Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Beef Soboro

Spicy Minced Meat

DSC_5833One of my resolutions is to have a plan (meal plan that is ) but here I was in front of an open freezer with no clear idea… It the freezer could talk, it might have said ‘What will it be tonight?’ Quick! …I’m loosing air…my cold air!
Oh my word…maybe I will open a can of soup? Dang it, that was last night. I’m so not good with pressure!

It resembles beef taco, ground meats cooked in seasoning sauce until all the liquid is evaporated and has dry appearance and is called soboro (そぼろ). Not very complicated, homey, low fat…good gracious, I have every ingredient!
I minced un oignon, I mean onion while microwave was Auto-Defrost-ING the beef. I was overwhelmed with joy, started to sob…more like over powered by onion but whatever!

This soboro recipe (adapted from Today’s Cooking Magazine) is extra ordinary! Low fat and a little punch of red pepper and curry make it spicy yet mild with yogurt ….mmm Japanese food with international flair!…
So lovely on pasta! And perhaps in tacos? Or stuffed into dumplings?

Ingredients and Instruction for 4 servings (Print Recipe Here)

  • 400g Ground Beef
  • 1-2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil divided
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic minced
  • Adult thumb size ginger peeled and minced
  • 1 medium size onion minced

I recommend that the following 8 ingredients be measured and put in small bowls for hassle free, smooth transition. IMG_2235

  • 2 Tablespoons curry powder
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoons (more or less) red chili powder
  • 1/3 cup red wine
  • 4 Tablespoons Worcestershire  sauce
  • 4 Tablespoons Tomato ketchup
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 Tablespoons parmesan cheese

Optional condiments –shiso leaves, green onion,
Japanese ginger/myoga(みょうが)

  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Prepare 4-5 cups hot water in large bowl. submerge ground beef for 30 seconds (this removes excess fat). Drain through strainer. Set aside.IMG_2237
  2. Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in large skillet at low heat. Add minced garlic sauté until fragrant then add minced onion and ginger, 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Keep sautéing and pour 1 Tablespoon of water every time it gets dry, repeat sauté/water sequence until the onion is cooked and no liquid is present.
  3. Add drained ground beef and sauté. Sprinkle curry powder into the pan. then follow by yogurt, honey, chili powder and mix well.IMG_2241
  4. Add next 4 ingredients (red wine, Worcestershire sauce, tomato ketchup, soy sauce) cook for 15 minutes or until liquids are evaporated.
  5. Finish with salt and pepper to taste, parmesan cheese, drizzled with 1 teaspoon of extra olive oil cook for 1 minute. Serve with thinly sliced shiso leaves, chopped green onion or thinly sliced Japanese ginger/myoga (see picture below) soaked in ice cold water for a few minutes to crisp (myoga is optional though, very fitting with this dish). Lastly, sprinkle with toasted sesame and coarsely ground black pepper. Mix well to eat.

Option: The effort is same so double the recipe and keep some in refrigerator for an another use. In the picture below I topped soboro on the cooked hot rice.DSC_5838

Everyday posting of my Today’s TAPAS pic on Instgram is a learning experience of composition, food styling, how to use filter app, etc. Today’s TAPAS is my lunch. Hopefully the bite size potion help shed some pounds which I found over the holidays…then again sometimes I feel like I need ten of those.

Here are some of my posting – from left clockwise, white radish sprouts & lox salmon with wasabi sauce, roasted red beets and mozzarella cheese stack, vegan salad rolls, crab salad wrapped in savory crepe. A mini hamburger with fries.


The bun used in mini hamburger was made with a small amount of dough stole from my husband’s French baguette. DSC_5848.  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


Kara-Age Sleet Nabe/ から揚げみぞれ鍋

DSC_5745It does not make sense, when you fry chicken nuggets until crispy then put them in the dashi soup, right? No, not a whole lot. but this is our favorite hot-pot dish. Although I don’t mind having this dish every week in cold months, it’s not so fun to fry the chicken pieces before hand every time.


According to the original recipe from ‘NHK Today’s Cooking magazine, it’s a speedy nabe/鍋 (earthenware pot) dish because you are supposed to use store purchased ‘ever so popular’ kara-age/ seasoned Japanese style fried chicken nuggets which are readily available in any convenience store or grocery store… if you live.in Japan. I get that the nice umami flavor rendered from kara-age thus the cooking time is short. The grated daikon (in nabe term, this is called mizore/みぞれ, means sleet) tames the otherwise oily soup.

