Thursday, December 29, 2011

Menu Planning Thursday

My first menu for 2012.  Our evenings were so busy this past week that we ate out twice so  . . . you'll notice some similarities to last week's menu because I had already purchased our meat.  No big extravagant New Year's Eve menu (we are homebodies) -- although I did splurge and buy hubby some crab legs.

Here is our menu for the week:

Sunday: Happy New Year with the in-laws (and hopefully lots of my favorite Korean soup)
Monday:  Italian beef sandwiches, roasted red pepper strips
Tuesday:  Leftovers - whatever we discover in the fridge/freezer
Wednesday: baked salmon in parchment, rice pilaf, and green beans with buttered roasted almonds
Thursday: homemade pizza with pepperoni, mushrooms, and caramelized onions
Friday: BBQ ribs, coleslaw, and roasted sweet potatoes
Saturday:  grilled cheeseburgers, green salad, sauteed onions and mushrooms

New Year's Day in a Korean home means spending time with family and reminiscing.  We always spend January 1st with my in-laws and my mother-in-law makes the most wonderful Duk Gook soup.  It is a mild broth based soup with oblong flat rice "noodles" called cakes.  The soup is garnished with cooked strips of egg white, egg yolk, sesame seeds, and julienned seaweed.  I think it is my favorite Korean dish.  Each family has their own recipe.  Here is my mother-in-law's version of Korean Rice Cake Soup or Duk Gook.

Rice cakes come in a variety of shapes, but this oblong
flat shape is the most popular for this soup.
8 cups of broth (beef or chicken, cook's choice)
1 package of rice cakes
4 to 5 ounces of thinly sliced beef roast (raw)
1 T sesame oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced finely
2 T soy sauce
3 eggs (separated)
3 scallions, thinly sliced (white parts in broth - light green as garnish)
sesame seeds
seaweed sheets

Begin by soaking the rice cakes in cold water for 20 minutes.  

Heat a large dutch oven over medium high heat.  Add sesame oil.  When hot,  saute the beef and white parts of the scallions until cooked through.  Do not overcook.  Add the cloves of garlic and as soon as you can smell it, pour in the broth.  Drain rice cakes and add to soup.  Cook for 20 minutes, the broth will thicken slightly as the rice cakes release some of their starch. Add salt, pepper, and soy sauce to taste.   

As it cooks, prepare the garnish.  Beat the egg yolks and fry in a non-stick skillet like an omelet.  Do the same with the whites.  When slightly cooled, roll each up and julienne.  Set aside.  Roll up the seaweed sheet and julienne or purchase seaweed in thin strips.  

To serve, ladle the soup into a bowl.  A large short bowl works best as the soup cools quickly and all the ingredients are visible.  In the center of the bowl, sprinkle 1/4 of the egg whites, egg yolks, scallions, seaweed strips, and a pinch of sesame seeds.  Serve immediately.  

To make ahead, prepare broth with meat and veggies and store in the refrigerator.  Bring soup to a boil before added soaked rice cakes.  (If you add them before storing, they simply dissolve into the broth and make a thick soupy mess -- trust me I speak from experience!)

Happy New Year!   


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