Category Archives: Recipes

Spicy Edamame Dip

Many of you may not know this, but I haven’t eaten solid food in a month.  That’s right, I did a juice diet for 28 days in January and lost 25lbs doing so, and for the past two days I’ve been eating again.  It’s amazing, I missed it so much.  As I’m transitioning into real food again I’ve been doing some vegan cooking and tonight I share a delicious bean dip my friend and I made.  Edamame beans are a great source of protein AND they operate as an amazing dip, BUT when you bring add tofu to said dip you get a really smooth velvety texture and another level of soy flavor depth.  I’d been greatly missing spicy so we added a couple complimenting hot sauces, spices, and ghost pepper salt.  We finished it off by slowly drizzling in some delicious cold pressed olive oil and flavor balance was achieved.

edamame dip2

SPICY EDAMAME DIP

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2lb – Edamame Pods, Frozen
  • 1/4lb – Tofu, Firm
  • 1tbs – Cholula Hot Sauce
  • 2tbs – Pepper Plant Garlic Chipotle Hot Sauce (it’s really an incredible hot sauce)
  • 1tsp – Scorpion Salt (ghost pepper salt, if not available use an additional tsp of each hot sauce)
  • 1/2cup – Olive Oil
  • 1 – Medium Vine Ripe Tomato, Rough Chop
  • 1 – Garlic Clove, Minced (you want 1tsp of mince)
  • 2tbs – Salt
  • 1tsp – Coriander, ground
  • 1/2tsp – Cumin, ground
  • 1tsp – Apple Cider Vinegar
  • GARNISH – Thai Basil, Mint chiffonade and Green Onion, sliced (you can sub traditional basil, but only a tiny itty bit as it’s stronger)
Sauce in progress
Sauce in progress

RECIPE

  1. Sprinkle edamame with water and cover with paper towel, microwave for two minutes
  2. Remove from microwave, cool 5 mins and take out of the  pod
  3. Combine the following in food processor or blender – tomato, tofu, garlic, edamame beans, vinegar, and both hot sauces
  4. When beginning to thicken start drizzling in olive oil, you’ll probably only need a 1/4 cup, but it’s good to have a backup if it’s too thick
  5. When the texture is smooth and like a loose dip add the cumin, coriander, salt and taste.  Adjust accordingly, transfer to a bowl, chill thoroughly, and make sure to check your seasoning as cooling can weaken salt.  Garnish with mint, thai basil, and sliced green onions.
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How to Make Spaetzle

 

Spaetzle - photo from Foter
Spaetzle – photo from Foter

Spaetzle is one of those simple dishes that’s hard to perfect, but easy to do.  I had eaten spaetzle and seen how it was made, but had always thought it looked hard to do, well. . . I was wrong!  It’s really simple and is one of my favorite fast pastas to make.  It’s also a lot of fun to make and does require two pieces of special equipment: a perforated sheet pan and something to rub the dough through said sheet pan.  Basically you just shlop your dough/batter together, let it sit for a little to allow the gluten to settle, and then you form it by pushing it through the perforated pan into the boiling water.  Actual cooking time?  3 minutes.  What sauce does it work well with?  ALL THE SAUCES!  Now that you’re not intimidated by this delicious dish, here’s the recipe!

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Cup AP Flour
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/3 Cup Milk
  • 1 TSP Salt
  • Pinch Nutmeg

Spaetzle cooking stock

RECIPE

  1. Sift flour and salt into a mixing bowl
  2. Whisk together egg and milk in separate bowl
  3. Make a well in the flour/salt, put a pinch of nutmeg in the bottom of your well
  4. Add 1/3 of the liquid, mix until incorporated, repeat until you have a batter (slightly lumpy is okay, but very small lumps only)
  5. Let set 15 mins
  6. Boil salty water in a large wide pot
  7. Use a perforated sheet pan, a pizza pan, a perforated roasting pan, anything with equal size little wholes in it, preferably something that will cover the top of the boiling pot, and pour your batter on top, then use a rubber spatula to rub all the batter through the holes into the water.  Work in batches so that the batter doesn’t cook to the perforated pan faster than you can push it through
  8. Allow to cook about 3 minutes or until they’re floating, reserve and toss with your favorite sauce!

