Monday, January 31, 2022

Cooking is Fun...And Easy! Korean Beef Tacos


Instant Pot Korean Beef Tacos

There are a ton of great recipes out there for this dish.  I have a preponderance of beef roasts in my freezer, since we started buying freezer packs from our local butcher, so this is my take on Korean tacos, with elements from this slow cooker recipe at VC in the Kitchen, and this Jeffrey Eisner InstantPot recipe.  This recipe makes enough for a meal for the two of us, and enough for a couple of 2 person portions for the freezer.


3-4 pound beef arm roast (it’s what I have, a chuck roast will also do nicely)
2 tablespoons of canola oil divided

For the Marinade/Sauce

1 cup palm sugar, grated (or you can use light brown sugar)—I love palm sugar in Asian dishes
1/3 cup soy sauce
1-1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced or microplaned
1/2 cup gochujang (Korean fermented bean/red pepper paste), we buy the mild, the hot is HOT.
1/4 cup Hoisin sauce
1/2 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons beef broth (I use Better than Bouillon Roasted Beef Base 1/2 tsp, dissolved in 1/2 c. boiling water)
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 bunch (about 10) scallions, diced
6 cloves of garlic, minced or microplaned
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice (juice of 2 whole limes)
1 teaspoon fish sauce (I like Red Boat)--a note about fish sauce: it can be an acquired taste, but it really enhances the flavor of the beef in tiny doses like this.

For Serving:

Hubs loves kimchi, so we bought some for him.  I’m doing mine in the style of a Vietnamese Banh Mi Sandwich (cucumber, shredded carrot and daikon radish, and cilantro).

Sriracha mayo
Fresh Cucumber slices
Kimchi (if you like it, I’m not a fan)
Shredded Daikon radish (this is a very mild white Asian radish)
Shredded Carrots
Fresh cilantro sprigs
Chili Crunch (Momofuku’s is the bomb) will add a nice crunch/punch of spice
Your favorite street taco sized flour tortillas

Step 1.  In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, soy sauce, ginger, gochujang, hoisin sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, scallions, garlic, lime juice, and fish sauce.  Trim roast of the outside fat and silverskin.  Cut into approximately fist-sized chunks. Add meat to marinade and cover tightly.  I like my big Pyrex glass bowl with a lid for this.  Marinate in the refrigerator at least 6 hours.  You could also use a gallon sized freezer bag for this part.  You can go up to 24 hours on the marinating. I started mine in the morning for dinner at 6.

Step 2.  Remove the meat from the marinade and place on a plate.   In two batches, put 1 tbsp canola oil into your instant pot and press saute high.  When the oil is shimmering, add half the chunks and brown on both sides.  Do that a second time.  Hit cancel on your instant pot, add 2 tbsp beef broth and scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to get all the yummy bits up, then add all the meat back into the InstantPot and pour the marinade over it.  Pressure cook on high for 35 minutes with a 15 minute natural release.  Remove meat to a sheet pan, and using a couple of forks, shred it.   

Optional step for freezing for 2 person meals:  Divide the shredded meat into thirds.  Place 1/3 aside for dinner.  Vacuum seal other 2 servings.  In two Ziploc twist-top containers, ladle out 1 cup cooking liquid per container.  Freeze containers and vacuum sealed bag for 2 more dinners! 

Step 3.  Turn your InstantPot on saute normal and cook the remaining cooking liquid down, stirring frequently, until it thickens.  Add cooking liquid to a the meat until moist but not soupy.  Build your tacos!  I like to steam my tortillas in the microwave, separated by damp paper towels, with the whole stack wrapped in a damp paper towel.  I usually do 4 at a time, and microwave on high for about 30 seconds.  You can also warm them on a skillet.  Spoon a little sriracha mayo on there, put your meat, and add whatever toppings float your boat. Top with a little of the thickened cooking liquid if you like.

