Soboro Don (Japanese Chicken Rice Bowl)

November 18, 2015 – 11:43 am

This delicious and fast meal is perfect for week nights. My little rice cooker (Zojirushi NS-LAC05XA Micom 3-Cup(Uncooked) Rice Cooker and Warmer) has a timer so you can put rice and water in the bowl in the morning and have hot fluffy rice just in time for dinner when you get home. It’s an awesome feature.

The chicken is marinated in a sweet and savory sauce for a few minutes, then simmered over medium heat to get the fine grain before the heat is turned up to boil off the remaining liquid and get the yummy browned surfaces. The eggs are scrambled over low heat with constant stirring to get a similar small grain size.

Soboro Don (Japanese Chicken Rice Bowl)
Serves 4

For the chicken:
4 tbsp sake
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 large clove garlic, grated
4 tsp granulated sugar
16 oz ground chicken

For the eggs:
8 eggs
1 tsp kosher salt
4 tsp granulated sugar

For serving:
Cooked rice (I do two rice measure cups for 4 servings)

Whisk together the sake, soy sauce, grated ginger, grated garlic, and sugar for the chicken in a large skillet. Add the ground chicken and gently chop up the chicken with a spatula to stir the marinade in well and break up the chicken into fine chunks. It should almost look like oatmeal when you’re done. Set the chicken aside to marinate for a few minutes.

Crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk together with the sugar and salt until the mixture is a consistent viscosity and color. Set the eggs aside.

Put the skillet with the chicken over a burner on medium heat. As the chicken cooks, continue to stir to keep the pieces of chicken small. Once the chicken is cooked through (about 5 minutes), turn the heat up to medium high and boil off the remaining liquid, Brown the chicken well, then remove the chicken to a serving bowl and set aside.

Wipe out the skillet and add a little non-stick spray. Turn the heat to medium low. Pour the eggs into the skillet and scramble, stirring often to keep the grain size small. When the eggs are cooked through, spoon them into another serving bowl.

Spoon rice into a bowl and add egg to one half of the bowl and chicken to the other half. If desired, garnish down the middle with some diced scallions, chives, or even green peas like I did. Serve warm.


August 24, 2015 – 10:54 am

I blinked, and our little guy turned two! We had a nice little dinner at home on the actual day (lamb chops, corn on the cob, and broccoli – some meal time favorites), and a party with friends at a local park this past weekend. Everything went very well – the kids had a blast playing on the playground, and the picnic shelter was perfect for the sandwich fixings, fruit, veggies, and of course cookies and cake. Thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate with us and for those who sent wishes even though they couldn’t come!

Steven is a smart, funny, independent, adorable little fellow. He loves books of all types, animals – especially furry ones and most especially kitties and corgis, trucks, dinosaurs, Batman and Green Lantern (and the rest of the Justice League), and the Minions. He’s speaking in 4-5 word sentences and has very clear ideas about his needs and wants and how things should be. It’s been a blast watching him learn and grow, and now that he can express himself with words and have mini conversations, it’s even more fun!

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Nectarot Upside Down Cake

July 18, 2015 – 2:01 pm

This delicicous cake is based off one I found via Pinterest. The buttermilk adds a subtle tang. The original recipe called for nectarines, but this would work well with any stone fruit. I used some of the surplus of nectarots (a hybrid of nectarines and apricots) in mine.

Nectarot Upside Down Cake
Makes 1 9-inch round cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and divided
2 large eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
6-8 nectarots, sliced into 1 inch thick wedges (6 wedges per fruit)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.

In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, 4 tablespoons of the melted butter and eggs. Pour the liquid ingredients over dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Lumps are okay.

Pour the remaining 4 tablespoons melted butter into the bottom of a 9-inch cake pan. Tilt the pan until the bottom and sides are all coated. Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the melted butter in the bottom of the pan. Arrange nectarot slices on top in a single layer, packing them together tightly.

Spoon the batter evenly over the fruit slices, then smooth out the top.

Place the pan on a cookie sheet to catch any overflow, then put the cake into the oven and bake for 35 – 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it, then turn it upside down onto a serving plate.

Serve immediately.

Banana Bread

July 3, 2015 – 7:53 pm

My favorite recipe for banana bread is based off of the one by Elise of Simply Recipes

Banana Bread
Makes 1 loaf

3-4 small to medium very ripe bananas, peeled
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup of sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350°F, and spray a 4×8-inch loaf pan with non-stick spray.

In a mixing bowl, mash the bananas with a fork until mostly smooth. Stir in the melted butter.

Add the baking soda and salt and stir to combine. Next, stir in the sugar, egg, and vanilla extract.

Lastly, add the flour and stir until just combined.

Pour the batter into the loaf pan. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Remove from oven and cool. Slice and serve.

Some more hits from dinner

April 18, 2015 – 6:36 pm

We’re back on the menu planning wagon and got some excellent dinners this week.

Rosemary garlic roasted lamb with pears and brussels sprouts

A couple more hits from The Complete Cooking For Two Cookbook.

Pork chops with port wine and cherry sauce

Maple and bourbon glazed pork tenderloin

I liked the first a bit better, and Shaun liked the second, but both are keepers!

Back to previous blog hits, some turkey and bean chili

Chicken and bean burritos (similar to my beef and bean burritos, but with skinless boneless chicken thighs)

And just because it sounded good, a giant cobb-like salad: romaine lettuce, hard boiled egg, cucumber, carrots, tomatoes, bacon, and Beecher’s cheese curds.

Pork Tacos with Clementine Salsa

April 12, 2015 – 4:54 pm

This recipe was inspired by the pork tacos with mango salsa in the excellent The Complete Cooking For Two Cookbook.

