Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup

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Every once in a while, I get an odd sense of loneliness, not because I don’t have any friends, but because of a disconnection from my upbringing that I’m usually ok with it. You see, its not that I hate the heritage or my past, but the associated humid and sticky summers in Taiwan and awful elementary school system that comes along with it.

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I found myself craving this dish, frequently made by my grandmother. This was triggered when I found out that my grandmother had gone on a month long trip to Taiwan. With a strong desire to procrastinate from any midterm-associated studying, I set out to 99 ranch to embark on an seemingly impossible journey to a rich beefy broth.

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Taiwanese beef noodle soup is perhaps what I’d call the asian chicken noodle soup. I was always fed the soup as a special treat when I was young, with the special instructions to “finish the broth since it’s been stewed for hours”. It’s made hundreds of different ways with different spices and seasonings but the familiar scent of star anise and Chinese 5 space is prominent in every bowl served.

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Surprisingly, it really wasn’t that difficult. The soup starts with the meat in a quick boil to remove any impurities. The fresh seasonings such as chills, garlic, and ginger are quickly fried to enhance aromas before the blanched beef, soy sauce and lots of water join the mix. From this point forward, the soup is stewed for hours until the tendon is thoroughly cooked, anywhere from 2 hours to 5 hours.

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If you’ve never had beef noodle soup before but feeling adventurous I’d definitely suggest jumping into it whole. Especially the tendons. This recipe, however, can be easily manipulated to remove the tendon and utilize beef only. I personally love reheating the soup with tendon as the gelatin makes the soup firm up into a jello like form. This dish reheats really well. Whenever I want some the next day, I ladle in the cooled jello-like stock, chunks of meat and reheat until melted. I add any vegetables I have on hand to wilt in the pot while heating up some noodles on the side and in less than 15 minutes I have a delicious meal ready to eat. I also find that the flavors meld overnight in the refrigerator to create a fuller flavor as well.

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Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds of a combination of boneless beef shank or chuck and beef tendon, cut into 1-inch cubes (I used 2 of each)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable, canola, or peanut oil
  • 8 large slices fresh ginger root
  • 8 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 shallot, roughly chopped
  • 2-3 small red chilies, such as Thai chilies, roughly chopped
  • 1 large plum tomato, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tsp 5 spice powder
  • 1 tablespoon Sichuan chili bean sauce (doubanjiang)
  • 1 cup Chinese rice wine
  • 1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns
  • 8 whole star anise cloves
  • 1/4 cup dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup light soy sauce
  •  4 quarts water
  • 2 pounds Asian wheat flour noodles (any width you like)
  • Fresh spinach leaves, baby bok choy, broccolini, or other small greens, as desired

Directions

  1. Place the beef in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven and cover with water. Bring the pot to a roaring boil and cook for a minute. Strain the meat into a separate bowl. Discard broth and impurities.
  2. Add the oil to the same pan and heat until shimmering. Add the sliced ginger, garlic cloves, shallot, and chilies. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chopped tomato and stir for another minute. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved, about 30 seconds. Add the chili bean sauce, and stir until the mixture just begins to bubble.
  3. Return the beef to the pot. Stir to warm up and coat the meat with the spices. Add the rice wine and cook for 1 minute, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pot. Add the Sichuan peppercorns, star anise, dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, and the water. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook until beef is tender, about 2 1/2 hours.
  4. Using tongs, carefully remove the beef cubes from the stew and set aside in a bowl. Carefully strain the soup over a colander or mesh strainer to catch the ginger, peppercorns, and other stray solids. Retain any solids or small beef pieces from the strained mixture that you may want to keep, and return to the soup. Return the beef to the soup and add greens to wilt if desired.
  5. Cook the noodles according to the directions on their package. Strain noodles, and divide into serving bowls. Ladle the warm soup and beef chunks into each bowl and serve immediately.

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Chicken Parmesan

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A lot of people have a recipe they keep up their sleeves. Its typically a casserole or a meatloaf… something they can just throw together quickly on a weeknight without thinking. I never really knew I had one until I decided to make a chicken parmesan. To be fair, I didn’t really decide that I wanted to make chicken parmesan. In fact the conversation with my best friend went something along the lines of this.

