Saturday, April 30, 2011

Lunch Today - Steak Sandwich w/Leftovers...

I love making meals out of leftovers.  It's a game to me of what I can come up with that's different than the original dish.  This one isn't that hard to come up with, but it still is leftovers!  

Fixin's for the sandwich...

This time I figured out an easy way to add the veggies to the sandwich. (Not that a sandwich isn't easy)  Duh!  Just mix it all up just like a salad! I guess I'm a slow learner sometimes..  At sandwich shops I sometimes see them add oil, vinegar, salt & pepper to the lettuce on the sandwich, but sometimes that makes the bread soggy.  Last time I made a sandwich and I added the dressing to the lettuce only, I thought I was brilliant;o)  Today I came up with the salad idea.  Instead of layering all the veggies, why not just mix it up! This one has mixed greens, red onion, tomatoes, pepperoncini's & avocado on the side.  Then I added a simple dressing of oil, red wine vinegar, salt , pepper and some other seasonings.  I added the dressing right before putting the sandwich together.  There also was watercress with the leftovers, so I threw that in too.

Sliced Steak Ready!

We got the leftovers from a small restaurant called Sly's in Carpinteria, CA.  I didn't like the restaurant much when they first opened, but they've really warmed up on me;o)  Sly was the chef at Lucky's Steakhouse in Montecito and then decided to open his own restaurant a few years ago. He's French trained, so he also has a rotating Prix Fixe French course every month.  Of course the steak isn't as good as Dan Tana's, but it's pretty good!  He uses the freshest of ingredients!  Last night I noticed that even the twist that they put in  my Martini was organic.  As soon as I put it up to my mouth I could smell the wonderful aroma of a lemon, I thought it could be a Meyer lemon, but it turned out it was just a regular organic lemon.  I think sometimes we forget what stuff is really supposed to smell like.  I was raving to the waitress and chef about how impressed I was by this, so they gave me one of the lemons with the rest of my leftovers!  It's the small things and gestures that put a big smile on my face :o)  Also, their Coconut Cake is to die for...

For the sliced steak I seasoned with soy sauce, ajishio and pepper.

French Roll

One of my pet peeves is that it's hard to get a good sandwich!  I think it's mainly the bread and of course the meat inside.  I think the only sandwich I like eating out is at a deli called Bay Cities in Santa Monica.  They have an Italian sandwich called the Godmother.  Some people think that it's overrated, but I don't think you can get much better than that!  They bake their own bread, so whenever we go I get a couple of loaves to go and freeze it.  I cut it into serving size, wrap in foil, put in baggie then freeze it. To thaw it, I put in oven or toaster oven @425 degrees for 15 mins and it's almost like having fresh baked bread!  I wasn't able to go to Bay Cities, so I had some frozen bread from Vons Grocery in the freezer.  I'm pleasantly pleased and surprised at how good the French rolls are at Vons!  If I can get a decent roll from Vons why can't sandwich shops get at least that quality??

Steak Sandwich w/Avocado & Salad...

To peel and slice an avocado can be a pain and messy, so I just scoop it out with a spoon and put it on the sandwich.  It's all going to get mooshed together, so presentation doesn't matter that much.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Dinner Tonight - Japanese Style Kare Raisu (Curry & Rice) with Chicken

This is another Japanese homey meal.  It's another dish that the Japanese took from another ethnicity and made it their own.  The curry is sweeter and thicker than Indian curry.  It's a dish that all children in Japan have grown up with.  It's a comfy & cozy dish.  I actually had a small argument on Chowhound about this.  The other person was saying that Kare Raisu (Curry Rice) was a gourmet dish and there were so many restaurants in Japan that use the best ingredients and have turned it into that.  I argued that yes, it can be gourmet and there are fanatics about it, but when you get right down to it, it is a homey comfort dish...he never did agree with me;o)  It's also a meal that can be made pretty quickly, but it took me a while longer since I used frozen chicken.

Kare Raisu Roux

It's so easy to make the curry at home because their are many brands of curry flavored roux at the Japanese stores.  This is a newer brand that I found.  I usually use House Brand or  S&B which look like a chocolate bar, but this brand is more like granules.  I've made curry from scratch, by carmelizing onions and adding a ton of other ingredients which I can't remember off the top of my head.  I just remember that it took me hours to make and it turned out good, but didn't taste that much different than the packaged  Maybe I will try it again someday, but for now using the package is much easier.

