I’ve never renovated a home from top to bottom. Not even close. But yet there’s something very satisfying about watching a wreck of a house be transformed on HGTV’s hit-show Fixer Upper.
Thanks to the magic of TV, co-hosts Joanna and Chip Gaines have been able to expand their Waco, Texas-based renovation and home-design firm into a constellation of related businesses: There’s now a market, a cupcake bakery, a restaurant, several rental homes, a quarterly journal, a line of products, a home building business and a real estate agency. While the television series just finished, there is now also a cookbook for Gaines super fans to enjoy.
Magnolia Table by Joanna went on sale today and it includes a range of recipes—everything from asparagus & fontina quiche to fried chicken with sticky poppy seed jam to chocolate chip cookies. I was most intrigued by her Mom’s Bulgogi dish. The traditional marinated Korean steak delicacy is in the Gaines family’s regular dinner rotation. “My mom grew up in Seoul, South Korea, with a mom who was an amazing cook. I can personally vouch for this because in the 1980s my grandmother and uncle moved in with us in our home in Wichita, Kansas, where I grew up,” she writes in a note about the entrée. “Mom’s bulgogi, though, is more of an American-Korean hybrid, much sweeter than traditional bulgogi, and she serves it on a bed of white rice. Mom has us over once a month and this is what she always makes. It’s my kids’ very favorite food in the world, so I knew I had to include it in this book.”
She admits it was a bit of a struggle to get her mother to give her exact measurements for the recipe, since she doesn’t herself use one. “But eventually, we figured it out, and I’m so glad we did because now I’ve captured the blueprint to what will always be a beloved meal for my kids.”
Joanna suggests serving it with cucumber kimchi salad and I would suggest pairing it with a rerun of Fixer Upper.
- 3 cups Packed light brown sugar
- 1.5 cups Soy sauce
- 5 Tbsp Sparkling dessert wine, such as Banfi Rosa Regale, or sparkling grape juice
- 3 Tbsp Sesame oil
- 2 Green onions (light and dark green parts), chopped, plus quarter cup sliced for serving
- 2 Garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 tsp Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 to 5 pounds Beef tenderloin, rib-eye, top sirloin, or sirloin steak, thinly sliced (see note below)
Cucumber Kimchi Salad
- 2 English cucumbers, peeled if desired, cut into half-inch dice
- 2 Green onions (light and dark green parts), thinly sliced on the diagonal
- 2 Garlic cloves, minced
- 1 to 2 tsp Gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes; see tip below)
- 2 tsp Sugar
- 1 tsp Rice vinegar
- 1 tsp Sesame oil
- half to 1 tsp Kosher salt, to taste
- Marinate the bulgogi: In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, soy sauce, wine, sesame oil, green onions, garlic, and pepper until well combined. Add the beef and coat it completely in marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 5 hours.
- To make the cucumber kimchi salad: In a medium bowl, combine the cucumbers, green onions, garlic, gochugaru, sugar, vinegar, sesame oil, and salt to taste and stir gently. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Prepare a hot grill. If the pieces of beef are so small that they may fall through the grates, use a grilling skillet or place a sheet of foil on the grill.
- Grill the beef on both sides until medium-well, 3 to 5 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking.
- Don’t crowd the skillet or foil, so do this in batches if necessary. As you finish each batch, transfer it to a serving platter and continue with the remaining beef.
- Serve the bulgogi on top of steamed rice. Garnish with green onion and toasted sesame seeds and spoon the cucumber kimchi salad alongside.
- Store the leftover bulgogi and cucumber kimchi salad in separate covered containers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Makes 6 to 8 servings
NOTE: My mom usually has the butcher slice the beef for this dish when she buys it. If you live near a Korean market, they often sell packages of sliced rib-eye or top sirloin; sometimes they’re even marked specifically for bulgogi. If you buy big pieces to cut yourself, freeze the meat for about 30 minutes before cutting so that it’s easier to slice thinly and cut against the grain.
TIP: Gochugaru, or Korean red pepper, is commonly used in kimchi. It adds precisely the right amount of heat and unique flavor to the cucumber salad. Authentic Korean brands are readily available at Asian grocery stores or online, and the McCormick spice company packages it as well.
From Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines. Copyright © 2018 by Joanna Gaines. Reprinted by permission of William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.