Here are some of my personal favorite recipes, as well as a compilation of external recipes collected and shared. I usually cook on the fly, so my measurements are mostly based on eyeball. Season the food accordingly to your own palate. Enjoy!
- 1 lb stew meat (lean round cut is perfect)
- 1 sweet yellow onion chopped into large pieces
- 8 cloves of garlic chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp fresh thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 cups of beef stock
- 1.5-2 cups diced carrots
- 1.5-2 cups diced celery
- 2.5-3 cups diced Idaho potatoes
- 2-3 inch slices French baguette (optional)
Makes 6-8 servings
Side Note: This recipe was found online…. i looked at several recipes before deciding upon this one, with some tweaks of my own. First off, there are a lot of recipes out there that are deemed “beef stew” without any broth…. in my opinion, that’s not stew! i need it to be meaty and soupy….and for the upcoming fall/winter, this is a recipe I will want to repeat. Also, this is best served with a side of sliced french baguette to soak up all the gooey goodness. Also, you’ll notice the ratio of potatoes, carrots and celery are within range. So, if you like more potatoes in your soup, I’d put the whole 2 cups in, and 1.5 cups of carrots and celery to balance it out and vice versa. I like my stew to be spoonfuls of veggies… so if you really want to be over the top, put 2 cups of everything if you want..there’s enough of the beef broth to do so. As a point of reference, I cut the recipe in half (3 cups of broth) to make 3 servings, and ended up using 1.5 cups of potatoes, 1 cup of carrots and celery. The result? Lots of potato but not enough carrots!
Prep/Cook Time (30 min/6 hours): Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add stew meat and onion then cook for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds before adding tomatoes, seasonings and stock. Cover and cook in the oven for at least 4 hours. I left mine in the oven for about 4.5 hours. Remove pot from oven place on stove top over medium low heat.
Add vegetables to the stew and add more beef broth if low. Taste and re-season if needed. Cover and cook for 1 – 1 1/ 2 hours. Add about a tablespoon of cornstarch and cold beef broth or water (mixing thoroughly) then pour into stew while it’s boiling, stir then reduce heat to low. Serve and enjoy with sliced French baguette bread.
Seafood Kimchi Fried Rice
- 1 ½ cups Korean or Japanese rice
- ½ cup kimchi
- ¼ cup sweet onions
- ¼ cup green beans
- 1 tbsp. peanut oil
- 2 tbsp. sesame oil
- 1 tbsp. garlic
- ½ tbsp. chili paste (optional)
- ½ tbsp. oyster sauce
- ¼ tsp. sea salt
- 2 eggs
- 4 crab sticks
- 5 pcs of shrimp
- ¼ cup fried tofu (optional)
- 3 tbsp. green onions
Makes 4 servings
Side note: If there are a few things I love in this world, it’s spicy food & Korean food. This is my own personal take on kimchi fried rice. Not too big on the pork, so I easily replaced it with seafood & fried tofu. Still has that hearty bite, plus the spicy kimchi I love oh so much. Plus, the best part, you can find all these simple ingredients in Chinatown!
Prep/Cook Time (30/45 minutes): I usually like to prepare the rice one day before… so if you have leftover rice, it would be great to utilize the leftover rice for this dish. If you cook it the same day, allow the rice to cool (or unplug the rice cooker) for at least an hour, to help strip the moisture from the rice. The rice should be slightly dry.
1) In a small to medium sized skillet, scramble one egg with a pinch of some green onions. Set aside to cool down and cut into small, thin strips.
2) Using a separate wok, add the peanut oil, sautéed the onions for one minute then add in the garlic, shrimp, green beans and sautéed for another minute. Once shrimp is almost done, mix in the rice with crab sticks, kimchi, sesame oil, fried tofu and oyster sauce. Add in the chili paste if you like it extra spicy. Continue to stir-fry for another 6 minutes and season with salt & pepper.
3) Add in the egg strips 2 minutes before you are done cooking. In a separate pan, make one sunny side up egg. I like to prepare this as soon as I mix in my rice. This will be the finishing touch to the dish. Garnish with green onions on top and a sunny side up egg.
4) Obviously, you can put your own variations of seafood, meat or tofu and mix it up to your delight. I like the seafood version with the fried tofu… it gives it a nice spicy, seafood and crunchy protein bite.
- 6 oz. firm tofu (half a package)
- peanut oil, 3 in. enough to coat a frying pan
- 2 tbsp. sliced green onions
- 2 tbsp. fried onions
- 1 tsp. sea salt
Sweet soy sauce (enough for one tofu package):
- 1 tbsp. soy sauce
- 2 tsp. mirin
- ¼ tsp. cooking wine
- 1 tbsp. diced jalapeno peppers (i always add way more…)
Makes 4 servings
Side note: This dish was actually inspired by one of my usual go-to Chinese spots named Mui Kee in Annadale, VA. Everytime we dined here, this was a “must” dish we had to order. Crisp to perfection, with a bit of fried onions, scallions and salt on top. I took it one step further and created a special dipping sauce, one that involves lots of jalepenos. The result, was a super savory, sweet & spicy combination.
