Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Pot Roast of Pork with Cabbage 豚肉とキャベツのポットロースト

Pot Roast of Pork with Cabbage 豚肉とキャベツのポットロースト by naotakem

An easy one-pot dish to make - only downside being the marinating time for the pork - loaded with vegetables and flavor. Lifted straight off of a cookbook featuring recipes for Le Creuset French ovens.


Take a piece (500g or 1.1lbs) of pork, preferably a shoulder roast, salt all over and wrap tightly with a plastic wrap, marinate in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours. Used a pretty lean cut in the picture above, thought it might be better with a little more fat - but pork belly would be too much so pick your meat wisely.


Before cooking, take the pork out of the refrigerator and let sit for an hour or so to bring to room temperature. Heat some butter (add some vegetable oil if worried about burning) in a heavy iron pot - doesn't have to be a Le Creuset - and brown the meat on all sides on mid-high heat. Add half of an onion, sliced thinly, cook until slightly caramelized. Cut up half a cabbage into 1/2-inch wide strips and add to the pot over the pork and onions. Add 1/4 cup of dry white wine and a bay leaf, cover pot, reduce heat to low and cook for 20-30 minutes, mixing the contents and turning the pork every now and then. Finish the seasoning with some freshly ground black pepper while cooking. When pork is done, take out the meat, slice it into thick pieces, and place them over the cabbage and onions in the pot. Serve family style in the pot. with Dijon mustard on the side. Probably best with a dry Riesling, but had it with a Pinot and it also worked very well.


Monday, September 23, 2013

Homemade Southern Style Fried Chicken 自家製南部風フライドチキン

Homemade buttermilk Southern style fried chicken by naotakem

Ever since watching the movie The Help, had a craving for homemade fried chicken - the kind that's cooked in a cast iron skillet. Took a while to act upon that urge but finally made this crispy-and-spicy-on-the-outside-but-juicy-and-flavorful-on-the-inside (that's a lot of hyphens) fried chicken. The key to making such a fried chicken (aside from Crisco, which I didn't use for a variety of reasons): marinating in buttermilk and seasoning the flour with as many kinds of spices (the ones that you believe will go well with chicken, anyway) that you have on hand. Used chicken thighs for flavor as well.


Marinating (or brining) the Chicken
  • Cut up chicken thighs into manageable pieces (too large and it gets hard to coat and fry, too small and the chicken won't be as juicy when fried)
  • Place chicken into a non-corrosive (ceramic) bowl, season with powdered spices such as smoked paprika, cumin, allspice, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, salt and black pepper.
  • Add thinly sliced onions, and chopped herbs (parsley, thyme, and oregano) to bowl and pour in enough buttermilk to cover the chicken. Added a dash of hot sauce for an added kick.
  • Marinate at least 2 hours in refrigerator (most recipes say overnight, but 2 did just fine), turning the chickens every now and then.

  • 鶏もも肉は作業しやすい大きさに切っておく(大きすぎると衣つけ・揚げが難しく、小さすぎると出来上がりのジューシーさに乏しくなる)
  • 鶏肉を陶器製等酸に反応しない材質のボウルに入れ、粉末スパイス(今回はスモークパプリカ、クミン、オールスパイス、カイエンペッパー、ガーリックパウダー、塩、黒コショウ)を振りかけておく
  • 薄切りのタマネギ、刻んだハーブ(パセリ、タイム、オレガノ)をボウルに加え、鶏肉がかぶるまでバターミルクを加えたところに辛味をひと味加えるべくタバスコソースを少量足す
  • 冷蔵庫で2時間ほど、時々鶏肉をひっくり返しつつ漬け込む(巷に出回っているレシピでは「一晩」と書いてあるものが多いですが、2時間でも十分でした)