Gazillions of kara-age recipes are floating around on-line and I have my own recipe too…the freshly fried piece is most desirable…just be careful..it’s very hot! Warning: too much test munching while frying results in fewer pieces to go into the pot.

Marc’s kara-age recipe is one of my favorite. It’s a little sweeter. While you are at his site, check out his Orange Chicken; read the charming story and be awed by great photos. This recipe also requires kara-age…why not shoot two birds with one oil… oops, one rock?

Nipponnin’s Basic Kara-Age recipe- (Print Recipe Here)

  • Boneless chicken thigh about 450g cut in 2 inch chunks.
  • Marinating sauce – 2 Tablespoons of sake, mirin , soy sauce. 1 tablespoon each (or more/less) of grated ginger ( you may use grated ginger in tube for convenience) and grated garlic.
  • Potato starch (I recommend this) or corn starch approximately 1/3 cup
  • Oil for frying

Put all marinating sauce ingredients in a zip-lock bag, add chicken pieces. Massage well over the tightly closed bag. Rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Drain any juice in the bag and add 1/3 starch, close the bag and shake well to coat chicken with starch. Add a little more starch if it’s too wet or if you want to have more body. Heat oil in thick bottom pan to 320F. Fry 2-3 pieces at time to avoid crowding until crispy and golden brown about 3 minutes. Receive in paper towel to absorb oil.

Basic with twist – Add 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise (preferably kewpie mayonnaise) in marinate sauce for rich creamy flavor or 2 Tablespoon rice vinegar for tanginess.

Option #1– For crispier chicken, Fry them twice, I recommend this if you just making kara-age. (Fry for 2-3 minutes first in 320 F. Rest chicken pieces on paper towel. Heat oil up to 390F and put the chicken back in oil and fry for 40 seconds)..

Option #2 – Mix potato starch and 2Tablespoons of jyoshinnko (上新粉/type of rice flour) for extra crispy texture.

Ingredients and Instruction for Kara-age Hot Pot for 4 servings

  • 10 to 14 pieces chicken kara-age
  • 4 to 8 pieces ganmodoki (がんもどき/ tofu fritters)
  • 1 bundle mizuna,(水菜/Japanese mustard leaves)DSC_5724
  • 4 cups dashi stock, I used NO-MSG granule dashi dissolved in 4 cups of hot water
  • 3 Tablespoons sake
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon mirin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups grated daikon /white radish with juice 
  • Yuzu pepper or yuzu paste, optional
  1. Prepare the ingredients and set aside followings – 
    Put tofu fritters in very hot water to remove some of oilDSC_5731.
    Cut off stem from mizuna then cut in 3 inch lengths.DSC_5728
    Mix dashi stock, sake, soy sauce, mirin and salt in a bowl.
  2. Pour dashi stock mixture in the stone pot and boil.
  3. Turn down the heat to medium, add tofu fritters and kara-age pieces and cook for 2-3 minutes
  4. Add mizuna then grated daikon and it’s juice. Cook for 1 minute and it is done!
  5. Serve with yuzu pepper (optional)DSC_5741

Following night’s supperKara-age Udon  All your hard work is done the night before, just put quickly rinsed frozen udon noodle in the hot-pot left over (add more dashi stock if needed and adjust seasonings) and voila!DSC_5749

Flavorful Korean seaweeds sheets are always welcome – my husband received it from a co-worker. Isn’t that nice? DSC_5786Wisely made into Kara-age rolls!IMG_2255

I was doing really good last week…eating right/light until my husband made shokupan, Japanese style loaf of bread. Thank you Bake for Happy Kids! Nostalgia set in….Nous sommes contents (we are happy)!DSC_5835






Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Les Oranges

Orange Gratin with yogurt and marmalade sauce

DSC_5804January is nearly at the half-way point. One of my resolutions – try to eat more right stuff (to lose weight) is waylaid some already…what happened? (rhetorical question)  I need to put the goal back on track. This ginger accented broiled citrus dish is unique and the hint of sweetness counteracts the bitterness of grapefruits and charred citruses well.


This recipe was found in the 2014 Jan/Feb issue of Cooking Light Magazine. It was introduced as dessert, we consumed it as a light salad however - if you eat as dessert, get uses to disappointment - I think it is supposed to be served warm? Yet we like it chilled thus defying the meaning of gratin…oh, well…it’s like a pallet cleanser?, detox of some sort? I mean refreshing!
Orange variety is a suggestion, just use whatever you have on hand.