Prep/Cook Time (10/25 minutes):
1) For the sauce, dice up the jalepeno peppers finely. Mix in all the sauce ingredients and put aside.
2) Cut up the firm tofu in half and into 2 in. squares. Heat up the skillet on high until heated and fry the tofu squares and flip after 5 minutes to fry on the other side. Tofu squares should be a light golden brown color after 10 minutes. Do not leave them in too long, you do not want them to be a deep brown color. Take out to dry on a paper towel.
3) Transfer the tofu squares on an aluminum foil and baking sheet. Sprinkle sea salt evenly, green onions and fried onions on top. Bake in the oven for another 12 minutes and serve immediately with a bowl of rice.
Prep/Cook Time (10/20 minutes):
1) For a slightly different and quicker variation (see below), you can cut the tofu squares into larger rectangles (half of a tofu, cut in thirds then halves). Using half an inch of peanut oil, fry each side for about 4-5 minutes (or until golden brown) on high heat and remove on a paper toweled plate (to soak excess oil).
2) Double the amount of sweet soy sauce recipe above. Once completed, pour the sauce over the tofu. Sprinkle scallions, fried onions and fried garlic on top.
Tip: You can buy the pre-made fried garlic and fried onions in an Asian grocery. Tastes just as good as homemade. Enjoy!
Fish Soft Tacos w/ Guacamole
- 2 (8oz.) medium sized tilapia or cod fish
- 2 tbsp. shallots
- 2 tbsp. cilantro
- ¼ lime
- Old bay seasoning
- 1 small red onion
- 1 vine tomato
- 8-10 small sized soft tortillas
- Taco seasoning sauce (optional)
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1 avocado
- 1 red onion
- 2 tbsp. cilantro
- 1 jalapeno pepper
- ½ lime
- Salt to season
Makes 4-6 servings
Side note: Whenever I make this, people always ask me what is my inspiration and where I got this recipe from. From no one in particular, and from no restaurant or thing in particular. Sorry kids, I don’t have a cool story to tell… my inspiration comes from the fact that for a long time, I didn’t eat pork or red meat. The person I was dating at the time loved tacos…. and I just wasn’t a majorly fan. One night, thought I’d spice it up by making fish tacos. Sounds like something we both would have eaten…turned out to be light, refreshing and delicious!
Prep/Cook Time (20/30 minutes):
1) Let’s start off by making the guacamole first so you can chill it. Cut the avocado in half and peel off the shell. With a fork, mash the avocados.
2) Squeeze in limes. Dice the red onions, cilantro and jalapeno peppers. Add to mix.
3) Season with salt and pepper until desired and store in fridge.
4) For the fish, season both sides lightly with old bay seasoning and a little bit of salt and pepper. Using olive oil, coat a medium size pan on high. Toss in shallots and sautéed for one minute.
5) Reduce to medium heat and sautéed the fish. Keep sautéing each side for about 5 minutes until the fish starts to crumble. When fish is cooked, drizzle fish with lime and cilantro. Dice red onions and tomatoes on the side.
6) On a soft tortilla, fold in fish mixture, red onions, tomatoes and guacamole on top. Finish with taco seasoning.
Tuna Tataki (Wolfgang Puck~Food Network)
- 1/2 cup minced ginger
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
- 1/2 pound very fresh, sushi-grade ahi tuna
- Kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons peanut oil, for searing
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 medium-size, ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, quartered and sliced
- 2 cups baby arugula
- 12 thin slices red onion
- 1 medium tomato, peeled, seeded, and diced
- Ginger Sauce, recipe follows
Makes 4 servings
Side note: It was New Years eve, celebrating 2010 with a full blown, homemade cooked meal with the roommates. I could not have asked for a more perfect night. I was stumbling and doing some tuna tartare research, when I came across this recipe from the Food Network. Granted, I’m not a big fan of Wolfgang Puck (I’ll keep all personal comments to myself….), but this one was eye-catching and quickly gained its attention. Feeling Japanese inspired, I decided to get the best from the best, Chelsea Market. Thank god for good taste. The first time turned out way better than the second time around….and it was all mainly due to the quality of the fish. The second time around, I bought it around the St. Marks area….totally paled in comparison to the quality found at Chelsea Market. So there’s your first tip…. buy all of your fish FRESH at Chelsea Market! The tuna was even cheaper than it was in St. Marks! We ended the night with a “bang” indeed.
Prep/Cook Time (25/27 minutes):
1) On a shallow plate, mix together the ginger, sesame seeds,Dice the avocados, tomatoes, red onions and plate them on a bed of baby arugula. Personally, I like to keep all items separately.
2) On a shallow plate, mix together the ginger, sesame seeds, and cracked black pepper.
