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Asian Chicken Salad

27 May

I hesitate to label things “Asian” because I don’t know any Japanese or other Asian that actually eats this salad. Regardless, I like the Asian-inspired flavors and the crunchy and sweet components of this dish. The weather lately has demanded lots of cool, refreshing salads and this salad does just that.

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Ingredients List:

This salad makes two dinner and two lunches for the next day.

  • Salad greens (I prefer to use a leafy medley, since those greens are more nutrient dense than any romaine/iceberg combo)
  • Sugar snap peas, sliced
  • Bean sprouts
  • 2 cans mandarin oranges, drained and rinsed
  • Almonds
  • Wonton strips, cut into strips and fried
  • 4 chicken tenderloins

Salad dressing:

  • Rice vinegar
  • Sesame oil
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sesame seeds, toasted
  • Dash of sugar

Instructions:

1. Marinate the chicken in salt, pepper, sesame oil, and shoyu for about 15 minutes prior to cooking. Then, in a hot skillet, heat up some olive oil and cook chicken.

2. Combine all salad dressing ingredients. Before adding the sesame seeds, toast them in a pan. This will only take a few seconds, but truly adds great depth of flavor to the salad dressing.

3. Prepare the rest of your ingredients – mandarin oranges, bean sprouts, sliced baby snap peas, and salad greens. Combine in a bowl.

4. In a pan or wok with some vegetable oil, fry the wonton strips. I drizzled these with some sesame oil and shoyu also after frying to get an extra dash of flavor.

5. Add the chicken, almonds, fried wonton strips, and salad dressing to your salad and eat up!

The Boyfriend Rates It: 4.o

I have always loved “Asian” inspired salads. They are fresh, crunchy and citrus-y. The only thing that could make this salad any better would be fresh mandarins.

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Nasu Dengaku

21 May

Nasu dengaku is a Japanese dish where eggplant is baked in a miso glaze and topped with green onion. Served with rice, it is ridiculously delish. I know a lot of people aren’t crazy about eggplants, but I always have been. Maybe its the glorious purple color. I think this is a fantastic component when eating a Japanese meal. I like to eat Japanese themed happy hours. Nasu dengaku is a perfect addition to this.

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Ingredient List:
– 2 Japanese eggplants, halved
– Green onion
– Miso paste
– Sake
– Shoyu
– Rice vinegar
– Sesame seeds

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 350.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the miso paste, sake, shoyu, and rice vinegar to taste.

3. Using a basting brush, spread the mixture on the flesh of the eggplant. Cook the eggplant in the oven for about 20 minutes. About half way through, pour/baste the rest of the dressing onto the eggplant.

3. When finished cooking, top with chopped green onion and sesame seeds. Serve with rice.

The Boyfriend Rates It: 4

I happen to be one of those people that loves eggplant. Add on the super delicious miso glaze and you’ve got the a great eggplant side dish.

Miso Soup

20 May

Miso soup is a staple in my life. I eat it for breakfast, for lunch, for dinner — whenever. It is warm, it is delicious, and it is good for you! It also takes about 5 minutes or less to prepare. Serve it as a main dish (toss in some rice to add substance) or as accompaniment to your favorite Nihonjin meal.

Ingredients:
– Miso paste
– Firm tofu, cubed
– Dashi

Optional:
– Green onion
– Egg
– Spinach or other greens, rinsed thoroughly
– Wakame (seaweed – you can buy this dried)
– Cooked rice

Directions:

1. Get a small pot and add water. Heat on high so it will start to boil by the time you add your ingredients.

2. In a small dish, whisk together the miso paste (maybe about 2 tbsp to start and then adjust the flavor as you taste the soup) and some water. Once this is well incorporated, add it to your almost-boiling water.

3. Prepare whatever ingredients you want to add to your miso soup. My favorites are: chopped tofu, lots and lots of spinach, green onion, and an egg.

4. Add your tofu first to the miso soup on the stove. Add about one spoonful of dashi. Continue to add miso paste, dashi, and even shoyu, as necessary to get the flavor right. Once the water starts to boil, turn off the heat. Words from my Obaachan: “don’t let your water boil more than once or you will ruin the flavor. As she says that to me, she always hits my arm to really reinforce the fact!

5. Once you turn off the heat, add the whisked egg and stir in the broth so it cooks. Add the spinach until it welts.

6. Serve in a bowl (I wish I had Japanese miso soup bowls! but I don’t. I have these Martha Stewart cereal bowls that I use instead) and top with chopped green onion.

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Delicious!

I wish I wasn’t out of miso paste, otherwise I would make this right now!

The Boyfriend Rates It: 4

This is another one of those dishes I didn’t grow up eating, but when I did have it it was of the restaurant variety, so it was usually bland. This, on the other hand, has tons of flavor and is extremely savory. The spinach and green onions give it good texture and a little bite and the egg and tofu give it a good amount of protein.

