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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Apple Pork Chops with Sage

We recently bought a sage plant and we were looking for every excuse we had to use it. Pork chops went on sale recently and lucky for us, sage goes well with pork!

I consulted my Jamie Oliver cookbook as I recall seeing an apple pork chop recipe and decided to make some minor modifications to it. The result was something delicious 🙂

Apple Pork Chops

This Apple Pork Chop recipe, served along side Oven-Roasted Broccoli, will make a great lunch or dinner. The sweetness from the apples coupled with the savoury broccoli makes this dish a winning combo.

To find out how to make this, see below:

Apple Pork Chops with Sage

Ingredients

  • 1 pork chop
  • half an apple, sliced
  • salt and pepper to season
  • 3 sage leaves
  • 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp brown sugar

Instructions

  1. Pat the pork chop dry with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. This will help the pork chop sear. Then, season generously with freshly ground salt and pepper
  2. In a cast iron pan over medium high heat, drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil and cook each side of the pork chop until it is fully cooked.
  3. With the excess fat from the pork chop in the pan, add in the butter and brown sugar. Stir everything together to make a caramel sauce and add in the sliced apples and sage leaves until they are evenly coated. Once the apples are softened, remove both from the pan and place it on top of the pork chop along with the residual sauce. Serve immediately.
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Nikuman (Chinese Steamed Pork Bun)

I love steamed buns, especially the ones you get at Chinese dim sum restaurants. I always found the idea of making them a bit intimidating because I don’t know what goes into making Chinese steamed buns.. I’ve only made western bread that’s baked in the oven such as the French baguette I made earlier this year.

I decided to challenge myself and step outside my comfort zone to make my first Chinese steamed bao! Having seen a YouTube video on how to make this, I gathered the courage for my first attempt.

Nikuman

The entire process was definitely challenging and stressful… I actually failed at making the dough the first two times having followed several recipes I found online. Both times my dough was too dry and I ended up over kneading it trying to get the consistency that I wanted. On my third and final attempt, I decided to ignore the recipes I found online and went with my own flow, having reduced the amount of flour that was asked by at least 32 g. I only added extra flour into my dough mixture as needed.

DSC_1715

The end result? Super fluffy steamed buns that were soft and flavourful. These were definitely time consuming to make but it was worth the effort in my opinion! Definitely do the majority of the prep work the night before to minimize the actual cooking time.

For a step by step process of how I made these Chinese Steamed Pork Buns, read on!

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Vietnamese Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce

I love vietnamese spring rolls – they’re super easy to make, highly customizable, and healthy as well! This is usually my go to dish whenever I’m low on time and just want to quickly throw something together that I know will keep me full throughout the day.

Spring Rolls

I have a tendency to overfill my spring rolls to the point where my spring roll looks like a mini burrito -_- so I had to really train myself to portion out my filling just enough so that the spring roll looks presentable.

spring roll collage

Assembling it can be a little tricky because the rice paper gets a bit sticky once it starts drying out. It’s also extremely delicate so there were a few times my sharp carrots actually pierced through the rice paper skin as I was wrapping it, creating rips 🙁

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Lemon Basil Shrimp Pasta

Continuing on from my post earlier this week, I had an abundance of lemons that I purchased that needed to be used up. I also have a basil plant that’s growing wildly out of control and is in dire need of a trimming. Trying to think of how I could combine those two ingredients into a dish, I decided to make lemon basil shrimp pasta!

lemon shrimp pasta

This dish was super easy to make and required little to no effort. Best of all, there’s no need for pasta sauce!

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Caesar’s Salad – Recipe from Jacob’s Steakhouse

We love Jacob’s Steakhouse table side Caesar’s Salad that they make from scratch. Not only can the entire process be considered a great performance as you watch them aerate the extra virgin olive oil by pouring it really high from the bowl, but it is quite the unique experience to see them make the food in front of you so that you know what you’re eating is made fresh.

Caesar's Salad

We’d love to eat it all the time but going to Jacob’s Steakhouse every time for it gets really expen$ive so we wanted to see if we could possibly recreate it at home for ourselves. Luckily (depends on how you look at it), we found a youtube tutorial by one of their staff members on how they make their infamous table side Caesar’s salad dressing. I say “depending on how you look at it” because of course no famous restaurant will give away all their trade secrets. No proportions were given in this video in terms of how much of each ingredient you should add. We had to go through a bunch of trial and error to get it down and though it’s not an exact replica, we’d like to say it’s pretty close!

Here’s what we did:

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