If you live on the Westside of Los Angeles, chances are you’ve heard of the cafe/art space inspired by Tokyo’s Akihabara district; if not, you’re hearing about it now and you MUST go check it out. Apart from the constantly changing art and the friendly waitresses dressed in french maid outfits, Royal-T has a unique and authentic menu that always keeps me coming back for more. One of my favorite things featured on their menu are the  Green Tea Soba Noodles; and after craving them for almost two weeks I decided to try to replicate the recipe myself.  Directly off their menu, here’s the description  I had to work with:

Green Tea Soba Noodles

with Market Vegetables, Mushrooms, Black Garlic and a Brown Butter/Oyster Sauce

Sounds simple enough…. except, what the heck is black garlic??

Here’s where I had to do a bit a research:

I found that Black garlic is a made by fermenting whole garlic bulbs at a high temperature which results in black cloves. This process not only gets rid of all the annoying stuff in raw garlic like the smell that lingers… and the bad breath that follows but its said to have twice as many antioxidants than its raw form.

It was first introduced to the US in 2008 and has become a sought after ingredient for high-end Asian cuisine. It tastes kind of syrupy, sweet and almost chocolate flavored (really nothing like garlic at all). I would say its closer to a tamarind paste (and maybe I’ll try it in my pad Thai!).  I called up my local Whole foods to see if they carried it and to my surprise, they had it in stock!

Next on my list was finding the green tea Soba noodles a.k.a Cha Soba Noodles.

You’d think the green tea version of these noodles would be just as readily available as their regular counterparts but turns out I could only find small packets of them at my local Japanese market. Even the teller was surprised that was all they carried. One brand, small quantities. So I bought 2 packs at $2.99 each, and went home ready to tackle this dish.

Here’s the recipe I concocted:

  • 1 packet green tea Soba noodles
  • Market fresh veggies of choice (I used asparagus and shiitake mushrooms)
  • Grapeseed oil
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • sesame seeds
  1. Boil noodles for 5-6 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Saute asparagus and mushrooms in oil until cooked through.Brown butter in pan then add oyster sauce, garlic and soy sauce.
  3. Quickly toss in noodles and veggies. Top with sesame seeds to serve.

My plate

Simple and delicious! I love this dish because the ingredients are something completely new and authentic. It’s simple high-end Japanese cuisine at home. Enjoy!

Chicken Quesadillas

May 28, 2010

After making a whole 5lb chicken for two, we had PLENTY of leftovers. It was the bf’s great idea to make chicken quesadillas- or for me to make them- but I was gladly up for it!

One quick trip to Trader Joes later and I had the makings of a really yummy quesadilla.

Heres how it all came together:

  • 1 package of  rice tortillas (thought they were an interesting change)
  • 1 package of  shredded mexican cheese mix
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 diced tomatoes
  • sour cream
  • lime
  • Cayenne pepper- to taste
  • Leftover chicken

In a pan, saute the chicken, onion, garlic and cayenne pepper. Once the onions are cooked through, fill your quesadillas with cheese and flip as often as necessary until the cheese is melted. Cut and serve with sour cream, chopped tomatoes (or salsa) and drizzle with lime.

YUM.

As you may know, I recently acquired some fancy poultry seasonings from Dean & Deluca as a very sweet gift/ peace-offering from my roomie and I’ve eagerly been wanting to use them on something special. Well,  after coming across a recent article on The Kitchn for roasting a whole chicken in a bundt pan (yup, a bundt pan) I was  immediately hooked to the idea! Not only because I don’t have a roasting pan, but I loved the unique use of a pan that I only use maybe once or twice a year for actual baking purposes. Who doesn’t love a multi-functional kitchen tool?

I decided to use fingerling potatoes as my base with some chunks of onion in the mix. We (the bf and I) lovingly named our 5lb bird Jerard and began to butter him up (not sure why he has a Male name when chickens are obviously female).  After slathering him with butter, I added my fancy seasonings and minced garlic then stuffed him with lemon halves and rosemary. I then plopped  him onto the center piece of the bunt cake pan and stuck him in the oven (I know, I was kinda rough on him).

