In which Neighbor Nanette experiments with comfort foods

Posted on January 6, 2014


The weather has turned brutal, even by our standards, but we are intrepid.  We wrap ourselves in comforters and eat.  After awhile, of course, even the best toasted cheese sandwiches or tortilla wraps (and we flatter ourselves that ours are Not Too Shabby) – even those trusty standbys grow boring.  Neighbor Nanette to the rescue.  “I’m making bulgogi.  Want to come over?”  Oh yes.

Nanette’s brand new daughter-in-law comes from a family of Korean-American sushi restaurant owners.  (I know, but menus combining various Asian specialties are fairly common in my experience–and a really good idea.)  I had looked in on Nanette’s cats while she was off in the southland enjoying the wedding feast–now a dish from the wedding feast was coming to me.  The recipe would be an experiment.  Excellent.

By the time I mushed over there, Nanette had marinated the beef in a nice sesame sauce and added some slivered carrots.  “I don’t think carrots are a traditional ingredient,” she mused.  “I like carrots,” I said.  She stir-fried the mixture, served it up over rice, added some sliced green onions for garnish.  It smelled heavenly.   There was egg roll, too.  Also wine.  Neither egg roll nor wine are, so far as I know, traditional accompaniments for bulgogi.  In spite of that, it was all delicious.  There were York Mint Patties for dessert.

Experimental Bulgogi

We caught up at length.  I told Nanette all about having Korean food at New Seoul Garden in Detroit back when it first opened.  The waiters were terrific, because they really wanted to educate people about the food and the culture that produced it.  I loved that place.  I remembered the bulgogi . . . now that I thought of it, I remembered something about adding an egg to the bulgogi.  Hmm.  Nanette told me all about the beautiful wedding on a beach and the Dreadful Drive Home from Detroit Metro in a Blizzard.  We congratulated ourselves on being inside with excellent comfort food on a cold night.

The cats (Bear, McGee and Simon) encircled us, plotting for a morsel or two.   McGee and Simon look like Miss Puss, so it is particularly difficult for me to resist them.

This is Bear, who loves everyone

This is Bear, who loves everyone

This is Simon, who hides from everyone - although it might be McGee, who is bold

This is Simon, who hides from everyone – although it might be McGee, who is bold

This is McGee, who isn't afraid of anything - unless it's Simon, who also looks like Miss Puss

This is McGee, who isn’t afraid of anything – unless it’s Simon, who also looks like Miss Puss

Nanette herself declined to be in any photos.  Neither of us was exactly dressed for a night on the town.  Our fashion statement ran to Up North Casual.  I toddled home swathed in down coat and tall boots and ski gloves over jeans and long underwear and Polarfleece top and Smartwool socks.  Imagine the elegance of it all.

I was looking for a link to New Seoul Garden for you when I remembered that it wasn’t bulgogi that had been my favorite meal.  It was bibimbap.  They are very different dishes, but both delicious.  There is no accounting for the things I confuse.  I’ve taken to checking up on myself before committing to pronouncements.  I feel entirely safe in this one, though:  I tried Kimchi twice in the 1970s and both times it made me cry.  I’m not trying it again.  Bring on the bulgogi and the bibimbap – with egg roll.