japanese rice porridge

when i was little, my father made this for me everytime i was sick since it’s tasty and easy on the stomach. a warm, simple comfort food. i recommend serving this with morimoto kakuni.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup uncooked rice
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth (premade or homemade)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 egg

DIRECTIONS

  1. place rice and chicken broth into a saucepan and simmer on low. cook rice according to its cooking time. broth will eventually evaporate off. always make sure it does not get too “dry.” if it does, add a little bit of water
  2. once rice is consistency of “oatmeal” (approximately 30 minutes), add egg to rice and mix quickly over the low heat. the egg will make the rice mixture a thicker porridge consistency
  3. add additional salt if needed
  4. serve!
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“morimoto” kakuni

hello moto! as in, iron chef morimoto. you are a culinary genius. i wish your food was not priced accordingly high to express the gloriousness of your dishes. or, i wish i was richer and could afford to dine reguarly at your restaurant, morimoto, …morimoto.

cue in my wonderful crock pot. my crock pot and i have worked together to come up with one of your menu items: “10 hour pork kakuni : braised pork belly with hot porridge.” Not exactly the same, but i think we (crock pot and i) give morimoto a smidgen of competition in the iron chef arena.

this is the recipe of the meat only. you can serve this on a bed of plain white rice. see my blog, japanese rice porridge, if you want to serve it morimoto style.

after dining at his restaurant, i got a picture with the iron chef!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 lb boneless pork ribs OR pork belly
  • 1 inch fresh ginger root, sliced in half
  • 1 negi green onion, cut into 2-3 inches long pieces
  • 1/2 cup sake
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp mirin
  • 2 cups water

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat a little oil in a large skillet and braise the pork on medium heat for a few minutes to reduce some fat. Remove the pork from the skillet and put on paper towels.
  2. Put about 2 cups of water, sake, sugar, soy sauce, mirin, ginger, green onion, and pork in a large crock pot place on high heat. Add any additional water until pork almost completely covered in liquid.
  3. Simmer the pork for about 4 hours on high, then turn to low heat for 2 hours.  Skim off any oil/fat stock from time to time if necessary. Keep on low heat until ready to eat. Note: pork should fall off bone if making ribs.
  4. Optional: Take some of the soup base into sauce pan and simmer for approximately 30 minutes to make a thicker sauce (can add flour or corn starch to slightly thicken)
  5. Makes 3-4 servings

credit: about

red velvet cake balls

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only make these if you are “OK” with eating at least 3 in one sitting…and understanding that you will continue to eat them over the next few days until they are all gone. it does NOT matter the level of your will power.

you can use any flavor instant cake-mix, frosting, and/or melted chocolate outer coating. be adventurous! my cake balls are a little frumpy looking -trust me you can make them look prettier with more TLC, but that makes them look more appealing to others…

ingredients:

  • 1 box instant cake mix (red velvet); 18.25 ounces
  • 1 cannister cake frosting (cream cheese); 12 ounces
  • 1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

directions:

  • Prepare the cake mix according to package directions using any of the recommended pan sizes. When cake is done, crumble while warm into a large bowl, and stir in the frosting until well blended (hand-held mixer or your hands).
  • Cool the cake/frosting mix for at least 3 hours in the refridgerator (do not be impatient and skip this step, your cake balls will crumble in the chocolate chip dip)
  • Once the cake/frosting mix is cool: Gradually melt chocolate chips in a bowl in the microwave
  • Use a ice cream scooper to form balls out of the cake mixture. Dip the balls in chocolate using a toothpick or fork to hold them. Place on waxed paper to set.
  • Let set until chocolate outer layer hardened; serve chilled.

credit: allrecipes

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sugar (butter) cookies

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i don’t believe in sugar cookies. they are the weakest of all the cookie prototypes in the entire universe. not only are they boring, they taste boring. think about it: sugar cookies need to be cut into special shapes and decorated with colorful granulated sugars/frostings to lure us to actually consume them. the gingerbread man is their smart cousin-cookie, who got spiced and got himself a nice tan…this trickery works really only 1x a year around Christmas.

but….these were my thoughts before this recipe…and now?

