Bibimbop – A Savory Korean Dish with a Fun Name

Ample Bites publishes a lot of recipes for dishes that have American, Italian, French, Cajun and Caribbean roots but don’t be fooled by the Midwestern roots of Ample Bites. I also enjoy good Asian fare, especially Thai and Vietnamese cuisine and, of course sushi and sashimi.

There is a Korean dish that has always intrigued Ample Bites as much for its name as for its healthy and savory ingredients. It is the Korean dish Bibimbop, which can be pronounced in a number of different ways including: bee-bim-bahp, bee-bim-bop, bim-bim-bop or even bop-bop-bop. The pronunciation I have heard the most and one that I like to use is bip-bim-bop. This Korean word literally means “mixed meal” or “mixed rice”. When you see the recipe and the accompanying photo you will understand why it is call Bibimbop.

This meal, dating from the late 19th century (not really all that old, right) is listed at number 40 on the World’s Most Delicious Foods in a readers’ poll compiled by CNN in 2011. The dish can be prepared with a wide variety of vegetables. Those commonly used include cucumber, zucchini, carrots, mushrooms, spinach and bean sprouts. The dish almost always includes tofu and toppings can include strips of chicken or beef, pieces of seafood, and or a raw or fried egg. My recipe is as follows:


Serves 4

8 oz extra-firm tofu, drained
1/3 cup water
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 tsp sugar, divided
2 tsp minced garlic, divided
1 tsp minced peeled fresh ginger, divided
¼ tsp crushed red pepper
1 cup julienne-cut carrot
2 Tbsp lower-sodium soy sauce
3 Tbsp, plus 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil, divided
3 cups hot cooked short-grain rice
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
1 (5-oz) package sliced shitake mushroom caps
1 (9-oz) package fresh baby spinach
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 large eggs
4 tsp Korean chili paste, such as Annie Chun’s
¼ tsp Kosher salt

Cut tofu into ¾” thick slices. Place tofu in a single layer on several layers of paper towels; cover with additional paper towels. Let stand 30 minutes, pressing down occasionally.

Combine 1/3 cup water, vinegar, 1 teaspoon sugar, ½ teaspoon garlic, ½ teaspoon ginger, and crushed red pepper in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add carrot, and remove from heat; let stand 30 minutes. Drain.

Remove tofu from paper towels; cut into ¾” cubes. Place tofu in a medium bowl. Combine remaining 1 teaspoon sugar, ½ teaspoon garlic, remaining ½ teaspoon ginger, soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon oil, stirring with a whisk. Add 1 tablespoon soy sauce mixture to tofu; toss gently. Let stand 15 minutes.

Heat a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over high heat for 4 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon sesame oil; swirl to coat. Add rice to pan in a single layer; cook 1 minute (do not stir). Remove from heat; let stand 20 minutes.

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon oil; swirl to coat. Add 1 ½ teaspoons soy sauce mixture and bean sprouts to pan; sauté 1 minute. Remove sprouts from pan; keep warm. Add 1 teaspoon to pan; swirl to coat. Add mushrooms to pan; sauté 2 minutes. Stir in 1 ½ teaspoons soy sauce mixture; sauté 1 minute. Remove mushrooms from pan; keep warm. Add 2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add tofu to pan; sauté 7 minutes or until golden brown. Remove tofu from pan; keep warm. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add remaining 1 teaspoon garlic and remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce mixture; sauté 30 seconds. Add spinach to pan; sauté 1 minute or until spinach wilts. Remove spinach from pan; keep warm. Reduce heat to medium. Melt butter in pan. Crack eggs into pan; cook 4 minutes or until whites are set. Remove from heat.

Place ¾ cup rice in each of 4 shallow bowls. Top each serving evenly with carrots, sprouts, mushrooms, tofu, and spinach. Top each serving with 1 egg and 1 teaspoon chili paste. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

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Guy’s Night Dinner

Ample Bites thinks a guy’s night’s dinner must include steak and blue cheese. Tonight’s menu included a thick New York strip steak, a simple salad with blue cheese, and a baked potato with butter, blue cheese and sauteed mushrooms. Enjoy!

Perfect Grilled Steak

Serves 1

1 10 – 16 oz New York strip steak – warmed to room temperature
4 oz dry red wine
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp Italian seasoning (dried oregano, basil, and thyme)
1 smashed garlic clove
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat grill to high heat, all burners.

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl or rimmed glass dish. Roll steak in marinade for up to 15 minutes.

Place steak on grill for 2 minutes to sear one side. Flip to second side and sear for 2 minutes. Sear edges for 30 seconds. Place steak back on the grill for 2 minutes and flip for 2 minutes on the other side for medium-rare. Remove the steak from the grill and let stand tented with foil of 3-7 minutes before serving.

