Japanese Curry – Kare Raisu

October 6, 2023 – 12:07 pm

We fell even more in love with Japanese cuisine when Shaun did a tour of duty over in Yokosuka several years ago. Japanese curry is a common comfort food over there, easy to make with just about whatever you have on hand, tasty, filling, and decently well balanced nutritionally. If you aren’t up for making it over there, walking to the closest CoCo Curry will also satisfy the craving.

Potatoes and carrots are the most common vegetables simmered in the stew, but other root vegetables, summer or winter squash, mushrooms, and many other things work fantastically as well. The picture above is a curry made with leftover sous vide pork loin, potatoes, and carrots, served with steamed Calrose rice and stir fried snow peas. Curry is also often served with ramen or udon or on a roll, not just with rice, though rice is perhaps most common.

The two keys to making this quickly are using whatever handy leftover protein you have, and using the Japanese curry roux blocks, which are becoming more and more available, even in regular grocery stores, though not the variety that you’d find in an Asian grocery, or over in Japan, of course. Our favorite variety is the House Foods Java Curry, Medium Hot, but we also quite like their Vermont Curry. We’re less fans of the S&B brand, but they are more widely available, and they definitely still work, though I’ll add more seasonings to help pep it up. It is also possible to make your own curry roux (I highly recommend everything on Just One Cookbook, by the way. She has fantastic Japanese recipes with an eye to the home cook here in the US).

You can of course start with raw meat. Just brown it up before adding the carrots and potatoes to the pot.

Pork Japanese Curry


  • Vegetable Oil, 2 tbsp
  • Carrots, 3 large, about 12 oz, peeled and cut into bite sized chunks
  • Yukon Gold Potatoes, 3 medium, about 1 lb, cut into bite sized chunks
  • Garlic, 2 large cloves, pressed
  • Water, 5 cups
  • Better Than Bouillon Roasted Chicken Base, 2 tbsp
  • Soy sauce, 1 tbsp
  • Leftover pork loin (or other cooked protein of your choice), about 1 lb, cut into bite sized chunks
  • 1 box curry roux (about 8 oz)


  1. Heat the oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the carrots and potatoes. Saute until the vegetables are starting to soften and brown.
  3. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the garlic turns fragrant.
  4. Add the water, Better Than Bouillon, soy sauce, and pork.
  5. Turn the heat to medium high and bring the water to a boil, making sure to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan to incorporate into the stew.
  6. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
  7. Turn the heat off and skim off any foam that has formed on the surface using a small fine mesh strainer.
  8. Break apart the curry roux blocks and add them to the pot, stirring gently until they are fully dissolved.
  9. Turn the heat back to medium. Bring just to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 5-10 minutes, until the curry has thickened.
  10. Serve warm.

It’s been awhile

September 7, 2023 – 6:11 am

It’s been a long while since I’ve posted! I’m still enjoying cooking, and over the next few weeks I’ll post some of the recipes that have become new standbys over the past few years.

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Baked Cinnamon Doughnuts with Maple Vanilla Frosting

October 12, 2017 – 1:54 pm

These are based off of Ina Garten’s recipe. They are an easy and delicious breakfast. My little guy had to add rainbow sprinkles to his mini sized ones!

Baked Cinnamon Doughnuts with Maple Vanilla Frosting
Makes 18 regular doughnuts or 36 mini doughnuts

For the doughnuts:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1.25 cups sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
0.5 tsp ground nutmeg
0.5 tsp kosher salt
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
1.25 cups whole buttermilk
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp vanilla extract

For the frosting:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp maple syrup
1 pinch kosher salt

For the doughnuts:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray 3 doughnut pans with non-stick spray.

Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Add the egg, buttermilk, butter, and vanilla, and stir until just combined. There should be no dry clumps of flour, but lumps are okay.

Spoon batter into each of the doughnut pan cavities, filling them three fourths full.

Bake the doughnuts for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into a doughnut comes out clean.

Remove the doughnuts, invert onto a cooling rack, and let cool.

For the frosting:
Whisk together the ingredients to make a smooth buttercream frosting.

Dip the doughnuts into the frosting to coat well on one side. Set frosting side up and let the frosting set for a minute or two before serving.

Whiskey Glazed Apple Cake

October 1, 2017 – 5:19 pm

For my birthday this year, we made a version of Peabody’s excellent Fireball Glazed Apple Cake. It turned out wonderfully! Using multiple types of apples, applesauce, and apple whiskey made for a deep apple flavor that using just one type of apple just can’t quite touch.

