Thursday, January 27, 2011

Escape from the snowy NY

I made California roll and tuna mayonnaise roll but they looked really bad (tasted good though) so I didn't even take pictures. So I don't have any picture of food today.

I have made those sushi rolls many times in the past but it has never been this bad looking. I am not sure why. I started to eat all the ugly ones while I am rolling them so by the time I was done and ready to eat, I was already full :-)

Anyway, NY had lots of snow again. I think we had enough snow for this season already.

I don't like cold weather so I miss warm California winter. Anyway, I would love to live somewhere warm in the future.

So, on a cold day like this, I look at some of the photos from the trip I took in 2008 and escape from the cold winter reality :-)

One of my favorite place on earth which I visited is Maldives. I went there for the first time about 13 years ago with my friend. I fell in love with this beautiful islands and went back in 2008 with my husband.

Here are some of the pictures from the trip we took in 2008. Enjoy the nice weather.

When I first went there, I couldn't believe the color of nature. It was too beautiful to be true. It almost seemed fake because it was so beautiful. I grew up in Tokyo so I had never seen such an beautiful nature before. When I left the island after one week of stay, I couldn't help but crying. I don't really know why I cried but it definitely gave such an impression which I can never forget.

Well, it will be a while for us to feel spring in NY but I can not wait to feel that nice warm spring smell in the air.

Until spring is here, take care everyone and keep warm!!! And No more snow please!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Rachel Ray's Orange Balsamic Glazed Chicken

This is a recipe from Rachel Ray which I saw on Food Network the other day. It looks so easy that I had to try it. It is sauteed chicken thigh with orange marmalade and balsamic vinegar glaze.

For Rachel Ray's "Orange Balsamic Glazed Chicken" recipe, please click here to go to Food Network website. 

First, season the chicken and saute in a pan.

Flip them and cook more.

Meanwhile, mix orange marmalade (Since I didn't have orange marmalade in my fridge, I used apricot marmalade instead), balsamic vinegar (I used white balsamic vinegar instead of regular balsamic) and chicken stock in a bowl.

When chicken is cooked through, add the marmalade mixture and cook until the sauce thicken.

At the end, add chopped scallions.

That's it! I served with rice and salad.

It was so easy but very tasty. I like the sweet and tangy taste. I will definitely make this again. Maybe I will use orange marmalade next time. But apricot was good also!

For the detailed recipe, please visit Food Network's website, Rachel Ray's Orange Balsamic Glazed Chicken recipe. Click here to go to the recipe. 

Rachel Ray is famous for 30 minuets meal which you can make under 30 minuets. I have not tried many of her recipe but I think all of her recipes are great especially when you work all day and can't spend time to cook but you want to have a good meal at home. I would like to try her other recipes also :-)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Shrimp and Spinach Soba Noodle and items from Trader Joe's

The other day, I made shrimp and spinach rice gratin but this time I made soba noodle using shrimp and spinach. I also used "vegetable bird nest"(vegetable tempura) which I bought from Trader Joe's.

I love Trader Joe's because they have so many useful and interesting food. This "Vegetable bird nest" is one of my favorite thing from Trader Joe's. Frying something at home is sometimes a pain. But when you make Soba or Udon, I want to add little bit of tempura in it and if I have this frozen vegetable bird nest, I don't have to fry anything and I always have great tasting soba with tempura in it.

This is the soba I made the other day. Well, it might not look too appetizing but it taste really good!

Well, since I talked about Trader Joe's, I would like to introduce some of my favorite Trade Joe's items which I haven't mentioned before. (I have already mentioned their Frozen Croissant. This is awesome. Please try)

First of all, every time we go to Trader Joe's, we buy this Edamame. It is soy beans and you just need to boil it for 5 mins and sprinkle with some salt. This is a great snack or appetizer. It is healthy and tasty.

Also, this is a Japanese favorite. Frozen baked rice balls (Yakionigiri). This taste exactly like the ones I used to eat in Japan. This is also great for snack or lunch.

Then, this is something we found quite recently. We call this "Flammkuchen" in our house since this taste exactly like the "flammkuchen"which we had in Germany. Trader Joe's call it differently but for us this is flammkuchen. It is creamy and crispy and great.

