Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Recipe: Grilled Ribeye Steak with Gochujang Butter

I love trying new products - especially when they're affiliated with Top Chef! One of my favorite Top Chef contestants was Chef Edward Lee - who is the Chef/Owner of Louisville's own 610 Magnolia!  


Leading Korean foods manufacturer Chung Jung One announces the arrival of its new Gochujang Korean Chili Sauce—the next generation of the traditional fermented hot chili paste—at Jungle Jim’s International MarketIn collaboration with acclaimed chef Edward Lee, Chung Jung One introduced its popular umami-rich hot sauce to America in September 2014 and is thrilled to increase its distribution to the Cincinnati and Fairfield areas. 


Gochujang Korean Chili Sauce gives recipes a spicy and rich flavor, with a hint of sweetness. While the sauce can be considered a condiment that can be enjoyed on its own like sriracha, it serves to be much more versatile and is best to mix in with other ingredients in a recipe. From Smoky Gochujang Wings, to a summer Gochujang Gazpacho, to Grilled Rib-Eye Steaks with Gochujang Butter (recipe below), Chef Edward Lee leads the way in using this unique version of the traditional Korean ingredient in the context of modern American cuisine.

I used the Gochujang Sauce to make a special butter to cook the ribeye with. There's honey, lemon juice, garlic and more mixed in with softened butter.


Chung Jung One Gochujang Korean Chili Sauce is available to purchase at Jungle Jim’s locations in Cincinnati and Fairfield, Ohio. The sauce is also available as a pack of two 7.5 ounce bottles for $9.99 on Amazon.


I'm all about Ribeyes - so I knew it was going to be good. The butter soaked in while I was grilling the steak and left it with this sweet & spicy deliciousness. 

And it tasted as good as it looked!!! And surprisingly - it wasn't too spicy - I think you can really control the spice level based on your taste because the Gochujang is very spicy (to me - I'm a wuss) - but when you mix it with all the other ingredients - it tempers it down but keeps that rich flavor.


Grilled Rib-Eye Steak with Gochujang Butter and Nori

Recipe by Chef Edward Lee

Gochujang Butter

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 tablespoons Chung Jung One Gochujang Korean Chili Sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon organic honey
1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt
pinch of black pepper

Steak

2 8-ounce rib-eye steaks
salt and pepper
oil for grill
1 lemon, cut in half
*Nori powder

1. Make the gochujang butter ahead of time. Add butter and rest of the ingredients to a blender or food processor. Pulse until just combined and smooth. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to your liking. Refrigerate until ready to use. (It will keep for up to a month.)

2. Remove steaks from the refrigerator, season generously with salt and pepper and allow to come to room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a gas or charcoal grill to high (about 450°F to 550°F). Using tongs, rub the grates with a towel dipped in vegetable oil.

3. Bring gochujang butter to room temperature and give it a few stirs with a spoon.

4. Grill steaks on high for about 2 minutes and until you have defined grill marks. Flip steaks and add a dollop of gochujang butter over the top of each one. As the butter melts, baste the tops of the steaks with the melted gochujang butter. Cook steaks to desired doneness, about another 2 minutes for medium rare.

5. Remove steaks from grill and let rest on a cutting board for 2 minutes before slicing. In the meantime, take your cut lemon halves and grill them with the cut side touching the grill. Grill until blackened and reserve.

6. Slice rib-eye steaks and transfer to a platter. Top each slice of steak with a spoonful of gochujang butter and a squeeze of the grilled lemon juice. Sprinkle with nori powder and flaky sea salt. Serve immediately.

*Nori powder can be bought at specialty Asian stores. You can also make your own by grinding nori sheets in a blender on high until they become powdery.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Road Trip (+ Restaurants) - Hamilton County - Carmel, Indiana (Peace Water Winery, Divvy + more!)

Disclosure: Visit Hamilton County provided this trip but all opinions are my own. 

Recently I was invited to Hamilton County, Indiana - which is basically the north side of Indianapolis - for a Flavors Foodie Tour! I'd never been so I was definitely excited for a new place to go that was just a couple hours away. 

Carmel is the heart of Hamilton County and I must say - it won me over! Carmel is like Hyde Park on steroids! It's got the greatest neighborhood "square" - it's so much more than a square - it's blocks and blocks of local shops and restaurants. It's literally like you just stepped into The Truman Show (love that movie!).