Back of the package...

Carrots, Onions & Daikon

It traditionally is made with potatoes, but I didn't have any, so I used daikon instead.  Curry is another dish that you can put most anything you want to in it.

Boiled & Strained Chicken...

I didn't go to the grocery store, so I only had frozen cut up chicken.  I took the lazy route and threw the frozen chicken in water and boiled it with onion, celery, carrots etc. just like making stock.  It took about 40 mins to cook through and I got some tasty stock out of it too!

Veggies Simmering in Chicken Stock...

Normally you would just cook the veggies in water and then add the curry roux to it for flavor.  Since I had the flavored stock, I used that.  I boiled the veggies for about 10 mins then added the roux and cooked for another 10 mins then added the chicken and cooked for another 10 mins.  I ended up adding a little flour slurry at the end to thicken it up a little more.  More common is to use beef cubes and that takes a little longer to cook.

Pickle Condiments...

These are pickles that is commonly served with the Kare Raisu.  I just buy it prepackaged, I have no idea how to make these.  I'm not really even sure what they are since they are so oddly It's just something I grew up with and I always serve it with the curry.  It's a little sweeter than most types of Japanese pickles.  The white, I believe is Rakyo, a type of onion that looks like cocktail onions and is a little sweet.  I'm not exactly sure what the green & red pickles are.  I think the green ones are cucumber and the red one is daikon.  I just know that on the package the ingredients are listed as onion, radish, eggplant, cucumber, ginger etc.  ;o) They do have a nice crunch to it and the sweetness goes well with the spicy of the curry.

Kare Raisu with Chicken

Japanese Onion Dressing

I served a salad with the dinner. On Chowhound a man mentioned a popular dressing in Japan now.  It's a simple onion dressing.  Of course I couldn't stick with the simple recipe and made it my own;o) The original recipe is just Rice Wine Vinegar, Veg Oil, Grated Onion, Soy Sauce, Sugar and S & P and you stir all the ingredients together with a whisk.  I also added Sesame Oil, Dashi Powder, Ajishio, Sake, Mirin & Ponzu Sauce and then whirred it up with my immersion blender...I love that thing!

Onion Dressing Salad

I marinated Red Onions & the tomatoes in the dressing for about a half hour and then tossed it with lettuce & radish.

Rice Bran Oil

This is my favorite oil to use for Japanese dressings and for deep frying.  I can find it at the Japanese store only sometimes.  It has a very clean flavor to it.

Lunch Today - Kimchi Fried Rice w/Bacon, Corn & Leftover Teriyaki Chicken

Another one of my favorite dishes.  Maybe everything I cook is a favorite of mine and is the reason I make it ;o)  Fried rice is pretty easy to make, especially in a wok!  It's better with med/long grain rice, but I normally have short grain rice on hand.  It's also easiest to make with leftover rice that's been in the refrigerator overnight.  When it's cold, it crumbles better when you fry it up.  

I cut up the bacon then fry it, drain it, set it aside then use some of the bacon grease for the fried rice.  Next, I  add the rice and season it with salt, pepper, ajishio (salt & msg mix), and  a pinch of dashi powder.  This time  I added some frozen corn, bacon, leftover cut up Teriyaki Chicken , drained kimchi and added soy sauce at the very end of cooking.  Fried Rice is another dish that you can put just about anything in!

Love it with the runny egg on top!

My home made Kimchi in the background...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Our Tour de France...May 2010...Part 1, Aida Japanese Restaurant