Also, this pork shumai was pretty good. This is also good for appetizer when you have some people over .

It seems like they have new items ever time I go there so I am always excited about visiting Trader Joe's. If I found something good again, I would like to report here again. One of the great things about Trader Joe's is that you can buy international food such as edamame or yakionigi with relatively affordable price. They have all different kind of food from all over the world so if you like food, you would love Trader Joe's, I think. If you have not been to Trader Joe's and found one near you live, please visit them once, it is a lot of fun!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Shrimp & Spinach Curry flavored Creamy Rice Gratin

Rice gratin is something quite popular in Japan. You can find all different kind of rice gratin. You just need to layer rice, sauce and cheese and heat them in the oven. My favorite kind is eggplant and tomato rice gratin but this time I made shrimp and spinach curry flavored rice gratin with creamy béchamel sauce.

Here is the recipe

Shrimp & Spinach Curry Flavored Rice Gratin with Creamy Sauce (2~3 people)
Cooked Shrimp     about 15
Spinach                 about 3 cups
Onion                    medium 2
Garlic                    2 cloves
Cooked Rice         about 1 1/2 cup
Vegetable Oil       2 table spoons
Butter                   3 table spoons
Flour                    2 table spoons
Milk                     about 2 cups
Curry Powder      2 table spoons
salt & pepper       for taste
Japanese bread crumbs  3 table spoons
Shredded cheddar cheese 1 cup

1, First, slice onions and chop garlic. If spinach leaves are too big, chop them into bite size pieces.

2, Add vegetable oil into a frying pan and saute onion and garlic.

3, Add spinach and saute.

4, Add cooked shrimp and sprinkle salt and pepper.

5, Add cooked rice and saute.

6, Add curry powder and mix well until everything is well combined. Then turn the heat off.

7, Meanwhile, make béchamel sauce. In a small sauce pan, melt butter.

8, Add flour and mix well.

9,  Add milk gradually and continue to mix with whisk. Keep whisking and adding milk until your desired consistency. Turn the heat off.

10, Transfer rice from the pan into oven dish.

11, Pour béchamel sauce on top.

12, Sprinkle cheese and bread crumbs on top.

13, In 400F (about 200C) oven, bake it for 20mins. I tried to brown the top with broiler at the end and burnt mine....

14, Serve while it is hot!

The curry flavored rice and creamy béchamel sauce was a perfect combination. If you don't like shrimp, you can also use chicken for this. I love rice gratin.

It is also great with meat sauce. Maybe I will make it with meat sauce next time. But first, I need to make my special bolognese sauce in order to make rice gratin with meat sauce!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Roasted Chicken Thigh with Mushroom Cream Sauce

I was checking one of my favorite Japanese blog and I saw this chicken with mushroom sauce. It looked really good and all the ingredients were easy to obtain here in the U.S. so I decided to give it a try. I came out pretty good!

First, seasons chicken and brown in the pan.

Make a bed of parsley in the oven sheet.

Add chicken on top of parsley and bake in the oven.

Take out from the oven

Make mushroom cream sauce.

Add cream sauce on top of chicken and serve. We had egg noodle and salad on the side. This was really good meal!

My husband loved this mushroom cream sauce and he wanted more. Maybe I will make more sauce next time. Also, I used bone-in chicken thigh but maybe I will use boneless because that will be easier to eat.

I loved this rich creamy mushroom sauce. I think this is a perfect dish in a cold winter night.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thai Basil Chicken

I found ground chicken in my freezer so I made "Thai Basil Chicken" with rice and fried egg.

Thai Basil Chicken
Ingredients (For 2)
Ground Chicken about  0.6 pound
Red Bell pepper              1
Yellow Onion                1
Garlic                             2 cloves
Basil                               1 cup
Egg                                 2
Fish Sauce                      1 Table spoon
Oyster Sauce                  1 Table spoon
Soy Sauce                      1 Tea spoon
Sugar                              1 Table spoon
Water                             1/4 cup
Vegetable Oil                 2 Table spoon

1, chop red bell pepper and garlic. Slice onion thinly.