Me: “I really want eggplant parmesan. Too bad theres no eggplant…”

Jerry: “Don’t you have chicken…”

Me: “Thats not eggplant”

Jerry: “Its chicken… I love chicken”

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And thus chicken parmesan was on the menu for dinner. In his defense, I didn’t really care what we ate for dinner. The whole concept of chicken parmesan just didn’t cross my mind, I just wanted something that I could throw together. That was what I received.

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Chicken breasts are briefly tenderized with a cast iron skillet (or anything heavy really), that I later used to cook them in. They are then dredged in flour, eggs, and seasoned bread crumbs, After being briefly crusted in a pan, pasta sauce and cheese join the crowd and the whole pan is sent in a preheated oven to simmer into deliciousness.

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If the cast iron skillet you’re working with isn’t thoroughly seasoned I highly recommend using a foil lined pan, an enamel dish or something that isn’t cast iron by itself. Chances are, iron could leech into the acidic tomato sauce and bad things could happen. I was lucky that the pan I was using has withheld some pretty serious beating–I was just too lazy to transfer the chicken to another dish.

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Chicken Parmesan

Ingredients

  • 4 Chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 can, your favorite pasta sauce
  • 1 cup shredded Mozzarella
  • Parmesan Cheese

Directions

  1. preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Wrap chicken breasts gently in plastic wrap and beat the chicken until flattened, about 1/2 to 1/4 of an inch thick.
  3. Line three plates up. In the first plate, add flour with a dash of salt and pepper. On the second plate, add the beaten egg. On the third plate, add the bread crumbs, garlic powder, paprika, and oregano. Mix the spices to combine.
  4. Dredge the flattened chicken by coating it in flour, dipping it in the beaten egg, and then coating with the seasoned bread crumbs.
  5. In a large skillet, heat up 1 Tbsp of oil (I used olive oil) over medium high heat. Fry the dredged chicken for a few minutes until golden brown. Flip and repeat.
  6. If you’re making this in a cast iron or enamel skillet, add the pasta sauce to the pan. If you are doing this in a separate baking dish, transfer the chicken to the baking dish and cover with the pasta sauce. Cover with the shredded mozzarella. Sprinkle parmesan over, lightly covering the mozzarella.
  7. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until a thermometer registers the chicken to have reached 165F. Serve with a side of pasta and a extra sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan.

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One-pan Eggs, Asparagus, and Smoked Salmon

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We all need a break. Sometimes its from school, sometimes its from work, sometimes its from making a nice breakfast. For me, this usually means a Quaker’s Real Medley oatmeal or a serving of greek yogurt with a banana. Although this combination sounds pretty healthy and decently tasty, it gets really old, really fast. So when I stumbled across this recipe at 1 in the morning the night before I had work the next, I jumped at it.

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Since its in the middle of summer, I’m temporarily staying at a different apartment on campus. I woke up around 8 AM the day-of, not knowing how long this process would actually take. I stumbled my way into the kitchen of my new apartment kitchen and started preheating my oven before I took a shower. After preparing myself for the day and getting the asparagus cleaned and ready, my oven was finally preheated. I always individually snap off the ends of my asparagus to ensure tender spears.

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The original recipe started with strips of bacon, removing the bacon to cook the asparagus in the rendered fat, and finishing with the eggs. I substituted this with olive oil which allows me to serve vegetarian portions and add smoked salmon to jazz up the dish for non-vegetarian portions. After a light coat in vegetable oil, a sprinkle in thyme, salt, and pepper, the spears were tenderized in the oven for around 6 minutes for my thinner spears.

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At the 6 minute mark, I removed the pan, cracked eggs on top and returned the dish to the oven to finish up while I started toasting a tortilla to serve along my soon-to-be breakfast. I prefer a cross between a semi-set and runny yolk so I pulled it out just before the 5 minute mark. The result was a tender yolk that was just slightly runny which I scooped up with my tortilla and smoked salmon.

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At around 8:45 I was done eating and ready to go to work, a full hour earlier than the time I usually leave my apartment. I ended up using this time to read from my new book gifted to me by my mentor titled “Leadership on the Line. here wasn’t even any dishes to wash since I was able to toss the foil that everything was prepared in. For those of you who need a simple something to start your day, definitely consider this recipe. Head over to Simple Bites to see how the recipe is prepared with bacon and give both a try. Add some variety to your breakfast menu, without any additional time!