We got to go on several amazing trips last year.  I’m pretty good at coming up with reasons of why we should go.  Our trip to France in May was because my cat of almost 15 years passed away, Hubby was so sweet to take me on a fabulous trip to Europe to help me get over it :o)  In September, we went to Maui for a long weekend to celebrate our 10th anniversary and then in December, we went to the Galapagos, Amazon Jungle & Quito in Ecuador to celebrate Hubby’s 50th b-day.  Not having kids allows us many getaways! We had some delicious food on all our trips! 
I try to plan out many of our meals before we leave for our destination.  Some of the restaurants in Paris are “hot ticket” places and are hard to get in.  I now just email the Concierge at the hotel we will be staying at and ask them to make the reservation for us.  What’s so easy about that is you don’t need to worry about the time difference or the language barrier.  Amex Platinum used to be a good source, but they don’t have access to all the restaurants, I used to go through them, but it’s much easier using the hotel concierge. 
I wish I had thought about that about 12 years ago when we went on our first trip to Paris together.  I was gung ho on going to Restaurant Taillevent.  Back then they were a 3 Star Michelin restaurant.  In my broken French, I wrote a letter requesting an evening reservation and faxed it to them.  I got a response back in English from the owner stating that they were completely booked for dinner, but they would be happy to accommodate us for lunch.  I replied back in broken French again that, no, I was not interested in lunch, wasn’t there anything they could do for us for dinner on any night of our stay.  Reply back in English…no!  My brother said that he could try to get us a reservation through his Amex Platinum card and voila, easy-peasy, we got in! 
I didn’t realize what a small place it was and at that time I didn’t know I was communicating with the owner, Monsier Vrinat, he has since passed on.  I thought it was like here where you communicate with a hostess or reservationist.  I’m a little embarrassed by the whole fact now, but I was just so excited that we were able to get a dinner reservation!  When we arrived, our table was set almost in the hallway…lol  It was partially in the dining room and partially in the public area, I think they just grabbed a table and fit it in since I was so pugnacious about getting the reservation!  The waiter was a little cool towards us at first, but then he gradually warmed up.  It may be because I was trying very hard to order in my broken French;o)  France gets such a bad rap for being rude to Americans, but I believe if you try to fit in and at least try to speak French they are a lot nicer to you!  We almost always get good service in France.  One of my own little games is to try to get a waiter to smile when I know they are known for their grumpiness, I almost always win!  The waiter especially became very friendly when I ordered the seared Foie Gras and ended up eating the whole thing…it was a huge lobe, I can’t believe I didn’t get a heart attack after eating it all!  He even offered to split our appetizers for us, so we could try each others.  When we told him how hard it was to get a reservation and were so grateful that we were able to get one, he handed us his business card and told us to call him next time! We’ve never gone back :o(
One of our funniest experiences of a rude American in Paris was at Brasserie Lipp.  It’s another one of those love it or hate it type restaurants and we love it!  It’s the type of place where the tables are right next to each other and you are almost dining with the neighbors sitting next to you.  They need to pull the table out to get you seated.  We had already sat down for dinner and down the banquette from us we could hear and see another young  American couple.  THEY were the ones that were so obnoxious!  First, in English, they ask for an English menu which they do not have, then second, they ask if there are sandwiches and the waiter tells them no, then the American guy says loudly  “We’re outta here!” and the the waiter pulls out the table and let’s them out.  The waiter comes to us to take our order.  I order Steak Tartare, he sneers at me and asks how I would like that cooked…lol  I look at him and say…ummm, raw….he then smiled and warmed up to us;o)
A question I get asked often is where do I think the best restaurant is, but I don’t see “restaurants” as best, I see particular dishes as best.  But Restaurant Aida in Paris is an exception!  Their food and service is phenomenal!  They are the first foreign restaurant to get a Michelin Star in Paris and they are a very small Japanese place.  I rarely write restaurant reviews, but I wrote one for Aida on Chowhound.  They are one of my favorite foodie sites.  You can get restaurant recs, read people’s restaurant reviews, home cooking advice and read just about anything that pertains to food! 
It's been a while since I've re-read my review.  When I read it now, I can actually taste the food in my mouth and it's making me salivate, that's how obsessed I am with food!
This is my Review of Restaurant Aida on Chowhound…May 2010
Wow, the dinner at Aida was amazing! I’m not sure why this restaurant gets no love on this site, well, I guess I do understand a little bit…you go to Paris to eat French cuisine, not Japanese :)