That wasn’t so hard was it?  Let me know how your spaetzle experiments turn out!  I want to try putting fresh herbs into my dough/batter next.  Sage spaetzle with brown butter sauce?  mmmmmMMMMmmmmmm!!!!

Spinach & Tofu Soup

I know, I’ve disappeared off the face of the Earth for a couple months. . . I apologize, I’ve been working on building my knowledge and credibility in food.  Now I manage a few restaurants, do some catering, AND I will be hosting an hour long cooking panel at Anime Expo next weekend for any fellow Japanese fans that will be in Los Angeles.  Here’s the info (yes this is a shameless plug):

 

ANIME EXPO

How to Cook Japanese Food w/ Eating in Bed

July 5th

7:00pm – 8:00pm

Los Angeles Convention Center

I’ll be demonstrating how to make Dashi Broth, Soba Noodles, and Sushi Rice, then preparing a few dishes with them.

 

This one’s a really quick soup to make that has some great flavors and it diverts from a traditional miso soup in that it uses a chicken stock instead of a dashi broth.  It also diverts from the Japanese flavor profile with the use of lemongrass, which is generally used more in Thai/Cambodian cuisine, as well as dried baby shrimp that lends itself more to the Korean flavor profile.  All of them come together to make a soup that’s got a nice richness, some sourness, a little heat, and it can all be made in less than 30 minutes!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups – chicken stock
  • 1.5 tbs – white miso paste
  • 1 tbs – dried baby shrimp, ground
  • 2 tsp – ground lemongrass
  • 1 tsp – salt
  • 4oz – firm tofu cut in rectangles
  • 3/4 cup – frozen spinach
  • 1/2 cup – frozen green peas
  • 2 tsp – butter
  • 1 tsp – black sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp – togarashi
  • OPTIONAL GARNISH – Green Onion

Recipe

  1. To prep your firm tofu, cut it into rectangles and dry it by placing it on paper towels and patting it with paper towels, having it drained will allow it to absorb the flavors more
  2. Bring stock to boil
  3. Add spinach and peas; bring to boil
  4. Add miso paste and ground shrimp, bring to boil
  5. Add salt, lemongrass, try it and adjust seasoning
  6. Add tofu, butter, togarashi, and sesame seeds, serve!

Stir-Fried Tofu w/ Brown Garlic and Mandarin Chili Sauce

Two things inspired this dish, well three really, but two people.  The first is the site Blogging Over Thyme, who I follow on facebook and she had posted an article about Grilled Asian Tofu Bowls, and the second inspiration is my coworker/classmate Aurora who’s vegan, and the third inspiration was. . . what I had in my fridge.  None-the-less, these things are what made this fast stir-fry come together, and it was really tasty!  The sauce has its roots in Korean and Thai cooking with a take on a Thai citrus+lemon grass pairing and Korean with a faux gochujang (chili paste+Korean miso+Sesame Oil).

Stir Fried Tofu - Photography by Nick Kern
Stir Fried Tofu – Photography by Nick Kern

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 – Large Cloves Garlic, Roughly Torn Into 6 or 7 Pieces
  • 1/3 – Package of Firm Tofu, cut vertically into 5 or 6 1/2″ strips
  • 1/2 Cup – Broccoli Slaw Mix
  • 1/4 Cup – Shredded Carrots
  • 1 TSP + 1 TSP – Ground Lemon Grass
  • 1 TSP – Red Miso Paste
  • 1 TSP – Sriracha Sauce
  • 1TSP + 1/2 TSP – Sesame Oil
  • 2 TSP – Veggie Oil
  • 2 TSP – Salt
  • 1 TSP – Crushed Red Pepper
  • 1 TSP – Black Sesame Seeds *OPTIONAL*
  • 1 TSP – Green Onion, Chopped *OPTIONAL*
  • 1 – Mandarin Orange or Clementine
  • 1 TSP – Mandarin Orange Zest
  • 1/4 Cup – Water

