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The Summer of Korean BBQ

I love to cook. It gives me a creative outlet. It’s relaxing to go in the kitchen, turn on some music, pour a glass of wine and start making something that will turn out to be delicious. I also love the control cooking gives me over what goes into my body.

When I was growing up my mother cooked dinner for us almost every night. As a young child we had traditional meals like pot roast on Sunday and grilled hamburgers and hot dogs on Saturday night. When I was in fifth grade, my mother started working for a catering business and small deli type storefront called Bountiful Board in Chicago and everything changed. She started experimenting more in the kitchen and her culinary knowledge grew. We were exposed to many dishes and my love of food and cooking started to flourish.

As an adult, I have continued to broaden my cooking comfort zone. Through travel and many kitchen experiments, I've expanded my horizons and this summer I am determined to conquer a new cuisine: Korean BBQ.

A few weeks ago, my Dad bought me a new cookbook titled, Korean BBQ by Bill Kim with Chandra Ram. Bill Kim is the owner of the restaurants bellyQ , in Chicago’s West Loop area, and Urbanbelly  with two locations in Chicago: West Loop and Wicker Park. His food is Asian fusion with much of the focus on Korean BBQ. It's beyond delicious.

And now, I can make it at home.

His new cookbook has become my obsession. Since May 21st, several nights a week Mark and I have Korean BBQ. The cookbook is not for the faint of heart. You will need to go to an international food store and purchase several ingredients that you might never have heard of. One weekend, while in St. Louis, my mother, father, and I went on a scavenger hunt all over the city finding ingredients like togarashi, a Japanese blend of seven spices, and specific brands of fish sauce and sesame oil. Once your pantry is stocked, you will be good to go. There are seven sauces and three rubs you will need to master and then you are off to the races.

This is the summer of Korean BBQ and you can either get on board the train to flavortown, or let the magic of delicious grilled meats pass you by. #gonnagetsomekoreanbbq

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