On Living for Joy & Bulgogi

I don’t know what it is about this year already, but I feel more motivated to do new and interesting things! I bought a TON of new cookie cutters for future cookie endeavors outside of corgi cookies—which I have not abandoned by any means!! You can still make orders on the Cookie Order Form tab of my site—because it seems I must retract a particularly repetitive statement that you’ve heard me say time and time again. The phrase I am referring to is, “I am not a baker.” While I still find baking cakes and other confections a little daunting and probably not as successful as I would like (though, I’m sure a little more research and patience would yield more personally satisfying results), clearly, this is no longer a true statement because I seemed to have found my baking niche in sugar cookies. I want to try different dough recipes (using different spices, maybe even chocolate cut out cookies one day!) and I’ve been researching non-stop how to get the right icing consistency.

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That’s I think the main area I should highlight with regards to my attempts at other desserts/baking adventures: research. YouTube is great for this, getting to see EXACTLY how things should look at particular stages—ESPECIALLY WITH ICING!—was what I wasn’t doing long before now…honestly, I have never been a good researcher…it was always something I struggled with in school at all levels, only because there are times when I just want to DO and learn the HOW or WHY as I go! Learn by experience, by trial and error…but that’s when I would get frustrated and give up, which isn’t really something that I’m known for. Or at least, so I’d like to think.

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I did not make any resolutions this year, mainly because I just didn’t think about it, but one of the main goals I have is to do things that bring joy. Not just for myself, but for my husband, for my family, for my friends, and for Tuggs (because Tuggs brings so much natural joy to my life deserves to have that joy returned as often as possible), and I say that because the day before Christmas Eve, I lost a joy in my life, my beloved Mamaw (MidWest for Grandma). I have debated and gone back and forth about revealing this because of how close I was with her, how raw her absence still feels in my heart, but my resolution for joy is because of her. My mamaw not only lived for the joys in life, but simply lived for joy. She was joy. I was very, very close my mamaw and I miss her every day, and I know she will always be with me, but she always told me to never waste time doing things that didn’t make me happy because life is too short. And it is, it really is. So, in honor of her, this is my year of living for the joys in life, for simply living for joy, no matter what form that comes in (#immadome or for you, my readers, #doyou), which for the last two weeks (to bring it back to why you’re reading this right now) has been researching. Figuring out how to make a good recipe even better, from cups vs. metric/weight for cookies (answer: metric/weight wins every time – your amounts will be more accurate and you’ll just have a better cookie in general) to the development of flavors through the substitution or replacement of specific ingredients.

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For example, the bulgogi recipe that I have included below: this is a conglomeration of about five different recipes that appealed to me, but each recipe had a missing aspect. One had lime, the others didn’t. One had gochujang, but the others didn’t (note: I used siracha because Mariano’s was out of gochujang, but I recommend gochujang if you can find it – deeper flavor profile). Another had sesame oil, a couple others did not. So, I improvised and made a Bulgogi marinade that worked for me and my family’s taste, and ran with it! Survey says: Frankie said it was AWESOME, and while I wish I had had more time to marinade my pork (30 mins vs my preferred overnight method, which is why it wasn’t as brown as I would have liked it to be when I cooked it), this was definitely more satisfying because it felt more complete and well-rounded. The rice was a gamble, but I wanted to highlight the tang and sweetness of the marinade without overpowering the neutral canvas that rice is supposed to provide, so I was very light in my seasoning, but again, a gamble that paid off in this case because I researched a few other rice recipes that were seasoned to give it that extra little boost. So without further ado, I will leave you with my first original Cooking Maggie recipe of 2019 with promises of bringing more originality as the year progresses (while I go clean up my face because I definitely cried through most of this post and look a right mess…ai ya.) Much love to you all and hoping your 2019 is off to a great start, Maggie

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Housekeeping: In honor of Mamaw, who loved meat sauce on her pasta, my bolognese from scratch recipe was reworked to be printable over New Year’s, and I have dedicated it to her. You can check it out here (and it pairs GREAT with the homemade pasta).

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On Bulgogi & Sesame Lime Rice

  • Author: The Real Cooking Maggie

Ingredients

Bulgogi

  • 1lb boneless pork loin, cut into 1/2 inch strips
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, peeled & grated
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon gochujang or siracha
  • 1 teaspoon oil (for cooking)
  • 2 tablespoons scallions, thinly sliced

Sesame Rice

  • 1 cup of long grain white rice
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 2 cups of water

Instructions

  1. Combine all the ingredients for the bulgogi (except the oil & pork), place into a ziplock bag. Add in the pork, and let everything marinade from 30 minutes to overnight.
  2. Combine all the rice ingredients into a sauce pan, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and cover with a lid, simmering for about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat to cool for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork.
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add pork to the pan in a single layer and cook without moving until lightly browned. Turn each piece of meat and repeat on the other side. When done, remove the cooked pieces to a plate, and repeat cooking process with the rest of the pork, only cooking a single layer at a time.
  4. Once all the pork is cooked, throw the remaining marinade into the skillet and heat for 2 minutes.
  5. Serve the pork over the rice and top with some spoonsful of warmed marinade & sliced scallions. ENJOY!

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