Monday, August 22, 2011

Miso Matzo Ball Soup

My husband said I was crazy when I said I wanted to put my two favorite comfort foods together. When he walked into the kitchen tonight and saw the matzo balls cooking he said "you're gonna do it aren't you?" Yep I did it and it was wonderful. He ate all his soup as well as his words. "I think you may have something here." he told me. I think this will be a new go to recipe for us. I used about 6 cups of broth but feel free to use as much or as little as you think you'll need (I think I may have had too much broth). Just remember to use 1 Tbsp miso for every cup of broth. The soy sauce is optional but I felt it needed the salt.

You'll need:
6 cups chicken broth
6 Tbsp shiro miso (white miso)
1 Tbsp (about) soy sauce
A few slices of ginger
a few green onions, sliced fine
1 batch matzo balls as directed below:

For the Matzo Balls use the recipe on the box of matzo meal to make a batch of matzo balls but add about 1/2 to 1 Tbsp of fresh grated ginger root to the mixture. Actually, I could have used 2 batches with this amount of broth.

Cook them as directed in a pot of boiling water. I used a small, rounded, ice cream scoop which is a touch more than 1 Tbsp. I just drop them right from the scoop so my hands never have to touch the mixture.

When the matzo balls are cooked heat up your broth with the sliced ginger. You may want to add carrots but I didn't. Put the miso in a bowl with the soy sauce and add some of the hot broth. You'll want enough to dissolve the miso. Then add this to the pot of broth. Don't boil!! You should never boil miso.

To serve, place a few matzo balls in a bowl and top with a ladle or two of the miso broth (discard the ginger slices). Sprinkle with the green onion.

This is a very simple soup but so yummy. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

I'm sorry about the quality of this photo. I'm working on it. :/

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Asian Carbonera

I found a recipe online that called for bacon, broccoli and mushrooms w. Udon noodles. Udon noodles are a Japanese noodle. They are thick and round and quite yummy. When I read the recipe the first thing I thought of was Carbonera; that wonderful Italian pasta dish made with guanciale (not even a little is hog jowls) or pancetta and tossed with an egg cheese mixture. If you have never had it I highly recommend you try it. If you keep kosher use vegetarian bacon (it isn't perfect but it gets the idea across).

This recipe can be made with pancetta, guanciale, bacon (beef bacon if you keep kosher), ham, Spam, or a vegetarian substitute. I'll just call it "meat of choice" in the recipe. You could use whatever you like. Unlike traditional Carbonera, this recipe doesn't call for cheese so if you do keep kosher you can use beef or poultry.

You'll need:
about 14 - 16 oz Udon noodles (they sometimes come in bundles, I used 3 to overfeed 4 people)
8 oz meat of choice, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced (I grate)
Broccoli - about 4 - 6 cups florets cut into small bite size pieces
1/8 to 1/4 cup sake cooking wine or sherry
4 Tbsp Soy sauce
2 Tbsp Hoisin sauce
2 eggs, beaten well (optional)

Cook pasta as directed on the package. Drain and rinse.
Meanwhile, cook the meat in a little olive oil or vegetable oil (depending on the fattiness of the meat the oil may not be needed).
Add the onion and saute until softened.
Add the garlic and then the broccoli.
Stir fry until the broccoli gets to the desired tenderness.
Turn up the heat and add the wine to the pan. Scrape the bottom of any bits.
Add the soy sauce and the hoisin sauce and mix well.
Add the Udon. If it has been sitting around for a few minutes it may be necessary to loosen it up with a little water. If you've rinsed it well, you shouldn't have too much trouble doing this.
Toss and stir fry...this is easiest done with a large fork and spoon. Toss to coat with sauce and mix in the meat and broccoli.
Remove from heat and stir in the beaten egg. Make sure to stir it in quickly. This will make a creamy sauce. You don't have to do this part but this is what makes it Carbonera.
Serve at once.

I hope you enjoy this as much as my family did. My husband demanded I post this, he thought it was so good.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Red Bell Pepper Cream Sauce - Magic Bullet

I made this sauce for lunch today and served with thin spaghetti. It was very good and even the picky kid who doesn't like pasta said she loved it. "If you have to make pasta, this is the one to make!" She told me. There is a small problem with some of my recipes. I don't measure. When I am just playing around in the kitchen I add a little of this, taste, a little of that, taste, needs more of this, taste...How do I write that down? This was one of those things. I needed a side to go with fish cakes and though something red bell peppery would be good. I knew I had a pepper in the fridge and just started putting this all together.

If you have a magic bullet (that little blender that comes with cups) you'll have no trouble making this. The measurements are based on the magic bullet cup (the smaller mugs w. the handle). If you don't...well...I'll do my best to help you out.