One-pan Eggs, Asparagus, and Smoked Salmon

Adapted from Simple Bites

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs per person
  • 5-6 spears of asparagus per person (I definitely used more for myself…)
  • 1 oz of smoked salmon per person
  • pinch of salt, thyme pepper (and your other favorite herbs)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 F. While the oven preheats, wash asparagus thoroughly. Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus. For thicker spears, use a vegetable peeler to remove the bottom half of the peel.
  2. In a roasting pan, add 1 Tbsp of oil, Add asparagus to the pan and shake it around to coat the spears. Arrange in a single layer and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and other herbs if you’d like.
  3. Roast thicker asparagus spears for 8 minutes, and thinner spears for 6 minutes or until they soften. Remove pan from oven and gently crack eggs on top of the asparagus. Return the pan to the oven for 4 minutes for soft egg yolks, 5 minutes for medium cooked egg yolks and 6-7 minutes for firm egg yolks.
  4. Place strips of smoked salmon over the eggs and serve with toasted tortillas or bread.

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Sriracha-Soy Fried Chicken

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Every once in a while my little sister comes across a recipe I find slightly questionable, disregards my opinion, and makes me go through with it. This Sriracha-soy fried chicken definitely started that way. They also started in high school, where my kitchen was more limited, ironically, than it is now in college. It was a time where experimentation was overruled by tradition, and frying was definitely out of the question.

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We still made it happen. Granted my aunt and uncle weren’t too happy about frying things… it happened. Although originally taken from a old issue of Bon Appétit that was randomly laying around the house, this was one of the few recipes that I’ve actively taken time out of my day to find (googling fried chicken recipes probably wasn’t my best move ever).

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This fried chicken is marinaded in Sriracha and soy sauce which gives it a rich asian inspired flavor. Added to the marinade is ginger, garlic, and green onions which helps cut down the meaty flavor of chicken and provide a hint of warmth to the chicken pieces. To make dealing with raw chicken (and dealing with marinade in general) a lot easier, the chicken and marinade ingredients were thrown into a freezer ziplock bag, zipped up, and massaged gently until everything was combined.  Instead of dredging in flour, egg and bread crumbs like my chicken katsu, the chicken is simply coated in potato starch, the secret to asian popcorn chicken. The result is a moist, succulent fried chicken that is crispy and slightly flakey on the outside but moist and tender on the inside.

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Since the recipe uses chicken thigh, frying this was a lot easier than frying drumsticks. I was able to use my handy cast-iron skillet to heat up the oil and fry the chicken. Although this required me to monitor the oil more frequently throughout the process, it wasn’t too difficult and I definitely encourage you to give this a try even if you’ve never fried before. Remember when frying to leave at least an inch from the top to account for oil splattering and to never crowd the pan by adding too much chicken. If too much chicken is added at once, the oil temperature drops too quickly and cold oil will make the crust soggy.

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To serve this as an appetizer or finger food, serve the fried chicken on romaine lettuce leaves and garnish with some radish, mint and cilantro. I ended up serving this as an entree by serving it as is with other sides. Every time since I’ve made the fried chicken, Michelle has made me prepare this fried chicken for her. In fact, my friends enjoyed this so much the first time I made these, I ended up making a double batch fried each batch right before I was going to serve them. Although I don’t necessarily share Michelle’s overwhelming passion for fried chicken, you might! Give this a try and let me know how it goes!

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Sriracha-Soy Fried Chicken

Adapted from Bon Appétit

Ingredients

Dipping Sauce

  • 2 Tbsp Sriracha sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice

Chicken

  • 1 cup minced green onions
  • 6 Tbsp Soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup Sriracha sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp finely grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 pound skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 cup potato starch

Directions

  1. In a ziplock bag, combine green onions, soy sauce, sriracha sauce, sugar, ginger, and garlic. Add the chicken pieces to the bag. Close the ziplock bag and mix by massaging gently. Marinate for at least 4 hours and up to a day in the refrigerator.
  2. Right before frying, coat chicken pieces in potato starch.
  3. Heat oil to 350 F. Gently add chicken pieces, about 5 pieces at a time, to the oil. Fry until golden brown and allow the chicken pieces to drain
  4. If desired, create a dipping sauce with Sriaracha sauce, soy sauce, and lime juice. Serve with chicken on the side along with romaine lettuce or rice.

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Herb-roasted Bone-in Turkey Breast

During Thanksgiving, the family always looks forward to that big, juicy, 20 pound bird that always takes over the center of the dinner table. For the chefs, however, the turkey can quickly turn into a nightmare.