I LOVE SUGAR COOKIES! these cookies are amazing -the high proportion of butter is probably a good reason. these cookies are amazing with coffee/tea/milk. beware: the cookies have a nice “puff” factor after baking, so those sharp cookie-cutter shapes you were aiming for become a bit blunted at the edges. this really just means that the cookies are light and chewy (versus dense and hard).

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoonbaking soda
  • 1 teaspooncream of tartar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar for decoration (optional)

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and stir in the vanilla and almond extract. Combine the flour, baking soda and cream of tartar; blend into the creamed mixture. Cover and chill for at least two hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).  Divide the dough into two parts. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece of the dough out to 3/16 inch in thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies 1 1/2 inches apart onto greased cookie sheets. Sprinkle cookies with plain or colored granulated sugar.
  3. Bake for 7  minutes in the preheated oven, until lightly browned. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Makes approximately 3-4 dozen cookies (depends on how big your cookie cutter shapes are). Seal in airtight container to prevent from becoming stale.

credit: allrecipes

white lasagna

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This is a “non-traditional“, “white“, “vegetarian” lasagna. Those adjectives usually never dine with the word lasagna! But read on! As a meat lover, I almost did not try this recipe -“where’s the beef?!” But no worries, this veggie dish has portobello mushrooms, which gives the lasagna hearty and almost-meaty flavors and textures. Also, the recipe uses very simple ingredients -you most likely have the majority of all of these in your cupboard already. No need to run to the supermarket to buy another stockpile of tomato pastes/sauce, rather go to your local market and buy some fresh mushrooms to incorporate some health into your life.

Warning: It is SUPER rich and creamy (yummm), so I would recommend serving this as a side dish instead of a main course.

Ingredients:
•Kosher salt
•olive oil
•3/4 pound dried lasagna noodles
•4 cups whole milk
•12 tablespoons (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, divided
•1/2 cup all-purpose flour
•1 teaspoon ground black pepper
•1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
•1 1/2 pounds portobello mushrooms
•1 cup freshly ground Parmesan

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Cook lasagna noodles and cook until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  3. For the white sauce: bring the milk to a simmer in a saucepan and set aside. Melt 8 tablespoons (1 stick) of the butter in a large saucepan. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture all at once. Add 1 tablespoon salt, the pepper, and nutmeg, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring first with the wooden spoon and then with a whisk, for 3 to 5 minutes, until thick. Set aside off the heat.
  4. Separate the mushroom stems from the caps and discard the stems. Slice the caps 1/4-inch thick. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large (12-inch) saute pan. When the butter melts, add half the mushrooms, sprinkle with salt, and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender.
  5. To assemble the lasagna, spread some of the sauce in the bottom of an 8 by 12 by 2-inch baking dish. Arrange a layer of noodles on top, then more sauce, then 1/3 of the mushrooms, and 1/4 cup grated Parmesan. Repeat 2 more times, layering noodles, sauce, mushrooms, and Parmesan. Top with a final layer of noodles and sauce, and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan.
  6. Bake the lasagna for 45 minutes, or until the top is browned the sauce is bubbly and hot. Allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes and serve hot!

Credits: Barefoot Contessa

bacon mac and cheese

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If you don’t like bacon, you can omit and add more salt (~ an additional 1/2 teaspoon) to the dish. But we all know bacon rocks. In addition, if you’re scared of using processed cheese food, you can add another 1/4 pound of the other cheeses.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 onion, minced (optional)
  • 4 strips bacon, cooked and chopped into small bite size pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste (~1/2 teaspoon each)
  • 1/4 pound processed cheese food (e.g. Velveeta), cubed
  • 1/4 pound shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 pound shredded Swiss cheese
  • seasoned bread crumbs

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Prepare the elbow macaroni according to package directions.
  3. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Stir in the flour until a cream colored paste forms. Add the salt and pepper. Then pour in the milk and stir constantly until this comes to a hard boil, then stir for 1 more minute. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. When the macaroni is cooked, spread 1/2 of it into the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish. Then layer 1/2 of the grated onion, 1/2 of the bacon, and 1/2 of each of the cheeses. Repeat this one more time: macaroni, onion, salt and pepper and cheeses, and then pour the reserved white sauce over all. Sprinkle to seasoned bread crumbs
  5. Cover and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 40 minutes. Uncover for 5 minutes to lightly brown on the top

credit: modified allrecipes