Here is what I did:

  1. Take a red bell pepper and peel it with a veg peeler. Discard peel. Break into pieces discarding seeds and membrane. Put into your magic bullet cup.
  2. Add 1 clove of garlic that you've grated (this will keep from ending up with big chunks).
  3. Add enough cream to come up half way. I think about 1/4 of a cup...more or less.
  4. Blend well
  5. Add about 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  6. Blend more
  7. Add milk (I used 2% shelf stable milk 'cause I happen to have some lying around) until it almost reaches the top (leave room to blend)
  8. Add a pinch or two of nutmeg and salt
  9. Blend again - taste for seasoning. Add pepper if you like but I didn't even think of it at the time.
  10. Cook your pasta (1lb) until al dente and then toss with butter. When the butter is melted pour over the sauce and cook on med-high tossing and mixing well. It will thicken and absorb.
Serve w. more cheese if desired and a sprinkle of parsley to garnish.

I think if you don't keep kosher this would be great w. grilled shrimp or scallops. For kosher keepers...did you know you can get kosher shrimp (it is made from pike I think)? Might be something to try. If not, it went well with salmon cakes and would be nice with any simple grilled fish (salmon or tuna w. just oil and salt). The sauce is light in flavor so don't over power it with a second sauce or even a salad dressing.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Marinade for Steak

Here is a nice, easy, marinade for any type of steak. I used it on boneless, sirloin, strip steaks. I had no idea what that cut was or if it would be tough or not so I thought I should marinate it just in case. I ended up with a very nice, tender, tasty piece of meat. It was similar to a teriyaki...but not quite. Had a Chinese kind of flavor...but not really. So basically you could serve this with anything. If you want to add an Asian side to it, like fried rice or lo mien, it wouldn't be out of place. If you wanted to simply do a mash and some peas or just about any other type of rice you can think of...or couscous or baked potatoes...etc, no problem. We had it with corn and carrots (since that was what my freezer held).

You'll need - to marinate 4 x 8oz sirloin steaks:
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup cider or malt vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced or simply smashed
3 -4 green onions, sliced

Combine all ingredients and marinate your steaks in it for at least a few hours. Mine sat for 5 hours.
Remove the steaks from the marinade and cook as desired. Grilling or broiling are best, IMHO. If you have a grill pan, that might be nice too. I broiled mine on high for 2.5 minutes per side. We like them very rare.

Meanwhile, pour the marinade into a pan and bring to a boil. To thicken into a sauce; stir together some of the marinade with about 1 tbsp of cornstarch. Pour it into the marinade and let boil. It will thicken quickly. Spoon a bit of the sauce over your steaks when you serve. I bet the sauce is also yummy on Jasmine rice or mashed potatoes...mmmm, I think I'll make this again very soon :)

I hope you enjoy it.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Chicken Marsala

My husband told me this is one of those meals he could just eat and eat and eat. Some people think this must be hard to make but the fact is it is so easy I don't know why I don't make it more; especially after my family devoured it. My mom used to make this when I was a kid with the addition of mushrooms and baby peas. She'd serve mashed potatoes on the side. Pasta is another good side option. Try removing the chicken to a platter and putting it in the oven (sauce and all) to keep warm. Then without cleaning the pan add a little margarine (if needed) or oil and a chopped shallot. Saute until soft then add a little beef broth. Let it boil down a little and add your cooked pasta and coat well. Finish with a little margarine and fresh parsley. Another option; if you don't keep kosher, is my alfredo sauce  try it with linguine or spaghetti and add a few handfulls of peas (before you add the egg and stir well). If you'd like, some prosciutto would be a nice addition. Speaking of prosciutto, it is also a nice addition to chicken marsala and if you are lucky you may be able to find kosher duck prosciutto. If you do, I hope you'll try it as it is a wonderful treat. If you choose to use mushrooms or prosciutto or both cook them in the pan after you remove the chicken and just b4 adding the marsala. You could also use any white or red wine but then it wouldn't be Chicken Marsala it would be Chicken Some Other Kind of Wine.

You'll need:
2 lbs chicken breasts - I used 8 4oz breasts that I cut in half to make two thinner breasts then pounded gently with the flat side of a meat mallet to get very thin pieces.
Four for dredging
Margarine - I used about 3 tbsp
Olive oil - Also about 3 tbsp but use what you think it best
Marsala wine (Kedem makes a marsala cooking wine and this is what I used last night.)

Melt the margarine (or butter if you don't keep kosher) in a large pan along with the olive oil over medium heat. When it is melted and ready to go dredge your chicken pieces in the flour and place in the pan. Cook until they are lightly browned on both sides and cooked through. This shouldn't take long as they should be very thin. Remove them from the pan as they cook. Do this a few at a time if you like.