3) Roll the tuna in the ginger mixture, pressing lightly so the mixture sticks to the tuna.
4) Place a saute pan over high heat. Add the oil and sear the tuna on all sides, about 30 seconds per side. Remove the tuna from the pan and set aside. Deglaze the pan with lime juice. Pour the lime juice over the tuna and plate the tuna on the bed of salad.
5) Toss with some of the Ginger Sauce. Slice the tuna, following the incisions made earlier. Place some of the dressed greens on 4 plates. Top with sliced tuna and drizzle with some more of the ginger sauce.
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 1/3 cup lime juice
- 1/3 cup olive oil
In a small bowl, combine the shallot, ginger, a few grinds pepper, soy sauce, and lime juice. Slowly whisk in the olive oil and set aside. When ready to serve, whisk thoroughly to combine.
Lobster Stir Fry Cantonese style (Epicurious)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 cup Chinese rice wine or dry Sherry
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 (1 1/2-lb) live lobsters
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
- 4 scallions, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/4 lb ground fatty pork
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons Chinese fermented black beans, rinsed and finely chopped (Optional)
Makes 4 servings
Side note: It was Yan’s last weekend in NYC before he had to depart back home to Clearwater, FL. We had such an amazing feast filled with deviled eggs, lobster, mussels w/ chorizo, flank steak, red mashed potatoes & dessert to end it all. It was a meal memorable for weeks…OH, plus the navel oranges that Yan bought from Chinatown. All this time, I thought he brought it with him from FL. To the point of the story, he wanted to buy us more oranges, we said no thanks. Instead, he buys us two whole lobsters. What the hell was I suppose to do with two f*ing lobsters? After excessive amounts of eating, binge drinking & partying like a rock star all night…. the lobsters sat all day in the fridge Sunday…and Monday was inspired to cook it with Stacey’s help. What can we make that will require as little effort as possible? Lobster stir fry! Cantonese style…. Minus the fact we did not have fermented beans, the recipe found was absolutely delicioso!
Prep/Cook Time (25/40 minutes):
1) Put 6 quarts water with 3 tablespoons salt to a boil in an 8- to 10-quart pot over high heat.
2) Meanwhile, stir together cornstarch, broth, rice wine, soy sauce, sugar, and pepper in a small bowl until sugar is dissolved.
3) Plunge lobsters headfirst into boiling water, then cover tightly and cook for 2 minutes from time lobsters enter water. Transfer lobsters with tongs to a large bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking (lobsters will not be fully cooked), then drain lobsters in a colander. When cool enough to handle, twist off tail and claws (including joints) of 1 lobster. Cut body in half lengthwise through shell with shears, then remove and discard sand sacs from inside head. Cut body in half again crosswise. Halve tail lengthwise through shell with a cleaver or large heavy knife, then cut each half crosswise into 4 pieces. Working with same lobster, 1 claw at a time, wrap claws with joints in a kitchen towel and twist off claws from joints. Unwrap claws, then crack joints with a mallet or back of a large heavy knife. Chop claws in half lengthwise between pincers with a cleaver or large heavy knife. Transfer lobster pieces to a bowl, keeping meat in shells. Repeat with second lobster, putting pieces of second lobster in another bowl.
4) Heat wok over high heat until a drop of water evaporates instantly. Pour 1 tablespoon vegetable oil down side of wok, then tilt wok to swirl oil, coating side. When oil begins to smoke, add pieces of 1 lobster and stir-fry just until meat starts to turn opaque, about 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer cooked lobster with a slotted spoon to a large bowl. Repeat with second lobster, transferring cooked pieces to same bowl.
5) Add remaining tablespoon vegetable oil to wok, swirling to coat, then add beans, garlic, ginger, scallions, and pork and stir-fry until pork is no longer pink, about 1 minute.
6) Stir cornstarch mixture, then add to pork in wok and bring to a boil. Add lobster and stir to coat, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, 2 minutes. Remove lid and pour eggs over lobster mixture in a thin circular stream. Cover wok and simmer just until eggs begin to set, 1 to 2 minutes. Drizzle with sesame oil, then gently toss. Serve immediately.