2. In a frying pan, heat up vegetable oil and add chopped garlic and ground chicken.

3, When chicken is cooked, add chopped bell pepper and sliced onion and cook. Add water and cook until vegetables are soft.

4, When there is no water, add basil and sauté.

5. Meanwhile, make fried eggs in another frying pan.

6. Serve basil chicken with Jasmine rice and fried egg.

The key is using fish sauce. Fish sauce makes everything taste like Thai food (in my opinion). This is easy and colorful and tasty one dish meal! Enjoy.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Fat Witch Classic Chocolate Brownie at home

There is a brownie store called "Fat Witch" in this Chelsea Market and their brownie is my favorite. (If you would like to visit their website, click here BUT! there will be sound so BE AWARE!) They sell all different kind of brownies and they specialize brownie only.

The other day, I was at the library looking around the aisle of cooking books (my favorite aisle!) and found a cookbook from this Fat Witch! Immediately, I borrowed this book but never really had a chance to bake this brownie. The due date for this book was tomorrow so I decided to bake brownie yesterday. This is the book I borrowed from the library.

I made the dough and put it in the oven.

The book said that the recipe is for 9inch * 9inch baking pan but I didn't have it so I used the one a bit smaller than that. When I took our from the oven, my brownie was very thick. It was twice was thick as how it was supposed to be....

I cut a piece for myself while it is still warm. I love warm brownie! (My favorite is brownie sundae with warm brownie and whipped cream, vanilla ice cream and sliced almond. I know it is super rich and high in calorie but I love it. Of course I don't eat it too often. And today, I just had the brownie as is. ) This brownie is really thick.

My brownie came out different from Fat Witch brownie which I buy from there but the taste was really good! Mine was thicker and softer. It was more like soufflé. I think I might have mixed egg and sugar too well. But I kind of like this airy brownie also!

My husband liked it also! Now, I can return the book to the library!

This book have all different kinds of brownie recipe but I like my brownie plain chocolate or maybe just a bit of walnuts in it.

It was raining yesterday and was cold so it was a perfect day to bake brownie at home. The sweet smell of brownie filled the house and it made me feel very happy and safe :-)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Oven Roasted Brussels Sprout with Oinion

I had some brussels sprout in my fridge which I need to eat somehow. I have seen people roasting brussels sprout so I decided to roast them in the oven with some sliced onion and chopped garlic.

Oven Roasted Brussels Sprout

Brussels Sprout    about 10
Onion                   1
Garlic                   1 clove
Olive Oil              3 Table spoons
Salt and Pepper    1/2 tea spoon each

1. Preheat the oven for 370F. First, cut the brussels sprout into half. Slice onion into thin slices. Chop garlic. Then, in a roasting pan, add all the ingredients, sprinkle olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix and coat them well.

2. Throw them into the oven and roast for about 20mins. When it is charred, it is done.

3. Enjoy as is or as a side dish for your main course.

I love using oven for cooking. It is so easy. You can just throw things in the oven and put a timer on and do something else while it cooks. I think vegetables get extremely tastier when it is roasted.

I don't buy brussels sprout too often but I really liked this easy dish. I think I will be buying more brussels sprout this year :-)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Deep Fried Tofu and Scallion Udon with Yuzu zest

Udon and Soba are Japanese popular noodles. Normally I prefer eating Soba instead of Udon but I made Udon this time. I used dried udon noodle which I had in my pantry.

Basically, you can add whatever you want in your Udon. I didn't have too many stuff in my fridge so I just added some fried tofu, scallions, bits of fried tempura batter and Yuzu zest.

Right before I eat, I added Yuzu zest and Japanese chili powder (shichimi tougarashi).
Can you see some green bits on top? That's Yuzu zest.

Yuzu is a Japanese citrus which we use often especially in winter. I found Yuzu in a Japanese super market the other day but it was too expensive so I was not sure if I should buy it or not.

My husband tried Yuzu for the first time the other day when we went to this fancy restaurant "Eleven Madison Park" (Click here for that post) and loved the taste so he encouraged me to buy it. So I did.

