East Coast Night: Donairs and Garlic Fingers

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About a month ago, Matt and I went on a trip to the maritimes. Our good friends Kait and Graham were getting married, and we decided to take the opportunity to make a trip out of it. I went to university in New Brunswick so it wasn’t my first trip out east, but we rented a car and I have a bit more disposable income these days, so it was the first time I really had the chance to see the sights and enjoy anything other than Sackville.

Kait got married in Hopewell Cape, and from there we got to see the Hopewell Rocks and Cape Enrage, and I took Matt through Sackville and showed him the little blue house I used to live in with 4 other girls and 3 cats. From there we hit up Cape Breton Island, and did the Cabot Trail, then on to Halifax to visit friends, Lydia and Jenna, with a day trip to Peggy’s Cove, Mahone Bay, and Lunenburg.

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It was a fantastic trip, and I really didn’t want it to end.

BUT. This is not a travel blog. I’d have to do a lot more travelling for it to be that. It’s a food blog. So I thought I’d better do a little east coast themed post. I wanted to try my hand at cooking something that we ate during on our trip, and I can’t just be buying lobster willy-nilly here in Toronto. So donairs and garlic fingers it was.

For those of you who don’t know, the key ingredient to both donairs and garlic fingers is donair sauce. A distinct and garlicky sauce made from sweetened condensed milk and vinegar. People seem to love it or hate it, but either way, you can’t have Garlic fingers out east without it.

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To make the donair meat, I found this recipe over on allrecipes, and it was pretty good. They key is to slam the ground beef repeatedly into a metal bowl or pot, to kind of meld it together. This makes it so the beef is sliceable rather than a crumbly meatloaf texture. It’s also fun.

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Once the beef is sliced, wrap into a pita, chuck in some lettuce, diced tomatoes, onions and, of course, donair sauce. Some people also like to add cheese.

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Some recipes for donair sauce tell you to use evaporated milk and add sugar, and others suggest just going straight for sweetened condensed milk, and skipping the sugar. I opted for the latter. So one can of sweetened condensed milk and then garlic powder and vinegar to taste really. Around 4 tablespoons, but whatever.

Garlic fingers are ridiculously easy. Pizza dough, garlic butter, mozzarella cheese. This isn’t garlic bread though, it’s garlic fingers. So you have to cut them into finger shapes. Makes ’em easy to dip into the sauce.IMG_2226

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I ended up with a ridiculous amount of food after making all of this though. I used to the leftover donair meat to make an impromptu poor man’s bulgogi.

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Weeknight meal: Poor and/or Lazy Man’s Bulgogi

Alrighty. So in my last post I mentioned a dish that I like the call Poor Man’s Bulgogi. I call it this because you use ground beef, which is often dirt cheap. But it could also be called Lazy Man’s Bulgogi, because it’s really easy as heck. No slicing beef, no marinating it, NOTHIN’. I can make this meal in less than 30 minutes if I’m really on top of shit.

My bestie Cassie made this, after I recommended it, and she returned with the following review:

Okay what the hell that bulgogi was SO easy and SOO GOOD”

It really is. Really really.

ImageSo, I basically use this recipe,  from Damn Delicious which I found by googling “ground beef + bulgogi” because that’s exactly what I wanted to cook. And I used the very first recipe that came up, which was this one. And it was pretty perfect. I like to double the sauce, because SAUCE, and also add some sriracha (because sriracha. On everything. Yes). And I garnish with some sesame seeds, AND AND AND piece de resistance: A CRISPY BOTTOMED, RUNNY-YOLKED EGG. UGH. OH MY GOD. It’s so tasty. The spiciness from the sriracha against the runny yolk, with a hint of green onion and salty-sweet, fragrant bulgogi sauce? IT’S ALMOST TOO MUCH TO HANDLE.

I literally just ate this minutes ago, and I’m feeling pretty passionate about it.

So grab all your ingredients together. Chuck the soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes and brown sugar into a bowl, and mix it all together. Note that you can also just use dried ginger and garlic powder for a somewhat decent result, if you’re in a bind. Also you can play with the amount of each of the ingredients to make it just how you like: a bit sweeter, saltier, spicier, whatever.

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Then just brown your ground beef right up.

ImageYou’ll probably want to drain a bit of the fat off. I used extra lean, and there was still a fair amount. You want to avoid a greasy sauce. Once it’s nice and browned and drained, throw that beautiful sauce right on that meat. Mix it all up. Let it bubble.

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Of course, at this point I should probably mention that this is supposed to be served over rice. So before you start cooking the meat, put on a pot of rice. However much you desire. Once the rice is done, you can just turn off the burner, and let it sit there until you need it. Letting it sit somehow allows the rice to de-stick from the bottom of the pot. This is a good tip.

Next, we want to fry up that perfect egg. I am really into eggs. IT’S A FOOD WITH A BUILD IN CREAMY HEAVENLY SAUCE. Eggs are wonderful. Anyway, so heat up a bit of oil in a pan, and let it get nice and hot. We want the bottom of that egg to be super nice and crispy. Trust me. Once it’s nice and hot, crack the egg in there, and immediately cover the pan with a lid. Leave it for a couple of minutes. Usually enough time to scoop some rice into a bowl, and top it with out meat and some extra sauce. Then take the lid off. The top of the egg should be cooked from the steam, and the bottom should be nice and crispy, but you want the yolk still runny.

I didn’t get any pictures of cooking the egg.

But anyway, once it’s done, throw the egg on top of your bowl of rice and meat. Garnish with sesame seeds, green onion, and a zig-zag of sriracha, or more if you want.

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AND THEN YOU GET TO EAT IT.

Okay, now go cook this. Right away. And come back and tell me how darn good it was.