Sunday, November 30, 2008

Glazed Salmon with Dijon Mustard Sauce

Glazed Salmon with Dijon Mustard Sauce

Most of my recipes are not actually my own inspiration (I'm not that creative!). But tons of other bloggers are (and cookbooks :P) so with a little bit of adjusting to my tastes, I try my best to recreate their dishes. This one was inspired both by my desire to have fish at least once a week and by a local Boston blogger, Beyond Salmon.

I've been trying to eat a bit healthier lately and fish was one of the first things I thought about. In addition to having all kinds of variety, fish is easy (a plus for me!) to cook and doesn't require a whole lot of seasoning to taste good.

Glazed Salmon with Dijon Mustard Sauce

Serves 4
Time : 20-30 minutes

- 4 salmon fillets
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2-3 tbsp honey
- salt and pepper

- 2 tbsp sour cream
- 2 tbsp hellmann’s real mayo
- 2 tbsp parsley flakes
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp whisky, cognac, or white wine (less if you prefer)
- salt and pepper to taste

1. Wrap broiler pan with foil
2. Rub salmon with oil, salt, and pepper on both sides
3. Place salmon, skin down, on pan. Drizzle honey on top
4. Put salmon under broiler for 4-6 minutes, check every 2 minutes. As soon as the top browns, turn broiler off, move salmon to the middle of the oven from the top shelf, and keep in the heat for another few minutes. Depending on how rare you like the fish, you could change this. I broiled for 6 minutes and that was about it.
5. Mix sauce together, spoon over top of the salmon.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Lowell's Restaurant and Bar - Seattle

Lowell's Menu

Hope everyone had a safe and happy Thanksgiving! I got to help prepare Thanksgiving dinner this time and as soon as I find time to process the pictures, I'll have a post :)

Anyway, back to the exploits from my Seattle vacation! I wrote about Pike Place's different markets and stores last time, now I'd like to highlight one of the dining experiences there. The morning before my flight back to the East Coast, a buddy and I got up super early (well, 7:30am is early for being on vacation :P) and hiked our way over to Pike's Place for a hearty breakfast at Lowell's Restaurant and Bar.

Earlier in the weekend, I asked some of the local merchants about where a good place to eat would be and the majority first choice was Lowell's. So I wasn't going to miss an opportunity to eat there for sure, especially if it's popular among the local population!

I ended up with the oyster scramble (seafood breakfast every day while I was in Seattle :P) and my buddy had a salmon scramble, both were excellent and Lowell's definitely lived up to expectations.

Lowell's oyster scramble
Lowell's salmon scramble

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pork Kimchi

Pork Kimchi

A few posts ago I wrote about Misono Wok in Super 88 and one of my favorite dishes there is Pork stir fried with kimchi. It's definitely been one of the tastier dishes I've had, and it's a very home-style type dish (especially because it's quick too!). So after asking around for some tips, I decided to give it a shot and make it myself!

I bought kimchi from John's Market in Allston to use with the pork belly from super 88. Now, making the pork kimchi was already adventurous enough for me so there was no way I was going to try to make kimchi as well :P Maybe next time! But anyway, John's makes fresh kimchi and packages it with a date so that you know the freshness. They also sell all sorts of other goodies for Korean cooking and even will provide thinly sliced meat and such, perfect for Korean BBQ or hot pot!

So, with some pork belly, kimchi, an onion, and gochujang, I set off to my task! The verdict? It was good, but I think I used too much kimchi and next time, I'm going to use pork shoulder instead of pork belly. Now I love pork belly...but it's pretty fatty and didn't really fit the dish I don't think.

