Friday, July 30, 2010

A Week with my sister (Part 1)

I hadn't updated my blog for a while because my sister was visiting me from Japan. She spent one week with us here in NY. It felt like such a short time but we had a lot of fun and I was very happy to spend some time with my favorite sister in the whole world.

My sister and I always had a good relationship ever since we were little. I think we are getting closer and closer as we get older. I am always very thankful that I have my sister in my life. She is the best sister in the whole world.

She has been always very nice and kind to me even when we were little. Every time when she go somewhere with her friends, she took me with her. This hasn't changed even when she was a teenager. Now when I think back, I would assume that teenagers want to spend time just with their friends and don't want your little sister around but my sister never complained about it and happy to take me everywhere with her. This is something I really appreciate.

I think she had to be very patient just because she was older than me. She never acted big or never tried to control me even she is older than me. (Sometimes, I act as if I am her older sister :-) She is very nice and kind and respectful to me all the time. It is great to have a sister in my life. I have no doubt that we will continue to have a great relationship despite the physical distance we have in between.

Anyway, when my sister was here, we had restaurant week in NYC. We went to two of the restaurants which I wanted to try.

One of them was called "Kittichai"(There will be sound with their website) . This is a modern Thai restaurant in Soho.

My sister had some kind of noodle. This was OK. It is very light and has some distinct flavor.

I had shrimp fried rice. This was something different from what I had expected. It tasted good but I think there were too much shrimp roe in my opinion.

We had fish cake for appetizer and this was really good but we forgot to take photo....

The restaurant has very nice decor and I like the atmosphere. They also have outside seating which might be nice on a cool sunny day or night.

I will post the other restaurant we went during the restaurant week on next post.

There are other things we ate during her stay. One of them was a burger from "Shake Shack". (There will be sound when you open the site). I went to this famous burger place for the first time just about a month ago and really liked it so I decided to take my sister there. We were not too hungry so we shared one shack burger. My sister like it a lot!

Also, we went to Cheesecake Factory.

I recommended "Bang Bang Chicken & Shrimp" to my sister and that's what she had.

I had my favorite "Tostada Salad"

My husband had chicken salad sandwich and smoothie.

Of course we can not finish all these so we took them home and ate next day again!

On the next post, I will talk about the other restaurant which we went during the restaurant week.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Japanese Curry for a hot summer day!

Both my husband and I love curries. We like Thai, Indian and also Japanese curry. In Japan, summer is pretty hot and humid so many people loose appetite during summer. Many people like eating curry in summer because spices makes your appetite increase. I was craving for Japanese curry so I made it.

This is very typical Japanese curry which people make at home I used some pork, onion, carrots, potatoes and mushrooms.

I used this curry mix which I bought from Japanese grocery store.

This is how it looks inside.

Saute some pork and garlic first.

Then, vegetables.

Add waters and cook until the vegetables are soft. Then add curry mix. At the end, I add some Worcestershire sauce.  I think this makes a huge difference.

When we start eating, we thought it wasn't too spicy but at the end of the meal we were drinking waters and getting hot from the spiciness. But it was perfect spiciness.

My husband love Japanese curry and he is always ecstatic when I make this curry. I think he can eat this everyday. He literary jumps ups and down from the excitement. It makes me so happy to see him happy. I am very lucky to have a husband who really appreciate many things I do.

I served this dish to many of my friends here in the U.S. and everyone who tried loved it. This is so easy to make and it always comes out great and everybody loves it. It is a perfect dish.

In Japan, there are so many curry shops around. A few years ago, a Japanese curry shop called "Go-Go-Curry" was opened in NYC. I haven't tried it yet but I am sure that it is quite a popular lunch spot for many New Yorkers.

Since it has been pretty hot lately, I have been eating lots of fruits but it is not good enough to be strong and I think curry was a perfect dish to increase my appetite in this hot weather. If you don't have any appetite this summer, I recommend trying some spicy curry!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Japanese Savory Pancake (Okonomiyaki) & Pineapple

Japanese savory pancake is one of favorite dish for myself and my husband. I buy okonomiyaki powder mix when I go to Japanese supermarket so I just need to add egg, water, cabbage to it. I also added pickled ginger and bacon this time. This is how it look without any sauce.
On top of this, we add okonomiyaki sauce and mayonnaise. I made some patterns with knife. It looks much better with the sauce. It is shining!

