Thursday, April 30, 2020

Sushi Sushi Togo@Beverly Hills (closed) ★★★

Superb Omakase Sushi Takeout. Super fresh with Uni. Huge portion. $120 omakase.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Tofu Noodles Recipe ★★★

Tofu Ramen from Japanese Market. The shrimps from Little Tokyo MarketPlace Korean market were really fresh and tasted great. Pork from Japanese market. With soft-boiled egg, shiitake mushroom, and napa cabbage. Boiled the egg for 6 minutes. Topped with spring onions. Added sesame seeds and Japanese spicy garlic seasoning afterwards.

Tofu Ramen from Marukai Japanese Market in the Refrigerated Section

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Mickey Cheeseboard@Happy Hour ★★★

Home-Craft Cheeseboard for Virtual Happy Hour. My first time. Cheese: Swiss, Monterey Jack, Mozarella, Fromage, French Brie, and Cranberry. Love it with Pistachios. Crackers from Target's Archer Farms. Love the Rosemary Crackers. Blended the Adult Dole Whip drink.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Raku Togo@West Hollywood ★★★

Satisfying Japanese Bento Box. I like the Crab Roll better than the Salmon. Salmon sashimi in the Salmon Bowl was fresh and fatty. Full menu available here. We paired it with Mango Moscato.

Raku's Bento Box $38

Salmon Bowl $25

Bento Box Came in Nicely Wrapped

Homemade Mickey Waffles Recipe ★★★

Making Waffle from scratch. First time. It's actually pretty easy. I had it with maple syrup. Tasted great. Disneyland Esplanade music in background a plus. Got this Select Brands Mickey Mouse waffle maker from BoxLunch years ago. Recipes vary. Below is one of them.

2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon white sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Beat eggs in large mixing bowl with beater until fluffy. Put in the rest of the ingredients and beat altogether.
2. Let the batter rest. Preheat waffle maker for 4-5 minutes.
3. Pour batter into waffle maker and heat for 3-4 minutes.
4. Serve with maple syrup on the side.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Shunji Togo@West LA ★★★

Amazing Shunji Deluxe Bento Box. The appetizer box comes with a piece of paper telling you what everything is and a hand-signed thank you note. $70 per person. You can wait in the parking lot, and they will bring it out for you. Need to order days in advance, or else it will sell out. Paired it with sake.

Filet-O-Fish & Cold Wakame Udon Recipe ★★★

At Home Filet-O-Fish with Buttered Breadsticks. The Fried Fish Filet from Trader Joe's reminded me of Filet-O-Fish from McDonald's, so decided to give it a try. Just happened to have bread, tartar sauce, and lettuce at home. I skipped the cheese. It turned out amazing. Recipe below. For the Cold Wakame (Marine Seaweed) Udon, I had it with soba soy sauce, sliced seaweed, wasabi, spring onions, and ginger. Wakame is healthy.

Toasted Bread with Butter Spread
not wasting the edges – use as breadsticks

Wakame (Marine Seaweed) Udon from Japanese Supermarket

Filet-O-Fish with Breadsticks ★★★
Fish Filet from Trader Joe's
Bread - 2 slices, can use breadends
Tartar Sauce
Cheese (optional)

1. Spread butter on bread, cut out the sides (keep them and toast together), and toast in oven
2. Bake Fish Filet
3. Spread tartar sauce on bottom sandwich layer (to keep crispiness on top of the fish)
4. Add cheese (optional), lettuce, then add fish, and finish with break end on top
5. Continue to toast breadsticks (cheese optional) until crisp. Serve as side.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Seared Steak & Chile Butter@Blue Apron ★★★

Seared Steak & Chile Butter with Kale & Cheesy Potatoes. Potatoes are roasted for 24 minutes. In honor of Earth Day, paired it with a bottle of National Geographic 2015 Ocean Reserve Blanc de Blancs from Iron Horse Vineyards. The bottle benefits to marine protected areas and sustainable fishing.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Dukkah-Spiced Chicken@Blue Apron ★★

