Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Teriyaki Beef & Tofu Puff Miso Soup

Rarely do I ever buy beef, but I broke down this past weekend and bought some.  It's so expensive sometimes, even though I bought beef shoulder, which is supposedly a cheaper and thus tougher cut of meat.  I also couldn't decide whether I wanted soup or not, so I made both!  Hmm... unfortunately I don't have a whole lot to say on this one, but it was very delicious.  ^_^

Teriyaki Beef & Tofu Puff Miso Soup


1/4 lb. beef shoulder
1/8 green bell pepper, seeded
handful of frozen, blanched green beans
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. mirin
1 Tbsp. sake
vegetable oil
1 1/4 c. water
1/4 tsp. dashi granules
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. mirin
2 tofu puffs
1 dried shiitake mushroom, reconstituted
1/2 spring onion
2 tsp. miso
hot cooked rice
sesame seeds (optional, to serve)
furikake (optional, to serve)

Slice the beef into thin strips roughly 1/4 in. and slice the pepper very thinly into strips, about 1/8 - 1/16 in. thick.  Heat a little oil in a pan.  Add the beef and saute for about 1 min., or until the outside is no longer pink.  Add the pepper and beans and saute another 1-2 min.

Mix together the sake, mirin, and soy sauce (1 Tbsp. each).  Add to the beef mixture.  Continue to boil, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened and the liquid is nearly gone.  Be careful not to let the sauce burn in the pan or it will have a bitter taste.

In a separate pot, bring the measured water to a boil.  Add the dashi granules and 1 tsp. each soy sauce and mirin.  Stir until the granules have dissolved.

Thinly slice the tofu puffs, the mushrooms into 1/4 in. strips, and the spring onions on the diagonal.  Add to the soup and boil for 2-3 minutes.  Add the miso and stir until dissolved.  Turn off the heat.

To serve, place the rice in a small bowl and sprinkle with furikake (rice seasoning) if desired.  Put the beef and vegetables on a plate and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Serve the soup in a separate bowl.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Pasta with Kale and Bacon

Don't faint!  I know this isn't Asian.  Hey, I never said this was an exclusively Asian food blog, even though it's what I like to cook the most.  I've been passing up many kinds of large-leafy vegetables such as kale in the grocery store, always wondering what to do with them.  Finally, I decided to give kale a shot.  Kale is usually sold in a large bunch.  It has very large crinkly leaves and very stiff stocks.  I found out on the internet that you have to boil kale leaves for at least 10 minutes to soften up.  They don't wilt down say, like, spinach would.  It has a stronger flavor than your average lettuce, and it's very delicious.  Give it a try!

Pasta with Kale and Bacon


handful of penne pasta
2 strips of bacon
2 large leaves of kale, rinsed well
3 Tbsp. minced red onion
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 tsp. olive oil
1/3 c. chicken stock
herb seasoning of choice
shredded cheese (mozzarella or parmesan)

Heat two pots of water to a boil and add a pinch of salt to each.  Add the pasta to one pot and cook according to package directions.  Al dente pasta is best.  Drain when done.  (If your pasta is done before you're ready to put it in the pan with the other ingredients, put the drained pasta back in the pot, add a little olive oil, and stir to coat.  This prevents the pastas from sticking to one another.)

Cut the stalks from the kale leaves and discard.  Roughly chop the kale leaves and add to the other pot of boiling water.  Boil the kale for at least 10 minutes, or until the leaves are soft.  Drain, then fill the pot with cold water.  Put the drained kale back into the pot to stop the cooking, then drain again.

Heat a dry pan over medium heat, and add the bacon.  Cook until crispy, then drain the bacon on paper towels.  Discard all but about 2 tsp. of the bacon grease.  When the bacon is cool, crumble into pieces.

Heat the bacon grease and add the minced onion and garlic.  Cook until the garlic is browned and the onions are softened. 

Squeeze the excess liquid from the kale and add to the pan.  Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Continue to boil until nearly all the liquid has been absorbed. 

Add the pasta to the pan and stir to combine.  Sprinkle with herb seasoning and stir.