Coating and frying the chicken

  • Take the chicken out of the refrigerator 1 hour before cooking to bring to room temperature
  • In a shallow bowl, add the same mix of powdered spices listed above (be careful not to over-spice) to a good amount of all-purpose flour, mix well
  • Piece by piece, take the chicken out of the marinade, shake off excess fluid and dredge in the seasoned four to coat thoroughly, shake off excess, place on a wire rack and let sit for a few minutes (this supposedly results in a crispier chicken)
  • Pour vegetable oil (used a corn-canola mix) into a deep cast iron skillet, about halfway to the top, heat to 350-360F
  • Place the chicken gently into the hot oil and fry for 10-15 minutes or until the inside of the chicken reaches 180F, turning occasionally and keeping the oil at 350-360F
  • Place the fried chicken on the wire rack and let it rest for 10 minutes or so to drain any excess oil and cool the chicken enough so you can eat with your hands
  • 鶏肉は揚げる1時間ほど前に冷蔵庫から出し、室温に戻しておく
  • 浅めのボウルに小麦粉(薄力粉)をたっぷり入れ、上で使ったのと同じ粉末スパイスを適量(味の付け過ぎに注意)加えて良く混ぜ合わせる
  • 鶏肉を一つずつ漬け汁から上げ、水分を良く落とし、味を付けた粉にくぐらせ、余分な粉を落としてから金網の上などで数分衣を休ませる(こうすると衣のクリスピーさが増すとか)
  • 十分な深さのある鋳鉄製のフライパンに植物油を半分ほどの深さまで注ぎ、175-180℃まで熱する
  • 衣のついた鶏肉を丁寧に油に入れ、時々ひっくりかえして10−15分ほど(あるいは中の音頭が82℃以上になるまで)油の温度を下げないように火加減を調整しながら揚げる
  • 揚がったフライドチキンはバットの上に載せた金網の上などで油を切る+手で食べられる温度まで下げるため10分ほど寝かせる

Enjoy the fried chicken with some potatoes, steamed vegetables, bread, beer, wine (goes well with a Sauvignon Blanc) - or all of the above.


もやしラーメン Ramen Noodles and Soup with Stir Fried Pork and BeanSprouts

もやしラーメン Ramen Noodles and Soup with Stir Fried Pork and Bean Sprouts by naotakem

Wasn't sure if I should include this here as it doesn't require a lot of cooking and relies on store-bought ramen noodles and soy sauce flavored soup (the refrigerated uncooked kind, not the fried and dry variety) to a great extent, but this photo on Flickr was getting a lot of views so I figured it merited a writeup.


Cut pork slices (doesn't have to be any premium meat as long as it's thin and has some fat - I used the 'economy' cut from a Japanese supermarket) into narrow strips, place in a bowl, season and marinate with small amounts of soy sauce, sake, salt and pepper, set aside. In a pan, sauté some chopped garlic in vegetable oil and when it becomes aromatic, add the pork and cook through. Add some chopped green onions, a teaspoon or so of Chinese hot bean paste, mix some, then add washed and well-drained bean sprouts, and continue to stir fry. When the sprouts are crisp-tender, add a small amount of potato starch dissolved in water to the pan and toss well until there is some thickness to the pork-vegetable mix. Simultaneously, prepare the ramen noodles and soup following its instructions and place in a bowl. Serve the pork-sprout mix over the noodles and eat quickly.


Pan Fried Pacific Snapper with a Lemon-Caper Butter Sauce, Sautéed Kale, and Rosemary-Garlic Roasted Potatoes 白身魚のムニエル・レモンバターケッパーソース、ケール、ローストポテト

Pan fried pacific snapper with a lemon-caper butter sauce, kale, and rosemary-garlic roasted potatoes 白身魚のムニエル・レモンバターケッパーソース、ケール、ローストポテト by naotakem

I can go all crazy when I get hold of (or catch myself) good, fresh fish, but fish from an "ordinary" supermarket - in this case, "Pacific Red Snapper" (i.e., rockfish) filets from a big chain store - can be still turned into a simple and tasty meal like this one, provided it looks fresh and doesn't smell too fishy.