I realized that the yuzu taste is much stronger in zest than in its juice. I really like yuzu.

By the way, this is the tool I use when I zest something or grate some ginger. This was a gift from my friend. I love this tool and I use it quite often.

The smell of yuzu reminds me of Japan. Growing up, we used to have Yuzu bath in winter. We put yuzu in a cloth bag and put it in a hot bath. The aroma of yuzu relax your body and mind.

The Udon I made was pretty good despite the simplicity of ingredients. I don't really know why but it was always my father who was in charge of making Udon or Steak back home. When it comes to Udon or Steak, my dad was a better cook than my mom. Eating Udon at home reminded me of my dad and his Udon. My Udon is not as good as my dad's but I am happy that it came out pretty good. I am sure that my dad will be proud of me if he ate this one!

I think adding Yuzu at the end made it a lot better than it actually was. I wish I could buy yuzu in a regular super market. Well, since yuzu is getting pretty popular among many chefs so maybe I will see yuzu in my local supermarket sometime soon.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Shrimp and Asparagus Salad

I ate a lot while our friends were here so I decided to make something light. It is a Shrimp and Asparagus Salad. Well, since this was a dinner and I didn't want to be too starving when I go sleep, I volumed up with lots of shrimp and vegetables. 

First, I just cut asparagus into smaller peaces and sauteed in a pan. Then I took them out and in a same pan, add some butter and chopped garlic and sauteed shrimp. When shrimp is almost done, I add the asparagus back to the pan and add some sweet chili sauce for flavor. (I also add some salt and pepper) 

I used this sweet chili sauce.   

For the salad part, I used romaine lettuce, grape tomatoes, radish, corn and avocado. I made maple syrup dressing (Click here for the recipe) and tossed the salad with it. 

Then, added cooked shrimp and asparagus on top and done! 

Since the portion is pretty big, even though it was just this salad for dinner, it was very satisfying and I didn't get hungry late at night. 

I think lots of people ate a lot during the holiday season so I think this will be a perfect dinner to balance your body. It is yummy and satisfying yet pretty healthy. Hope you enjoy it. 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A few things which I made at the end of last year

There are a few things which I made at the end of last year and didn't have a chance to post so I would like to share them with you here today.

First, I made Bulgogi which is a Korean beef dish.

I marinade thinly sliced beef with some soy sauce, sesame oil, sake, chili paste, garlic and ginger.

Then, cut some vegetables. I used garlic chives and onion and bean sprouts.

Then, just saute them all in a pan. Easy and tasty.

With bulgogi, I also made Banbanji which is kind of like a salad. Steamed chicken with vegetables and sesame sauce.

First, I microwaved chicken thigh with green onion and garlic. Then also microwave some bean sprout. Also, I cut some cucumber into think slices. For the sauce, I mixed garlic, white sesame paste, sake, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar and stuff. Pour them over and serve cold.

On some other day, I was craving for crepe so I made crepes with my husband. In the beginning, the crepe dough was too thick and the crepe came out thinker than I like so I added some more milk into the dough and made it perfect consistency. The second crepe came out perfectly. Maybe I can open a crepe store :-) My favorite crepe is with banana, whipped cream, chocolate syrup and almond slices.

My husband was adding a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of this. Crepes were much easier than I thought. This is a great and elegant looking snack. You can also make crepe with some savory ingredients and make it as lunch.

Some other day, I made Japanese hamburg. This is a very popular dish in Japan. It is like a hamburger patty but you don't eat it with buns. We add some vegetables such as onions and stuff and eat it with rice. For this one, I added onion, Japanese basil and tofu. I steam fried in a pan and it came out really juicy and tasty. For sauce, I mixed butter and mirin and soy sauce in the frying pan after I made hamburg and pour it over with some grated daikon radish.

My husband also cooked for me during the holiday. He made this wonderful curry chicken salad. He sautéed chicken with curry powder and added on top of salad. It was very tasty and satisfying salad.

This holiday season was wonderful for both my husband and I. We didn't travel anywhere this time but we were able to relax, cook together, go shopping together, go to movies and stuff like that. We really had a great alone times together.