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Salisbury Steak a la Graham

When you make a recipe within a day of it being posted on a blog and love it enough to share the link, it must be a pretty good recipe.

And it IS.

I didn’t use any Kitchen Bouquet cause I didn’t have any but it’s just a matter of aesthetics anyway. Everything else is (mostly) the same. You might want to make three patties not two, unless you’re a very hearty eater.

 

REVIEW: Make it as soon as you can. You probably already have all the ingredients on hand. A few fresh mushrooms are a nice touch. I had some white button mushrooms so I diced a couple and added them to the Salisbury steak meat mixture. And a couple more to the mushroom-onion gravy. By the way, you’ll have a LOT of gravy. Enjoy it.

 

Japanese Chicken Curry with Roux from Scratch

Chicken curry (kare) is quite popular in Japan and most households apparently purchase the ready made packages of roux instead of making it from scratch. Over the years, I’ve made Japanese curry several times, always using the boxed roux cubes. However, as I looked at the box of Glico Curry ($2.29 CDN) in my pantry recently, I had a though … how hard can it be to make my own?

So I gave it a try.

I used the recipe for roux found here and ended up with about 120 gm of roux. I was debating on whether to use all, half or one third of the roux for the small amount of chicken curry that I was going to make. In the end, I decided to use half, or 60 gm, of the roux I made and freeze the rest.

Japanese Curry Roux from Scratch

Japanese Chicken Curry

Japanese Chicken Curry – serves 3-4

<1/2 lb/200 gm chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped into roughly triangular pieces
1 medium onion, half finely diced and the other half sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 cups chicken stock
salt, to taste (start with 1/2 tsp)
1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper *
1 tsp honey
1/4 cup/60 gm curry roux**
1/4 cup frozen peas
water, as needed

* Start with the smaller amount of cayenne pepper, the larger amount makes it HOT.
** The roux is made with unsalted butter so all the salt in the dish is added here.

In a medium sized saute pan, heat the oil over medium heat and add the finely diced onions. Saute the onions until they start getting golden brown around the edges. Turn up the heat to medium-high, add the chicken and saute until no longer pink and starting to get browned.

Add the minced garlic, carrots and the potatoes and saute for 3-5 min until the potatoes begin to get tender. Add the salt, sliced onions and chicken stock. When the stock comes to a boil, cover and turn down the heat to a simmer and cook for another 10-15 minutes until you can pass a fork through the carrots and potatoes and the meat is tender.

Break up the roux into small pieces and add to the stock, stirring to dissolve. (NOTE: If you didn’t add any cayenne pepper to the roux and decide you want it a bit spicy, add the lower amount of cayenne pepper and stir through.)

Add the honey and stir well to mix through. Taste for seasoning and add a bit more salt if needed. You may also add more cayenne pepper.

Add the frozen peas. The heat will be enough to thaw and warm them through.

Your curry will gradually thicken while cooking. If you decide it’s too thick, add water as needed to dilute. Remember if will thicken even more on sitting.

Serve chicken curry over rice or noodles.

Pasta Al Limone (Lemon Pasta)

Today’s supper came to the top of the posting queue because it’s an amazing combination of two simply prepared dishes, a main and a pasta side, and a green salad of your choice.

I’ve made pan fried breaded chicken cutlets before so that wasn’t a big deal. It was the pasta dish that took it over the top.

The recipe came from this Youtube video but the ‘bones’ of the recipe are very simple: whipping cream, the zest of one lemon and a tablespoon of butter. Simmer together for a few minutes in a large saute pan until the sauce reduces a bit, add some grated Parmesan or Romano cheese and your freshly cooked pasta, stir it together tasting for seasoning (salt and pepper) and then serve with some more grated cheese on top. The recipe suggests adding some lemon juice as well, but, in my opinion, it didn’t need any. If you have a fetish for something green for a garnish, sprinkled some freshly chopped parsley over the top.

And gobble it down before it gets too cool.

Forget taking pictures for your blog.

FORGET it, I tell you!

Beef Bulgogi Redux

I’ve made a half-hearted version of beef bulgogi in the past but this time, I made it as authentically as I could. I bought a nice piece of sirloin steak, par froze it and cut it as thinly as possible. I also bought an Asian pear. And watched several videos before I chose the one which produced this dish.