My husband and I went a couple of weeks ago during or trip to France. The chef is very sweet and talented. I had a very nice conversation with him throughout dinner. I do speak Japanese, so it was easier to communicate with him, but he is fluent in French. He’s lived in France for over 10 years. He was very kind and patient answering all my questions about the food. It’s a very small restaurant. There are only about 9 counter seats, about 6 table seating and a private tatami room which I didn’t see. When people think of Japanese food they always think sushi. He only served one course of sashimi and cooked most everything on the teppanyaki (hot griddle). And it’s nothing like the teppanyaki at Benihana! This is very refined cuisine. You have a choice of either a course with or without Homard (lobster). We picked the one with Homard and was not disappointed. If you don’t want the Homard, you will get some sort of fish course instead. Our seats were right in front of the chef at the counter and I would recommend that this is THE best place to sit if you are interested in watching your food being prepared. There are  a few dishes that come from the back. I imagine there is a sous chef in the back kitchen. In front is only the Chef and his one assistant and the rest of the wait staff.
On to the food…I only wrote down the courses after we got back to our hotel room, so my memory may be a little hazy…
Amuse…Homard with a pea puree. So delicate and delicious! Most all of his base is dashi stock (Japanese fish/seaweed stock) which was very delicate and flavorful. It’s actually hard to make a dashi that is this good!
The next course was very simple and light. I think a large part of Japanese cuisine is the presentation and portion control. On one plate there was…½ small Japanese turnip that was soaking in dashi, 1 small cauliflower floret also in the dashi stock and the most amazing part of this course was Couteau de Mer. I thought the Couteau de Mers was mushrooms when I saw him grilling it, I had to ask him what it was and he only knew the French and Japanese name…he could only tell me that they were a type of clam that meant knife in French. I finally looked it up on my iPhone and figured out it was a Razor Clam which we can’t get in LA. The only other place I’d had it was in London. We were both very happy that I was able to figure out the English translation…lol All the ingredients of this plate were prepared on the teppan. The aroma was lovely, you could smell the lightness of the vegetables mixed with the dashi. The turnip was served with a small dab of miso.
Next was slices of squid which also was prepared on the teppan, but I don’t remember much about it, but that it was good. I’m not much of a squid fan, but I did like this. The sashimi course was also squid which I didn’t care for that much because I guess I just don’t like squid, especially when it is raw…it’s too slimy for me. I know anybody else would love the dish. It was served with fresh grated wasabi. He also served a little “salad” to go with the sashimi. It was very thinly sliced cucumber, myoga (Japanese ginger bud) and Shiso (Japanese Basil/Perilla). You have to have great knife skills to be able to make this combo! I figure if I didn’t like THIS raw squid, I just don’t like it. It was such a huge portion too, but I ate all of it because I didn’t want to insult the chef…lol I guess it’s a Japanese thing :)
Next was plain cabbage in a sauce pan on top of the teppan in dashi stock. The component that made this course amazing was the small clams and it’s broth that he served it with.! Before you even tasted the broth with your mouth, you could taste it with your nose…so amazing! He added a very tiny piece of the cabbage to go with it. Yes, plain cabbage….not even napa cabbage…I had to ask him twice!
Next was Veal Sashimi/Carpaccio & Scallops in a Yuzu Gelee. Delectable!! I’ve never had raw veal, but this was delicious!! It went very well with the scallops and the slight taste of yuzu (Japanese citrus).
The highlight of the meal was the Homard. They are alive and he cuts them in half and serves ½ per customer. The assistant takes the empty shell and squeezes out all the innards from it and mixes it with sake and makes a sauce out of it. The chef puts the tail on top of the teppan with a little water and covers it for a few minutes. He then adds the tomalley sauce to the lobster and cuts it up in bite size pieces then serves it in the shell. The Homard is perfectly cooked and the flavor is very unusual, but very Japanese:)
The last course is Chateaubriand. It’s cooked in a very traditional teppan style. The beef is aged and the cows are from somewhere in France…I can’t remember where he said… He puts the whole steak on the grill and then cubes it before serving. He also slices garlic very thinly and puts it on the teppan until they get crispy like potato chips! The steak is served with a soy/ponzu sauce and a sesame sauce, the garlic, a bowl of rice and a bowl of miso soup. I love rice with my beef! Again, very Japanese :)
For dessert he made 2 different strawberry ice creams. One was creamy, he adds avocado to it to make it creamy! It also had some kind of green specks in it, but shoot, I can’t remember exactly what it was…this was our first dinner in France on our 10 day trip… The other was more like a sorbet. They both were so delicious! It reminded me of strawberry desserts from when I was a child in Japan!
I really enjoyed the restaurant and would highly recommend it. It was like being in Japan. I wish we had a restaurant of this caliber here in LA. I’d be going often! They also have a very nice wine list.
The cost for the course with the Homard was 160 euros and I think without would have been around 130 Euros.
Unfortunately, I was too busy talking to the chef and eating his food that I forgot to take any pictures:(