Mussels with Chorizo in tomato & white wine sauce (Food Network)
- 8 ounces chorizo, removed from casings and chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup finely chopped yellow onions
- 1 cup roughly chopped fennel
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 cup fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
- 1 cups white wine
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley leaves
- 3 pounds fresh mussels, well scrubbed and debearded
- French Bread, as an accompaniment
Makes 4 – 6 servings (main course – appetizers)
Side Note: I originally got 3.5lbs. and that was way too excessive for even 6 people! Granted, it was one out of many main entree meals… and we ate boat loads. 3lbs. will suffice if you are serving other main dishes, or if it’s your main dish, it will comfortably serve 4 people. We had tasty leftovers though, so I guess no complaints….as long as you eat them within 24 hours, or else it will taste bad. Mussels are best eaten when cooked. Hosted yet another wonderful party at 95 Wall with some lovely out of townies visiting for the weekend. After commiserating with my roommate Stacey, we agreed upon a French food theme..but somehow failed miserably. My roommate & I split the meat because we wanted to prepare it differently, sauce & all. She ended up making chimichurri sauce..and I, the steak au poirve sauce. In the shuffle we produced deviled eggs (because we had boats loads and needed to get rid of it), lobsters steamed with a side of butter & garlic sauce, mussels with chorizo, rosemary red mashed potatoes and snails with Yan’s special & homemade sweet soy sauce. As if we didn’t have enough food, Yan thought it would be a great idea to get snails & I ended up overcooking them just a bit. At least we got the seafood and steak part down right. Alas, what meal would all that be without French bread, especially factored as a great dip….but the remaining “French” themed meal still remains a mystery. I broke a sweat, but glad to see everybody enjoyed it.
Prep/Cook Time (25/20 min):
1) In a large saute pan, cook the chorizo until brown over medium-high heat, about 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan.
2) Add the butter and when melted, add the onions, fennel, salt, and pepper, and cook, stirring, for 4 minutes. Add the garlic and tomatoes, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the wine, cream, and parsley, and bring to a boil. Add the mussels, cover, and cook until the shells have opened, about 4 minutes.
3) Remove from the heat and stir in the sausage. Discard any shells that do not open. Transfer to a deep bowl and serve immediately with hot French bread for dipping.
Boiled Chicken w/ sesame soy sauce
- 6-8 drumsticks
- 1 tbsp shallots
- 1 tbsp jalepeno peppers
- salt to season
- freshly ground black pepper to season
- 4 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp. sesame oil
- 3-4 sprigs of scallion finely chopped vertically
- 2 tsp ginger (optional)
Makes 4 – 6 servings
Side Note: This recipe was originally recommended by my Ex’s mom, who use to frequent making this. Though the relationship remains buried in the past, this recipe lives on currently and continuing to spread the love. Though I’ve made very minor improvements, I have definitely found ways to make it tasty, while still keeping it really basic, as to not taint the original recipe. Follow the cooking time to the T and I assure you the chicken will come out very tender. It will taste like you’re eating beef! (well, definitely not the dry chicken you’re use to)
Cook Time (60-80 min):
1) Heat a big pot of boiling water, (about 3-4 quartz). Once you bring to a boil, add a bit of sesame oil and dump in the chicken. Immediately reduce the heat to as low as you possibly can. Cover with lid. Cook for about 60-80 minutes, making sure the chicken is thoroughly cooked.
2) Once chicken is cooked, shred to thin slices. Season with salt & pepper. Serve over a bed of thinly sliced scallions. For the dipping sauce: grate a little bit of ginger, mince the jalepeno peppers & shallots. Add the sesame oil to the soy sauce and add the minced ginger, shallots & jalapeno peppers. Enjoy with a bowl of rice.
Seafood Egg Drop Soup
- 3 cups lobster broth (or chicken broth)
- 1 cup of your favorite veggies: diced carrots, peas green beans & corn (I use frozen, but you can use fresh)
- 1 egg
- 4-6 pcs of shrimp (peeled and deveined)
- 4 pcs of crab imitation meat
- 2 tsp. sesame oil
- white pepper and soy sauce to taste
Makes 4 servings
Side Note: What do you with 4 large canisters of lobster broth that’s been sitting in your freezer for a month already? Seafood soup of some sort. DUH. This is a super easy recipe if you use broth that’s already been pre-made, and veggies that are frozen. (I prefer fresh, but either or is still OK).
Prep/Cook Time (30 min/4 hours):
1) For the broth, I use the leftover shells from the lobster & mussels. Throw in some parsley and onions and let it cook for the next 4 hours on medium to low heat. Make sure to skim every 30 minutes. Or.. you can take a shortcut and use chicken broth.
2) Reheat the broth until it starts to boil and reduce to medium heat. If using fresh veggies, dice and sauteed in butter for 10 minutes until soft. Throw in broth and heat on low for 10 minutes. If using frozen veggies, throw them in there and cook for 5 minutes. In the last 2 minutes of cook time, add in shrimp and crab meat until the shrimp is pink. Turn the pot on medium to high, and quickly stir in the egg drop. Turn off the heat immediately and serve.
Miso Grilled Eggplant
- 4 Japanese eggplants
- Sesame seeds
Nobu’s Miso Sauce:
- 1¼ tbsp. sake
- 1¼ mirin
- 5¼ shiro miso
- 2½ sugar
Makes 8-10 servings (You can store in the fridge for about a month)
Side Note: I always adore the solid Japanese restaurants that are able to showcase a beautiful eggplant dish and make it extra delicious. Inspired by the likes of Sakagura, I tried to replicate something similar at home. Japanese meals are meant to be shared, hence “izakaya”, small plates. Do it family style, with fun variety of dishes to share among.