We left him in the oven at 450 F  for 15 minutes to brown, then turned the oven down to 350 F and let it roast for another 40-45 minutes, or until the skin started “puffing” .  Another way to check for doneness is to poke with a fork; if the juice runs a clear-yellowish color then it should be ready *Suggested from my Julia Child book I got for Christmas.

I didn’t have a thermometer on hand so I went about poking my bird every 10-15 minutes until I thought it was ready, but if you have a thermometer just roast it until it the breast registers 155 F. 

And here he is nicely plated with the potatoes perfectly cooked in the juices that fell off our bird along with my go-to simple salad. It was so easy and delicious! Feel free to share any other uses you think this pan could be used for. I’ve been brainstorming possible meatloaf or monkey bread options.

Meltdown

May 12, 2010

Let me begin by mentioning that I’ve wanted a Cuisinart (more specifically, their  food processor) for a while. I’d see the Chefs on TV effortlessly chopping and pureeing every ingredient they could in their food processors and I just had to have one! I could never get myself to actually buy one because I would make due without it.

To my surprise, I got one this past Christmas! It was the smaller model, only 3 cups; but it’s just what I needed! I could easily chop up hard cheeses and nuts, it made the little things like mincing garlic much more bearable too (especially when my hands didn’t smell like garlic for days after).  After using it for a few things, I don’t know how I ever lived without one! So you can imagine my reaction when I came home from a short weekend trip to find my poor little Cuisinart MELTED onto the stoves burner!

I soon found out that my roomie had accidentally left it on the stove while the oven was on 😦

Not all was lost. We managed to pry the pieces apart and the burner was fully functional once again. My poor little Cuisinart could not be salvaged, but it was replaced. Not only did my roomie get me a brand-spanking new one, but she got me a pretty stainless steel, 4 cup upgrade!! Oh, and did I mention she also got me some fancy poultry seasonings from Dean & Deluca? (which I plan on using very soon, stay tuned) So accidents happen, we live and learn. I hope I’m not the only one to have had a  meltdown in the  kitchen, feel free to share yours!

Mothers Day Brunch

May 10, 2010

With everything our Moms do for us throughout the year, it’s important they know how much we appreciate them. This year we sought to make  mom proud by preparing a beautiful brunch in her honor. Here’s to you mom, the best cook I know! 

Spinach and Bacon Quiche with edible flowers to garnish 

 

Simple Salad 

 

Fresh Fruit and Mint Salad 

 

Freshly baked Croissants from Amy’s Pastry in Montebello. As young girls our mom would take us to this bakery and let us indulge in cookies, cake and yummy samples of their freshly baked french pastries. Having these on the table were a beautiful reminder of all the fun we had  growing up with mom by our side. 

 

Prosciutto with an assortment of Cheeses: Mozzarella, Gruyère and Havarti with dill. 

 

Pomegranate Limeade and Champagne with raspberries to garnish. 

 

Happy Mothers day!  

Mom, sisters and I (blowing bubbles to the left) in Puerto Vallarta. Don’t you just love our coordinated outfits?

I BEG my mom to make this salsa for me all the time! It’s really addicting and goes great on almost anything. It was about time I stopped begging my mom to make it for me and and just learn to make it myself; she gladly shared with me the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 24 tomatillos (all about the same size)
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 16 red chiles del arbol (dry)
  • 3 green onion
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • water for consistency- about 1/4 cup
  • salt to taste

Preparation:

Peel and wash tomatillos until they no longer feel slimy. Roast them along with the tomatoes and red chiles. *Make sure you have plenty of ventilation at this point. The red chilies can be a bit hard to handle when roasting.

Blend roasted tomatillos and set aside. Remove the skin of the roasted tomatoes then blend with the red chilies. Mix together with the tomatillos and stir. Add water for desired consistency.

Let cool (overnight is best) then add chopped cilantro, green chiles and salt to taste.

This recipe is a really simple Vegetarian option for a great Mexican side dish that can be made any time of year. Since I live with a Vegetarian, I seem to make this a lot when planning any Mexican dinner; It’s a favorite here at Kitchen237.

Salad:
1 jar nopalitos (cactus)
-Drain and rinse well!
2-3 Roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 medium sweet onion, diced
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1-2 cloves of minced garlic
1-2 serrano or jalapeño chiles  (to taste)
1/4 cup crumbled Mexican cheese (queso fresco)

Dressing:
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all together and enjoy!