Wednesday, October 8, 2014

626 Night Market 2014

I cannot wait for this weekend's OC Night Market, so I decided to celebrate by sharing my adventures from last month's 626 Night Market. I went last year and blogged about it, but this year was even more fun!

My mother decided to join me for a night, and I really enjoyed it. It's always nice to go to an event like this with someone new, because they will invariably try something completely different than you would normally. My mother especially is adventurous, and there's the added bonus of her being a much better photographer than me, especially for crowd shots.

I also went with the same buddy from the DTLA Night Market post, as well as Mr. Mochi on a different day. I have way too much fun at these events, sometimes when I'm full I just like sitting there and people-watching. Nearly everyone is having a blast, and watching people get excited over a special food is fun to watch.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Bratwurst and Mashed Potatoes

I draw a lot of influence from my mother's cooking, and I don't think anyone is surprised by that. Who doesn't, for better or worse, learn from their family? Sometimes that means never learning to cook at all, but in my family, it means inheriting a whole lot of crazy.

One night it's oden or our family's unique version of Japanese curry, another night it might be pickled beet eggs and braunschweiger sandwiches. Sometimes it's both German American and Japanese American in the same meal. My family really owns its mixed roots, no more so than in its cooking.

This one is decidedly from the German American roots, and also born from my mother's busy work life. This was always a quick meal she could make at home for a fast weekday meal. She would prepare this in a snap on the electric griddle, served with a mountain of sauerkraut and some other veggies.

I make this one even faster by relying on ready-made mashed potatoes from the refrigerated section of the grocery store, as well borrowing my mother's tradition of buying sauerkraut in giant bags or hulking jars.

Recently I secured a promotion at work, and I've been just totally stressed out now that I'm in a management position. Coupled with a commute, I've been turning to a lot of my mother's go-to quick dinner ideas that I had as a kid.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

DTLA Night Market 2014

Summer has been crazy. June, July, and now August are gone in a blur! I went to the OC Night Market, the DTLA Night Market, Anime Expo, Comic Con, the K-Town Night Market, and the original 626 Night Market. I'm happy to say that I managed not to gain any weight in July, and actually lost weight in June!

DLTA Night Market definitely was a cheat day for me. I went with one of my friends (Incidentally, she is a damn cool chick and introduced me to Shin-Sen-Gumi back in the day) and Mr. Mochi to brave the summer heat and see what downtown Los Angeles had to offer.

DLTA Night Market was much smaller than the other two night markets I've been to, there wasn't as much real estate for them to work with. A lot of the same vendors from the OC Night Market were there, so I am going to focus my post on the different things we tried!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Taberu Rayu Cucumbers (きゅうりの食べるラー油)

It's hot here in Southern California, and the drought is so bad I'm almost afraid to do dishes. Rather than relying on fast food, chips and dip while it's too hot to cook, I'm brainstorming healthier, faster, and cooler options for a busy cook.

Like with my Togarashi Zucchini, this is a dish that is a snap to make, and is a great busy weeknight side to serve with something else prepared just as fast or pre-made. Even better, this recipe is a chilled side, which for late summer is a great treat!

This almost isn't a recipe it's that easy, but that also makes it easy to double or triple. It is also a great example of how easy and versatile taberu rayu is: making a super-tasty and healthy veggie side dish in minutes. You can turn cucumbers into a savory spicy powerhouse side with very little effort.

If you want to prep this ahead, chop the cucumber ahead of time and dress right before serving, that way if any water leeches off the cucumber in the fridge, you can drain it before adding the taberu rayu.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Taberu Rayu (食べるラー油)

To explain what Taberu Rayu (食べるラー油) is, I really have to back up and explain what rayu is. Rayu is sesame oil that has been infused with chilies until it is a nice glowing orange-red. It is delicious mixed with vinegar and soy sauce as a dip for gyoza and often seen in ramen shops that serve dumplings.

Taberu Rayu, on the other hand, starts with that same hot chili oil base, but it has crunchy bits in it. Minced fried garlic, fried onion bits, sesame seeds, even bits of almonds are included for a chunky crunchy condiment that can be spooned or mixed into just about anything. On top of ramen, spooned on a bowl of plain rice, even outlandish ideas like putting it on ice cream have surfaced in Japan.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Jalapeño Cheese Age-Gyoza (揚げ餃子 の ハラペーニョ チーズ)

Normally here in the United States, we'd call these "Jalapeño Cheese Wontons", but since these are inspired by Honda-ya's Cheese Age, I thought it appropriate to called them gyoza instead.

Izakaya Honda-ya is our go-to place for a cheap but satisfying night out. Late on a Monday or Tuesday normally doesn't draw a crowd, they don't mind us lingering and ordering sporadically throughout the evening.

One of our favorite indulgent dishes is their Cheese Age, which means "fried cheese" but is so much more and very crave-able.

Luckily for you, it's also very simple to make. With just four ingredients, and the ability to prep these ahead, these are a great party snack.

Age (pronounce ahh-gay) means "fried" in Japanese, so age-gyoza means simply "fried dumpling." I'm still working on my Japanese grammar and sentence structure, so feel free to correct me in the comments regarding the Japanese title.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Togarashi Zucchini

I like creating simple recipes that take little time or effort to make. Sure, sometimes I mix things up with a more-involved recipe, but most of the time my ideas are ludicrously simple.

Like most of you, I'm willing to wager, I've got a Pinterest full of very ambitious ideas I really just don't have time for. But they are inspiring, and I love browsing through and finding these bloggers who invest some serious time into creating amazing things.

This blog isn't one of the ambitious ones. But I'd like to think it's one of the real ones.

I work full-time in a very physically and emotionally draining career. When you've had to wrestle an aggressive 130lbs dog and euthanize someone's childhood friend within 20 minutes of clocking in to your shift, it's hard at the end of the day to want to prepare anything for dinner.

Most workdays, I have to have dinner done in less than 10 minutes (including clean-up) or it just won't happen. Especially when I get off work at 9:30pm and have to be back at 7:30am.

Therefore I rely a lot on easy-to-make entrees, pre-made sides, and fresh veggies that require no preparation in order to get things on the table fast. Here's one of my go-to sides that requires
little-to-no clean up and is healthy to boot!