I say inspired by, because we immediate proceeded to change just about everything. I’m sure it’s an awesome recipe, but it also provided us with a great way to use up some items in our fridge. The clementine salsa is a fresh, slightly sweet counterpoint to the spicy pork.

Pork Tacos with Clementine Salsa
Serves 2 generously

For the pork filling:
1 tsp canola oil
1 tsp pureed chipotle in adobo sauce (I puree a can and freeze most of it in an ice cube tray. Then I can defrost just a bit when I need it.)
1 large clove garlic, pressed
16 oz lean ground pork
kosher salt and black pepper
1 tbsp lemon juice

For the clementine salsa:
4 clementines, peeled and split into segments
2 tsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp black pepper

For serving:
4-6 soft taco size flour tortillas (I like Tortilla Land – cook them yourself for fresh tortillas with minimal effort)

Preheat the oven to the lowest setting (mine is 170 degrees F). Heat the tortillas in a non-stick skillet, then place in the oven to keep warm.

Toss together the salsa ingredients and set aside for the flavors to meld.

Heat the oil in your skillet, then add the chipotle and the garlic and cook until the garlic is just starting to turn golden and fragrant. Add the pork and brown well, making sure that the chipotle and garlic are evenly distributed. Turn the heat off, season to taste with salt and pepper, and toss with the lemon juice.

Serve the pork warm in tortillas with the clementine salsa.

Spinach and Ham Breakfast Bake

April 1, 2015 – 7:15 am

This is a healthy, easy bake for breakfast. I made this last night and enjoyed a piece for breakfast this morning. I let it go a bit long in the oven, so it’s a bit more brown in the picture than I was aiming for, but it’s still quite tasty. The time is a pure guess, as I didn’t set any timer.

Spinach and Ham Breakfast Bake
Serves 4

1 quart egg whites
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
10 oz frozen spinach, defrosted, extra water rung out
8 oz diced ham

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray an 8″ x 8″ deep baking dish with non-stick spray. Add the ingredients and gently stir to combine. Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until set all the way through and just starting to brown. Serve warm.

Lightened Scalloped Potatoes with Ham

March 31, 2015 – 7:22 pm

This is a lighter version of my scalloped potatoes with ham. There’s less sauce, and it’s made with whole milk instead of half and half. Not quite as decadent, but still quite good and satisfying for a dinner.

Scalloped Potatoes and Ham
Serves 6

2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup whole milk
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided: 1/2 cup for the sauce and 1/2 cup to sprinkle on top
4-5 medium potatoes (about 2 pounds,; I like Yukon Gold, or White Rose potatoes for this)
2 cups diced cooked ham (about 8 oz)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Slice up the potatoes into rounds. A mandolin works well here to get nice even slices. Boil the potato slices on the stove top for about 25 minutes, until just tender, and drain them well.

In a saucepan over medium low heat melt the butter, being careful not to brown it. Stir in the flour, salt, and pepper until smooth. Gradually add the milk, whisking until the sauce is smooth and begins to thicken. Add 1/2 cup cheese and stir until melted. Taste for seasoning and re-season as necessary. Remove the sauce from the heat. If it gets too thick while you’re slicing potatoes, you can put it back over the heat and whisk in a little water or broth to thin it.

Spray a 9″x13″ casserole dish with non-stick spray or butter it and fill it with the potatoes, spreading evenly. Sprinkle the diced ham on top, and then pour the sauce over evenly. Top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.

Bake uncovered for 15 minutes, or until dish is bubbly and hot and the cheese is just starting to brown. Serve warm.

Baked Pork Dumplings

January 3, 2015 – 2:30 pm

These are a delicious dumpling in the same line as baked pork flower dumplings, baked Asian turkey buns, and hom bao.

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Baked Pork Dumplings
Makes 36 dumplings

1 package gyoza wrappers
1/4 cup canola oil, divided
1 lb small button mushrooms, quartered
1 large head savoy cabbage (about 1 lb)
1 lb ground pork
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
1 large clove garlic, pressed
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp shaoxing rice wine or mirin
1 tsp sesame oil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line muffin tins with the gyoza wrappers, gently pressing the wrapper into the bottom of each cavity.

Heat 2 tbsp of canola oil in a large skillet or wok over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms and stir fry until cooked through. Remove them to a bowl. Heat another 1 tbsp of canola oil. Add the cabbage and stir fry, adding water if needed, until cooked through. Remove to the bowl with the mushrooms. Heat the final tbsp of canola oil and add the pork. Brown it well, breaking it up into small pieces. Add the garlic and ginger and stir fry until just fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the onion powder and pepper and toss to combine. Add the cabbage and mushrooms back to the pan. Pour the soy sauce, rice wine, and sesame oil over the top and stir to combine well. Stir fry together for a minute or two to meld the flavors.

Add about 2 tbsp of the filling to each wrapper. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes, or until the wrappers are toasty brown around the edges and bottoms.

Remove to a platter and serve warm.

Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2014 – 7:53 pm

It’s been a great year! We’ve had a blast with Steven, helping him to grow and learn. He’s 16 months old now, a full-on toddler, and loving life!

Saturday, we had a get-together with his friend, Amary, and her mom and dad. The kids had a great time playing together, Ben and Shaun kept Star Wars cartoons going in the background, and Manda and I made a bunch of spritz cookies and fudge. Lots o’ fun!

We had pot roast for dinner, which everyone large and small enjoyed. Triumph!

Christmas eve dinner was our usual steamed crab and bacon wrapped shrimp, with bacon wrapped asparagus, because, well, does bacon really need a reason? :D

Christmas morning, we had maple sausages and cinnamon rolls. I cheated and used Immaculate Baking’s pre-made rolls, which were quite good!

Christmas dinner was a beautiful and always delicious standing rib roast with boiled potatoes and steamed baby peas.