The beef is also fantastic as a rice bowl.  Put your rice down, add beef and a little of the cooking liquid to soak through to the rice, and garnish with whatever condiments sound good.  Pro tip:  I love this with a poached egg, in the style of a Korean Bibimbap.

Buen Provecho!

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Sunday Stealing--Blabbermouth

Join us here.

1. January usually has ample amounts of snowfall in parts of the world. Did you ever make snow cream as a kid?

Not as a kid, but as an adult in Alaska, yes.

2. January is one of the months with 31 days. What are you going to do with that extra day?

Well, since it’s a Monday, I’ll be working.

3. In medieval times superstition dictated that the 1st day of January was significant for prosperity, or lack of it, in a person's life. Farmers put a flat cake on the horns of a cow and they danced and sang songs around the cow until the cake was thrown to the ground. If it fell in front of the cow that meant good luck; it if fell behind the cow that meant bad luck for the rest of the year.  Do you have strange New Year customs in your household?

Not particularly, for most of my working life, I had to work on New Years Day.  Holidays don’t have a lot of meaning when you are a bedside nurse.  I finally got to enjoy the holiday once I moved away from the bedside. 

4. On January 14, 1986 motorists were required for the first time to wear seat belts? Do you always buckle up? Why or why not?

Hell to the YES.  I don’t want to die in a stupid car wreck. 

5. Have you ever blabbermouthed something to a significant other that in hindsight you really should have kept to yourself?

My brain runs ahead of my mouth.  Hubs has told me on more than one occasion that I really don’t need to say EVERY thing I’m thinking.  I really need to take that advice.

6. Have you ever written anything on your blog that you wish you could take back?

Well, since I completely deleted several year’s worth of the first blog I wrote, yeah.  Sometimes, and in my case, a lot of the time, you just need to hold stuff back.  That blog bit me in the ass hard.  I wish I still had the posts, if not just to learn from, but people used it to screw me over.  I was not quite as smart back in the day.

7. Are you the blabber or the blabbee? Tell us your most embarrassing blabbermouth moment.

Ummmm, no.

8. Who is the biggest blabbermouth tattletale in your household?

Probably me.

9. You are the Blog Paparazzi! Which blogger's real photograph are you most interested in getting?

None.  People don’t post their pics for a reason.  I’m not chasing after them.  Privacy is a thing, you know.

10. If you could hire the loudest and most skilled blabbermouth in the universe to do your talking for you and advertise it well, what message would you like to spread to humanity?

Be a good, kind, person.  As much as you can.

11. Are you always on time or just a tad late?

ALWAYS on time.  ALWAYS.  The only time I’m not on time is something out of my control, and it PAINS me.

12. Is there someone in your life that irritates you regularly about not being on time?


13. Can you think of a time when you were late for something and it was REALLY a big deal?

Not something that really stands out.  I am really anal about being on time.  Usually early.

14. If you were on your way to work and had five minutes to get there, would you stop in the road to rescue a crossing turtle?

I’d rescue the turtle.  Hopefully people would understand.

15. Have you ever had to actually punch a time clock? 

LOL, yeah.  I was an hourly employee until about 2007.  I’ve been salaried ever since.

Friday, January 28, 2022

Saturday 9--All of Me

Join us here!!

Saturday 9: All of Me (1932)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) In this song, Louis Armstrong calls his girl "baby." What's the last endearment someone used when speaking to you?

Hubs—“my love”.  He also calls me “doll”, which, while old fashioned, makes my heart melt.

2) He sings that losing his love made him cry. Do you cry easily?

Yep.  I cry at sad stuff on the TV, lol. 

3) Louis was born in New Orleans, a city famous for music and cuisine. What's something you love about your home town?

My home town is Ocean Springs, Mississippi.  It’s a beautiful little town on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and very artsy.  I am a huge fan of Walter Anderson.  The Anderson Family owns a pottery in the same town, called ShearwaterPottery.  We went there in elementary school, and got to see Walter Anderson’s “little room”.   I have this print on the wall of my bedroom.  I love the Walter Anderson quote on the print... "Birds are holes in Heaven through which man may pass".

