Archive for March, 2011

Udon Noodle Soup with Poached Egg and Tempura

Posted by: · Mar 06 2011 · Comments (0)

Because I have love-hate relationship with sushi, I often order Udon soup at Japanese restaurants. Standard Udon soup is prepared in a basic broth, accompanied by tempura and topped with a poached egg.  I have no intention of messing too much with something so good, but I do like a little more flavor in my broth.  I added a few spices and vegetables and the outcome was an old favorite with a wealth of new flavor.

Serves 6



- 7 cups chicken broth

- 2 tablespoons olive oil

- 4 cardamom pods

- 2 bay leaves

- 1 star anise

- ¼ cup scallions, finely chopped

- 2 cloves minced garlic

- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated ginger

- 2 cups chopped baby bok choy

- 1 cup sliced radishes

- 1 teaspoon salt

- ¾ cup low sodium soy sauce

- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon

- 10 ounces Udon noodles

- 6 eggs

- 2 tablespoons vinegar


- 4 cups vegetable oil

- 1 LB shrimp, tail shell on

- 1 bundle brocolini

- 2 medium sized sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ¼” slices

- 2 cups panko bread crumbs

- 2 eggs


Start with the soup.  Heat the oil over medium- high heat in large stockpot.  Add the cardamom, bay leaves and star anise.  Sauté for 2 minutes then add the scallions, garlic and ginger.  Continue to cook for 1-2 minutes.  Stir in the bok choy, radishes, salt and cinnamon.  Cook until the bulk of the bok choy is reduced by half.  Pour in the broth and soy sauce, bring to a boil, reduce to a low simmer and cook for 30 minutes.  The cardamom pods, bay leaves and star anise with float to the top while cooking.  Remove them and discard.

Meanwhile, start on the tempura.  Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a heavy skillet.  Test the heat of the oil by carefully dripping water into the skillet.  If the oil spits upon contact with the water it is ready to fry.  Whisk the eggs in a shallow bowl.  Place the bread crumbs in a shallow bowl as well. Prepare the shrimp, sweet potatoes and brocolini for frying by dipping in the egg and then the bread crumbs.  Carefully lower the vegetables and shrimp into the oil and fry until nicely browned on all sides.  You will likely have to do this in a number of batches.  Remove with a slotted spoon and lay on a paper towel to drain.

Back to the soup.  Return to a boil and add the Udon noodles.  Reduce to a simmer and cook for 11-14 minutes.  Remove from the heat and cover.

While the noodles are cooking in the soup, bring 2 cups of water to a boil over high heat.  Add the vinegar and reduce to a simmer.   Carefully crack the eggs in one at a time.  Use a spoon to push the egg whites closer to the yolk.  Cover the pot, turn off the heat and let sit for 3 minutes.  At this point, spoon the noodles and soup into deep serving bowls.  Top with a few pieces of the tempura and one egg.  Serve immediately.

Categories : Dinners, Soups
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Hoisin Braised Short Ribs with Bok Choy Salad

Posted by: · Mar 04 2011 · Comments (2)

I am not going to lie, braised shorts ribs take a good amount of time to cook and if you rush it you will be disappointed.  The first time I made this dish my growling stomach dictated the cooking window and I ended up with chunks of meat that were quite frankly nasty.   I found myself spitting my first bite into my napkin, much the way I did as a child when my dad made his signature liver and heart dish.  Be sure to plan ahead with this recipe and get the meat in the oven well before you plan to eat.   The meat falling off the bone goodness is well worth the time.

Serves 6



- 5 LB’s bone in short ribs

- 2 teaspoons salt

- 2 tablespoons olive oil

- 2 shallots, finely chopped

- 4 carrots, skin removed and roughly chopped

- ½ large white onion, chopped

- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

- ¼ cup scallions, chopped

- 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce

- 1 tablespoon Chinese Five Spice powder

- 3 tablespoons flour

- ¾ ruby port

- 6 cups beef stock

- 1 tablespoon butter at room temperature


- 1 tablespoon olive oil

- 1 bundle bok choy, cleaned and roughly chopped

- ½ teaspoon salt

- ¼ teaspoon sugar

- 2 tablespoons lemon juice.


To start, make sure your oven rack is situated to allow room for your Dutch oven.  Pre-heat oven to 325°.

Season the meat with 1 teaspoon of the salt.  Heat the olive oil over high heat in a large Dutch oven.  Brown the meat on each side for about 3-4 minutes.  Depending on the size of your pot you may need to do this is two batched.  Remove the meat and set aside.  Lower the heat to medium and add the onion, shallots, carrots, garlic, scallions and ginger.  Cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.  Whisk in the hoisin sauce and 2 tablespoons of flour and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes.  Pour in the port and 2 cups of the stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and continue cooking for 15 minutes, stirring throughout until the sauce thickens.  Return the short ribs to the pot along with the remaining 4 cups of stock, the remaining teaspoon of salt and the Chinese five spice.  Increase the heat to high and bring to a slight boil.  Cover, remove from the stove and transfer to the oven.

