Category Archives: Side Dish

Time saving prep ahead lunch box fillers

Now that the temperature is heating up, it’s time to spend less time in the hot kitchen making lunches.

 

Mini Burger Patties – They are

  • top with salsa and cheese
  • top with gravy
  • top with bbq sauce and canned pineapple
  • top with ponzu and grated daikon
  • cut up over a salad
  • add to a lettuce wrap

Daikon Steaks – Recipe here. They get softer after being frozen but I prefer them that way.

  • eat as is
  • mix in with simmered veggies (nimono)
  • dice and mix with canned tuna and mizuna – no dressing needed

Steamed Broccoli (or other veggie that freezes well)

  • eat as is or topped with dressing
  • top with cheese
  • cut up and mix in pasta
  • add to an omelette
  • roll in shaved pork or beef and grill

Grilled Sausages – grill them before you freeze them to save cooking time in the morning

  • eat as is
  • slice and serve over a salad
  • top with bbq sauce, “sauce”, mustard or ketchup
  • top with cheese
  • roll in lettuce
  • Add to an omelette

Dumplings or pot stickers (shumai and gyoza) – cook and freeze

Sauces – freeze leftover sauces in ice cube trays for quick bento toppers
Cheese – grated or cubed

  • eat as is
  • sprinkle over salad
  • sprinkle over pasta
  • sprinkle over Japanese curry

Family Mart taco rice musubi sando review

taco rice riceball taco rice riceball package

 

 

As a lover of tacos, taco rice and anything Tex Mex, I had to try the Family Mart taco rice musubi sando when I saw it. How could I not? It was decent and I will definitely try to replicate it.

  • The rice was seasoned with taco seasoning. It was also reasonably spicy, as advertised.
  • There was taco meat and processed cheese as filling. I will use regular cheese when I make it.
  • The nori was surprisingly okay with the taco flavors.

To make it:

  • Mix rice with taco seasoning to taste. Taco seasoning is available at many supermarkets and import shops. You can find a recipe for it here.
  • Brown some ground beef and onions, season with taco seasoning and add a bit of salsa or tomato paste.
  • Spread rice in a thin layer all over a nori sheet. Spread taco meat and cheese over one half of the rice layer.
  • Fold the non-topped half over the topped half. Cut to any size you desire.
  • Done and done.

 

daikon-radish-bites

From the Archives: Daikon Salmon Bites

I found this recipe on the former Japanese food blog ごはん便り from すずキッチン  now called Yunanairo.  I was really excited to make these because of the light flavor of the sauce.  I’ve renamed the recipe as well.

Daikon Salmon Bites (サーモンと大根の甘酢漬け)

ごはん便り from すずキッチン

2cm of daikon sliced 1-2mm thin
75 grams
sashimi grade salmon
1-3 green onions (this depends on your tying prowess – I needed more than three)
dash of salt
4 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1
togarashi (dried hot pepper)
a little more salt

Sprinkle the daikon slices with salt and let sit until limp enough to wrap around salmon.  I was multitasking at the time and left them for about twenty minutes.  Wash off the daikon.  Cut the salmon into as many pieces as you have daikon slices.  Place each piece of salmon in the center of a slice of daikon, wrap the daikon around the salmon and tie with a piece of green onion.  I sadly have no tips for not breaking the green onions mid-tie.  When you have finished all of the tying, put the rest of the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Turn off the heat once the sugar has dissolved.  Place the daikon salmon bites on a plate that can hold at least 5 tablespoons of liquid and pour the contents of the sauce pan evenly over the bites.  The outside of the salmon may cook slightly and it gives a good flavor.  The original recipe appears to cool the sauce first but I wanted the slightly cooked salmon flavor.  Serve when ready.  The salmon needs to be eaten that day and should not be left out for any given time.

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To Cook List: Crispy Parmesan Edamame

crispy parmesan edamame

I found this beauty on my Pinterest feed and had to share. I can tell by looking at it that it will be delicious. Edamame are beautiful alone but parmesan can only make them better. Head on over to Gastromony for the recipe.

Image: this is a screenshot from Pinterest. The photo is the one from Gastromony.

 

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nori-egg-rolls

Nori egg rolls

nori-egg-rolls

I have seen a variation of these egg rolls in various bento pictures in the last month. I thought I’d give it a try. Most of the pictures look like they add the same seasonings as in tamagoyaki but my son doesn’t like that so I just did it with an egg. I added black olive for some extra flavor. these are great in bento lunches.

Nori egg rolls

2 eggs
Nori sheets (2 if using riceball size, 1 of rolled sushi size)
oil for frying
any add-ins (cheese, olive, spices, etc.)

In a small bowl, beat the eggs until you have a relatively smooth mixture. Add a bit of oil to a frying pan and heat on medium heat. Spread the egg as thinly as you can in the frying pan and cook on medium until cooked through. Transfer the egg to a bamboo sushi roller or a piece of saran wrap. Lay nori sheets over the top of the egg in one layer. Don’t put the sheets all the way to the edge. Roll the egg and nori as tightly as you can and leave in the bamboo roller or saran wrap until cooled. This will ensure that the shape is maintained. Slice when cool.

Note: Egg isn’t sticky so handle is gently as it can unroll easily.

japanese-sweet-potato-rice-cooker

Perfect Japanese Sweet Potatoes in a Rice Cooker

japanese-sweet-potato-rice-cookerJapanese sweet potatoes can be dry. They are sometimes even dry when they are in soup. I discovered a good way to cook Japanese sweet potatoes so that they are always moist and soft. This way is also really easy and convenient. I used the rice cooker. You can do this with regular sweet potatoes (さつまいも), the golden flesh kintoki imo (金時芋) and the orange flesh annou imo (安納芋).

How to cook Japanese sweet potatoes in a rice cooker

Wash and trim the ends (if necessary) of the sweet potatoes. Put 1-2 cm of water in the bottom of the rice cooker. Poke the sweet potatoes with a fork a few times just to make sure they don’t explode. Cook small or medium sized potatoes in a quick cycle (早炊き or 白米急速). Larger potatoes should be done with a full cycle. That is all.

Note: You can wrap the potatoes in foil, if you prefer. The ones I cooked while wrapped still had a soft skin so I am not sure you can get a crunchy skin in the rice cooker with water.

Curried Pan Fried Japanese Pond Smelt

Curried Pan fried japanese smelt wakasagi

I whipped this up one morning to put in lunches. As it was cooking, I found myself getting excited for lunch. It smells great. Not having grown up near the ocean, it sometimes doesn’t occur to me to buy fish. I love fish but we rarely ate it when I was a child. I went through a fish poor couple of weeks and decided to try something new. Small fish are good for you so I picked up some Japanese pond smelt (ワカサギ wakasagi) on a whim. When I find a new ingredient, I often turn to Cookpad.com (I use the app so it is the Japanese version but the English site is supposed to be great). This recipe is so simple and tasty.  It takes less than five minutes from start to finish. Continue reading Curried Pan Fried Japanese Pond Smelt

Bacon and negi pancakes

bacon negi pancakesIt’s been a while since I made anything noteworthy. Hence my relative silence. While trying to photograph this, I discovered it is hard to make one pancake look good. Especially, when you don’t want to top it with much.

Before I give you the recipe, I have an update on the chocolate cooking class. Since there was a big snow storm in this area this last weekend, I postponed the class to February 23rd. If you would like more information, check out my post here. Continue reading Bacon and negi pancakes