RECIPE

  1. Zest your orange
  2. Combine the 1 TSP sesame oil with the veggie oil in a small saute pan
  3. Heat it to high heat
  4. Salt your tofu chunks well
  5. Add 1 TSP lemon grass to the hot oil, stir it for 2 seconds, then add your tofu, placing it all in the pan
  6. Then add your garlic around the tofu in the oil
  7. Let them sear about 3-4 minutes per side, shaking the pan every minute or so to make sure the tofu isn’t sticking, after both sides are seared, plate your tofu slices
  8. Keeping the garlic in the pan (it should be quite brown now), add your broccoli slaw and carrots
  9. Saute 2-3 minutes until it’s tender crisp, just barely getting soft, then squeeze on the juice of half the mandarin orange
  10. Saute another 2 minutes
  11. Place the sauteed veggies on top of the tofu and the garlic around the base of the tofu
  12. In the pan add the water, sriracha, miso paste, 1/2 TSP sesame oil, crushed red pepper, zest, and the juice of the other 1/2 of mandarin orange.
  13. Bring to a boil, reduce until sauce consistency (about 3 minutes), add the lemon grass, stir to combine, and take off heat.  Taste and correct the seasoning
  14. Drizzle the sauce all over your vegetables and tofu
  15. Garnish with black sesame seeds and green onions!

This one was really fast to come together as there isn’t much prep, but it has a ton of flavor!  It’s got a bit of ingredients for the sauce, but all of which can be found in Asian Markets.  I hope you “On the go” people like this one as I made it in about 7 minutes total from start to finish, so I’d expect it to take the normal person about 10-15 minutes tops.  Also, you can just boil a package of ramen noodles, strain them, and stir fry them, put them under the tofu if you want to make it more substantial!  So hopefully you all enjoy this vegetarian and vegan friendly meal that’s filling and delicious!

New Fashioned

Last night was a great night, culinary school for 9 hours followed up with dinner with good friends at a place with incredible food!(Freddy Small’s, there’ll be a review shortly)  After dinner and a few drinks I ended up at my buddy Adam’s and we didn’t have coke to make the normal bourbon colas, but we had some fresh fruit and some juice and some spices, so we decided to get our mixology on with this take on an Old Fashioned, aptly titled the New Fashioned.  This is for any of the bourbon drinkers out there, it’s got a nice spice to it, some good sweetness, a bit of citric tartness as well as a good bourbon flavor that controls the drink, and it thoroughly permeates the delicious chunks of mango.  A slightly overripe mango is preferred for this as the mushy texture is great for the muddling portion!

Horrible drunken photo by Nick Kern
Horrible drunken photo by Nick Kern

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/3 Cup – Wild Turkey 101
  • 1/4 Cup – Jose Cuervo Margarita Mix
  • 3 – 3×2″ Chunks of Mango
  • Juice of 1/2 a Navel Orange
  • 1/2 TSP – Orange Zest
  • 2 TSP – Honey
  • 1/3 Cup – Pineapple Orange Juice (We used Simply brand)
    • Muddling Mix
    • 1/4 TSP – Ground Clove (or 3 fresh clove bulbs ground)
    • 1/4 TSP – Ground Cinnamon (or 1/4″ piece of cinnamon stick ground)
    • 1/4 TSP – Ground Nutmeg (or same amount freshly ground)

RECIPE

  1. Combine Wild Turkey and Margarita Mix in a 8oz glass (it should all just barely fit by the end)
  2. Add mango slices and orange zest
  3. Add the juice of the orange as well as the muddling spices and honey
  4. Use a whisk to muddle everything together
  5. Add in the pineapple orange juice, then muddle again.  Strain through a fine mesh sieve, and rinse the original mixing glass
  6. Return the mango chunks to the clean glass, then cover with strained juice and serve!
The most beautiful photo on this website!
The most beautiful photo on this website!

