Cold Soba Noodles with Dipping Sauce

For those of you who don’t know, one of the main reasons why I decided to start this blog was to keep a running collection of recipes that we’ve tried over the years, capturing the ones we enjoyed the most. Instead of making adjustments to recipes and then not remembering what we did to alter it, it was just so much easier to document it online so that we don’t lose our notes considering how unorganized we are. It also makes looking up a recipe much easier because we tend to make things we like over and over again.

As people who love to cook and bake, we thought this would be a great project for us. Plus, it made sharing recipes with family and friends so much easier. We have decided to try and take this project to the next level with the goal to produce a cookbook within the next year. We aren’t really planning to sell the cookbook, it’s more so something we can see as an accomplishment for ourselves. But who knows, maybe it can one day make it to the bookshelf 🙂

The hardest part was thinking about what the theme of our cookbook would be – considering how much we love Japanese food, it made sense that our first cookbook would be about Japanese cooking. We already have quite a bunch of Japanese recipes on our blog such as Agedashi Tofu, Miso Cod, Ochazuke, and Japanese Strawberry Shortcake just to name a few but it’s time to build on it even more. Stay tuned because you will see lots of Japanese recipes coming up on this blog 🙂

I decided to take the day off today to start working on some recipes and update our blog. The easiest dish that I could think of making was Cold Soba Noodles with Dipping Sauce.

Cold soba noodle is a very popular dish in Japan, especially during the summer months when you want something to cool you down. Typically it is served with Mentsuyu sauce which is a multipurpose sauce used in Japanese cooking. It is often served with noodles and tempura dishes just to name a few. Best of all, this sauce can be made in advance and be stored in the fridge for up to a month. This means the next time you’re hungry for some cold soba noodles, all you need to do is boil the noodles which would take no time at all!

How to eat Cold Soba Noodles

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Hojicha Creme Brulee

If you’ve been following our blog for some time now, you’ll know we are pretty into Japanese food and have experimented quite a bit with Japanese cooking. Matcha has been all the craze for the longest time but recently, a new type of Japanese tea has been rising in popularity – Hojicha!

Hojicha is a roasted variation of green tea. I’ve had it several times in Japan and upon returning to Toronto, I started noticing it more in restaurants. In fact, a fairly new Japanese dessert shop in Toronto (Tsujiri) that typically specializes in matcha desserts came out with Hojicha soft serve ice cream and it was really good. Though I personally felt it left a bit of a bitter aftertaste due to how strong the tea flavour was, I enjoyed it.

This inspired us to make Hojicha creme brulee. The great thing about Creme Brulee is that it’s a very versatile recipe. Once you have the base recipe down, you can essentially make any flavour you want. We are still in the process of experimenting with the ratios but I think the first round went well.

As when we experiment with any new recipe, we always try to make it in small batches first as to not waste it if it all turns sour. I found a recipe on SeriousEats that makes creme brulee just for one — perfect! From there, I just adapted the recipe by steeping 1/2 tbsp of hojicha into the whipping cream and voila! This creme brulee is born.

We plan to continue refining this recipe and adjusting the portions as we go. What I like about our blog is that it’s a place for us to keep track of what we made, and allow us to track refinements as we go along.

Hojicha Creme Brulee

Hojicha Creme Brulee

Ingredients

  • 100 g whipping cream
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tbsp hojicha leaves
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 tsp of sugar (to carmelize for the creme brulee)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300F and boil some water for the square 8x8 baking pan which you will use for the bain marie.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the whipping cream over medium high heat until it comes to a gentle simmer. Once it starts to bubble a little bit around the edges, turn off the heat and add the hojicha tea leaves. Cover and let steep for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Once it's done steeping, strain the tea leaves and put the infused whipped cream mixture back into the pot to keep warm.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolk and sugar together. Then, slowly add a bit of the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture to temper it while whisking continuously. Then, add the rest of the cream mixture in a bit at a time. This will prevent the eggs from cooking. Finally, add the vanilla extract.
  5. Put the mixture into a ramekin and place the ramekin into the square pan. Fill the pan with boiling water and bake for 40 minutes or until the centre is firm when you shake it.
  6. Allow to cool for 15-20minutes and then chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
  7. When ready to serve, sprinkle the top of the creme brulee with the remaining sugar and blow torch the top to get that signature carmelized top.
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http://cookingwithteamj.com/2017/07/03/hojicha-creme-brulee/

 

 

Yuzu Sorbet

Nothing is more refreshing and cleansing than having sorbet as dessert. The great thing about sorbet is that it’s perfect for those that are lactose intolerant, and it typically enhances the flavour of whatever fruit sorbet is being made.