Walter Anderson's "Little Room Series"

This room was a Mississippi Gulf Coast day, all 24 hours, painted on all four walls.  I’ve never forgotten it.  I also have a print from his Horn Island works, which were done on the island that my family used to boat out to for the day.  Here's the print on the wall in my office.

Walter Anderson's "Horn Island Goldenrod"

When I was a kid, we would go to the Ocean Springs Community Center, which Walter Anderson had covered with amazing murals.   

This is part of the mural called "Venus".

Walter Anderson's "Venus"

I hope you’ll check out his, and the family’s works….they are beautiful.  If you ever get a chance to visit….don’t miss either Shearwater Pottery, or the WalterAnderson Museum.  They are small…but very, very special.

4) At age 11, Louis unwisely fired a pistol during a New Year's Eve celebration and was sentenced to 18 months in a juvenile detention facility. It was there that he met music teacher Peter Davis, who believed in Louis and taught him to play cornet and bugle. Tell us about someone who believed in you and made your life better.

Hubs believed that I wasn’t a collection of various disorders.  He believed and encouraged me to believe that my brain was different, not broken (which is what I thought).  It has been a long road, but I no longer believe I am broken.  I have experienced things, I have a brain that is different, but I am NOT and NEVER WAS broken.   

5) Louis would say that arrest changed his life for the better because it was at the detention center that "me and music got married." After his release, he began playing on streetcorners, or in honkytonks ... any place he could hone his skills. What is something you have worked hard to be better at?

Listening to people—like REALLY listening.  There’s so much shit going on in my head, that I forget to listen to other people.  It’s a struggle, but I try.  Hard.

6) In the late 1920s, Louis led a jazz band called The Hot Five. His wife, Lil, believed he was too talented not to receive star billing. He just didn't feel ready. She went behind his back and convinced the management at Chicago's Dreamland Cafe to advertise: "The Hot Five, featuring Louis Armstrong: The World's Greatest Trumpet Player." It worked! At the end of the gig, Okeh Records signed him to a recording contract. Can you think of a time when, like Lil, you were glad you asked for forgiveness rather than permission?

There are too many to even consider.  I’ve always been more the “ask for forgiveness” type.  It’s worked out so far.  The trick is to have the smarts to back it up.  If you are bullshitting with nothing behind it, it’s a tactic that’s sure to fail.  That is something that my Dad taught me.  He was a total bullshitter, but EVERYTHING he BS’d about had this core of truth.  It was an interesting way for a person to go through life, that’s for sure.

7) In 1932, the year this record was popular, the son of aviator Charles Lindbergh was kidnapped and killed. This famous case inspired Agatha Christie to write Murder on the Orient Express. Have you read the book? Seen the movie, the remake or the miniseries?

I love the book, the movies, and the idea of stuff on a train in general.  Hercule Poirot is my favorite Christie character.

8) Another aviator was in the news in 1932. Amelia Earhart flew 14 hours from Newfoundland to Londonderry. What is the longest flight you've ever taken?

Alaska to my parent’s house in Augusta, Georgia.  In 1998, we took a plane from Anchorage to Minneapolis (a 6 hour flight), then caught another flight to Atlanta (4 hours), then an hour flight to Augusta.  With a 3 year old.  Much of it was at night…most flights from Anchorage are red-eyes, so you can sleep (hopefully) through the first leg.

9) Random question: You have the opportunity to travel safely in a time machine. Would you go back to the past, into the future, or say, "no thanks, I'll stay in 2022?"

I’d want to go into the past.  I don’t think the future is going to be all that, and my past wasn’t too terrible.

My thanks to our host, Sam (oh, I know who you are!)...I really enjoyed the way you put this one together!!

