It's been SOOOO long since I actually had the time and mental stability to tackle something in the kitchen, and this month's Paper Chef event had the perfect theme to go along my NoCal LoCal challenge (OK, was that a really lame, dorky title that shouldn't have been repeated?!)! Thanks for going local, Owen!
The challenge was to use (dried) chili peppers, peaches, edible flowers, and another local ingredient to concoct something tasty. I thought and thought and thought about this one, so much that I actually came up with a total of four dishes I could've made. Since it's been 100F+ around where I live, I briefly considered doing something like a hot and sweet peach sauce to go over ice cream. I quickly decided that I just wasn't hungry for anything sweet right now. I then played around with the idea of a peach salsa, but then I remembered that I didn't really like fruity salsa that much... I was just about to start making a turkey-peach meat ball (like chicken-apple sausage) to go inside dumplings, when I came up with a better idea. What better way to combat the heat than having some tasty, local-powered, home-grilled KALBI?!
I'm proud to say that all the produce I used tonight came either from the local farmers or from our very own (planter box) garden!!
The following produce were purchased from my favorite organic and/or all-natural (uncertified organic) farms at the Pleasanton Farmer's Market:
- garlic (my chosen local ingredient #1)
- lettuce (my chosen local ingredient #2)
- white peaches
- basil with flowers (ours is recovering from a recent harvest)
From our very own planter boxes came:
- mint (my chosen local ingredient #3)
- chili peppers (ours is so hot, it's made many grown men cry.)
The short ribs came from the meat department at Whole Foods, who serves a wide variety of cuts, all hormone- and antibiotic-free (the only kind of meat I really feel good about eating). Unfortunately, although my soy sauce is organic and my sake is junmai (pure-rice, none of that industrial alcohol in my sake!), both of them were purchased at one of the big Asian grocery stores...
I made the marinade with crushed garlic and peaches, sake, soy sauce, roasted sesame seeds, and our very own chili peppers from our planter boxes (I substituted fresh peppers for dried ones). I saved some of the marinade to use as dipping sauce later, then dumped the meat in the marinade. Periodically, I massaged and kneaded the beef in the marinade to make sure the marinade soaked into the meat well. A couple hours later, on the hot grill they went (thanks, Papa Bear!), and a short while later, voila! My Paper Chef entry was done!
Although I had some kimchee to go with it, for the first bite of my Kalbi-Gone-Local, I wrapped the meat in lettuce along with my home-grown mints (home-grown from seeds for the first time!!!) and the basil flower, the only edible flower that could be found in the Pleasanton Farmer's Market. The marinade had that natural sweetness of juicy peaches with the kick of our extra-hot peppers, and the refreshing herbal notes of the mint and the basil cut the oil of the short ribs. I don't think I would've ever thought to make a Kalbi marinade with white peaches if it weren't for the Paper Chef theme, so this was a very worthwhile and fun culinary adventure for me!
Thanks for the inspiration and the wonderful ingredient list, Owen!
I'd leave you with a better recipe, except everything was eye balled. Here's a very approximate list for the marinade...
1 cup sake
1/2 ~ 3/4 cup soy sauce (to taste, should be salty-sweet)
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 large white peach, cored and crushed
3 tbs toasted sesame seeds
Mix, use as dipping sauce or meat marinade. Enjoy!