Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Okonomiyaki (Japanese savory pancake)

Welcome to 7th Kitchen!

I woke up from a strange dream today. I was at a coffee shop and ordered 3 cakes and 3 coffees to go. They forgot my order and I had to wait about 20mins. Then, they put everything together and said "OK, the total will be $90.00". That's when I woke up. 

I told my husband about my dream this morning and he also had a dream something like that. He was at Fast food chain and he ordered 2 chicken nuggets but he only got one. He complained to the cashier but they did not believe him. 

Maybe it is this humidity that made us dream something frustrating. 

Anyway, I made Okonomiyaki last night because I had cabbage and eggs which I had to use. 
Okonomiyaki is a Japanese savory pancakes. You can put many different kind of ingredients. 
I normally buy Okonomiyaki flour from a Japanese supermarket. This flour already include some dried seafood and dried yum in it and is flavored. 

I added chopped cabbage, green onion, ginger, agedama, shrimp and water and mixed them well. Then fry it in a pan. It is super easy. 

It is very popular food in Japan. Many restaurants have hot plate on the table and let you make your own Okonomiyaki at your own table. 

I like adding Okonomiyaki sauce and mayonnaise on top with little seaweed flakes.

This is also a street food which you can find at festivals and so on. You can also find this item at most "Izakaya" (Japanese tapas bar??). 

By the way, I will be traveling from today so I am not sure if I can update my blog. I will try whenever I have time and internet access and computer. Please don't forget about me even when I don't update everyday. I am excited to report many food which I will eat on this trip!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Day at beach

Yesterday, my friend came to visit me so we went to beach and spend a beautiful day at beach. 
Before we go to the beach, we decided to have lunch at Thai restaurant. I ordered "Shrimp in garlic sauce". It was very simple. Just with Shrimp and mushroom but it tasted so good with garlic sauce. I am not exactly sure what is in this garlic sauce but I will definitely try this at home. Even though, my husband might not be happy about the mushroom.....

So off we go to the beach. When we were walking, we saw someone who really looked like Ann Burrell from Food Network. She passed by us and my friend and I looked at each other. We were not sure if that was her since she was wearing sunglasses but if it were her, I really wanted to talk to her. But we were too shy. We couldn't talk to her. I really love her show. I can feel that she is very passionate about food and really enjoy food. 

Anyhow, we had a great time at beach. My friend told me that she feels lighter after spending a day at beach. We inhaled lots of fresh oxygen. The breeze from the ocean really makes your body and soul refreshed. I am sometimes amazed about nature. Just looking at the waves comes and go calms me down. Nature has a healing power. 

Since I played all day today, dinner was really simple and easy one. I just cooked some pasta and put it together with tomato sauce. Normally, I like adding some vegetables or meat in tomato sauce but I did not have anything at home today so I just added garlic. Simple but yummy. 

Thankfully, my husband loves pasta. So whenever I don't have time or I don't have energy to cook, I make pasta. And he is always happy. Well, he is always happy no matter what. And that is one of the things I admire about him. 

Thank you for visiting 7th kitchen!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Ramen Noodle with Stir fried vegetables and ground beef

Welcome to 7th Kitchen!

Last night, I made Ramen Noodle. I used store bought ramen noodle which comes with soup already. I like adding some vegetables and meat to those ramen noodles. Just a little bit of make over makes it taste much better. 

I stir fried cabbage and onion with ground beef. I also added garlic and corn. In Japan, many ramen places add corn in Miso ramen noodle. Sometimes they add butter also. I flavored stir fry with soy sauce, sake, oyster sauce, mirin, chili flakes, sugar, salt and pepper.

It came out pretty good and was very satisfying meal. My husband likes Ramen Noodle so he was happy to have this big bowl of ramen noodle for dinner. 

Ramen is very popular in Japan. There are so many Ramen restaurant and so many different kind of ramen. Depends on the region, they use different kind of soup and different kind of noodle. I personally like "Tonkotsu Ramen" which is Ramen with pork flavored soup. (They make stock for this soup out of pig bones). If you have a chance, please try "Tonkotsu Ramen". 

The one I made today is not Tonkotsu Ramen. It was Miso Ramen. 
Next time, when you make Ramen, add some vegetables and meat. It makes your regular boring bowl of ramen noodle into something special!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

American Sushi

Welcome to 7th Kitchen!

I love Sushi. I especially like those American creative Sushi. We have a good Sushi place close to our house so we eat Sushi quite often. 

