Monday, August 15, 2011

A birthday, bulgogi and brownies

Eleven years ago in Korea, a most incredible baby boy was born. He had thick black hair that stood up straight and even in his early days, I can see from his pictures, he had a joyful little laugh. I first saw his picture two years later, and was captivated by the laugh I could see frozen in that still photo, transferred over time and space through my computer screen. In my heart I gave him a Biblical name for one who laughs, and I prayed for that baby boy every day for a year and a half, until he was safely home, a part of our family and very much as if he had always been here.
In Korea, our little man had stayed in a wheelchair outside,
but here, he was anxious to show us what he could do. He quickly ran in the little knee-shoes Daddy made for him, rode a skateboard, 
climbed ladders to pick apples, 
drove a hand-cranked bike like a banshee. 
 We marveled then and we marvel still at our fantastic, determined, wonderful boy. He is thoughtful, wildly intelligent, and a whole lot of fun to be around. Happy Birthday, dear Wrestler. You are a treasure, and we are so very proud of you, and so thankful that you are our son.

For his birthday dinner, The Wrestler requested his favorite meal, Bulgogi, sticky rice, Korean cucumber salad, seaweed sheets, and spicy spinach, with Andes Candies brownies for dessert. And in honor of his birthday, we will share some of the recipes here, with you, dear friends. May you enjoy them as much as we did tonight.

1 lb steak (we use London Broil)
2 T soy sauce (La Choy is GF – check other brands for gluten)
2 T sesame oil
1 T sugar
3 tsp minced garlic cloves
1 tsp pepper

Sticky rice
Romaine lettuce leaves

Cut steak into thin slices (cutting while partially frozen can help you cut it thinly). Mix other ingredients thoroughly, and marinate the beef in mixture – overnight is best but a few hours will do in a pinch. Stir-fry the meat in batches in a non-stick pan with a small amount of oil. We serve this with rice and romaine leaves: each person takes a lettuce leaf and wraps a bit of rice and some beef. If you are a Korean lad, you will insist this be served with a heaping side of kimchi.

Spicy Korean Cucumber Salad
1 lb cucumber
1 tsp salt
½ t sugar
½ t red pepper flakes (sold in Asian market – NOT cayenne)
½ t sesame oil
1/4 t. salt
½ t rice vinegar
1 minced garlic clove
1 t sesame seeds

Cut both ends off of cucumber. Slice thinly, add salt, and let marinate for 30 minutes (go start spinach salad now!). Rinse well, then press out water. Mix with remaining ingredients, and serve.

Sesame Spinach Salad
            This is our version of a salad we found in a fabulous cookbook full of healthy, delicious international dishes, called Extending the Table (highly recommend!).
2 lb spinach, fresh or frozen (we use frozen, chopped spinach most commonly for this dish, though fresh would surely be more authentic. No-one has complained here though!)

Steam spinach (or microwave) until just tender. Squeeze out as much water as you can, and if you’ve used fresh spinach, chop it coarsely. Place it in a bowl, and mix in another dish:
5 T soy sauce
3 T sesame oil
1-2 T toasted sesame seeds
2 cloves garlic
2 T sugar
2 T rice vinegar
¼ T red pepper flakes (NOT cayenne) or black pepper, or to taste

Mix dressing over spinach, and serve to hungry kids. I swear I have never seen kids eat so much spinach.

Trusting in Him,

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