 3 minutes).

6. Plate the pasta and sauce, and place the lobster meat over top of it, arranging the meat chunks in a pleasing arrangement on top of the noodles. Pour the butter drippings from the pan over top of the lobster, and sprinkle some rough chopped fresh herbs over that and top it all with drizzles of the truffle oil if using. Serve immediately.

First YGEH Knock-Off Attempt


[ L-R: Two apple fritters, two eggs, two slices of Polish cheese, and two burger patties; the sliced open apple fritters awaiting butter smearing; the final thing being taste tested. ]

I made a You Gotta Eat Here! inspired dinner tonight I calling, for lack of a better term, the ‘Apple Fritter Fried Egg & Cheese Burger’. It was, um, not my gear. At all. The husband didn’t think much of this ungraceful-to-eat mess either despite how excited he was when he saw it on the show. PASS.

I should’ve known I wasn’t going to like the taste of this when my husband started to drool and I felt queasy the second it appeared on the screen. And it should have been confirmed when the ingredients were called out. I should’ve just left well enough alone, but nooooooo. When have I ever done that, right, everyone who’s ever met me?!?

{silent weeping out of shame}

I don’t do savoury and sweet together if I can help it. The combination tends to overloaded my brain until it flips out, leaving my body to scramble because it doesn’t know how to deal. All my body knows is it needs to be fed, so it lunges at the garbage as it appears on my plate. Stupid fricken body.

And none of this even gets into how ungraceful it is to eat a runny egg over a greasy burger patty stuffed between two very sugary and slippery glazed halves of a fritter that happen to have flowing cinnamon syrup inside the bun. All of it, slipping out of my fingers, dropping on my plate with a thud, my fingers being coated in thick yellow yolk gunk…

I don’t know what I was thinking when I decided to make this for the husband. My brain must have checked out for a mental vacation. Oy! I canNOT wait to get my next lab results back and sit through the lecture about my cholesterol I know is sure to come out my doctor’s mouth. And her resident’s mouth, and probably her nurse’s, too (you know, for good measure).

Also, this burger concoction is making me seriously rethink John Catucci’s strong acting abilities. Surely he didn’t like it as much as he appeared to onscreen. There is no way! Granted, mine lacked sausage, but still. It should have been close enough for us to get a sense of what the blue haired woman created. But, seriously, if I were John, I would have asked what else she had to cook and taste test instead.

I say all of this in half jest because Anna, whom I used to work with many years ago in tv production now works on this show, is probably laughing at my stupidity and forwarding this blog post url to John to read as you’re all reading these words. Winky-wink!

{waving} Hi, John! Remember me when you win your first Gemini. 😀

Our Fave Food TV Show


Our new favourite food show is You Gotta Eat Here! which airs Friday nights at 10PM on the Food Network channel. It’s hosted by the very funny and delightful to watch get his food orgasm on, John Catucci – a man after my own heart who carries his own fork & knife around in his back pocket seemingly at all times. Just like Mama! His reactions are the #1 reason the show works as well as it does for me. He consistently makes me giggle, and my belly growl.

When he slams his hand down on the prep area bar, rolls his eyes, moans with food in his mouth reminiscent of Meg Ryan doing her fake orgasm scene in Harry Met Sally, only John means his, I instantly want to get into our car and drive to whatever the restaurant he’s featuring is located to have the same experience.

That’s how you make great tv, kids. And how you feature the hell out of your menu. Oh, sure there are times when I cringe at some of the food concoctions and the portions being served, but John’s reaction to what he’s eating in the kitchen with the chefs and cooks gets us past that squeamishness  and make us want to binge on marathon runs of its first two seasons all week in and week out.

This show has us both quasi longing for a smoker. Seriously. You’ll understand when you see how they make this featured dessert:

Right!?!? Oh, man. If only we had room in our tiny kitchen for a smoker. ‘Mmmm…

I really like that a lot of these restaurants will share a great recipe with the public on the You Gotta Eat Here! blog over at the Food Network, like those Codfish & Potato Cakes from Chafe’s Landing I can’t taste unless I take a trip down East. Oh, my gosh… And guess what! That recipe is online now. Woot.

This show has inspired us to do a few road trips, but I’m not sure how far away we want to drive. I’m thinking past the Ontario border would probably be a bit much for us to do over a long weekend, but never say never, right?

Follow John’s new You Gotta Eat Here! season adventures on their Facebook page, as well as some of the recipes featured on the show as well as show’s trip map over at Food Network.

I’m off to make the mayonaise for this Potato Salad. I’ve been thinking about this one for awhile now. Oh, it’s going to be sooooooo good. 🙂