The snapper filets are seasoned with salt and pepper, then dredged in all-purpose flour to get a light coat. While pan-frying the filets in some canola oil, make some sauce in a separate pan with melted butter, lemon juice, and capers - nothing elaborate, just slightly reduce the butter and lemon juice and add the capers to heat a little. Place the cooked fish filet on a warm plate, pour a bit of the warm sauce over it, and sprinkle some chopped parsley to finish. Served here with some sautéed kale and redskin potatoes roasted with garlic and rosemary - and a wedge of lemon.

魚は塩コショウで味付けしてから小麦粉でうっすらと衣を付け、 キャノーラ油をひいたフライパンでこんがりと焼きます。別の鍋に溶かしバターとレモン果汁を温め、ほんの少し煮詰めたらケッパーを加えてソースを作ります。魚が焼き上がったら温かい皿に載せ、ソースを軽くかけて刻みパセリを散らして出来上がり。ここではケールの炒め物とニンニクとローズマリーと共にオーブンでローストしたレッドスキンポテトそしてレモンを一切れ添えています。

Salad of Grilled Zucchini, Roasted Red Bell Pepper, Red Onion, and Corn 焼きピーマン、ズッキーニ、赤玉ねぎとコーンのサラダ

Salad of grilled zucchini, roasted red pepper, red onion, and corn 焼きピーマン、ズッキーニ、赤玉ねぎとコーンのサラダ by naotakem

Salads are not exclusively made with raw vegetables - mixing a variety of roasted and grilled vegetables can produce a really nice dish with a mix of different textures and rich flavors that can make you forget that you're "eating your veggies (for your health)."


Ingredients and preparation are as follows - this is 90+% of the cooking:
  • Red bell pepper - roasted in an oven until blackened, removed the blackened skin, stem and seeds, cut into strips
  • Zucchini - grilled until tender (with nice grill marks), cut into bite sized pieces
  • Red onion - finely chopped, briefly soaked in cold water to taper the flavor a bit
  • Corn - would've been nice to grill some, but got lazy and used a can of sweet corn drained well
  • Herbs, etc. - cilantro, parsley, basil, a small jalapeño and a serrono chile, all finely chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil, freshly squeezed lime juice, salt and pepper


  • 赤ピーマン:オーブンで全体が黒焦げになるまで焼き、焦げた皮とへた、種を除いたら細長く切る
  • ズッキーニ:グリルで焼き目が付き、柔らかくなるまで焼き、一口大に切る
  • 赤タマネギ:みじん切りにして辛味を少し抑えるため短時間冷水にさらす
  • コーン:生のを焼けばさらに美味しかったのでしょうけど、今回は手抜きで缶入りのスイートコーン(水気は良く切っておく)を使用
  • ハーブ類:シラントロ、パセリ、バジル、ハラペーニョとセロノチリの青唐辛子を一本づつ、全てみじん切り
  • 調味料:エキストラバージンオリーブオイル、ライム果汁、塩コショウ

Making the salad merely consists of mixing the vegetables and herbs in a large bowl, then tossing with olive oil and lime juice until thoroughly coated. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and you're done.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Lomo Saltado ロモ・サルタード

Lomo saltado, essentially a beef and vegetable stir fry served over rice, is a dish that I ate on multiple occasions - for both lunch and dinner - during my travels in Peru and Bolivia some 18 years ago. Traditional recipe calls for French fries on the side but skipped that for both dietary and efficiency reasons.


Slice some lean steak, bell peppers (used green, red, and yellow for color), red onions, and tomatoes into thin strips. Mince some garlic. Heat vegetable oil in a well-heated skillet and brown the steak strips (seasoned with salt and pepper), add the onions and garlic (and a pinch of red pepper flakes), stir-fry until the onions are soft. The bell peppers and tomatoes are added at the end, and cooked until they are soft but retain some crunch. Season with additional salt and pepper, paprika, cumin powder, soy sauce, vinegar, and rice wine.

I guess the key is to flavor it so that it reminds one of Chinese food but doesn't taste like one. Serve over brown rice.