American Sushi are so creative and I am always impressed how people come up with all these combinations. In Japan, Sushi is normally very simple. Just raw fish and rice with wasabi. But here, there in the U.S., there are so many different kinds with creative names and presentation. 

At home, I make California roll sometimes but I hardly ever make sushi with fish because it is hard to get fresh sashimi grade fish from a regular supermarket. My favorite sushi fish are Yellowtail, Tuna (especially Toro but it is expensive!), White tuna. 

I am so happy to see Sushi is getting popular in many places including here in the U.S. In Manhattan, there are so many Sushi places but even outside of the city, there are many Japanese restaurant where you can have great sushi now a days. 

In Japan, we went to this big Sushi boat chain called "Kappa Sushi" . Most of the sushi was about $1 per plate. You have a computer screen at your table and if you don't see what you want floating around, you can order them via computer system from your table. Then, they make it fresh and deliver is in a bullet train style container with a machine. Before it comes, you will hear the beep and the red light at your table so you know it is coming. You take the plate and send the bullet train back. It was so much fun. Kids love it. 

This Sushi chain was filled with family with small children. It is cheap and fun. Quality of sushi is so so but I think everyone should visit at least once for the experience.  So when you are in Japan, please try it. I think you will have fun! 

Friday, July 24, 2009

Japanese Potstickers (Gyoza)

Welcome to 7th Kitchen!

Pot sticker is something I used to make with my mom when I was little. I would say it is a quite lots of work but it definitely worth it. 

I made 66 pot stickers by myself last night. It took me a while but I had fun with it. 

There are so many different ways to make pot stickers and mine also changes each time but here is the recipe. You can add other ingredients inside such as shrimp, cheese, etc. 

Pot stickers (Gyoza) for 66 pot stickers

Ground Pork             about 3/4 pound 
Garlic Chive (Nira)   1 bunch 
Cabbage                      1/2 head
Pot sticker (Gyoza) wrappers  66 sheets
Grated Garlic 1 tea spoon
Grated Ginger    1 table spoon
Soy Sauce                      1 1/2 table spoon
Oyster Sauce                 1 tea spoon
Salt  a pinch
Pepper a pinch
Sesame oil                    1 table spoon 
Vegetable oil for frying   2~4 table spoons

1. Chop Cabbage and garlic chive into small pieces. Put them together in a bowl, sprinkle with salt. Leave it for a while.

2. Knead ground pork until it gets whitish color. Add Soy Sauce, Oyster Sauce, Sesame Oil, Salt and pepper, garlic, ginger and knead more. 

3. Squeeze Cabbage and Garlic chive and get rid of all the waters. 

4. Mix cabbage and garlic chive into meat mixture. Knead more. 

5. Put water around pot sticker wrapper. 

6. Place mixture in the middle of wrapper. 

7. Close the edge of wrapper. 

8. Add some vegetable oil into a pan. Place pot stickers in the pan. Leave it for 2~3mins

9. Add water into the pan until 1/3 of pot sticker is in the water. Put the lid on and leave it until the water evaporate. 

10. Add little bit of Sesame oil to the pan. Cook it for 1 min and Serve. 

It is so good. You can not stop eating this! You can make bunch of them at once and freeze it. 
So next time, when you crave for pot sticker, you can just take it out from the freezer and put in a pan. You don't even need to defrost it. It is convenient to have this in the freezer when you don't have time to cook. 

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mushroom Rosotto

Welcome to 7th Kitchen!

I love Mushroom and I love Risotto. So Mushroom Risotto is one of my favorite dish. 
I used dried mushrooms for this risotto so I can use some of the liquid which I used for soften the dried mushroom. This package of dried mushroom had shiitake, maitake, porchini, etc. 

It was so hot when I was cooking this. I was sweating and I wanted to take a break but you can not just walk away from Risotto. I have to keep on pouring the liquid into risotto, one ladle at a time. Also, I had to grate lots of Parmigiana cheese which also require lots of strength.  So by the time when I was done cooking, I was exhausted. 

But the risotto was really good so I guess it was worth it. One regret I had was that I forgot to add garlic. I think mushroom and garlic goes really well and I always add garlic when I cook mushroom. I think mushroom is great. I love using it for risotto, pasta, and salad. My husband does not like mushroom too much but I just love it very much so I use it anyway. And, it is good for you! If you have good mushroom recipe, please let me know!

For breakfast, I had this today. Can you guess what it is? It was delicious! I will post the answer tomorrow. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"Alto" Restaurant in NYC

Welcome to 7th Kitchen!

It is restaurant week in NYC and I went to Manhattan to see my friend. We went to "Alto". This is a fancy Italian restaurant in midtown. Since it is restaurant week, they have 3 course lunch for $24.07. 