Whiskey Glazed Apple Cake
For the cake:
0.75 cups canola oil
0.75 cups applesauce
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1.5 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
0.5 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 honeycrisp apple, 1 gala apple, and 1 granny smith apple, each peeled and shredded

For the whiskey glaze:
4 oz unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
0.5 tsp vanilla extract
0.25 cup apple whiskey (I used Leopold’s)
0.25 cup heavy whipping cream

For the cake:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Cream the oil, applesauce, sugar and eggs with an electric mixer until the mixture becomes light yellow and fluffy. Add in vanilla extract and beat for another 30 seconds to combine. Add the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. With the mixer on low, stir until the ingredients just come together to form a batter. Add the shredded apples and mix until all the ingredients are fully incorporated.

Pour batter into a bundt pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 60-70 minutes, or until the cake turns a dark golden brown and a wooden skewer inserted comes out clean.

Let the cake cool completely on a wire rack. Turn the cake out onto a plate. When the cake is cool, proceed with the glaze.

For the glaze:
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the brown sugar, vanilla extract, heavy cream, and whiskey, and increase the heat to medium high. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil, then turn the heat off.

Final assembly:
Using a wooden skewer, poke holes in the cake for the glaze to sink in. Pour the glaze slowly and evenly over the cake.

Let the cake cool again completely, spooning extra glaze over the cake once or twice. When the glaze cools completely, it will form a delicious crust.

Caprese Pasta

September 7, 2017 – 2:56 pm

This is a great late summer meal. Sometimes, we’ll add some sliced grilled chicken or garlicky shrimp or langostino tails for a bit more hearty meal, but this is great all on its own.

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Caprese Pasta
Serves 4

8 oz dry linguine pasta
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise then cut into chunks
2 cups cherry tomatoes, stems removed, cut in half
kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 cup basil leaves, cut into a chiffonade
2 tbsp fresh oregano leaves
4 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into chunks

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box, or your preferred method.

While the pasta cooks, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the garlic and the red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds, or until the garlic just starts to sizzle and turn fragrant. Add the zucchini and cook for another 2-3 minutes, when the zucchini is just starting to get tender. Add the cherry tomatoes and toss to combine. Cook for another 4-5 minutes, until the cherry tomatoes start to blister a bit and the zucchini is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper. Add the pasta and toss to combine. Turn off the heat. Add the basil, oregano, and mozzarella, and toss to combine again. Serve warm.


June 4, 2017 – 6:26 pm

This German street food is one of our favorites. A bit time intensive, but worth the effort at least a few times a year!

Makes 15 bierocks, 6 dinner servings

2 tbsp canola oil
4 cloves garlic, pressed
3 lb ground beef (I use 15% fat)
3 teaspoon kosher salt
3 teaspoon black pepper
1 tsp onion powder
1/8 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 large green cabbage, cored and shredded
30 frozen dinner rolls, thawed and allowed to rise per package directions (I use Rhodes)
All purpose flour (about 1/2 cup)

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the garlic and cook for 15-20 seconds, until it just starts to turn golden brown. Add the ground beef, season it with salt, pepper, and onion powder.and brown it well. Turn the heat down to medium. Add the cabbage, and sauté until the cabbage is wilted down completely. Add the Worcestershire sauce and stir to combine. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool for 5-10 minutes.

While the mixture is cooking and then cooling, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Flour a board or pastry mat, form a ball with two of the rolls, and roll out each larger ball into a round approximately 6 inches in diameter. Fill with 4 tablespoons of the filling and pinch closed, sealing completely. Place the bierock seam side down on a rimmed baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Space the bierocks with at least 1 inch between each one to avoid sticking. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake bierocks for 25-35 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot.

Mini Banana Bundt Cake

April 12, 2017 – 4:30 pm

This is just my favorite banana bread recipe, with half white sugar and half light brown sugar, baked in a little 6 cup bundt pan. It only took about 35 minutes rather than an hour. Winning all around!

Mini Banana Bundt Cake
Makes 1 small cake

3-4 small to medium very ripe bananas, peeled
1/3 cup melted butter
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1/2 cup of light brown 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 6 cup bundt 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 sugars, egg, and vanilla extract.

Lastly, add the flour and stir until just combined.

Pour the batter into the loaf pan. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Remove from oven and cool. Slice and serve.

Longevity Noodles

January 23, 2017 – 6:25 pm

Traditionally served for the Chinese New Year, longevity noodles symbolize wishes for a long and happy life. Be careful not to cut or break the noodles as you cook them, as the length is symbolic of the eaters’ lives! These are wonderful with skinless boneless chicken thighs as well (use 1 lb, cut into bite size chunks), but my favorite version is with shrimp. My starting point for this recipe was the excellent one provided by New York Times Cooking.