Prep/Cook Time (10 min/15 min):
1) Cut the eggplant in half. Make criss-cross slits in the eggplant. This will help sauce retain it better and allow to cook thoroughly.
2) In a pot, heat up sake & mirin. Bring to a boil, allowing the alcohol to evaporate. Lower to medium heat, add white miso just a little bit at a time to ensure it dissolves. Turn heat on high and add sugar in 2-3 batches. Stir and make sure it doesn’t burn. Remove from heat when sugar is completely dissolved.
3) Over a grill, cook the eggplant each side for about 5-7 minutes or until soft. Start with flesh first. In the last 2 minutes of cooking, baste the flesh with miso sauce to finish cooking. It should start to sizzle and brown on top.
Source: “Nobu Now” cook book
Grilled Octopus Salad
- 3 lbs. octopus (cleaned already)
- half lemon wedge, and 1 small additional wedge
- 2 tbsp. fresh oregano (or 1 tbsp. dried)
- 3 tbsp. white wine or red wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup of olive oil
- 2 cups meslun or mixed greens
- salt & pepper
Makes 4 servings
Side Note: My roommate and I were salivating over Boqueria’s octopus salad…I think we both also had something similar at another tapas restaurant, Pipas on a separate occasion. The tangy, crispy, overly salty octopus on a bed of greens… made for an excellent dish. For one of our dinner parties, Stacey decided to replicate this dish. It was so good, I changed some of the ingredients and modified for a “Greek/Mediterranean” version. Superb in my opinion. The picture speaks for itself.
Prep/Cook Time (25 min/20 min):
1) Start by preparing the sauce. Using white wine or red wine vinegar, squeeze in half wedge of lemon juice. Slowly whisk in olive oil, until all contents are mixed in. Season with salt & pepper accordingly and add oregano.
2) Clean the mix greens and put dressing and salad aside.
3) You can sautéed the octopus, but it tastes best on a grill for a charred taste. Grill for 5-7 minutes, until the color of the octopus no longer becomes transparent. Try not to over-grill it, as the flesh can get tough. Optional: With the last wedge of lemon, squeeze over octopus. Serve over the bed of greens and dressing.
- A dozen medium sized clams
- ¼ cup dry roasted peanuts (deshelled)
- 2 tbsp. fried onions
- 2 tbsp. chopped green onions
- ½ cup water
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
- 2½ tbsp. fish sauce
- 1 tbsp. minced garlic
- 1 tbsp. minced Serrano chilli pepper
Makes 4 servings
Side Note: I was living in VA at the time, and we decided to try this new restaurant by the notoriously Vietnamese populated area of Seven Corners aka Eden Center. It was named Sea Catch. A restaurant I will never forget, especially the grilled clams with fish sauce topped with crushed peanuts. This was definitely a native Vietnamese dish and last time I had it, I was in the country, literally stuffing my face. Knowing that all I had to do was make the fish sauce, the rest was cake.
Prep/Cook Time (15 min/15 min):
1) Prepare the fish sauce first. Bring ½ a cup of water to a boil. Add in sugar and rice vinegar until sugar has dissolved. Wait to cool down a few minutes before adding fish sauce, garlic & Serrano chilli pepper.
2) Chop up the green onions and put aside.
3) In a pan, sautéed dry roasted peanuts for a few minutes until brown. Crush and put aside.
4) Over a grill, cook the clams on each side for about 6-7 minutes. Once the clams open, cook for another few minutes to allow flesh to be completely cooked. Plate the clams, top with fish sauce, fried & green onions and crushed peanuts.
Tofu Salad w/ Tomatoes
- 1 package of silken tofu
- 2 red vine tomatoes
- 3 tbsp. soy sauce
- ¼ lime juice
- 1 tsp. mirin
- 2 tsp. grated ginger
- fried onions
- 1 tsp. sesame oil
Makes 6-8 servings
Side Note: This was inspired by a dish I ate at Hakata Ton Ton. Although the original recipe was suppose to call for avocados. Unfortunately, my avocados weren’t ripe enough!! While the avocados would have made it super creamy, the tomatoes were a nice, fresh substitute. Soft textures of the tofu went fantastic with the sweetness and tartness of the tomatoes, accentuated by the salty & slight citrus of the soy sauce dressing. Also, I made this dish family style with multiple other dishes, so you may prepare as an appetizer or combine with a few other small dish type of entree.
Prep/Cook Time (20 min):
1) Dice the silken tofu in squares or rectangles.
2) Slice the red vine tomatoes in thin wedges. Put aside.
3) Mix in mirin, sesame oil with soy sauce. Squeeze a little bit of the lime juice. Adjust seasoning according to palate. (More mirin if you like it sweeter). Add in some fresh grated ginger. Add dressing to tofu and tomatoes. Top with fried onions.