Thy have a bike rental system similar to Cincinnati's - but the pricing structure is a little different ($3/hour vs. $8/day). I like the 3 wheel bikes - I don't want to say how many years it's been since I've been on a bicycle - so I think those look fun.

We started out our Indie Food Tour at Peace Water Winery in Carmel. As the sign says - it's Indiana's only locally-owned California Winery. What does that mean? The vineyard and all the grapes are in California but the wine made there is ONLY sold in Indiana. It's interesting and produces very different wines. The grapes that can grow in Cali are very different than the Ohio grapes.

We had a wine tasting to start - they have 11 main wines - ranging from a $19 bottle of White Table Wine to a $128 bottle of a Cabernet Sauvignon. I definitely was more of a fan of the whites - but that's pretty much par for the course for me.

We were seated on the patio - which is covered but open and airy and just so peaceful! So we're just drinking and enjoying it - it was sublime (that's the name of their Pinot Noir too!).

They even have a Vintage 1966 VW Van named Reggie. Seriously - the longer you're there - the more enamored you'll become and you haven't even heard their story yet.

Reggie does deliveries for their Peace Posse - which is their wine club. Join and you get a "mommy drinks because she cares" t-shirt. Oh yes - it gets even better.

It was about this time in the evening that the owner Scott Burton came out to chat with us. First of all - he's super handsome and charismatic (like John Stamos) - so ladies - make it a point to go! (My husband was like, "Are you staring at him?" Um - no..no..um well..yeah. #busted)

But looks fade - right? Well - amazing human beingness doesn't. He started by telling us how amazing his wife is. She's raised EIGHT kids and a zoo of various animals. (Seriously?!) Then he tells us about how he switched from corporate America to entrepeneurship. And then - they decided to do something for others - by opening the winery.

How? 50% of their profits go to charity. Not 5%, not 10% - FIFTY PERCENT. So now you understand the "mommy drinks because she cares".

They also have included their kids in the business (not in drinking - except for the 21+) - the kids have taken part in the label creation and all the charity work. The family chose all the decor for the winery as well. It's got a definite country feel - but like country-chic - not country-doily.

Their wines have also won awards - their Grateful Red Cabernet Franc just won Red Wine of the Year at the Indy International Wine Competition.

And - before you leave - you'll definitely stop by the Give Wall. Each of the kids has chosen a charity (heck a couple even STARTED charities!). When you purchase a wine - you get a token - and you deposit it into the basket of your charity of choice. There's everything from my "other" husband Peyton Manning Childrens Hospital to an equine charity (yes - my token went to the horses!) and everything in between. Oh - and they don't take tips. If you want to leave a tip - leave it in the basket.

Seriously - I fell in love with this place more by the minute. Be sure to make a special trip if you head to Indy - it's worth it. (Peace Water Winery - 37 W Main St - Carmel IN)

Next up - we hopped in a Limo bus and headed to Divvy just a few minutes away. The menu was waiting for us at our table and all I had to see was Bacon Bites and I was sold.

Divvy has a very modern decor - with tables in the bar area made of cement - this wall of wood that was made by hand - with hundreds of little squares of wood - and just clean lines all over the place. It's very slick but still comfortable.

We had a variety of tapas - which is their specialty - from Bruleed Brie to Whipped Feta - from Corn Creme Brulee to Beer Cheese Fondue. Of these - let me rave about a couple of items in particular.

First - the Corn Creme Brulee with Romano, jalapenos and red sea salt. Basically it's creamed corn with a kick and a bruleed top. My husband is not typically a vegetable lover or even a lover of spicy - but he reluctantly tried this one. After one bite - he was SOLD! He at probably half the bowl and declared that we were DEFINITELY making the drive again to come back just for that. That's high praise from Mr. Hussy.

Second - the Beer Cheese Fondue served with fried pita triangles and bakery bread bites. Pita triangles are great - but fry 'em and wowza - so much better! I'm not the biggest fan of beer cheese - it can have a funk with it because of the beer - but this was DELICIOUS! It was thick and cheesy but still natural tasting (not like Arbys cheese sauce). We both loved it!
 
The one item that looks beautiful - at least with my camera - was the Porterhouse Teasers - grilled NY Strip and tenderloin topped with smoky garlic butter. Unfortunately it wasn't our favorite - the tenderloin was more tender (duh) than the strip and it just didn't have a lot of flavor. It was cooked well but wasn't that much of a stand out. But - there are so many places to get steak - try all the other stuff - hell - cook your steak at home - it's what I do. Now on the other hand...

