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Stepping out the Box (part 2): Finding my Inner "Julia"

I've always been a good cook. No. A GREAT cook. I come from a long line of cooks in my family: Southern women who could whip up just about anything. From peach cobblers to the best pot of collard greens to even family has great cooks (men included. My uncle Sonny and my cousin Ant are EXCELLENT cooks!). I think the greatest compliment I ever got was from my parents. My mother said "I know I fry pretty good chicken but,baby, your chicken is WAY better than mine!". My dad smiled and nodded his head in agreement. When I was married, nothing fulfilled me more than to see my husband with a full belly and a smile on his face. When the food was good, I could practically get him to do anything. (LOL). I love to host parties and try new recipes. I watch Food Network all the time and I even collect cookbooks and belong to a recipe-exchange club. I try as often as I can to release my inner Julia/B.Smith/Martha Stewart/Barefoot Contessa (LOL).

I recently hosted a Game Day Pampered Chef party at my house. I was teaching my girls some great "game day" recipes for football season.(Ya know..since most ladies don't wanna watch can at least provide the snacks!) I was so excited. I wore a throwback jersey.My girls were excited. They got to test out some great products from my cousin's Pampered Chef catalog as well as eat and socialize. I told my frat brother about the recipes and the party. He said "Well..I wouldn't marry a woman who didn't know how to cook". I said.." girlfriends are married and don't cook. I'm divorced and I can really burn!". I truly wasn't seeing the correlation between cooking and marriage.'s a great asset. But it can be taught if you are willing to learn. He then goes.."Well..that doesn't seem right.. Well..instead of you teaching them how to cook...they need to be teaching you whatever super powers they have". I literally had steam coming out my ears. Who that F**K are you to insinuate that they have some special powers that keep a man..or keep them married? Or that me cooking isn't enough of a skill to keep a man or the reason I got divorced, therefore I must be lacking in some OTHER area (i.e. sexually, financially, etc.)? Or they need to teach me a damn thing! Whatever he was insinuating, it pissed me off. He said " don't tell me you're sensitive". I literally had to really catch myself. and I had some choice words. He knows I'm single. Knows I'm divorced. Trust...that was beyond insensitive.

Out here in the dating world, I DO NOT tell most men I know how to cook. I've cooked for a few guys, most of whom didn't appreciate it (but it was some super basic stuff). I've only cooked for one man since I've been divorced who really appreciated it. But after a while, I got kind of tired of cooking. I was cooking ALL THE TIME. I wanted to go out to eat sometimes...I didn't want to feel relegated to having to cook all the time. I was hoping he wasn't trying to take advantage of a good situation (which I doubt) but I also didn't want to feel resentful.

Now that I'm on my own, I've gotten pretty routine with my cooking. I cook the same things over and over. I take the same basic lunch over and over. And quite frankly, I'm bored. I do try and eat healthier than I normally do (baking instead of frying, etc) but even that gets old. I do want to be able to cook and maintain my weight yet explore flavorful options.
I decided on a whim that about once a week (on Sundays preferably), I'd try a new recipe. Something yummy, good, and relatively healthy. Sunday gives me time to really savor the cooking, take my time, and really try something new. I have time on the weekend to shop for ingredients. I mean, of course every now and again I'd want a traditional Sunday meal: mac n cheese, candied yams, pot roast...etc. Good comfort foods. But I need to change it up sometimes.

This Sunday, I decided to explore some more "ethnic cooking". This week's menu was Korean. I had a pack of flanken short ribs in my freezer and I had no idea what to do with them. So, I decided to go ahead and research and I kept finding Korean short rib recipes. I went to the Your Dekalb International Farmer's Market and picked up the ingredients. I stayed there for hours, exploring the aisle and even tasting samples (LOL). They had everything I needed.
The recipe follows as such:

Korean Barbequed Beef Short Ribs
2 to 5 pounds Korean style beef short ribs* (flanken cut ribs)
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup soy sauce
½ cup water
¼ cup mirin (rice wine)
¼ teaspoon ginger
1 small onion, peeled and finely grated
1 small Asian pear, peeled and finely grated
4 tablespoons minced garlic (about 6 cloves)
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 green onions, thinly sliced (optional)

Sprinkle brown sugar over beef and mix well to evenly coat. Let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes while preparing marinade. In a bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients. Transfer beef into a large sealable freezer bag (you may need 2). Add marinade, press out excess air from bags, and seal. Turn bag over several times to ensure beef is evenly coated. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours but preferably overnight. Heat gas or charcoal grill to medium-hot. Drain excess marinade off beef. Grill short ribs, turning once, to desired doneness, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Garnish with thinly sliced green onions, if desired. Serve whole pieces as a main course or cut into smaller pieces, using kitchen shears, for a starter or party nibble.
* NOTE: Korean-style short ribs can be found at most Asian markets. The cut, also known as “flanken,” refers to a strip of beef cut across the bone from the chuck end of the short ribs. Unlike American and European-style short ribs, which include a thick slice of bone-in beef, Korean-style short ribs are cut lengthwise across the rib bones. The result is a thin strip of meat, about 8 to10 inches in length, lined on 1 side with ½-inch thick rib bones. The thin slices make for fast cooking on the grill.

The Finished marinade mix...
Meat was marinated for about 24 hrs.

After I drain the meat, I add it to a VERY hot grill pan.

Traditional Thai/Korean "Sticky" Rice (Just a type of long-grain rice)

Stir Fry Veggies: I just sauteed them in sesame oil, garlic, ginger, a dash of soy sauce and black pepper corns

The Final Product: Korean Short Ribs with Sticky Rice and Stir Fry Veggies

Let's Eat!

It was a fun dish to prepare! I was so stuffed afterwards (I actually didn't eat all of mine) and I had plenty of left-overs for tomorrows dinner, despite inviting a friend over to eat. I hope eventually I will get to test my cooking skills out on a man who will be able to appreciate what I do.

Next dish on the menu: Chicken Marsala with Capellini and sauteed Spinach

But that's later on in the week!! You gotta wait for that one, ya'll !!

Till then,



  1. Yum, that Korean dish looks good!!!! What a great idea to experiment with new recipes. Nabu's been doing that a lot lately as well (with her Patty Labelle cookbook) and has been making some bomb dishes that I've been meaning to try.

    Between the two of you, over the last few years I have totally improved my cooking game!!! :-)

    I'm angered all over again reading about this dude's comment. He shouldn't have even let it come out of his mouth, even if he was thinking it. Really, the nerve! That would have hurt my feelings a lot.

  2. Yeah it totally hurt my feelings but I didn't allow it to crush my spirit. He really doesn't know I can't expect him to even care. So moving on..(LOL). BUT I am glad you are expanding your cooking and really experimenting more. I am trying to do fresh and healthy more times a week.

  3. That looks so great! I know it tasted just as good as it looks.


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