This is a very popular dish in Japan. Many places has hot plate on each table and let you make your own okonomiyaki. This is also one of the street food which you can find when there is a festival or something. I can make this a lot at once and freeze some of them. You can just take it out of freezer and microwave. It is very convenient!

I also like adding some seaweed flakes on top. (My husband don't like this seaweed flakes so it is only for me!)

For dessert, we had pineapple. I bought this pineapple for $3.99. Isn't it a good deal? This is a beautiful pineapple. I cut them all at once into bite size pieces and put in a tapper wear and keep them in the fridge. So I can have it whenever I want. Since it is hot, I have been eating lots of fruits lately. But eating too much pineapple makes my mouth hurts. I wonder why? Do you get it also?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Ginger Scallion Noodle, Fried Shrimp & Egg Bowl and Boiled Broccoli

Normally, I made only one dish for one meal but this time I made three different dishes for one meal! Ginger Scallion noodle and Fried Shrimp with Egg bowl (from Shrimp leftover from the night before) and boiled broccoli.

First, Ginger Scallion Noodle. This dish is from a restaurant called "Momofuku" in NY. I have not been there yet but I borrowed cookbook of Momofuku and many of the dishes looked really good. I would love to try this restaurant sometimes.

This is the Momofuku cook book. For me, some of the dishes seems a bit too complicated but I found some which are simple enough for me. This Ginger Scallion Noodle is one of them.

I was supposed to add some topping on the noodle such as pickled cucumber and sauteed cauliflower but I skipped them since I didn't have them at home :-)

I found this ginger scallion noodle recipe on the internet also so I link it here. 

It has quite a lot of ginger (which I love) and has some sherry vinegar so it is quite refreshing noodle. ( I added more sherry vinegar than it was required) 

This is the ginger scallion sauce I made.

And, Fried Shrimp with Egg bowl. This is a remake from the leftover fried shrimp from previous night. (Click here for the previous post) I just cooked some onion in soy sauce and sugar and sake then add egg in it and pour over the bowl of rice with the left over shrimp. 

Then boiled broccoli. This is just boiled and salted. Nothing special but I like it. I can just eat this as a snack. I like leaving in them in the fridge and make it cold before I eat. 

My husband also liked the ginger scallion noodle. I have to go to Momofuku sometimes and try the real one. But Momofuku is famous for its ramen noodle so I might eat ramen noodle if I go there. It is a Japanese name but the owner/chef is a Korean American chef named David Chang. He is quite famous and has many restaurants in NYC. I read that he lived in Japan for a while to learn how to make ramen noodle. I would love to try his ramen noodle! 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Panko Breaded Fried Shrimp & Glass Noodle Salad

I looked at the shrimp I had in freezer and realized that I really want to eat fried shrimp. I thought it will be a lot of work but it was just dredging in flour, egg and panko bread then fry. It was hot to fry in this heat but the result was well worth the heat.

I think that the important part of making this dish is drying the shrimp very well before dredging. Especially between the tail and so on. I wanted to make it as one straight line as it is how it's done normally in Japan. I made some cuts to make it straight but it ended up curling a little bit. Oh well.

Fried shrimp is kind of a rich dish so I also made refreshing glass noodle salad.

This I also ate many times in Japan. It is very popular side dish in Japan but I had never made it myself. I am quite happy with how it came out. This is how I made it.

Glass Noodle Salad
Dried Glass Noodle  50g
English Cucumber   Half (Cut into thin Slices)
Carrots                     2  (Cut into thin Slices)
Ham                         4~5 (Cut into thin Slices)
Soy Sauce               2 Table Spoons
Vinegar                  2 Table Spoons
Sesame Oil              2 Table Spoons
Sugar                      1 Table Spoon
Spicy Chili Oil        2 drops
White Sesame         For garnish

1. First, boil water in a pot and cook glass noodle following the direction on the package. Drain and wash with cold water.