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Thursday 13--Books that I Love to Re-Read

This started as a response to a question on last Sunday's Sunday Stealing.  I realized it would make a great list of 13.  As I said in that post, I love re-reading books.  My OCD brain really finds it soothing.  I can honestly say, some of the books on this list I have read over a 100 times since I first picked them up (Dune, Shogun, Tigana, and Green Darkness).  I've actually had to buy several on this list on Kindle because I read my hard copies to shreds.  My list is mostly sci-fi, fantasy, and historical fiction.  It's what I love. 

1.  Dune by Frank Herbert.  A classic.  My love of worldbuilding came from this book I think.  The depth of this book is so profound.  The recent movie, directed by Denis Villeneuve comes really close to telling the story the way the author would have wanted it told I think. 

2.  Five-Twelfths of Heaven, Silence in Solitude, and The Empress of Earth by Melissa Scott.  I got this as a Science Fiction Book Club all-in-one back in like 1986 or something, and I literally read it to pieces.  It’s now sadly out of print, but hallelujah, it has been published on Kindle.  So now I can re-read to my hearts content.

3.  All of Guy Gavriel Kay’s works.  My favorites of his books are known as the Sarantine Mosaic.  They are Sailing to Sarantium, Lord of Emperors, The Last Light of the Sun, The Lions of Al-Rassan, A Song for Arbonne, and my ultimate favorite, Tigana.  I also love his Fionavar Tapestry Trilogy, The Summer Tree, The Wandering Fire, and The Darkest Road.  You can explore his work at Bright Weavings.

4.  Andy Weir’s books:  Artemis, Project Hail Mary, and The Martian.  Of these, The Martian is my favorite, with Artemis running a close second.  The Martian was made into a fantastic movie starring Matt Damon.

5.  Green Darkness by Anya Seton (I have be re-reading this since I was 9, swear, and it’s a huge book), a wonderful gothic novel set both in the swinging 60s and the Tudor period.  The Tudor period part is meticulously researched, and sparked my love of all things Tudor.

6.  The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory (a story of the early life of Katherine of Aragon, first wife of Henry VIII of England)

7.  Child of the Morning by Pauline Gedge (a story of the life of Hatshepsut, the only female pharoah)

8.  Hild by Nicola Griffith (a story of a Hild of Whitby, a significant figure in Anglo-Saxon Britain)

9.  The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova.  This one takes the vampire myth and turns it into a wonderful and moody mystery story that travels all through Europe. 

10.  Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson.  I’ll call this one cyberpunk light.  It’s a fun read, and the author actually coined the oft-mentioned these days term “metaverse”. 

11.  Shogun, by James Clavell.  I’ve been re-reading this amazing book also since I was 9.  When I was 7 or 8, my parents joined The Literary Guild and Book of the Month Clubs.  We had permission to read whatever was on the shelves.  My parents were (Mom still is) avid readers, and so were my brother and I.  They never limited us to kids books, which was really cool.  This was made into the first ever "mini-series" on TV starring Richard Chamberlain and many famous Japanese actors.  It's dated now, and I would LOVE to see a reboot of this as a short series. 

12.  The Shining by Stephen King.  While Kubrick’s movie is a masterpiece, so is the book for other reasons.  The topiary animals in the book are MUCH scarier than the hedge maze in the movie.

13.  The Expanse Series by James S. A. Corey.  Fun fact, this series is actually authored by two authors, and James S. A. Corey is their pen name.  They are Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, and they live here in New Mexico, in Albuquerque.  I’ve got all ten books, and still need to read the last one, just published before Christmas.  I re-read the first 3 the most.  They are space opera at it’s finest, world building at it’s finest, and just all around great books.  I also have several novellas set in this universe on my kindle…my favorite is The Churn, the backstory of one of my favorite characters.  This was made into a great 6 season TV show by SyFy Channel.  It got cancelled about season 3, and Amazon Prime picked it up and made the rest.  I’m sad that it’s over. 

Monday, January 24, 2022


I am….