Dry. Bland. Still Frozen… Did I mention dry and bland? Let’s not forget about the fact that the thing is 20 pounds…

There are so many ways that the star of Thanksgiving could be ruined. Growing up with a family of 3, my grandparents resented buying a turkey just because of how unrealistic it is for us to finish the bird. Regardless, was always a turkey on the dinner table every Thanksgiving.

Things changed in college. There was no human way I could prepare a giant turkey in my college dorm kitchen, which is why I turned to turkey breasts. I’m not talking about the packaged turkey breast fillets cut off… but the bone-in stuff… At an average of 7 pounds, the turkey breast is perfect for a smaller audience and still delivers the delicious dose of tryptophan sending you into a heavenly turkey-coma right before black friday.

So onto this bird that I’m dying to share with you…it consists of a herby butter that is massaged directly onto the meat, under the skin, which is then roasted gently until it reaches perfection.

A secret for tender and moist that I abide by is the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service’s Poultry Curve. Alton Brown was actually the chef that introduced this curve to me. We are normally told that chicken has to be cooked until it reaches 165 F internally. In reality, when the turkey is resting, the outside of the turkey continues to warm the inside of it up, so we really only have to wait until 161F for safe cooking!

You honestly don’t really need gravy with this turkey but I’ve included a simple recipe that uses pan-drippings, roux, and a little bit of chicken stock that’ll get you through. I personally love gravy so I make a bowl even though I don’t really need it. I try to find something to do with it.. and yes that is my reference to a post-thanksgiving dinner dish (:

If you are using this gravy recipe for a turkey that you brined, use the lowest-sodium chicken broth you can find or even consider thinning it out with a bit of water instead of chicken broth so its not too salty.

Herb-Roasted Bone-in Turkey Breast

Ingredients

  • 1 Bone-in Turkey Breast
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 Tbsp rosemary leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp sage leaves, chopped
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves, chopped
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 onion, quartered

Directions

  1. In a bowl combine garlic, mustard, herbs, salt, pepper, and butter. Place bowl in the fridge until firm.
  2. In the meanwhile, place rinse and pat down turkey breast. Loosen the skin, using it as a pocket for the butter.
  3. Rub the herbbed butter under (not over) the skin of the turkey.
  4. Place in a turkey bag lightly dusted with flour, Place the quartered onion in the cavity of the breast and tie the bag according to the instructions accompanying your oven bag. Pierce the bag, as instructed by the directions on the box.
  5. Bake turkey at 350 for approximately an hour and a half to two hours, checking for doneness at the hour and half mark. Turkey should be cooked when it reaches 161, not 165.

Happy Turkey Day!

Chicken Katsu

People don’t understand that you can’t just “cook” something. Its actually kind of ridiculously hard for me to cook on whim. You see, I’m the kind of cook that has to do research before I can even cut into an onion.

But of course, I could never turn down a entree request 2 hours before a movie night, especially when I had nothing planned whatsoever. My friend Jocelyn demanded me to make chicken katsu. Secretly happy because I was having an unorganized moment, I obliged. About three seconds later, I realized I had no idea what I just got myself into.


At first I was worried about not having a deep fryer. Then I remembered that its easy to just substitute with a heavy pan, or if they have one, a cast iron skillet. If you don’t have a cast iron skilled, this may be a good time to purchase one – every good kitchen should have one!

After purchasing chicken and some other ingredients for side dishes I headed home, only to realize that I didn’t have the right bread crumbs. Improvisation! I went with italian herbed bread crumbs… and it turned out ok. The overall process was really simple and straightforward. Just make sure to watch the chicken – don’t burn it.

On another note, when I first made this katsu, I had no thermometer to test the oil temperature. So, I resorted to the same way my grandmother taught me many years ago – when the oil is heating up, stick a chopstick into it. If it bubbles rapidly the oil is ready. If it slowly bubbles or it bubbles vigorously, the oil is too cold or too hot.

This was one of the first times I deep fried something on my own. Don’t worry it wasn’t that bad. I found the easiest way to get everything done was to have an assembly line set up. Wear something long sleeved, and remember that cast iron skillets get hot. I keep a wet towel on the handle to remind me that theres hot oil.