2. Cut cucumber, carrots and ham into thin slices. (Make all of them about same size)

3. Mix soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, spicy chili oil together.

4. Mix glass noodle, cucumber, carrots, ham and the sauce all together and keep it in a fridge for a while to make it cold.

5. When it is cold, sprinkle sesame seeds on top and serve.

Also, for the fried shrimp I made an easy tartar sauce. I just mixed mayonnaise with sweet relish.

This dinner turned out pretty good even though this was my first time making panko breaded fried shrimp and glass noodle salad. I love panko bread because it makes fries more crunchy. This is the bread crumbs which we normally use in Japan.

Temperature has cooled down a little bit in NY and I like how it is not too hot. Hoverer I heard that we are going to have another heat wave for the next two days. Normally I don't eat fruits too often but lately with this heat I have been eating lots of fruits. My favorites are cantaloupe, watermelon, pineapple and cherries. I just brought cherries the other day without realizing how expensive it was. Well, I see the price and it said $2.99 so I grabbed a bag of cherries. I didn't realize that it was $2.99 per pound. So a bag contained more than 2 pounds of cherries so the total price was more than $6.00. However, these cherries were so good. I think it was worth it.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Meatballs for potluck party and Rice Ball for dinner next day

I had a pot luck fireworks viewing party so I made Finnish meatball again. (Click here for the previous post about Finnish meatball) . I think this is a perfect dish to bring for pot luck party. The recipe is from this book which have been using a lot lately. 

I made so many meatballs that day. It was very tiring. I rolled and rolled. It was like never ending meatballs. 

I can not fry them at once so I had to do it in batches. This also takes time. 

It came out really good and everybody liked it but since I had been making meatball all day, I had no desire to eat meatball for a while. I can't even think about meatball anymore. Meatball overload.

The party was great. Everybody brought great dishes. We had schnitzel, salad, sausage, Persian dish, dessert. Fireworks was right in front of her apartment so we went up to the rooftop and enjoyed the fireworks. It was perfect location. 

Also, we brought watermelon. We love eating watermelon in summer. It is so refreshing!

Since we ate a lot this day, we had simple rice ball next day for dinner. I love rice balls. This time, I used pickled plum, salmon flakes with sesames, seaweed, dried vegetable flakes and so on. 

Rice ball is very popular in Japan. Many people have this as an easy meal. I would say this is equivalent to sandwich here. 

Since it has been quite hot here in NY, something easy to cook like this is perfect right now. Plus, it is quite light but satisfying. I love the salmon flake ones best. I ran out of salmon flake. I have to get it again next time when I go to japanese supermarket. 

By the way, did you watch World Cup over the weekend? I am sad that it has ended. I really enjoyed this world cup. I realized how fun to watch soccer. Final game was great to watch. Both of them are good team so I would have been happy either way. 

What surprised me most was Paul the Octopus. I heard that he guessed 8 games and guessed all of them right. I read somewhere that he is quite old for an octopus so they were not sure if Paul will be able to predict next World Cup....

Anyway, I am looking forward to watching next World Cup in four years. Next one will be in Brazil and I think it will be an exciting one. 

I heard on the radio yesterday that Christiano Ronald from Portugal was visiting NY for vacation. He is very good looking and very popular player. I wish I could have seen him in real life. However I still think that David Beckham is the best looking player in soccer. I saw him watching England game in the field with very nice looking suite. He is very good looking. Well, wether good looking or not, I really enjoyed watching all the games. It is such an exciting and incredible sports. 

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Greek Stuffed Vegetables

I have made another wonderful dish from this wonderful cook book which I borrowed from the library.
Click here for Finnish Meatball and Roasted Chicken which I made from this book previously.

This time I tried "Stuffed Vegetables" (P115) from the Greek section of the book.

It uses Red Bell pepper, Tomato and zucchini as a container for this ground meat and rice mixture and baked in the oven for 1-hour and half.

First, make a container out of those vegetables. I thought it will be difficult but it was not too bad and it cake out pretty good!

Make the mixture with ground pork and beef, uncooked rice, vegetables, spices and such.

Then, fill the vegetables with these mixture.