Kale and Tofu Soba Noodles

20 Feb

Ooooooh goodness. This is a bowl of healthy yumminess. I like eating it almost as much as I like to look at it because it’s another one of those meals that just beams good for you. I can also take zero credit for this recipe because I found it here. I do nothing different except add extra amounts of veggies. Oh, and one time I topped it with sliced avocado. That was a good choice, and probably one I’ll repeat.

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Ignore that white piece of furikake dead in the center. I don’t know what happened, but this is the only pic I took, so love it.

Ingredient List:
– 1 bunch kale, torn and blanched
– 3 small carrots, finely grated
– 1 avocado, thinly sliced
– Tofu, cubed
– Soba noodles
– Green/spring onion
– Sesame oil
– Shoyu
– Dashi
– Rice vinegar
– Honey

Directions:
1. Cook your soba noodles according to the package instructions. Once it is done cooking, remove from the boiling water and rinse with cold water. This helps your soba noodles to not stick together. Trust me, I made that mistake once and it was a mushy mess that I did not enjoy.

2. The tofu. If possible, a few hours before you are going to cook your tofu, take it out of the packaging, drain it, put paper towels on the top and bottom of it, cover it, and let it drain. This helps take the moisture out and will allow your tofu to crisp up better when cooking.

Anyway, cube the tofu. Then in a pan with the oil of your choice, fry the tofu. While it is cooking, I like to season with shoyu, dashi, and a dash of sesame oil.

3. Tear your kale into bite-sized pieces and then quickly blanch it. Grate the carrots. Chop the green onion.

4. In a small bowl, combine the shoyu, sesmae oil, rice vinegar, honey, and green onion. Go heavier on the shoyu and sesame oil and lighter on the rice vinegar and honey — but taste it until it is delicious.

5. Now, in a large bowl, mix your veggies, noodles, and dressing all together. Serve up in individual bowls and top with furikake. Eat healthy and feel healthy!

The Boyfriend Rates It:4.5

I love this dish because it is good for you and it taste great. As I’ve stated before, I did not grow up eating Asian flavors, but I have always loved them. The shoyu and sesame flavors are the ones that I imagined all Asian food to taste like and I love them till this day. The kale along with the noodles really make this dish stick to your ribs, in a healthy way of course. And the carrots and green onion give it that crunch and bite that I always appreciate.

Cabbage, Tuna, and Egg Stir-fry — Japanese comfort food

10 Feb

I have been barely posting lately, but I still have been cooking. Between the new clean eating I am trying to do, work, and my online class I am taking to become a certified online teacher, things are crazy! And when things get crazy, you need comfort food.

This is pure comfort food. My mom always made it for me on cold days, sad days, and poor days. It is cheap, easy, and delicious. I am always embarrassed to cook this for other people because I know it sounds weird and I can totally understand why people would not take to it. But if you like the ingredients, try it. It’s a perfect meal that leaves your belly full and your wallet full. I decided to finally post it because boyfriend actually liked it — and I figured maybe me and my mama weren’t crazy eating this. Even better, it’s ridiculously healthy — the egg and the tuna offer lots of protein and there isn’t anything bad in it to make it unhealthy. Plus, it’s delicious. Just try it.

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Ingredient List:
– 1 whole green cabbage, shredded
– 1 onion, chopped
– 4 eggs
– 2 cans of tuna
– Olive oil
– Salt and pepper
– Dashi
– Shoyu

– Furikake, for topping
– White rice, for serving

Directions:

Serves 2 for dinner & lunch the next day

1. Taking apart an entire green cabbage can be some work. The center is rough and there are a lot of white parts that are a bit tougher and not as tasty. However, cut it in half, cut out the core, and then start shredding the cabbage. I use the entire thing.

2. Chop your onion and mince your garlic.

3. Whisk together the eggs. Add a dash of salt and pepper. Sometimes I add a little pour of milk.

4. Drain the two cans of tuna.

5. Now, in a wok, add your oil of choice. Cook the onion and garlic. Once it starts to smell good in your kitchen, add in the cabbage. Warning – there is a lot cabbage so you might have to add this in batches. Cabbage cooks down a lot so what seems like a lot when it is fresh, actually wilts pretty quickly. As it is cooking, add the shoyu, dashi, salt, and pepper to taste.

6. In a separate pan, scramble your eggs.

7. Once the onion and cabbage have cooked down, add the tuna and egg. Stir together and season as necessary.

8. Serve over rice and top with furikake! Delicious, nutritious, and cheap! Everything a meal should be.

The Boyfriend Rates It:3.5
This dish is simple and even though I didn’t eat it growing up, I can why it’s would be considered comfort food. Cheap ingredients, filling and quite tasty.