Simple Salad with Aged Blue Cheese

Serves 1

1 handful of romaine, Boston bib, or escarole lettuce
1 small tomato, sliced
1 small red onion sliced
1/4 cup vinaigrette dressing
1/4 cup blue cheese, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place greens on plate and garnish with tomatoes, onion and blues cheese. Dress with vinaigrette and season to taste.

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Mushroom Stuffed Pork Chops and Mushroom Risotto

The Ample Bites tribute to National Mushroom Day (Monday, April 16th) continues with a meal that includes Mushroom Stuffed Pork Chops and a Mushroom Risotto. Both dishes are easy to prepare and the mushroom flavors are featured prominently.

Mushroom Stuffed Pork Chops
Mark Kelly

Serves 4

4 thick-cut bone-in center cut pork chops
12 oz black coffee, room temperature or colder
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
4 Tbsp Kosher salt
1 Tbsp honey
Cold water

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
8 oz mushrooms (preferably fresh wild or Crimini), finely chopped
4 basil leaves, shredded
4 oz fresh goats milk cheese (Chevre)
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl or large zip-top plastic bag combine the coffee, thyme, rosemary, salt and honey. Dissolve the salt and then add the pork chops to the brine mixture. Add water as necessary to completely cover the pork chops in the brine. Place in a refrigerator for at least 3 hours.

Remove the pork chops from the brine, rinse them and pat them dry. With a sharp knife cut a pocket in the side of each of the pork chops. Place the pork chops on a plate and allow them to come up to room temperature before grilling. Drizzle with olive oil and season both sides with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, combine the mushrooms, onion and garlic with a dash of olive oil and salt and pepper. In a small skillet soften the vegetable mixture. Let the vegetable mixture cool before adding the basil and Chevre. Fold the basil and Chevre into the vegetable mixture and stuff one quarter of the mixture into the pocket in each pork chop and secure the opening with a small skewer or toothpick.

Preheat the grill to 500F for at least 10 minutes. Place the pork chops over indirect medium-high heat and cook for 4-5 minutes rotating 90 degrees halfway through. Flip the pork chops over and grill for another 3-4 minutes to medium. Remove from the grill, drizzle with olive oil and serve immediately.

Mushroom Risotto
(Adapted from Williams Sonoma, Risotto)

Serves 4

5-6 cups low sodium chicken stock
1/4 oz dried oyster or porcini mushrooms
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves minced
1/4 lb of assorted fresh mushrooms (preferably wild mushrooms), cleaned and thinly sliced
1/4 lb fresh white button mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced
2 Tbsp minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp minced fresh thyme
1 1/2 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine, at room temperature
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer. Remove from the heat and add the dried mushrooms. Steep for about 20 minutes. Drain the mushrooms through a fine-mesh sieve lined with paper towel, gently pressing the mushrooms to force out the stock. Reserve the stock. Return the stock to the saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Maintain at a gentle simmer over low heat. Chop the mushrooms and set aside.

In a Dutch oven heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until softened, about 2 minutes. Add all the fresh mushrooms and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped porcini, parsley, thyme and 1/2 cup of the simmering stock and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mushrooms to a bowl and set aside.

Add the rice to the same pan and stir over medium heat until each grain is translucent with a white dot in the center, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and stir until it is completely absorbed.

Add the simmering stock a ladleful at a time, stirring frequently after each addition. Wait until the stock is almost completely absorbed (but the rice is never dry on the top) before adding the next ladleful. Reserve 1/4 cup stock to add at the end.

When the rice is almost tender to the bite but still slightly firm in the center and looks creamy, after about 18 minutes, add the mushroom mixture and a ladleful of the stock. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are heated through and the rice is al dente, 2-3 minutes longer. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and the reserved 1/4 cup of stock. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve at once.

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Veal, Mushrooms and Pasta!

Here are a mushroom dish and a side for National Mushroom Day. Enjoy!

Veal Medallions in Marsala Porcini Sauce
Mark Kelly

Serves 6

1 oz dried porcini mushrooms
1 oz dried chanterelle mushrooms
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed in garlic press
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp minced fresh rosemary
1 veal roast, about 2 to 2 ½ lbs, roasted to rare, rested and cut into medallions
1 pound of fresh light whole wheat pasta
1 small red onion, finely chopped
¼ cup dry Marsala wine
2 ½ cup low sodium chicken broth

Boil 2 cups of the chicken broth and turn heat off. Steep the dried mushrooms in chicken broth for 30 minutes. Drain the mushrooms, reserving the liquid. Chop the mushrooms and set aside. Strain the mushroom broth into a clean bowl through a fine-mesh sieve lined with a paper towel or cheesecloth. Set aside.