Vietnamese Shaking Beef “Bo Luc Lac”
- 1.5 lbs of beef sirloin cut into 1” cubes
- 2 tbsp minced garlic
- 1.5 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp thick soy sauce
- ½ cup rice vinegar
- 1.5 tbsp sugar
- ½ tbsp salt
- 1 lime juiced
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp fresh pepper
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1.5 bunches of watercress, long stems trimmed
- 1 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
Makes 4-6 servings
Side Note: Mami would be so proud of me! After she first gets over her initial shock of me healthily eating read meat first! I was browsing online trying to find the perfect recipe for bo luc lac and came across this. I didn’t end up using 2 bunches of watercress (1.5 was good enough) and one large tomato was more than enough. Let’s keep in mind that my household are all meat eaters here! So this may be subjective, you can use more or less depending on your preference. Super easy to make, just takes a little bit of effort to make each section but well worth it. Perfectly executed and I can’t wait to make this recipe with other cuts of meat!
Prep/Cook Time (35 min/12 min):
1) Prepare marinade by combining garlic, oyster sauce, sugar, fish sauce, thick soy sauce and sesame oil with the beef for at least half an hour, preferably 1-2 hrs.
2) Prepare vinaigrette by mixing rice vinegar with salt and sugar. It should be a balance of sour, salty and sweet. Thinly slice the red onion and use about 3-4 tbsp of the vinaigrette to pickle and set aside covered in fridge for about 10 minutes. Prepare bed of watercress and tomatoes in a serving platter and set aside.
3) Heat a large wok or pan over high heat. Add about 2 tbs cooking oil and when it begins to smoke, add an even layer of beef and allow to sear for about 2 minutes, before “shaking” to sear the opposite sides for about another 1-2 minute more to brown all the sides. May need to do in 2 batches total.
4) Transfer beef to bed of watercress and tomatoes. Drizzle another 3-4 tbsp of vinaigrette over the beef and greens and top with pickled red onions. Lastly, squeeze lime juice over salt and pepper in a small ramekin.
- 1.5 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1.5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 whole chicken legs (or chicken breast meat)
- sea salt
- fresh ground pepper
- Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon (half a lemon for chicken breasts)
- 1/2 cup creme fraiche
- 2 tbsp dill
Makes 4 servings
Side Note: My only variation is that I used chicken breast meat instead of dark meat and added dill to enhance the buttery, lemon cream sauce. You can’t have creme fraiche without the dill. Works vice versa. If you are using chicken breat, make sure to use less lemon, so it doesn’t end up too tart. I’d prefer to use bone in meat next time. Thanks to my source for this wonderful recipe. Chicken dish pairs well with a nice vegetable dish…I opted for zucchini.
Prep/Cook Time (35 min/20 min):
1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. After 3 minutes, add the butter and oil.
2) Season the chicken generously with salt and very generously with pepper. Place the chicken, skin side down, in the skillet and brown well on both sides, turning once. Transfer the skillet to the oven.
3) Bake for 15 minutes, or until the juices run clear when the chicken is pierced with a knife. Return the skillet to the stovetop. Transfer the chicken to a platter and keep warm.
4) Remove all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the skillet. Place over medium heat, add the lemon juice, and stir to scrape up any pan drippings. Simmer for 1 minute, then add the creme fraiche and stir until melted and bubbling. If the sauce is too thick, add a few tablespoons of water.
5) Pour the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with lemon zest and additional pepper. Serve hot.
- 1 lb. pork or beef
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 1 tbsp. mirin
- ½ tsp. pepper
- 1.5 tbsp. red pepper paste
- 1 tsp. soybean paste
- 4 tbsp soy sauce
- 4 tbsp mirin, white wine or soju
- 2 tbsp. garlic
- 1 tbsp. ginger
- ½ tsp pepper
- 2 tbsp ground onion
- chopped green onions
- ½ sliced yellow onions
- 1 egg (optional)
- bok choy (or any other vegetables you want to add to the dish)
Makes 4 servings
Side Note: If you have any frozen or leftover meat…any kind of pork or beef would work bulgogi is super quick and easy to make. It’s also delicious…I like eating it and making it bimbimbap style… serve it over a day’s old rice and cook it all in a hot stone pot. Best of all, you can freeze it and cook it anytime you want to. I use a cast iron skillet to grill the meat… but you can use a real grill or frying pan. The grill just give it a more char grilled taste, which is all we love about BBQ. If you don’t have the meat readily sliced, it’s best to slice the meat yourself if the block of meat is frozen. Using a knife, carefully slice it thin… my Shun chef’s knife did magical wonders.
Prep/Cook Time (15 min/11 min):At least 2 hours to overnight for marinade. The longer you let it marinade, the darker the color of the meat will turn out. Especially with pork, if you let it marinade for less than two hours, it will still come out the white color.