To serve, put the pasta and kale on a plate.  Top with bacon bits and sprinkle with cheese.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Happy New Year to everyone!

 In College and Actually Cook has been on hiatus, but the next semester will be starting soon!  I'm back on campus, but I can't say I'm quite ready for all of the work that's about to come.  My last semester!  *sniffle*  I don't have my "blog class" anymore, so I might not post every day, but I'll do my best to share some recipes as I get time.  So please check back if you don't see something new--it just might be a little more sporadic! 

Best of luck to any other college peeps out there ready to start classes!

Tonkatsu with Vegetables

Tonkatsu is really nothing more than breaded and lightly fried pork chop, usually served with shredded cabbage and a Worcestershire/soy/ketchup sauce.  I made my tonkatsu the "traditional" way (OK, I'm really not sure if tonkatsu is traditional, so you'll have to ask someone who knows a little bit more about Japanese food for that one), but since I don't have any cabbage or Worcestershire sauce on hand, I decided to match it with broccoli and mushroom, and I made up a similar sauce from what I had.  This is a super simple dish to make, and really doesn't require any ingredients you can't pick up at the local supermarket, save for maybe mirin.

I've attempted making tonkatsu in the past, but I've had difficulty with keeping the breading attached when I go to cut it.  The reason?  You must let the pork rest in the fridge for at least 7-10 minutes after breading and before you go throwing it in the pan.  Why?  Erm.... OK, I'm not quite sure, but it makes the breading stick better.  You'll just have to trust me on that on.  (This goes for breading anything--even chicken.) 

My other tip is that if you don't have a meat mallet (which you can join me in the crowd of raised hands), you can use any heavy-duty roughly-flat kitchen utensil such as a potato masher (which is what I used) or even a rolling pin.... just don't break anything in the process.

Tonkatsu with Vegetables


1 pork chop
3 Tbsp. flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 c. panko bread crumbs
vegetable oil
pinch salt
1/4 tsp. sugar
3 small dried shiitake mushrooms, reconstituted
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. mirin
handful of broccoli

for sauce:
1 Tbsp. ketchup
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. mirin

hot cooked rice
schichimi togarashi (optional, to serve)

After rinsing and drying the pork with a paper towel, trim any fat from the chop.  Wrap a piece of plastic wrap very loosely around the pork an pound until 3/16 to 1/4 in. thickness.  Unwrap the pork.

Place the flour in on bowl, the egg in another, and the panko crumbs on a plate.  Coat the pork with the flour and shake off the excess.  Then dip in the egg until thoroughly coated.  Let the excess egg drip off, then lay in the panko.  Press the crumbs onto the surfaces.  Cover the plate with the crumbs and pork with plastic and put in the fridge until needed.  Discard the flour, but keep the egg.

Add the salt and the sugar to the egg and stir until dissolved.  Set aside.

Trim up the broccoli as needed, then place in a bamboo steamer lined with parchment.  Place the basket in a pan of water and steam the broccoli until softened, but try not to over cook.  (Alternatively, use a regular metal steamer tray in a covered pot, or boil the broccoli.)

Cut the mushrooms into 1/2 in. strips.  Set aside.

Mix the ingredients for the sauce.  Set aside.

Remove the pork from the fridge.  Heat about 2 Tbsp. oil in a pan, then add the pork.  Pan-fry for 4-5 minutes, or until the bottom is nicely golden-brown.  Flip the pork over and fry until golden-brown.  The pork should be cooked through.  Remove the pork from the pan, but do not cut yet.

Add the mushrooms to the pan, and pour over with the soy sauce and mirin.  The liquid should come to a froth.  Stir the mushrooms until nearly all the liquid is absorbed.  Remove the mushrooms from the pan.

Using a paper towel, wipe the remaining soy sauce from the pan.  Add a tiny bit of oil.  Pour in the egg and cook scrambled until just set.  Turn off the heat.

To serve, put rice in the bottom of a serving bowl.  Add the egg on top.  Cut the pork into 1/2 in. strips and place on top of the egg.  In another serving bowl, put the broccoli and top with the mushrooms.  Sprinkle with shichimi togorashi.  Serve with sauce.