Longevity Noodles
Serves 3 generously

For the noodles:
18 ounces thin fresh stir fry noodles (often found in the produce department)
3 tsp toasted sesame oil

For the shrimp:
16 oz “jumbo” shrimp (I use U20 flash frozen pre-shelled and deveined that I’ve defrosted in cold running water and patted dry)
1 tbsp finely shredded ginger
2 tsp Shaoxing Chinese rice wine
2 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp soy sauce
Kosher salt
¼ tsp ground white pepper

For the stir fry:
2 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
16 oz thinly sliced cabbage and shredded carrots (coleslaw mix)
8 oz fresh shiitake or crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced (remove the stems first if using shiitakes)
2 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
2 tbsp soy sauce

Cook the noodles in boiling water according to the package directions. Drain well, then toss with the sesame oil and set aside.

Mix the ginger with the Shaoxing rice wine, soy sauce, cornstarch, a good pinch of kosher salt, and the white pepper in a medium bowl. Add the shrimp and toss to combine. Let the shrimp marinate for 5 minutes.

Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a large flat bottomed wok over medium high heat. Add the red pepper flakes and garlic and stir briefly to infuse the oil. Add the shrimp, spreading them out into a single layer. Let one side sear nicely (30-60 seconds), then turn them over to cook the other side (about 1 more minute). Remove the shrimp to a clean bowl.

Add the cabbage and mushrooms. Stir fry until the cabbage is just starting to wilt and the mushrooms are turning tender, 1-2 minutes. Remove the veggies to the same bowl where the shrimp is waiting.

Add the other tbsp of olive oil and when it shimmers, add the noodles to the wok. Carefully toss and stir so that the noodles separate and get just a little bit of caramelization. Add the shrimp and veggies back to the wok along with the Shaoxing rice wine and soy sauce, and toss to combine well. Cook for another minute or two to bring the shrimp and veggies back to piping hot and meld the flavors.

Serve hot.

Mushroom Risotto

September 26, 2016 – 8:33 pm

Amazon had a great lightning deal on Instant Pot electronic pressure cookers. Several of my friends have been raving about theirs, so I finally hit the buy button. I gotta say, I do love it! We tried the kalua pork that’s in the instruction manual, which turned out as good as my all day crockpot pulled pork, but with about 90 minutes of cooking time. Today I tried my mushroom risotto. Normally it’s not something I’d try on a weeknight, but the recipes I checked out for the Instant Pot put it in the realm of possible, even with my little tornado of a helper. He was not interested in “mama’s mushroom rice” but we’ll give it another try sometime!

Mushroom Risotto
Serves 6

3 tbsp butter
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 lb sliced crimini mushrooms
1 small bottle (187 ml) dry white wine (I used pinot grigio)
2 cups uncooked arborio rice
4 cups chicken broth (I like Swanson Natural Goodness when I don’t have my own)
Kosher salt and black pepper
Shaved parmesan (optional)

Turn the Instant Pot to saute and add the butter. When it starts to sizzle, add the garlic and cook for 15 seconds until it just starts to turn golden. Add the mushrooms, season lightly with salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Cook the mushrooms until they are just starting to brown and cook down. Add the wine and let the mushrooms cook down until the alcohol smell is almost gone and the wine is reduced by about half, about 10 minutes.

Add the rice and the chicken broth, stirring to combine. Season again lightly with salt and black pepper. Place the lid on and turn to seal. Turn the Instant Pot to Manual and set the timer for 6 minutes. It will come up to pressure over about 10 minutes, then it will count down the 6 minutes cooking time at pressure. WHen the timer reaches zero, carefully switch the top valve from Sealing to Venting for a fast release. When you are able, remove the lid and stir the risotto a final time. Serve warm with shaved parmesan cheese.

Apple Salad

April 30, 2016 – 4:17 pm

This easy salad comes together in a few minutes. The hardest part is chopping the apples. My recipe is based off of this one from AllRecipes.

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Apple Salad
Serves 4

8 oz vanilla yogurt (I like Stonyfield whole milk vanilla yogurt)
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup craisins
4 medium granny smith apples, cored and chopped
1/4 cup seeded and shelled sunflower seeds

Stir together the yogurt, honey, and lemon juice until smooth. Add the craisins and apples and toss to combine. The salad can be made in advance up to here. Stir in the sunflower seeds just before serving so they stay crunchy.