1) For the first marinade, mix the ingredients together and let the meat sit for 10 minutes. Go ahead & prepare to mix all the ingredients for the second marinade. Combine the meat and let it marinade for at least 2 hours before grilling.
2) Once ready, grill for 5-9 minutes (depending on how thin the slices of meat are), until the meat is no longer red. You can serve this over rice or a bed of salad. My preference is rice.. crack open a sunny side up egg and add some bok choy and have yourself a lovely dinner.
Vietnamese Papaya Salad (Goi du du kho bo)
- 1 medium sized green papaya about 1.5-2 lbs
- ¼ cup Thai basil or Vietnamese cilantro (or combo of both)
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup hot water
- 2 tbsp. vinegar
- 4 tbsp. sugar
- 2 tbsp. crushed peanuts
- 1 tsp. chili paste (optional)
- 1 -2 packaged fruit flavored beef jerky
Makes 4 servings
Side note: Let’s get this straight… nobody, I mean NOBODY makes a mean papaya salad than my lovely mami. Who else better to duplicate this marvelous receipe than the masterful herself? Extra basil/cilantro, peanuts & jerkey…ah, just the way I like it.
Prep Time (25-30 minutes): Peel the skin of the green papaya and using a peeler or grater, shred to fine pieces until papaya is dwindled down to just seeds. Put aside. In a small bowl, mix the hot water and sugar together and stir until dissolved. Let it cool for a minutes before you add in the vinegar and soy sauce. Taste the dressing. If you like the sauce sweeter, add in a pinch more sugar. If it’s too tart, add a few more drops of soy sauce. Trust your palate and season accordingly. Next, shred the beef jerky into thin slices and chop up the Thai basil and Vietnamese cilantro leaves. Crush the peanuts finely. Once you have all the ingredients chopped up, toss the papaya on a plate, top with beef jerky, leaves, peanuts and soy dressing.
Deviled Eggs (American Style)
- 6 hard-boiled eggs
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- ¼ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 green onion, very thinly sliced (slice a little of the green and keep separate from white)
- a few leaves of fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped, (or chives) optional
- freshly ground black pepper
- salt, to taste
- paprika, optional
- cayenne pepper, optional
Side note: My roommate & I were having another dinner party, originally French themed, but it turned sort of surf & turf international style…naturally I went crazy with the list of preparation….my roommate asked…what can we make with a dozen of eggs??? Unless I’m making breakfast, nothing good…but a light bulb suddenly went off … deviled eggs? Sure… I decided to give the above recipe a shot…turned out fantastic! Oh, but we forgot the green onions…. oh well!
Prep Time/Cook (15-20 min/5 min):
Halve or quarter eggs; scoop yolks into a small bowl. Mash well; add mayonnaise, Dijon and Worcestershire sauce until desired consistency is reached. Stir in white part of sliced onion and most of the chopped parsley. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. Using a small teaspoon or pastry bag, fill egg white halves or quarters. Sprinkle with sliced green onion and remaining parsley (or chives). Sprinkle with a little pepper and/or paprika & cayenne pepper, if desired.
Makes 12 halves, 24 quarters. Recipe can be doubled.
Cucumber Crab Salad w/ tobiko (fish roe) (Japanese)
- 1 large cucumber, peeled
- 4-6 pieces of crabstick imitation meat
- 1 tbsp. tobiko (fish roe)
- 2 tbsp. japanese mayo (or light mayo as substitute)
- cayenne pepper
Makes 4 servings
Side note: It was the usual weekday .. after a long and tiring day. I was in the mood to whip something up. I quickly rummaged through the fridge real quick… sadly enough I didn’t have much of anything. My other roommate said she had some kimchi… I had some tofu, why not make kimchi fried rice? So we had rice… I had some tobiko and cucumber and had the strangest desirous sensation for a cucumber salad…. how yummy would it be to stick crabmeat and tobiko in it? I prefer Japanese mayo, but light mayo does the job as well. Just give me a spoon and some tobiko and that’ll suffice just nicely….
Prep Time (10 min):
Wash the cucumber and make sure to dry thoroughly before peeling! You don’t want any liquids when you’re slicing. Peel the cucumber and shred to thin slices (dicard the seeds completely). Place over dry towel and make sure all the moisture is dried…you’ll want the cucumber to be as dry as possible. Put aside. Shred the crab meat and add to cucumber. Add the mayo, mix well and sprinkle the tobiko & cayenne pepper on top.
Guacamole Dip (Mexican)
- 3 ripened avocados
- 1 red vine tomato
- half lime, quartered
- 1 jalapeño pepper
- sea salt
- ¼ cup cilantro
- ¼ cup red onions
Makes 6 servings
Side note: I made this at a BBQ once…and it’s always a hit. Quick, easy perfect for BBQ’s and picnics, indoors and out! Serve with lime tortillas…they are the best!