Pork Kimchi

Serves 4-6
Time:20-30 minutes
- 1 lb pork (shoulder or belly), sliced thin
- 1 tbsp rice wine
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp Gochujang
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp sugar
- ¼ tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp ginger powder
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp sriracha
- dash sesame oil

- Kimchi – close to a pound
- 1 medium onion
- 2 stalks green onions, chopped

1. Marinate the pork in the rice wine and black pepper. Set aside for 20-30 minutes
2. Mix together the Gochujang through the sesame oil into a paste. Mix the paste with the pork.
3. Heat a wok with some oil. Add pork and stir fry, shouldn’t take too long because the pork needs to be sliced thin.
4. Add onions, and green onions. Stir fry quickly for a couple minutes
5. Add kimchi and rice cakes. Stir to mix well. Add ¼ cup water and steam for a few minutes. Add some more chili sauce or gochujang if you want it spicier.
6. Serve over rice

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mongolian Beef

Gotta start by giving credit to Rasa Malaysia, one of my favorite blogs (excellent recipes and superb photography. Much better than this guy) for this delicious recipe! It was one of those moments where I looked at a few pictures, drooled all over my desk and then decided I had to make it. I did add an onion and a pepper to the dish for some more veggies in the diet though.

Beef stir fried with just about anything is a good way to make me happy for sure. Any meat really, but beef more than most because it seems to absorb a marinade so well. Combine that with a tasty gravy and a couple scoops of rice and you've got an absolutely fantastic meal in a matter of minutes!

Mongolian Beef

Serves 4-6 with rice
- 1 pound beef
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 2 stalks leeks (sliced diagonally)
- 1 inch ginger (finely chopped)
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 onion, medium (chopped)
- 1 small bell pepper of your choice (chopped)
- 1 stalk shredded scallions (white part, for garnish)

- 1 tsp corn starch
- 2 tsp low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 tsp ShaoHsing rice wine

- 3 tsp oyster sauce
- 2 tbsp Kecap Manis (dark sweet soy sauce)
- ½ tsp dark soy sauce
- ½ tsp white pepper
- ¼ tsp sesame oil
- salt & sugar to taste

1. Marinate beef for 30 minutes
2. Heat wok with 1 tbsp oil, stir-fry beef until half done, remove and set aside
3. Add 1 tbsp oil and sauté garlic and ginger. Add beef back in then sauce. Stir-fry until beef is almost done, add leeks into wok, add salt and sugar to taste, garnish with shredded scallions. Serve.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Pike Place Market - Seattle

Back at the end of August, I ended up in Seattle on vacation with some friends from high school. We were there for different reasons than food, but I quickly discovered that Pike Place Market was just a few blocks away from our hotel! Thanks to the concierge (and no thanks to my pre-vacation preparation :P), we were all introduced to a fantastic market, with fresh fish, meat, vegetables, and a myriad of other shops and stores!

One of the first sights was the largest fish counter I'd seen in recent memory. Several workers stood out front taking orders and stacking the shelves with the day's catch. I was actually there early enough one day to see the workers setting everything up. Whole fish being chopped and cleaned behind the counter, and more whole fish and sacks of shellfish being hauled in from the harbor with an assembly line of workers throwing the day's catch all the way up the ramps!

Right next door was a large meat counter, with many cuts that you don't normally see in a supermarket...all fresh and ready to cook! And next to that was a small bakery, a donut stand, and a gourmet tea shop!

I could write a book on all of these different places, but maybe it's better if I just show some pictures :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Misono Wok (Super 88) - Allston

If you went to college in the Boston area (or if you live nearby), you've probably heard about the Super 88 supermarket and food court. The first time I ate there was in 2002 at a Ramen stand that, unfortunately, no longer exists. Before then, I always thought ramen was something you make in 30 seconds and comes in individually sized bags. Needless to say, it was an eye-opening experience.

That Japanese ramen isn't around anymore, but its replacement, Misono Wok, is a more than ample replacement. They serve home-style Korean food, which isn't exactly easy to find in the city. But to be honest, until I got to Boston, I never really had a lot of Korean food, maybe because Korean food is even rarer in New Jersey!

But anyway, back to the food. When I think Korean food, the first thing that comes to mind is Korean BBQ (bulgogi, kalbi, etc), kimchi, and bibimbap. While Misono Wok does have some of these dishes available, my favorite dishes are their noodle dishes, especially the Tukboki (rice cake noodles), or Japche (glass thread noodles). I've also been a huge fan of the pork kimchi lately, and even tried making it myself (I'll save that for another day).