PS: I only used half the pear in this dish so I sliced up and ate the rest on its own. It LOOKS like an apple but tastes like a pear with a finer granular texture. It is delicious.

Sweet and salty though it COULD be hotter. Next time … more gochujang. Or I’ll buy a hotter version of the Korean chili paste. I used the this recipe, but I added shaved carrots for added colour and nutrition.

Still, it’s a tasty and relatively inexpensive home made bulgogi. Served over sushi rice but rice noodles are delicious too.

Mise en place – the meat was marinated overnight.

After cooking

Honetsuki Dori (Crispy Bone-in Chicken)

This Japanese dish features chicken legs prepared very simply. The result is a juicy piece of meat inside with a crunchy skin on the outside.

The only ‘fussy’ aspect of the cooking process is preparing the chicken oil or fat flavoured with ginger and garlic, in which the chicken is roasted. If you have some rendered chicken fat (schmaltz) in your fridge … what do you mean you don’t … you can save yourself a lot of work by poaching a peeled and crushed clove of garlic and a slice of fresh ginger in the chicken fat for 10 minutes.

A bonus from rendering down the chicken oil or fat is the resulting crunchy chicken skin.

The recipe I am including below was transcribed from a Youtube video and edited for clarity.

In Japanese restaurants that serve this dish, you’re given a choice between hinadori (young chicken) or oyadori (adult chicken). Apparently, although the former is more tender and easier to chew, the latter is preferred by many for its distinctive flavour. They seem to be equally juicy.

Honetsuki Dori (Bone-In Roast Chicken) – serves 2 people

2 bone-in chicken legs (drumstick and thigh)
1 clove garlic
1 tsp salt
large amount of coarsely ground pepper (1 tsp)

4 tbsp Chi-yu (see below), for roasting

Chi-yu (Chicken oil)

300 gm chicken skin
1 slice ginger (~1/4 inch thick)
1 clove garlic

Preparing the chicken legs:

Split open the chicken legs on the underside (not the skin side) down to the bone. Trim off the excess skin and fat.

With a fork, prick the meat and skin side thoroughly.

Finely grate the garlic and spread it over the meat (flesh side). Sprinkle the salt all over the meat. Then the pepper. Massage the garlic paste and spices into the meat. Sprinkle some more pepper over the meat. Place the legs into a dish, cover tightly with food wrap and refrigerate overnight.

The two legs after being split open along the bone and rubbed with garlic paste, salt and pepper.

To cook, bring the meat to room temperature.

Preparing the chicken oil:

Smash the slice of ginger. Smash the peeled clove of garlic as well. Set aside.

Cut up the chicken skin into roughly 1-1 1/4 inch pieces.

Preheat a wok over low heat. Add the coarsely chopped chicken skin and fry for about 20 minutes, stir occasionally. Add the smashed clove of garlic and the ginger slice. Stir fry for another 10 minutes. Drain off the chicken oil.

(NOTE: Reserve the crispy skin for eating as a snack.)

Cooking the chicken legs:

Preheat the oven to 400 deg F/200 deg C.

Add 2 tbsp of the chicken oil to each of 2 trays. Add the chicken ( skin side down) and roast for 10 min. Turn over and roast for another 10 min (skin side up).

Raise the heat to 480 deg F/250 deg C and roast for another 5 min, until golden brown. Serve on preheated plate. Pour some chicken oil over the chicken.

NOTE: The skin wasn’t crispy enough so I turned on the broiler to HI and broiled the chicken with the pan in the middle of the oven for 3-5 min.

To Serve: Tear apart a leaf or two of cabbage, wash and spin dry.  Make 2-3 onigiri and garnish with black sesame seeds and yellow pickled radish (takuwan). Dip both the chunks of cabbage and the onigiri into the chicken oil.

Review:  Delicious. The skin loses its crispy texture when reheated but is still nice and juicy. If possible, only roast as many legs as will be eaten at one time.

Beef Chow Fun ala Frugal Hausfrau

Last post today … I promise. I was on a roll.

I get my ideas/recipes from ‘only the best’ people.