Dukkah-Spiced Chicken with Pistachio Orange Salsa, Brussels Sprouts, and Brown Rice. Amazed by how easy it is to make grilled meat – season both sides and cook 6-7 minutes in pan for each side. Mix raw spinach with cooked rice, and the spinach will cook itself. Paired it with a bottle of Sangria (+diced fresh fruits) just because I saw the word “salsa”, which was fruity and perfect.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Seared Salmon & Ponzu Mayo@Blue Apron ★★★

Impressive Meal from Blue Apron. They do not disappoint. Learning more about cooking from them. Who knows adding garlic, salt, and mirin to Jasmine Rice would make such a huge difference. Vinegar & sugar to marinate Cucumbers and Bell Peppers. Sear Salmon with skin side up for 4-6 minutes, cover, and turn for another 2-4 minutes. Ponzu & mayo mixture on top, then garnish with Togarashi (7 spices) seasoning. Paired it with Chardonnay.

Bow Tie Pasta with Japanese Sauce ★★

Bow Tie Pasta with uncured black forest ham, fresh tomato, shiitake mushroom, and special Butter & Soy Sauce bought from Don Don Quixote bought from Tokyo, with a side of fried fish fillet from Trader Joe's. Paired with a bottle of Lemon Moscato.

Butter & Soy Sauce bought from Tokyo

Friday, April 17, 2020

Chicken & Wonton Noodle Stir-Fry@Blue Apron ★★★

Blue Apron Meal Kit Delivery Service. They send you the pre-portioned ingredients and recipe. You just do the cooking. I ended up taking 2-3 times longer than their cooking time. This dish is delicious. They premixed the Asian-style sautéed aromatics for you, but I guess it's butter, garlic, ginger, and green onion inside. Other than that, they provided 1/4 cup of Sweet Chili Sauce, 2 Tbsps of Black Bean Sauce, 1/3 cup Soy Glaze, and 2 Tbsps of Rice Vinegar. Chopped Chicken Breast, Carrots,  Green Cabbage, and Snow Peas. This dish is so good that it inspired me to take my cooking to the next level. I paired it with Junmai Sake.

Chicken & Wonton Noodle Stir-Fry
with Snow Peas, Carrots & Cabbage

Nanbu Bijin Junmai Daiginjo Sake

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Kraft Mac 'n Cheese

Take Spongebob Lightly or Join the Dark Side. Fun meal with fun shapes. While it's fun to eat and find the shapes of the characters, I think this serves better as a side rather than main dish. It's more about the fun shapes than the taste. Added real bacon pieces to enhance the dish.

The force is strong with this one.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Masago Salad & Miso Eggplant Recipe ★★★

Favorite Easy Side Dishes. I made the Masago (Smelt Egg) Salad based on the one I had in Hong Kong decades ago. I attempted a lazy version of Miso Eggplant a few days ago. This time I improved it with pre-mixing the marinade. It got bumped to wow, Japanese restaurant quality. Both recipes and masago tip below.

Frozen Masago from Korean Market
just scoop out what you need and put it back into the freezer

Hong Style Masago Salad ★★★
Masago (frozen one got from Korean market)
Frozen Imitation Crab Meat – 1 stick, boiled, hand-shredded into strands and cut 1" lengthwise
Persian Cucumer – 1/2, sliced
Japanese Mayo

Mix everything together and garnish with additional masago on top.

Masago Longevity Tip *Exclusive!
Masago is a trouble itself. When you get a frozen box, you have to thaw it in the refrigerator and use it within a week or so before it turned bad. Recently, I discovered a game-changer hack inspired by its 3-year shelf life:
• Buy a few boxes of them when they are on sale (I usually get it with $1 off each box)
• As instructed, keep it in freezer and never freeze it back after defrosting
• When you are ready to use it, before you cook, pull it from the freezer, use a thin spoon to only scoop out what you need. You will be surprised by how easy it is (put what you scooped in another container if needed and consume within a week)
• Put the frozen Masago back into the freezer
• Now your Masago will never go bad in the freezer and you will always have Masago on hand for any dishes you need! It also tastes great with California Roll, Japanese Tarako Mayo Spaghetti, or Kamameshi Steamed Rice Pot