In a large heavy skillet, melt the butter with the olive oil over medium-low heat. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, 1 teaspoon of salt, and the minced rosemary and mix into a paste. When the butter is melted and beginning to sizzle, add the garlic-rosemary paste to the pan and cook, until the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Arrange the veal medallions in the pan and raise the heat to medium-high. Season with freshly ground black pepper. Brown the medallions on both sides and transfer to a warm serving platter and cover loosely with foil to keep warm.

Add the onion to the pan an cook, stirring often, until the onions just begin to soften, about 3-4 minutes. Raise the heat to high and stir in the Marsala wine. Let the wine bubble for about 1 minute, then pour in the reserved mushroom broth and the remaining ½ cup of chicken broth. Cook at a lively simmer until the liquid has reduced by about a half, 3-5 minutes.

In boiling salted water cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and reserve ¼ cup of pasta water.

Mix the medallions with the pasta in the skillet on low heat. Add the pasta water and stir. Spoon the sauce over medallions and pasta and serve immediately.

Spicy Sauteed Kale and Chickpeas
(Courtesy of Rustic Italian, Domenica Marchetti)

Serves 4

3 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb lacinato kale, tough bottom stems removed, leaves and stems coarsely shredded
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 small fresh hot chile, seeded and minced, or a generous pinch of dried red pepper flakes
Sea salt

In a large heavy frying pan over medium-low heat, warm the garlic in the olive oil, stirring often, until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Put about half of the kale in the pan, or as much will fit without spilling. Cover and let wilt for about 2 minutes and uncover and add the remaining kale. Using tongs, turn the greens to coat with the oil and garlic. Cover the pan and cook until the kale is tender, 15 – 20 minutes.

Uncover and stir in the chickpeas, chile, and 1 teaspoon salt. Raise the heat to medium and sauté until the chickpeas are heated through, about 5 minutes.

Serve immediately.

An Evening Visit to Third Street in Geneva

Last night Ample Bites enjoyed an early dinner at Cotto A Legna in Geneva. This relatively new restaurant features wood-fired pizzas and a wide variety of Italian dishes. The wine list is excellent and features some very good Chianti Classico and Super Tuscans. This was Ample Bites second visit to Cotto A Legna and it did not disappoint.

We enjoyed a prosciutto-wrapped shrimp appetizer that was served with an Asian sweet and spicy glaze.

We then shared a salad of mixed greens, smoked salmon, beets and fresh goat cheese that was supposed to be dressed with a light lemon vinaigrette. The salad was very good but either dressing was so light we couldn’t taste it or it was missing entirely.

Finally, we split one of the wood-fire pizza’s for which Cotto A Legna is known. We chose the mushroom pizza to honor the upcoming National Mushroom Day (Monday, April 16th – check back for posts of some outstanding mushroom recipes). The pizza was as good as billed. The crust was thin but just thick enough to be chewy. The light application of sauce and cheese allowed the mushrooms to be the star of the dish.

After dinner we strolled Third Street feeling like Romans or Florentines. One of our stops was the The Spice House, which was located directly across the street from the restaurant. This small store has a huge assortment of dried spices from all over the world. After browsing for a good 15 to 20 minutes, we purchased some dried chanterelle and oyster mushrooms – some of which will undoubtedly be used this weekend. The clerks at the Spice House were very friendly and helpful and the store is well-designed with spice arranged by regions and classifications. Ample Bites will undoubtedly be returning to The Spice House again very soon.

A Trio of Hearty Soups for a Cold Spring Day

Preparing the Ample Bites vegetable garden plot for planting on a windy, chilly morning brought to mind a trio of hearty soups.

The first soup is a robust and healthy White Bean and Ham Soup that will incorporate ham scraps and the ham bone from one of the family’s Easter hams. The recipe is very easy, takes little prep and can be made ahead of time to be reheated. The only real advance preparation required is soaking the dried white beans overnight to reconstitute them.

The other two soups are richer cream-based soups using simple ingredients such as mushrooms and potatoes. The Smoked Potato Soup is uniquely flavorful. The Mushroom Soup is rich and elegant with its garnishes of goat’s milk cheese and sauteed mushrooms.

Try all three soups and let Ample Bites know which is your favorite.

White Bean and Ham Soup

White Bean and Ham Soup
Mark Kelly

Serves 6

¾ pound (about 1 ½ cups) dried white beans, preferably cannellini
1 pound ham, preferably remainder of a full ham, on the bone
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 large red onions, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
4 Tbsp chopped fresh sage
4 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 ½ tsp Kosher salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Soak the beans overnight in enough cold water to cover by at least 2 inches. Drain.