Like this beef chow fun (beef and rice noodles) which came from the blog, “The Frugal Hausfrau”. I followed the recipe exactly and didn’t have to make any substitutions because I HAD all the ingredients. (So proud of my pantry.)

The wide rice noodles (the red package) took 5 minutes to cook. Then I drained, ice shocked and drained them well and set them aside just before assembly.

I blanched the bean sprouts by placing them into a stand drainer and pouring the boiling water from cooking the noodles over them. They were still crunchy after being added to the beef and sauce along with the noodles and tossing together just long enough to coat the noodles and warm everything through.

REVIEW: An amazing dish. Easy to make and cook with some judicious planning/prepping. Make it. You won’t be disappointed.

Mushroom Egg Foo Young

Cooking for one means you ALWAYS have odds and end of leftovers from recipes you’ve made to deal with. Often they’re perishable and I hate to throw things away because they’ve spoiled. In this case, it was bean sprouts from making Pad Thai. And white button mushrooms.

So I made mushroom egg foo young.

Mushroom Egg Foo Young – makes 4 omelettes, serves 2

Omelettes

1 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
1/2 lb white mushrooms, thickly sliced
4 large eggs
1/2 lb bean sprouts, rinsed and drained well
1-2 green onions, tops only, thinly sliced
1-2 handfuls shredded coleslaw mix
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp white pepper

Sauce/Gravy

1 cup chicken stock
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp rice wine or mirin
dash or two white pepper
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp sesame oil

Making the omelettes

Preheat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add about half the vegetable oil and the white mushrooms, saute without stirring until golden brown on one side, flip and saute for another minute or two until that side is also golden brown. Transfer the mushrooms to a bowl and let cool slightly.

Return the saute pan to the heat.

In a large bowl, add the eggs, beat well. Add the salt and pepper, bean sprouts, green onions, coleslaw mix and cooled mushrooms. Mix well.

With a ladle, add about 1/4 of the egg/vegetable mixture to the saute pan. Try to give the mixture a roughly round shape. Cook for several minutes until the base is set and golden brown, flip and continue cooking until the second side is set and golden brown as well. Repeat with the remaining egg/vegetable mixture using additional vegetable oil if needed.

Making the sauce

In a small bowl, combine about 1/4 cup of the chicken stock with the cornstarch. Whisk well so there are no lumps.

Combine the remaining stock, soy sauce, rice wine, pepper and sesame oil in a small saucepan. Bring just to the boil over medium heat.

Whisk the cornstarch mixture again and slowly whisk into the stock mixture. Cook while whisking until the mixture comes to a boil. Allow to boil for one minute and then remove the saucepan from the heat.

Serve the omelettes alongside a serving of steamed rice, drizzling some of the sauce over both.

Nikuman (Japanese Steamed Buns)

I still have a backlog of recipes/posts to share but got very excited about today’s bake so it jumped the queue. I’ve got several recipes for steamed buns (Chinese bao or Korean jjinppang) in my recipe archives but I went to my favourite YouTube channel, TabiEats, for a small batch of buns, especially as I was able to use up a container of leftover runza filling (shredded corned beef, sauteed red cabbage and shredded cheddar cheese) for them.

It’s also a very fast recipe … no yeast proofing, a few minutes to knead, 30 min bulk proof, shaping and a final 20 minutes to final proof. Steaming took only 15 minutes and my buns were ready to eat. I didn’t bother with the squid ink variation so I added a total of 1 tbsp of vegetable oil to the dough in the kneading step.

Before proofing and after steaming

I had about 360 gm of dough so I divided it into six equal portions. There was a lot of filling (about 300 gm) but I shaped into tight balls and used it to fill the buns. There was a high filling (a bit under-seasoned) to bun ratio which was a plus.

REVIEW: Highly recommended recipe. There’s nothing I’d do differently.

Umeboshi Onigiri (Sour Plum Rice Balls)

Umeboshi are pickled sour ume, a fruit often identified as a plum though it is more closely related to the apricot. They are most commonly eaten with rice which mellows their salty and sour taste. Purple leaved perilla, which colours the ume red, is sometimes added during the salting process. A more modern preparation of umeboshi includes honey to slightly sweeten the finished fruit. I thought I’d dip my toe in the umeboshi pool so I bought the latter.