For an appetizer, I chose warm asparagus soup with whipped ricotta cheese and crisp prosciutto. I loved this soup. It was really pretty and tasted good. I think it will be also good clod. 

For a main course, I chose Strip Bass. This was olive oil poached sea bass with tomato, ceci beans, Sicilian capers and olives. It was good but I did not think anything amazing. My friend had pasta with braised veal ragu with pecorino cheese and this one was really really good. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of my friend's dish but I tasted it and I was impressed. I should have ordered that instead of sea bass. 

For a dessert, I picked Panna Cotta. This was great. It came with slices of fresh pink grape fruits and grape fruit sorbet. It looked very pretty and elegant and tasted amazing. I would love to make something like this at home and impress my guests. 

Overall, I liked the restaurant. If I picked the past as my main course, it would have been perfect. I am not sure how much they charge these usually but I definitely would like to come back here for maybe a special occasion :-)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Chicken Provencal

Welcome to 7th Kitchen!

I am so happy and proud of my last night's dish. I made "Chicken Provencal".  I was reading this cook book about culinary boot camp at CIA (Culinary Institute of America) and it says the first thing they leaned at this boot camp was this sauteing technique with "Chicken Provencal". The ingredients were simple so I wanted to try it. 

In the book, it tells you how the meat should feel to your touch depend on how you want your meat done. Normally, I tend to overcook meat and I always have to cut into it to see if it is done. Well, last night, my chicken was perfectly done, very juicy and I didn't cut into it to check. I am so proud of this. And it tasted wonderful. My husband also loved it and he ate it so fast. He said "I am sorry but I couldn't put his fork and knife because it was so good!" 

During the cooking, I burned myself. It is quite silly but I put the pan in the oven and took it out with the glove. I put it on the stove, took chicken out and wanted to make sauce in the pan. I completely forgot that the handle was also hot. I touched it and burned my palm and part of my finger. Oh, it was so painful. Today, it feels much better but some part is still red and it hurts when I touch it. Well, despite this injury, I was very very happy with this dish. 

I also made mashed potatoes for the side. I looked in my fridge and found the Chimichurri sauce which I made a few days ago. I decided use this sauce for my mashed potato. This was also a hit. Nice color and very tasty mashed potato. 

If you are interested in the book, here is the link to Amazon. You can buy it from Amazon. Since the chicken Provencal was so good, I would like to try a few more recipes from this book. 

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Indian Grocery Store

Welcome to 7th Kitchen

Before the dinner on Friday night, I went to some Indian grocery stores in the city. I used to go there often but I hadn't been there for a while so I was really excited. 

I love these Indian grocery stores. I always feel like a kid in a candy store when I go there. There are so many things I would love to buy but since I did not have a car with me, I had to control myself not to get too many stuff. Here are the stuff I bought. 

There are so many spices and mixes. Since I made mistake buying a wrong paste last time, I was careful this time. They had a few different brand so I bought different brands so I can taste which one I like best. I also bought "Bombay Mix" which I love to snack on. It is spicy and you can taste many different kind of spices. Yummy!

Beside the grocery, there was one this I really wanted to buy. 

This is what I wanted buy. 

Do you know what it is? 

When you open the lid, there is another lid. 

And when you open another lid, it is a Indian spice box! 

The Indian lady I used to live had this spice box and I always wanted to have one for myself and I finally got it! I am super excited. I will have many different kind of spices in it and mix them as I cook! I need to learn more about Indian food :-) 

So for last night dinner, I use one of the mix I bought and made "Chicken Makhani
This is the mix I used. 

I assume that this guy in the picture is a famous chef or something and this is his mix of spices. 

It is very very easy to make "chicken Makhani" with this mix. You use add the mix and water and chicken in a pan and boil for 10 mins with lid on. Take the lid off and add whipping cream and heat for another 5mins or so and it is done! 

To my surprise, it was really really good. I used to take out"chicken Makhani" from an Indian restaurant close to work and it tasted just like the one I used to have! It is mild and creamy and so good! I was surprised how easy and good it was. 

I could not find this product on Amazon but I found a book which looks like the guy on the package of this mix. You can buy it from Amazon by clicking the link below. 

He must be a famous chef. Maybe I should get this book and learn more about his indian food. If I can make this from a scratch, I will be very happy and proud. 

I bought some other mix from his brand so I am excited to try other product also. I hope it is as good as this Chicken Makhani mix. 