Nov 2009 - Yakitori

Yakitori is another Japanese meal that I adore.  It's normally just skewered grilled chicken, but I also added meat to the mix.  Yaki means grill and tori means chicken.  We usually go out for Yakitori, so we can get more of a variety, but  I thought it would be nice to try it at home. Another reason I don't make it at home is that it takes a lot of time to skewer each small piece of meat ;o) The marinade I use is the same that I used for the Teriyaki chicken. 

Salt Brined Wings, Chicken Thigh w/Green Onions & NY Strip

In a typical Yakitori restaurant, they grill the meat over Bincho Charcoal...a very hard charcoal.  They serve just about every part of the chicken...tail, gizzard, heart, neck, skin, liver, ovaries etc.  Of course, they also grill the regular parts like breast, thigh, wings etc.  They usually do not serve feet ;o)

I skewered NY Strip and chicken thigh w/green onions flavored with Teriyaki Sauce then grilled it on the stove top.

I was too lazy to skewer the wings...  I just brined them in salt then baked/broiled them in the toaster oven.  This was VERY easy to make!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Dinner Tonight - Teriyaki Chicken

Teriyaki Chicken

I really enjoy cooking, but sometimes I get lazy.  When I'm lazy, my go-to dinner is Teriyaki Chicken.  I always have some Teriyaki marinade in the refrigerator.  I wrote about making Teriyaki Chicken Rice Bowls in a previous post...

I used the same marinade, but served the chicken separate from the rice this time.  I usually get regular grocery store whole chickens and then either brine or marinate them, so they get better flavor.  Vons was having a sale for $.97 per lb, so I got two chickens and cut both of them up and saved the bones for stock.  I used one  to make this dish and the other one is in the freezer waiting to be cooked into another tasty meal :o)  I can be very frugal at times!

In the Marinade...

I put the chicken pieces in the Teriyaki sauce for about an hour or so and mix it up periodically.  It has soy sauce, sugar, mirin, garlic, ginger, ajishio, sake, dashi powder, worchestershire sauce, water etc.  It's a very unconventional recipe, I figure the W Sauce is simlar to using Fish Sauce in other Asian cooking ;o)

Ready for the Oven...

I spread a roasting rack and lay the pieces on top.  The one bad thing about this chicken is that it makes such a mess of the roasting pan!  I put foil in the bottom, but somehow the drippings still end up underneath the foil and it still makes a  I'm pretty sure it's the sugar that's in the marinade that gets all burnt at the bottom of the pan.  I figured out that if I spray Easy Off on the pan, it is much easier to clean;o)

Teriyaki Chicken

When I turn over the pieces of chicken while it cooks I dip the pieces in the marinade before putting it back in the oven to give it more flavor.  I don't serve extra sauce with the chicken.

Salad Dressing

I make all kinds of salad dressing, but I always end up putting too many ingredients in it;o)  I guess I think I will miss out if I make it simple.  I also make extra for another night, but then end up adding other ingredients and change it up. This one started as a Chinese Chicken Dressing, but I changed it from the start.  I was talking to my brother about how when we were at Galatoire's in New Orleans the waiter told us to dip the Fried Eggplant in a mixture of Powdered Sugar & Tabasco and how strange that was.  My brother said that Thai cuisine mixes vinegar, sugar & chili, so it wasn't that odd, so I decided to make a dressing with that combo.  The original Chinese Chicken Dressing has sugar, vinegar & Sesame Oil in it, so I decided to add Rayu to it.  Rayu is a Sesame Oil flavored with Chili.  The combo was good, but I made it way too sweet. This version has more Grapeseed Oil & Rice Vinegar and then I added finely chopped tomatoes to it.  I find whatever type of jar I have and use that as the dressing vessel.

Tomatoes & Red Onion

When tomatoes aren't in the top notch perfect flavorful season, I will buy small tomatoes, slice it up with some red onions and use whatever salad dressing I have and marinate it for about 30 mins.  It makes the tomatoes taste much better!  I just served this over mixed lettuce  for a simple salad.

Dinner Tonight - Leftover NY Steak made into a Japanese Steak Dish

This is another of my favorite dishes I like to make with leftovers.  I make it anytime I have leftover steak or Prime Rib.  It's another dish that my mom used to make.  I think though that all the dishes that my mom used to make, I've put in a little bit of my own touches. 