Recently, I visited a local Japanese grocery store and came home with some goodies including a container of the honey version of the umeboshi and made a batch of umeboshi onigiri.

Clockwise from the top: Adzuki beans, mochiko (sweet glutinous rice flour), katsuobushi (shaved dried bonito flakes) and umeboshi with honey. The sushi rice was purchased from my local grocery store chain because the price was better (8 kg for $13.99).

I DID make a traditional triangular shaped onigiri with the pitted umeboshi in the center but my preferred presentation was made by adding diced umeboshi to the cooked sushi rice and shaping the rice into rounds. Normally one shapes the onigiri using dampened hands sprinkled with salt to season and help in the preservation of the onigiri. However, the salty umeboshi added to the rice eliminates the need for the additional salt.

For the sushi rice cooking instructions, check out previous sushi and onigiri posts.

Whole and pitted umeboshi

Umeboshi onigiri served on home grown green perilla (shiso) leaves.

The onigiri may be wrapped in a half sheet of nori, along with a perilla leaf for flavour, wrapped with plastic food wrap and frozen for quick meals. Or, if you like your nori crispy, wrap the onigiri separately and add it to your lunch box/bento along with a half sheet of nori. You may serve the onigiri with a bit of soy sauce, if you prefer.

Spoiler Alert: Mochiko flour is an ingredient in a number of sweet or savoury Japanese treats. Just sayin’

Asparagus, Mushroom and Shrimp Fried Rice

I’ve been out of potatoes for about a week so when I thought about starch sides to pair with one of the several proteins in my freezer, pasta/noodles, quinoa and rice were among my options. I also wanted to use up the last few stalks of asparagus in my fridge. I finally decided on a Chinese classic … fried rice. Mainly because I had a pound of inexpensive white button mushrooms to pair with a scant half pound of large cooked, peeled and de-veined shrimp in my freezer.

I combined the elements of a couple of recipes I found on-line, mainly using one which featured mushrooms. The egg was added to extend the protein content.

RECIPE EDITED TO FIX GLARING TYPOS:

Asparagus, Mushroom and Shrimp Fried Rice Bowl

Asparagus, Mushroom and Shrimp Fried Rice – serves 3

~1/3 lb/177 gm peeled and de-veined cooked shrimp
1 1/2 cups cooked long-grain rice (or medium-grain)
2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
3/4-1 lb/340-454 gm white button mushrooms
1/4 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
4-6 green onions including green tops, sliced thinly
1/4 tsp salt
2-3 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 cup mixed vegetable (diced carrot, frozen peas, sliced asparagus)**
1/4 cup water, or as needed
1 egg, optional
1 tsp Asian sesame oil, for garnish
1-2 green onion tops, sliced thinly, for garnish

** equal parts diced carrot and sliced asparagus (3 stalks) used

Cook the long or medium grain rice the day before you plan on making this dish and refrigerate overnight.

In a large nonstick frying pan or wok, heat 1 tbsp of the vegetable oil over medium-high heat.

Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are tender and golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Turn down the heat to medium and in the same frying pan, heat another tbsp of vegetable oil. Add the red-pepper flakes, grated ginger, and green onions and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Raise the heat back to medium-high and add the mixed vegetables, stirring to char the vegetables for a minute or so. Add the water, cover, and let cook/steam about 5 minutes, to par cook the vegetables.

Push the vegetables to one side, and, if needed add a bit more oil to the pan in the empty spot. Add the rice to the area where you cleared the pan. Break up any rice clumps a bit and then sprinkle the salt and soy sauce over the rice. Stir to coat the rice evenly.

Add the mushrooms and cooked shrimp to the pan, stirring through until everything’s warm, another few minutes.

If adding an egg to the fried rice, again push the rice etc to one side leaving an empty area on one side. Break the egg into the space and let cook for a minute to set the white, then break up the egg yolk gently. Lift and turn the fried rice on top of the partially cooked egg. The heat from the rice will continue cooking the egg. Mix the egg through the rice.

Divide the fried rice among the serving bowls, making sure everyone gets an equal amount of the shrimp, and drizzle a bit of the sesame soil over the top.

Sprinkle green onion over the top for a garnish.