When all the chicken is cooked add about 1 cup of the marsala wine to the pan. Scrape the bottom of the pan as the wine bubbles and reduces a bit. Add the chicken back to the pan and coat with the marsala. Now; if you feel this is enough sauce for you and you are serving it right away, fine. BUT, I popped mine in a warm oven while I worked on my pasta dish so I knew I needed more sauce. SO, I poured over some more marsala. I can't say for sure how much I used. I just poured until it looked enough. I then brought the pan up to a hard simmer and the wine got all thick and yummy. I then put it in the oven to keep warm.

That's it. Simple and yummy. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


I made a wonderful meal the other night. Comfort food all the way. Put your diet on hold and try these wonderful Japanese croquettes. I served them with rice (yes I know, how many starches do we need...but it is a MUST for a Japanese meal), a fried and marinated vegetable dish (agebitashi) which I'll post some other time, and miso soup. This recipe makes a lot. You could probably feed 6 people (with side dishes) without a problem with this recipe. I think it is traditionally served on a bed of shredded cabbage and also used in sandwiches or just as a snack. I've read that you can usually buy them, one at a time, from convienience type stores in Japan. They would be a nice bento box addition too.

You'll need:
1/4 - 1/2 lb ground meat (beef, turkey, pork, veal or a combination. I used turkey)
1 onion, chopped...between a chop and a mince
4-5 medium potatoes, peel, dice, boil (we are gonna mash them)
2 eggs, more or less
Panko crumbs

Cook the minced onion in a pan in a little oil or butter or whatever you like...broth would work too but what's the point? Cook until it is softened but not browned. Add a little salt at the end.
Add the ground meat and cook while stiring and mashing with your spoon to break up the chunks.
Meanwhile, your potatoes should be cooking and when they are ready drain and mash. Don't add anything to them...just mash them.
When the meat is cooked drain any oil from the pan. With lean turkey I didn't have to drain anything.
Mix the meat and the potatoes together well. You can do this in a bowl or in the pan just make sure to get it mixed well so when you make your korokke you won't have too much meat in some and not enough it others. You can taste and salt at this time, although, I did not.
I used a small ice-cream scooper (somewhere btwn 1/8 and 1/4 cup scoop) to scoop out balls of the potato mixture. I then shaped them into more solid balls in my hand and flattened them slightly.
Dredge in flour and then dip into the egg then the panko.
Fry in hot (350 degrees F) oil until golden brown. Don't worry about the middle, everything is cooked in there to start with so you don't have to worry about it cooking now.
Remove from oil and let drain on paper. Pop them into a warm oven to keep them war until the rest are made.

Traditionally they are served with a tonkatsu sauce which can be made by combining 100 ml Ketchup (hey, when you make these  international dishes you have to be able to measure in metric) and 60 ml worchestershire sauce (be careful, if you keep kosher you'll have to find one that is parve as some are made with anchovy and you wouldn't want to use it for a meat dish)

Another sauce (which I loved) is one I found to go with tonkatsu (a deep fried pork chop). It is from a website called J-Simple Recipes (the J is for Japanese). It goes like this: Stir together 3 Tbsp red miso, 5.5 Tbsp sugar, 80 ml water, and 1.5 tsp soy sauce. Pop it in the microwave and cook for 1 minute to warm it up.

You can also serve this with Japanese mayo which is so yummy and rich and thick. I think they would be very yummy in a sandwich (although, very starchy again) with shredded cabbage and Japanese mayo.

YUMMY! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Japanese Stir Fry Ground Turkey & Cabbage

I made this tonight with white Japanese rice and miso soup. Use your favorite type of miso. I used a mugi miso but any type can be used. I found it quite easy to find kosher miso. Try health food stores or your local Asian market. The origional recipe called for pork but for obvious reasons I made it with turkey (although, to be honest, we aren't even kosher style anymore). This made a nice full meal for the 4 of us. If you didn't want to go with soup I'd choose another dish to go along with this for a family of 4. Maybe some sliced oranges or other fruit to start with or a japanese pickle on the side. You could also start with a Japanese style salad w. ginger dressing.

What you'll need:
1 lb ground turkey, chicken or pork
1 small napa cabbage (I had about 3/4 of a large head left over from another meal)
1 tbsp soy sauce (plus more ... you'll see)
1 tbsp white sugar
2 tbsp miso
veg oil

Chop the cabbage. I cut it into slivers.
Cook the turkey in the oil, breaking up with the back of a spoon.
Meanwhile, stir together the soy sauce, sugar and miso.
When the turkey is cooked through add the cabbage. You may need to wet it a little with a few shakes of the soy sauce.
When the cabbage has cooked down a little add the miso mixture.
If it gives you trouble (too dry) add a spoon full of water...but not too much.
Mix it together well and serve w. a side of rice...actually, since we are talking Japanese food, this would be the side while the rice is the main dish.

I hope you like it.

The photo below is made with ground beef rather than the turkey. Sorry it isn't the best photo. I've been having camera issues.