Friday, January 31, 2014

Potato and Beef Croquette Recipe

Croquette is a very popular dish in Japan and I think you can find them in many different countries in the world. I love them but since it is quite time consuming to make it and fry it, I don't make it too often. In Japan, you can find already fried croquette in a supermarket or you can also find frozen one so you can just fry them at home.

Since I had 1lb of ground beef and lots of potatoes at home, I decided to make this dish the other day.

I made a lot of them and froze half of them. Next time I want to eat croquette, I can just take them out from the freezer and fry them.

Normally in Japan, we eat this with Tonkatsu sauce which is something like a ticker Worcestershire sauce. I always have this on hand but if you don't have it, you can either use regular worcestershire sauce, ketchup, hot sauce or even without any sauce. If you season them well during cooking, you don't really need any sauce.

If you want to but it, you can buy them from Amazon. This is a very popular brand of tonkatsu sauce in Japan. Bull dog Tonkatsu Sauce.

Here is the recipe.

Potato and Beef Croquette
Print Recipe

Yields about 14 large croquette

Potato   4 large
Ground Beef   1lb
Onion         3 medium
Carrot         3
Nutmeg      2 teaspoons (Optional)
Salt             1 tablespoons
Pepper        1~2 teaspoon
Flour           about 1/2 cup
Egg             2
Panko (Bread Crumbs) about 1 cup
Vegetable Oil for frying plus 1 tablespoon

1. Peel and cut potatoes into small pieces and boil them until fork tender.

2. While cooking potatoes, chop onion and carrot into small pieces.

3. In a Frying pan, add 1 tablespoon of oil. Then add onion and carrot to saute.

4. When onion and carrot are cooked, add ground beef and saute until meat is cooked. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper.

5. When potatoes are boiled, drain and mush in a large bowl.

6. Add meat mixture into potato and mix.

7. Let the potato/meat mixture cool.

8. When it is cooled, prepare flour, egg and panko(bread crumbs) stations.

9. Shape potato/meat mixture into a oval shape and dust with flour.

10. Then into egg then to panko.

11. Heat vegetable oil in a pan and fry them until golden brown. Since inside is already cooked, you don't have to worry about inside being uncooked.

12. Serve and eat while it is hot.

Kids love this potato croquette. I would recommend making a bunch of them and keep some of them  in the freezer for later.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Kimchi Fried Rice Recipe

I love Kimchi Fried Rice. It is so easy to make and it always taste good. The bad part about it is I eat too much when I make this fried rice.

I like having Kimchi in my fridge all the time so when I don't have anything and if I don't want to go to the grocery store, I can take out bacon from the freezer and cook rice and make this fried rice.

This time, I added some left over vegetables which I had in the fridge but this is totally optional and you can add any kind of vegetables you have in hand (or you don't have to add any vegetables if you prefer)

Kimchi Fried Rice
Printable Recipe

Cooked Rice   3~4 cups
Kimchi            10.6oz (300g)
Bacon or thin sliced pork 1/4~1/2 lb
Green Onion   5~6
Ginger             1inch
Garlic              1clove
Daikon Radish  1/2 cup (optional)
Lotus root          1/2 cup (optional)
vegetable oil       1 table spoon
Butter                  1 table spoon
Salt  & Pepper     to taste

1. First, cut bacon (or pork) and all the vegetables into small pieces. Mince garlic and ginger.

2. Also, chop kimchi into small pieces.

I used this kimchi from Trader Joe's

3. In a flying pan or wok, add 1 table spoon of vegetable oil and heat. Then add garlic and ginger. Wait till fragrant then add meat and vegetable. Sprinkle salt and pepper.

4. When the meat is cooked and vegetables are little soft, add chopped green onion.

5. Saute

6. Add Kimchi then butter and fry them a little bit. Then add rice.

7. When it is all mixed, taste and add salt and pepper if necessary then serve.

Super easy and yummy Kimchi Fried rice!

I think depends on what kimchi you use and how much rice you add but this particular one I made was not too spicy (I think it was because I added lots of vegetables and rice) so my son was able to eat it also. He said it is spicy but he kept eating :-)

I love making fried rice so I can clean out my fridge. It is super easy. The only tedious part is to chop all the vegetables into small pieces but after that it is so fast!

If you like Kimchi, you definitely will like Kimchi Fried Rice! Please give it a try.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Melissa d'Arabian's Salad Nicoise and Tomato Tart

I like one of Food Network Star "Mellisa d'Arabian". Her show Ten Dollars dinner is full of great tips and yummy recipes.

I made one of her recipe the other day with white fish and it was absolutely amazing and easy. (Click here for that post) So I decided to borrow her book from the library.

As I have predicted, the cook book is full of great looking recipes and useful tips. This is the book I borrowed if you are interested in.

Another thing I liked about this book is that there are many pictures. I need lots of pictures in my cook books!!! 