Trim most of the loose ham from the bone and warm in a large Dutch oven until warmed through. Remove the ham from the skillet and add the chopped onions, celery, bell pepper and garlic to the pot. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the ingredients are soft, about 10 minutes.

Add the beans, stock, 2 tablespoons of the fresh sage and 2 tablespoons of the parsley. Bring the soup to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer until the beans are almost tender, about 1 hour.

Add the ham and salt to the pot and continue cooking until the beans are very tender, about 15 minutes. Puree about 1 ½ cups of the beans with some of the liquid in a blender or food processor .

Return the puree to the soup. Add the remaining herbs and the black pepper and serve immediately.

Mushroom Soup
(Courtesy of Tasting Table Sous Chef Series, Adapted from Mike Ryan, Elements, Princeton, New Jersey)

Serves 6

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, divided
1 large Spanish onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ pounds Cremini mushrooms, 1 pound finely chopped, ½ pound sliced
3 large fingerling potatoes, finely chopped
1 sprig thyme
1 dried bay leaf
¼ cup dry white wine
4 cups vegetable broth
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp soy sauce

Crusty bread for serving
Fresh goat’s milk cheese (Chevre), for serving

In a large heavy bottomed soup pot, melt 6 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 5 minutes.

Add the chopped mushrooms, potatoes, thyme and bay leaf and continue to cook, stirring often, until all of the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated, 15 to 20 minutes.

Pour the wine into the pot; once it has been mostly absorbed, add the vegetable broth. Simmer until the potatoes are cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Turn off the heat.

In a medium skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. Add the ½ pound slice mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until browned, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and set aside.

Blend the soup with an immersion blender. Return the soup to medium heat. Season with the soy sauce, salt and pepper and cook until warmed through. Divide the soup among soup bowls and sprinkle with some sautéed mushrooms. Serve with crusty bread and fresh goat’s milk cheese.

Smoked Potato Soup
(Courtesy of Tasting Table Chefs’ Recipes, Adapted from Cedric Maupillier, Mintwood Place, Washington, D.C.)

Serves 4

2 cups hickory-wood chips
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes (about 2 large), each pricked a few times with a fork
5 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1 large leek, white part only, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
2 cups water
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup whole milk
1 ½ Tbsp white miso paste
2 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp white pepper
1 ½ cups buttermilk
1 Tbsp sherry vinegar

Preheat the oven to 350F. Place the wood chips in the bottom of a large stockpot and set over high heat. Once the wood chips become fragrant, after about 5 minutes, place steamer insert over the chips and set the potatoes in the steamer. Cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Cook until a paring knife easily slips into the center of the potatoes, about 1 ½ hours. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly, then peel the potatoes.

Meanwhile, make the soup base: In a stockpot set over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion, leek and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Pour in the water, cream and milk, and then stir in the miso, salt and pepper. Turn the heat to high and bring the mixture to almost a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.

Add the potatoes, buttermilk and sherry vinegar and use an immersion blender to blend until smooth (alternatively, blend in a blender, working in batches, then return the soup to the stockpot). Warm gently over medium heat. Serve heat.

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Two More Recipes from The Olive Mill

Ample Bites will not be cooking again until Sunday because of family plans tonight and tomorrow night. The Sunday menu will be a good one, so please check back for the recipes and photos.

Here are a couple more great recipes using the olive oils and balsamic vinegar from our friends at The Olive Mill:

Marinated Mushroom Salad

A simple salad is always a welcome compliment to any entree.

1 Tbsp OLIVE MILL Cherry Balsamic
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried tarragon
1/8 tsp each Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp OLIVE MILL olive oil, such as Kalamata
1 1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup cherry tomato halves
8 pitted ripe olives, halved
Lettuce, rinsed, dried and chopped

In a small bowl, combine the first six ingredients. Gradually whisk in oil until blended. Add the mushrooms, tomatoes and olives and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Toss the mushroom salad with the lettuce and serve immediately.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Red Onion

The Ample Bites family loves Brussels Sprouts. This recipe is a very easy and savory way to prepare these healthy vegetables.

2 – 3 lb Brussels sprouts, rinsed, trimmed and halved
1 red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
3 Tbsp OLIVE MILL olive oil, such as Ascalana
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp OLIVE MILL White Lemon Balsamic

Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with a thin coating of olive oil.

In a large bowl, toss the sprouts, onion, oil, sugar, and salt and pepper. Spread the vegetables on the baking sheet and roast for 35 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove from the oven and drizzle with the balsamic vinegar. Toss well, re-season with salt and pepper to taste and serve while warm.

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