Goat Cheese Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Red Wine Balsamic Cherry Sauce

Goat Cheese Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Red Wine Balsamic Cherry Sauce

I saw this recipe on the foodnetwork a few months ago. The ideas of goats cheese with lemon wrapped in pork and balsamic cherry sauce were making my mouth water. I wanted to try it but I could not find any fresh cherries at the time. Now that cherries are in season I finally got to try it. This recipe is a bit more work than some but it is well worth the effort.

Tamagoyaki (Japanese Rolled Omelet)

Tamagoyaki (Japanese Rolled Omelet)

Tamagoyaki (たまごやき) is Japanese rolled omelette. The rolled omelet can either be the main part of a breakfast or a side dish in a lunch or a dinner. Tamagoyaki is a classic component of a bento (Japanese boxed lunch) that I have seen in may Japanese dramas, manga and anime.

The omelet can be sweet and salty or really sweet or really salty by varying the amount of sugar and soy that is used. I have seen recipes where there are up to 3 tablespoons of sugar for a 3 egg omelette. Keep in mind that the more soy that you add the darker the eggs will get.

You can get a special rectangular pan for cooking tamagoyaki but I find that a small non-stick circular pan works fine. You can just cut away the ends to make it more rectangular if you wish.

Tamagoyaki is just as good cold as it is warm.

Update:
The other day I had some eggs that needed to be used and I also had some spinach and I thought that rolling some wilted spinach up in a tamagoyaki would be a good idea and it was. I can't wait to try rolling other things up in tamagoyaki

Strawberry Pavlova

Strawberry Pavlova

With strawberries being in season I am looking for tasty strawberry recipes. A strawberry pavlova fits the bill. A pavlova is a meringue based dessert where the meringue is formed into a shell and topped with whipped cream and berries.

Whipping the cream with forks took much less time than whipping the egg whites for the meringue. Another treat that requires a bit of work to enjoy.

Kitsune Udon

Kitsune Udon

Kitsune Udon (きつねうどん) or "Fox Udon", is a Japanese noodle soup with aburaage. It consists of a dashi, soy, and mirin broth with udon noodles and seasoned aburaage. Udon noodles are thick wheat based Japanese noodles. Aburaage is a deep fried thin piece of tofu. It can usually be found frozen in Asian grocery stores. The aburaage should be rinsed with boiling water before use to remove excess oil. The aburaage is simmered in dashi, soy, and mirin to season it. Kitsune udon is also often topped with naruto (a type of kamaboko or fish cake). Togarashi (a chili powder commonly used as a condiment in Japan) can also be used to season.

This is a quick and tasty meal that can be made when you are in a pinch and are lacking in fresh food.

Roasted Asparagus Crusted with Parmigiano Reggiano

Roasted Asparagus Crusted  with Parmigiano Reggiano

When I was at the market this weekend I heard that it was almost the end of the asparagus season in Ontario. I have been enjoying the local asparagus for the last few weeks. I tried a few new recipes and a few of my favorites. This new recipe quickly became one of my favorites this year. The golden crusty parmigiano reggiano with the bitter and slightly sweet balsamic vinegar on the oven roasted asparagus is an amazing combination.

White Chocolate Chunk and Macadamia Nut Cookies

White Chocolate Chunk and Macadamia Nut Cookies

My Favorite dessert/snack/cookie is "White Chocolate Chunk and Macadamia Nut Cookies". I have been chasing this recipe based on a memory that I have from long ago... I have tried many variations and this is my favorite so far. It is not yet perfect and I sometimes wonder if it is possible to compete with a remembered taste...

Sweet and Sour Zucchini

Sweet and Sour Zucchini

Zucchini or courgettes is one of the vegetables that I did not like when I was a kid. Now I am enjoying zucchini though I find myself short on tasty zucchini recipes. When I came across this recipe I just had to make it. I found the combination of sugar and vinegar add the sweet and sour to the zucchini to be very intriguing. I think that honey might work well in place of the sugar. The mint brightens the dish up and makes it very refreshing.