Chicken Katsu

Ingredients

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – pounded to 1/2 inch thickness
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • egg, beaten (I ended up needing 2)
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 cup oil for frying, or as needed

Directions

  1. Season the chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper. Place the flour, egg and panko crumbs into separate shallow dishes. Coat the chicken breasts in flour, shaking off any excess. Dip them into the egg, and then press into the panko crumbs until well coated on both sides.
  2. Heat 1/4 inch of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place chicken, one or two at a time in the hot oil, and cook 3 or 4 minutes per side, or until golden brown and the inside registers 165F on the inside of the chicken.
  3. Let the chicken rest on a plate while you fry the remaining pieces of chicken.

don’t burn the chicken like me!

Mushroom Lasagna

So if you followed along to my NaBloPoMo posts, you can probably figure out that I was hinting at some pasta dish with mushrooms with my post from yesterday. I don’t know about you but I’m really excited for this mushroom lasagna.

When I first started collecting recipes, this caught my attention. First of all, I love lasagna. I love the idea of combining pasta, sides and throwing copious amounts of cheese between each layer. I love the soft tender bite bursting with multiple flavors. I love the excuse to squeeze food into an entree, so I can make more sides.


With this recipe, not only do I get all the perks of lasagna, it incorporates two of my favorite italian inspirations in cooking, mushrooms and white sauce. The best part – making everything from scratch (well, not the pasta) . I thought it would be a great way to show the world that its really not that hard to make your own sauce. The recipe uses a familiar technique of a flour roux, which is used for gravies and sauces.

I used to have lots of trouble making good roux-based sauces. Past tense used to. My secret to a good roux is as followed. Heat up your liquid, make sure its at least warm and let it sit in a separate container that you can poor from easily, I used a pitcher. Make the actual roux using a one to one ratio of butter and flour. Melt the butter, add all the flour, and whisk away. Let the roux cook for a least a minute to cook out the flour flavor.

The secret to a smooth luxurious sauce, is to add the liquid in every so slightly in the beginning. I poured in a few tablespoons at first. After whisking a bit it’ll seem like lumpy mashed potatoes. Don’t worry! keep adding liquid 1/4-1/2 cup at a time using the pitcher and whisk CONSTANTLY. Soon you’ll get a thick smooth sauce on the top right. At that point it’s usually pretty safe to add all the liquid. I like to add my spices at this time and let it cook with the sauce to thicken. My favorite spice profile in this lasagna – nutmeg.

Always ground fresh if you can, but you gotta do what you gotta do!

The rest is pretty simple. Pasta, sauce. cheese. mushrooms, repeat. The best way to do this? A mini assembly line! I was a bit thirsty so I had a cup of freshly blended smoothie pulling me through the night.

Mushroom Lasagna

Originally adapted from Serious Eats, with notes

Ingredients

  • 3/4 pound dried lasagna noodles
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), divided
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 pounds portobello mushrooms, stems removed, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and bring a large pot of salted water to boil. When water is boiling, add the noodles and cook according to the directions on the packaging. Drain in a colander, and then toss with the olive oil to prevent the noodles from sticking together.
  2. Pour the milk into a medium saucepan and add the minced garlic. Turn heat to medium and bring to a simmer. In a second saucepan, melt 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter over medium heat, and then whisk in the flour. Turn heat to low, and cook, whisking constantly, for one minute. While continuing to whisk, add 1/4 to 1/2 cups of milk and whisk until combined. Repeat until you have a thick and smooth sauce. Add the remaining milk slowly while whisking constantly. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, the black pepper, and the nutmeg. Turn heat up to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until thick, three to five minutes. Turn off the heat.
  3. In a large skillet set over medium heat, add two tablespoons of olive oil and two tablespoons of butter. Toss in about half of the mushrooms, season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have released some liquid and are starting to brown. Remove these mushrooms and set aside. If more fat is needed, add another tablespoon of olive and butter, and cook the remaining mushrooms.
  4.  Using a large spoon, spread some of the sauce in the bottom of an 8 by 12-inch baking dish. Add one layer of the lasagna noodles, a few spoonfuls of the sauce, 1/3 of the mushrooms, and 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan. Repeat process two more times. Finally, add a layer of sauce on and top with a 1/4 cup grated Parmesan.
  5. Place baking dish in the oven and cook until the top is browned and the sauce is bubbling. Let rest for a few minutes before digging in. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Bacon-less Chicken Carbonara

We’ve all had those nights where we’re just too lazy to cook. I was having one of those nights. I was also being a picky eater, refusing left overs or microwaving anything. My apartment mate from last year, Gustavo, also came home from a busy day of work. I needed something that would feed the both of us. Something delicious. So, I looked to carbonara.