Bacon Bites. 

Did you hear me??? I said BACON BITES! Pork belly, maple bourbon gastrique and Applewood smoked sea salt.

SHUT THE FRONT DOOR.

I might have eaten an entire dish of it. We kept passing it around so I was sharing - I swear. But then there was some left - and everybody said they were done - so yeah - I totes cleaned the plate. See the pork belly was deep fried and then there was the maple bourbon gastrique in the dish for you to dip it in. Seriously. Don't give me that look - you're just jealous you weren't there with me. This dish is $6.45 - so the price is great too!

And for more about the restaurant - Kevin "Woody" Rider is the owner and mastermind behind the small plates that you can "divvy" up! (Get it?!) His wife is the executive chef and when they were asked to come up with a concept for their restaurant - they knew immediately what they wanted - the small plates. They love tastings and would much rather share a bunch of small plates - I AGREE COMPLETELY!

Divvy Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Next up - back to the bus and over to Upland Brewing Company. Yes - Indianapolis has been overrun by craft breweries just like Cincinnati. Upland is actually one of the oldest breweries in Indiana and has been around for more than 20 years!

Upland has a great feel to it - very natural and clean lines - with unique shirts and glasses. Their regular set of beers includes an IPA, wheat ale, pale, porter and a champagne pilsner. One of their specialties - and award winners - is their sours - which are brewed on-site at their Bloomington locale. The beers were even featured on NBC's Parks & Recreation!

There are also oodles of seasonals that they serve as well - you can get growlers to go. And seriously - in the world of seasonals - who doesn't want to try the Nut Hugger Brown. I mean - I'm there. Sounds like something I'd call a slutty friend, "Shut up ya little nut hugger!".

In addition to the beer - they also have a full restaurant menu. We tried their pulled pork and Wit Mac & Cheese. Both were REALLY good. The pork was nice and tender and the mac & cheese was creamy perfection! Be careful with allergies though - my sandwich had coleslaw on it (mayo) and we told them ahead of time about Larry's allergy but they still served it to him. They actually brought it over saying "this is for the egg allergic person" - luckily - I'm hyper-vigilant and noticed and had them bring him a different sandwich.

I didn't love the beer but the food was great- so I would definitely go back.

Upland Brewing Company Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Our last stop was Chocolate for the Spirit where we met with owner and Master Chocolatier - Julie Bolajack. Yeah - you can become a MASTER CHOCOLATIER! I don't seem to remember our guidance counselor mentioning that.

Julie, pictured top right, just brought home 15 awards from the 2015 International Chocolate Salon. Yeah - 15!! One of the most award winning is her Mayan Spice Bar - pictured top left. The Mayan Spice Bar is just plain crazy - we heard someone say that it's best - if possible to eat it with her - because she will walk you through all the flavors that your tongue will explore - bite-by-bite. I couldn't really imagine that - until I bit into it. Every single bite was different!!! It's pricey at $10 but it's unique enough that it's worth it.

(They also have gelato!)

We tried a lot of different chocolates - and they're all exquisitely beautiful.

One VERY special thing about Chocolate for the Spirit is that Julie is one of only 12 chocolatiers in the US that has access to the RAREST chocolate in the world - Pure Nacional from Peru. (not displayed above - that's just another pretty chocolate) They actually thought this chocolate was extinct for a while - but it's been rediscovered and is super rare! We each got to try a tiny bite - so rich - so good.

Julie is definitely an amazing talent - and oddly enough - she started as a computer programmer! But now - she's making things like the Dark Vader - which is made of 72% Dark Chocolate Ganache from Ecuador and then dipped in that same chocolate. Oh heavens. It was AMAZING! Larry and I both agreed - this was OUR FAVORITE of the truffles we tried and definitely what I would recommend you purchase - along with that Mayan Spice Bar.

Chocolate for the Spirit and Gelato Too Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Thanks again to Indie Indy Foodie Tours for the food tour. Hamilton County sponsored the trip - but you can do something similar anytime you want by trying out these food tours.

I can't wait to go back and visit Carmel again - that is a beautiful neighborhood! They have these fun people throughout the neighborhood in a variety of poses. They're very lifelike too.

Thanks to Visit Hamilton County - they planned a great trip! We had a blast and we barely even scratched the surface of all there is to do in the area. I have another post coming with more!

