Mom’s Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

pieHappy 4th of July weekend, everyone! If you’re looking for something special to bring to a backyard celebration, look no further. Mom’s Strawberry Rhubarb Pie is awesome (like my Mom… she’s awesome, too!). Let’s get started…

Ingredients (Makes 1 pie)

For the filling:

2 1/2 cups Continue reading

Chocolate Dipped Valentine Cookies

heart-cookies

Nothing says “I love you” or “I value your friendship” like something homemade and delicious! Why not whip up a batch of these luscious cookies and brighten someone’s day?!

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter, softened Continue reading

Pepper Steak Stew

beef2This simple slow-cooker recipe offers up the hearty, savory flavors of traditional pepper steak, but uses a less expensive cut of beef. I like to double this recipe and freeze half for workday lunches Enjoy – your tummy and your wallet will thank you!

Ingredients (Serves 4)

1 1/2 pounds beef stew meat Continue reading

Give the Gift that Gives Back!

cookbook-cover-imageAvailable on Amazon, 100% of the profits from The Global Recipe Project Cookbook will benefit not-for-profit organizations which feed people as a central part of their mission. Cooks and food bloggers from around the world have generously contributed to this amazing book. Over 170 recipes from 65 countries are included!

Try your hand at Mansaf, the national dish of Jordan, while reading how and when this meal is traditionally served. Sample a variety of chutneys while exploring the rich spice blends of India. Dine on simple and delicious French dishes such as Croquette Monsieur and Soupe L’Ongion.

Bakers will appreciate clear and simple instructions for classics such as Italian Cannoli and Austrian Apfelstrudel. Feeling adventurous? Amigdalato, a Greek almond pastry, and Kransekake, a Norwegian wedding cake, offer dramatic dessert options for holiday entertaining.

Pick up a copy today, and support a worthy cause!
ISBN-13: 978-0998191607
ISBN-10: 0998191604
BISAC: Cooking / Regional & Ethnic / General

Autumn Plum Cake

easy-plum-cakeEvery autumn, the New York Times publishes the same plum torte recipe. It has something of a cult following. My friend Denise, a scratch cook who is rather particular about the recipes she endorses, raves about this torte. So, I gave it a try.

It’s good. Really good! The recipe is included here. I had larger plums on hand, so I used slices rather than halves. Whether this recipe is a “torte” or a “cake” is in the eye of the beholder. I’m going with “cake,” as for me the word “torte” conjures up images of complicated, many-layered German desserts. This recipe is blessedly simple. It is quite similar to Rustic Apple Cake, with different fruit. Enjoy this cake (torte?) with a cup of coffee as you watch the leaves fall.

Signature Recipe: Japanese Shoyu Ramen

WIN_20160701_192427
The results of Crowded Earth Kitchen’s ramen poll are in! Today we’re making Crowded Earth Kitchen’s version of Shoyu Ramen, the most popular type of ramen which is flavored with soy sauce. The recipe below is pretty simple to make, and offers great flavor without a long list of hard-to-find ingredients. We’re also using pork tenderloin instead of pork belly, because pork tenderloin is more affordable and more readily available in much of the US. If you’ve enjoyed ramen with pork belly, I think you’ll find the taste of this recipe very comparable.

Two tips: First, don’t skimp on the pork stock or the chicken stock. If you have time to make your own, that’s what I recommend. If not, look for good quality stock from a butcher or specialty grocery store. Ramen “is” the broth… if the broth is just OK, your finished product will be just OK. If your broth is delicious, your ramen bowls will be delicious! Second, if you have time, it’s worth preparing your pork tenderloin the day before you enjoy your ramen bowls.

Let’s get started!

WIN_20160701_152026

Dried shiitakes, ginger, onion, and garlic

Ingredients (Serves 6)

16 ounces dried wheat flour ramen noodles

1 cup thinly sliced greens (I used baby bok choy)

1 cup sliced bamboo shoots

3 hard boiled eggs, peeled and halved

(Optional) 1 sheet nori (seaweed), cut into six pieces

For the meat:

1 pound pork tenderloin

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon white wine (I used Umeshu)

For the broth:

3 quarts pork stock

1 quart chicken stock

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons fish sauce, optional

1/4 cup dried shiitake mushrooms

1/4 cup onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 inch piece of ginger, sliced thin

Directions

WIN_20160701_164234Step 1) Prepare your pork tenderloin. In a small bowl, combine salt, sugar, and white wine to make a paste. Rub this paste all over your pork tenderloin. Let your pork tenderloin rest in a baking pan, covered, in the refrigerator for at least one hour or overnight (overnight is best). Then, roast your pork tenderloin, uncovered, in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. Check your pork tenderloin with a meat thermometer – the internal temperature should be 145 degrees. Allow your pork tenderloin to rest for 10 minutes. Slice thin and refrigerate.