Continuing with our posts for #JapanWeek, we are making Yuzu sorbet today.

I’ll start off by saying that there aren’t that many yuzu sorbet recipes out there… And when there are, they all require the use of fresh yuzu fruits (which are extremely hard to find here…. and when found, are crazy expensive). I’m sure this would’ve tasted a lot better if I used real fruit and yuzu zest but even with bottled yuzu juice, it still turned out really good. I was pretty impressed with myself when I made it the first time.

Mind you… this sorbet could be better had I improved the texture. I think the next time I make this, I will use corn syrup as I read that will make it less grainy and more scoopable. I’ll be sure to post an updated version when I make this again.

Yuzu Sorbet

Yuzu Sorbet

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1.2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup yuzu juice

Instructions

  1. In a sauce pot over medium high heat, bring water and sugar to a boil to make simple syrup.
  2. Let the mixture cool down to room temperature.
  3. Then, stir in yuzu juice. Taste it and adjust sugar as required.
  4. In an ice cream maker, add the sorbet mixture and mix until it's in a scoopable texture. If you don't have an ice cream maker, you can do what we did and just put it in a glass container in the freezer, and stir it around every hour to hour and a half to help it slush up.
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http://cookingwithteamj.com/2017/05/27/yuzu-sorbet/

Ochazuke recipe

I love Ochazuke… Maybe it’s because I’m always cold regardless of the season but I love how this dish always warms me up. It’s such a simple dish but it tastes so good. This post is part of the #JapanWeek series.

I’ve always wondered how people make this – what goes into the tea or broth? How is it so flavourful?  Is it really just green tea over rice because when I drink green tea by itself, it sure doesn’t taste as good as this.

I took a pretty big risk when I decided to make it for the very first time the night of our anniversary dinner as I have no idea how it would turn out. Surprisingly, it turned out better than expected! We even made some slight modifications to the original recipe to try and enhance the flavour of the ‘soup’. The sour taste of the picked plum along with the salty nori, green tea broth, and rice, was a really nice combination. It’s also a good way to use up leftover Japanese rice!

This was the green tea I used for my Ochazuke:
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Chirashi bowl

Chirashi bowls have become a thing in our household now. Whenever we want to make Japanese food, our default answer is to make Chirashi.

I guess the reason we tend to default to this is because:

a) We’ve found a pretty good sushi rice recipe

b) We can make numerous Chirashi bowls with a single cut of fish.

Although the cut of fish isn’t cheap, if you consider how many portions you can make out of it, it’s pretty worth it as it’s much cheaper than what we’d be paying in the restaurant.

As part of the #JapanWeek series, I decided to ball a little bit since it was for a special occasion. I chose Blue Fin Tuna (please don’t go extinct – you’re one of my favourite fishes for sushi), Uni from British Columbia, and Scallops from Hokkaido, Japan. I learned that the best way to make this bowl even more visually stunning is to include fish with different colors, top it with a generous amount of pickled ginger to cleanse the palette, and finally garnish it with a dollop of fresh wasabi.

If you want to make a simple dish that would impress your friends and family, this is it. It’s really not that hard to make but the presentation is just stunning. I would say the hardest part was slicing the fish evenly ^_^”

 

Nobu’s Miso Black Cod Recipe

I love miso black cod. Everytime I go to a Japanese restaurant, this is the default dish that I order. When it came to me brainstorming what I should make for our anniversary dinner this weekend, this dish immediately came to mind as it’s one that I think we’d both enjoy. Besides, I wanted to learn how to make it so that I don’t have to wait until I go out to a restaurant to have it. This post will be part of an ongoing series called #JapanWeek

While searching for a recipe online, Nobu’s recipe was clearly the most popular one. As always, I cross referenced this recipe with several others to see if there was a significant difference in terms of proportion of ingredients and method of preparation but it was pretty unanimous. All recipes required me to marinate this fish 2-3 days in advance to get the most flavour out of it.

And boy was it worth it. The fish was so flavourful… and after searing it in a hot pan and baking it the oven afterwards, it left this nice golden crust which was soooo goood.

I’d make this more often but the fish itself was pretty pricy –  I paid $20 for 2 pieces of fish… mind you it was a very generous cut of fish but still…

To view the recipe, keep reading

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