Thanks also to the Courtyard by Marriot in Carmel for our accommodations. It was a great night's sleep!

I also want to say that I had the pleasure of making new friends - if you're a wine lover - be sure to check out my friend Howard Hewitt - he and his companion were super-fun to hang out with!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Recipe: Fun & Simple Fruit Salad

I have tried a couple different produce delivery services and sometimes my eyes fingers on the keyboard are bigger than my stomach. I am always struggling to order the right amount based on what we'll actually use. I ended up with quite a bit of fruit - so I made up a fruit salad. 

I came across a few things on the interwebs suggesting to add vanilla pudding mix (just the powder) so I thought this was a great time to try it.  

I diced up a pineapple and a mini-watermelon - then tossed together tiny red raspberries and blueberries. If I were to do this again - I would keep the raspberries out until the end - they break up pretty easily. I also found some grapes that were nearing their end - so I threw them in too.

So you just toss the fruit together and then add in half a packet of vanilla pudding mix. I really liked the addition of the pudding mix - it dampers the tartness of the pineapple.

Super simple and a great way to turn plain old fruit into something special! Enjoy!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Restaurant Review: Chappy's Bourbon Bar & Bites - Milford

My husband works in Milford and stopped down the street after work to have a beer with a coworker so I met up with them at Chappy's Bourbon Bar & Bites

 It's on main street in Milford - they have a really great selection of bourbon and that's their specialty (duh). Inside - it's very dark and there's bar seating and a dozen or so tables. It's definitely more bar than bites.

Their beer selection is also good - they had a couple of ciders so I grabbed a Crispin. They also have a $1 beer cooler - who knows what all is in there!

I wanted to try the Hog Wings but they were out of that (along with a few other things). Larry got the SMOKED SAUSAGE WITH BOURBON BARREL ALE BEER CHEESE ($8). It also came with a Servaati's pretzel roll. The pretzel was really good, the sausage was fine but a little over cooked and the beer cheese was not my favorite. It was really runny - like water - and had a funky taste. I'm not sure if it's the Bourbon Barrel Ale they're using in it (which is my husband's favorite) or if it's the cheese mixture but I wasn't a fan. It had a funky after taste.

I got a Carnitas taco ($3) - I think they were out of some of the tacos too. None of us were too hungry but I wanted to try something. This was not good. The chips were stale, the salsa was jarred, the tortilla was cold, there was way too much slaw and the meat was bland. I took a couple bites and left it.

I was still hungry and ordered a side of Mac & Cheese ($3) - well this was even more disappointing. Macaroni covered in the same beer cheese sauce I already didn't like and then some shredded cheddar melted on top. Again - a few bites and done.

Why Should You Go? If you want a drink or a beer. Otherwise - head down the street to Padrinos or 20 Brix.

Chappy's Bourbon Bar & Bites Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Restaurant Review: Huit Craft BBQ - Downtown

One of my favorite people on the planet recently started a new job - so we have to find new lunch places to meet up at. Lucky for me - there's ample supply! First stop was Skyline - cuz sometimes you need fast. But sometimes - you need new! 

 I've been wanting to try Huit Craft BBQ for quite a while and this was the perfect opportunity. We weren't too sure about how quick it would be - but were willing to give it a shot. Their lunch menu is pretty expansive and is much more than just bbq - from rice bowls to brisket and combos of everything in between - there's a lot to choose from.

Inside - it's a small place with maybe 8-10 tables and a light airy feel. The servers at lunch are pretty busy so they aren't too attentive - but it wasn't too bad.

Lauren got a noodle bowl - which I cannot find on the online menu - but it definitely looked delish. She enjoyed it.

I got HUIT Bibimbap with grilled pork ($10) and it was delicious. On it's own - it really wasn't spicy - so I added some sriracha. The pork though was perfect. It was juicy and full of flavor - not too strong of anything - just natural pork flavor. So good. The portion size was large as well - I couldn't finish it.

Why Should You Go? There's so many tasty things I wanted to try: Drunken Brisket, Grilled Sriracha Mayo Corn on the Cob, Baked Corn Pudding, Brisket & Gravy Rice (wha?????) + a Saturday Brunch with Monkey Bread French Toast (seriously?!). Only thing is - when you go - can you call me so I can meet you there? (I do think it was a little pricey for lunch - but it was really good.)

Huit Craft BBQ Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato buzzoole code