Ginger Pork

This was ginger pork with a twist. It’s somehow ginger pork, but somehow tastes like homestyle cooking. It was really good and I really liked how all the flavors worked together.

Recipe Summary
Prep Time: ˜15 minutes
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
Yield: serves 3

300 g pork belly (Bara)
2 Tbsp sake
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 onion
* 2 Tbsp okonomiyaki sauce
* 2 Tbsp soy sauce
* 2 Tbsp sake
* 2 Tbsp mirin
* 2 Tbsp ketchup
* 1 tsp sugar
* 2 pieces of ginger (ground)
* 1 Tbsp heavy whipping cream

  1. Cut the pork into 2-inch pieces and mix with the sake and soy sauce for the base taste
  2. Cut the onion into 1/4-inch slivers and sauté over medium / medium-high heat
  3. Mix all * and boil
  4. Put oil into the pan and stir in pork and onion
  5. Cook until pork and onion are done

Warabimochi

Last night, as a little treat, Reiko made (with my help) warabimochi. It’s pretty simple to make and can be seasoned a number of different ways (my favorite is kinako with a little anko on top), but the end result is delicious!

Recipe Summary
Prep Time: ˜10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Yield: serves 2

Warabimochi
2 Tbsp warabi (bracken) starch
2 Tbsp water

Kinako topping
Kinako (soybean flour) to taste
Sugar to taste (usually ˜1 to 3 ratio, sugar to kinako)

  1. Mix the starch with the water
  2. Cook over low heat until boiling, stirring continuously
  3. Once the mixture is white and sticky, remove from heat
  4. Drop a spoonful at a time of the warabimochi into a bowl of ice cold water
  5. After sitting in the water for a couple minutes, remove from the water and top with kinako

Pot-au-feu

This is usually a simple, slow-cooked meal with your choice of meat and various vegetables (leftovers from the fridge). It’s very similar to the Japanese oden, and can probably be adapted to any culture by substituting the meat and vegetables for local favorites. This dish normally takes several hours to cook, however with a pressure cooker, the cook time is reduced from 3+ hours to less 20 minutes.

Recipe Summary
Prep Time: ˜15 minutes
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
Yield: serves 4

3 medium-sized potatoes
2 carrots
2 onions
1/2 head of broccoli
200 g leftover vegetables (cabbage, radish, green onion, celery, etc.)
1 bag of sausage
2 cubes chicken consommé
1 laurier leaf (a.k.a. bay leaf)
salt & pepper to taste

  1. Peel all vegetable and cut in bite-sized pieces
  2. Make several puncture marks in the skin of the sausage so it doesn’t burst while cooking
  3. Put the vegetables, sausage, and laurier in the pressure cooker
  4. Dissolve the chicken consomme in a little hot water and put in the pressure cooker
  5. Fill the pressure cooker with enough hot water to cover all of the ingredients
  6. Begin to cook over high heat
  7. After steam starts to come out from the pressure cooker, cook for an additional 10 minutes (low pressure=10 minutes, high pressure=8 minutes)
  8. Remove from heat and release the pressure
  9. Add salt & pepper to taste

Note: You can substitute sausage for bacon block or chicken wings. You can also use thyme & parsley to enhance the aroma of the dish.

Hofbräuhaus Las Vegas

Hofbräuhaus Las Vegas

Hofbräuhaus

On the last day of August, I flew to Vegas for the day to go to my friend Svihla‘s wedding. Svihla and I worked together in Germany. I’ve always really enjoyed going out for drinks with him and his stammtisch group. This year, Svihla brought his wife-to-be over to get married in Vegas. The ceremony was short, sweet, and performed by a German woman who worked at that chapel. He has requested that I wear my lederhosen as he and his wife would also be wearing tracht. Although I love wearing my lederhosen, this posed somewhat of a situation. As I was onlly going for the day it would have been easiest just to wear lederhosen the entire time, but obviously everyone will stare. I ended up wearing jeans to Vegas with my lederhosen in a small bag. I changed just before the wedding and ended up wearing my lederhosen home on the plane.