Put the lid on, add some potatoes and pour some liquid then into the oven.

After one hour and half in the oven, this is how it look.

It was really good! I loved the juicy vegetables and the color is wonderful on a plate.

I really love this book. Since I renewed this item, I can borrow this until the end of July. I hope I can make some more dishes from this book before I return it. Maybe I should purchase this book. There are so many great recipes in this book.

Last night, we had a city's fireworks. Our friend invited us for a potluck party for fireworks viewing. The apartment was right in front of the fireworks and it had a big rooftop so it was perfect! I made finnish meatballs which is also from this book and brought it to the party. It seemed like everyone liked it! I am happy.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Penne with Tomato Sauce & Failed Bread Making

I would like to show two things I made last week. First one is Penne with tomato sauce. I used store bought tomato sauce so it is super easy. But I added some sautéed onion, garlic, cherry tomatoes and fresh basil. This makes a huge difference.

My husband loves pasta and he likes those simple pasta very much so he was happy to have this.

Also, I baked bread last week. Or attempted to make one. It didn't come out well and it is a bit embarrassing to show how bad it was but I will show it anyway. Here it is.

Can you tell how thin it is? I was trying to make regular sandwich bread but this is what came out from the oven. It was so thin that I had to laugh.

The taste was good and my husband loves bread also so he was eating this happily despite the shape.

I just wonder how this happened. When I had the second rise, it was rising up properly and pretty big but when I baked, it shrank. I have no idea what I did wrong. Oh well, bread making is not easy and I still need a lot more practice to master this. I hope someday I can make a perfect sandwich bread at home.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Kinpira Gobou & Japanese Scrambled Egg

Since it was too hot to make complicated dish and standing in front of the stove for a long time, I made easy dinner. Kinpira Gobou is Japanese traditional dish. It has thinly sliced burdock root and carrots. Normally this is a side dish in Japan but I can have this as an main  dish. It is a lot of work to slice these vegetables thinly so I bought already sliced frozen burdock root and carrots in Japanese grocery store.
How convenient!

If they are already sliced, it is very easy to make this dish. Add little bit of oil in a frying pan, then add burdock root, carrots and chili flakes. Then, add soy sauce, sake and sugar. Cook until vegetables are soft but not too soft (bit crunchy) then add sesame seeds at the end. That's it!

Since this is a lot of Kinpira gobou I made, I separate them into small containers and froze them. Whenever I want to eat this, I can microwave it and eat it!

The other thing I made was Japanese scrambled egg. Why is it Japanese? Because I added some scallions, soy sauce and sugar. I love eggs with sugar and soy sauce when I am eating them with rice.
It might sounds strange for non-Japanese people to add sugar in scrambled egg but when you eat this with rice, it is so good! My husband doesn't say anything about this sweet scrambled egg and he eats them but I wonder if he thinks that it is strange to have eggs sweet. I have to ask him sometimes :-)

So yesterday, Germany couldn't win the semi-final. But I think it was a good game and they did very well this World Cup. Also, Spain was really good I think. Now, final is Spain vs Netherlands. I am excited about this game. Both of them deserve to win and this will be another great game!

I was never into soccer but this World Cup has been so much fun to watch. I didn't know World Cup is this much fun! I wish I should have known. Too bad this is only once in four years. But again, that might be why it is so exciting!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Indian Butter Chicken

Since I still have some sweet saffron pilaf from the weekend, I decided to make some Butter Chicken to eat the pilaf with. I used the spice mix which I bought the other day.

This is the spice mix I used this time. I had never used this brand before.

First, saute chicken in butter and add this mix with tomato paste.

Add milk and cook more.

Add heavy cream at the end and serve with some rice.

It tasted really good but it was a bit too salty for my taste. Maybe I should add more milk or heavy cream. It was good that the rice was sweet so it evened out.

We had salad with it also. It is just simple salad with lettuce, corn and tomato with cilantro dressing. Tomato is from my garden!

We are having heat wave in NY. Yesterday, we had 98F. It was so hot. I think it will get better today. And we have Germany vs Spain game today! The whole neighborhood is cheering for Germany now because of us :-) I hope they will have a good game today!