So, I made two dishes from this book. One is "Salad Nicoise" and the other one is "Tomato Tart". 

Salad Nicoise is a salad with lots of things in it. Kind of similar to Cobb Salad but munis the bacon and avocado and add tuna and olive instead. I believe most important feature of Salad Nicoise is tuna. (Well, I am not sure if this is right or wrong but at least tuna is the first thing which comes to my mind when I think about Salad Nicoise. 

So here it is, Salad Nicoise with tuna, potato, olive, green beans, tomato and romain lettuce. 

I loved this salad. First of all, it looks beautiful and second of all it tasted really good! It is a very satisfying salad which can be a meal on its own. I think it will be great for a party or get together since it looks so beautiful and also easy to make and inexpensive to make.

I loved the taste also. My husband liked it but he said he can do it without tuna. I was like "But the whole point of this salad is tuna..." Well, I don't mind since I got to eat all the tuna :-)

If you are interested in this salad recipe, click here to go to Food Network site.

I also made another easy dish since I knew someone in my family will not be super happy with salad only dinner. (My two year old son... :-)

The other dish was "Tomato Tart" and this one was super easy also. I used pre-made frozen pie crust so all I had to do is slice tomatoes, dry them little bit and arrange them in the tart pan on top of the pie crust, sprinkle herbs, spices and oil then bake.

My son liked the tart, well mostly the pie crust part ;-)

I really really like this book of Melissa d'Arabian. I will try many more recipes before I return this book. I might even consider buying this book.

This book is great for people who would like to save money on grocery but still want to eat delicious food without spending too much time in the kitchen. These recipes are perfect for me. This year, I want to try save more money on grocery with smart choice and more planning. However, I will not give up on taste or variety or healthy options. So, please look forward to more exciting dishes which I am going to try and share with you! I just need to plan better and say no to impulse purchase :-)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Strawberry Cake for Christmas

We went to visit our friends in Manhattan on Christmas Eve and spent a night there. They said they are going to ake Turkey for the night so I wanted to bring some dessert.

In Japan, it is pretty popular to have a Strawberry cake like this one above for Birthday or Christmas and I love these simple cake with strawberry and whipped cream so I decided to bake it and bring it with us.

Well, the sponge cake didn't come out right. It was so flat and hard. I didn't know what to do.

I didn't have any energy and time to bake another one so I decided to bake another one. This time Black Forest Cake since I made this about a month ago with my friend from Germany. I baked it...... BUT this came out also flat and hard.

I brushed some apricot syrup to the sponge cake which I made first and decorated with whipped cream and strawberry. I looked beautiful. But I decided not to bring the cake to our friends because I know it will going to be hard inside and not very good.

Well, the Christmas with our friends were wonderful. We had such a wonderful time. Our son was so happy to be with everybody and his favorite is their puppy. He loves their puppy and he was playing with her the whole time we were there. He even woke up in the middle of the night and cried because he wanted to play with the puppy :-)

On Christmas day, we came back home and tried this cake which I left in the fridge. To my surprise, it tasted really good and the cake was moist and soft. I think leaving it with syrup and cream made the cake moist and soft. I regretted not bring it with me. Oh well. My husband enjoyed it so at least it didn't go waste.

It seems like when I try to make round cake like this, it often ended up flat. I was thinking maybe I will just use my mom's pound cake recipe to make these round cake.

I think my decoration skill is improved since I bought this turntable and decoration kit for cake decoration. It is all about practice and I hope I will be able to practice more this year. That means we will be eating more cake this year. Oh I miss my neighbors which I can give my cakes to every time I baked. I need to find a new neighbor whom I can share my baked products with. Otherwise, we will be gaining lots of weight this year...

By the way, NY is -15C (5F) today plus is is so windy. I head that it is dangerously cold to stay outside. I never had such a cold weather in my life! I went outside to fix something on the balcony and I couldn't stay even for 1 mins. My hands got so cold immediately and I couldn't stand it. It is nice and sunny but it is too cold and windy. I hope this weather will go away soon. I need warm weather!!!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone! I hope everyone had a great New Year's Eve and had a great start into 2014. We sure did!

We invited some friends over to our place and had a Japanese New Year's Eve. It is very traditional to eat soba noodle for New Year's Eve so I made soba noodle. Also, I made some Sushi.

I was not sure if my friends like sushi and soba but they loved sushi and soba! I was so relieved. I made banana pudding for dessert. Everything went well and our son loved having guest at home.

He even stay up till midnight to celebrate new year.

It was a great start to a new year and it was a wonderful fun night. I am so blessed to have such wonderful friends to spend New Year's Eve with.

Every time someone stand up to go somewhere, our son was worried that they are going home so he kept saying "I don't want to say bye bye".

Anyways, we had a wonderful time and we wish 2014 will bring lots of happiness!