I wanted to share this because it was a real beverage MacGyver recipe that turned out to be delicious.  Now I know we were drunk when we made it, but seriously, give it a try and tell me it’s not good!

How to Make Dashi Broth (Ichiban Dashi)

This one’s a fun one for anyone interested in Japanese cooking, it’s the building block of most Japanese soups, and sauces.  We’re talking about dashi!  It’s a fish stock/broth that really doesn’t require much cooking, it really doesn’t require much of anything considering it’s two ingredients and water, but those ingredients speak for themselves, and that’s the entire point.  Minimalism, simplicity, and allowing good ingredients to be the stars.  Obviously for your first couple tries you’re going to want to use the cheap stuff, but once you’ve made a few dashi stocks you’ll want to improve the quality of your ingredients as well as refine your technique.  I’ve heard of several different methods of making dashi, and this is one of my favorites because of its speed and attention to the ingredients.

Katsuoboshi or Bonito Flakes, available at any Asian Market
Katsuoboshi or Bonito Flakes, available at any Asian Market

INGREDIENTS

  • 1QT – Water
  • 1 – 5×3 Rectangle of Kombu
  • 3/4Cup – Katsuoboshi (Bonito Flakes)
Kombu, Dried Kelp, also at Asian Markets
Kombu, Dried Kelp, also at Asian Markets

RECIPE

  1. Bring water to a simmer, remove from heat
  2. Add in the kombu
  3. Allow to cool to room temp, about 30 minutes
  4. Remove kombu
  5. Bring water back to a simmer, remove from heat
  6. Add bonito flakes, let sit 3-4 mins
  7. Strain through chinois or cheese cloth lined colander
Miso Soup is made with Dashi. . . but that's for another article!!!
Miso Soup is made with Dashi. . . but that’s for another article!!!

There you have it, the basis for Japanese soups, broths, and sauces.  Remember that this is just one way to make it, and why did I decide on this version?  Because it doesn’t require you to soak your kombu overnight, it also doesn’t require you to boil your kombu.  Soaking overnight develops great flavor, but most home cooks don’t want to dedicate that much effort to stock, and even though it’s faster to bring your kombu to a boil then cut off the heat and steep it that way, you also run the risk of damaging the flavor of the kombu.  By treating the kombu itself like a teabag you will be able to steep all the flavors without damaging any of the delicate nature of the kelp.  Theoretically, one of the best methods would be to bring your water to a boil, remove from heat, and add both your kombu and bonito flakes(in cheesecloth sachet), then just retrieve the bonito after 5 minutes, and leave the kombu to steep for another 25 minutes.  I’ll try it out, and I recommend you do the same if you want to make delicious miso soup, or shiitake mushroom soup!

Chicken Parmesan

I went with the family to visit my sister(and meet my new nephew!) in Maryland over the holidays, and it turns out my brother-in-law’s favorite dish is Chicken Parm, so my mom thought it’d be nice if I cooked it up, and it turned out great!  Any time there’s no leftovers you know you did a good job.