Meringues

Meringues

Since I am cooking in a closet sized kitchen I do not have room for a lot of utensils and devices. A mixer/blender is one of the things that I live without. I also forgot to pick up a whisk so I ended up whipping the egg whites with a fork. It took quite a bit of time. I was whipping the egg whites for 20-30 minutes. A treat that you have to work for!

It is a pretty simple recipe with only 2 required ingredients and a touch of vanilla for some flavour. You can make them in any shape that you want from a bite sized treat to a pie topping. This time I made them like cookies.

Taco Rice

Taco Rice


Taco rice (or tako raisu) is a Japanese take on the taco that is pretty much just a taco on a bed of rice. The main ingredients are the rice and the taco seasoned ground beef and from there you can add whatever you would normally add to a taco. The warm rice works surprisingly well in a taco soaking up the flavours of the seasoned meat. Very often when I make tacos I make extras meat so that I can make taco salads with the leftovers.

Texmex Seasoned Ground Beef

Texmex Seasoned Ground Beef

One of my favorite go-to meals is tacos and the main component of tacos is the seasoned ground beef. Although the store bought taco seasoning packets are ok it really easy to make great taco seasoned meat at home and using only ingredients that you can pronounce. This is a simple texmex seasoned ground beef that includes onions, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano and tomato sauce. I like to toast and freshly grind dried chilies for the chili powder though you could easily use pre-ground. I also like to toast and grind the cumin which has an amazing aroma when you toast it. In addition to being used in tacos this texmex spiced ground beef can also be used in burritos , enchiladas, quesadillas, etc. To change things up a bit I sometimes add corn for a bit of sweetness or beans for some creaminess.

Tofu and Sesame Miso Soup

Tofu and Sesame Miso Soup

This is one of my favorite types of miso soup. It tastes great and it is kind of fun to make. I grind the sesame seeds in a mortar and pestle. I usually crush the tofu in my hands which feels kind of weird. I prefer the tofu to be crushed in this miso soup so that it can be drunk with the soup rather than having to pick it out and then drinking the liquid.

Maccheroni Calabrese alla Arrabiata

Maccheroni Calabrese alla Arrabiata

I saw an interestingly shaped pasta at the grocery store and I of course just had to pick it up. It is called "maccheroni calabrese" and it looks like little hand rolled cigars. It has been a while since I last made arrabiata sauce and I thought that it would go nicely on the maccheroni calabrese. Arrabiata is a quick, simple and tasty tomato and hot pepper sauce.

I eat pasta fairly often and I normally have parmigiano reggiano and pecorino romano in my fridge. My recipe for arrabiata sauce calls for pecorino romano but I was out. I went to the market and the cheese shop was also out! I had almost lost hope but the store clerk said they did have pecorino crotonese. I had never heard of pecorino crotonese but it had pecorino in the name and I like most cheeses. So I walked home with some pecorino crotonese.

It turns out that pecorino means that it is made from sheep's milk and the romano or crotonese indicates the region of Italy where the cheese was made. The pecorino crotonese tastes great. I will have to pick up some pecorino romano and do a side by side comparison with the pecorino crotonese.

Oyakodon (Chicken and Egg Rice Bowl)

Oyakodon

Oyakodon (親子丼) short for oyako donburi or parent and child rice bowl, is a Japanese rice bowl dish with chicken, egg and onions. The parent and child comes from the fact that it has both chicken and egg in it. If you have some leftover rice this is a really quick dish that will take no more than 10 minutes to make. The broth is nice and sweet and salty and the onions are tender and sweet. You could easily replace some or all of the dashi with chicken stock. You can also add things like peas, green beans, spinach, shiitake mushrooms, grated carrots, etc.