Flash Drive

SanDisk & Kingston Flash Drives

SanDisk & Kingston Flash Drives

It’s funny how geeky and “connected” I am, yet I have never been one to use a flash drive. I’ve had one a couple times in my life, but I never really used them and ended up leaving them somewhere, never to be used again. Surprisingly, a few months ago a woman emailed me and said she had my flash drive. She said my resume was on there, but the woman found it in DC and I haven’t lived there in 8 years. Really strange. Anyway, so my father gave me a flash drive for my birthday this year. It arrived in the mail the other day and I’ve already started using it. It’s a SanDisk Ultra® Cruzer® Titanium 8GB (yes, they really have 2 ®s in the product name).
Yesterday, my colleague found an extra flash drive in one of the storage cabinets and gave it to me. It’s a Kingston DataTraveler® Secure 2GB. It’s funny how you can go from none to two in a matter of days.

Waves

Hermosa Beach sunset

I’ve been sitting on my stoop in the evenings the last couple nights to relax. What I’ve noticed is, if you ignore the crickets and the slight buzz from the ocean air hitting the nearby power lines, you can hear the waves crashing on the beach. Pretty nice, especially considering it’s about a 5-minute walk down to the beach and there are several rows of houses/buildings between my place and the beach, not to mention the cement fence separating the sand from the walking/bike path.

Baked Cheesecake

Recipe Summary
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45-50 minutes
Yield: serves 6

Use a 7-inch spring-form pan

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup cream cheese
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons sifted all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon lemon juice

  1. Make sure the butter and cream cheese are at room temperature. Line the cake pan with wax paper.
  2. Put the graham crackers in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin.
  3. Soften the butter and mix with the graham cracker crumbs.
  4. Pour the graham cracker mix into the bottom of the pan and press down lightly to make the base. Preheat the oven to 340 F.
  5. In a bowl, beat the cream cheese, with an electric mixer until soft, then add the rest of the ingredients, in order, mixing  each one thoroughly first before adding the next.
  6. Continue until the mixture thickens, then pour into the cake pan, on top of the graham cracker base. Bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes. Remove and leave to cool.
  7. Once it has cooled, remove from the pan, discard the lining, and leave on a rack to cool completely.

Okonomiyaki Hiroshima fu

Recipe Summary
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yield: serves 4

For the pancake batter:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup water
1 teaspoon mirin

For the pancake filling:
a little sunflower or vegetable oil
2 cups shredded sweetheart or green cabbage
9 oz bean sprouts
finely chopped green onions or chives to taste
dried fish flakes to taste
4 oz thinly sliced uncooked pork
Salt & pepper to taste
6 oz thinly sliced squid (or to taste)
about 20 oz cooked Chinese egg noodles
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
8 eggs
4 tablespoons tonkatsu sauce to taste
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup
red pickled ginger (beni shoga) and ao-nori to taste

  1. To make the batter: sift the flour and baking soda into a bowl. Add the water and mirin and mix well.
  2. Heat a little oil in an 8-inch frying pan over moderate heat. Pour in enough batter to make a thin pancake.
  3. Sprinkle a quarter of the chopped cabbage, bean sprouts, green onions, dried fish flakes, and chopped pork onto the batter. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Put the squid on top and cook – making sure that the pork and squid are properly cooked before going to the next stage.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of batter to the pancake then turn over and press lightly using a spatula.
  5. In a separate frying pan heat a little oil, then add the cooked noodles and fry lightly. Season with 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, shape the noodles into a circle and transfer the previously cooked pancake on top.
  6. Fry two eggs then put the pancake and noodles on top of the eggs and turn the whole thing over. Turn out onto a plate so that the eggs are on the top and the noodles are underneath. Repeat this procedure using the rest of the ingredients.
  7. To serve: mix the tonkatsu sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and tomato ketchup and drizzle over the assembled pancake. If you have ao-nori seaweed, sprinkle it over and add the red ginger for garnish.

Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream

Recipe Summary
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Yield: about 1 1/2 quarts ice cream

1 quart fresh strawberries, washed, stemmed and quartered
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 cups half-and-half
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split in half and scraped
6 egg yolks

  1. In a food processor or blender, combine the strawberries and 1/2 cup of the sugar. Process until smooth.
  2. In a saucepan, over medium heat, combine the half-and-half and sugar. Bring to a simmer.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth.
  4. Add 1 cup of the hot liquid to the egg yolks and whisk until smooth.
  5. Add the yolk mixture to the saucepan of liquid and whisk until incorporated.
  6. Bring the liquid back to simmer and continue to cook for 4 to 6 minutes or until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.
  7. Remove from the heat and stir in the strawberries. Whisk until smooth.
  8. Pour the mixture into a glass bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the mixture. This will prevent a skin from forming while cooling.
  9. Cool the mixture completely.
  10. Process the mixture according to the ice cream machines’ instructions.
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