Miso Eggplant ★★★
Eggplant – 1, Sliced
Mirin (Japanese cooking wine)
Olive Oil

1. Mix Olive Oil, Miso, and Mirin (about 1 teaspoon each) in a mixing bowl with a spoon.
2. Cover baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat foil lightly with oil so that eggplant won't stick.
3. Coat sliced Eggplant in sauce (dip or brush, front and back) and bake at 425° until Eggplant turns golden brown.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Taiwanese Sliced Noodles with Sausage Recipe ★★

Taiwanese Comfort Food. The thick Taiwanese Sliced Noodles are available in the Chinese supermarkets. I added sautéed onions, sliced sausage, napa cabbage and spring onions to it (also goes well with cilantro, bean sprouts and spinach). For the sauce, I did Asian sesame sauce and Japanese chili oil with garlic (oyster sauce and soy sauce can be another option). I made Hong Kong style Masago Salad on the side. Recipe to follow in the next post.

Japanese Chili Oil with Garlic
secret seasoning that tastes good on almost anything
tip: get it on sale from the Japanese market

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Uni Ramen ★★

Instant Ramen Enhanced. Bought this Uni Ramen when I was in Hokkaido. Added Real Uni, Mushroom, and Dried Shiso Leaf to it. Adding Spinach would be good too. The broth did not have a strong uni flavor, but it's still nice and fun to try. Need to get more of this next time I go to Hokkaido.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Tororo Soba Recipe ★★★

My All-Time Favorite Simple Vegetarian Dish. Tororo is made from grated Japanese Mountain Yam. Takes plain buckwheat soba to another level. I also topped the soba with sliced seaweed (pre-packaged and pre-sliced), chopping spring onions, sliced shiitake mushroom, and wasabi while dipping it into the soba soy sauce. I oven baked the Eggplant after mixing it with olive oil, mirin (Japanese cooking wine), and miso paste, but I think I will show a better version next time. Edamame beans and Hot Green Tea are great accompanies.

Yamaimo – Japanese Mountain Yam
Use peeler to peel off skin and grate for slimy texture

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Korean Tofu Bowl Recipe

Quick Korean Food Fix. Bought BCD Tofu Bowl Packet in the refrigerated section from Japanese supermarket. I comes with the sauce and tofu. Just need to add ingredients. I added shrimp, beef, soft-boiled egg, napa cabbage, and spring onions. It's good with rice. Also paired it with Korean Kimchee Pancake from the frozen aisle in the market (also available at Trader Joe's).

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Japanese Gratin with Shrimp Recipe ★★★

Restaurant Style Gratin. Cheesy gratin made with gratin mix. My first time making it. I love adding rice on the bottom layer before baking. Recipe below. Might try adding white wine to it next time.

Prep Ingredients + Milk + Cheese + Rice

Chardonnay – Perfect Pairing for the Seafood Gratin

Japanese Macaroni Gratin Mix (brought from Japanese grocery store)
1/2 Onion – sliced
Shrimps (or any seafood or meat)
Water – Room Temperature – 1 cup
Milk – 1/3 cup
Butter – as needed
Parmesan Cheese – as needed
Parsley (optional) – chopped

1. Cook Rice in Rice Bowl (The brand I like to use is Temaki from Marukai Japanese Market). Preheat oven at 480°F.
2. Heat a tablespoon of butter in pan. Stir in sliced onions until brown. Add shrimps.
3. Add water, milk, macaroni, and gratin powder from package. Mix well with wooden spoon. Boil until thickened. Turn to low heat and stir for another 3 minutes.
4. Butter baking dish (will need deeper dish than pictured). Add a layer of rice on the bottom. Pour mixture from pan to baking dish. Cover with Parmesan Cheese. Make for 10-12 minutes until slightly burnt.
5. Sprinkle with chopped parsley (optional).

Home Cooking Menu ★★★

Safer at Home Cooking. Hope everyone is well and staying safe at home. We bought enough groceries to stay at home 100% for the next 2 weeks. Below is what we will be eating.

*Chef's Recommendation