I was reading about Hawaiian Hurricane popcorn, which is a mochi crunch and nori flavored buttery popcorn, a while ago and have really wanted to try it since. I’m going to order the real thing online soon because it sounds sooo good, but for now I’m having my own version of Japanese style popcorn. This is a really satisfying snack for people who like the combination of salty and sweet flavors. All of the Japanese ingredients are very basic and are easily found at an Asian grocery store. To toast the sheet of nori, turn your stove burner on low heat and pass the nori quickly over the flame a few times on each side until the nori is slightly fragrant.
1 bag plain microwaveable popcorn
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp nanami togarashi assorted chili pepper (S&B brand is the most popular and easy to find)
1 packet kombu dashi granules
2 tbsp katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes)
1 sheet toasted nori, cut into small strips
Toss together the sugar, nanami togarashi, kombu dashi granules and katsuobushi with the freshly popped popcorn in a large mixing bowl. Top with the toasted nori and serve.
This is a dish that my mom makes but for some reason I never got her recipe and instead just guessed and came up with my own. Eggplant is in season right now so this is what I will be making with the eggplants from the garden. If you have ever had Chinese eggplant in garlic sauce, this dish is similar, but has a much lighter and more ginger-y sauce. I really loved both eggplant dishes as a kid and consider these dishes to be real comfort food.
1 tbsp canola oil, divided into 3 tsp
2 medium Japanese eggplants, cut into pieces 2 inches long
1 tsp ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dashi (I mix hon dashi and hot water in a hurry)
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp mirin
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 scallion, chopped
Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pan over medium heat. Place eggplant pieces in a single layer and brown each side. You will probably have to cook your eggplant in two batches. Make sure to add in another teaspoon of oil before cooking the second batch. Set the browned eggplant aside in a bowl. In the same pan, heat the last teaspoon of oil. Toss in the garlic and ginger and cook until just fragrant, about 20-30 seconds. Pour in the dashi, soy sauce, mirin and vinegar. Simmer for 2-3 minutes, then return the eggplants to the pan with the liquid. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 10 minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened. Serve with steamed rice, garnished with chopped scallions.
This is probably more of a fall dish but I have all the ingredients for this dish at the moment, so I decided to do something a little different with my kale than the usual kale sautéed with garlic and lemon. This is a comforting and satisfying side dish that is a great combination of sweet, spicy and smoky flavors.
1 large bunch curly kale, ribs removed and roughly torn
1/2 cup dried cranberries
6 cloves garlic, minced
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 tsp sweet (mild) smoked paprika
1 tbsp olive oil, plus a little extra
salt and pepper to taste
In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium. When the oil is hot, add in the garlic, red pepper flakes and cranberries. Cook, stirring constantly for about 30 seconds until the garlic is fragrant but does not have color. Add in kale and sauté for 5 minutes until the kale is cooked through. Sprinkle with the smoked paprika, season with salt and pepper to taste and combine thoroughly. Drizzle a little extra good quality olive oil over the top and serve.
This wheat berry salad is a really light and nutrient packed summer salad that would be great to bring to a picnic. It would travel well and is also even better the next day. You can substitute water or vegetable broth when cooking the wheat berries.
Ingredients for the salad:
1 cup hard wheat berries
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup seeded and diced cucumber
1 zucchini, diced
1 shallot, minced
4 cups arugula
1 cup mint, coarsely chopped
1/2 bunch Italian flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
Ingredients for the dressing:
Juice and zest of 1 orange
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp anchovy paste
1 tsp red pepper flakes
freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
salt, to taste
Boil wheat berries and chicken broth for 1 hour or until the wheat berries are cooked but still slightly chewy. You may need to add a little more water or chicken broth as the wheat berries cook. Meanwhile chop your cucumber, zucchini, shallot, mint and parsley and place in a large mixing bowl with the arugula. In a separate bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients for the salad dressing and set aside. When the wheat berries have cooked, drain them and add them to the vegetables and pour over the dressing while they are still hot. Toss to combine, season to taste and serve.
This is a really easy and healthy way to prepare tofu and is great for people who may not like the taste and texture of tofu. When the tofu is baked, it becomes slightly chewier. The soy based marinade adds a lot of flavor to the tofu and the sesame seeds create a delicious crunchy coating.