I got the leftovers from our favorite (I have many favorites of everything;o) place to get a NY Steak. It's a neighborhood restaurant called Dan Tana's.  They are a small place that people either love or hate. They may not have the "best" food, but it's solid and we love the Old School ambience, but they seriously have the best NY Strip Steak!   They've been around since 1964.  If you remember the show VEGAS, you may remember the character Dan Tanna, the character was named after the restaurant, not the other way around!  It's also a semi-celebrity hang out.  It's always fun to get a glimpse of a Star! Danny Vito once told me I was gorgeous when we saw him  It took us about 8 years, but now we are finally considered regulars!

 Daikon Oroshi (Grated Daikon Radish)

I thinly slice the beef and then arrange it on a plate and place Daikon Oroshi, Chopped Green Onion, Ponzu (Citrus) Sauce and a little bit of Soy Sauce for extra saltiness.  Sometimes I will add Yuzu (Citrus) Juice to brighten it up. This is a ceramic grater to make the Daikon Oroshi.  You need to be careful that you don't grate your knuckles when you are at the end;o)

 Ponzu Sauce

I normally don't like the pre-made Ponzu/Soy Sauce combos because they have an artificial flavor to it, but I finally found one I like!  Ponzu is a generic term for a citrus sauce made with vinegar, lemon juice or some other citrus.  This one is made with Sudachi which is a ctirus that looks like a lime.   Then there is Yuzu which is a delicacy and is similar to Sudachi. It is hard to find fresh in the US and when you do, it's pretty expensive.  In the past it was more commonly used for it's zest, but now it is sold as juice.  You can buy small bottles of Yuzu juice without the soy sauce mixed in.  

 Slicing the NY Steak

See how marbled it is...yum!!  The steak stays cold and it is so delicious when you eat it with hot rice!

 Stirring the Miso into the Soup

I made a very simple miso soup tonight.  I just used Dashi Powder instead of making stock with konbu (seaweed) and Katsuobushi (Dried Shaved Bonito Flakes).  I also added a splash of Sake in it.  You bring everything to a boil  and cook the ingredients until it's done then turn down the heat and mix in the miso.  I like to use a strainer, so their aren't small pieces of softened soy bean from the miso.  I'm not sure exactly the reason for it, but you are never supposed to let miso soup boil!

This miso soup has tofu and napa cabbage and it's topped off with chopped green onion and togarashi/hichimi (Japanese Chili Pepper w/7spices)

 Hiyayakko (Cold Tofu)

This was a healthy meal because we split a leftover steak and then had rice & two types of tofu with it.  I love tofu and luckily, Hubby likes it too! Hiyayakko is a very traditional tofu dish.  It just has drained cold tofu, grated ginger, chopped green onion, bonito flakes & soy sauce.  I like med firm tofu, but many people like the soft.  It's all personal preference.

I was in Japan and talking to some friends about tofu and when I told them the tofu we have here lasts for months in the refrigerated package they were a little horrified.   In Japan tofu is such a fresh and perishable product it lasts for only a few days!  I kind of like the fact that I can always have a package of tofu in my refrigerator;o)

 Assembled Togther..

Recently, I was able to try out a new lens my brother got for his camera that takes awesome food shots.   Since I've been so diligent with my new food blog, Hubby bought me the lens too!  It takes beautiful close up shots!  My husband is the best!!  Most of the pictures today are taken with the new camera lens.  I still need a separate camera for the wide shots;o)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Nov 2009 - Soboro Gohan, Another Homey Japanese Meal

This is another one my favorite comfort meals.  My mom used to always make it for us.  It's ground chicken cooked in a soy sauce base served on top of Gohan (rice).  The eggs are scrambled and is sweetened a bit with sugar.  It's a dish that children love, maybe that's why they sweeten the egg :o)  Actually, the sweetness goes with the saltiness of the chicken. Most Yakitori (Grilled Skewered Chicken) places serve this, but not usually with the scrambled egg, they may put a raw Quail Egg on top and then when they present it to you, you mix it all together.  Like I do with my Teriyaki Chicken Bowl, I layer soy sauce dipped nori (seaweed) in between the rice layers and finish with another layer of nori then put the chicken and egg on top.  I made miso soup to go with it :o)

Soboro Gohan

If I have the time I like to grind up my own chicken.  Hubby bought me a meat grinder a couple of Christmas' ago and I love it!  It's fun to grind your own meat!  Japanese markets always sell ground chicken, but most American markets seem to only sell ground turkey and I'm not really sure how this dish would be with turkey, maybe I should try it some day;o) When I do grind the chicken, I use both white & dark meat, so it doesn't come out too dry or too fatty.  