Nutella Stuffed French Toast

Nutella Stuffed French Toast

Having seen this recipe for "Nutella Stuffed French Toast", I just had to try it. Two great things (a nutella sandwich and french toast) combined into one! How can you go wrong? It was really good and there was no need for syrup.

Fresh Strawberry Pie

Fresh Strawberry Pie

With all of the fresh strawberries that I had picked up at the market on the weekend, I just had to make a fresh strawberry pie.

Since I am cooking for one, I wanted to make it in individual sized servings so that I would be able to finish it before it was sitting in the fridge for too long. I had some small cheesecake pans that I thought would work nicely. Next, I went looking for a recipe for a pie crust. I came across I recipe for a pecan pie crust that looked like it would be really tasty and I decided to go with that.

Everything went well up until the time that I tried to transfer the pie from the pan to the plate. Of course the strawberries filling spilled out when I removed the side of the pan. The crust of course crumbled when I tried to remove it from the bottom of the pan. I ended up with a mess of strawberries and crust on my plate. Despite the fact that it did not look all that great it tasted wonderful!

I guess I could have just left the pie in the pan and served it like that.

I will have to look for a small pie pan and make an actual pie crust the next time I make a pie.

The crust is really tasty and I think that it would go really well underneath a cheese cake.

Strawberry Jam

Strawberry Jam

Strawberry season is just starting here in Ontario and I got a lot of strawberries on the weekend. My grandmother used to make strawberry jam and I have had a craving for homemade strawberry jam for a while now.

Pan Seared Salmon with Dill Sour Cream Sauce

Pan Seared Salmon with Dill Sour Cream Sauce

I keep meaning to eat more fish but I never seem to get around to doing it... Last week I was watching the food network and saw an episode about pan seared salmon. Seeing the amazingly seared salmon was just the nudge that I needed. I picked up some nice looking salmon along with some asparagus when I went to the market on the weekend. The salmon seared up nice and golden and crispy. It was really good. I enjoy salmon and it is easy to cook. I really should have it more often.

Asparagus Amandine

Asparagus Amandine

Chicken Mole Fettucini

Chicken Mole Fettucini

I am more than half way done the mole sauce now. I thought I would see how it does with pasta. I did a simple chicken with mole sauce on fettucini. I was a bit surprised that the hot, spicy, fruity, nutty and chocolaty sauce worked as a pasta. It was pretty good.

Shiitake and Spinach Miso Soup

Shiitake and Spinach Miso Soup

Shitake mushroom and spinach is another one of my favorite miso soups. When choosing ingredients for miso soup it is good to choose ingredients that have different properties. For example: some that are firm with some that are soft, some that float with some that sink or some that have a dark colour with some that have a light colour.

Gyudon (Beef Rice Bowl)

Gyudon

Gyudon (牛丼), short for gyu donburi or beef rice bowl is a Japanese dish consisting of beef and onions on a bowl of rice. In Japan gyudon is fairly common and might even be considered a type of fast food similar to Mc Donalds, etc. There are several large chains that specialize in gyudon such as Yoshinoya and Sukiya. I made sure that I tried the gyudons at both Yoshinoya and Sukiya when I was in Japan on vacation and I enjoyed both of them.

Although I have not been successful at replicating the Yoshinoya or Sukiya gyudons I have come up with this recipe which is pretty tasty. You could easily replace some or even all of the dashi with beef stock. You can also add things like peas, green beans, spinach, shiitake mushrooms, grated carrots, etc.

Hollandaise Sauce

Hollandaise Sauce on Asparagus

Hollandaise is a frothy buttery lemony sauce with a smooth texture. This sauce relies on the emulsification (using egg yolks) to combine the lemon and the butter. The recipe sounded difficult but it turned out great. Just keep an eye on it and reduce the heat if it looks like the eggs are cooking.

I do not have a double boiler so I used one sauce pan and a bowl that fit in the pan creating a seal without the bottom of the bowl touching the water.