If you find this mix at your local grocery store or Indian store, I highly recommend to try it. It is very mild and creamy and good! If you like more spicy, maybe this might not be for you. Or maybe you can add your own spice to it! 

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Dinner in Manhattan (TAO)

Welcome to 7th Kitchen!

It is restaurant week in NY. I went for dinner with my husband at TAO restaurantt. The place is pretty big but it was packed. It seems like this restaurant is quite popular and always packed with people. The interior is very Asian but modern. There was a huge Buddha inside the restaurant. 

For appetizer, I ordered Shrimp tempura and my husband had pot sticker. My Shrimp was really good. It came with two different kind of sauces. One was kind of like a spicy mayonnaise and the other was spicy sweet soy sauce. 
Pot sticker was also good but the sauce was bit too sweet for me. 

For the main course, I had sea bass and my husband had fillet Mignon. I think my sea bass was marinated with miso and Yuzu. It remind me a dish I used to eat in Japan. It was really good and melt in my mouth. I did not like the fillet Mignon too much. But the onion ring which came with the fillet mignon was pretty good. 

For dessert, I had sugar doughnuts and my husband had banana bread pudding. My doughnuts came with a sauce which also tasted like Yuzu. I was expecting more like simple sweet vanilla sauce so this was something I was not expected and I would have like the vanilla sauce without Yuzu taste. But the banana bread pudding was really good. I think I want to try to make it at home. It seemed pretty easy to make. I think I just need Banana, Nilla wafers and whipped cream. I will try them at home. 

Overall, I really enjoyed the dinner. I love cooking but I also love eating out and it had been a while since my husband and I ate out in Manhattan. 

Before dinner, I stopped by at some Indian grocery store. I bought some stuff and I am really excited. I will report about it a bit later!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Thai Lunch

Welcome to 7th Kitchen!

I had Thai lunch yesterday with my friend. I make Thai curry at home so I have not been to Thai restaurant for a while. This restaurant is close to where I live but I had never tried so I was really excited to try them for the first time. 

The place is really small but very nice and clean. The service was good and the food was awesome. 

First, I had a soup which came with the lunch special. I believe this soup was Tom Yum Kung. It was tangy and little bit spicy and delicious! I love Thai soup. I normally take tangy coconut soup but Tom Yum Kung was also really good. I never even tried to make these soups at home but I would love to try it sometimes if I can get ingredients for it. 

Then, we shared "Egg Plant Salad". This was something which reminded me of Japanese dish called "Yakinasu". "Yakinasu" is not salad and it is just baked eggplants without the skin. This salad we had had baked skinless eggplants, ground pork, mint leaves, lettuce, carrots, etc. We loved it! I love eggplant. I never had ground pork in my salad but it was really good conbination with eggplant. 

I chose "Ginger Shrimp" for my main course. The vegetable were perfectly cooked and very crisp and fresh. Only thing I should have asked was to make it a little bit spicy. 

Overall, I really liked this restaurant and defenitely would like to come back sometime for other dishes. I love Thai food. 

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Roasted Pork with Chmichurri Sauce and French beans

Welcome to 7th Kitchen!

I worked really hard yesterday to make this dish. It took me much longer than I expected but the result was great! 

First, I made Chimichurri sauce which I wanted make since I went to the Cuban restaurant the other day. Sissa wrote me a recipe on the comment for my June 26th post so I made this sauce following this recipe. Thank you Sissa! It was wonderful. 

Roast pork took more time than I have expected. First, I put in the broiler but the temperature did not reach 160F and it started to burn outside so I changed it to oven and baked them until the inside reach at least 160F. (which I read that is a safe temperature for pork cooking) 

Meanwhile, I boiled french beans and sautéed with bacon and onion. I add some vinegar and sugar so it is sweet and sour. 

My husband really liked this dish and he wanted to bring the leftover for lunch next day. He wanted to have Chimichurri sauce also but it was pretty garlicky so I was not sure if his colleagues would like him after lunch. 

I did not put Chimichurri sauce for his lunch. I did not tell him so let's see what he will say tonight when I see him. :-)

I needed some carb in my meal so I also made some french fries on the side. It was frozen store bought french fries but I actually fried them last night. It made a huge difference. (Normally, we bake them in the oven) It was crispy and really good! 

Yesterday, I realized how difficult to make roast pork. I mean it is difficult to know when to take it out. Mine was a bit overcooked, I think. Now, I know how to make Chimichurri sauce so I will try it again and would like to be better at roasting pork! Maybe I will try on the grill next time. 

It was a big dinner and we were so full after the dinner. We had to take a walk to help digest our food! Well, it was a nice walk :-)