Reading:  Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson


Listening to:  Randall meowing to get into the bedroom (hubs is still sleeping, I’m the early bird of the house). 


Loving:  this morning’s breakfast, which I just made with my Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker (best gift ever).  Extra crispy English Muffin, a tiny bit of Duke’s mayo, 1 slice of black forest ham, a slice of pepper jack cheese, and an egg.  Delish!


Thinking:  How glad I am that therapy is actually working (and I’m doing all my exercises daily).  My arm pain is at a big fat ZERO this morning.  Huzzah!


Feeling:  Proud of myself for knuckling down and deep cleaning the bedroom yesterday.  No dust bunnies remain, I’m happy to say.  I got the Roomba running again, although for some bizarre reason, every time I turn it on, it speaks to me in a different language.  Which cracks me up, and is weird.  As long as it sucks up cat and dog hair, it can speak whatever language it wants.


Celebrating:  Mom’s birthday.  She’s 81 tomorrow.  We ordered a fresh cod loin to be shipped overnight from Maine Lobster Now.  It’ll be hear Wednesday, and hubs is making her favorite cod fish and chips for supper that night.


Grateful for:  All my healthcare brothers and sisters out there – I feel so bad for them, and am so proud of them.  If you know someone in healthcare these days, take a minute to ask them how they’re doing.


Weather:  Sunny with a high of 54.  Tomorrow another storm is moving through, we might get a few inches of snow.


Enjoying:  my new cookbooks.  I made a dish out of the America’s Test Kitchen one “Mediterranean Instant Pot” last night that was a huge hit.   


A quote I want to share:  “Keep it in the middle of the road”.  – Dad

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Sunday Stealing--LEP 2


Join us here.

1. Would you rather be the guest or the host?

I’m never really comfortable as a guest.  I always feel awkward and weird, especially if there’s a bunch of people I don’t know.  I’m a true introvert.  But I do like to host dinners, and like having people I know over sometimes. 

2. What do you like to wear when you feel fancy?

I rarely feel fancy, lol.  Just not really my personality.  If we’re going out somewhere nice, I have a couple of outfits that I rely on…the winter one is a really nifty ankle length narrow skinny black and white printed pair of pants (like a herringbone sort of) and a drapey black top and black ballet flats.  The other for summer is a cute pair of ankle length wide legged linen pants striped in pale aqua, gray, and a light blue on white with a gauzy aqua T-shirt—it looks great with my Rothy Vans style flats.  This was my favorite outfit for going out last Summer on our drip to Boston.  I also wear it with a cute white denim jean jacket.  I feel pretty in that outfit.  I wish I had pictures…but I did most of the picture taking on that trip, so nada.

3. How often do you try something completely new?

Not often.  Routine and doing the same things the same way every time is comforting for me.  My OCD brain really hates new things.  I re-read books, re-watch TV and movies, over and over and over.  I have a few books I can honestly say I’ve read more than 100 times.  They are old friends, like slipping into a warm bath or something.  Very soothing. 

4. Do you enjoy weddings?

I haven’t been to enough of other people’s weddings to know whether I enjoy them or not.

5. Have you ever had something customized?

Just this Christmas, I bought Mom and hubs custom coffee cups.  And I had a stunning pastel portrait of our Ginger (RIP) made.  We also have personalized Christmas ornaments that are little ceramic frames for each cat’s picture, with their name painted on the frame.  Hubs had those made a few years ago.

6. Do you cook spontaneously or meal plan?

We meal plan religiously.  For us, it’s the only way to shop sensibly and not spend a fortune running to the store for this or that.  Every payday Friday, we take a survey of the freezer and pantry, then plan the next two weeks worth of meals.  Since we went to buying freezer packs from our butcher, we generally have all the meat we need.  We also have soups frozen, empanadas, dumplings and the like.  We plan so that we maximize our use of the freezer and pantry first, then make a detailed list of what to buy.  Generally, we’re just buying produce, stuff for breakfast and lunches, and odds and ends. 