Parsley Pesto on Asparagus

Parsley Pesto on Asparagus

I have used parsley in many recipes, but up until now the parley has been a minor player and/or a garnish. I have never used parsley as the star of a dish. The other day I was watching the food network and they had a recipe for parsley pesto . I just had to try a recipe that placed parsley as the main flavour. I used the recipe pretty much as is, but I cut down on the volume. It was surprisingly tasty. If you like parsley you will probably like parsley pesto.

I have made pesto from basil before, but it never occurred to me that other herbs could be used in this way. This opens a few more doors. A dill pesto? A cilantro pesto?

Mayan Orange Brownies

Mayan Orange Brownies

A few months ago I was introduced to the world of chocolate bars. I was really impressed with Green and Black's Maya Gold chocolate bar. I remember thinking, how could I use this in my cooking, it might be nice in brownies... This weekend, spurred on by the BrownieBabe of the Month food blogging event, I finally got around to trying.

Having never made brownies before, I searched the web for a brownie recipe. I found a recipe for what I would call the "standard" brownie with cocoa recipe but I could not find what looked like a standard for a dark chocolate brownie recipe. The recipes for dark chocolate brownies varied wildly in the amount chocolate. They called for anywhere between 3 ounces and 9 ounces of dark chocolate... In the end, I had 2 bars of Maya Gold so that is what I used. I used the standard brownie with cocoa recipe and replaced the cocoa with the Maya Gold chocolate. I also added some orange zest and juice. I melted one of the chocolate bars and chopped up the other and mixed it in as chunks.

The brownies turned out pretty good. I could not resist trying one while they were still cooling and the chunks of chocolate had turned into little pockets of gooey chocolate. Even after they cooled down they were nice and fluffy and literally melted in my mouth. I will be making these again.

One unfortunate side effect is that I am now out of Maya Gold chocolate bars and I will have to go and get some more.

Zha Jiang Mian on Spaghetti

Zha Jiang Mian on Spaghetti

I was intrigued by this recipe for Zha Jiang Mian. I searched the internet and took a look at a few other recipes for the dish and came up with a this one. This recipe seems to be fairly similar to Mabo Tofu. (Which I will have to make again sometime soon.) The sauce was a nice mixture of sweet, hot and spicy. I used spaghetti noodles this time but next time I might try udon noodles.

Beef Ramen

Beef Ramen

Ramen (ラーメン) is a Japanese noodle dish served in broth. There are many variations of ramen. The broth is often meat based and meat and vegetables are commonly added. I got to try ramen a few times when I vacationed in Japan and I have ordered it from several local Japanese restaurants. Ramen can be very labour intensive to make. You can make your own noodles and you can make your own broth. Or it can also be as simple as adding some boiling water to a cup of instant ramen.

You can make a tasty and healthy ramen at home fairly easily. You can use a store bought stock but it is better to make your own. I almost always make ramen soon after making some fresh stock. I have tried adding soy and sake for a soy based broth and I have tried adding miso for a miso based broth. One good thing about making your own stock is that you probably have some leftover meat to add to the ramen as well. For example, if you made roast beef you could use the bones to make some beef broth and then add slices of leftover roast beef to the ramen. I also tend to throw in whatever vegetables that I have on hand. Some of my favorites are spinach, bean sprouts, corn, shiitake mushrooms, baby bok choy, etc. I like to blanch the vegetables in the stock to add a bit more flavour to the stock.

Strawberries in Balsamic Vinegar

Strawberries in Balsamic Vinegar

There were early season local strawberries at the market this weekend. They were a bit more expensive than they will be but I picked some up anyways. They were pretty good though a little bit under ripe. I am looking forward to a few weeks worth of ripe local strawberries and I will be eating a lot of them! A nice way to enjoy strawberries is with a bit of balsamic vinegar. You don't want to drown the strawberries in the vinegar or even really taste the vinegar. A light coating of balsamic vinegar on strawberries enhances their natural flavour.

Seasoned Spinach

Seasoned Spinach

A simple and tasty spinach dish.