Ingredients and Instruction for 4 servings (Print Recipe here)

  • 2 large navel oranges
  • 1 small ruby red grapefruit
  • 1 large Minneola orange
  • 3 clementines
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar (may substitute with stevia sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon minced candied ginger
  • 1/2 cup plan 2% Greek yogurt  I used my husband’s homemade Greek yogurt which is not the reduced fat kind.
  • 1 Tablespoon orange marmalade
  • 2 Tablespoons sliced almonds, lightly toasted
  1. Peel oranges, grapefruit, and Minneola oranges: cut crosswise into 1/2 inch slices. Peel clementine and cut in half cross wise.
  2. Preheat broiler to high. Arrange citrus in a single layer on a cookie sheet with at least 1 inch rim pan. Sprinkle with sugar and minced candied ginger.DSC_5764
  3. Broil citrus 15 minutes or until lightly charred., rotating pan occasionally. DSC_5775
  4. While it is broiling, combine yogurt and marmalade in a small bowl.IMG_2224IMG_2225
  5. Divide citrus evenly among 4 dishes. Drizzle with pan juice. Top with yogurt mixture and toasted almonds.DSC_5783

If I stop here then I could reach my ideal weight in no time but my husband tried a new bread recipe…Brioche…Oooo so buttery! Délicieux!DSC_5826

I met with some long-time-no-see Japanese friends for lunch last week. I really enjoyed making Japanese style cake for them – mine and their favorite, chestnuts cake with sweet potato Chantilly cream.DSC_5755

OK no more fattening foods from now on…I shall Cook Light…Right?

Ce était une grande tristesse pour le perd apporté par l'attaque terroriste sur Charlie Hebdo et le marché casher. Ma plus profonde sympathie et nos prières sont avec les familles de cette tragédie

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Nouvelle Année!

New Year!

IMG_2183Excusez moi for my French, I’m studying French on line…for hope that I could travel to Paris this year and so that I won’t starve there. Un hamburger, sil vous plait (hamburger please)…avec des frites (with fries). Combien ça coûte? (How much is it?). OK…I have to learn how to count in French too.

Wow! ‘Holiday’ days were gone in a rush weren’t they? I was way too relaxed (in other words, lazy) in those short weeks and I’m so not ready for new post though, I was cooking and experimenting with new recipes not for my blog sake but for my enjoyment. So I must say my New Year is going well so far (no kidding, just 6 days in but hey, I’m talking about positive attitude here)…I hope you’re doing well also. And thanks again for your kind comments. You are much too generous. 

Conversation of last December - Kids are not coming home for the holidays this year again?…we should go somewhere…Disneyland the happiest place on earth? My husband frowned, we went there two Christmases ago!  He can’t take crowds very well…How about Seattle? Plea, please?
Here are some iPhotos I took during holidays including the first photo of sunset view from our hotel room, Paramount Hotel has lots of charm. clean and roomy, a stylish bathroom with deep soaking tub,a separate shower and water closet. The staff were nice especially Tom the concierge. The valet parking was free if you brought three non-perishable foods to donate during holiday season.

IMG_2155We dined at authentic French restaurant Maximilien Christmas Eve. I over heard waiters talking in French…my chance to practice French…ahhhh, Oui, Merci…Je ne sais pas…ha ha ha…Au revoir!…pathetic…I know. Picture below is escargot.IMG_2163The view from the restaurant…such a bad photo!  So sad.

Almost everything was closed in downtown Seattle on Christmas Day except movie theaters. We got in the line for 30 minutes and enjoyed “The Imitation Game”  We like Sherlock…I mean Benedict Cumberbatch the actor.IMG_2168

4 hours to go till the dinner reservation on Christmas Day. Japanese operated Food Truck ’Gourmet Hotdog” We shared the Yakisoba hotdog to tie us over.IMG_2173A day after Christmas, phew! stores are back in business! I bought “Hiyoko’ knock-off Japanese pastry at Asian Market. Check my ‘Chick’ recipe here.IMG_2189We had a lunch at popular ramen shop, Samurai Noodle. Awesome!IMG_2192

Back Home, my husband baked Pittsburg Pretzel Bread for New Years Day. It tasted more like brioche than pretzel though we liked it all the same.IMG_2196I used the bread in an appetizerIMG_2194For the first cake of 2015, I made a Strawberry Shortcake using a new recipe I spied on Cookpad.com. IMG_2198 IMG_2202

I would like to post something next Tuesday…wishful thinking of course.

DSC_5651_edited-1My last year’s painting project…was on the back burner, I simply couldn’t finish it so this will be this year’s project…goody, I have a head start! Life is good!