Prep Time (15 min): Cut the avocado in half and de-pit. Sccop the avocado pieces with a spoon and mash in a bowl. Cut up cilantro, dice red onions and mince the jalapeno peppers. Toss all ingredients in bowl. Squeeze the lime juice (add more as necessary). Season with salt & pepper. Fridge for at least 30 minutes. Dice the red tomatoes and top the guacamole with it.
Cucumber Salad w/ peppers & onions (Turkish)
- 1 cucumber
- 1 green pepper (or red pepper)
- ½ red onion
- 2 tbsp. red vinegar
- ¼ cup olive oil
- sea salt
- 1 tbsp. minced shallots
- lemon zest
- 1 tbsp. cilantro (optional)
Makes 6 servings
Side note: I was at Limon for a friend’s birthday…the restaurant was TINY! Less than 5 tables, I would say, as is the case in most NYC restaurants. We ordered family style, so platters of Turkish food came out. This one particular dish stood out to me… it seemed like just a plain salad, filled with fresh veggies, but the zesty vinaigrette .. I couldn’t forget it. I tried to replicate it at home as close as I could.
Prep Time (15 min): Dice the cucumbers, green peppers & red onions. Mince the shallots and cilantro and toss in with salad mi. Slowly whisk in olive oil with red vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Zest with a little bit of lemon. Toss dressing in with salad mix. I’ve made this salad variation twice, once with green peppers & with red. The green peppers have a nicer, bitter finish. If you like sweeter, go with red peppers.
Tuna Tar-tare (Eric Ripert)
- 1/4 cup corn oil
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- 1 lb. sushi-grade tuna
- 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
- 1 teaspoon minced jalapeño
- 1 1/2 teaspoons wasabi powder
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped scallion
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus half a lemon
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 tomato–peeled, seeded and cut into 1/8-inch dice
- 1 cucumber – thinly sliced
Makes 4 servings
Side Note: Another fancy dinner party, this time, I wanted it to be fully Japanese themed. A lot less discombobulated than my prior dinner party, with a theme that was all over the map. I was going to make something up, until I saw Eric Ripert’s version of tuna tartare. He is my idol. Instantly, I save this recipe to try it. A little bit disappointed in the flavors. I had a little leftover tuna and made a similar version. Instead of wasabi, I replaced with a bit of soy sauce and mirin. The sauce had a more rich flavor to it, than the dry ingredients above. Also, I am Asian. By default like soy sauce over salt any day. My guests still loved it, so I’ll leave it at that.
Prep Time (25 minutes): In a bowl, combine the corn oil and ginger and let stand at room temperature for at least 2 hours. Strain the oil. With a very sharp knife, cut the tuna into 1/8-inch dice. In a large bowl, combine the tuna with 3 tablespoons of the ginger oil, 3 tablespoons of the cilantro and the jalapeño, wasabi, sesame seeds, scallion and lemon juice. Mix gently and season with salt and pepper. Stand a 1 1/2-inch-tall and 2 1/4-inch-round mold or a biscuit cutter in the center of a salad plate. Fill the mold with tuna tartare, pressing gently. Lift off the mold. Repeat with the remaining tartare. Drizzle the remaining ginger oil around each tartare and sprinkle with the tomato, the remaining tablespoon of cilantro and a squeeze of lemon juice. Plate tuna tar-tare on top of sliced cucumbers (or chips, as originally suggested from Ripert).
- 1 bunch of watercress
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp. sesame seed
- 2 tbsp. sesame oil
- cayenne pepper
Makes 2-4 servings
Side Note: Simply inspired by the Korean “banchan” side dishes offered at various restaurants around the nation. When I was living in Northern VA, Annandale town really set the framework for authentic, delicious Korean food. I fell in love with Korean food for a really long time, before I had a new favorite. Japanese. I make this side dish at home all the time, and sometimes eat it plain with a little bit of white rice and a meaty dish. Super healthy, tasty and best of all very easy to make.
Prep Time (7 min): Bring a pot of water to boil. Wash watercress thoroughly and toss in watercress and quickly strain with colander. Mince the garlic and toss in salad. Pour sesame seed oil and toss in sesame seeds and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Before eating, I like to chill the salad for at least 30 – 60 minutes to let all the flavors meld together.
Parmesan Crusted Brussels Sprouts
- 1 1b. brussel sprouts
- 1/3 olive oil
- 3 tbsp. parmesan cheese
Makes 4 servings
Side Note: I picked up this recipe online somewhere a really long time ago. The idea of Brussels sprouts was never appealing, but the recipe seemed simple enough and I like cabbage. Who knew what a little olive oil, salt & pepper with a slight Parmesan crust can do to this little bite of heaven? Try everything at least once!
Prep/Cook Time (7 min/10 min): Cut the Brussels sprouts in halves and coat the head with olive (season it with salt & pepper first). Grate some parmesan cheese and set aside. In a skillet, sautéed the Brussels sprouts until golden brown for 6-7 minutes. In the last minute, dust the sprouts with parmesan cheese.
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