Beautiful Photos by Tim Kern (Breading Process)
Beautiful Photos by Tim Kern (Breading Process)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1x1lb – package chicken tenderloins
  • 1x1lb – package pounded chicken breasts
  • 1-2 Cups – Wheat Flour
  • 2 TBS – Salt (around 1/4 Cup)
  • 1 TBS – Black Pepper
  • 1-2 Cups – Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs
  • 2 – Eggs
  • 1TBS – Milk
  • 2×1/2 Cup – Grated Parmagiano Regiano (or any Parmesan totaling to 1 cup)
  • 8-10 – Slices Mozzarella Cheese
  • A lot – Vegetable Oil for Frying
  • 2 Jars – Pasta Sauce (We used 1 Vodka, 1 Tomato Basil Bertolli Brand)
  • 1 Package – Angel Hair Pasta
  • 2-3 TBS – Butter
  • 2 TBS – Minced Parsley Leaves (fresh if you got it!)
  • 2 TBS – Minced Marjoram Leaves
An elusive photo of me breading chicken, PHOTO BY TIM KERN
An elusive photo of me breading chicken, PHOTO BY TIM KERN

RECIPE

  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. In 3 separate dishes, get your flour, eggs, and bread crumbs
  3. Add the salt and pepper to the flour, stir to combine
  4. Add the milk to the eggs, and whisk them until they’re all combined
  5. Add 1 of the 1/2 cups of cheese to the bread crumbs, stir to combine
  6. Now the sticky part, dredge your chicken breasts in the flour, shake off excess, then dredge them in the egg wash, and finely into the bread crumbs.  Make sure each piece is evenly coated, then shake off any excess and place them on a sheet pan.  Set aside and wash your hands
  7. *NOTE* To avoid ending up with bread hand, you can:
    A. Use gloves
    B.  Wash your hands every couple dredges
    C.  Use one hand to do the flour and bread crumb dredging, and the other hand to do the eggwash dredge
  8. Combine your two jars of pasta sauce in a large pot, bring to a simmer, cover
  9. In a large saute pan, fill up about 1/2″ of oil
  10. Set your pan to medium-high heat, it should take about 3 minutes to come up to heat
  11. Place in your chicken tenderloins, but don’t put them all in at the same time or you’ll lower the temperature of the oil, work in batches.  Fry for 3-4 mins per side, until just golden brown, then set aside on a clean sheet pan(cut the biggest one in half, it should still be a bit raw in the center, but only in the center

    Frying up chicken parm PHOTO BY TIM KERN
    Frying up chicken parm PHOTO BY TIM KERN
  12. In an ungreased baking dish, ladle in enough tomato sauce to cover the bottom of the dish, then make a layer of the chicken tenderloins.  Then another layer of sauce, then a layer of the pounded chicken breasts with just a bit of sauce ladled over the center of them in a line so there are still crunchy parts exposed.  Top it all with the grated Parmagiano Reggiano and mozzarella slices
  13. Place in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is starting to get brown and bubbly
  14. While it’s in the oven, bring a large pot of water to a boil
  15. Add your pasta, return to a boil, cook for 5-7 minutes until al dente, drain
  16. Toss the pasta with butter, parsley, and marjoram
  17. Put the pasta in a bowl, and when the chicken comes out of the oven use a spatula to break the cheesy crust, and cover your pasta with sauce and chicken and cheesy goodness!
Not my best plating, but tasty!  PHOTO BY TIM KERN
Not my best plating, but tasty! PHOTO BY TIM KERN

This is a fun easy family night dinner.  It’s not a fast one, but it’s really not too labor intensive, and it involves getting your hands dirty which I, at least, consider quite fun.  Kids love it, and it’s something that always tastes better when you do it yourself.  I find whenever I get chicken parm at a restaurant or to-go it’s usually undercooked oversauced noodles with a dry over-fried piece of cardboard meat.  When yo do it at home, you’re going to end up with juicy crunchy well seasoned chicken, a sauce that you control (we sauteed garlic, onions, and mushrooms in some olive oil before adding the jars of sauce), you can also cook the noodles however you want, and you can use whatever noodles you want.  I personally don’t like penne pasta for much more than pasta salads, but for some reason it always ends up being the noodle in my chicken parm at restaurants, so I was really happy when we had angel hair!  Anyways, that was a tangent, and you’re ready to get cooking, so stop reading and get in the kitchen!