The chicken is flavored with soy sauce, ginger, onion, carrot, mirin (sweet rice wine), sugar, sake and dashi (Bonito Flakes Fish Stock).  I first mix up the dashi, sake, suger and soy sauce together and set it aside.  I then saute the ginger, onion & carrot and add the chicken then immediately add the dashi before the chicken is cooked through.  The key to getting the nice crumbliness of the ground chicken is to add the liquid.  I know some ground beef chili recipes do that too.  Then you wait until all the liquid cooks down to almost nothing.  The scrambled eggs are just flavored with salt, pepper & sugar and I add a dash of milk to it.

It sounds like a strange dish with the sweetened egg, but the savory & sweet really do complement each other!  When you eat it, you can either mix it all together or I like to eat a bite of each side separately or a bite with a little bit of both...your choice!

Miso Soup

I made the miso soup out of leftovers from a previous night of Shabu Shabu. Miso soup is so versatile that you can put just about anything in it!

This one has tofu, chrysanthemum greens, napa cabbage, pork, erynigi mushrooms, Japanese turnips and it's greeens and a light colored/flavored miso.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Nov 2009 - Shabu Shabu, a Homey Japanese Meal

Shabu Shabu is one of my favorite meals! It's traditionally a cold season dish since you cook it in a pot on the table which makes everybody feel nice and cozy, but I can eat it anytime of the year!  Many restaurants in Los Angeles are serving it, but I prefer to have it at home.  It's easy to make, inexpensive compared to eating it at a restaurant and a fun dish to have when you invite friends over.  It is called Shabu Shabu because of the sound the water makes when you swish the beef in it.  It's a pretty healthy dish since you eat very little meat and much of the fat gets boiled away.  I know some Americans think it's a strange dish since it is...boiled meat...

For the hotpot I put Kombu (seaweed)  in it.  You place it in the water when it is cold and then take it out as soon as the water comes to a boil or right before, otherwise the stock will get bitter.  I add a little dashi (bonito fish stock) powder to add flavor.  

You can throw in just about any type of leafy greens.  For this dinner we had: Shungiku (Chrysanthemum Leaves), Napa Cabbage, Komatsu (Japanese Mustard Spinach), Daikon, Tofu & Eryngi Mushrooms.  Again, I don't make it in the traditional would then only have Napa Cabbage, Enoki Mushrooms (Trumpet), Tofu, Naga Negi (long green onions) and maybe some carrots.  I like a lot of greens in mine instead of the beef :o)

We also tried it with thinly sliced mochi (rice cakes), but Hubby thought it was too soft.  I liked it, that's what's in the cartoon package:o)

Rib Eye & Pork

My favorite type of beef to use is Prime Rib Eye or Prime New York.  Like most dishes, the better quality the meat, the better the dish will be! Sometimes I serve it with pork too.  It has a drier texture than the beef, so I prefer the beef.  This pork is Kurobuta (Black Berkshire), it's a little fattier than regular pork. I'm pretty sure that it is the loin of the pork, but since I purchase it labeled Shabu Shabu pork, I'm not positive.  You could ask a regular butcher to cut the meat paper thin, but it would be much easier to go to the Japanese market where it is already pre-sliced.  I usually get a total of 3/4 lbs of meat for two of us and we usually don't eat it all.

The dipping sauce has soy sauce, ponzu (citrus sauce), yuzu (another citrus), chopped green onions, grated daikon radish and Momoji (Red Chili Paste).  You can also buy pre-mixed ponzu/soy sauce and just use that.

It's also normally served with a thin sesame sauce, but I don't care for it.

After the sauce is all mixed up...

The veggies and tofu are thrown into the pot first.  As usual, the harder stuff like daikon and the napa cabbage ends go in first.  When the water comes back up to a boil each individual cooks their own meat to the doneness they like.  It only takes a few seconds for medium rare.

 Prime Rib Eye

You dip the meats & veggies in the sauce and eat it as is or with the rice. At the end of the meal you can take the flavored stock and make Udon Noodles (Fat Flour Noodles) or Rice Porridge.  We are usually too full at the end of the meal, so I save the leftover stock, veggies & meats and make Udon for the next day:o)

Shabu Shabu Udon

This was the udon I made with all the leftovers the next day.  It's a mighty tasty dish for leftovers;o)  It basically has all the ingredients from the night before including the Ponzu Sauce.