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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.

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Black bean and corn salad

19 May

This black bean and corn salad is a great accompaniment to a chicken dish or as a topping for taco salad. If I eat it in the taco salad, I don’t add the avocado because I add slices of avocado to my salad. In all other cases, the avocado adds a bit of creaminess to it. With the avocado, you could even consider it like a chunky salsa and eat it with some chips. It is crisp, refreshing, healthy and holds a little kick of heat with the jalapenos/serranos – add as much for the heat level that you desire.

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Ingredient List:
– Black beans (cook your own!)
– Corn
– Cilantro, chopped
– Cherry tomatoes, halved
– 1-3 jalapeno or serrano pepper, chopped
– Avocado (optional)
– 2 garlic cloves, minced
– Salt and pepper
– Juice of 1-2 limes
– Cumin (optional)

Directions:

1. To begin with, cook your own black beans. You need to add about 1 cup of black beans (washed, of course) to your crock pot. Boil water before you add it to the crock pot – this makes it cook much, much faster. Add in half an onion, 2-3 garlic cloves, a bay leaf, salt and pepper and let the beans cook. You need to fill your crock pot all the way up with boiling water and then the beans will cook in 2-3 hours. Once they are cooked, drain and rinse under cold water.

2. In a large bowl, combine your beans, corn, cherry tomatoes, chopped jalapeno, avocado, minced garlic, and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper and lime juice. Depending on what I am using this for, I also add cumin for some warmth. It depends. Do what feels right to you.

3. Serve in a taco salad, as a side salad, or as a chunky salsa and enjoy!

The Boyfriend Rates It: 3.5

It’s a salsa that adds freshness to a variety of dishes. I personally like it in a taco salad with a spicy dressing but has many other creative uses.

Mango Salsa

26 Apr

It is officially spring and nothing screams spring/summertime eating to me like fresh, juicy mangoes. I used to eat mangoes with my dad and just remember the juices dripping down my hands and scraping the seed for any last bit of meat I could muster. One of my favorite light, summer-time meals is mango salsa served with steamed broccoli and talipa fish. Yet, mango salsa is also perfect as part of a trio of salsas or dip with chips as an appetizer or happy hour snack. It is the perfect combination of sweet and spicy.

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Ingredients:

  • 1-2 mangoes (the small, champagne mangoes are my favorite)
  • 1-4 serrano peppers (this truly depends on the level of heat you are seeking)
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Red onion, chopped
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of 1-2 limes
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Chop all your ingredients and mix!
  2. Serve with white fish as part of your dinner or as an appetizer with chips!

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P.S. Sorry for the blurry as hell pictures.

The Boyfriend Rates It:4.5

This salsa is amazingly good. Sweet, spicy and refreshing all at the same time. It’s a versatile side dish, but I really do enjoy it served with tilapia, broccoli and avocado like pictured above.

Butternut Squash Mash

18 Mar

Butternut squash has been my favorite vegetable as of late. At the local grocery store, it is abundant and cheap. I have made a butternut squash soup out of it, simply roasted it with olive oil, salt, and pepper, butternut squash risotto, au gratin, and this – butternut squash mash. Butternut squash mash is a great replacement for its high carbohydrate buddy, potatoes. It also lends this great nutty, sweet flavor that tastes amazing with pork chops.

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The best part of this side dish? It’s ridiculously easy.

Ingredients:
– Butternut squash
– Brown sugar
– Walnuts, toasted
– Butter
– Salt & pepper

Directions:
1. The easiest way to prepare the butternut squash is to first peel the squash. Then, remove the seeds and quarter the squash into large pieces. Then, in a boiling pot of water, add a pinch of salt and boil the squash until fork tender.

2. Once the squash is mash-able, transfer it to a large bowl. Using a potato masher, treat the butternut squash like mashed potatoes. Once it is the consistency you like, add some butter, salt, pepper, and a touch of brown sugar to bring out the sweetness.

3. Finally, in a pan, quickly toast some walnuts and serve over the butternut squash.

I enjoyed this butternut squash with some crock pot pork loin, half an avocado, and steamed broccoli. Perfect dinner!

The Boyfriend Rates It:3.5
There’s nothing wrong with this dish except that its a side dish. Though its not as good as buttery regular potatoes, its a great healthy version.

And also a question if anyone sees this….
I need new pans. Preferably one large pan to make just about everything anyone small pan for eggs. I live in a very small space so I need multiple-use, practical pans. Any suggestions?

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.