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.

Bacon and negi pancakes

2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
a dash of garlic powder
a dash of salt
a dash of shichimi
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk (rice milk and soy milk also work fine)
2 tablespoons cooking oil
15cm negi, cut as small as possible
1 bacon slice, cut into tiny squares

Quickly whisk all of the dry ingredients together in a medium sized bowl. If you have a large measuring cup you can do this without a bowl. In a bowl or measuring cup mix the wet ingredients together. Quickly saute the bacon and negi in a frying pan until cooked but not crispy. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until just smooth. Stir in the bacon and negi mixture. Cook the pancakes on medium heat until they start to bubble on top. You can cook them in the frying pan you used with the negi and bacon – you don’t even need to wash it. Flip them over and cook until golden brown on the bottom. Serve with ketchup or any other sauce you think would taste good.

What are your favorite savory pancake fillers? Please leave a comment below.

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chocolate-cooking-class-japan

Sweet potato and black rice takikomi gohan

sweet-potato-takikomi-gohan-rice

A couple of weeks ago I picked up three cooking magazines at the local bookstore, カラダ温めレシピ (recipes to warm you up), Esse Special edition of their most popular bentos and 楽々スープジャーレシピ (thermos recipes). Now I have tons of ideas for lunches. I found the thermos recipe book the most interesting, conceptually. Almost everything is cooked in the microwave but I can easily make everything on the stove.

This recipe is the second one I tried from the warming recipes magazine. The first one I tried was carrot and ginger rice and none of us liked it. This one, on the other had, was delicious. I used orange fleshed yams (annouimo 安納芋 あんのういも) instead of sweet potato and I don’t think I can go back to regular sweet potatoes. The yams were so smooth.

Goma shio is a mixture of salt and black sesame and is a common rice topping. To mix, use one part salt to ten parts black sesame seeds, by volume.

Sweet Potato and Black Rice Takikomi Gohan
さつまいもと黒米の炊き込みご飯

From Sakura Mook 23 (カラダ温めレシピ)
Serves 2

1/2 sweet potato (I used about 70 grams)
1 cup uncooked rice
1 tablespoon black rice
1/3 teaspoon salt
goma shio for topping

Wash the rice, add the appropriate amount of water and let sit for at least thirty minutes. Chop, but don’t peel, the sweet potato into small cubes and soak in water for about fifteen minutes. Drain and rinse the sweet potato and it and the salt to the rice. Give it a quick stir and then put it in the rice cooker and cook on the regular white rice setting. I haven’t tried the quick setting but it is probably okay if you are in a pinch for time. If you don’t have a rice cooker, cook it the same way you would rice. Serve topped with goma shio.

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Frozen bento fillers

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I take my lunch to work and most days I take a large salad. I love salad. My son, on the other hand, is two and is not a bit fan of raw vegetables. Lunch making takes a bit longer since I have to cater to his twoness. When I moved a few weeks ago, I picked up some frozen veggie side dishes to use for the first couple of days. They came frozen in individual muffin cups, perfect for his bento box. I thought it was a great idea decided to give it a try.

In the picture is leftovers from a quick side dish I made with spinach, tomato and canned tuna. I decided to freeze leftovers instead of making a whole batch of something to freeze. Who wants to have the same side dish for three weeks? I picked up some reusable muffin cups at the local supermarket and have been using those. I’ll soon have quite the collection going. The best part is that since it is summer, I don’t even need to thaw them before I put them in his lunch. It’s over thirty degrees everyday, they’ll be thawed before he gets to school…

Do you freeze small quantities of food for lunches? Please leave a comment below with what you freeze. I’d love to see all of your ideas.

Freezer bento fillers

bento freezer ideas

The last three months have been full of making lunches. I’ve had to up my game as the kiddo probably wouldn’t appreciate eating the previous night’s dinner for lunch every day. Or meal salads every day… I have a tiny freezer but I’ve been keeping as many bento fillers in there as possible. Because there are those days when all of the energy you have is to move things from the freezer to the bento box. Or those days when you want eight different things in your lunch. I am usually fine with two. Here are some things that work well from freezer to bento box. If you have access to a microwave where you are going to be eating the bento, you don’t even have to defrost. In summer you probably don’t have to defrost anything. If you don’t have microwave access at lunch, defrost your fillers when you are making your lunch.

Mini burger patties - they can be veggie, bean, beef, chicken, pork or any mixture you want but they are versatile

  • 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 – easy to make and they get soft after freezing (something I consider a good thing)

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

Steamed broccoli – or any veggie that freezes well

  • eat as is or topped with dressing
  • top with cheese
  • cut up and mix in pasta

Grilled sausage – grill cocktail sausages and then freeze

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

Shumai/gyoza (dumplings) – just freeze leftovers anytime you have them

 

Sauces – have a little bit of leftover sauce from dinner? Freeze it in an ice-cube tray for quick bento toppings

 

Cheese – grated or cubed

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

Green Pepper Maki

green-pepper-maki

I love veggies wrapped in meat. My favorite is asparagus wrapped in pork but an honorable mention must go to eringi wrapped in beef. I tried something new the other day. I had some fast fry pork chops and some green peppers in the house so I search on Cookpad.com with those two ingredients and found a few pictures of sliced green pepper wrapped in pork. I was sold. I didn’t actually look at the recipes but I knew what I wanted  then and there.

Green pepper maki

4 shabushabu cut pork slices (thin fast fry pork chops) or the equivalent of shaved pork
2 green peppers (Japanese sized)
1 tablespoon miso
1 tablespoon cooking sake
salt to taste

At least thirty minutes before you want to start cooking, mix the cooking sake and miso together and spread over both sides of the pork. Let sit until you are ready to cook. Cut the green peppers lengthwise into thin strips. Roll half of a green pepper’s worth of strips in each piece of pork. Cook in your fish grill for 7-10 minutes, or fry on medium, until the meat is brown and crispy. The green peppers will be cooked but still crispy. Sprinkle a bit of salt (keeping in mind miso is about 30% salt) and serve.