WIN_20160701_154316Step 2) Prepare your broth. In a large pot, combine pork stock, chicken stock, soy sauce, fish sauce, dried shiitake mushrooms, onion, garlic, and ginger. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered, until volume is reduced by half. This will take approximately an hour, depending upon how gently or vigorously your pot simmers. I prefer a slow simmer. Allow broth to cool, then ladle or pour through a sieve into a second pot. This will strain out all of the flavor additives (mushrooms, onion pieces, garlic and ginger), leaving you with a clear, flavor-packed ramen broth! At this point, you can freeze your broth for future use, refrigerate your broth to use tomorrow, or return your broth to a gentle boil and proceed with Step 3!

Step 3) Prepare your noodles. Bring a pot of water to a boil, and cook your noodles according to package directions. DO NOT OVERCOOK YOUR NOODLES. When in doubt, it’s better to undercook the noodles a bit, as they will continue to cook in Step 4. Mushy noodles make terrible ramen. Seriously… don’t overcook the noodles!

Step 4) Assemble and enjoy! Here’s the fun part. First, transfer a serving of cooked noodles to a large single-serving bowl (your biggest cereal bowls will work). Second, arrange a few slices of pork tenderloin, a hard boiled egg half, a few bamboo shoots, and a few sliced greens around the edges of the bowl. Don’t mix up the toppings like you would for American-style soup… each ramen topping should occupy its own place along the edge of the bowl. Third, carefully ladle hot broth over the top of everything, to warm the ingredients. The broth should just barely cover the top the noodles… don’t drown your ramen bowl in broth. Fourth, place a small square of nori on the top of your bowl and serve immediately!

When you make this ramen, I’d love to hear from you! Please let me know if you are now as ramen obsessed as we are here at Crowded Earth Kitchen!

Tokyo Food Tour! NINJA

NINJA

Tableside NINJA Chef

“What was your most amazing meal in Tokyo?”

That’s a common question, and an easy one to answer. Our friend Natsu, a Tokyo resident, took us for a spectacular dinner at NINJA. It was an experience we won’t soon forget!

Upon arriving, a costumed “NINJA-in-training” escorted us through narrow, stone walled passageways, over a drawbridge, and into our private dining chamber. After being seated at a traditional, low table near an indoor stream filled with treasure, we were introduced to our personal NINJA and cook. Believe me, friends, one course was even more delicious than the next!

NINJA kids

Awesome Children’s Meal

Two pint-size diners each enjoyed an enviable children’s meal featuring a variety of kid-friendly meats, seafoods, and sides. NINJA star crackers, colored a bold black using bamboo charcoal, were included in the children’s meal and were also featured in the first course of the adult meal along with foie gras.

The restaurant-provided descriptions of the eight-course menu we enjoyed only hint at the deliciousness…

1.Shuriken star-blades grissini

2.Cold Appetizer of the season

3.Chicken fritter NINJA style

4.Special stone-boiled soup (Japanese bouillabaisse)  ***Side note: This was one of the best soups I’ve ever enjoyed!

5.Capellini with Japanese tomato flavor

6.Meat specialty or seafood specialty of the day

7.Sushi of the season & today’s Sushi Roll

8.Today’s dessert

I tried not to annoy my dining companions with too many photos. Here’s a peek…

NINJA 2nd course

2nd Course – A savory cold shrimp soup

NINJA pasta course

5th Course – A delicately seasoned pasta dish

NINJA meat course

6th Course – This salmon was spectacular!

NINJA Sushi Course

7th Course – Sushi!

At home in the US, many otherwise excellent restaurants view dessert as something of an afterthought. Not so at NINJA! To kick off dessert, costumed NINJAs burst into our dining area through a small window, carrying mysterious black boxes for the kids (Really, who loves dessert more than kids?). To the delight of the children, the black boxes emitted an impressive amount of “smoke” thanks to the dry ice keeping their frozen treats cold. What a special effect!

NINJA kids dessert

Children’s Dessert

The grown-up dessert was just as fabulous, featuring a luscious apple custard wrapped around ice cream (how, I have no idea). Look how beautiful it is!

NINJA adult dessert

Grown-Up Dessert

Tokyo offers something for everyone, of this I am convinced! If you have an aspiring NINJA among your travel companions (particularly if he is pint-sized), a dinner at NINJA will without a doubt make an utterly unforgettable experience.

Thank you, Natsu. We miss you!