1 block extra firm sprouted tofu
3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp ponzu (I like to use Marukan brand but if you are using a brand like Kikkoman that contains soy sauce, then you should decrease the amount of soy sauce)
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
3 cloves garlic, mashed into a paste
1 tbsp ginger, finely chopped
1 tbsp korean hot pepper flakes (optional)
roasted white sesame seeds
Press the tofu for 20 minutes by wrapping in a few layers of paper towel or a clean kitchen cloth and placing on a plate with another plate and a weight on top. After 20 minutes, a lot of water should have been pressed out. Cut the tofu in half and then each half into 10 slices. Combine the soy sauce, ponzu, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes in a bowl. Place the tofu in a single layer in a dish and pour the marinade over your tofu slices. Preheat the oven to 375º. Let the tofu marinate for 20 minutes and turn the tofu slices over after 10 minutes. After the tofu has marinated, place some sesame seeds in a dish. Take each slice of marinated tofu and coat in the sesame seeds and place in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet. Place the tofu into the oven for 25-30 minutes until the tofu is browned. Serve with a simple salad.
I love chilled soups and I created the recipe for this chilled cauliflower soup yesterday. It is refreshing and deceivingly healthy, as I used greek yogurt instead of cream.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp anchovy paste
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp dried oregano
a pinch of ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 quart low sodium chicken stock
1 1/2 cups plain greek yogurt
ground white pepper, to taste
salt, to taste
In a soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium-low. Add in the onion and celery and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, for about 15 minutes until the onions are transparent and a little bit browned. Add in the cauliflower, cover and reduce heat to low. Let the cauliflower cook for 10 minutes or until the cauliflower is completely cooked through, stirring occasionally. Mix in the garlic, anchovy paste, bay leaves, oregano, nutmeg and smoked paprika. Let this mixture cook, stirring constantly, for a minute or until the garlic and spices are fragrant. Pour in the chicken stock and stir well. Increase the heat to medium. Let the soup simmer for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, turn the heat off and let the soup cool completely with the lid on. Pour the cooled soup into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Add the greek yogurt and blend for just a few seconds. Season to taste with white pepper and salt. Place the soup into the refrigerator for a few hours to chill. Serve in bowls garnished with an extra dollop of yogurt, a little white pepper and a few drops of good quality extra virgin olive oil if you would like.
Mediterranean Style Calamari in Spicy Tomato Sauce
With the leftover uncooked calamari (I’m calling it that because I know the word squid freaks people out. It actually bothers me that people say they hate squid but love fried calamari.) from my calamari salad, I decided to make stuffed calamari simmered in a spicy tomato sauce. It was my first try at stuffed calamari but it turned out really good. I served this with quinoa salad. Make sure to use a kitchen timer when you put in the calamari because you really do not want it to become overcooked and rubbery.
2 tbsp olive oil
6 medium squid tubes
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup minced cabbage
1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
1/4 cup chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
2 cups tomato puree
1 tsp anchovy paste
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
juice of 1 lemon
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp oregano, dried or fresh
salt and pepper to taste
Rinse squid tubes in water and thoroughly dry with paper towels. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium. Place in the minced cabbage and onion. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute the vegetables for 10-15 minutes until they are fully cooked and the onions are translucent. Add in the garlic and continue to cook for a few more minutes until the garlic is no longer raw. Remove this mixture from pan. Mix in the chopped olives and parsley. Set aside and allow to cool. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce.
Heat the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil over low. Add in the red pepper flakes and garlic and cook for 20-30 seconds until fragrant. Pour in the tomato puree, anchovy paste, oregano and bay leaves. Stir, cover and simmer while preparing the squid.
Once the vegetable mixture has cooled, fill each squid tube and close the opening with a wooden toothpick. Place the stuffed squid into the simmering tomato sauce. Spoon the sauce over each stuffed squid. Cover and allow to cook for 20 minutes, turning the squid over halfway through cooking. After 20 minutes, remove the stuffed squid from the sauce and set aside. Allow the sauce to reduce for about 5 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and add in the lemon juice. Remove the toothpicks from the squid and slice into bite sized pieces. Serve the squid over the tomato sauce and garnish with more parsley and a few drops of good olive oil.