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Chicken Katsu Curry

There are a few local Japanese restaurants, including one of my favorites Cafe Mami, that serve some very homestyle Japanese food. Simple, tasty, and cheap. And one of my regular dishes is a Katsu Curry, a fried pork/chicken cutlet with curry on top, served with a fried egg, cheese, and sometimes some pickles.

But sometimes I'm a little lazy to travel across the river to get to Cafe Mami so I tried my hand at making it myself. I do use the boxed curry though, I've read through the ingredients on how to make curry paste and decided it wasn't for me (probably to the chagrin of many). I also add onions, carrots, and potatoes, to make it a heartier stew-like meal. Boiling the carrots and potatoes in advance does help too, as it lessens the amount of time to simmer the curry.

I used to make this without cheese but after reading a couple other blogs and getting some testimony, I added the mozzarella and it does actually add a lot of taste!

Chicken Katsu Curry

Serves 4-6
Time : 1 hour 30 minutes

- 4-6 chicken breasts, pounded thin
- 2-3 eggs, beaten
- ½ cup flour
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs

- 1 box S&B Hot curry
- 15-20 baby carrots, chopped
- 1 medium onion chopped
- Optional (A couple boiled potatoes, chopped)
- 3.5 cups water (or stock)
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced

- Eggs for afterwards
- Some mozzarella cheese

1. Dredge chicken in flour, eggs, then bread crumbs (Can do twice if you like)
2. Bake or pan fry chicken (bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 or pan fry for 5-10 minutes), set aside
3. Heat a sauté pan under medium, add a little canola oil, add garlic. Stir fry for 30 seconds until fragrant, add onions and carrots.
4. Stir fry vegetables for 3-4 minutes, then add water/stock. Stir in the curry mix and add boiled potatoes (if you have them)
5. Simmer for 45 minutes until potatoes and carrots are soft
6. Serve chicken over rice. Add some mozzarella cheese on top and pour curry over. Top with a fried egg if you like.

- Can substitute the baked chicken (with eggs, flour, bread crumbs) with chopped beef chuck. Add the beef after the garlic in this case.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Chez Henri - Cambridge

I'd been hearing great reviews about Chez Henri for over a year, more specifically about how ridiculously good their Cuban sandwich was. So, like a genuinely interested foodie, I procrastinated. But this summer I finally made it over there with a friend.

We ended up both getting the Cuban and splitting some seafood croquettes (The picture came out a little blurry so I left it out). The Cuban definitely was one of the best I've had, stuffed full of meat and served with fried plantain chips and a tasty homemade salsa. Definitely one of the better meals I've had (a little pricey though) but worth it!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Chili - For cold weather and football!

There's nothing like a hearty bowl of chili on a cold day on Football Sunday. And it's definitely good on a day where I was just doing chores around the house and cleaning! Throw everything in and simmer for a few hours. But the only problem was that I'd never cooked chili before, though from everything I've heard, chili isn't exactly the hardest thing to cook :P

After searching far and wide (there seem to be hundreds of recipes!), a buddy of mine offered up this nugget. With a few adjustments (more meat) and an extra dose of spices, I think I've stumbled onto something! So, after a morning and afternoon of chores, I was able to finally dig into the chili that was on the stove all day :)

Meaty, hearty chili

Serves : 6-8 people
Time : 20 minutes prep, 3-4 hours cook time

- 1 – 1.5 lbs ground chuck
- 1 lb pork, diced
- 1 lb beef chuck, diced
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 1-2 Jalapeno peppers, chopped
- 4-6 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 (15 ounce) cans pinto/kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 3 (8-ounce) cans diced tomatoes (or tomato sauce)
- 1 12-oz bottle dark beer
- 1 (14 ½oz) can beef broth
- 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1-2 tsp ground red pepper (cayenne)
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp hot sauce (or more, depending on your spicy tolerance)
- Optional : 1/4 tsp cocoa

1. Cook garlic with some oil in a dutch oven or large pot over medium heat for 30 seconds until sizzling.
2. Add meat, cook through, add onion, cook another minute or so
3. Combine meat mixture, beans, and the rest of the ingredients. Reduce heat and simmer for 3 hours