Cook the ribs for 2.5-3 hours, checking in every 20 minutes to monitor cooking progress.

Towards the end of cooking the meat make the salad.  Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan.  Add the bok choy sauté for 7 minutes.  Season with the salt, sugar and lemon juice.  Remove from the heat and cover until use.

The ribs are done once the meat is noticeably falling off the bone at which point remove the pot from the oven.  Using tongs remove the meat from the pot and set aside.  Return the pot to the stove over medium-high heat.  Mix together the remaining tablespoon of flour and the tablespoon of butter until a paste forms.  Whisk the paste into the sauce and continue to stir until the sauce thickens- about 10-15 minutes.  Return the meat to the pot and cook for an additional 5 minutes.  Plate a few pieces of the meat per person with a generous helping of the sauce with a side of the bok choy.

Categories : Beef, Dinners
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Crab Stuffed Artichoke

Posted by: · Mar 02 2011 · Comments (3)

These artichokes are perfect for a larger first course or a small dinner.  Warm, creamy wonderfulness!

Serves 4


- 4 artichokes

- 2 cups cooked crab meat, roughly chopped

- ½ LB red potatoes

- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped

- 1 cup corn

- 2 tablespoons cilantro

- 2 tablespoons salt

- 1 tablespoon butter

- 1 tablespoon lemon juice

- 1 teaspoon chili powder

- 3/4 cup sour cream

- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese


Using scissors trim ½ inch off top of the artichokes as well the sharp ends off the leaves.  Cut off the majority of the artichokes stems just leaving a small stump.   Bring a large stockpot of water to a boil over high heat and add the artichokes and potatoes.  Reduce heat to medium and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Remove the potatoes with a slotted spoon and let cool.  Continue to cook the artichokes for an additional 10-20 minutes or until the outer leaves can easily be pulled off.    Remove the artichoke and let cool for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 400°.

Chop the potatoes into ¼ inch cubed pieces.  Heat the butter over medium-high heat in a large non-stick sauté pan.  Add the celery and coat with the butter.  Cook for 2 minutes then add the potatoes, corn, crab, cilantro, salt, lemon juice and chili powder.  Continue to cook for 4 minutes.  Remove from the heat and fold in ¾ cup of the cheese.  Let mixture cool for 4 minutes and fold in the sour cream.

Carefully open the artichoke to expose its core.  Using a paring knife remove the sharp leaves in the interior.  Spoon an equal amount of the crab mixture into each opened artichoke.  Top with a sprinkle of the remaining cheese.  Transfer the artichokes to a cooking dish, stem facing down and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and serve while hot.

Categories : Seafood, Vegetables
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Creamy Black- Eyed Peas and Crawfish

Posted by: · Mar 01 2011 · Comments (0)

My meals are usually the result of long trips to the grocery store, an evaluation of the freshest ingredients available and then a guess at what components combined together will make a cohesive and tasty dish.  This meal certainly fell within that typical approach.  I rarely see crawfish at the fish counter at my favorite Chicago market, but yesterday was an exception.   Staring at me through the glass fish display was a heap of bright orange crawfish begging me to debut them on my blog.  So I grabbed up these little critters and made a trip through the grocery store aisles looking for an accompaniment.  I landed on black-eyed peas and fortunately my instinct was correct.  This dish is rich, spicy, easy to prepare and delicious. Feel free to substitute the crawfish with shrimp.


- 1.5 LB’s pre-cooked and shell on crawfish or deveined and cleaned raw shrimp with tail shell on

- 2 cups dried black eyed peas

- 5 pieces thick cut bacon, diced

- 1 cup sweet corn, canned or fresh and cut from the cob

- 2 tablespoons butter

- 1.5 tablespoon salt

- 1 teaspoon paprika

- 3/4 cups heavy cream

- 3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

- ¼ teaspoon white pepper

- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Serves  4


Place the peas in a medium size saucepan.  Cover with cold water and bring to a boil over high heat.  Boil the peas for 3 minutes, remove from heat and let the peas soak in the water for 1 hour.  Drain the peas and set aside.

Place the crawfish or shrimp in a colander under a cool stream of tap water.  Rinse for 5 minutes, shaking the colander occasionally to ensure a thorough clean.  Remove the crawfish or shrimp and pat dry.

Heat a large non-stick skillet on the stove over medium-high heat.  Add the bacon and cook until just slightly crispy.  Drain the fat from the pan, return the bacon to the heat and add the corn and peas.  Stir in the butter.  Reduce the heat to medium and for cook 10 minutes.  Add the crawfish and toss with the beans, corn and bacon.  Cook for 3 minutes (6 minutes if using raw shrimp) then add the cream, salt, cilantro, paprika, white pepper and lemon juice.  Stir frequently and continue to cook until the cream thickens, about 6 minutes.  Taste the sauce and add more paprika and salt if needed.  Serve immediately.

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