Carbonara is typically a pasta dish thats made with an egg based sauce, bacon, cheese, and pasta. Its simple, versatile, and delicious. With chicken and mushrooms in the fridge, I was set on making a bacon-less version adopting the same ideas of carbonara.

Truth be told, carbonara actually doesn’t have a sauce that needs to be made separately. Instead, hot, drained pasta is added to onions, bacon, and some form of fat. Eggs, mixed with Parmesan is then added to the hot pasta off the heat and mixed very rapidly so that the eggs coat the pasta and are cooked by the residual heat. Easy. People always fear making scrambled eggs instead of a creamy pasta sauce, but with this basic principle, you’ll be on your way to tasty pasta in no time!

Too lazy to head to the store, I reached for onions, mushrooms and shredded rotisserie chicken. I had all the ingredients on hand, and from start to finish it only took me 30 minutes to finish everything. Including the time it took for me to take pictures in between each step.

I’ve also included one of my pasta making tips in this post – reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water. The starchy water is perfect for thinning out sauces. And if you accidentally over thin the sauce, the starch will thicken the sauce right back up with an extra minute on the stove!

Try this, trust me, you won’t regret it.

Bacon-less Chicken Carbonara

Makes : 4 servings or 2 hungry college students

Ingredients

  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 1/2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 lb pasta
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded chicken
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan (use more or less to taste)
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. While the water is boiling, chop onions and slice mushrooms
  2. Cook pasta over medium high heat until just before al dente. Drain the pasta and reserve 1 cup of pasta water.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a skillet. Fry onions and mushrooms together until onions are translucent, more if you prefer. I like my onions more caramelized so I left them on the stove for an extra minute. Reserve vegetables.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat 2 eggs with shredded parmesan until there are no clumps
  5. Add 2 Tbsp of olive oil to the pan and heat up the shredded chicken. When the chicken is thoroughly heated, add the vegetables and add the drained pasta. Cook for a minute until the pasta is pipping hot.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and immediately add the egg mixture while tossing in the hot pan. Do not stop tossing and mixing until the pasta is thoroughly coated. Add the reserved pasta water to thin out as needed. I only needed a few Tbsp to thin it out.

As for the endearing prompt: Talk about the best prank you ever pulled. Reading this on the NaBloPoMo blog sent my mind racing back to the days in first or second grade. My grandparents used to hang out with a friend who had cancer. Their daughter, about 5 years older than me, was the coolest person ever back then. Together, we slowly scooped out the meat of grapes and filled them with ice cream in the middle of July. Today, my grandfather’s friend is no longer with us–but the memories of creamy grapes on a hot summer day will never fade away.

Onion-ring Eggs

I don’t get to go home a lot. This past week was my first time home in six months after being buried in what seems like mountain loads of work back at school. But I wasn’t particularly excited to go back and experience the LA heat for the coming summer. I was even less excited to think about how bored I was going to be. I was, however, excited to get a chance to finally see my little sister for the first time in six months. I was more excited to be able to make these eggs with her

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Korean Style Black Bean Noodles (Jjajangmyeon, 짜장면, 炸醬麵)

Today I’ll be sharing a dish that I’ve enjoyed since I was very young. I first experienced this black saucy noodle dish when I was 9 years old in Taiwan. In Taiwan, black bean noodles are called Zha Jang Mian which is nearly identical in pronunciation to its Korean counterpart. The noodles I will be sharing today is a deviation from the original Northern Chinese Dish where ground pork is fried with a fermented bean paste creating the name of “炸醬” literally, fried sauce.

The Korean style black bean noodles have been rising in popularity, not only in Asia but all over the world. The black bean paste used in Korean noodles contain caramel and onions in fermentation process creating a thicker and sweeter sauce. In addition, the Korean dish includes diced vegetables whereas the chinese version generally includes ground pork and crumbled tofu.

Yesterday, two of my friends came over to my apartment and we decided to make Jjajangmyun for dinner. When we prepared the noodles, my friend Eunice used what her mom had taught her to do most of the preparation. When I was writing the recipe, I based it off of Maangchi’s website which ended up being pretty similar. These black bean noodles are definitely different from your everyday marinara and alfredo so give it a try and let me know what you think!

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