Spicy Cucumbers
Once a month, we go to Talin Market, our international market in Albuquerque, and we get a dumpling lunch, and pick up any specialty items that we are out of.  Today, we had a LOVELY lunch, non-alcoholic green tea mojitos, spicy cucumbers, pork dumplings, and hubs had beef chow fun.  Pop-Up Dumpling house is one of our favorite places to eat.  It's literally a little Mom and Pop--or Grandmom and Grandpop.  A lovely elderly Chinese lady and her husband.  He's the chef, and she hand makes each dumpling to order.  It's the BEST!

We were out of several Asian staples, so we bought Kimlan soy sauce, Shaoxing cooking wine (for making our own dumplings), Black Vinegar, Chili/Garlic paste, sesame oil, and mirin (Japanese rice wine to cook with).  We also bough nira flowers (Chinese garlic chives), regular garlic already peeled, fresh ginger, Persian cucumbers, and yams for upcoming meals.  It’s one of our favorite things to do on a Saturday, so much fun perusing the aisles!

7. Books you like to read over and over

I’m doing a re-read right now of Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson.  I was listening to a guy talk about the metaverse the other day on NPR, and that particular term was actually coined by Neal Stephenson for this book.  So it sparked me to go back and read it again—I’m not generally a cyberpunk fan, but this isn’t really HARD cyberpunk like William Gibson, so it’s a fun read.  Other favorite re-reads are: 

  • Dune by Frank Herbert
  • Five-Twelfths of Heaven by Melissa Scott
  • All of Guy Gavriel Kay’s works.  My favorites of his books are Tigana and The Lions of Al-Rassan (you can explore his work at BrightWeavings).   
  • Green Darkness by Anya Seton (I have be re-reading this since I was 9, swear, and it’s a huge book), a wonderful gothic novel set both in the swinging 60s and the Tudor period.

I’m going to stop now, lol.  If you want to see a more comprehensive list, come check out Thursday 13 this coming Thursday, feel free to join us!

8. What are you really good at?

Organizing data and seeing patterns in data, loving my people and pets.

9. Do you sleep with windows open or a fan on?

Both in spring, fall, and winter.  In summer, we turn the AC down to 65 at night and run fans.  Hubs and I can't sleep without it being cold.    

10. What is the easiest recipe you know?

The 5-5-5 method of making perfect hard-boiled eggs in the InstantPot is the first thing that came to mind.  Pressure cook 5 minutes on a trivet over 1 cup water, natural release 5 minutes, ice bath 5 minutes.  Perfectly peel-able wonderful eggs, great for deviled eggs or egg salad or whatever.  Has never failed me.

11. Are you comfortable starting conversation with strangers?

Yes.  This came from moving a ton as a kid, and my Dad being a very social creature who loved having people over.  We always had adults in and out my whole childhood, and I learned how to fake being sociable.  Fake it till you make it, isn’t that what they say?

12. Do you prefer quiet, or ambient noise when you relax?

Either.  Just not noise or loud anything.  I’m less tolerant of loud music as I’ve gotten older, it aggravates my tinnitus.

13. Who is your most adventurous or exciting friend?

I have a friend who has zip-lined, gone up in a hot air balloon, and climbed to Machu Picchu.  She's pretty adventurous.

15. Do you have any funny pet stories? 

My Mom bought the cats some little wool mice.  All the cats ignored them except Lily the Formerly Feral.  She loves the dang things.  At least three times a day, she finds the mouse, brings it in her mouth to my or hubs on the couch and leaves it for us as a present.  Before she leaves it, she sits on the coffee table and cries (with the mouse in her mouth), for about 5 minutes.  It’s a hilarious muffled meommppphhhmowwwww.  We go out, grab the mouse, thank her, rub it on her and throw it back across the house to the dining room.  She is so adorable when she does this, I can’t even.  I put the laptop down just now, walked into the living room, and here’s what I find on my side of the couch >>>>>>>